Monday, June 17, 2013

Saturday Farmer's Market - Never Enough

I finally crawled out of my cave and what did I find? Life goes on without me!

I stopped by to visit Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on, and look what I found: Saturday Farmer's Market. I just loved looking at the other beautiful gardens; they are so creative and wonderful.
 I hope no one minds my inviting myself along.
 I know. I know. I'm late. It took two weeks for me to get my camera to cooperate with me, but I'm cautiously optimistic that we've finally forged a working compromise.

First, a garden poem:
                     (You had to expect that, right?)
from: Angel of Duluth
- Madelon Sprengnether

I lied a little. There are things I don’t want to tell you. How lonely I am today and sick at heart. How the rain falls steadily and cold on a garden grown greener, more lush and even less tame. I haven’t done much, I confess, to contain it. The grapevine, as usual, threatens everything in its path, while the raspberry canes, aggressive and abundant, are clearly out of control. I’m afraid the wildflowers have taken over, being after all the most hardy and tolerant of shade and neglect. This year the violets and lilies of the valley are rampant, while the phlox are about to emit their shocking pink perfume. Oh, my dear, had you been here this spring, you would have seen how the bleeding hearts are thriving.

Copyright 2006.

My garden plans have had to be scaled back this year for physical reasons. I've always had more ideas than time, money, or energy, but it's gotten worse over the past few years. My big veggie garden has been whittled down to just a few favorites. And as for flowers, If it can't survive a bit of neglect you won't find it here. You might say my garden is in a state of transformation these days.

I am trying to be Zen about the whole thing and to accept my limitations. Can you think of a better place to cultivate Zen than a garden?

I think I have enough cucumbers now to make the first batch of Refrigerator Sweet Pickles. They're so easy to make, and when the cukes come out of my garden I get to pretend I'm some kind of Earth Mother. (Or is that Earth Grandmother?)

I don't remember where my recipe came from, but if you're interested here it is:

4 to 5 lbs. cucumbers
1/2 C canning or pickling salt
5 C sugar
5 C cider vinegar
1 T turmeric
1 T mustard seed
1 T celery

Wash & slice the cucumbers to about 1/8 in. rounds. Soak for 3 hours in a large bowl or enamel pot in a cold brine of salt an just enough water to cover the slices. Add ice cubes as needed to keep the brine cold. After 3 hours, drain and pack the slices into jars.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a stainless steel or enamel sauce pan. Boil far about 1 minute. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes and fill each jar, leaving about 1/2 in. at the top. Screw lids firmly onto the jars and let them cool. Store the jars in the refrigerator. They will be ready in 2 weeks.

Notes: Do not use aluminum bowls or pans. These pickles will keep up to a year in the refrigerator (if they last that long).

The tomatoes hardly ever make it into the house, especially the cherries. My family calls them 'garden candy,' and they really do live up to the name.

I actually had fifteen 'volunteer' tomato plants this year. I was stopping strangers who walked by to ask if they wanted one (or more).

My husband's favorite, the jalapenos, are doing well and so are this year's experiment: cayenne peppers.

I'm planning to dry & grind them. 

Morning waterings are a delight for the senses. Keep your aromatherapy, I have my herb garden. I grow rosemary, chamomile, feverfew, lemon balm, chives, Vietnamese cilantro, lemon & regular garden sage, oregano, basil, and I was recently given a new little bay laurel. I'm also looking in to other possible additions. I just had my first big harvest of the year, so the plants all look a bit scruffy.

I also have four kinds of mint and two culinary lavenders. I grow the lavender mostly because the bees adore it, and the smell when I water, is heavenly. The Lavender is going crazy right now, and the bees are extremely happy. I never realized that there were so many different kinds of bees! Unfortunately, I underestimated the vigor of my plants, and now I need to transplant the whole lot so they have enough room. It will double the size of the bed. Actually, when I'm done there will be two beds instead of the one.  . . .  Then there are the fruit trees!

My husband laughs because I'm up at dawn every day to tend to the 'farm chores.' I can no longer work in the sun, so I need to get my work done early. I actually enjoy the cool, quiet mornings, with birdsong as the soundtrack to my work.

Once I get started I can talk about my garden forever. (Just ask my family & friends.) It's my hobby & my therapy.


  1. You overwhelmed me with how AWESOME this post is!!!!! Seriously, this is one of my favorite Farmer's Market posts ever :D I can't tell you how happy I am that you're participating!! I had no clue how big of a gardener you are! It's so exciting to see all of this and I love hearing your descriptions of watering your garden and having your senses excited by the smells and sights around you :) Don't you love seeing the bees enjoying your garden? I always love that :) Bees and butterflies and the rare hummingbird. I hope you keep participating because I'd love to follow the progress of your garden and I selfishly just want more posts like these :p Also, can you recommend a good collection of garden themed poems? Any poets in particular who write about gardens? I love Mary Oliver's nature poems but I'm sorely lacking in "nature poets" :)

    1. Oh, Chris, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! If you were here, I'd be dragging you from plant to plant, telling you the history of each one. I can be quite obnoxious on the subject of my garden.

      As for the poems, I can never call something specific to mind when I want it. I have a bad habit of reading something I like and thinking that I'll have to remember it. Then I'm distracted by something shiny, and it goes out of my head. It can be truly frustrating.

      That being said, I do have a little book entitled "Between the Apple-Blossom and the Water: Women Writing about Gardens," ed. Pamela Norris. It is a fairly diverse little anthology, and I enjoy it. I'm sorry I don't have any more suggestions at the moment, but will keep my eye open for more recommendations.

    2. Oooooh...I think I will get that anthology :D It sounds fantastic! And I would love being dragged from plant to plant hearing about your garden :D