Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I have no idea how it got here, of course. I am pretty certain there were no poppies in any part of the garden last year (though it is possible I overlooked them or forgot). At first I thought the seeds may have come from the compost—mine or someone else's—but I don't think it's breadseed poppy (P. somniferum), that's usually taller and most likely a "single" blossom, not a flouncy double like this one. Perhaps it came from someone's wildflower mix, but how it got here remains a mystery. Birds? A squirrel or chipmunk? One of our many nonhuman gardeners of happenstance, surely.
It definitely helps to be in no big hurry to get these various gardens installed, because my ideas have evolved over the past year as I've observed what's going on all around the property, where the sun shines most, where the rain water tends to puddle, and so on.
Monday, July 11, 2011
|A note card featuring my drawing|
So I have this Etsy shop, for which I chose the rather obscure name Arty Didact, trying to convey the marriage of art and information that appeals to me and characterizes some of my work, and playing off the meaning of autodidact, a self-educating person.
|Informative back of the lily note card|
Quite frankly, I haven't sold very much at all on Etsy. I tried reading the forums for advice, and joining a couple of teams, and adding more and more items to my shop, because everyone says that's what you're supposed to do (that is, those participating in the forums on Etsy say this, repeatedly and emphatically). And when you don't have something new to add, you're supposed to "renew" listings, which means that you re-list them as if they were new, because when someone is searching for a category of items on Etsy, the most recently listed ones generally show up at the top. So it's like keeping something in the front window at all times.
|A paper mache bowl|
So I've eased up on the re-listings, and I haven't added anything new to my shop in a while because I've been kind of busy with other things (house, garden, freelance work, family...). But, the one thing that I have found to be helpful and fun is the local network of Etsy shopkeepers, called the HandmadeMN Etsy Team. They are a great group of creative people, and through the group forum, I learn about a wide variety of show opportunities, including the smaller ones that fit my budget and level of commitment.
Most notably, this Saturday is the HandmadeMN Summer Market, and the way it came about was kind of cool. First, it started back in March with Erika Herker posting an announcement that she learned that she could reserve a large pavilion in Roseville for free, and maybe it would be cool to put on a mini art fair there consisting of members of our team. From there, an enthusiastic series of messages followed, and eventually, the summer market was organized. It made me think of Spanky and Our Gang: Let's put on a show!
|Photo by Erica Herker|
I'm looking forward to it, despite the forecast of 90-degree heat that day—and am so glad we will not only be in the shade, but also will only be operating from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. No getting up early on a Saturday and no lingering in the late-afternoon heat! I am grateful to the ladies who chose that time frame!
If you're in the Twin Cities area, it would be really swell if you'd pay a visit. Sorry I'm not offering any coupons or specials or snazzy promos like that, but I will have some cooling peppermint candies on my table to share. I guess that's a give-away, isn't it?
HandmadeMN Summer Market
Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Rainbow Community Pavilion
1201 Larpenteur Ave. West
Saint Paul, MN 55113
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Harvesting bouquets is easy, of course, with the abundance of flowers and greens; sometimes I use a few leaves of the plain green lance-leaved hostas in bouquets. I find this particular hosta rather ordinary as a garden plant, but its medium-to-dark glossy leaves do complement flowers and showier foliage nicely. I also have two kinds of ferns: the common ostrich fern and a more lacy one, probably a type of lady fern (athyrium).
Edible plants include the rhubarb, which I have neglected to pick so far (I think of it, and then I forget! Or, when I remember, it's too hot to cook anyway). I should really pick some to freeze, at least. Conventional wisdom has it that you don't harvest rhubarb after the first of July, but my sister-in-law once gathered several stalks in late summer, shortly after moving and discovering that the garden boasted a robust rhubarb plant. It ended up none the worse for the late harvest, and the rhubarb tasted fine, so I don't think it really matters much. Perhaps plants that are only a few years old need a longer period to recover from early summer harvesting, but that old, established plants can take a season-long harvest.
I planted a large pot with a tomato, which is just doing so-so, and some basil and marigolds and thyme, and next to it another pot with some more thyme and marigolds, and a dill. I also included a couple of parsley plants in my kitchen window baskets, which I can harvest through the window when I want a sprig.
I especially like to use the fresh herbs to make my favorite summer salad dressing—a large dollop of plain yogurt with enough olive oil to thin it to a just-pourable consistency, then chopped fresh herbs and a bit of salt and pepper (I also include some cilantro from the farmers market, but since they sell it in a rather large bunch, I froze most of it and use the frozen herb just like fresh ones). It's delicious on sliced cucumbers, too!