Conversation

Flirting With Solar

by Daisy Conversation
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Who wouldn’t love to say goodbye to their electric bill (or most of it) and get your electricity from the sun? I think I would, but the high cost, the complexity, the fact that it always seems like the next big breakthrough in solar is just around the corner (will I be stuck with clunky […]

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If It Weren’t For Volunteer Tomatoes

by Daisy Conversation
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. . . I’d have no tomatoes at all. Weird year for tomatoes. We had plenty of spring rain and mild weather so the tomatoes I planted in the garden got off to a good start. Unfortunately, by the time the first few tomatoes started to ripen, drought set in and the new blossoms started […]

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Are You Gross Like Me?

by Daisy Conversation
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I et a stinkbug yesterday. That’s an exaggeration. I chomped down on a stinkbug by accident and spit it out. The thing is, I wasn’t fazed by this, and for a second I was separating out the bits of stinkbug from the bits of mulberry in my mouth (because that’s what the stinkbug and I […]

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Fruit Bagging Experiment Results

by Daisy Conversation

A while back, I decided to try bagging one of the three Asian pears my tree successfully produced this year. I wanted to see if it made any difference in pest damage prevention. Here are the results: This is the unbagged pear: There’s no internal damage, no worms burrowing, but I see some superficial damage, […]

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Gearing Up For Gifting: Suggestions, Please

by Daisy Conversation

I’m getting into the gift-making spirit. My favorite type of gift is homemade, and I love gift baskets, as evidenced by the entire chapter on homemade gift baskets in our book. However, as much as I love those ideas, I like changing them up a bit every year. I have some new knitted washcloth patterns […]

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Why Is Everything Round?

by Daisy Conversation

As I looked at today’s harvest of passionfruit, eggs, figs, and (not in the pic), muscadines, I couldn’t help but think about the roundness of it all; four very different things, none of them perfectly spherical, but definitely on the rounded end of things. Berries, stone fruit, grapes, mushroom caps, the list goes on. I […]

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To Electric-Fence or Not To Electric-Fence?

by Daisy Conversation

When I was a kid, my dad strung an electric fence around our horse pasture. It was seldom electrified, so I suppose the horses learned pretty quickly to avoid it. I don’t ever remember the horses getting out, so I’d call it a success. I will also never forget the feeling of grabbing ahold of […]

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My Shame in Being a Homemaker

by Daisy Conversation

As far back as I remember, all I’ve ever wanted to be was a homemaker. And for all that time, I’ve been ashamed of it. Perhaps I was born at the wrong time. During the era when I was growing up, in the 1970s, being a homemaker was being devalued. It’s never been a high […]

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Bagging For Bug-Free Fruit

by Daisy Conversation

Did you know you could keep the birds and the bees and still have no spots on your apples? Fruit bagging is an age-old practice in Japanese orchards. After the fruit clusters have been thinned, bags are carefully placed around the remaining fruit as soon as they are big enough to resemble fruit, when they’re […]

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Gearing Up For Fall, Fingers Crossed

by Daisy Conversation

I’m very insecure about my fall gardening game. Whenever I’ve had a good fall/winter garden, it’s been largely by accident. Yay! I’m eating spinach in December! How did that happen? The trouble with accidental success is that it’s very hard to recreate. I often think what I really needed to become a confident gardener was […]

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Too Much of a Good Thing

by Daisy Conversation

Of course it’s wrong. It’s misguided. It lacks discipline and demonstrates poor planning, shows impulse control and neglect. I’m letting passionfruit vines take over my yard even though I know it will end badly. This vine is establishing a subterranean network that’s getting out of hand, popping up in all places. In all of the […]

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Lessons on Survival and Resilience I Could Learn From Weeds

by Daisy Conversation

If there’s one good thing about weeding, it makes the world slow down. You can’t work on the computer, or your phone. Unless you’re a bluetooth person. Nothing against bluetooth people . . . You can listen to music, but I don’t. Sometimes I wish I were listening to music, mainly to uproot some other […]

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The Home Farm Breakfast Game

by Daisy Conversation

This morning, after a couple of hours of weeding, I was starving so I decided to play one of my favorite games: Breakfast From The Yard. It’s exactly what it sounds like: See how much of my entire breakfast I could harvest out of my suburban yard. Garden groceries. Metropolitan meals. Lawn licking. Maybe not […]

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I’m Being Overtaken By Weeds

by Daisy Conversation

Great garden weather and all. But it also means great weed weather. When the phone repairman was here, he briefly considered digging a trench to put in a whole new underground line all the way to the house and looked down a long bed between the back fence and a row of espalier where the […]

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Sunflower Fort Update

by Daisy Conversation

It seems like yesterday when I planted this sunflower fort, but it was really only mid April. Less than 2 months later, the sunflowers have grown up over my head. With the tropical-like rains we’ve had, interspersed with plenty of sun, all the plants in the garden have taken off like rockets. In the sunflower […]

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Lately Around the Farm

by Daisy Conversation

  It’s been a practically perfect spring for gardening. Plenty of rain, but not too much rain except for about a week there when we wondered if we should start looking for a source for gopher wood. Everything is blooming or fruiting, so I took some pictures of the garden with the glow of spring […]

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A Shared Passion(fruit)

by Daisy Conversation

It all started with a sad day, a walk of hope. I wrote about it here. It ended with a bumper crop of passion fruit, not a bad outcome, at all. That passion fruit I planted is back, with a vengeance. The thing is, it moved. It moved underneath the fence, to the sunnier, southern […]

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Carrot Woes and Wins

by Daisy Conversation

First for the win: I have delicious carrots! I have dozens of beautiful carrots, all in a row. I used seed tape, store-bought this time, although you can make your own. I kept them watered, almost daily, which I think is the secret, along with loose, rich soil and a relatively cool, long spring growing […]

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Overseeding Your Lawn

by Ivory Soap Conversation

A lush green lawn is the perfect welcome mat for your home. But despite your best efforts, it’s not always easy to keep it in top shape. Bare spots, or weak, thinning or patchy grass can appear seemingly overnight due to compacted soil, poor drainage, weed infestations, or just plain weather. To bring your lawn […]

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Suggestions, Please: Promoting Green Lawn Care in Your Neighborhood

by Daisy Conversation

Every spring when I step outside and the stench of my neighbors’ lawn care service chemicals hits me like a bad memory, I have the same impulse: convince everybody to go natural! This year, with the increased popularity of Nextdoor.com, I was hoping I might have more of an opportunity to reach a few people […]

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What A Face

by Daisy Conversation

We brought the buns home last night. They’re getting settled in, getting more than their fair share of cuddles. More photos later, and a pic of the other sister soon. During this photo shoot she was napping in the hidey box so I left her alone. But seriously, folks. Check out this mug. That is […]

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1000 New Pets

by Daisy Conversation

As I write this, I can hear the sound of newspaper being ripped in long, thin strips in the next room. According to the USPS Tracking system, 1000 of my newest pets have already arrived at my local post office and are probably being sorted and loaded on a mail truck right now to arrive […]

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Rabbit Hutch Progress

by Daisy Conversation

The rabbit hutch is coming along. Its basic carcass is plywood and 2x2s, plus the Curb Whisperer rescued a bunch of old cedar fencing and I’m using it for siding and for the door. It’s got that “old barn” feel. All we need is a roof, a floor, and some door hinges, and the basic […]

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New Additions to the Farm

by Daisy Conversation

Having a blog with a blog partner is great. I can safely say we couldn’t do it without each other. I, Daisy, am technologically disastrous, have no sense of organization, and truly cannot/will not research and devise any formulae more complicated than pancake recipes. Deanna, on the other hand, can engineer scientifically-based laundry detergent, design […]

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Guess Who, Haiku got a STAR!!

by Ivory Soap Conversation

Review **STARRED REVIEW** “Over all, a superb introduction to this potent poetic form, teaching pre-readers both the evocative power of description and the reward for listening closely. Not to be missed: gorgeous poetry, vibrant illustrations, and masterful use of the page turn.” (Kirkus) “Whether reading out loud to kindergartners as an introduction to this perennially […]

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February

by Daisy Conversation

I’m not a winter person, but I get more knitting done between the months of December and March than I do the rest of the year combined. The fireside and knitting go together very well, except when I knit so late I’m in peril of nodding off and falling into the flames. I also get […]

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Persimmons!

by Daisy Conversation

Quite by accident I discovered a persimmon tree Tuesday afternoon. I was in a hurry and could only pick up a handful of the soft, ripe “sugar plums” to take home. It’s been years since I tasted a persimmon, and when I did I was transported back to my youth–my childhood yard was filled with […]

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Foraging

by Daisy Conversation

I don’t usually assemble it on a plate like this, but I did it today to be able to see it all at once. Typically, this sort of forage food is eaten while walking around the yard, a fig here, a leaf of mizuna there. This “meal” is never the same; it changes with the […]

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Labyrinth

by Daisy Conversation

A friend’s furchild was going through cancer treatment and it wasn’t looking hopeful. She wanted to walk a labyrinth. I’d heard of one so we agreed that I would meet her at her house and we would go together and find it. When I walked in the door I could see in her face, in […]

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What are these plants?

by Ivory Soap Conversation

Curly Dock? I have tried several avenues on this one.  All dead ends! This next one is huge!  There are two pictures. Lastly, this oneThoughts?  

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More Weeds? Yes, ma’am!

by Ivory Soap Conversation

Black-Eyed Susan.  It seems that it has multiple medicinal uses.   I think this one was in the mix of wildflowers we tried to sow.  This and the Blanket Flower below were the only takers. Burnweed, erechtites hieraciifolia.  Possibly edible, possibly permanent liver damage. Must be in large quantities.  Seems to have medicinal uses galore. […]

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I’m in the New York Times!

by Ivory Soap Conversation

Bookshelf: Gone to the Beach By MARIA RUSSO JULY 29, 2015 New picture books take children, animals and a T-Rex on getaways to the shore. Beach House Written by Deanna Caswell. Illustrated by Amy June Bates. The story begins even before the title page of this warmly satisfying book, capturing a family’s unabashed eagerness to […]

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Guess Who Has Baby Goats?

by Ivory Soap Conversation

ME!!!! Let the healing begin. Their names are Taco and Steve.  (Taco has the “sauce” on him.)  They’re wethers.  Snipped.  Fixed.  Anyway, they’re adorable! We got them from Osborne Farm in Burlison, TN.  It was an HOUR away.  Steve rode in my daughter’s lap. Taco rode in mine. He left me some sauce. He’s not […]

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Ain’t No Party Like a (Lawn) Weed Party

by Ivory Soap Conversation

Cause apparently, it does not stop.  I had such a good time on this website, I went in search of the rest of the species around the neighborhood.  Above, we have violets and yellow sorrel (the heart-looking clover.) Violets are generally considered non-toxic, but the roots will make you sick.  Since most violet species are […]

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(Lawn) Weed Party

by Ivory Soap Conversation

It’s a jungle out there. When I was in high school. I wanted to be a field biologist.  But I had a SERIOUS phobia of dead things.  One dead frog and I was hyperventilating.  Especially if it “snuck up” on me.  Dead things can’t sneak, but I mean that it was “unexpected.”  If our high […]

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Overwhelmed

by Daisy Conversation

Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. Outnumbered. There’s fluoride and prescription medicine in the water. Glyphosate is in everything. Even “organic” food isn’t organic. Milk is contaminated with hormones that make children reach puberty too fast. The fillings in our teeth are poisoning us, root canals will kill you, and those wisdom teeth extractions, tonsillectomies, and […]

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Weed Flower ID: The Results Show

by Ivory Soap Conversation

Round One:  White clover, FALSE DANDELION (thank you, commenters), purple clover, fleabane, narrow leaf plantain. I found this great site about plant uses called Eat the Weeds.  Here are the files on each of these guys. White Clover, not poisonous in general.  Also, not good.  Apparently, you should never ferment it.  Fresh or dried only.  […]

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Weed Flower ID, Please?

by Ivory Soap Conversation

As I said before, our goats passed and we have been avoiding our yard. We don’t want to mow. And, if you’ve been on this site for a few years, you know that we LOVE plant and bug identification. I couldn’t catch the cool zebra-looking dragonfly with my camera, but I did grab a bunch […]

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New book in GERMAN!

by Ivory Soap Conversation

Our book is now available in GERMAN.  We are international, folks. If you speak German, this book is for you! It should be noted that the cover image of me with the goat was taken by DAISY.  She is now an international cover photographer.  She’s so fancy! I’m not sure she will take my calls… […]

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New Potato Harvest

by Daisy Conversation

For pure, childlike, visceral pleasure, no garden task beats digging potatoes. You stick a fork in loamy soil and tight-skinned, waxy nuggets of red and tan and gold and maybe even blue pop out and spill onto the surface. They dangle like baubles when lifted by the plants and roll onto the soft dirt. I […]

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I’m in USA Today!

by Ivory Soap Conversation

RIGHT HERE! I have a new picture book, Beach House, from Chronicle.  Didn’t the illustrator do an AMAZING job? How cute is that? And this? If you need the perfect summer book, I highly recommend this one by Amy June Bates…and me.  Ha! Here are the reviews from the fancy folks that know picture books: […]

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Peaches in Peril

by Daisy Conversation

I was just over at my neighbor’s house and he mentioned in passing that the raccoons had stolen all his peaches. A cold chill ran up my spine. Actually it was a very warm, humid day and my clothes were plastered to my person, so I would have welcomed any sort of chill. What I […]

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Back on GAPS/SCD

by Ivory Soap Conversation

So, I have been KINDA off of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS diet for a few years.  I had quit shunning all sauces with modified food starch.  If something had a gram of sucrose, that was okay.  Still no GRAINS or MILK, ever.  I miss you, buttered garlic bread!  I dream about you, biscuits […]

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In Tribute

by Daisy Conversation

Early Saturday morning, a week ago, my beloved mother passed away at the age of 83. While we are heartbroken, this is also a time of loving reflection on her life and her impact on her family. A hallmark of my mother’s life was her deep adoration for my father. Indeed, the highest form of […]

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I Heart Strawberries

by Daisy Conversation

  No, life is not a bowl of cherries. Sometimes it’s a bowl of strawberries. I feel a bit greedy harboring lethal thoughts about the gang of squirrels which has been spending recent days making trip after trip to and from my strawberry patch. On one hand, I have lots of berries in my freezer […]

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Trench Composting: I’m Sold, See What You Think

by Daisy Conversation

When I first tried trench composting; that is, digging a trench, filling it with compostables, and covering it up, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I would have trouble with varmints. I did have some minor digging, but that was solved by planting a little deeper. I also didn’t know if […]

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Iris Time With Chickens

by Daisy Conversation

Another overnight rain. The garden slurped it up with gusto. Especially in the spring, when if it rains, it pours, I’m reminded of the value of raised beds, whether in boxes or in rows. Nothing gets submerged in puddles, nothing gets washed to oblivion, no matter how much rain the garden gets. There’s a reason […]

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April Garden Tour 2015

by Daisy Conversation

When the weather forecast was for thunderstorms again last night with the possibility of hail and damaging winds, I feared for my garden. Particularly the tall-necked, tender petals of the bearded iris. And of course I paled at the thought of hail tearing into the spring salad greens. But it didn’t happen. The thunderstorm happened, […]

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Seasonality

by Daisy Conversation

When all you know is the year-round availability of everything from the supermarket, it’s easy to forget the reason why, for example, eggs are an emblem of spring. When you have your own hens, though, and after a long, eggless winter your hens are finally producing at top capacity right at Easter/Passover time, it becomes […]

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No ‘Poo For Me

by Daisy Conversation

Did the people who named the shampoo-free movement “no ‘poo” really think that one through? Besides being confusing (it’s hard to communicate that apostrophe in spoken communication), it’s a bit inelegant. But what’s done is done. I’ve gone no ‘poo and I think I’m sticking with it. It’s been about three weeks and I’m liking […]

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Restaurant Compost Update

by Daisy Conversation

As I wrote about before in this post, I’m composting the kitchen scraps of a restaurant in town. Every Friday I get a wheelbarrow full of pineapple skins, shiitake mushroom stems, spoiled avocados, tomato trimmings, corn shucks and cobs, kale stems, spent tea leaves, onion skins, and the like. It’s high quality stuff. Every time […]

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Spring Garden Plans

by Daisy Conversation

With the recent snow all but completely melted, I hope to be back in the actual garden very soon. It’s been a very wet March so far, over 2.5 inches in the first week, so the soil is completely saturated. Once it’s adequately dried out so I can dig into it, I have plans to […]

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Last Hurrah

by Daisy Conversation

It snowed yesterday, temperatures wavering just below freezing. The snow fell on a thin crust of frozen ground, below which oozed a molten muck of the kind only a week of thawing sleet and ice can create; the kind of mud ordinary shoes are hopeless against, the kind of mud you take one sliding step […]

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What I’ve Been Building This Winter

by Daisy Conversation

I love to build. I also love to “design” building projects from scratch. Sitting down with a pencil and some scrap paper and a few ideas is one of my favorite ways to wile away a winter evening. Then, starting to put things together, working out problems along the way, researching, adding on, tweaking the […]

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Scary

by Daisy Conversation

Boo. In an attempt to prevent the loss of the peach and plum buds which were just starting to swell, I inadvertently created a couple of ridiculous ghosts in the backyard yesterday. In what can only be described as a random act of horticultural cruelty it went down to 9 degrees FOR ONE NIGHT. It’s […]

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Composting Partnership

by Daisy Conversation

My hometown has an organization called Project Green Fork. You can read all about it here, but briefly, it’s a way to encourage food service providers to reduce or eliminate the amount of waste they generate. They oversee a six-step certification process. Upon completion of the steps, a restaurant can use the PGF logo to […]

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January

by Daisy Conversation

I remarked recently on Facebook that the thing I like about January is that it’s as far away from next January as possible, and that’s pretty much the truth. However, there are a couple of other things I can stand about January: New Year’s Day grub, like blackeyed peas, , , , . . . […]

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Changes

by Daisy Conversation

Much of the garden writing I do includes a whine or two about how little sun I have in my yard because of all the huge trees. As our town’s favorite son was often heard to sing, a little less conversation, a little more action, please. (Now that’s a chain saw). I’m having a few […]

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Reishi Revelation and a Milestone

by Daisy Conversation

Back in 2008, or maybe 2007, we really can’t remember, Deanna and I had a phone conversation that was the jumping off point for this website. As I recall, we took the common blogger recommendation to stockpile a few posts before we went “live” to make it look like we’d been at this for longer […]

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The Drips and Dabs Problem

by Daisy Conversation

There they sat, six or eight of them in a small bowl, wrinkled, bruised and sad. Unusable. “Chickens?” my husband asked, pointing at them. A cloud of fruit flies arose at the disturbance. I sighed heavily, a sense of failure coming over me. “Yes,” I said. “Go ahead. Give ’em to the chickens.” They were […]

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Paradox: On Being A Gardener

by Daisy Conversation

Gardeners are a patient sort. We plant what we know will take years before the time it produces the first harvest. Each year after that, we tend and wait a whole year for that small window of time when we reap the fruits of our labors and our time invested. Gardeners are dreamers and hopers. […]

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The 6 Commandments of Entrusting Your Housekey To A Neighbor

by Daisy Conversation

Last week, I wrote a post about how to be a good steward of someone else’s housekeys. That got me to thinking about the hows and whys of entrusting your own housekey to someone else. The reasons we need to give a housekey to someone vary. Most of the time it’s for a specific purpose: […]

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The 6 Commandments Of Other People’s Housekeys

by Daisy Conversation

A lot of what I do is all about independence; trying to grow my own food and medicine, learning to make, make do, or live without. BUT, I also value interdependence. I believe getting to know your neighbors and making contacts outside your own family unit can add great value to your life. If I […]

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The Gourd By The Door

by Daisy Conversation

By the time I noticed there was a birdhouse gourd growing in the foundation shrubs by our kitchen door it was already too big to move. I decided to let it grow and see what happened. What happened was, it grew gourds. There are three of them that I can see. I have a sneaking […]

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Three Story House

by Daisy Conversation

My awesome friend Courtney Santo debuts her second novel today, Three Story House, and I am excited for her and very proud of her. She is a beautiful person and a spellbinding writer and storyteller. This article is a great intro to Courtney and her newest book: Courtney Santo Signs Three Story House If you […]

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Lazy Recycling

by Daisy Conversation

I noticed the other day after breakfast this was all the waste left over after the meal: Except for the fruit sticker, it all goes to the chickens where it will be recycled as eggs and fertilizer. It’s not always like this; believe me, sometimes our trash can gets a workout, but whenever we can […]

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Please Excuse Our Dust

by Daisy Conversation

As you can probably see, our blog is having a bad hair day. We’ve been experiencing technical difficulties and are in the process of working things out. In the meantime we’re looking rather frazzled, so please bear with us while we push and shove and rearrange the furniture. At the moment we’ve even lost the […]

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Herb Harvest

by Daisy Conversation

I can’t get enough of certain herbs. One of my absolute favorites is thyme (right foreground). I love the flavor, and I love that it has such depth and pungency; it holds up to slow simmering while is also perfection in uncooked preparations like cold pasta salad and salad dressing. My only regret with thyme […]

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How We Liked the New Nest Box

by Daisy Conversation

What is that thing? What are you doing in there? We all must know. Move over. Hasn’t killed anybody yet. Must check it out. OK, enough of the chicken POV. Initially, things looked promising. They were curious about the new box and kicked the tires around for a few hours, so to speak. When it […]

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Easy Fruiting Ivy Substitute

by Ivory Soap Conversation

I planted these muscadines a few years ago for the photo shoot for our book, Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard farming and home skills for self-sufficient living.  I haven’t touched them since.  I mean, I haven’t pruned, watered, weeded, nothing…ever.  They’re one of the few plants from that photo shoot that survived.  The goats […]

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Asparagus Murder

by Ivory Soap Conversation

My landscape guy cleaned out my asparagus beds.   Considering the below picture more closely resembles my bed last year…. It’s a bit of a travesty.  See below. I think two out of six mature plants survived.  They used to run in a hedge the length of my fence.  I’ve had them longer than two […]

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Spring Bloom Timeline 2014

by Ivory Soap Conversation

This spring, for our “nature walks” (read: nature drives, preggers…wait, read: pointing out nature periodically when we’re driving somewhere else), we are tracking the blooms of the season.  Here is the order of appearance. Week One 1.  Daffodils (pictured above) 2. Japanese Quince.  My MIL calls them her “sticks”.  This is the one time of year […]

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Egg-Eater Blues

by Daisy Conversation

About a week or two ago, the daily egg count began to take a dive. I might collect five or six eggs one day, next to none the next day. A couple of days I literally collected no eggs. Some days several, some days one or two. I found a couple of half eaten eggs […]

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Out With The Cold

by Daisy Conversation

Today I collected all the gloves, mittens, wooly caps and scarves into a pile on the floor. There they lay in a mismatched jumble of color, style, and size.  I picked them up as best as I could in one armful and carried them, less a few escapees, to the washing machine. I stuffed them […]

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Surprise Garden Survivors

by Daisy Conversation

Now that we are safely on this side of winter I can make a few observations about the surprise survivors of the coldest winter in our area in 20 years. First up, kiwi. Last year I planted fuzzy kiwi, Actinidia chinensis ‘Vincent.’ Fuzzy kiwi, unlike hardy kiwi, is only expected to survive safely down to […]

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Straw (wo)Man

by Daisy Conversation

While I was on a walk yesterday I made the discovery of an intact bale of straw put out for curb collection. Naturally I hurried home to get the station wagon to pick up my new friend. I stopped the car and got out, ready to grab him and run. When I bent down to […]

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Dirt Cheap Date

by Daisy Conversation

I don’t know if this would have been true of me as a young single, but nowadays all it takes to make my heart go pitter patter is to say the words compost + sifter.  Actually, just compost will do. Especially finished compost. Smelling salts, please, and a fan. This weekend I got together with […]

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Chickens in the Snow

by Daisy Conversation

I took advantage of the snow day here to sleep in. When I finally peered out of the window around 9 o’clock, I noticed there were no chickens pecking around the chicken run. We’ve had snow before, several times in fact, and the chickens didn’t seem to mind terribly so I became a little concerned. […]

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Got To Be Starting Something

by Daisy Conversation

When I was growing up in the country we had pit bull dogs. They were good dogs and they loved to play tug o’ war. I would get a stout piece of rope with a knot on each end and the pup would take one knot and I’d take the other and he would nearly […]

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Olive’s First Winter

by Daisy Conversation

  After seeing an olive tree at the local botanic garden, I bought a small tree of my own and gave her a place of honor at the center of the main garden. I picked an Arbequina olive tree, a Spanish variety that is self-fertile, fruits early (2-4 years), and is considered cold-hardy. It has […]

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Backyard Orchard Culture

by Daisy Conversation

This year, like every year, I caved in to the desire to buy more plants, edible plants. I believed that between the time I ordered them and the time they arrived for their dormant season planting, new sunny places in my yard would appear to welcome them. There would be a special dimension, a wrinkle […]

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And It Isn’t Even Winter Yet

by Daisy Conversation

As the weather cools, my world closes in. I begin the hibernation process as soon as the first frost wipes out the tender perennials. By the time the hard freezes have arrived I am a virtual stranger to my garden, only venturing out on the sunniest of days when the air is still. Only gourds […]

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Still Worth It DIY: Herbs and Animals

by Ivory Soap Conversation

  Of all the low hassle animals in the world, chickens are the top.  They eat the leftovers.  They make eggs.  No food is wasted in our house, ever.  My kids are free to never clean their plate, because we have chickens. Also, still worth it, mini-goats.  No, we don’t milk them, but they’re so […]

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I May Have Grown & Eaten a Parsnip

by Daisy Conversation

It’s also possible I grew and ate something else, in which case it has been great knowing all of you. You may ask how I could do such a thing? How could I grow something and not know what it is AND how could I eat something without knowing what it was? The answer to […]

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Should I Let My Asparagus Form Seeds?

by Daisy Conversation

They’re pretty, but should I strip them off? I planted male hybrid asparagus but apparently some females crept in somehow and I have seeds.  Some sources say the seeds sap the strength from the plants and should be removed. Actually, they say the entire plant, having proven her femininity by bearing fruit, needs to be […]

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Mulch Mountain II: PU

by Daisy Conversation

Just when the original mulch mountain was starting to look less mountainous, along came its successor: Mulch Mountain II. I drove by a tree trimmer doing work in the neighborhood and stopped to see if he wanted to get rid of a few chips. Soon after, this is what happened: “It’s a LOT,” he said. […]

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Summer’s Greatest Hits

by Daisy Conversation

As reluctant as I am to admit it, it’s almost time to start being nostalgic about summer and start pretending to enjoy the advent of fall. Can I live without spiced cider and cozy mittens? Yes. Yes, I can. There’s a reason for all those homey treats: to keep our fingers from falling off our […]

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New Garden Spot Progress

by Daisy Conversation

A few weeks ago I showed the new garden area made possible by a storm which took out a large tree. Since then, I removed two of three nandina bushes and severely trimmed back the winter honeysuckle. I added more grass clippings and leaves. More to come. And built up a center bed where I’ll […]

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Tomatillo Sunset

by Daisy Conversation

We live in a region of the country with no grand vistas; mountain ranges or ocean views. It is flat-ish, with a few softly rolling hills and many trees which obscure any sort of long-distance sightlines. I’ve visited mountains and oceans and they are exhilarating. There’s little to compare with the excitement of watching a […]

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Patience Rewarded

by Daisy Conversation

Several native persimmon trees stood in a small grove in the yard of the house in which I grew up. They were messy in the fall of the year when the fruit was ripe and littered the ground. I remember well the unique sensation of stepping on persimmons in bare feet, cool, mushy, and slick.  […]

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Help With Weed ID

by Daisy Conversation

Every year I sow seeds of several plants I’ve only read about and never before seen. Medicinal herbs in particular. Sometimes this leads me to err on the side of caution when an unfamiliar plant begins to grow in the general vicinity of those new plantings.  I have a sneaking suspicion it is likely a […]

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Planting the Fall/Winter Garden

by Daisy Conversation

At the beginning of August I started sowing one row per week of beets, carrots, endive, and parsnips. I’ll continue with these through September, or until I run out of room, except for the carrots, which keep getting planted until the first week of November. In a week, I’ll start successive sowings of winter hardy […]

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New Garden Spot

by Daisy Conversation

You may remember when this happened:       A storm brought this tree down and it had to be removed.  The tree removal company shredded the tree (most of it) into chips and we asked them to dump them on site.  Mulch Mountain was born. The stump was ground up, too, leaving this on […]

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How Much Is Enough?

by Daisy Conversation

One of the main issues about gardening/sustainability in the suburbs is space.  Particularly a lack of “farmable” space. It matters most in terms of how far you want to go with sustainability.  Are you content just sticking your toe into the water, growing a salsa garden, maybe a couple of blueberry bushes?  Or do you […]

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How an Unknown Publishes a Picture Book

by Ivory Soap Conversation

I recently saw a post by Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, on the 20 Steps to Writing a Children’s Book.  As a picture book writer who is friends with other career picture book writers, I wanted to clarify some points so new writers do NOT think what Ree experienced is what they can expect. First, let […]

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I Couldn’t Do Without . . .

by Daisy Conversation

This gigantic plastic bowl. This cheap, mass-produced plastic bowl is one of the most useful things in my entire kitchen. It’s lightweight, somewhat flexible so I can squeeze it into one side of my divided sink, easy to clean, and LARGE.  I use it every time I put up fruit or vegetables, and I can […]

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When a Baby Bird Falls Out of the Nest

by Ivory Soap Conversation

  We had a little robin fall out of his next two days ago.  Actually it fell out of my neighbor’s tree onto my driveway.  Luckily, it was unhurt.  But, then the whole neighborhood of kids was all over it!  I had them set it in the flower bed while I rushed to the interwebs […]

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Mulch or Compost?

by Daisy Conversation

Big crashing noises at 3:45 a.m. seldom bode well.  Ours is the house to the right, which you can just see if you squint real hard through the branches. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and only very minimal damage was done to the house.  It did bring down the power line, so there was that, […]

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Busy Weekend

by Daisy Conversation

Over the weekend, we participated in our kids’ school outdoor cleanup day.  Once the work began and dozens of parents and kids began to collect bag after bag of weeds and leaves, I had an inspiration: I wanted those bags for the chickens. I collect my ‘weedings’ for the chickens, my neighbor collects hers for […]

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Frosty Spring Salad

by Daisy Conversation

I’m in our local Master Gardener training class this year.  Class meets once a week for three hours, and we gardeners can get hungry during that time, so we have a mid-class lunch break.  It’s a little early for lunch, but somehow that never occurs to our appetites.  We take turns bringing a dish and […]

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