Clapping in the Garden

I adore this quote.  Adore it.  Why?  It tells me that I’m allowed to participate in the creation of things.  Even if all I do is put a seed in the ground and step back to watch it grow.  I get to clap for two reasons.  (1) God is creative and benevolent and fun and whimsical and…..  (2) And I participate with him in all this.  He invites me in.  So clap away in your gardens my dear friends.  You garden (or whatever you do) WITH God.  You change diapers WITH God.  You create a new Excel spreadship WITH God.  You clean out the garage WITH God.  You teach WITH God.  It’s a WITH God life.  God celebrates you as you celebrate Him.   Clap away because it is a shared moment of delight WITH God.

Fertilizing: Keep It Simple

It is the beginning of August here in Colorado and we just had a bunch of rain.  Rain is good.  I love rain.  And cucumbers love rain. But tomatoes don’t.  They like having drier soil.  And, with all this rain, the nutrients have leeched out of the soil.  I have 8 tomato plants in my garden.  This morning I found that 1/2 were showing signs of distress.  One had a few fruits with blossom end rot and the other had some leaves that were yellowing on the bottom of the plant.  What to do?  I kept it simple by sprinkling a bit of fertilizer around the base of each tomato plant this morning, then I watered the fertilizer in.  That’s all.  In the past it has helped my ailing tomatoes.

I’m not a master gardener so please,

Mom’s Gratitude To Pat Bowlen

Upon hearing about his Alzheimer’s, I knew my mother’s response would communicate gratitude to Pat Bowlen and the Broncos.  If you can manage her Alzheimer’s repetition, hang on to the conversation here in this post because Mom’s wisdom goes deep.  On the surface level, it appears she is talking straight to Mr. Bowlen and his family and friends.   But, read carefully.  When I read her words, the advice she gives is also for the ears of other caregivers and [gulp], the advice is to me.  As I called myself in a previous post, I am a lone caregiver, and when Mom talks about Mr. Bowlen’s needs, I began to feel some pressure to meet EVERY one of HER needs.  This is ALWAYS HARD FOR ME.  Below, Mom tells the truth about what she needs but she tells it slant (Emily Dickenson).  And, despite the pressure I was feeling, I needed to let her tell me.

October 2013. The two of us in Target waiting for yet ANOTHER prescription. A hard day made better by trying on Bronco hats. Thank you Pat Bowlen and the Broncos for making her life with Alzheimer’s much more fun (and a tad sillier).

Not being able to meet every one of Mom’s needs is a painful reality I continue to embrace in small doses.   I want Pat Bowlen’s family and close friends to know how much they are in my prayers and in my mother’s heart (each time I remind her of his Alzheimer’s). Their journey with Pat Bowlen is hard, but it also is a sacred and holy (and sometimes harrowing) path.  The tasks they are called to take up will stretch their heart and their faith.  I pray that they find hope. In a previous post I encourage my readers towards a rooted hope.  We do that by peering at the gifts found in the harsh experience of Alzheimer’s.  Even as he struggles, Pat Bowlen will bless his family and friends.  And they will bless him.  There are still gifts to be given and received.  I wish I didn’t know this bitter sweet truth.  But I do.

Read on to hear my mother’s words of wisdom.  If it is helpful to you or to Mr. Bowlen’s family that is icing on the cake.  Take note as you read. There is a subtle thank you to Pat Bowlen in her words.  The Broncos are a delightful gift to her (and thus to me) and we will be forever grateful.

Drop by anytime between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM to meet the Vegetable Gardeners at Hudson Gardens!  They will be prepared to show you around and answer any of your questions.  Registration: None required. This events are free and open to the public.

Date: August 9, 2014
Time: 09:30-11:30am
Event: Meet The Vegetable Gardener at Hudson Gardens
Topic: Meet The Vegetable Gardeners
Public: Public

Learn all about the how and why of canning food at home. The workshop focuses on canning safety, types of equipment, and proper canning methods for both boiling water baths and pressure canners.  $35 fee for non members.

Date: August 5, 2014
Time: 06:00-08:00 pm
Event: Canning 101 at Hudson Gardens
Topic: Canning 101
Public: Public

Simple Syrup

You can find many simple syrup recipes on the web. Check them out! Since we use a lot of simple syrup in our kitchen, I like to avoid using the white processed sugar and instead buy a bag of this stuff. Any brand that is an evaporated cane juice works great. I think simple syrup made from this tastes better. I use this in my Duet Mint Mojito recipe and in the homemade lemonade that I make. I also make a batch, adding vanilla for our lattes or cold brew coffee.

All you have to do is put a 1:1 ratio together. Heat it in the microwave or on the stove until the sugar melts. Stir often. Let cool and keep in your favorite container in the fridge. The ratio I make is 1 cup water and 1 cup of the sugar.

And, did you know that you can make your own hummingbird recipe in a similar fashion? Don’t buy that red stuff in the store. Just add a cup of water to a 1/4 cup of sugar. Heat it up. Cool it down. Add it to your feeder.

Duet Mint Mojito

This mojito recipe I created is EXTRA special for two reasons.  It uses a simple syrup made with natural sugar (recipe here) and it uses TWO kinds of mint from my garden: spearmint and apple mint.  The spearmint gives it a kick, grabbing your taste buds when you take your first sip.  But the apple mint?  Oh my.  The hint of “apple” makes it so smooth as it is going down.

But what if you don’t have any natural sugar or fresh mint from the garden on hand?  Never fear.  Make your syrup from the sugar you have and grab some fresh mint from the grocery.  While it won’t be extra special it will still be VERY good.

That said, maybe this post will encourage you to grow some (or more kinds of) mint.  If you have never grown anything and think it might be fun to start, mint is great for beginning gardeners. I grow all mine in pots.

Ok….on to the recipe.