Let's Get Dirty
A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.
Send stories and pictures of your horticultural adventures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Penny Stine
Thursday, December 30, 2010
I love gardening because it gives me a great activity that gets me outside, plus I get something out of the deal. I put in time, money and effort and I get to enjoy watching something grow and then, once it’s grown, I get to eat it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve got lots of other hobbies that eat up my time, money and effort without giving me anything in return except sunburn, satisfaction and maybe a few sore muscles. But it’s just nice to have at least one hobby that pays me back.
So after I put my garden to bed in the fall, I was temporarily hobbyless. Not enough snow for skiing, too cold for rafting, golfing or riding motorcycles. My fellow blogger and incredibly wise friend, Carol, told me to learn how to knit.
I took two classes and have become a knitting fiend. In three weeks, I’ve knitted three scarves, one beanie and one pair of fingerless mittens. Here are my boys, modeling their knitted Christmas presents.
Here's Howie, reluctantly wearing the scarf I knitted after Christmas to give to my youngest son. (Jesse wasn't available for posing, so I made Howie do it... he's not a happy dog.)
I’ve started a fourth scarf (it’s a late Christmas present), have plans to knit another two-hour hat with a friend on New Year’s Day and hope to make a scarf for my dad sometime next week.
The cool thing is that several of us here at the Sentinel are knitters. In fact, several Dirty Gardeners are also crazy knitters, so we bring our knitting to work to compare, ask for advice and ooh and ah over each other’s projects. It makes it much easier to learn when there are so many people to offer help and advice.
Another plus to knitting is that after putting in your time, money and effort, you get something out of the deal!
Kind of like gardening, except I get to sit inside by the fireplace and keep my fingernails clean.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Since I am a "newbie" to the area, I am amazed how one can have 50 degree temps in the valley and drive 30 minutes to 20 degrees and pristine & sparkly snow on the Mesa. I am the slightly over-zealous cheerleader among my group of friends nagging them to "Get Out There" and enjoying the splendor. Where I came from (Buffalo, New York) you're lucky to have three days of sun in a month during winter. So here's what I did to enjoy my holidays this year:
I can't think of a better way to spend Christmas Day than on Grand Mesa. It had just snowed the night before; the sun was shining, temps around 25 which are perfect for snowshoeing. Didn't have to wear a jacket or gloves either.
It was even more wonderful because I was with Ken - you all know it's great to be with the one you love while enjoying our Colorado winters !
New Year's Eve is approaching fast and once again we are trekking to the Mesa. This time the weather promises to be in the "normal range" of temperatures... 20 degrees in the Valley and 5-10 degrees in the mountains. I think we'll be in front of a nice warm fire mulling over whether we should snowshoe or just watch the crazy people from the cabin windows....
hmmmm... me thinks this is a No-Brainer.
Staff didn't write this - Sue Buskist, our very own LLFD (Lovely Lady of the Front Desk) did. Thanks, Sue!
By Laurena Mayne Davis
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
It's the plotting season. The holiday hubbub behind us and outdoor work still a few months ahead, it's time to curl up with some inspirational reading and strategize those gardening and home improvement plans.
This stack of Mother Earth News magazines was a fall birthday gift from my sister-in-law Carol, who edits a rural lifestyle magazine and is herself a gardener extraordinaire. (She has a greenhouse in Tennessee to die for.)
Now's the break in the action when I have time to read, and Mother Earth is one of my favorites. Growing up, I remember seeing those early black-and-white issues in our home, probably since the magazine's beginning in 1970. Back then, my nomadic military parents dreamed of homesteading in Alaska. Fortunate enough to have a permanent home of my own, my interests are more immediate.
From the last few nights of reading, I've learned tips on growing two crops I want to try: asparagus and potatoes. There are instructions for building a cold frame from a shower door, a recipe for bread dough that will keep a week in the refrigerator, and directions for building your hand-hewn, timber-frame dream home on 160 acres in Ontario — all right, that last one may have gone a bit far afield.
Mother Earth is only $10 for 6 issues, and there's a lot of great information, including how-to videos, at their website. If you need more ideas, Carol's magazine is Out Here, and you can see copies at tractorsupply.com.
By Carol Clark
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
My mother always had a plastic mistletoe decoration that we hung from a doorway at Christmas. You couldn't miss the big ball with the red felt ribbon, so if someone was hanging out under the fake decor, they were hoping for a little attention. I always wondered where the heck this thing came from and why people kissed under it.
Around the time I was in middle school, I found REAL mistletoe in the drug store for sale. It was a must have. If you could possibly get someone to eat it it would give them a stomachache. (Mistletoe is mildly poisonous to humans). This is great middle-school fun.
Mistletoe, which means "thief of the tree," is actually a partial parasite or a hemi-parasite that sinks its roots into a host tree and sucks the nutrients out of the host plant. Kind of like your kids...
The name "mistletoe" actually comes from two Anglo Saxon words Mistel - (which means dung) and 'tan' (which means) twig or stick! So you could translate Mistletoe as 'poo on a stick!
Years ago, scientists observed the plant growing on trees that were covered in bird dung. They believed the plant came from the bird poop itself. It wasn't until years later they realized the plant was coming from seeds in the dung.
The hanging of mistletoe comes from the Druids who believed it was a mystical plant that warded off evil and brought luck to the household. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe came from England where a berry would be plucked before the kissing. When the berries were gone, there was no more kissing allowed.
Who knew? Kissing under a stick of poo.....
By Laurena Mayne Davis
Monday, December 13, 2010
Scent is one way to connect to the outdoors, even when you and the
garden are hibernating a bit over the winter.
For an extended-family Christmas party exchange of homemade gifts, I
mixed up a dozen bottles of linen spray with oils from Scentsations
Body Bar, 634 Main St., No. 103. It's in the breezeway of Sentinel
Square, across from The Winery. Scentsations will custom-blend your
lotions, sprays, shower gels and more on the spot, or sell you the
oils by the ounce to mix at home.
I mixed multiple batches of linen spray using the following
instructions and was happy with the results.
1 teaspoon essential oil (or combination of oils)
1/4 cup unflavored vodka
3 1/2 cups purified water
In a large bowl, mix the oil and vodka together. Vodka works as an
emulsifier, allowing the oil and water to mix evenly. (Buy the
cheapest you can find, of course.) Add the water, mix and pour into
empty spray bottles. Shake well before each use.
This first blend I dubbed Mountain Meadow. It's equal parts Bergamot,
Ylang Ylang, Green Tea and Rain. There's a Piñon Pine-scented oil that
reminds me of warm days on Glade Park. I'll try that next, maybe with
Rain or something else soft and light. Selecting oils is a treat in
and of itself.
I spritz linen spray when I iron, when I change sheets, and when I
put away towels. Every time I do, I'm reminded of longer, warmer days