Tag Archives: gardening

What I’ve Been Doing Besides Teleconferencing

One of my work-from-home rituals is to stop working at noon on Fridays. I am happy to take a few hours on Saturday or Sunday to do a few things if it means being able to get away from work.

South Porch GardenToday, I spent time in the garden. While my husband grows the vegetables, I am the flower gardener. We have a formal garden near the house, just outside the south porch. It had gotten overgrown in the past year as my arthritis kept me from doing the work of weeding and mulching. With my new hip in place, I am back to battling weeds and close to being ready to lay down the mulch. My husband grew plants for me from seed, and I transplanted borage and milkweed thistle.

Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough BreadI’ve also been baking from scratch. I like to bake but had taken to using mixes, kind of semi-homemade. But a friend gave me sourdough starter and then I turned some of it into a whole wheat starter and now I am baking at least twice a week. Yesterday, I just baked with the “discard” from the sourdough, that is, the stuff I wasn’t going to keep after a fed a smaller amount of the starter to keep it alive for next week. If you don’t, you end up with the starter that ate San Francisco, which is almost the plot of Robin Sloan’s Sourdough. I had enough to make Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread and some crackers using the outlines of a recipe from a baker on Twitter. I went for rustic and “artisinal” for the crackers. The bread was lovely toasted with butter this morning. And the crackers are a little thick but they have a satisfying crunch. I used some flavored salts that we received as a holiday gift along with a bit of pepper.

Pork Loin with Vegies and SauerkrautFinally, I’ve been cooking. Years of watching Food TV and the Great British Baking Challenge have given me a foundation for putting meals together. I put a piece of pork in the crock pot with carrots, onions, potatoes and apples. I layered in our first experiment with sauerkraut and was rewarded with that tangy bite. The picture is pre-cooking: once it cooks away for hours, it doesn’t like quite as pretty but it tastes delicious!

What Is Keeping You Sane?

For me, it’s my flower garden. My bad hip made it difficult for me to do much last year. What a pleasure to be able to get back at it. The weeds don’t stand a chance. I’ve been trying to get out every day for a review as this time of years things happen fast. Right now, it’s the irises that are blooming.

For your Friday enjoyment, a few views of the garden:

Pictures of flowers and gardens

1. South Side, 2. Solomon’s Seal, 3. Irises, 4. Columbine, 5. Wysteria, 6. Puff Bush, 7. The First Iris, 8. Turnips, 9. Red Bud

Gardening Wisdom

I spent most of Memorial Day Weekend in my flower garden. The cool wet spring has kept me from tilling and seeding so three days of sunshine and reasonable temperatures were a truly wonderful gift even though my stiff muscles might not be so grateful. I weeded, tilled, and readjusted. As I worked, I found myself thinking of all the things we learn from gardening including problem solving skills like creativity and critical thinking. And two huge lessons for me: the power of patience and long range planning.*

For now, I’ll start with just one lesson: Learning is never over. My main objective is to learn how to create a healthy, pleasing-to-look-at garden. That means each plant needs its optimal conditions as much as possible so it can thrive. They will be at their most beautiful and productive which in itself makes the garden look better.

However, there is also a design element. Some flowers are short, some tall, some bushy, some skinny. Some are planted for their foliage; others are planted for their showy blossoms. Plus, my garden is rectangular with a “front” side. However, you can also see the “back” side from the road so I’ve tried to create a two-edged garden. It all makes a difference in what goes where.

That’s why, even though it’s well into the season, I’m still moving things around. For both reasons: it’s a new garden so I’m stilllearning what the sun will be like in the summer. A shady spot a few months ago now gets almost full sun all day, something I didn’t consider last fall. A few shrubs have grown so they are now providing small oases of  shade in an otherwise fairly sunny garden. Plus, flowers are

There’s an element of awareness here that I think also plays into the notion of critical thinking. Sometimes, I just stand and look, thinking about what is happening in the bed. What’s blooming? What’s done? What should be blooming but isn’t? When did it rain last? What can I still being added. We came into several large clumps of hostas so expansion was needed. They make a great border but now the grasses that were forming the border would be hidden. So, out they came.

put in that spot that opened up when I moved the astibles? I may seem immobile in terms of gardening but my mind is cranking through a checklist of items to be considered.

There is an art and science to gardening that challenges the critical and creative thinker. I know many schools host gardens and I think it’s a great place to put these skills into practice. It’s a science lesson but it can be so much more…

*And, selfishly, I was looking for an excuse to post some pictures of my garden. The irises were gorgeous this year, if I do say so myself.