For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
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Spring Jobs 'To Do List', Planning A Plant Exchange, Successful Plant Division and Yummy Chicken Paprika!

For me and I believe many others, Spring holds a promise for newness of life! It's when I look out and dream of new flower beds, anticipate the coming springs first crops of asparagus and rhubarb...savoring the memory of their here today, gone tomorrow presence. I scan the yard and think of all the jobs that I will have to get done as soon as nicer weather affords me time in my personal Eden. I anxiously await the first buds to pop on the lilacs... those small, brave tulips and daffodils, reaching up out of a cold, hard ground to the warming sunshine ready to burst forth into simple beauty! I love that first trip out to my potting shed after the winter... the smell and then the challenge of tidying up and reorganizing.  An early morning stroll through The Potager scanning for baby lettuces sprouting from scattered seeds... imagining the bounty and longing for my quiet time that I am able only to have in my gardens. If you are an avid gardener or if this is your first season in the dirt, lets look to those promises and plan on a great new gardening year!  Enjoy friends!
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Starting Cuttings with Willow Water and Yummy Salad Dressing Recipes


I'm always looking for things to do to get me through the winter months... even if those things are projects that won't happen until springs warmer days arrive! I am planning on getting into the green house this week and starting some seeds...  [Read More]
 
 

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]
 
 

Early Herbs, Edible Flowers and Yummy Edible Flower Recipes!

Only 59 more days till Spring.... ahh! Yes, that doesn't sound so long at all. The sun is shining midst the cold air bringing happiness to my day. I long for that warm feeling that only a bright sunny day can give. I am a firm believer that too many cloudy days start to make people feel just like the day looks. The birds are chirping outside my window right now and it just feels good! The hoop house is growing beautifully despite the cold and snow that surrounds it outside. The spinach's should be just about ready to cut along with the chard... oh yum! After I am done writing this that is my destination along with green house. I am excited about getting all the seeds started for this summers bounty in the fields... oh the dirt... that beautiful dirt that I long to dig into!
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Resolutions, Getting Rid of the Winter Blahs, Get Together Ideas and Yummy Winter Time Soup Recipes!


This word, 'Resolutions' is on most peoples minds in the new year.  Why do we think about this only at the New Year?  Many of us take time to reflect on what transpired over the last twelve months of our lives... a time to think on what we would like to continue doing and what we want to stop doing... a time to dream and imagine what the next twelve months will hold for us. New Years Resolutions are a common thing and many of us are looking to make some... be it little or large.  My 'resolutions' this year are too be more faithful in praying for others, being kind in all situations and reorganizing my office and keeping it that way! I did a series on Organization this past summer and I think I need to turn back to the office one!  That is the space that seems to get the best of me! I have so many things to keep straight and it just seems I don't have enough space... haha... a whole room just isn't enough eh? Well, this week I am gutting the room... I am going to clean out the file cabinets and purge, purge, purge!   Another goal that I want to implement is that of The 3/50 Project (www.the350project.net) that I mentioned in my previous blog.  I do a lot of shopping & trading with my co-vendors at my markets, but I want to support the small local businesses in my community a bit more this year.    [Read More]
 
 

Supporting Local: How Can I Do This?, 3/50 Project and Yummy Tuscan Soup & Onion Recipes!

Local is an important thing to many people, not just to the businesses but also to the consumer. I remember when I was a young girl growing up in Windsor, Ontario and going to 'town' with my grandma... the little downtown and the "five & dime" shops. I remember the 'big' store downtown where grandma use to do a lot of the domestic shopping... it had a little cafe in there that we would always get a bite to eat... my favorite- french fries and gravy, yeah that's a Canadian thing! Well anyway, I use to love to go to the little hardware store that she would by her canning jars and lids at, the Chinese food restaurant that we would patronize on grandpa's pay day... memories of a small town... a lot of children in today's society won't know that as a regular experience. It will more likely be a 'vacation' memory. So many of us want to know who grew those tomatoes, or who raised that sheep to produce the fiber that made those lovely mittens, or shake the hand with the farmer that milked that cow that you now can get fresh raw milk from. It is a good feeling to 'know your farmer'... it is good feeling to talk to Mary when you purchase that jar of cherry preserves she made... it is rewarding to hand your hard earned money over to a person that worked hard to provide you with something essential. It is a win-win situation for all involved.
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A "Green" Barbeque, Vermicomposting and some Yummy Grilling Recipe's!

It's just about January now and I am already thinking about what I am going to get to start in the green house here in just a few weeks... oh it sends a chill of excitement up my spine! It really isn't too early for all the home gardeners to start thinking about a few things as well, that's why you are getting all those beautiful seed catalogs in the mail (see graphic). I thought today would be a great day to discuss Vermicomposting- you'll want to order your worms here in a jiffy- yes I said 'worms'! A.K.A free fertilizer- not the worms- ugh! You should be thinking about seed orders now... lots of companies offer discounts for orders placed before the first of the year... check it out... every penny counts... plus those extra pennies might add up to a few extra packs of seeds! Before you know it, you'll be seeing all the big box stores starting to put up the shelves of seed packs, seed starting kits and all that other good stuff! Now is also the time that you might be thinking of drawing up your garden plan... I love doing that! You will also see gobs of fertilizers in both the catalogs and store shelves. That's where Vermicomposting is coming into play in today's post. You will definitely want to start now, so you will have this rich, wonderful fertilizer ready for your seedlings and garden plants... read on!
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Host A Cookie Exchange Luncheon, Making The Invitation and Some Yummy Cookie Recipes!

Its cold, its blowing, there's snow on the ground, ice on the windshields and us summer lovers need to keep looking for things to keep us occupied until we can dig in the dirt. Now that all the holiday hustle and bustle is over, we are getting ready for our New Years Eve parties, lets think food... cookies particularly today! Forget the resolutions and enjoy life... like a wise one once wrote, "Life is short, eat desert first!" The gyms and the weight loss programs are gonna be there next week... so just have some good, homemade fun with friends you enjoy being around!

What could be more fun than gathering together with a group of our close friends and family when you include cookies and lunch? Well of course the getting ready for it... making the invitations, decorating the tables, preparing the food and baking those pretty cookies. Not to mention buying just the right containers for your guests to package up all your love in!
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Decorating The Porch, Dreaming of Summer and My Favorite Popover Recipe and Yummy Herb Roasted Potatoes

I love to decorate for the seasons... inside and outside in all the seasons. There is true beauty in all, yes even Winter (stay sitting, I really do think so!) I'm not talking about all the Christmas lights and plastic yard ornaments, I'm talking about using nature to beautify along with some cool 'junque'... creative decorating shall we say! Your porch is a reflection of your home and what you adorn it with says a lot about you... That's why when the dog carries a deer leg from one of the boys prizes, I get a bit cranky! Some of 'them' just don't seem to get it. There's no reason that you can't keep it cute till we can once again adorn our porches with live, beautiful flowers. Each season holds some beauty, yes I do admit that with even winter... Evergreen boughs strewn with red berries and there really is nothing like a hoar frost glistening in the bright early morning. Let your neighbors and those that pass by have a treat for their senses with the beauty of your front porch!
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The Art of Meaningful Gift Giving, How to Preserve a Child and some Yummy Market Fresh Recipes


We're at the time of year when everyone is in a hustle and bustle of the Holidays.  For us the Farmers Market is filled with beautiful gift items and our market friends are all too happy to stop by and pick up that beautiful, one of a kind, hand crafted item to give their loved ones.  There's an art to gift giving.  Some folks like the idea of gift cards- quick & simple and they don't have to worry about the 'did they like it or not?'  Others love the thrill of searching and finding just the right thing for that special person.  Then there are those that take the time to actually create something unique for each individual... and all three are fine! I don't think there is any wrong way to give a gift, especially when it's given with love.  We are all different and we need to do what fits our personalities... and those that love us will know that whatever the gift is, it was given with heart. I hope this post will help all of the above and you will find something that helps you in this typically crazy time of year.  [Read More]
 
 

Hybrid vs. Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Varieties of Basic Garden Fair and some Yummy Root Storage Crop Recipes

You're probably wondering why I am talking about seed shopping and gardening in December... well I realize some of my readers live in areas where they have the luxury of year round planting. While others, like myself living in cold climates have green houses and hoop houses to play in. Yet other home gardeners in cool climates are trying to get through these next few months cheerfully! I say, "Who cares if the calender says December!"... now is the time when us gardeners yearn and long for the arrival of those beautiful seed catalogs! As they make their arrivals in our mailboxes we gather them together, cozy up with a cup of java, a fuzzy blanket on our favorite chair with a notebook... ready to start making our lists of 'new' varieties!  We flip and long for the life that spring and summer bring into our lives... we long even more for the first shoots of Rhubarb to appear and then all to soon the green stalks of Asparagus to spring forth... to touch the prickly cucumbers, dive into the scratchy leaves of that notorious zucchini plant, get our hands stained green from picking those luscious Heirloom tomatoes... Super Italian Paste for our homemade spaghetti sauces... Green Zebra, Pineapple, Paul Robeson and Yellow Brandywine to create a festive fresh salsa...oh my!  [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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Creating Thanksgiving Traditions, Decorating Tips For That Special Table and Some Yummy Fix'ns!

Autumn is my husband Neil’s favorite time of year… he is an October baby. The leaves changing into their majestic colors of rust, scarlet and turmeric… that lovely crunching sound they make under foot… the smell of the wood stove burning… home made chicken noodle soup slowly cooking and filling the house with all those wonderful scents of the harvest we have reaped from the summer’s bounty. I love the honking that all of a sudden appears above us as the Canada honkers head south to warmer days. I love the feel of crisp air as it surrounds my face as I take my morning jaunt to the chicken coop… What it boils down to is I just really love my life on our farm. I love the freedom it has given us to be able to raise our own food…to watch our children play pond hockey on the neighbors pond…to hear their laughter ring through the barn as they play cowboys and Indians… to see the night sky lit up… to hear the crickets chirp and the Spring peepers come to life. Although I am all about summer, (I’m an August baby) I love this time of year as well.   [Read More]
 
 

PART 1: Autumn's Bounty in the Root Cellar and Two Yummy Storage Crop Recipes!

The Season of Autumn...
This is Neil's and most of the children's favorite season... I like it too, but I am all about Spring and Summer. I do love Autumn for the harvest though... the smell and crunch of the leaves under foot... the caa-caa of the Blue Jays feasting on the sunflowers in the front garden... the sound of the wind whistling through the leaves still hanging onto the branches... not quite ready to sail away...watching our can shelves, freezers and root cellars start to fill up to over flowing... Oh the bounty of Autumn, how thankful are we!  The children enjoy the slower pace that Autumn leans into... once the fields are plowed and all that is left is the hoop house and animal care duties, life seems to take on a slower pace... more relaxed and peaceful.  Now the boys and Neil are in full swing of making firewood to both heat our home and to sell at market. I love to hear the chainsaws roaring and the smack of the axe. I get to start using the cook stove again now... oh that smell of wood burning so close lends to a feeling more cozy than words can describe. I love our cook stove... it reminds me of when we would go way up North into Canada to visit my dad's folks. They didn't have electricity or indoor plumbing until I was about 12 years old... I loved the smell that rose into the upstairs when grandma was frying up fresh eggs and bacon for breakfast... covered and cozy under her quilts... not really wanting to venture out into the cold... the heat would start to move slowly through the old farm house upstairs and then I would jump out of bed and quick get dressed and run downstairs.  Everyone else was always up and moving long before I. It was a happy feeling... a cozy, homey feeling that I had there.  Now I have a cook stove of my own and although I only use it in the cold months, I can't think of doing without it. 
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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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