Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In The Garden

When I was growing up in the little town of Scottsbluff in western Nebraska we didn't have Christian radio stations as we've come to know them, or even contemporary Christian music. However, ever Sunday morning the local radio station played hymns and that's what we listened to, without fail, as we got ready for church. This song reminds me of those days gone by. It was Jim Reeves, not Alan Jackson, but I hear my mom's voice singing along regardless.

 She loved to garden.

As a teacher she had summers to garden, can, pickle and freeze. Her garden was a big sunny spot in the backyard filled with tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, carrots, peas, cucumbers and much more. 

Here in the Pacific Northwest it's harder to find a sunny spot and my backyard isn't a big as hers, but I do love to garden and I love to eat from the garden.

Please, take a walk through my garden with me!

This bed is mostly kale (a few beets in the back).

L to R: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and sweet peas (this is where we
battled some sort of vermin wanting to eat the broccoli leaves).

Hopefully we'll be eating Brussels sprouts sometime in the near future.and
next to it was radishes. Now it's carrots. I put sticks in between the rows
and sprinkle it with hot pepper flakes to keep bad cat from using it 
as a litter box.

One of several peppermint plants meant to
deter mice. Seems to be working so far!

Growing tomatoes is an art in the Puget Sound region where the climate
is temperate and summer is short. I plant the basil with it because it is
supposed to help keep the insects away. Caprese salad is also my all
time favorite, especially straight from the garden. 
The owl, by the way, does not deter anything.

Radishes are easy to grow and tasty fresh from the garden.

Juliet grape tomatoes and snapdragons

Can you spy my first two little grape tomatoes?

The three planter boxes on the deck are usually filled with some
sort of greens. This red lettuce has already provided several
salads. The nasturtium is said to draw aphids away from
other plants and the blossoms (when it blooms) are edible.

The herb garden (L to R):  sage, marjoram, parsley, oregano,
rosemary mint, chives and assorted weeds. 

I just added the teacup bird feeders, they were a fun, quick craft.
My daughter made the house bird feeder in high school shop class. 

And look, they really like it!
I think this is a chickadee. 

I pot my peppers so they can get the greatest sun
exposure possible. The half barrel is thyme and
the trellis is rose vines and clematis.
Jack, the cat who loves birds, photo bombing:-)


Jack posing with some Shasta daisies.

The hanging baskets make it feel like summer even though they
are hard  to keep alive. My sweet hubby built the window
planter and I fill it with red geraniums every year as my
 grandmother planted red geraniums in the kitchen window of the sod house
where she raised six children.

We don't have (and rarely need) air conditioning, so these help
keep the kitchen cooler in the summer.

One of my favorite fresh from the garden meals is sauteing veggies with
kale and topping with an egg. I like to add a little Chipotle Tabasco!

This beautiful hydrangea is in my front yard. One summer afternoon
 a few years ago a young couple stopped by and asked if they could buy 
some of the blooms to use for their wedding. I told them to take
 whatever they wanted and I felt like the lucky one to be a part
of their special day.

My friend gave me this hosta when my mom passed away
 two years ago. It's a lovely reminder.

I transplanted the calla lilies from our family cabin on the sound. 


Some sort of lily:-)

Just for fun we sprayed this pot
 with glow in the dark paint.

When we moved to this home sixteen years ago there was no backyard, no lawn, no trees, no patio or deck. We had to haul in top soil. It has all been a labor of love that we enjoy sharing. My thumb is not green, even so I try my best and it continues to be a learning experience. 

Thanks for taking this walk through my garden with me. I'd love to have shown you a garden with no weeds and fresh beauty bark, but 

My advice for you today: play in your garden, or find one to walk through and listen!

Linda <><

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Praying the Alphabet

As waxing moon
Slips listlessly across
The night sky

Playing hide and seek
With cirrus
I smile

From my wide eyed
Restless cradle
I pray for you
{Linda O'Rourke, 2014}

Waxing Gibbous by photosbynicolelynn on etsy

Some nights I just can't sleep. I know full well how important it is to my health, but occasionally it simply eludes me. I'm certain worry and anxiety have come into play, but I like to consider worry a reminder to pray. So last night as I watched the moon cross the sky through my open window I talked to my Abba Father. 

In a recent devotional the writer suggested that on those sleepless nights they pray the alphabet. From A to Z bringing to God all their loved ones, all the concerns and praises. As I myself have learned to do this it has brought me great comfort.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. -- Matthew 11:28

Here in the Pacific Northwest summer doesn't really start until after July fourth, so any night or day without full cloud cover in June is a special bonus. I've enjoyed many of both this year.

May your nights be sweet and rest filled and may your days be sunny and fruitful.
Linda <><

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cool Stuff -- Snack Time!

What's your guilty pleasure? I've got a t.v. show or two, like Revenge and Mad Men, that I'm hooked on. And when it comes to treats there's one I can't keep in the house. If I do, it's okay until it's opened, then in a flash, it's gone. For that reason I like to make my treats from scratch most of the time. We like to make baked sweet potato chips and popcorn on the stove with coconut oil. When it comes to store bought snacks I can pass up the chips and Doritos! But we recently discovered Cosmos Creations and I fell in love. My favorite is Sea Salt and Butter with Cinnamon Crunch and Salted Caramel both a close second. We are not able to just keep these around. For us they are a special snack time treat!

Sea Salt and Butter Cosmos Creations

We have thrown a bag in the car for after hiking. It was gone in minutes! When we hike we usually bring some trail mix, jerky and fresh fruit along with our water. Then we treat ourselves to a meal we might not normally eat when we're finished.

 That's exactly what we did Sunday.

Wallace Falls was a beautiful five and a half mile hike starting under some major power lines complete with the crackling, continuing along a rapid filled river with three waterfalls. 

Lower Falls
Middle Falls

One of my favorite things about hiking through an old growth forest like this is the tree stumps with their own mini bio systems. 

The vastness and varieties of moss here was also fascinating.

Like many woody hikes here in Washington much of the hike reminded us of the  forest moon of Endor or the Hobbit's Mirkwood

Emma thought it was a much better hike than the grueling eight miles of Mount Si we did for Mothers Day. Every other hike we do this summer will be a piece of cake!

Micah 6:8 by MySweetCoconut on esty

This is but one way I like to walk humbly with God. I am awed and humbled my His vast, yet deeply intricate creation. As I finished this hike I as completely exhausted and trail grungy, but my soul was refreshed! 

What do you find refreshing on a Sunday afternoon? What's your favorite 'guilty pleasure' snack?

Linda <><