A few weeks ago, I decided to coax cuttings of a flowering cherry tree into an early performance in order to speed up spring. Persuading plants to flower out of season is known as forcing. You can either trim branches from your yard or buy them from a florist. There are a number of flowering trees and shrubs that you can choose for your trimmings. I have a flowering cherry tree in my front yard. So, that’s what I used. However, flowering dogwood, redbud, flowering dogwood, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, or forsythia work well, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 1. Prune on a mild, late-winter day. Branches are more pliable when temperatures are above freezing. Most spring bloomers form flower buds on the previous season’s growth. 2. Look for crowded branches that are no more than 1/2 inch in diameter, with numerous round, plump flower buds. Thinning is okay. 3. Place branches in fairly hot tap water, and recut at an angle. Next, place in a bucket of water with floral preservative. Store in a cool, dimly lit area like a porch or garage to ease the transition indoors. 4. When buds begin to swell, bring branches indoors. Set arrangements in a bright area away from direct sunlight and heating vents. Change water daily. 5. Celebrate spring early! After all, you just fooled Mother Nature.
Farmgirl & lambs Green Hill Farm “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson Wishing you a wonderful day!
Clover and The Crew “This land pulses with life. It breathes in me; it breathes around me; it breathes in spite of me. When I walk on this land, I am walking on the heartbeat of the past and the future. And that’s only one of the reasons I am a farmer.” ~Brenda Sutton Rose
When I think of summertime, there are a few things that always come to mind—mostly, because I grew up in the rural South. But, there’s just nothing like the sound of cicadas singing in the trees on a warm summer evening, a night sky so dark that you can see the Milky Way and almost every constellation. And, of course, fresh tomatoes picked right out of the garden—sliced and enjoyed between two pieces of bread with a bit of butter, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper…the classic tomato sandwich. My first memories of this iconic Southern treat were made while visiting my grandma. As a child, I would spend a week with Grandma and Grandaddy Dooley every summer. Grandma was a Sunday School teacher for many years, and she taught Bible School during the week I visited. I still remember the experience so clearly: riding the church bus around curvy, back country roads to Mt. Zion Baptist Church; listening to Grandma tell us a Bible story about Jesus and making a special craft in her classroom; singing “This Little Light of Mine” during choir practice; and, running around the old church cemetery as the sun set chasing lightening bugs with the other children. Anyway, it was during one of my week long summertime visits that I encountered the tomato sandwich. Most everybody in this rural area had a garden, and Grandaddy Dooley took pride in his tomatoes. So, there were plenty to […]
Sex is good but not as good as fresh, sweet corn. ~Garrison Keillor Fresh, sweet corn is one of those treats you look forward to in the summertime, especially if you’re a gardener. There’s nothing quite like it! And, at the risk of sounding like “fifty shades of farmgirl,” I just had to include Garrison Keillor’s quote emphasizing how spectacularly good it really is. 😉 In honor of fresh, sweet corn, I’m sharing one of my favorite corn recipes—corn spoon pudding. I love it, because it’s super easy and amazingly delicious! It’s from a wonderful cookbook titled, Potluck at Midnight Farm-–celebrating food, family, and friends on Martha’s Vineyard, by Tamara Weiss. Corn spoon pudding is a recipe that was contributed to the cookbook by actress, Mary Steenburgen. Steenburgen writes, “this is a recipe that I grew up with in Arkansas and have made for many kinds of people. Also, it’s so wildly popular that folks take one bite and instantly want the recipe.” Well, I have to agree with her. I always keep extra copies of this recipe on hand to share, because it’s a guaranteed smash hit. It’s the best cornbread you’ll ever eat! Corn Spoon Pudding Serves 12 *Use organic, non-GMO ingredients when possible Ingredients: 1 (8 1/2-ounce) box corn muffin mix 7 1/2-ounces of freshly cooked whole kernel corn or canned corn 7 1/2-ounces of creamed corn or canned creamed corn 1 cup sour cream (use sour […]
Green Hill Farm April 2019 “And do not change. Do not divert your love from visible things. But go on loving what is good, simple and ordinary; animals and things…, and keep the balance true. ~Rainer Maria Rilke “Let nothing disturb you, / Nothing frighten you—/ All things pass, / But God never changes.” ~Sainte Thérèse […]
I’d like to start with the fact that I don’t normally get emotionally involved or gush over dessert. Yes. I enjoy decadent treats in moderation: a piece of Victoria sponge or chocolate cake on occasion. I don’t, however, just lose my mind over sweet things…….until last week. It started out innocently enough. My dad is a fine gardener and always has a bounty of vegetables to share with friends and family. Every summer, he sends my in-laws squash, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, etc. from his garden; and, in an act of reciprocity, my mother-in-law bakes bread or makes a special treat for my parents. About a week ago, after receiving an installment of vegetables from Dad, my mother-in-law sent my parents fresh berries with a homemade “cream” topping. Bless her heart, she even sent some for us. Of course, Farmguy and I had no inkling this wasn’t any normal berry and cream combination. After dinner, we dished out some berries and dollaped the “cream” on top and proceeded to enjoy our desserts. After one bite, I exclaimed, “Oh my gosh–This. Is. SO. Good!! It’s not like any cream I’ve ever had! We’ve got to get the recipe from your mother!” The next day, I called Farmguy’s mom to thank her for this unexpected treat and to get the recipe. I went on and on about how much we enjoyed it, and how it was the best thing EVER. The memory is blurry now, […]
“The Zen master Ling Chi said that the miracle is not to walk on burning charcoal or in the thin air or on the water; the miracle is just to walk on earth. You breathe in. You become aware of the fact that you are alive. You are still alive and you are walking on this beautiful planet….The greatest of […]
“Cheerfulness,” 14 X 18, acrylic on canvas by Tonya R. Hengerer “Daring enthusiasm And abiding cheerfulness Can accomplish everything on earth Without fail.” ~Sri Chinmoy Farmguy and I love England, especially the Cotswolds, and one of our favorite places to spend an afternoon is Kiftsgate Court Gardens. It’s located very near Hidcote Manor Garden and is situated above the village of Mickleton in the county of Gloucestershire, in the far north of the county close to the border with both Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The gardens, famed for its roses, are the creation of three generations of women gardeners. Started by Heather Muir in the 1920s, continued by Diany Binny from 1950, and now looked after by Anne Chambers and her husband. Kiftsgate Court is currently the home of the Chambers family. My latest painting, “Cheerfulness,” was inspired by a photograph I took during one of our visits at this lovely garden. *As always, lots of gratitude to my friend and art teacher, Janet Wimmer for her input and guidance. 🙂 Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!