Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Garden Girls Foodie Adventure....Trying Artichoke....

I will be the first to admit that I'm a very picky eater...When I read the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons and he is making faces about his food, I think that is me!  I made such horrible faces as a child that my father switched my seat so that when he made something that I hated..Usually Pea Soup, he did not have to watch me...Even now when I make something my children do not like to eat, nothing they do can annoy me as I could make a gagging sound and face that could top them.
I too love dessert and snacks...But I have decided that I need to try healthy food...and my new job is a place where healthy food is all around me. This past week I took the brave step of trying a new food.
Artichoke...
I'm not sure why people are so into eating Artichoke...But I have had many people tell me they love it and they have told me how to cook it, and what they like to dip it in.  Here is the before it's cooked state...
I searched the internet for simple Artichoke recipes and decided to steam it in water with lemon,bay leaf and garlic.The above photo is the steamed Artichoke.   People told me of two things they like to dip it in, melted butter (now that is something I like!) or Mayo...
I liked it best in the butter...But who wouldn't??...I'll admit that it wasn't that bad...I never got to the Heart of it though...People say the heart is the best...And eating a vegetable heart is far more appealing to me than animal heart any day...But the whole getting the choke off the heart was too much....so someday I'll have a friend who is better at this eating good food stuff prepare Artichoke hearts for me... One thing I learned in this crazy food adventure is Artichokes are the flower of a Thistle plant....


And because I tried something new and healthy I had a good treat...Strawberry shortcake...YUM!
So what healthy food do you think I should try next?  Have you tried Artichoke?  What is your favorite way to eat it?
G.G.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Crazy Hens and Chicks lady...Part two...My out door experiment...

All winter I have been growing Hens and Chicks in my house in little pots.  My family has thought that I have gone crazy.  But really I do have a garden plan for all these plants.  I want plant them around my window wells.  Here is the first finished planting.
I have actually bought a bunch of different succulents to plant around the window wells to see which ones do the best. 
I'm also working on putting Sedum around the edge of the house..This is a section that I have cleared out but have not yet planted anything.
This is a small section of my garden that I planted last year..The Hens and Chicks did really well in this spot, and I'm hoping that by the end of the summer I will have the same results for the new areas that I have planted.  What I love about these plants is they don't need a lot of attention or water.
I have to say that I am enjoying my western garden adventure...I really like the Sedum and Hens and Chicks.
The weather forecast is for rain this week...So my next adventure will be starting my seeds..I'm going to be starting Shasta Daisies and Black Eyed Susan's as I have a new garden idea for my back yard.  In another month I'm also going to start some Sunflowers too... What are you doing in your garden this year?
G.G.





Friday, April 15, 2016

Sherlock Holmes The BBC Series...A STUDY IN ADULT BULLYING....

I absolutely love the Sherlock Holmes BBC shows.  Being the mother of a child who has been bullied because he is smart makes me see one continuous theme in these shows.  Sherlock is a bullied adult.  As I watch these shows I often think of all that you see in the media of trying to get children to stop bulling each other.  What I find interesting is that we as adults seem to think we can go into schools and tell children to stop picking on each other and that somehow they are going to stop.  And yet we refuse to see that we are their examples and we have yet to figure out how to stop picking on each other.  And that we have examples of people being bullied in our TV shows and movies...
From the very beginning of the Sherlock shows you learn that Sherlock is no ordinary person.  He seems to be able to figure things out that other people just don't... Some people say he is a high functioning sociopath...Others say that Sherlock is autistic...Perhaps he is a genius... John Watson is told by many who know him (Sherlock) to find a new friend.  The police use him, and yet think, at some point, they will be faced with figuring out who Sherlock has murdered. 
As you watch the shows, and read the original stories, you find that Sherlock has always been picked on.  He was picked on by his peers and by his older brother who happens to be even smarter than he is.  It seems that through out time really smart or unique people either make friends or get picked on.  What I love  is that Sherlock doesn't care...Sherlock is going to study and investigate crimes and do what he likes no matter what anyone else thinks of him.  I think this is what we need to teach our children.  We need to stop pretending we are going to stop bullying...And start teaching children that it's OK to be who you are, and to give them the support they need to survive being bullied.  My son, as a child, was told that he needed to change, that how he acted was the reason he got bullied.  He had to go to the school counselor to play games to learn how to leave the "Land of Loneliness"...He was the problem because he liked to read books kids his age didn't like..  He was the problem because he was really smart and the school wouldn't challenge him... As I listen to things Sherlock says in these shows I hear my young son...'My brain is like a computer and I only put what I want into it'...My Son reminds me of Sherlock Holmes sometimes...His passion is art and he is constantly looking for ways to express himself through this...I remember the school counselor calling me and saying your son seems lost in his own world sometimes...I thought...yes, he is bored and so he makes his own worlds up, then he draws them..
Like Sherlock my son decided not to care what the bullies thought..  He eventually figured out how to defend himself and now has a lot of friends.  I think being bullied actually made him a stronger person.  He doesn't look back and think 'poor me'.. He says that being bullied helped him become who he is today.

 We as adults need to see that we also can be bullies.  I know that there have been times that I have been unkind, and I have worked hard to think about how I treat others and if I become that unkind person I try to go back and make it right.  There are also time where I have been treated unkindly and I have to decide to let it go.  We all need to look around more and see how those around us are being treated.  Do we stand up for those we know are being hurt or do we look the other way?  Bullying doesn't just happen in schools, it happens to all ages, and if we think it doesn't then we are probably looking the other way.

  As much as I like the Sherlock character if I could meet someone from this television series I would love to meet the person who made them...The mind that put together these TV series...This person I would think has to be pretty brilliant...The things that he puts into the Sherlock character are so cool.. I have told my husband I really like people with brilliant minds...I like to see how they see the world, because they see so much...

Here are a few other shows that I find have a bullying theme in them...And the wonderful thing of each is that the bullied person becomes the hero..That is what we need to teach our children who are bullied..Be who you are despite it all and you may just become the hero..The brilliant scientist..The celebrated writer..The greatest animator there ever was..The famous film maker...
This is about the bullied smart girl who gets her second chance at High School...And finally gets that first kiss...
The young weak boy who is beat up on every street corner but never gives up his dream.. becomes the super hero that saves the world...
The brilliant young boy who never quite connects with his dad, ends up realizing that saving people and peace are better than building the next best weapon (although his suit is a weapon, isn't it?)...I love all the things that they can build in these movies. Wouldn't it be great to be that smart?  Well I think it would be...  While I wish that we could get rid of bullies, I think what we really need to do is help those who are bullied see that they are good just the way they are and help them find happiness...
G.G.





I'm A Crazy Hen's And Chickens Lady...Part One...My New Garden Adventure...

Last fall I decided that I would grow Hen's and Chickens in my house so that I could plant them around the window wells of my house when spring arrived.   What started out as a few pots of Hen's and Chickens...
became a bunch of pots of Hen's and Chickens....
That became a house full of Hen's and Chickens......
In part two I'll show you what my plan is, and then as the garden season continues I'll let you know how they survive...I'm actually a little sad that it is almost time to plant them out side.  The last photo is of the ones I planted outside last year...My daughter counted and said I have 26 plants in my house...She thinks that is enough for the garden, I keep saying that I think I need more.  ...
If you want to learn about crafts you can do with Succulents this is a great book to read...It also tells you how to take care of them...The Author also has a blog site which I need to check out... 
Happy Gardening.
G.G.



Wednesday, April 13, 2016

These Shoes Are Done Walking... Garden Girl Closes A Door and Begins A New Adventure....

Five years ago I lost my job in New Jersey...This is my official school photo as a Library Assistant.  I loved that job.  I remember the day I was told I was going to lose my job at the end of the school year, it was the same day that I had gone to the school thinking about asking the Librarian if I should take the Library Assistant classes offered at the local college.  I was excited to learn more about being a Library Assistant and dreamt of being in that job forever.  Instead when I got to the school I was asked to go to the Principals office.  What happened devastated me.  I was told due to budget cuts I would be out of a job at the end of the school year.  The Principal was a wonderful man, and what a hard job it was for him that year, I was the first of many that would lose their jobs.  I had never lost a job before and it hurt.  That is why I started this blog five years ago.  It was called in the beginning Losing My Job In New Jersey.  I am and always will be the type of employee who is loyal to the end.  And I blogged about my last days as a Library Assistant and how despite knowing I was losing my job I would work and be the best employee to the end.  That is the type of person I am.  There were things I learned over that six month period that made me a better person.  I learned that I could work for a job even though I knew I was leaving and still be positive.  I learned a lot about looking for new jobs.  One thing I learned was that in this day and age most people do not stay in a job till they retire.  That a job is stepping stone and you stay until you find something better.
These are my work shoes from my job that I just left.  I think maybe I've had them for five years.  Over the past few months I've been thinking I need to find new shoes...These shoes have walked around my old job for too long.  They are worn out.  At my old job I walked about 9 to 10 miles a day...

The soles of my shoes are so worn out that there are holes in them...As I looked at my shoes I realized that I had become as worn out as my shoes...I was no longer feeling passionate about my job, I was not seeing what the next step in my job would be...And that is when I remembered my job in New Jersey...That was when I remembered all that I had learned when losing my job.  That people don't have to stay in jobs, that when you no longer feel passion you can look to see what else is out there.  I started to go to an employment center to have my resume worked on.  If you want a new job, go to employment centers. If you live in Utah and are LDS you should go to their employment centers.  There are so many free services for you.  Even if you are not LDS you can go to them and get help and free services too.  I found that I could get free computer classes if I needed them. I found that there were job fairs, and events that helped people to network.  I had one on one help with my resume, and was given tips and tricks on how to apply for jobs online.  Many people stay at a job because they feel they can't find anything better.  But that is not the case, you can find things that are better.
I found that I could close the door on a job that was no longer right for me.  I found that not only were my shoes in need of being changed, but I was in need of a change.   I shut the door to a job that no longer fit me, and felt happiness.  With the help of the LDS Employment center I found that I could move on and make more money and find a job where I had room to grow more.  When someone gets a job, they go back to the employment center and they hit a giant bell...They ring in a new adventure.  I have to go do that soon, but need to wait for my special helpers to be there to celebrate with  me.
There is a new door opening in front of me...I am excited to walk through this door and see the possibilities that are in front of me.  I no longer fit in my old work shoes...I no longer need to walk miles everyday...I have changed and found the new me to be so much more strong and happy.  I will continue to share my adventures with you...I think it will be a much healthier adventure for me and my family.
Now this pair of shoes...My Garden Shoes...Well they have a lot more work to do...It's too bad there isn't an app that keeps track of how much you garden...Because I don't think my Fit Bit will get to 10 miles for a long time...But if there was some way to measure the amount of gardening you do I'm sure it would find me doing hours of it... But I'll save that story for another day.  If you have recently changed jobs or find yourself on a new adventure tell me about it.  I'd love to hear what you are doing.
G.G.



Friday, April 1, 2016

Kimberly, Kimberly Quite Contrary...How did your garden grow?...Looking back to last years garden and what I learned...

As I start to plan what I want to do in my garden this year I look back at what I learned last year.  One thing I did last year was plant seeds in little green house containers...I learned that you need to plant the same seeds in a container, I planted some different ones and then some lived and some died...I love seeing the whole life cycle of plants...It's my inner scientist wanting to know how everything works.
I get a lot of sun light in my house which I love.  I was so excited to have plants that grew so well..These are baby Black Eyed Susan Vines...Learning the right time to move a baby plant from the house to the garden was the next step in my gardening experience...Some of the little plants lived and some unfortunately died...
One problem I ran into last year was the neighborhood cat..I would plant something and the next morning it would be dug up..I found that planting forks in my garden kept the cats away...But it got a lot of questions..At the end of the year I found some clip on flowers and put them on the forks and said that they finally bloomed....
This is one of the first flowers in my garden each year..Periwinkle...I'm always happy to see it blooming.
I'm trying to fill my front yard garden with small flowering plants..I tried this Portulaca plant...They did pretty good in my garden, but I don't think I will plant them again this year.
We have a fence along our back yard and I tried to grow morning glories up it last year, I think I waited a little long to plant them, I'm hoping they come back on their own...Oh and forks..I planted lots of forks last year...I wish people would keep their cats inside...
It was wonderful to plant a seed and see it grow and flower...This is a Black Eyed Susan Vine flower..
I so enjoyed my garden last year...I can't wait to do some more experiments this year and share them with you.
G.G.







Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Language of Flowers...A book I'm reading again and how it inspired me in my life....

Here is a book that I am going to read again...I can't remember when I read it last, probably two years ago or more.  I don't typically read books twice because most of the time I will remember so much about reading the book that it isn't fun for me to read it again.  But I really love this book because the main character uses her love and knowledge of flowers to heal from a hard life and to help others.  If you have ever worked with foster care children this is a book you should read as the main character is a foster care child.  This book is what inspired me to take photo's of flowers and make cards from them.  Any one who loves flowers and wants to learn more about their meaning will love this book.
Spring is coming to Utah and I'm getting ready to work in my garden...I've picked a few books from the library to learn more about the plants that grow well here.  So this is some of my fun reading in the next few weeks.  This way I'll know what seeds to buy.
My other garden book to read is about Succulents...I'm a crazy Hen's and Chickens gardener...I have these ideas and can't wait to try them out.
I'd also like to make a mini fairy garden...So I got this magazine to read...The garden shop up the street from my house has tons of little fairies for a garden...


This is what my flower cards look like.  I love that you can send a card and the flower could have a meaning.  The very bottom card is of Periwinkle it's meaning is "Fond Remembrance"...As I make these cards I am going to make tags on the back that tell what the flower is...and then it will be up to the person who receives that card to look up the meaning of the flower to see what message I have sent them.  In April our church leaders have asked that we do one small act of service everyday.  I think one of my acts of service each week will be to send people cards and tell them about how much they mean to me.  I can't wait to be working in my garden, and to visit gardens in Utah this year.  I look forward to sharing more with you.
G.G.
If you would like a flower card leave a message with your address and I will send you one...I have lots of them.