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Gardening Beginnings

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  • Sheryl Simons
    The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. On a small drive yesterday, we saw lawns just a
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 16, 2007
      The Simple Life
      By Sheryl Simons

      "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be

      On a small drive yesterday, we saw lawns just a little ways
      South of here that had already been mowed! Wow! They must use
      better fertilizer than we do, but then again grass does grow much
      faster in the Spring. And when lawn mowing is upon us, gardening is
      about to begin, if it hasn't already.

      There are few people I know who do not garden in some way.
      Anything including hanging a basket of flowers on a deck, to actually
      planting a tree in your yard, or having a few tomato plants, or a
      huge vegetable patch, and you are in the garden club. You may be a
      beginner, or advanced gardener, but one thing is certain, you are
      learning more about gardening with each plant.

      If you have a hanging basket, you learn that, unless it is in
      the complete shade, you probably have to water it each day. Or you
      might be about to pluck a tomato from the vine, and see a tomato
      hornworm (a big green yucky thing that can reach five inches long),
      and then you notice that some of the leaves have been chewed off, and
      now you must decide how to dispose of the worms. You look on your
      other plants, and see if you find more. You might hear the tell-tale
      munching noise that accompanies the little bandits. You are learning

      Now you could read a huge garden book, but most of it is not
      going to sink in until you are actually doing the gardening. We have
      all heard people say, "I have no green thumb!" That's like saying I
      tried to cook once, and burned the toast. You just need more
      practice, so don't ever say you can't garden. You may be stumped
      once in a while, but you will learn and get better. Get to know
      people who garden and ask questions. They will love to help you. Or
      do a search on the internet, or in a gardening encyclopedia, or ask a
      garden expert at your favorite plant shop.
      I love flowers. Ever since I was a kid, I began to notice
      beautiful plants. There were Sweet William at a museum near
      Williamsburg – and they were not only pretty, but had a fragrance.
      There were marigolds and alyssum and zinnias in our garden at home.
      Then there was the huge Cleome (spider flower) in Mackinaw City.
      There were Hollyhocks at a home we lived at.

      But with my love of flowers, there has also been a love of
      vegetables and fruits that I could easily put in jars, or freeze for
      a fraction of the cost. Heck, I knew organic before it was
      invented! And every time I buy one of those awful tomatoes from the
      produce section in winter just to have a fresh tomato I vow to wait
      until mine are red on the vine here at home. Now it is my goal to
      help my vegetables keep producing even longer with my greenhouse. I
      haven't learned all there is to know about greenhouse gardening yet,
      but the seeds that have sprouted on the windowsill see happy enough.
      Will I be about to keep them alive long enough to produce fruit?
      Probably (did you know that indoor plants need a gentle breeze to
      make them stronger?), but even if I fail with the first batch, I will
      keep on trying. I have learned what to do to keep my greenhouse
      warmer in the fall and spring. And I will find out more. I don't
      even know most of what I will learn, but I'll keep going. Because
      that big juicy strawberry from my weedy little strawberry patch is
      more delicious than any berry I can buy. And that still-warm-from-
      the-sun cherry tomato from the vine I started from seed will be
      better than any hot-house cherry, no matter how fresh.

      So go ahead, don't be afraid to plant that first garden and make
      a mistake, because just like most everything in life, it's trial and
      error! But when you learn a few tricks, it's all worth it!

      * * *
      Send me the story of your best gardening lesson and I'll share it
      with our group! thesimple_life@... Also, send in a photo of
      your prize garden plant, vegetable or flower, and win a spot on the
      opening page of our website!
      * * *

      "The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes
      from within -- strength, courage, dignity." ~~ Ruby Dee

      "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every
      time we fail." ~ ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

      Fruity Swirl Coffeecake

      1 8-ounce package low-fat cream cheese, softened
      1 cup sugar
      1/2 cup Margarine
      2 eggs
      1/2 teaspoon vanilla
      1 3/4 cups flour
      1 teaspoon baking powder
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      1/4 cup milk
      1/2 cup Kraft Red Raspberry Preserves

      Combine cream cheese, sugar and margarine, mixing until well blended.
      Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in
      vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing
      well after each addition. Pour into greased and floured 13x9-inch
      baking pan. Dot with preserves. Cut through batter with knife several
      times for marbled effect. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes.

      Makes 12 servings
      Keeping it Simple,

      Please contact me with recipes, questions, comments and simple living
      ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
      Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
      columns: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thesimple_life/
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