Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Anthropomorphic Parsnips

After growing a few of my own vegetables, I'm starting to notice something about the store bought ones....they are kinda boring. All uniform and perfectly shaped, they are. It makes me wonder, what happens to the "nonconformists"? Do they even exist for conventional farmers? If so, what happens to them? Perhaps someone is pulling them off the veggie conveyor belt and tossing them out. I hope not. They make me smile. Take this pair, for example:
"Mama parsnip with a baby on her hip"

Can you see it? If not, here is a view of them separated:

Admittedly, it's easier to cook with uniformly shaped vegetables. But it's not as much fun. What do you think?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Seed Purchases - whom shall we trust?

I just read an excellent post by Chiot's Run titled "Say NO to GM vegetables". On the surface, this would seem like an easy thing to do. But as she points out, it's not so simple. As it turns out, most seeds companies aren't really seed companies in the truest sense. Many (most!) are in the Monsanto camp, and we all know how scary that is. There are some friendly options, though, like Baker Creek out of Missouri, with whom I just placed an order. By the way, if you are ever near Petaluma, CA, I just found out that Baker Creek has put in a seed "bank" store there. Looks awesome!
I also ordered from, TomatoFest, since I am (apparently) addicted to growing tomatoes. "Hi, I'm Jackie and I'm a tomato-aholic." If there are any other tomato-addicts out there, here is some info from the TomatoFest website:

"TomatoFest is your destination for finding the best tasting, non-hybrid, non-genetically modified, old-fashioned and rarest heirloom tomato seeds from around the world. Truly, the original tomato lovers paradise!

Since 1990, our mission has been to find what are considered to be the most favored heirloom tomato varieties from many different regions and family farms, to grow and harvest these tomato seeds, and to save tomato seeds in our seed bank to share with other gardeners around the world. Our intention is to sustain these precious heirloom tomato seed varieties so they may remain a vital and available food source for generations to come."

Wishing you a GMO- and Monsanto-free garden in 2010!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Easy homemade lemon drop lotion

First of all, I apologize for another non-gardening post. The reality is that I'm just not out in the garden lately...too cold and dark. But I did manage to pull a few carrots for dinner:
Anyway, the main topic of this post is the fabulous homemade lotion that I just made:

I'm calling it lemon drop lotion, since I seem to be obsessed with all things citrus lately. The best thing about it is just how easy it is to make. The recipe has been passing through the blog-o-sphere recently with various modifications as it travels. I saw it on A Sonoma Garden. My version is below:

1 1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup emulsifying wax
1/4 cup olive oil
24-36 drops organic lemon essential oil (it can be any scent)
containers for lotion...the recipe makes 1 1/4 pints

I purchased the emulsifying wax (1 pound for $6.50) and organic lemon essential oil (1/2 oz. for $5.75) at Mountain Rose Herbs. This is enough to make more than a dozen half-pints of lotion...which makes it less expensive than even store brand lotion!

1) In a large (at least 2 cup) glass measuring cup combine the olive oil and emulsifying wax and microwave for 1 minute until melted.
2) Then microwave 1 1/4 cup water for 1 minute in a separate container.
3) While that is heating up, add the essential oil into the melted wax/olive oil mixture and stir.
4) Next, pour the hot water into the wax/olive oil mixture and watch it turn milky white.
5) Then pour the hot lotion into a container(s) and let cool overnight. Poof! Homemade lotion with no weird or scary ingredients!