Category Archives: Garden Writers We Love

Salvage Cooking

Vichyssoise in Ankara, Turkey.jpg

“Vichyssoise at Home” by E4024, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

It’s that time of year again, soup time. This poem, by a brand new contributor (thank you, Scudder!), is about the magic a gardener/cook can create — with only a few of the season’s last offerings and a little imagination.
— SK

Salvage Cooking

Too many leeks this year.
A dozen locked in four inches
of frozen, mounded soil, one bin
stacked full in the refrigerator.
And kale stalks like palms
after the hurricane, offering
their small limp fronds before
succumbing to the final freeze.

“Delicious!” is all I can think.
Chicken bones accumulated
in the freezer. Wilted greens
hiding in the other bin. Onions
that won’t make it through
the month—all crying “broth!”
Then add potatoes (with the skin)
throw celery and carrots in.

It is to vichyssoise what
slam poetry is to rhyming
greeting cards. You have to
drink it hot, soak your coarse
bread crust. It’s full of things
that were all but lost,
so ordinary, damaged,
that they seem to have no cost.

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Scudder Parker grew up on a family farm in North Danville, Vermont.  He’s been a Protestant minister, state senator, utility regulator, candidate for Governor, consultant on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and is settling into his ongoing work as a poet. He’s a passionate gardener and proud grandfather of four.  He and his wife live in Middlesex, Vermont.  Scudder has published in Sun Magazine, Vermont Life, Northern Woodlands, Wordrunner, Passager, Eclectica, Twyckenham, Ponder Review, and Crosswinds.

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Waking Up, Smelling the Smoke, and Making a Vow!

Right now, I hope you’ll join me in making a vow for 2019:

THIS IS THE YEAR WE SAID “NO MORE.”

No more tolerance of climate change denial.

No more allowing our media and our elected officials to ignore the problems and run from solutions.

No more running away from hard work – we MUST get INVOLVED. Everyone can do SOMETHING. Very little bit matters and it all adds up!

No more silence. We must say something, we must speak out, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

No more protecting those who have brought this on through lies and deceit.

No more standing still.

It’s time to get MOVING.
The world depends on it.

We have a lot to be grateful for in this beautiful world and we can heal it. I know it.

But we have to start now.

 

 

 

Ladybug, Ladybug Fly Away Home 

Ladybug!  Ladybug!
Fly away home.
Your house is on fire.
And your children all gone.

***

That last line is up to us, and only us, to change.

— SK

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Thank Bees for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

I feel this is the perfect post for the holidays, and every day. Maybe when we say we are thankful for our meals, we should think of all the creatures who make them possible. ❤

Married with Bees

Millions of Americans are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, and the grocery stores are bracing themselves for the onslaught of customers.  The fact that hundreds of millions of people in the US can eat a meal that consists of roughly the same menu on the same day is a miracle of modern agriculture as well as a testament to good supply chain management at that nations’ grocery stores.  Have you ever considered how your Thanksgiving meal is impacted by bees?  Many of your Thanksgiving favorites would not make it to the table without the pollination services provide by bees.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Those Giant Amazon Waterlilies

The giant Amazon waterlilies (also known as Victoria cruziana) have always captivated me. (How about you?)

In this David Attenborough piece, I finally got to learn more about them!

 

 

— SK

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Bees

I LOVE this. Every day we should send a word of thanks to our pollinators!

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Trees, Trees, Beautiful Trees

Bamboo_and_tree_canopy_Unsplash-2015-WC

“Bamboo and Tree Canopy”, October 19, 2015, by Kazuend, via Wikimedia Commons

My friend Karla (who supplies all the great links and quotes for the “Monthly Museletter”) sent me a poem last week that she’s turned into a song. (We were corresponding about how happy the trees were to finally get some much-needed RAIN!)
Karla shared that, “on morning walks I often sing this to honor the Trees.”:
Trees, Trees, Beautiful Trees
Trees, trees, beautiful trees,
They sway and they bend in the bountiful breeze.
In summer they shade and in winter they freeze,
Make new little homes for the birdies and bees,
Make new little homes for the birdies and bees.
The sap goes up and the sap goes down,
The trees turn red, orange, yellow, and brown.
The seeds fall off and stick in the ground–
Make new little beauties when spring rolls around,
Make new little beauties when spring rolls around.
I asked Karla if she’d created the song. She said no, it came from a BC cartoon strip she’d kept from years ago.  “Then,” she said, “my friend Judy Feeney wrote a song called ‘The Ants Dance’ (on her CD of the same title).  Out walking one morning, I realized the tree poem perfectly fit the melody of the ants song!”
Thank you, Karla, for sharing this poem and your story!
—S.K.
(Note: I tried to find a link to Johnny Hart’s BC strip with this verse, but had no luck.)
 
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The Chicken Chronicles book is About to Hatch!


(One mock-up of a cover design—not the final version!)

 

Big Announcement: I’ve nearly finished a project I started on two years ago!

It feels great to finally get to this place. And, as this project is a memoir of our family’s “country in the city” experiment over nearly two decades, I’m happy that these adventures are soon to be in book form.

For those of you who haven’t read stories from the collection that have appeared in Greenwoman Magazine  or on this blog, here’s the book description:

THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES is a collection of essays and stories written by an unapologetically quirky plant and animal lover who dives deep into creating a “country living in the city” experience for her family. Engaging, erudite, and often hilarious, THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES follows Colorado author Sandra Knauf as:

She and her young daughters meet neighbor Grandma Ruby, an 80-something-year-old cottage gardener/chicken raiser, who inspires Sandra to start her own backyard flock of exotic breed bantam chickens.

She confesses and explores her shocking and insatiable lust — for seed catalogs.

She becomes involved in a garden tour fundraiser for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and gets a close look at her city’s partisan politics — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

She examines 21st century lawns, “the biggest waste of water in suburbia,” and shares her experiences — from working as a teenager at a lawn care company in the 1980s to becoming an ecology-minded gardener hell-bent on getting rid of the bluegrass.

She introduces us to unforgettable animals: an ill-fated Neatherlands dwarf bunny, Puff; an out-of-control black Labrador puppy, Broonzy; a coop full of exotic breed bantams with the names of Greek goddesses, and more.

She gives the lowdown on her city’s green fringe through other adventures that include: capturing a swarm of bees, joining a garden club, and becoming a gardener-for-hire in her city’s richest neighborhood.

She ponders life and discovers that the most important lesson is to love it, participate in it, and live it exactly how you want to.


A picture taken during The Chicken Chronicles era: Daughters Zora (with chick “Kayley”) and Lily with “Jessica.” As we bought unsexed chicks, the girls were hoping for egg-laying hens and named them accordingly. Their two favorite “hens” turned out to be roosters.

 

While I’m writing today to announce this upcoming collection, I’m also here to ask: Would any of you be interested in being beta (test) readers? I have a PDF ready and I would LOVE to hear what you think of this book!

If you’re interested, just send me a note at maefayne(at)msn.com. I would need your comments by the end of the month and I’ll include a list of questions to guide your critique with the PDF.

I hope you can participate; I would love for you to be a part of this project!

Sandy

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