Look up…

20170927_180831It all started with a single pine tree on the side of the road. At first there were only a handful of them up in that one tree. But each year their numbers grew until that one tree just wasn’t big enough. So they spread. Then spread some more. Now there are dozens of them up in a cluster of at least 8-10 pine trees on the side of the road.

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The Garden Sink

20170924_145123If you have ever harvested produce from your own garden, or brought in cut flowers from the yard, you and I have very likely had a shared experience. You’re washing off your prize when out crawls something unwanted. Maybe it has six legs, maybe eight (the WORST!), or, ewwww, no legs at all and is slimy. Whatever it is, it is now inside. Exactly where you probably don’t want it to be.

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Just Passing Through

20170923_163102We live not too far away from a stretch of river.  As a result, we tend to get a variety of visitors to our neighborhood that make the trek from the river bottom, and on up into the suburbs.  Some even decide they like it well enough and make our yards their homes.  Some are welcome, some not so much.

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Orange Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

20170923_164754This has to be one of the most interesting plants in our garden.  The small, but profuse, orange blossoms coat the stems that emanate from the base of the plant and stick around for months on end.  The leaves are an eye-catching bright green.  Plant this and you will be able to enjoy the quintessential hum of summer as bumblebees and hummingbirds will flock to your yard.  When the sun shines on it just right, the flowers seem to glow like magical little lights.

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Greek Vegetable Stew (Briam or Tourlou-Tourlou)

20170918_204029It never fails, I will either have gathered a huge bounty of vegetables from my garden or will have gotten a little crazy purchasing them at the market. That means a glut of things like eggplant, zucchini and other summer squashes, peppers, and tomatoes. Some of them I will cut into chunks and freeze for later use, but really, there is nothing better than using them fresh.

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Bone Broth

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Could there be anything more old fashioned than bone broth? Talk about an opportunity to take the proverbial “two bites from one apple”. Once the meat has been pulled away, you are left with bones that seem to have no further purpose, but wait! There’s more! In fact even more than you realize just yet.

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The “Joys” of Gardening

Let’s face it, plant growers lie. To be fair, it’s more like incomplete truths than all out lies, but no nursery is going to label a plant with “Under ideal circumstances this plant is great, but most of the time it really just sucks”. So you’re left with the task of discovering your plant’s dirty little secrets the hard way: after you’ve already had it in the ground for a good long time and it’s already caused a lot of problems.

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Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

20170910_150835My dad grew up on homemade bread. Even though my grandparents could have easily bought bread from the store, my grandma chose to bake her own. Definitely a Depression Era survivor. I remember eating sandwiches made from that delicious bread when I was younger. She would even occasionally save the heels, break them into small pieces, then let them dry out. These would become tidbits that we would take to a local park to feed the geese and ducks with. One of those geese once decided to show its appreciation by biting me in the butt. You know, roast goose makes a lovely Christmas feast.

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Super Easy, No Waste Sourdough Starter

20170910_142302[1]When I decided to experiment with making sourdough bread, I started looking up information on making the “starter” cultures that were needed for the dough. Time and again, the recipes and instructions I found had you start with large quantities of flour and water, then after allowing it to sit and ferment, take all but a small amount and, get this, THROW. THE. REST. AWAY. The reason for this last step was because you would need to add more flour and water at regular periods and so if you didn’t throw some out, you would eventually have a monster bowl of sourdough starter.

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The Nativity of the Virgin Mary

nativity of theotokosSeptember 8th is the feast day of the Nativity (birth) of the Virgin Mary.  In Greek Orthodox tradition, feast days are holy days that commemorate significant events related to the church.  They may mark the births and/or deaths of saints, or other momentous occasions.  This particular feast day marks the day that Orthodox Christians commemorate the birth of the Virgin Mary.  In Greek she is called the Theotokos, or Mother of God.

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