Of Seeds and Seedlings Varieties of Lettuce, the Hardiness Map and planting out early

Of Seeds and Seedlings Varieties of Lettuce, the Hardiness Map and planting out early

The seed books are scattered throughout the house, pages dog eared and scraps of paper serving as bookmarks. Lists are made, scrutinized and made again. The compost is ready, the gardens are marked out carefully on graph paper. Perhaps the best of all is the seedling are up!

seedlingsseedlings 2

This year I’ve decided to grow an entire bed of different lettuce. There are many varieties of lettuce. There are some particularly colorful varieties.  I think this is going to be a big seller, plus it insures we have salad every day. Along with my stand-bys of Little Gems and Tom Thumbs, I’m adding Red Romaine, Mascara, Merville Des Quatre, Rouge D’Hiver, Grandpa Admire’s, and Baby Oakleaf. I’m putting chervil and cilantro in there as well.  I think the colorful varieties will do well at the Farmer’s Market. I hope they do, I’m planting accordingly. This is seed from Restoration Seeds.

Lettuce Mascara

I think I’m going to plant out every four days, that should make for some continuous growth habits that will allow me to be harvesting every few days.

I almost forgot, I’m adding some Asian greens as well. Purple Choi, Manoa and Dwarf Pak Choy called Toy Choy. These are Asian Greens. This isn’t lettuce, but it’s going in the lettuce bed nonetheless. I get my Asian varieties from Kitazawa Seed Co.out of Oakland, CA. That address is kitazawaseed.com they have a great catalog.

Toy Choy, extra dwarf pak choi

Toy Choy, extra dwarf pak choi

Baker Creek Seeds had another stunning catalog this year. I do believe I’m sending their baby to college with the seed money I spend with them. = ) They are at rareseeds.com This is where I got the seed for my favorite melons last year, Rich Sweetness and Vert Grimpant.

The Heirloom Life Gardener

The Heirloom Life Gardener by Jere and Emilee Gettle, with Meghan Sutherland

Our last day for frost is March 12, last year I waited until the 17th to plant out. This year, I’m taking a walk on the wild side, planting out now. I’m pushing the boundaries of the hardiness map just a bit. The soil has been consistently 65. I’m keeping back seedlings in case the North winds blow, but I’m going for it with at least one bed. Shadow or no shadow!

Pushing the hardiness map boundaries this year. Will it work?

Pushing the hardiness map boundaries this year. Will it work?

So, I’ll let you know how that turns out.

I’m so happy to be writing again. So excited for plants! Let me hear from you. Check out the shop if you get a second I’ve added many things. http://www.etsy.com/shop/ThePaisleyCarrot Read the rest of this entry

Warm Woolies

Warm Woolies
Help for Sandy

Help for Sandy

Heya, just a quick note to tell you about a great cause. We can all do something to help the Sandy Victims right now! As many of you know, the East Coast was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy. There are people that can use your help. If you are a knitter, crocheter, seamstress, or you have the resources to pay any of the above, please consider contributing to the cause. You can find more about it here.

Help for Sandy can be as easy as stitching up something warm or purchasing something warm to send. It’s getting colder, people are in need of warm items. Basically, they need warm things for the people that are still dealing with lack of heat and or shelter. You can send your items to:

Natalie Soud

310 West Broadway

New York, NY 10013

If you are not able to make something yourself, this is a great time to patronize Etsy and you’ll be helping the Sandy victims and the fiber artisans at the same time. Help for Sandy is one way to show your fellow Americans that you’re thinking of them during this time of Thanksgiving. We’ll show we understand Thanks Living! As an added incentive, if you purchase a wool hat from my shop, The Paisley Carrot for donation, I’ll include free shipping to the relief center and a 50% coupon for any item in my shop for you personally.

And finally, if you are not able to contribute with an item or financially, you can still help by spreading the word. Just re blog this or post it on your Twitter, Facebook or whatever social media you use. We can all help. That’s Paisley! We’re Blessed beyond measure, don’t you think? Let’s help those that are hurting now! We can all help!

Have a Paisley Wednesday!

It Happens

It Happens

Sometimes I don’t have anything to say. Not often, but sometimes. I’m glad someone did…

Please go to A Holy Experience for more…

The Holiday that could become All of our Days — & change our lives

The woman I meet up on the concourse, she tells me she was done.

Done with the man and the ring and the vows, done with the kids, done with her life.

Her eyes are so large and fragile, hands trembling, the way your world can quake and break and the aftershocks rattle you and the stunned retelling. I touch her shoulder.

And she crumbles in and heaves, and heaves that counting blessings made her see blessings and she’s staying and staying alive and barren places can break with bloom.

I memorize her face and glory.

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We are the broken and the bruised and the messed up and the unmasked, women meeting at a conference, women of faith, and turning quiet to pull up sleeves and show scars.

A woman murmurs at my ear over the din that her brother in law ran over his 13 month old daughter, and we don’t have to say anything, and hands find each other and lace and this world is right busted and tied up with the strings of His broken and offered heart.

And a gravelly voice speaks of cancer and a grave and a child whose name she wears around her neck, and we finger that name together and fiercely believe in a Father who knows and holds and cups like relief, like a lung, when we can’t breathe.

And the story of a stroke and a mother and depression that pinned to a bed and the dark that suffocated for decades and the pen that wrote His gifts, that opened the veil to His light.

And I tuck a lock of hair behind the ear, and listen to unlockings and how women are finding keys.

And then she stepped close, a woman who couldn’t lift her head, who hid her eyes, and she says it timid near my shoulder.

“I had six children when I sinned.” And I turn, wrap an arm around her shoulder, draw her in.

I had an affair…” Her words snag and tear and I hold on to her as she starts to give way. “I got pregnant. And I couldn’t handle what I had done.”

I try to swallow, all my sins stuck and lodged and burning there in my throat. Oh, sister. The sobs wrack and we are two women caught in the act of living and sinning.

“And the day I was going for the abortion, a friend gave me this.” She nods her head towards that book with the nest on the cover.

“She gave it to me — and she said what I couldn’t handle… was actually a gift.” And I can hardly take this, have to look away, take my shoes off, tear my coat, beat my chest.

“And I read and I agreed with God and he is.”

And there on the screen of her phone –  she offers this picture of a smiling baby boy.

And I reach out and hold his smile and it is holy and it is epiphany and it is hard –

What you think you can’t handle — might actually be God handing you a gift.

And I think of everything I have chaffed against and railed about and howled to the heavens and who am I to know what is best or not — but when you bow and surrender to the sovereignty of God then you are in the posture to receive all as a gift. I touch the pixels of that baby boy smiling.

Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle and he’s smiling, that miracle baby’s smiling.

What is beyond the redemption of God?

And I look up and around at all these women gathered here with their God-witnessing, all their pain-glistening eyes and courage-smiles and chins that still quake, and there it is — in all of them —

In Christ, thanksgiving is more than a holiday –
In Christ, thanksgiving is all of our days.

The living proof, the woman from Chicago and the sisters from Kansas City and the grandmother from Florida and the couple from Arkansas, they are the walking witnesses of His Word and whygiving thanks isn’t a pollyanna game — but a powerhouse game-changer:

God asks us to give thanks in everything — because this is the way you live through anything.

It’s a dare to really live and I want it, all over again, I want it.

And the mama of the miracle that almost wasn’t, she smiles at me through tears, and we both blur and reach out and touch each other’s face – Giving thanks is life giving.

And we murmur it at the same time —

Thank you.

And He hears.

And everything that seems done and over revives again.

Coming and Going

Coming and Going

There has been plenty of coming and going at our Paisley place. School keeps us on our toes as does a very hectic October. The Parsnip was double booked for every weekend for five weeks in a row. That’s amazing and so so good for our little family (and budget).

In the garden, the Mexican Sour Gherkins continue to flourish, as do the herbs. I’m expecting a slow down, but with afternoons continually in the 70’s and lows not even in the 40’s, we may still have cucumbers at Christmas! I imagine not, but we’ll see.

As most of you know, I have an Etsy shop where I sell knit and crocheted items made from natural fibers. I have seen an upturn of sales, mostly locally with some internet interest as well. This week I found a shop I just love that I wanted to share with you.

This is a fiber artist that uses natural fiber, dyes and fair trade practices in her shop. That’s good for the planet and the people that get to live here as well! The name of the shop is Swallowtail Fiber Art. If you’re looking for some delicious natural yarn, look no further! Look at these beautiful colors…

Banana Fiber in Silver from Swallowtail Fiber Arts

 

And this…

Banana Fiber in colorway Thyme from Swallowtail Fiber Arts

I love thick and thin yarn. It’s interesting to me that as you progress as a spinner, it actually is more difficult to achieve this variation of consistency. So, the best thick and thin yarn tends to come from new or very unskilled artisans or very knowledgeable, skilled artisans. I love the look of the thick and thin and look for it when I can. When I look for hand spun, I don’t like to get something that appears to have been mill spun, unless I need a specific color.

Soon these will be adorable hats available in my shop. If you haven’t looked lately, you should visit. It’s called The Paisley Carrot. I’ve added many new items. I’m adding about 15 more things in the next couple of days. Lots to choose from. I’m amazed at what people find to make yarn with. I used to wonder at the bamboo yarn, now it’s this beautiful silk like banana fiber. I have some yarn made from seaweed, very cool and another made from milk. Amazing!

Coming and Going

For Thanksgiving with the Grandparents!

There is sure to be more coming and going around our house, and I’m sure yours as well.

Thanksgiving approaches and we have so much to be thankful for this year. I hope your family is being blessed. Have a very paisley weekend!

 

Music and Melons, Vivaldi and Vines A Health Choice

Music and Melons, Vivaldi and Vines A Health Choice

Why is it that the song that inevitably gets stuck in your head is “that” song. The Spring section of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is my favorite bit of music, so why is it that “Le Freak” by Chic willingly dances to the tip of my tongue unwittingly?

Because it's good for you

Music is just like most of the other things in life it seems. There is soul mending, mind expanding, synapse firing, great music for us, ripe for the plucking. Then, there is “Valley Girl”.

See? Mozart morphs to Britney Spears, who is, of course the High Fructose Corn Syrup of music, readily available prevalent and persistent. Unfortunately, unable to be processed into a meaningful, life sustaining nutritional component.

All that to say that I’m thinking very carefully about what I’m planting in the garden next year.

I’ve decided to be a little more nutritionally deliberate. Why not? Seriously? What could it hurt? Health, it seems, is a terrible thing to waste.

So, while I will grow my favorites and be happy to have them, I’m also branching out, so to speak. (Branching out, in a garden blog-that’s punny) Cucumber vines will inevitably make their debut in March, but they will also share ground with some Sweet Dumplin’ vines.

So, what’s on the garden menu because of this health attitude adjustment? Thanks for asking.

Kale, sweet potatoes, year round squash and beets, to name a few. Health forward.

I’m thankful for financial considerations that effectively put the kibosh on going out to eat. At least, that’s a habit I don’t have to try to break. After I wrote that I realized it seems somewhat like saying, “Well, at least I don’t smoke.” Oh well, at least there’s that.

In other news…

Mexican Sour Gherkins are still making a gazzillion tiny watermelon shaped cukes. This is a very happy plant find! I am cleaning most of the other beds out, layering with compost and settling them down for the winter. Winter is coming. I’m keeping Paddy’s bed for all the fall and winter plantings. Oh, and I’m putting potatoes in my big tree tub pots. Blue, pink and yellow potatoes, very paisley.

So, on the flip side. I tried, really I did, to like Wagner. I try him every few years, it’s just too heavy. In the veg world, Lima Beans are my Wagner. I try them every few years, cooked different ways, even with bacon, it’s a no go on the Lima Beans. At least this will leave more room for the kale and sweet potatoes, right?

When I was about 14 I realized that there was a limited amount of books I could read and I adopted a two to one policy that I strictly adhere to even now. I read two books because they are “good for me”, historical, literature or scientific. Then I choose one book that is “just because”, I have never deviated from this and it has served me well.

I’m going to try the same in the garden next year. Working in my favor, there are very few things one can plant in a garden that don’t have any nutritional value. However, I’m just going to be more deliberate to choose the “best” of two greats. Does that make sense?

I’m going to take baby steps. Today, I’ll deliberately choose something healthy over Britney Spears. Oh no, metaphors mixing, rambling ensuing…

All this resolve about being more healthy, and now I’m going to get another coffee with Pumpkin Spice creamer. Sigh, oh well, at least I don’t smoke. = )

Have a blessed, paisley Wednesday.~KeriAnne

A Walk on the Wild Side, Wild Berries for Sorbet

A Walk on the Wild Side, Wild Berries for Sorbet

I want to be brave enough to gather wild food. The fact is, I’m not. Aside from the occasional nibble to see if it’s a recognizable herb, I’m a big chicken when it comes to foraging in our adjacent wooded area. I have started to gather some resources to further my education of wild plants, in hopes of shoring up the reserve to adventurous foraging. But, in the meantime, I’m content to grow food and eat food that I grow.

Berries are a good start for foraging I think. Berries are easily recognizable for the most part and any good berry book will give you a quick description with photos to be able to see if you’re eating something heaven sent or something that will send you to heaven. So, while I wrestle with my inner sissy of all things foraged, I want you to see that it can, and is done some places. Enjoy. (Also, you could totally use market berries or your own with great results…bawk bawk bawk)

Wild Berry Sorbet

I do admire those more spirited adventurers however. I hope you enjoy this article from one of the brave…

This is from Ditanders Forage Wild Food

This is far from the best year for wild fruits, but there are still some ripe pickings out there. Hawthorn berries and rose hips can be found in abundance, but I have struggled to find decent patches for elderberries, sloes and cherry plums in London.
There is still a lot that can be done with a few ingredients. Wild rose hips are one of my favourite fruits; they taste rich, sweet and sour all at the same time and are incredibly high in vitamin C.

I combined them with hawthorn berries and a few sloes to make this ‘hedgerow sorbet’. The result was delicious – a surprisingly intense and fruity sorbet.

Sorbet is not as difficult to make as I had presumed, so this recipe could be adapted for use with a whole range of wild syrup/ jelly recipes.

  • 500g rose hips
  • 500g hawthorn berries
  • 150g sloes
  • caster sugar

First put the fruit in a pan and cover with water then bring it to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, mash the fruit a bit, then leave to cool. Strain the mixture through a jelly bag or muslin overnight. If you are impatient like me you can strain it through a sieve, although there is apparently a risk of getting the irritating hairs from the rose hips in the syrup.

Measure the strained syrup and add an equal amount of caster sugar, simmer to dissolve the sugar then allow to cool. Place in a tub in the freezer for 4 hours until mostly frozen then break the mixture up using a fork or a food processor. Return to the freezer. This process may need to be repeated a few times until desired consistency is reached, although I was happy with the result after freezing for the second time.

If you feel the weather is too cold for eating sorbet try serving with some gin or vodka poured over to add a warming kick.

Thanks! And have a paisley week!~KeriAnne

 

The Breakfast Bar, An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The Breakfast Bar, An Idea Whose Time Has Come

One of my blends (blogging friends) sent me a link to an idea that I just absolutely LOVE! Have you ever heard of a Breakfast Bar?

For a short time we kept a sundae bar on the pass through counter at our house in Lake Jackson. Unfortunately, I had to cut it out because ingredients went mysteriously missing. Meghan ate the M & M’s, Ryan ate the Gummi Worms, the Parsnip ate the pecans and I’m not sure where the sprinkles went, but come time to make sundaes, the sprinkles were MIA.

Hot Chocolate Station

Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot Chocolate Bar

Read the rest of this entry

That Time of Year

That Time of Year

Every year about this time I read the story by Truman Capote entitled A Christmas Memory.  Now, for most people “Fruitcake Weather” happens at the end of November or in early December. For me, it strikes after the third or fourth “cool” wave, when it seems it is harder and harder for the sun to accomplish the task of warming the morning after a nights chill.

This year, for me, it’s Fruitcake weather now. This is always a good thing. However, I don’t make fruitcake. I might, if I liked it, knew how to make it, or knew anyone that would enjoy getting one. But, since all of those are negative, I don’t.

However, there is something I make every year, without fail, and it happens to be this time of the year. So, before I even get out of bed, I know the day has come. It’s Gak weather.

What? You may ask, is Gak? Simple, it’s a home made science experiment, activity, toy, and all around good time.

The materials are inexpensive, and I happen to have them on hand always. The process is low key and simple enough to make with even the tiniest of hands. And the finished product is fun for everyone, even adults love this stuff.

Without further ado…Gak!

Materials:

  • 8 oz. White Glue (Elmer’s Glue-All, or generic is fine as well)
  • Borax (a powdered laundry booster product found on the laundry soap aisle)
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Plastic cup (8 oz size works well)
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Food coloring (the spice of life)
  • Water (warmer the better)
  • Paper towel
  • Zipper-lock bag (for storing your finished product)
  • Water (Warm water works best)
  • Optional: Glow in the paint from the hobby store, found in the section for fabric paint)

Look to the Ants (Or, Holding Off Winter)

Look to the Ants (Or, Holding Off Winter)

Winter is coming. Look to the ants. In East Texas, it seems to me that when the ants start swarming, it’s time to seriously consider putting as much as you can of your harvest into jars. Winter is coming.

It was pretty much the same when we lived in South Arkansas. Although, I don’t recall the ant activity of South Arkansas, just the cool fall days. May I take a moment to say I love having distinct seasons again? Yes? I LOVE having distinct seasons again!

When we moved to Lake Jackson my oldest son was four and my daughter was three. We moved in August so when Christmas came around I made what had been tradition, Christmas Sweaters, to go to pick out the Christmas tree. This was about mid November. My poor children suffered the 86° temps in wool sweaters. The next year we started the new tradition of Christmas Tee Shirts.

I have a friend that has lived with her four children in Hawaii. She recently moved to North Texas and had to explain the concept of a jacket to her oldest two children, ages 4 and 5. “But mommy, why would we put clothes over our clothes?” You haven’t thought of that have you? Read the rest of this entry

The Crayon Fascist

The Crayon Fascist

Reblogged from Speaking in Pictures, Hearing in Color

They’re my Crayons. I’ll show you exactly how to use them. But I won’t let you.

This is how my husband described my childhood issue with my Crayons. I think it’s pretty accurate. Let me explain.

As a kid, I loved to color. For the longest time, I got along with my little box of 16 measly colors (I was a spoiled kid), wishing I could color Cinderella’s gown Cornflower when all I had was Blue. Then one day my mom came home from a shopping trip with that magic box of 64 Crayola® crayons – the one with the built-in sharpener on the back. (I’m hearing a choir of angels right now just thinking about it.) I carefully opened the lid – how cool was that lid? – and beheld the majesty of the 64 different colors. Maize! I had a Maize crayon! They were packaged so carefully, with the crayons subdivided into four smaller boxes. It looked to me like the people at the Crayola® factory arranged the colors into four coordinated and happy groups. It was just beautiful.

 

And that’s where my issues started.

Any time I used my Fantastic Box of 64 Crayola® Crayons, I would carefully select the color that was exactly appropriate to the item I was coloring, gently slide it out of its spot in the Smaller Box Inside the Big Box, color with it lightly (after first meticulously outlining the section to be colored), then slide it back into its appointed space. Thus I maintained the order and beauty of The Fantastic Box of 64 Crayola® Crayons the way the fine people of Binney & Smith had worked so hard to provide.

Then the neighborhood kids came to my house to color.

We headed to the basement where my little kid-sized table & chairs were. There was the Fantastic Box. As I spread out the selection of coloring books, I watched in utter horror as my friend Beth opened the Fantastic Box and dumped the contents out onto the tabletop. I was speechless. But not for long.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” I shrieked.

Beth was just as dumbfounded. “Coloring.”

“NO!! YOU CAN’T DO THAT!! THEY’RE IN ORDER!!” Panic was beginning to rise, along with the pitch of my voice. Binney & Smith were never going to allow me to have another Fantastic Box of 64 Crayola® Crayons if I didn’t fix this fast.

“DON’T TOUCH THEM!” I hollered. I tried to envision that pristine box. Was Cerulean next to Brick Red, or Indian Red? Or was that Blue Green?

Beth just stared at me. “You’re weird,” she pronounced, and picked up a crayon & started coloring. Roughly, too. I lost it.

I have very little memory of exactly what I said and did right then, but I think it involved some pushing and grabbing. Poor Beth got disgusted and left. I did my best to put the Box back together the way it was, hoping that Binney & Smith would forgive me.

And thus it happened every time one of my playmates came over to color. I would hold tightly to the Fantastic Box of 64 Crayola® Crayons, and instruct my little friend in the acceptable usage of my crayons: take one at a time, do NOT peel the paper, and put it back in the exact spot that it came from. God help the child who broke one. They were banished from my basement indefinitely.

It’s safe to say that I lost more than one friend over my fascism. But it didn’t faze me.

Here’s the sad part: I see this quirk raising its horrid head to this day. I’m very picky about how my classroom equipment is used & stored. (This can be quite a problem, as I’m in charge of several video cameras, tapes, microphones, and headphones for our broadcast program.) I have two pen/pencil holders at work: one that is for anyone to use as they wish, and one that is MINE. I get very uncomfortable when anyone mistakenly takes something from the MINE holder. I manage to not yank whatever it is out of the hand of the poor unsuspecting student or colleague, but my stomach is slightly queasy until it is back in its home in the MINE container. I even prohibit students from touching anything on my desk. I keep it light, and thankfully they always comply, asking before they come into the Magic Space (as they call it.) I’m also responsible for the maintenance of the school’s laptop carts. Just close your eyes and imagine what kind of stress that causes me. I keep a large supply of Tums in my desk.

The Crayon Fascist lives.