22 Days till Spring

Encouraging!  Even though we still have quite a bit of snow on the ground signs of spring are starting to appear! 

The sun is shining brightly outside and I received my Nasturtium “Spitfire” seeds from Renee’s Garden yesterday in the mail.   These are the seeds I am planting and posting about each month for the Grow project along with many other garden bloggers.  It will be very interesting to compare notes with everyone from all over the country!

I have been a fan of Renee’s Garden for some time now.  It started the year I received the kitchen garden cookbooks as a birthday gift (from my cousin Renee ironically) along with a beautiful selection of seeds that I planted that year.  Seeds, gardening books, cookbooks are absolutely fantastic gifts for the gardening person …… they will love you forever!

“I’m growing Nasturtium “Spitfire” for the GROW project, thanks to ReneesGarden.com for the seeds.”

I have also secured my ticket to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show this year and I am totally excited!  The schedule of events and vendors looks fantastic and of course, I will share all my photos here.  The ideas that can be developed from the displays is truly remarkable and I definitely need some sound ideas for our place down south….much, much landscaping and gardening and planting to be done!

Going through all my records and charts I am starting to put together for this growing season, I decided I would like to create a nice Garden Journal and once again this may be something I make for The Great Garden Giveaway gift also!  I will be going to the local Joann’s craft store tomorrow to watch several demos on the Cricut machine (a scrapbooking marvel) and will decide if I want to invest in one.  I have been researching on the Cricut message boards and there is alot of information and members there.  If I do purchase I may have a pre-giveaway giveaway to celebrate …..Stay tuned!!!

Do you want to Grow a Garden?

Do you have the desire to grow a garden?  Has the thought of growing your own food become more than just a mere interest?  Is gardening definitely something that is on your “to do” list this year?

If you are new to gardening or haven’t gardened in several years and look to the internet for information and quickly become overwhelmed with all the facts, figures and knowledge, don’t despair.  Gardening can be simple and very rewarding.  There are many talented gardeners out there sharing their methods and their methods do work.  Take your time in discovering what works for you and your area and don’t be discouraged if certain plants don’t flourish or the local animals devour everything before you get a chance.  Gardening is a never ending learning experience and when something fails there is usually several miracles that thrive which you never expected.  These constant garden surprises give us encouragement and something to share with fellow gardeners through our pictures and our stories.

Creating a garden blog is a great tool for the new gardener, as well as, the seasoned gardener.  Here you can document what you are doing through words and photos and recall what worked and what didn’t work each season.  Others can learn from your experiences and share advice with a few easy comments.  You can follow the progress of your own garden along with many others.  A little over a month ago I submitted my garden blog to Blotanical and found immediate fellowship and many welcoming words from gardeners all over the world.  I have discovered some great garden blogs and have only just begun…there are many more to journey through.

A community of gardeners is a sharing caring group that really doesn’t compete with each other, instead they offer assistance and a common bond of connection.  Everyone is striving to do their best – for themselves, their families, friends and the world.

The Great Garden Giveaway is an online event that I am working on to connect gardeners and may be yet another avenue to reach others for sharing and encouragement.  You can read more about the event by following the above link and spreading the word to all your gardening acquaintances or those considering a garden of their own.  There is time for the new gardeners to start a garden blog now.  Start by selecting seeds, creating a planting timetable and engaging with fellow gardeners.  I have also posted a letter at the GGG that anyone can copy and paste and share in order to spread the word about the event.  If you know someone thinking about starting a garden this may be the encouragement they are looking for.

Start small … become involved … and remember to Enjoy and have Fun!

      

         “Plant Seeds of Friendship and your Garden will Grow”

I Miss My Garden

The weather has been wild all over the country – snow and more snow!  We even woke to an earthquake here in Illinois yesterday; the roar and the rumble jolted us right from our slumber.  The initial reports stated it at 4.3 but as the day wore on and more information was gathered it was rated as a 3.8 earthquake.  I can only imagine the magnitude of the recent quake in Haiti.  What a wakeup call …

As the winter wears on,  many gardeners use the downtime to create.  Stories are written, fabrics are woven into flowing garments, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, painting ….. the list is long – all the creations produced from the mind of a gardener are as creative as the gardens they build with loving care.  Gardening brings a natural focus into these works and showcases the crafty talents and beautiful work from the hands of a gardener.

My latest creation is artistic and practical.  I lean toward crafting items that tend to have a useful purpose.  In this case …

I designed 2 woodburned signs for hanging and displaying garlic and herbs from the garden.  I have been fascinated with woodburning since I was young and enjoy the look.  I still have to drill holes for the dowels where the garlic/herbs will hang.  I am considering giving one of these finished Garlic Herb signs as my giveaway gift in The Great Garden Giveaway!   I did mention in a previous post that the seeds for the giveaway are all packed and ready to go …   Make sure to spread the word to all your gardening friends ….

  Seeds all ready!

While I am still missing my garden …

I have time to work on another project.  My birthday gift last summer was a magnificent mini barn for all my gardening needs. 

 

I will be planting flowers and possibly bushes around the barn but more importantly I need to create a “Welcome Sign”.  The back wall is what you see as you drive up the gravel road to our home, so a nice Welcome sign there would be perfect.  The possibilities for a design are many but I am leaning toward this veggie one which I woodburned on a seed box last year.

I think that might look really nice as you drove up to our home.  What do you think?  What are you crafting this time of year?

Billie in a box!

Billie the puppy made me smile today …

If its been a while since you had a puppy in your home you forget all those long hours of puppy training,  getting up a few times during the night,  wake up call in the morning at 4 AM and the constant repeat of the word No.  All that is quickly washed away when you have those “puppy moments” and remember why you brought the little bundle home in the first place….to make you smile and that she did today.

Yesterday we stopped at the local grocery store and I scored a big box of apples – they weren’t perfect apples and a few were even useless – they were boxed up and being sold very cheap – I was in my glory … a bargain for me and my dehydrator!!  So I sliced and dried all day yesterday and the dehydrator is still running with another batch.  Apple chips are the best!

 Apples drying in the dehydrator

My first big batch of apple chips – all types of varieties mixed

Trail mix with the apples – I will eat the apple chips just as is, but you can make up your own homemade trail mix very easily.  I added almonds, pretzels and chex cereal here….and those chocolate chex are to die for.  I could probably eat a whole box if that voice in my head wasn’t yelling Stop Stop…enough girl!

So the Puppy Moment came when I took a second to check where the puppy was since it was so quiet all the sudden.  I found her in the box that I had brought the apples home in – all snug and comfy.  She has ventured out of the box a few times but keeps going back in there to nap … she found it all on her own – no coaxing from me! 

I also spent some time this weekend packaging up the Free Seeds for the Great Garden Giveaway – they are all ready and waiting!  Make sure to tell all your garden friends about the event.  I listed the Free Seeds on craiglist this morning and received over 100 hits before someone flagged and deleted the post.  I am guessing it was viewed as a promotional thing of some sort.  Last year I gave away hundreds of seeds on craiglist and had no problem. 

Thank goodness I have my little puppy to make me smile!!!

Online Gardening Fun!

I have worked out most of the details for The Great Garden Giveaway which is set to take place in a little over 2 months from now.  This will allow us time to tell all our garden friends, family and co-workers.  It will also give us time to decide on the gift we plan to give away!  Running the event for 2 weeks ending on Earth Day (when we will announce our winner) works well since once the gardening season is in full swing most of us will be outdoors digging in the dirt!

Make sure to check out the details and the About page and send a tweet if you use Twitter announcing the event.  There is a subscribe box you can sign up to receive updates when a new post is added to the blog so make sure to do that.  If anyone has suggestions, don’t hesitate to share them with me.

I have also signed up to participate in another fun project sponsored by Renee’s Garden.  Project GROW is a communal seed project for garden bloggers across the US.  We will receive Nasturtium “Spitfire” seeds from Renee’s to plant and we report monthly on our blogs on the growing progress.  Check out the link GROW if you are interested and make sure to watch my blog here to see my Nasturtium flower seeds grow!

One more fun garden activity …. One Seed Chicago which is another neat project.  This one is limited to folks in the Chicagoland area and we can vote on our favorite seed between 3 choices….Bee balm, Nodding Onion and Purple Coneflower.  Once the votes are tallied and the winner determined, all the participants will receive the winning seed to plant in their gardens!

Now if the snow would stop falling and the temperature turn upward to about 70 degrees I would be one happy gardener!!!

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