Friday, November 19, 2010

They Draw and Cook Simple Summer Salad

Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell started a great participatory recipe illustration site, They Draw and Cook.It has been a fun forum to see how people illustrate recipes. Many are old favorites but with an interesting twist. Above is a recipe centered around our summer vegetable garden. Simple, quick and delicious, it was a recipe my daughter prepared often this summer. Can't wait for next summer. I'm already planning the garden.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

From Orchards, Fields, and Gardens

From Orchards, Fields, and Gardens is a lovely book produced and edited by Kerstin Svendsen. It combines art, poetry, and prose and thoughtfully explores our relationship to the earth. Many interesting suggestions for further reading and learning are provided by each participant. Check out the book page here. Kerstin has posed an interesting proposition to support  Seed Savers Exchange and the  American Farmland Trust.

I was so excited when my book arrived. I spent a lovely afternoon reading and enjoying the artwork. Many of the memories and experiences are shared by so many.  This collection is a reminder of those good things that need to be preserved and reintroduced into life.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The farm market in our town has several sellers that have become favorites. One particular favorite, Rose Mary's Garden sells a variety of flowers and seasonal produce. Each item is displayed to tempt. The lavender is my favorite. I bought a small fragrant bag of leaves and buds and bouquet for drying.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pure Michigan

Recently I stopped into our local bookstore for a good relaxing browse. I found the Pure Michigan Spring 2009 Photography book. One of the features photographers is Stacy Niedzwiecki I met Stacy on Flickr, she has been one of my contacts since 2008. I love keeping up with what she is photographing. Every year she puts out a great wall or desk calendar. In the book, her area was Muskegon/White Lake. This was where we spent many summers when we first got into boating. Each time I check in on her photo collection I get to revisit places in the state that are so special to me.

To order a signed Pure Michigan book visit  Stacy's website. Her fabulous calendars will be out in October.

The compiled book is a wonderful visual trip around Michigan. The winner focused on Flint and Genesee County where I grew up. From there it is a trip to other places I have traveled to for vacations and work. Check it out for a celebration of what is Pure Michigan.

Spring 2009 Pro Photographers

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Illustration Friday--Dessert

The word dessert conjures all sorts of images of frothy frilly decorated creations of tasty sweetness. This summer those visions have been replaced with a simpler more elementally satisfying dessert. The combination of heat and rain in just the right proportions have created a summer fruit feast. Peaches have been perfect, pears are just coming in, and early apples are looking good. The blueberries have been fantastic. Strawberries were spectacular. Looking forward to autumn raspberries.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Foxtail Evening

A week or so ago I was driving west at that perfect time of day when the sun just slants across the landscape intensifying the color of everything. At one spot I passed a field with little pine trees in tall grass, the kind we called foxtails as children. The light made the field glow a stunning red strongly contrasting against the little trees.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Illustration Friday--Atmosphere

The past weeks have been so interesting. In the mornings the atmosphere is low, hazy, and foggy. Parts of the landscape are clear and others recede into the mist. Sun and dark clouds make dynamic contrasts.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fabulous Fabric -- Baby Quilt Done and Delivered--Now What?

The baby quilt is done and delivered and hopefully in use. My cousin's son and wife just celebrated the arrival of their first child, a delightful baby girl. My daughter picked out all the lovely fabrics for the quilt. It was so much fun sewing with such vibrant and sunny colors. The animal print fabric is by David Walker for Free Spirit Fabrics, a sister company to Westminster Fabrics. The pattern is called Oh Boy. I have some fabric left over and have been thinking about what to make next. Etsy just did a post about the Pillow Case Challenge, so that is an option. I thought of making aprons. All the bright colors would be so cheerful for cooking in the Kitchen. The animal print by Davis Walker would make a great  appliqued soft baby book of animals and alphabet letters. What do you think would be a good next project?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Harvest Report

White peppers and a sampling of Italian beans from last week's harvest.
The tally so far:
Peas--40 pods
Lettuce--5 salads
Italian  beans--7 meals for two
Scallions--3 bunches of 5
Pole beans--0
Green peppers--6
White peppers--12
Beefsteak tomato--8
Brandywine tomato--1
Roma tomato--5
Chard--10 bunches

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's All About Tomatoes

Our much anticipated summer garden crop is tomatoes, Beefsteak, Brandywine and Romas. Last Thursday they were waiting for us, big, ripe and red. Some had to be eaten as soon as we got home. We cleaned and put the vegetables away between bites of tomato with a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper. Then we moved on to cucumbers and peppers followed by a sampling of the fresh red potatoes. Dinner may have been catch-as-catch-can but it was delicious.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Catching up July 24 and August 12

Made a quick stop by the garden on July 24 before leaving for a short trip. Beans, chard, onions and peppers were in.

We went out to the garden plot Thursday evening to see what had been going on while we lived our busy urban lives. Gigantic tomatoes greeted us. The pepper plants were loaded and of course the chard was ready to be tamed. It was also time to get the potatoes out of the ground. We went home and had a fresh vegetable feeding frenzy. Tomatoes, cukes and peppers and potatoes with the fresh pulled scallions...yum. What a feast.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Illustration Friday--Double Dip

Double dip, in a cone, in a dish, a triple if you wish. Vanilla, sorbet, mint chocolate chip, all are favorites. A float in a frosty glass or sprinkles on top perhaps. A cool scoop or two, summer ice cream is the best.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 11

Light harvest but lots of growth.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5

Well at first glance things in the garden looked OK. On closer inspection there were a few problems developing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 5

Saturday was the planting day at the community garden. Many members participated and despite the hot weather we were able to get eight rows planted. It really illustrated that many hands make light work. Besides the many volunteers the plants that we put in were generously donated by Maple Creek Farm.

My own plot is coming along slowly. I now see why early indoor starts really help maximize and extend the season. Not visable in the photo are small cucumber sprouts, beans, radishes, chard, and onions. Coming soon, I hope will be zucchini and carrots.

Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31

Today right on schedule the garden is now officially planted. Along the left edge and the back are onion starts. Just in from the edge on the left are five northern red potato plants. All up and doing well. In the back just in from to potato plants is a single globe basil plant. To the right in two short rows are four peppers, two green and two yellow. Next is a tomato and down the right side are the rest of the tomatoes. This year I'm trying out two each of Beefsteak, Roma and Brandywine. In the middle area are cucumbers, a group of small pickling variety and the regular long type. Moving closer to the front are two rows of pole beans then a row of Italian bush beans. Along the far right edge is a row of the French Breakfast Radishes. Closer to the front are two rows of Swiss Chard. Between the chard and the potatoes is a group of zucchini. Then finally along the front is a row of carrots. Now that it is all named it seems like a real muddled mix. Time will tell if it all works. The anticipation is always part of the process.

Next week on Saturday we plant the large fields that will supply food for families in our community.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lettuce Bouquet

Lettuce from the Earthbox on the deck. This is the fourth harvest and it made two meals for us. Such a treat.

May 15

We met at the community garden Saturday to officially kick off the gardening season. Some members had already gotten early plantings of cool weather vegetables in. This year my goal was to get the plot planted before July. All the soil amendments worked in last fall were well incorporated. A little quick hoeing and the weeds were gone. On the left are five northern red potatoes nestled in the ground. I'm hoping for a return of forty potatoes, more if we manage to give the potato box method of growing a try. Memorial Weekend is the traditional time for our area to plant out with out concern of frost.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Illustration Friday--Cocoon

The prompt for this week had so many possibilities. What appeared in my sketch book was this mosquito view of camping in a small pup tent many years ago. Each person was cocooned in a puffy sleeping bag of rustling poly fabric. The stuff was so slippery it was difficult to stay on the sleep pad. The colors clashed so much then. The practical side was the find-ability of these colors. They truly were unnatural colors.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Deck Garden

This year I have gotten a jump on the growing season. This is a wonderful gift from my family for my birthday. These two Earthboxes are perfect for our home. I can keep my plants up on the deck away from the critters of the forest and move them around to catch eight hours of sun. Last year we got my mom one for her deck. She had fabulous results.

As you can see we have sugar snap peas in the back box and lettuce in the front one. Now that the plants have survived a few frosts I hope they will take off. To keep the succession going I'm starting spinach and more lettuce. As summer arrives the deck gets shady. It will be perfect for these crops.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Flower Power From a New Perspective

Celebrate Michigan Design was the Detroit AIGA Chapter event for March. The presenters Julie Lang, Jody Levy, and Susan Skarsgard, were captivating, each showed a distinguished body of design work. The piece that really struck me was the Imagine/Align project by Susan Skarsgard.

All over I see signs of spring, especially daffodils bravely emerging. Recently had  a daffodil themed fabric pattern contest. Look here for the many inspired submissions. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just made it

Last day for reporting bird counts for The Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by Cornell University was Monday March 1, 2010. This was my first year observing and reporting.

Wild Turkey6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker1
Downy Woodpecker6
Hairy Woodpecker1
Black-capped Chickadee19
Tufted Titmouse36
White-breasted Nuthatch3
House Finch1
American Goldfinch10

To keep the enthusiasm going all year ebird offers some tools to chart and track observations.

This year's group of turkeys are not as innovative as last year's group.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

All Manner of Woolishness

Check out the wonderful wooly creations at Woolart on Facebook or stop by her shop at Etsy and check out the charming sheep and chicks. I love mine.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tulips on the table

Can't seem to stop. Every time the light changes these tulips seem more beguiling. Today they are beginning to open and the sun has been out here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Few Stats

The community garden where I have a plot gave 1200.5 volunteer hours to grow and donate 9716 pounds of produce to our local community. Below are two links to groups to help start growing for your community.
Plant a Row for the Hungary
Master Gardeners

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hopeful Planning

The seed catalogs have been arriving since late January. They came from organic companies, big companies, small regional growers all with full color glorious photos of the promise of summer. I look quickly and then glance out at the deep snow covering the yard. It is too early to get excited. Yesterday during a long wait a garden doodle began to unfold in my sketchbook. A plan for my ten foot by ten foot plot at the community garden was off to a great start. Adapting the square foot idea helped determine how to use the space. I'm hoping for maximum productivity. Getting an early start, and planting progressively through the season is the big goal. Clusters of plump tomatoes, abundant zucchinis, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, and beans all danced through my head. Oh I'm already overcome with garden fever.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Illustration Friday--Confined

Content to be confined or never to be confined.