G Gingerly Germinating Ideas for Growth – The Seed Swap 2.0

Grow! Part of the effort to create a wildlife garden full of bird feeding, seeding producing, flower-popping, goodness, is to grow some seedlings from scratch. From seeds.

Label This

Red3. Red4. Red5, Standing by.

Mrs. SF Daddy wrangled a large collection of seeds this year. Almost every year for a few years now, she’d started trays of seedlings, popped them into the ground and bam, we have tomatoes, daisies, bachelor buttons, echinacea, peppers, cucumbers, blah, blah, munch, munch, munch.
Plant this.
This year, she decided to start, not just a seed swap, but a seedling swap. She conned–I mean–enlisted her friends to start their own trays of seeds. They’d return to their own homes with trays of seeds ready to sprout. In a few weeks, they all return to the scene of the crime and trade little baby plants. Then instead of 20 or 30 of the same plants, they all leave again with a wide variety.
The plan was fool proof. Almost. The first batch of seeds was shipped to the wrong address and the seed starting party had to be postponed. (And all the way to the next full moon, if you’re following along with the posts.) 
While the first batch sprouted, we had a few intrusions! Ants in the trays!
Now that things have calmed down and we’re in April, we have lots of little babies almost ready to share and pop into the ground around the tulips. Surprise! Red2 and I planted tulip bulbs and they’re almost ready to pop!

This video will walk you through the seed starting process. Join us as we prepare to plant some seeds.
What’s growing in your garden?
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D Day of the Dead in fabric

Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) – This is the link to the Atlanta Day of the Dead festivities. Open it up to hear some good mood musica for this post.

One of the things that Mrs. SF Daddy keeps occupied with is a home business selling fabric. She’s an artist, loves to sew, selects fabrics that appeal to her and hopefully appeals to her customers. So far, most of her customers agree with her stylistic sensibilities enough to keep us in business and pretty happy.

One of her favorite motifs is the Day of the Dead fabric. Love the happy skellytons. While she and the girls are off around the country at sewing and quilting shows, I get to cut it up for orders. The selections here are some of my current favorites. Here’s a link to our shop if anyone’s also interested in that. 🙂

Usually celebrated in early November, I’m thinking about the Day of the Dead this week as I remember my grandfather who left us this year. Here’s to you! Salude!


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B Boozy Botanists

Fill This

Part of the fun of being able to identify plants as you walk by them in the forest is knowing which ones might poison you and which ones are mighty tasty prepared in a mixed drink over ice or fermented and bottled.

Last year the ladies got really interested in squishing fruit. They combed the neighborhood and delivered letters to our especially fruity neighbors inviting them to some free labor. In exchange for cleaning up around their fruit trees, we’d bring home a few large buckets of apples, pears, persimmons and muscadines. Over the course of several weeks during harvest season we accumulated many “carboys” (large glass containers) full of squeezings. They’re naturally doing their thing and now we have lots of bottles to fill. Pretty tasty pear wine, honey wine, cyser, mead, and more, I’m sure. I’m trying to stay at arm’s length. (Yes, with a glass in hand, though.)

Identifying the plants while you’re walking next to them is pretty impressive, but what really wowed me was driving around, even on the highway, hearing, “Pear! Apple! Persimmon!” Red2 identified a pear tree hiding in front of a grocery store. She’s 9, kiddos.

Their mom and I did share. It wasn’t all booze. We had persimmon cake, apple and pear butter, and pear preserves using as recipe from the tree owner who feels like she’s all done making preserves herself. She was very happy to have some help.

The last thought here is about where this all leads. The natural ingredients that used to be found in things like Maraschino cherries and grenadine. Amy Stewart’s book, The Drunken Botanist, is good read full of stories about what’s really supposed to be in the bottles. Read the labels, folks. Red1 wants a field trip to a liquor store to find real grenadine made with pomegranates, not colored up corn syrups. I think she’ll have to wait a bit for that. Do you think the shop keepers will let us in to read the labels?

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