Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Two of the great costumes from work.  Sadly, I didn't get pictures of any others, though there were some good ones!

Jaci the Lioness.  Rowrrrr!
Can you believe she made this costume at work
as an afterthought?!  
Even the tail ~ she made it out of sisal twine
we use to tie up the bags of compost.

Zombie Joe

Zombie Joe eating lunch.
Zombie Joe going after a little sweet dessert.
(The part of Dessert is played by Lynn.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Putting Up the Harvest Class at The Natural Gardener

Yesterday, Chef Michael Pearce and I gave a class at the Natural Gardener about preserving vegetables.  I'd gotten to know Mike over the years because he was a frequent customer at the nursery, always haunting the veggie house.  Besides being an avid veggie gardener, he's the executive chef for Ben E. Keith foods, designing their menu items and leading them into using more locally grown, organic produce (YAY, Mike!).  One day we got on the subject of drying tomatoes, something both of us were doing at the time, and an idea for a class was born.

Rosina put us on the schedule for October 20th (yesterday).  We talked for an hour to over fifty people about drying, freezing, canning, and making jellies and preserves.  Mike wrote a detailed handout for everyone to take home listing a LOT of great information, demonstrated how to cut the vegetables up so that they pack in the jars best, and talked at length about how to dry different things different ways, how to blanch then freeze most vegetables, and many more subjects.  I brought my pressure canner and antique jars to show and chimed in every now and again about canning, freezing, making jellies and water-bath canning tomatoes and jellies.

I was very excited to see how many people showed up.  It seems this is a subject many are interested in.  I think we'll do it again next year.

Chef Mike and I discussing lids and rings. 

Showing some of my canning equipment.

Chef Mike and I answering questions.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Seed Saving Class at The Natural Gardener

I have always been fascinated by seeds.  There's something magical about simply planting a handful, watching them grow, and being able to feed yourself with what they produce.  The thought that you can grow that same handful of seeds, save the seeds from the resulting plants, replant them, repeat, and eventually have enough seeds to feed the world is just amazing.

The reasons for saving seeds are numerous: sustainability, saving money, developing varieties perfectly suited to your area or even individual garden, and keeping that historical link to our ancestors, to name just a few.  But the most important reason is so we don't eventually lose the ability to do so.

Heirloom vegetable varieties are dying off at an alarming rate, and big agri-businesses are buying up seed companies that produce many of our most popular hybrid varieties (80% of all hybrids are owned by them as of this writing).  So you can see that saving seeds is as vitally important in this day and age as it was in our grandparents' day.  In order for us to keep control of our food supply, we must save seeds.

Judging from the turnout for my class yesterday, a lot of people agree with me.  I talked to over fifty people about saving vegetable seeds, explaining the hows and whys.  I told them about the differences between hybrids, open pollinateds, heirlooms, and GMOs.  I gave them resources to obtain good varieties for saving, and explained the best way to preserve them once saved.

I had a blast!  And hope to give this class again in the future.

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