For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
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More on Herbs: Basil and Lavender, Yummy Pesto Recipes

I cannot describe how passionate I am about herbs. I created our Potager Garden not only because my daughter Taylor wanted a 'kitchen' garden, it was also because of the warm, cozy feeling you get when you say 'Potager'. I love meandering along the garden path, my leg brushes gently across the herbs overflowing out of their imaginary confines... and then the delicious scent wafting up to me...   [Read More]
 
 

Gift Giving Ideas and More Yummy Winter Thyme Recipes


There is a light dusting of snow on the ground and the air is chilled... next Friday will herald in the first day of Winter... my personal countdown to beloved Spring.  I have Spring in the hoop house despite what the calender says right now... but today I am not feeling very well and thought I would do something else I love that I have been neglecting... "For Dragonflies and Me"... an essentially all of you who read this.  The days have been growing shorter and the sunshine diminishing more and more each day.  Today is a sunny day and I will be happy for that. Here are some great gift giving ideas for those of you that want to do something extra special along with some ideas on drying and freezing your herbs and of course a few recipes to use them in. Enjoy friends.

We are in the heart of the Gift Giving season and us crafty people are always looking for that extra unique gift that we can hand make for those special people in our lives.  Gift Baskets are a fun and super easy way to create a one of a kind gift.  Although we need to look out of the box, or should I say 'basket' and look around for unique and original 'containers' to hold the gifts!  Here a few ideas that you can expand on... just remember, be creative and have fun, that special person will know that you spent extra time in this gift of love!  Please remember that there are many Winter Farmers Markets going on right now, including our farms in Downtown Farmington, The Old Winery and we've got over 30 vendors there every Saturday that can easily help you create many of these novel gifts...
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More Organizational Tips: De-clutter With Flyladies '27 Fling Boogie', Dining Room and Closets and Yummy Pasta with Veggies!

Personally I don't mind a bit of 'organized' clutter... now Flylady says there is no such thing but I disagree!  I like a homey look with a row of neat and dusted antique clay pitchers that top my bookshelf in my family room... I like the floral's and old blue mason jars that adorn the top of my kitchen cabinets and I like the three bowls that set as center pieces on my dining room table. I like 'details' in my decorating!  I can honestly say that 99% of my friends as well as acquaintances have told me over & over again that they have seen something or picked me up this or that because, in their words, "It looked just like you Jean!"  My friends know what I like because my home & gardens are a reflection of me. Now don't get me wrong... as I mentioned in a few blogs ago, my upstairs hallway is NOT ME!  It is dark paneling and really old, ugly carpet... it is my boys play space.  I realize that my home is not just a reflection of me, but also my family, I just like certain things and I like things to look a certain way... and that way just happens to  say "me"! My goal is to make our home both cozy & welcoming while allowing our children to be children. My challenge to you in all this is to do the same.  Don't decorate your home to 'please' others or even the latest & greatest trends... make you home yours & your families~ and have fun doing it!
         
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More on Organization: Weekly Schedule At A Glance, Focused Event Days~ Errand and Desk Days, More Yummy Market Fresh Recipes!

Everyone that knows me knows I love to create schedules, make lists and have multiple day planners & calenders.  I love everything about organization. Over the years I realized that I inherited this trait from my mother... who I may say has even the labels of her spice jars and canned goods all facing in the same direction and to size... they even might be alphabetized- I've never dared look.  Her cupboards are immaculate and she never has dust. Mind you, it is just her and my dad and she only had me!  I am glad that I have this trait thanks to her... even though I never realized it while I was growing up.  It has only been since I have had a home of my own and my family have I realized all the important things she taught me... or at least tried to!  My 'other' mom, is also extremely organized~ she's actually the one who introduced me to The Flylady program.  She has helped me tremendously in many area's, especially with sewing 'stuff'.  Her material/craft closet is also immaculate and completely organized right up to type's of fabrics and colors.  Her craft stuff is always tidy and in it's place!  What wonderful examples I have been blessed with!  Anyway, back to schedules & lists...   [Read More]
 
 

More Organizational Tips: Learning The Walk Through, The Family Room and Upstairs Hallway, and More Yummy Market Fresh Recipes!

I think the Family Room in a home should speak loudly about the lady of the house. It should be a reflection of her personality and what she loves... for me, it's the cottage garden, the perfect blue, summer sky and coziness of soft summer hues exploding throughout the room, flower blossoms and of course dragonflies!  My family room speaks all this and I love sitting in my rocking chair with a warm cup of coffee with a good gardening magazine or some inspirational piece... throw in a little boy ready to cuddle, and it's even better.  The family room is the cozy spot of the home where each member can curl up with a good book & where we can share & talk about stuff.  The family room is often referred to as the living room in decorating mags (I am not referring to the Formal Living room here)... but it is more than that.  [Read More]
 
 

More Organization Tips: The Office, The Daily Home Blessing and Yummy Market Fresh Sandwiches...

Our homes should be a blessing to our family... and whether we like it or not, we moms/wives/ladies can make it or break it!  We need to strive to create an environment that is welcoming, peaceful and cozy for all who enter.  A clean, well kept and organized home will make these elements much more easy to obtain.  As the ladies of the house, when things are out of order and chaotic, we too feel that and then in turn present that through our actions, attitudes and behavior... "if mom's happy, then everyone is happy," is too true a statement! In "Sink Reflections", by Marla Cilley, she talks about having a Home Blessing (another Buzz word).  What this basically refers to is our Mission Statement for our home as women, wives and mothers... it our goal for what we want our home to be... what we want it to reflect. I took this very seriously because I have high expectations!  One thing to remember in all this is that even though we have routines and schedules, we must be flexible... we are not drill sergeants, even though I have been accused of that, we are still mommy and need to teach and train with a tender hand so our little helpers want to help and get excited about the process as well.  If you have children you fully understand what I am talking about... I have had some really good plans drawn up, but when the baby is puking up a storm from a sudden flu bug... zone cleaning comes to a sudden halt... so be what the Lord has us to be first... woman, wife and mommy!  Enjoy yourself in your organizational quests, otherwise it won't last and it will be just another burden!  [Read More]
 
 

More on Organization: Working on Menu Planning & Grocery Lists, The Organized Home Makers 10 Commandments (adapted from the FlyLady!) and More Yummy Market Fresh Recipes!


I don't mind cooking, it's not my favorite thing to do, but we gotta eat right?  Taylor is the one who is in love with being in the kitchen. It's funny though... she firsts loves to bake~ that is my least favorite; she likes to cook and I don't mind, especially with garden fresh goodies; she doesn't mind canning, but I love it and we are both OK with yeast baking stuff~ although I will say, I like that a bit more than her... but neither one of us can make a pie crust to save our lives~ honestly... we just have never been able to master that! Taylor would be happy to sit in a rocking chair with a pile of cookbooks and cooking mag's where I would be there with my gardening ones!  We balance each other out I guess...
Anyway lets head into the last of this series on Organization with Menu Planning and Grocery Lists... be sure to check out my blog spots & web site for lots of great photo's to go along with the post!
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More on Organization: Creating Routines with P.M.S.- Prioritize, Minimize and Simplify , The Kitchen and Pantry and More Market Fresh Canning Recipe's!

Oh what a happy mom am I when the boys rooms are clean, the fridge is shining with no 'science experiments' going on it, the appliances are shining and the windows let in all the bright sunshine because the little paddy prints have been washed off... at least for fifteen minutes... so look fast! After all I do have a just turned two year old that loves to stand on the kitchen chairs (... and the table...) and look at the out of doors... cry when everyone else is going 'bye-bye', and stand and wave at the dumpster guy pulling in the lane... yes windows are nice, but they don't stay clean at our house for very long. The boys say why bother... I tell them can you imagine if we didn't- think layers boys! Well, the kitchen is the gathering place in most homes and it is at ours as well... It is where little boys get to lick the beaters and get a spoonful of homemade chocolate pudding... where soap bubble beards are made and wet towel 'thwacks' happen... yes the kitchen is the heart of the home... after all it's where we nourish those we love... I will go into some more details of how I keep the kitchen and pantry tidy and organized. Today I thought it would be fun to throw in a couple canning recipes for some of the good stuff that you are getting in your CSA shares and across our market table... an possibly out of your very own gardens!   [Read More]

More on Organization: Creating Routines with P.M.S.- Prioritize, Minimize and Simplify , The Kitchen and Pantry and More Market Fresh Canning Recipe's!

Oh what a happy mom am I when the boys rooms are clean, the fridge is shining with no 'science experiments' going on it, the appliances are shining and the windows let in all the bright sunshine because the little paddy prints have been washed off... at least for fifteen minutes... so look fast! After all I do have a just turned two year old that loves to stand on the kitchen chairs (... and the table...) and look at the out of doors... cry when everyone else is going 'bye-bye', and stand and wave at the dumpster guy pulling in the lane... yes windows are nice, but they don't stay clean at our house for very long. The boys say why bother... I tell them can you imagine if we didn't- think layers boys! Well, the kitchen is the gathering place in most homes and it is at ours as well... It is where little boys get to lick the beaters and get a spoonful of homemade chocolate pudding... where soap bubble beards are made and wet towel 'thwacks' happen... yes the kitchen is the heart of the home... after all it's where we nourish those we love... I will go into some more details of how I keep the kitchen and pantry tidy and organized. Today I thought it would be fun to throw in a couple canning recipes for some of the good stuff that you are getting in your CSA shares and across our market table... an possibly out of your very own gardens!   [Read More]
 
 

The Organic Life: How To Get There and More Market Fresh Recipe's!

What does Organic mean to you?  I think everyone reading this would have somewhat of a different answer.  Personally,  I want 'organic' to be the way I breath, eat and sleep... it's the life style I want for myself and my family... it's a personal choice... you can't make someone 'believe' it if they don't want to or they don't care.  An organic life style isn't easy by any definition of the word... especially if you live in the city! No offense there my city dwelling friends! I have come to understand your back yard isn't even your own to grow your food if that is what you want to do... that is unless you get 'their' permission.  This is incredulous to me... as many of you who know me personally and have leaned over my market table where we have vented together on these issues!  So many of you ask me for advice on chickens, gardening and canning... I wish so badly I could do more than just give you 'tips'... but that is where it's at I guess.  So today I am going to give some reference materials along with more 'tips' on how to get a piece of the organic life for yourselves... and of course some more yummy market fresh recipes!  Enjoy friends!
           
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Market Day At The Garden Gate Farm, Plant Tags, Plant Growing File and more yummy Market Fresh Recipe's!


We have been busy... I thought today along with the normal fun stuff I like to share I would give a journal entry of "A Day In The Life..." at our farm on Friday while we get ready for market... so here it is... enjoy!

Here was our day last Friday...  it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees...
"We take so much care in what we do because we do it for you!" Jean Smith
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Decorating with Herbs, Step Stone Patterns and More Rhubarb and Strawberry Recipes

Here we are just about in the middle of June... how the days fly. The other day Kyle & Ethan were planting another 50 pounds of Yukon potato seeds... I walked down the row punching the holes in the plastic where they were to plant... Suddenly I saw this big, bossy and majestic dragonfly... He lives here at The Garden Gate Farm... he sports an iridescent blue jacket and flits about like he doesn't have a care in the world. I love to watch them fly about... whip over this way and then dart over that way.  They are by far my favorite insect. I quick pointed him out to the boys and we watched awhile as he showed off.  I truly believe that God always sends me one because He knows how special they are too me.  We also had another 'not so majestic' flying critter that day~ this one though was darting through my house and I was screaming running out the door~  [Read More]
 
 

Dividing Iris', Drying Your Herbs, More Herbal Personal Care and Yummy Herb Recipe's!

Well we are already into June and summer is right around the corner.  We have enjoyed all the beauty that spring brings and now we can start to welcome all the special things that summer has to offer... vine ripened heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil along with garlic put together to make a mouth watering Brushetta, Black Eyed Susan's, daisy's and cone flowers are getting ready to show off their colorful faces while our peonies and iris' are bowing out graciously.  Now is the time to start doing some divisions of certain plants, iris' being one.  Herbs are producing prolifically and drying them right now is an optimal time.  If you are a canner and put up your summer's bounty, then you will want to have all those wonderful herbs well gathered and ready to add into your spaghetti and bar-b-que sauce's, not to mention salsa and soups.  I am excited about starting to put the good stuff up here... Rhubarb is ready to be froze and saved to make some yummy strawberry-rhubarb pies, preserves and sauces (more on that next time)... oh my... summer!  [Read More]
 
 

More Garden Junque Ideas, Window Pane Mini Greenhouse, Seed Packet Calendar Box and Yummy Rhubarb Upside Down Treat

Ryan and I were transplanting more tomatoes in the green house yesterday... he enjoys playing in the dirt~ after all he is a boy.  He got 14 flats done and was quite pleased with himself, especially with him earning fifty cents a flat and it didn't even take him an hour!  Work is an ethic that needs to be taught when they are young and being able to earn a little bit on the side isn't all that bad either.  Afterward, I was watering in the hoop house and was just standing there looking at all the neat rows of lettuce and tomatoes and taking in the deep earthy smell... I love to be outside, in the gardens in the fresh air... how much better when it's with my children!  We'll talk on a bit more about how to utilize garden junque and cute-sifying your gardens today!   [Read More]
 
 

More on Companion Planting & Beneficial Bugs, Crafty Spring Sachet, Yummy Spring Dishes Radish Chive Spread and Sorrel Soup!

Evan and I picked rhubarb and asparagus today... so fun! He enjoys being outside helping so much, it is such a blessing. The other day when we were in the front garden hoeing he and Ryan were picking up all the weeds putting them in buckets to dump... well Evan wanted to do more, so there he goes with my hoe diligently working away at some weeds 'mom missed'... Hard work is something that needs to be nurtured in them while young, and when we can make it fun they want to be with us!  I am working hard at teaching these children all about gardening and feeding themselves... companion planting is an important part of this process, especially for the Organic gardener.
     
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