Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What is a Master Gardener?

gardening greeting card tomatoes country mom son

A friend of mine asked me recently, “What is a Master Gardener?”  She has known me for a while, she knows of some of my activities, and she knows that it is part of the Agriculture Extension Program. 

 I wasn’t sure where to begin. 


After a few restarts in my brain I decided to tell her the history,   It began with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the reason they started the Extension Services in each county – in my simple terms it was to help those who made their livelihood farming or with livestock.  In the ‘70’s a King County Extension Agent (Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, are in King County) was being inundated not with farmer's calls but with urban horticulture calls. 

To address this issue, a pilot plan was designed to publicize a 'Clinics' table set up in a Tacoma mall.  Home gardeners would be invited to bring their gardening questions to this table, including examples of their problems, if available.  This pilot was so successful that a training class was set up the next year to train volunteers committed to helping with these kinds of requests.  This was the beginning of the Master Gardeners program that can be found in many County Extension Offices throughout the United States and also internationally.  The point of the program being to teach people about the science and art of growing plants by providing information and technical assistance using research-based and sustainable gardening practices.

Einstein Lightbulb Moment, Create - Vinyl Decal, Wall Art, Vinyl Sticker, Wall Decor, Home or Office Decor

The lightbulb went off in my friends head.  She talked about the predicament an Extension agent would be in who knew or could find the answers to an urban gardener’s question but did not feel that was how he/she should spend their time.  She said as much and was glad that this Extension Office had created a way to help us urban gardeners.  We agreed that our gardening problems may not cost us our livelihood but does affect our checkbooks and, if you grow to love some of you trees shrubs and other yard plants like I do, it affects our desire to garden.

Sun and Rain help the Garden grow POSTER large 14 x 20 gardening plants Print

So if you are a urban/home gardener and live in the U.S. or another country that provides this free service, call your County Extension Agent (in the U.S.) next time you have a question about something going on in your yard.  Or go to an event that publicizes a 'Clinics' table, like your county fair or Saturday market or special event at one of your nurseries.  If the volunteers there can't help you, they will put you in touch with someone who can.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In Flower

Barbara Gerber of the InFlower shop on Etsy has a very special talent.  Flowers, pressed and dried, become the components of many artful prints, and are joined with inspiration and poetical words.

Here are a few of her incomparable cards - many have been given to the delight of my friends.  Others have brought kind thoughts and comfort in times of sickness and sorrow.

See if you won't fall in love with her work too.  :)




MOOSE Notecard

The Letter C Gift Pack

ANNA Notecard

Sympathy Card called Embrace

LIGHT Notecard


SHOOT for the MOON


Proverbs 15

SHEEP JOY Notecard

NOBLE WOMAN Birthday Card


BABY GIRL  Greeting Card

DANCE WEED greeting card

See more of her remarkable creations here:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/InFlower
This blog is for the Mid-Week Blog Blitz for the Etsy Christian Artists Street Team.  See other blogs like it: 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Grocery Store Encounter

It was a day when I realized I was going to have to bite the bullet and go across town.  Grocery shopping is something I like to do close to home but on this side of the river (traffic on the bridge!) there are no good value stores.

I had been to this store once before but I'll try not to make that an excuse.  The first aisle was like a tunnel funneling me right into the produce section.  I slowly pushed my cart  through looking at the prices which made me ashamed I had spent years spending so much. 

Near the tomatoes, I stopped my cart, grabbed a produce bag and started walking up the aisle to see what looked best when I saw a man, perhaps in his 60's with remaining touches of the hippie generation, heading toward my unmanned cart.  Whoa!  He's going to collide - can't he see?  And WHAM my cart he did - very hard and very deliberately. At this point I didn't know who had left the cart there :) and continued studiously with my tomato shopping.  I did notice a woman following him, knowing she probably had caught the guilty party if he had not.

Giving them time to leave the area, continuing slowly, now with my cart, I shopped.  In the many aisles butting up against the produce section I kept seeing this man and woman racing up and down.  My first chapter in my imagined story was that she must be his daughter, perhaps 20-22 years of age or so, on college break, visiting her very intense father for a few days. 

Then they whizzed by me again in the produce section - I forced myself to look at her and she acknowledged me but not ready to engage, I quickly averted my attention elsewhere.

So I finished in the produce and started the aisle shopping.  Wow!  I couldn't figure out how many times they needed to visit the same aisles.  The young woman seemed very good natured and followed him with a smile.  As they passed me again, I deliberately gave her a smile.  She stopped and said, "I really like your hair - the way it goes . . ." as she made a softly curving motion with her arm.  They continued.

The imagination continued the story:  Not only was she beautiful outside but inside as well.  Me, still feeling sensitive about the incident, saw how very gracious she was - to reinstate me in a very deliberate way and let me know she had seen the whole thing.  It was a very sweet revelation.

So the saga continued - a couple smiles from a distance - but we never passed close again.  My last glimpse of them was in the meat section.

Generally speaking, I don't do a lot of antagonizing in the grocery so can't say I'm not used to kindness, but in this embarrassing situation, this woman made a real pleasant trip of it.  It was one of those moments when I was glad I'd made a connection.  I pray God bless her and her father (he's her father from my story anyway) with the best of times together.


Reusable Grocery bag Brown fabric gender neutral

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In (God) Dependence Day

First let me say that this blog is inspired by and in some cases quoted from our Pastor's Sunday sermon, including the title.  After reading this past week about a child in Uganda that needs sponsoring and Ann Voskamp's "Letter to North American Churches", this message went from my head to my heart.

I hope it blesses you with the very best kind of blessings - to hear God's voice, His child's heart listening.

Text:  Deuteronomy 8:10-20 from NIV Holy Bible:
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me."  But remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who give you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

"Under God" was added to the American Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, making the phrase "One Nation Under God".

As "ONE NATION UNDER GOD", let us be. . .

THANKFUL:  All good things come from God.  We in America have much to be thankful for.

CAREFUL:  Don't forget that God has given us these things. 

MINDFUL:  God gives us the ability to produce wealth. 

I like how this causes our focus to be on God - as Christians we know that "all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose."  This means no matter where in the world we live.  What we have in America is so very precious, especially the gifts of time and spare cash that can be spent either futilely or fruitfully - our choice, at least for now.

I love the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States where it says:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." 

Obviously, the writers did not intend for our nation to have independence from God.

FIVE FREEDOMS First Amendment Inspired Cross Stitch Chart

Vintage Children's Book - "Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May"  1975 by Jean Fritz
And the quote from Patrick Henry, one of the ratifiers of the US Constitution: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.  For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."

I've read the Book, I know how it all ends - but in the meantime my heart cries out in utter thankfulness to God that I am blessed to live in the United States.  I pray I use my freedoms and gifts here and now, wisely and well.


Scripture art fall thanksgiving orange gray give thanks home decor
We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near . .  Psalm 75:1

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sisters Travel to Yellowstone

A happy circumstance in my life is a family cabin near West Yellowstone, one of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park.  My husband's and my first trip there was in 1989, a year after the devastating fire that burned a reported 793,880 acres, a third of the park being affected.

In the many many trips there in intervening years we have seen this lovely park at many times of the year and seen many sites in outlying places in the area.  We have brought many guests to join us.

The trip this year was notable because it was with two of my sisters.  They have come with me and my husband once each before but never the three of us together.

Some of my favorite pictures from this wonderful time:

An evening walk with Elaine from the cabin to Lake Hebgen
Renee and Elaine - Firehole River

On our way at one of the major Geyser sites . . .

One of the luscious Midway Geyser sites - love that pale turquoise often with bright rust orange trim!

Hit the play button here if you would like to see what we saw at Old Faithful.

Waiting for Old Faithful to erupt . . .

The oldest lodge at Old Faithful, love the windows and siding.

Morning Glory pool . . . well worth the mile and quarter walk from Old Faithful.

View out the front of the cabin - Lake Hegben in the distance - only quarter mile actually.

Beautiful background for two beautiful sisters!!

at the Paint Pots

Sweet  . . . !
Did you say Rocky Mountains!?!   On the road to Mammoth Hot Springs.

Mammoth Hot Springs with its lovely backdrop.

Glorious shot looking down on Upper Falls of Yellowstone River.

Love the perspective the trees give this shot, the white is not snow but rock.
Osprey, female at nest, male came in landed and quickly took off again, - don't miss the fish he is carrying.
Lower falls of the Yellowstone River are as magnificent as ever.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Soft Vintage Green Pearls

A lovely tint of soft green attracted me to these vintage pearls.  They were sitting in the compartment of a prior beader's stash.  She wanted me to have them - her hands given way to the way of the years.

My first thought was a strand.

But as I looked at my stash, green is my favorite color and many options opened for duo combinations and so began my Vintage Green Series of earrings:

PEARL with Fern Green Swarovki bicone - a bright punch of green for a fine Spring or Christmas morning.

PEARL with a beautiful mottled transparent green faceted round bead - a look into the beginning of aquatic life or a muddled Mojito!

. . . joined with a muddle in 3-D diamond (bicone) form, PEARL brings soft roundness.
My recent favorite vintage finds - together!  Love the bumpy brown surface, although somewhat marred by time with the soft PEARL- reminds me of melting late snow clinging to spring moss on a fallen fir branch.  Beautiful!


PEARL with Swarovski Black Diamonds, swinging on Post or Earwires, ready for a good time.  Neutrals joining in a happy duo!
    . . . finding a pearl of great price . . .
Mathew 13:46