Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Poppies

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day.  It was established after the Civil War as a time to place flowers on the graves of those who had given their life during the war.  The day was celebrated at the end of May to allow for blooming of flowers to place on graves. 

The Poppy came into favor based on a poem written by a Canadian Army colonel during WWI.  "In Flander Fields" was written to commemorate the many soldiers that died on the Flander battlefields in an area between Belgium and France.  In the poem,  theColonel described how the poppies grew among the rows of graves.

Two women, Anna E Guerin in France and Moina Michael in the state of Georgia in the United States, were so impressed with the poem, they sold artificial poppies to help orphaned children, or people who were left in poverty due to the war.   In 1922, Ms. Michael turned to the VFW (Veterens of Foreign War), for help in making the Memorial Day poppy official. 

You can buy the official poppy of the Flanders Fields which is a symbol of the American Legion.  The red poppy if probably the world's most popular wildflower and is available in the pure red strain at

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Hug Your Cat Day


Both of my cats were aquired as drop offs.  Tinkerbell, (and NO, I did not name her that, she came with it)
came to us about 9 years ago.  Her owners could not keep her because they were having a baby.  My son came in with her, and all the time I was shaking my head no, I knew she would stay.  Like most cats, she has pretty much taken over, coming and going as she pleases, in and out of the house throughout the day.  5a.m. meowing at the window is not uncommon, when she has been out all night and decides it is time for me to let her in and feed her.  And yes, she is spayed.

Tom, (isn't that an original name) showed up at our back door a few months ago.  Is there a sign at my driveway that says "Drop here, they will love to feed you and let you in occasionally."  I think Tom was a house cat at some point. He doesn't hesitate to slip past when the door is open and miraculously find the recliner or bed.  He learned a valuable lesson last week.  DO NOT mess with baby chicks. Their mothers are fiercely protective. He has the hurt paw to prove it and now walks a wide circle around them when going through the yard.

I have Catnip in my garden which neither cat seems to notice.  I allow it to flower because of the color it brings to the herb garden.

Catnip (nepetalactone) has been reported to be 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET. You can make your own catnip Mosquito Repellent  with the recipe below.
Thanks to Susan Wittig Alberts Book of Days for this recipe.
Catnip Mosquito Repellent
2 cups catnip, washed
2 cups almond oil

Bruise catnip and pack into a clean jar.  Cover with oil, put a lid on the jar and set in a cool, dark place for two weeks.  Shake jar lightly every day, and push herbs under the oil to avoid mold.  Strain into a clean jar, seal and refrigerate for up to 8 months.  To use, rub on exposed skin.  ( If your mosquitoes are especially ferocious, you can add other strong smelling herbs, such as rosemary, pennyroyal, basil.)

Tinkerbell and Tom Love their Catnip Kitty Cat Treats.  Make your own treats using the kit which includes recipe, cookie cutter (bird or fish) and a big bag of catnip from my garden.   Visit

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Thrift Store Finds

My mother and I go to the Salvation Army Thrift Stores as well as the Goodwill stores about once a week. I love finding a bargain, and look for garden related items each time.  Here are two of my latest finds. The cost $1.00 each.   

The book is the 1958 Farm, Ranch, and Home Ford Almanac.  I am always drawn to the 1950's colors of red, yellow and green, and have many garden related 1950's items in my office.  (I was born in 1956)

According to the back cover, the 1958 Edition of the Ford Almanac is "crammed with exciting news, helpful how-to-do-it hints and colorful illustrations on what's happening down on the farm, and in the garden, too.

On page 55, which offers money-making sidelines, Mrs. Carl Collins (noticed how the women were identified by their husband's names), reported that many women are still a little afraid of cooking with herbs.  They think of it as foreign, and complicated.  "Poppycock!"  states Mrs. Collins, Any woman can cook with herbs just the same as Mrs. Vanderbilts chef can.  The secret is using them just like salt-in the same amount.
Mrs. Carl Collins (by the way her name is Mary), ran the Scotch Ridge Herb Farm in Kalamazoo.

Any one out there know if this is still in existance?

The corn holder is designed to hold a "stick" of butter.  You place the corn picks in each end, and then roll the cob in the butter.  I don't know the year of this piece, but again, those colors are what first attracted me.  Won't this look great on the picnic table?

The next time you pass by the thrift store.  Stop in.  You may just find a few "treasures" of your own.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Giveaway Lotion Bars

I felt a little guilty about not posting very often, so I have decided to do Monday Giveaways. Like most people who blog, we like others to visit our blogs and would appreciate it if you could send others our way. If you like the giveaway just comment why you could use it and you will be entered into the drawing. 
If you have a blog, I would appreciate a reference to my giveaway, a retweet, or a note on facebook.

Here you go:

These unique little Lotion bar tins are hand decorated using recycled scrapbook paper and embellishments. Inside each tin is a skin nourishing lotion bar created in small batches with cocoa butter, shea butter, sweet almond oil, and beeswax. All bars are scented with either essential oils, or phalate-free fragrance oils.

Just rub the bar between your hands to soften and then use on hands that are frequently washed or rough elbows and heels. Place back in the tin and when you have used all of the bar, recycle it to use with gum, mints, pills, or any small object!

You can these tins and even more can be found on my website,

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Spring Garden Update

Whew, noticed I have not posted for over a month!  You will see by the pictures though my husband and I have been busy.  The garden has been planted, and with all the rain we have had, it has really grown.  We have squash, beans, corn, okra, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.   This picture was taken about a week ago, and already the beans are ready to be staked and run up a tee pee.

 My three hens have returned after a 3-4 week absence (I thought the possums had surely gotten them) with 23 new chicks.  Thelma and Louise are below.  Emma was no where to be found for the picture taking.

Thelma and Louise

My hen Rosa (in the picture below) has been with me for 2 years.  She is the only hen who has survived for this long.  I raised her in the kitchen until she was old enough to go out.  We have had a total of at least 10 hens and 5-6 roosters, but since they are free range, they tend to "disappear", either by way of hawks or possums.

Poor Rosa, due to my ignorance, was without any eggs of her own.   I saw 7 eggs laying out in the yard and thought my hens had laid them all in one day. (That was my first mistake, I only had 4 hens, and I don't think they would have laid 2 eggs a piece that day.)  At any rate, I placed them in the refrigerator before noticing that Rosa had built a cozy nest in the clean out space in our chimney outside and they had rolled out onto the ground.  After realizing my mistake, I placed two refrigerator eggs under her.  She didn't know the difference.  I then obtained 3 eggs from a friend who has Buff Orphington hens. (Rosa is a banty Buff Orphington)  Gently placed under her, she continued her vigil.  Eggs are supposed to hatch after about 21 days.  All my other hens paraded their chicks by Rosa daily.  She continued to sit, and sit and sit.  After 4 weeks I was just about to take them from her, and discovered she  two baby chicks just hatched out.

My plans are to now build a chicken pen to house my chickens.  I have heard that if you keep them in for about 2 weeks, they will return each night after free ranging all day.  That is my goal so that they won't roost in different trees, across our busy road etc.  Also, I don't have to search high and low for eggs.  Hopefully they will lay in their hen box.

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