1–10 of 44 entries in the category: Earth Mama

Garden Love

May 2nd

Garden love April 2016 www.africankelli.com

I’ve been volunteering at a garden in a swanky north Scottsdale neighborhood. I met a woman through a Junior League event and she asked for some help getting their garden beds started. We planted way, way too much the first time around — but thanks to a great irrigation system, it grew like wildfire.

Garden love April 2016 www.africankelli.com

We pulled the beds clean last week and started over, working coffee grounds into the earth and planting several varieties of sunflowers, which will do great with the impending heat. I love to plant sunflowers for those sweaty July days when I’m desperate to spend time outside. They are low maintenance, good for the birds and good for your soil. They give me something to water without giving me too much to do when it is 100-plus.

Garden love April 2016 www.africankelli.com

Turning over the beds a bit early due to timing of volunteer schedules meant I came home with a bag full of green tomatoes. Also, a bag full of herbs and a bunch of jalapenos. We are going to a Kentucky Derby party this weekend in the neighborhood, so I sent a generous bag of mint down the street for festivities prep. Otherwise, I turned to canning books to figure out what to do and landed on two recipes: pickled peppers, and green tomato chutney.

Garden love April 2016 www.africankelli.com

I goofed up a bit on both, as I’m prone to do the first time with a canning recipe. On the peppers, I did not pack the jar tight enough — as the instructions said. So, there is a lot of brine for little spice, but we’ve been eating them and they are great. Second, the chutney called for brown sugar and I should have known better and automatically cut the amount in half. We don’t eat a lot of sugar and this chutney is delicious and way, way too sweet. It will be good for roasting meat in the crockpot.

Garden love April 2016 www.africankelli.comGarden love April 2016 www.africankelli.com

And oh, the herbs. OH THE HERBS.

Garden love April 2016 www.africankelli.com

I’m using as much of this as possible this week in sauces and freezing the rest. I love to use lavender in sachets — not to cook with. Additionally, I cut some hollyhocks from the garden for the house.

Garden love April 2016 www.africankelli.com

I loved walking with that class of kids through the garden and talking shop. They asked smart questions and their minds were blown when I handed them tiny pieces of mint to eat. “IT TASTES LIKE GUM!” A Willy Wonka moment.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama, Happy Hippie
Comments (1)

Wandering Through the Garden

October 17th

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

Community Gardening

 

We are finally returning to outdoor season!

~K

Posted in
Community, Earth Mama
Comments (2)

Garden Salad

April 22nd

garden bounty, april

 

We are now planning meals by what we can pick out of the garden, which is one of those silly life things I’ve always dreamed of doing and am thrilled it is happening. (Do you have those? I’ve got this list in my head of milestones and eating seasonally is definitely one of them.) The beets and onions are in. (The carrots came from the market.) For Saturday lunch with family, I roasted these with a bit of olive oil and sea salt.

garden bounty, april

 

We picked the greens and the first few tomatoes, boiled a couple duck eggs I had on hand and added strawberries and feta. I made a mustard vinaigrette and we had salmon burgers on the grill. It was a great use of what was ready to eat.

garden bounty, april

 

And now, we dig into zucchini season. I used 1/3 of this baby to bake muffins for the week. We are going to be up to our ears in vegetables in the next month!

(I’m most excited by the pickling cucumbers that are thriving. I’ve never canned pickles before.)

~K

Posted in
Earth Mama, Flora and Fauna
Comments (2)

Howdy, Bicycle

March 21st

Bike to work!

Arizona offers a bunch of incentives if you use an alternative method of transportation for work. There are contests, gift certificates and the smug attitude you get to have all day after you’ve ridden to work, or carpooled.

I’ve done the carpool thing. It isn’t bad.  I did the bus thing once and it took 3 hours from my current home. It was a time suck. This week I did the cycling thing too. It wasn’t bad either, but it certainly was exhausting. I went from riding zero miles on my bike in, oh 2012-2014, to 29 miles in one day riding to and from work.

No, I didn’t ride a horse yesterday. Yes, I am walking like a cowboy. (The bike shorts I ordered last week are still in transit.)

April is “bike to work month” and Share the Ride is offering some fun incentives. Plus, the City of Tempe has a special day — including free breakfasts and other prizes. And there are a handful of vendors in Phoenix offering discounts if you ride your bike to them during April too. There is an calendar of events here.

A new adventure! Here is to hoping I can make this more of my routine, remembering the more immediate benefits: less gas and wear on the car, more time exercising, and a much more pleasant commute.

Bike on, friends,

Kelli

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama
Comments (0)

A Garden Grows

January 26th

I asked for a garden bed for Christmas. This weekend, we worked on it together.

W Garden

W Garden

W Garden

W Garden

W Garden

W Garden

W Garden

W Garden

W Garden

With rain in the forecast this week, I think this little garden will have plenty of good luck.

Now, off to do something with the trees full of citrus. I’m thinking marmalade. And drafting plans for a pantry to shelve all the future garden preserves.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama, Flora and Fauna
Comments (3)

Throwing Shade

October 16th

Around the hacienda

These poor pumpkins were cooking in the heat. The edges were browning and the flowers weren’t doing great. Even though I planted the native seeds when I was supposed to, I am not sure we’ll see gourds before Thanksgiving.

Regardless, I knew they needed some shade. In the spirit of using what we have — I repurposed four tomato stakes, a yard of heavy canvas fabric from the thrift store and the grommet tool.

Around the hacienda

Around the hacienda

Voila. Does a good enough job to keep the sun off during the hottest part of the day. The plant has flourished since. And, when we get those freak rain storms, that canvas dries and can be easily replaced.

Are you planting a fall garden? What are you planning?

~K

 

Posted in
Arizona, Domestic Art, Earth Mama, Flora and Fauna, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (1)

My tomatoes have osteoporosis

May 19th

Garden to Table

Garden to Table

It has been several years since I gardened this earth, and while I thought things were going smoothly in the bountiful tomato plot, sadly — they are not. I have blossom-end rot, causing all of the larger tomatoes to get mushy bottoms on the vine.

Come to find out, my soil is calcium deficient and I’m growing more than 100 pounds of tomatoes I won’t be able to eat. (Thankfully there are plenty of other, smaller varieties that are still doing fine.)

Next year, the soil gets tested before planting and I will certainly work bone meal into the earth before starting tomatoes.

Lesson painfully learned.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama, Flora and Fauna, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (5)

Thin Place

March 10th

One Community March

There is this Celtic belief concerning the “thin place,” where the earth is so close to heaven, the two blend. For each person, this place is different. It may vary with time, or location. The idea is, if you are open to prayer and the Holy Spirit, you may find yourself one day feeling so close to God, the space between you and heaven blurs.

My mind and heart have been heavy, carrying the burdens of many I love. There are my own worries too. The last year has been a constant calendar of big life changes.

I was praying last week, writing in a journal, before returning home to take Nelson on a walk around the local lake. During the walk, I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, “The Moth.” The storyteller this time was Krista Tippett, someone I’ve long admired — having listened to her faith podcast “On Being” for years. She talked about her relationship with her grandfather, visiting Scotland, and hearing about the thin place. Several of her fellow travelers had visited a local “stone reader” in Scotland who somehow knew things about their lives. They urged her reluctantly into going. And when she did, the stone reading woman told her that her beloved and misunderstood grandfather was there with them. He wanted her to know how proud he was of her. And he, a teetotaler in this life, was raising a glass of champagne to her in the next.

I fell to my knees in the emerald green spring grass lining the lake’s edge and breathed deeply. Proud. I had just prayed that morning, in a moment of sorrow, that I hoped my grandmother was proud. (Sometimes prayers take the tone of a babbling child. So it goes, when you are completely, wildly vulnerable.)

Proud. 

And here she was, in her own way, telling me to pull myself up by my own kinda-Celtic bootstraps and to carry on. She was proud.

I ran my hands through the grass, feeling the earth beneath my fingers. They came upon something cool, nearly out of reach. A stone, turquoise in the light. Her favorite color, and mine too. The stone reader sending me a message from a continent away.

Carry on. It is what the women in our family do. Chin up, stone in hand, I grabbed the leash and we finished our walk with my grandmother’s spirit keeping my own afloat.

~K

 

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama, Faith
Comments (11)

Baby Kimono Wrap Sweater

February 2nd

Robyn and I don’t really know each other. But we have long read each other’s blogs and supported each other. Well, really she has supported me. She and her community of knitting friends regularly pitch in for my variety of projects. Boxes of hats, scarves and other hand knits have arrived from around the country for homeless vets, for example. Her generosity knows no bounds.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

She is expecting a little girl soon. Her first! I thought it would be nice to send some non-pink or purple love her way to celebrate the addition to their family.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

 

Pattern: Kimono Wrap in Mason Dixon Knitting

Yarn: Peaches and Cream cotton

Time: This knit up within a couple weeks. It took far longer to decide what to do about the closure. With the move, my sewing supplies are packed (and machine is in the shop) so when Sue suggested braided ties, I jumped on the idea. I love the colors of this yarn; they remind me of the sea.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

Next up: ball band cotton dish cloths — a pattern from the same book. I have a lot of small bits of cotton yarn remaining from a variety of projects I’d like to clean up, and a few friends moving and settling into new houses. Perfect fit.

~K

Posted in
Blessings, Community, Domestic Art, Earth Mama
Comments (5)

Garden Gander

October 20th

The little patio garden that could is chugging away. Specifically, the basil and other herbs:

Gardening

Gardening

The beans aren’t doing poorly either.

Gardening

And now, thanks to Finny’s thoughtfulness, I’ve got another patio planted with succulents. I hope to propegate them — growing them by the dozens with time. Such a gorgeous collection and kind gift. (It pays to have a professional hydro basil specialist as a friend.)

Gardening

Gardening

This little house is starting to feel like a home. I know it will more so when we have some tomatoes planted, which I am considering starting in egg shells. Anyone ever tried this method with success?

Gardening

Pretty sure that last one is called Dong Cactus. (Just for you, Finny)

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Earth Mama, Flora and Fauna
Comments (4)