Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Morning Tech

Just a couple of iPad tricks I learned over the weekend:

Print Screen from iPad:  Go to the page you want to copy.  Hold down the Home key (that round indented thing on the bottom), press the Power key (on the top edge), then release the Home key.  Your screen will blink.  Then release the Power key.  The image is now on your camera roll so you can do whatever you want with it!

Custom Shortcuts:  I get so tired of typing my email address.  Go to Settings, General, Keyboard, Shortcuts.  Click Add New Shortcut.  Enter your phrase (email address, in my case) and a shortcut name.  Now I can just type "ssa" and my email address appears in an auto-correct box.

What will I do with all the time I've saved???

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring Rain

A Spring Rain

The world is wet today
luxurious, damp, drenched
drops hug the leaves,
anoint the still budded lilac blossoms
before their blooming
rich purple and plum
made richer by their watery skin
New leaves under the weight
droplets heavy, hanging
bowing the white pine needles
undersides exposed to drink
drink in the morning
hushed in the rain
temperature near the dewpoint
sprouts of just planted flowers
eager from the parched soil
new puddles bloom too
on the ground, the driveway
collect and gather
without the smell of summer rain yet
tears splash and spread
silent shimmers, heralds, messengers
in the spring rain

Raymond A. Foss
May 2, 2006 9:30am
Used by permission of the poet - see more at Poetry Where You Live.

Friday, April 26, 2013

What is Beauty?

Are you familiar with TED?  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  In a series of conferences at various venues throughout the country, people - some famous, some not - give a short talk.  The subjects of the talks are, well, everything.  It may be an idea or an experience or a product.

NPR has a show called The TED Radio Hour which I listened to on my drive home last Sunday.  The subject was "What is Beauty?"  Despite the fact that the temperature has been chilly, it's still Spring and Memphis is at its most beautiful (IMHO) with the azaleas, dogwoods, cherries, redbuds, tulips, iris, and I could go on and on.

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford said that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  But is there something that is considered beautiful by people of all cultures?  Turns out there is!  So take a break from your gardening, fix a cup of tea, and settle down to explore beauty with NPR and TED.

p.s. - One of my favorite TED talks is by brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor who studied her own stroke as it happened.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PAR Davies Update 4-23-13

Note from the blog editor:  I'm sorry I failed to tell everyone that I would be away from computer access last week.  I had a great time at Penland School of Crafts!  It's good to be back to spring; when I left Penland on Sunday, it was 32 degrees! Now for the PAR Davies report:
You know we love red out here!  Future home
of Aunt Ida's Pole Beans
Wow, what a day. It was perfect for working--overcast and breezy. The workers today were Suzanne, Susan, G.A., Virginia and Bob V., Mary Elizabeth, Cathy, a new volunteer, Janet Wehner, and myself. Welcome Janet and thanks for all your help; we hope you want to come back. The first order of business was harvesting, and everyone pitched in to get it done. We got collards, radishes, romaine and leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, herbs (including lots of cilantro), and onions. We picked a good bit of baby kale, and I was able to send a recipe along with it:  "Baby Kale, Potato and Bean Soup." I tried it over the weekend and it was very good. Cathy delivered everything to the Women's Shelter.

Pea blossoms

G.A. and Bob V. put up the wire for the espalier project. Then we moved some of the fencing material from one bed to the middle of the cabbage bed in order to companion plant pole beans with the cabbage. Mary Elizabeth planted a lot of different varieties of peppers. Suzanne finished up the tomatillo bed, now with six mixed of purple, verde, and pineapple. Sounds like there will be salsa in someone's future. Virginia thinned the beets that look beautiful, and she filled in a few more seeds in the blank spots. We had planted two types of beets, Detroit Red and Lutz. The Lutz are supposed to get big but not woody if left in the ground. Unfortunately, something messed up the row and not many came up. What did survive looks good. We will see which variety we like best and plant a bigger crop in the fall.

Yesterday I got some tomato and pepper starts from our friend Vernon. Most of these were planted, with 6 of the Tumbling Tom Yellows being planted in pots. Suzanne mixed us up some more fertilizer to add to the pots, and then the tomatoes were planted with earthworm castings and mycorrhizae, and mulched with shredded leaves. Two Sungold cherry tomatoes were planted in the area between the potatoes and arched trellis. By the way, the potatoes are looking good.

Comfrey tea

The Comfrey tea is still brewing and is on its way to becoming some pretty smelly sludge, as evidenced by a nice scum on top. Any volunteers to help strain this stuff? What amazed me is that where we cut the Comfrey down to the ground last week, about 1/3 of it has already grown back. If this proves to be the wonderful fertilizer it is reported to be, we will have a steady supply of free fertilizer. I guess we'd better go easy at first just to make sure it doesn't kill anything.

We are still on board for our Saturday workday from 8:00-10:00. Right now the prediction is rain, but being Memphis that could change in an hour. I will send out a notice Friday to let everyone know if we will work on Saturday or not. And remember, next Wednesday our hours will change back to 8:00-10:00 for the summer.

'Til later,


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rainy Day

Two little old ladies, Dorace & Jackie, were sitting on a park bench outside the local town hall where a flower show was in progress.
The short one, Jackie, leaned over and said, 'Life is so boring. We never have any fun any more.
For $10.00 I'd take my clothes off and streak through that stupid, boring flower show!'
'You're on!' said Dorace, holding up a $10.00 note.
So Jackie slowly fumbled her way out of her clothes and, completely naked, streaked (as fast as an old lady can) through the front door of the flower show.
Waiting outside, her friend soon heard a huge commotion inside the hall, followed by loud applause and shrill whistling.
Finally, the smiling Jackie came through the exit door surrounded by a cheering, clapping crowd.
'What happened?' asked her waiting friend.
'I won $1,000 as 1st prize for 'Best Dried Arrangement... !'
Just couldn't resist a little humor on this rainy day!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PAR Davies 4/9/13

What a busy day we had! Rain threatened but never materialized. Garden workers were Jamie, G.A., Bob V., Susan, Suzanne, Melba and myself. All of the seeds that we've planted in the last few weeks are up--a true miracle. It never ceases to amaze me when seeds sprout. We even have potato sprouts….in the towers and in the ground rows. We started right away with the harvesting, so Suzanne could get it weighed and loaded for the trip to the Women's Shelter. We cut lettuce and more lettuce. All of the overwintered lettuce bed was harvested because it was starting to go to seed. We hadn't cut any lately, because I wanted the first class to see how a crop could be overwintered. I am glad the women love the lettuce. By the way, we used most of our plastic containers today…hint, hint.
Susan working hard
G.A. pulled one bunch of the Egyptian Walking Onions. We decided to pull every other plant to make room for them to 'walk' and start new onions. We cut a lot of cilantro and some parsley and oregano. Our herb bed is doing great. Kale was cut, and maybe we will get one more cutting. And finally we harvested the kohlrabi. Our workers tasted it and liked it. This was not sent to the shelter, but we all took some home to cook to decide if we want to plant a big crop next fall. Everyone said it tasted better than turnips. Kohlrabi is a German word meaning 'kohl' (cabbage) and 'rabi' (turnip). So there ya go.
Kohlrabi - get ready, Julie!
 Sharon brought us 48 tomatoes….12 each of Rutgers, Celebrity, Jet Star and Beefsteak; these were all planted. She will bring the Florida 91 when they are big enough.
Suzanne planting tomatoes
More tomato planters

Sharon also brought a dozen beautiful green bell peppers.

I picked up my tomato order in Brighton today and also got what I ordered for PAR. Tomato Girl included some freebies. We got purple and green tomatillos, a giant banana pepper, 3 varieties of eggplant (1 ea.), and she threw in some Lime Basil, a Chocolate Sweet Pepper, and a tomato called 'Indigo Rose' that is supposed to be blue! So next week we will have all of this to plant plus Sharon's peppers. I will try to get some jalapeƱos and habaneros too. We will be able to plant some flowers wherever we have an empty spot.

This beautiful nest was found in one of the file drawers!! What a surprise!

We are still waiting on the wood chips, but it shouldn't be too long. The chip guy wants to bring us a 'clean' load, so we have to wait for when that happens. Rain will hamper his work, so I don't know if he will be able to bring any tomorrow like he'd planned.

Our new sink
Okay, here it is. I finally remembered to take the picture. It isn't hooked up to the water yet, but we still used it today. Isn't it a beauty. Now we can even wash our hands. Thank you G.A. for a perfect job.

'Til later,

Friday, April 5, 2013

PAR Davies 4/3/13

Hi Everyone,
Despite the cold and later a drizzle, everything in the garden was good today. We had a new worker, intern John Morrison, who joined us today, along with Jamie, Bob, Susan, G.A., Suzanne, Anne, Virginia and myself.

Suzanne got busy organizing the new shelves, and they really look nice. We will be able to tell better exactly what supplies we have so we don't go out and buy more of what is already in the barn! I noticed we have several big bags of wildflower seeds!! I don't know where they came from or how long they've been there. It sure would be nice to find a good place to use them before they are out of date. The barn is looking better as far as us being able to get to our stuff. There are a bunch of old metal shelving units behind the barn that are going to be gotten rid of, and Rannie asked me to mention this to the workers. If anyone needs old shelves and can haul them away, they are yours.

The collards, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce were given a side dressing of cotton seed meal for a slow release nitrogen after their fish emulsion drink last week. I think this will hold them until harvest. Everything is finally looking pretty healthy and should really take off now with the warmer temps in the forecast. The chard, parsnips and spinach-mustard have not sprouted yet. The favas and peas are coming along nicely and the beets were thinned today. Bob suggested we mulch the potato rows, and he was certainly right about that because little weeds were peeking their heads.

NOTE TO CAROL and MARY ELIZABETH….the carrots are coming up!! You ladies are great carrot planters. We know who to call on the next time.
Collards with radishes down the center

Spinach and romaine.  We will harvest spinach next week.


As always, we like to show off the lettuce.  Note the two
volunteer Romaine heads!  A lot of this will be harvested next week.
One of two garlic beds with radishes down the center
and a few strawberries in the holes.
G.A. finished the sink and it is beautiful. I can't believe that I forgot to take a picture again!! You may have to come out and see it for yourself. Maybe next week I can get a picture of it actually being used…if I remember. The basil and cantaloupe seeds that Susan started in the mini greenhouse are actually coming up…..after being neglected for days on end. They will be some hardy plants.
We are ready for our classes starting this Saturday, and are about at capacity with 25 signed up. The weather looks like it will cooperate.

The roast!

Jamie, G.A., John and Anne around the campfire. Note the skillet of some great chili cooking. We started out our winter gardening with a campfire and weenie roast, and it seems fitting that we would finish up with one. Maybe this will become a tradition. This month we will start focusing on warm weather crops.

And that is all the news from PAR Davies where the men are strong, the women are good-looking, and the vegetables are above average.
'Til later,

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Showers?

Hope everyone had a good Easter and that garden clean-up is well under way!  I'm trying to do several tasks in between the rains, which I welcome.  But mostly I'm just reveling in the warm air and the pastelness of it all.

A little Madness in the Spring by Emily Dickinson

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown --
Who ponders this tremendous scene --
This whole Experiment of Green --
As if it were his own!