Musings from the garden…by Carol

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John Bell, gardener extraordinaire, shared bounty from his garden and taught us how to make basil pesto and pico de gallo -simple recipes that taste like summer. The smell of the pesto alone, made our mouths water.
While eating, we acknowledged the two year anniversary of the solidarity singers getting arrested at the capitol. (can you imagine? getting arrested for singing?)) John, a proud member of the group, wore his cap and led us in a rousing rendition of solidarity forever. Andy performed a “Christmas in July” song on his guitar and Carol instigated a game of catch with Steve, using a gorgeous purple striped eggplant- just about the size of a baseball. We learned that Steve has a pretty serious pitching arm. The game of catch was funny but it felt sacrilegious to toss around such a beautiful specimen from the garden.
Kenna shared baked kale chips. Though most enjoyed them, not everyone found them to their liking. Edward bravely bit in to a crispy dark leaf only to place it politely on his plate, a grimace on his face. Kale chips can be an acquired taste.
Laura picked copious cucumbers and laid them on the table like little soldiers. They were later passed around the group to be taken home to fresh salads. The produce table consisted of other delicacies as well, a few ripe tomatoes. I’ll call them tantalizing- tomatoes for their freshness. There is absolutely nothing in the whole world like biting in to the first vine ripened tomato of the season!
Doug picked J’appy J’alepeno’s ( pronounced Happy Halepeno’s) . These dark green souls were distributed to the group with a warning! A lesson Doug learned a few years ago when he sliced up hot peppers. WARNING: When slicing hot peppers wear gloves, or be sure to wash your hands thoroughly so as not to be hurt by a Jalapeno!
Back to the eggplants; Ken tenderly plucked them from the vine- an edifying experience. Edifying- eggplant simply because it is one of the more beautiful and tasty vegetables produced in the garden. It feels sinful to cut one open. Zoe revealed that she loves eggplant parmesan so perhaps she will share her recipe with us on this blog. (hint, hint)
John showed us a large cilantro plant that he harvested from his garden and explained how the pungent leaves can be used in cooking as well as the seeds which turn in to coriander. (Two completely different flavors) Its Curious how this works- curious – coriander, crunchy and complex. The sensuous -cilantro creates a warming effect when eaten in spicy pico de gallo. Amore!
Dill let us not forget the abundant Dill! One can count on dill to do its duty. Dutiful- Dill. Not only is it critical to pickles but it makes a lovely cut flower for a bouquet, like the one Ken and Miriam picked for Ken’s birthday. Another lovely flower blooming in the garden is the bright blue bachelor buttons. Kate and Sarah dead headed the old blooms so they would not go to seed. Poor guys!
Andy decided that watering just the garden was not as much fun as watering the gardeners so Kate, Sarah and I exited quickly to the left. Watering is critical and the garden was dry. Jo Jo watered the tree in the back 40 with Todd, while Steve watered the raised bed garden.
Marge M. had a beautiful shirt appliqued with colorful flowers. She looked like part of the surroundings. Marge P. wore a beautiful sunny yellow shirt that brought one to mind of sunshine. Who else was there? Cathy, Rebecca, Angie, Yvon, Shelly, Pat, Julie, Alex, Sarah, Kate, Rory, Ann, Nicole, Mimi…..
Pat took home the lone beet that had been plucked from the earth. Like the song says “one is the loneliest number” and no one else seemed to want to claim it. I am curious how Pat prepared the solitary beet. (Perhaps she will tell us)
As we were packing up and getting ready to leave, Marge, Shelly and Edward identified the tree planted between the sidewalk and the street. Its pods were intriguing and contained electric green seed pods. Shelly, being the resourceful gardener that she is, pulled out her smart phone and googled the tree. We learned that it is a Kentucky coffee tree and that Native Americans roasted the seeds and ground them for a coffee like substance. WARNING! The seeds in their natural state- before roasting- are Toxic! It’s a good thing I did not bite into one.
Forgive me if I left anyone out. Everyone who participates in Gardening 4 Good is essential to the community. I think that is why we are all so happy to be there! (or should I say J’appy)

Wind Turbine’s thoughts on gardening…..

July 28, 12:45 pm

Gardening is soo fun because I like to think back how fruits and vegetables came from the earth in the first place before people plantted them. I always think of the how they’re related together, but look different. Just like when you see an onion it comes in white and red but is still an onion.  It’s just like how green onions are related to leaks and cabadge is green or purple.  That’s the same with fruits.  When you see apples they come in two different kinds, green and red, berries come in a lot of different ways, like raspberry, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and black barriers.  I love that about fruits and vegetables, they look different, taste different, but are cousins related to each other.

Wind Turbine


July 28, 1:20pm

I just love how fruits and vegetables came from the earth before people plantted them. I’ve always wondered how they’re the same and different, just like when you see an onion it comes in white and red but is still an onion.  The other thing is that leaks look just like green onions but have different names.
That’s the same with fruits, they have different colors but the same names.  Just like grapes, they come in the colors green and purple but are called grapes, apples are red and green but are still apples.  Berries come in a lot of different ways, like raspberry, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and blackberry.
I love that about fruits and vegetables.  They look different from each other but are related as cousins.

Wind Turbine

Jul 29 4:19 PM

I’ve always been interested in gardening because I’ve always wondered how fruits and vegetables came from the earth before people plantted them. What really interests me is that how fruits and vegetables are related to each other but look different. Just like when you see an onion it comes in white and red but is still an onion, the other thing is that leaks look just like green onions but are different vegetables.
That’s the same with fruits, they come in different ways but have the same names. Like apples have two different colors, green and red but are just called apples. Barriers come in many different ways, like raspberry, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and blackberries.
I love that about fruits and vegetables. They are all related to each other as cousins.

Wind Turbine

Gardening for Good 2014, 8th night

The eighth night-already. We’ve had well timed rainfall through the season. But this evening, things were especially dry, and needed to be watered. This will give the plants encouragement to continue to grow and thrive.

John Bell talked about the dishes that he had prepared from his garden, pico de gallo and pesto. Pico de gallo starts with tomato, pepper, onion and cilantro, the main ingredients. John passed around cilantro plants, one that was more green, and one that had gone to seed. The seeds of the cilantro are coriander, and the flavor is different than the fresh cilantro. There were many sniffers and adventurous tasters.

The next delight for the sense of smell was pesto. It is made from basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.The smell and the taste are a signature of this time of the year when the basil has grown large enough to be harvested. Basil made into pesto is a glorious enticement to just take in the aroma, to try to be patient for the taste.

Everyone was served a lovely bowl of pesto, pico de gallo, and chips.

Other treats were enjoyed also-fruits and vegetables in season now. Kenna harvested kale from our garden and made kale chips for all to sample and enjoy. It is such a regular part of everyone’s life, to have meals. But in the garden, with others, our pleasure in eating links us to each other and to every other creature who relishes their meal.

Blog entry by Pat.


“But though an old man, I am but a young gardener”. John as told to him by Thomas Jefferson

John sharing tips on pico de gallo and pesto



Gardening for Good 2014, 7th night


We’ve entered the phase when the seedlings we tucked into their beds six weeks ago are rising up like grizzly bears, standing on two legs and announcing, “Thank you very MUCH! Now get out of my way, I’m going to get BIGGER!”

I wondered where Sarah and Kate were as I looked over the garden. Surely they were here somewhere: our gatherings wouldn’t be the same without those reliable friends. Then Sarah’s head popped up in the pepper patch, like a pelican returning to the surface of the sea, with a handful of jalapenos instead of a pouch full of fish. In a moment, Kate’s head appeared near Sarah’s. Laughing and doing chores, Sarah and Kate. All was right with the world so far, I thought.

I eased into the garden, mentally saying “excuse me, excuse me” to the hip-high tomato plants I had to jostle through to get to a pile of grass mulch that Rebecca wanted us to spread around the kale. I do my mulching on my knees, to reflect reverence for the living soil where the soul of the earth resides; also because I enjoy crawling in a garden. Crawling around, I found an exquisite eggplant, hidden at the base of its mother just like an egg in a nest. The eggplant was perfectly ripe, if a bit small. I picked it and stood up in triumph. “Look!” I said. “An eggplant!”

Jill said, “It looks just like an egg!” And sure enough, it did. It could have been a goose egg or turtle egg or dinosaur egg. Purple, yes, but unmistakably an egg. I examined it as I placed it on the table where we share the harvest. All is right with the world, I thought, when an eggplant looks exactly like an egg.

Marge (one of us is the other Marge) came along with a bag of hand-made yarn coasters. She was passing them out as gifts to the rest of us, very proudly, as she had made them herself without help. We sat down together, the two Marges. I admired the colorful rubber-band bracelets Marge was wearing. She promptly gave one of them to me. She had made them without help, too! I had a basket with words in it, for our “pick-a-word” storytelling activity later. I picked out a word at random to show Marge, and she surprised me by reading each letter of the word back to me.  B-E-A-U-T-Y. All is right with the world when one Marge reveals Beauty to the other Marge.

More people were starting to arrive at the garden, just in time for snacks and storytelling. Here came Edward, confident stride, hip sunglasses, handsome smile. “All right, Edward’s here!” I hollered, applauding. Edward laughed and grinned at me as he joined the group and found a seat for himself. All is right with the world, I thought, when Edward realizes how perfectly he belongs in this happy place.

Then we played “pick-a-word”, where each of us picks a word randomly from the basket and tells a story containing that word. Carol picked the word “Mulch.” She told us how this very day, she had accompanied Jojo and Todd up to the big lawn with a wheelbarrow to collect grass clippings to use as mulch in the garden. “I feel that today I passed some kind of test with Jojo,” Carol said. “On the way back to the garden, he held my hand.”

All is right with you, I thought, when Jojo holds your hand. And all is right with the world, when we applaud each other’s garden stories, out of reverence for the soul that resides there.