Handy Dandy Gardening Guide: Growing Great Peas

In celebration of reaching 1,000 Facebook fans, I’m giving away my first Handy Dandy Gardening Guide for free! This guide is about Growing Great Peas here in Colorado.  (UPDATE: This promotion has expired.  Continue to come back to this website for future promotions. You can also sign up to the right to receive promotions and my posts via email.)

There are other handy gardening tips on this new blog.  And more will be coming!

Click here to go to my blog.  You can scroll there or use the drop down boxes to peruse other handy tips and recipes.

I also share about finding, nurturing and sustaining hope in the midst of pain, sorrow and loss.  You can read here about this.

Or, read here if you want to know about Laura Flanders.

Or, read here if you’d like to read stories about hope in the midst of Alzheimers.

Or….just click around because you are an adult and you know what you want and what to do.

See ya!

Late Summer Savory Stew

Late Summer Savory Stew will stop you from asking, “Who eats stew in the summer?” After you taste this recipe, you will forever eat stew in late August, early September.  FOREVER. I promise. When it’s tomato gathering time you will think, “I must make that Late Summer Savory Stew” and off you will go to the harvest made available in your backyard garden or at the local farmers market.

So go and gather. Lose yourself in that place where the tomato clings to its vine in the sun. Even on a day when hope wanes, it is difficult to feel anything but gratitude when you pick a homegrown or local tomato. Plucked from the vine or plucked from the bin at the local farmers market, the tomato reminds us that one day all will be set right in our world. (Ok, maybe I’m being a little bit melodramatic. But seriously, look at this tomato.)

Healing in the garden. In the last 11 years, I have navigated at least 11 hardships (some I would call tragedies).  Each time I have gone to my backyard garden and put my hands in the soil.  I have been made better there.  Thanks be to God this is true.  And, I think the hard clay soil is different as well.  Thanks be to God this is true.

This is a picture of my Rose of Sharon bush.  It blooms in August.  I love things that bloom in August, don’t you?

Peach Burrata

I about died on my wedding anniversary eating Peach Burrata. Yes, my personal chef and I recently had our 31st wedding anniversary. Each and every year this is a big deal. Life throws its major curve balls and still being married each and every year is a miracle to be celebrated. So, we jaunted over to our favorite Italian place.  Farro restaurant is chef owned and operated by Matthew Franklin. This chef is down to earth AND he is creative.  Matthew inspires my own personal chef. His food is rustic Italian and it is accessible and it is REAL food. He often uses Colorado’s seasonal ingredients and he always outdoes himself. But this time? I have no words. I am so glad I ordered his special appetizer: Peach Burrata. Here is a picture of our version.

Did I already say that when I was at Farro, I about died as I was eating the Peach Burrata?  I like these types of near death experiences because they are a glimpse and experience of heaven. Of course my reaction intrigued my personal chef of 31 years. So, he stole some off my plate.  He about died too. I mean honestly, we both about died on our wedding anniversary.

As is his typical fashion,

Tomato Blossom End Rot

It’s August and those of us who garden might be encountering tomato blossom end rot.  Yuk!  What to do?  As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I like to keep things simple.  So here is what I do to battle this nasty disease.

If this is the case for you, never fear, the plant may still have time to produce some good fruit.  Pick off this bad fruit and toss it.  And then fertilize your plant with a fertilizer that is made for tomatoes.  Why one for tomatoes?  Because it will have just a tad more calcium than a fertilizer made for “all vegetables”.  See this post of mine for what I use.  I keep the fertilizing process very simple in my garden.  First, I’m not a master gardener so keeping it simple works better for me.  And, I have a very busy life with my full time job, caring for my mother and my volunteering gigs so “keeping it simple” is my garden way.  Also I have a fairly small gardening budget so I can’t spent a lot on fertilizer (and some are very expensive).

So why is this blossom end rot occurring?  I believe

This sounds like a great event.  There is a fee to attend. From their website:

Come explore the joys of tomatoes in sweet and savory form. Combine different cooking techniques and use the brilliant sweetness of seasonal, heirloom tomatoes varieties to awaken the elements they have to offer. Bringing out the richness of what fully ripened tomatoes have to offer, add these recipes for a unique collection that will add dynamic flavor to your dining experiences.

Date: September 5, 2014
Time: 01:00pm-3:30pm
Event: Tomatoes Sweet And Savory
Topic: Tomatoes Sweet and Savory
Sponsor: Denver Botanic Gardens
Public: Public

I Want To Go Home

We all know what it’s like to want to go home. I’m at work and I want to go home. I’m on my dream vacation (I wish) and I want to go home. I’m out running errands and I just want to go home. And when you have been moved out of your your home by your own children and into one that is not your home, you are eventually going to say it.

“I am tired of being here,” lamented my mother this past Friday.
“You are?  What would you like to do about this?” I asked.

“I want to go home.”

I said nothing in reply.  All I could hear was my shallow breathing as I stood in the doorway of her room in the assisted living center. She said her truth and then stared at me, waiting for my reply.  But I became mute.  Unusual for her, for she loves to fill up silence with chatter, Mom said nothing to my non-response.

For what seemed like an eternity, we did not speak.  We just looked intently at each other’s forlorn faces. Then, after what seemed like ten minutes but probably was only one,

Slapped In The Face By Alzheimer’s

Being slapped in the face by the reality of Alzheimer’s is NOT fun.  It happens to me and it happens to my mother.  On such a day I let myself cry and then I dig in my heels.  Here is one such day I’d like to share. An excerpt from my journal:

Mother’s Day 2012

I walk through her apartment door with a bright bouquet of flowers and a big stuffed smiley face twice the size of a basketball.  The Hallmark store does have its advantages.  It is twelve o’clock noon on Mother’s day.  I find her on the lanai, still in her robe.  This is not unusual.   I kiss her forehead, cheerfully greeting her with a smile.

She comes into the living room with me and we play “kickball” with the stuffed smiley face.  We giggle like schoolgirls.  Nearby my husband takes care of a household task. Mom settles herself back into the lounge chair on the lanai and I sit down at the computer to check its settings (volume up, skype still on, calendar with reminders open: check, check, check).

It feels like its going to be a good day.

But then I look down.  

Who doesn’t like free?  And have you been to this place?  Even in the winter it is wonderful to walk around.  Go!  I like the Butterflies At Chatfield exhibit that is on this site (in season).

Date: November 4, 2014
Time: 09:00am-05:00pm
Event: Denver Botanic Gardens (At Chatfield) Free Day
Topic: Denver Botanic at Chatfield Free Day
Venue: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
Location: 8500 West Deer Creek Canyon Road
Littleton, CO 80128
Public: Public