Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Who doesn't love soup?

I love soups in the winter: chicken tortilla, vegetable, broccoli and cheese, and black bean.  I made a taco soup using hamburger meat a couple of weeks ago. It's simple and delicious, and served as lunch on a number of occasions at work.  It has become one of my favorites

January is National Soup Month, so let me share this recipe for Taco Soup in the crockpot. Put this on before your day begins, and you will have dinner ready with little fuss.

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion chopped
1 can/bottle of tomato juice (48 oz)
1/3 cup sugar (or a little less)
1 cup frozen corn
1 package taco seasoning
1 can chili beans

Cook ground beef and onion. Drain
While beef and onion are cooking, add all the other ingredients to the crockpot. Simmer on low for 4hours or on high for 2hours
After the beef and onion are cooked, add to the crock pot with the other ingredients.
Serve with crushed tortillas, shredded cheese and sour cream.

I would decrease the sugar a little bit. The frozen corn was also sweet, but this soup is delicious.
A big slice of homemade bread will finish the meal.


Both the recipe and the picture should be contributed to Hoosierhomemade

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday Make Your Dream Come True: Compromise

I was reading "cat herders" comment on last weeks post about the frustration of having to work your regular job while wanting to be at home working on your creative passions.  I can feel her pain, but like her, I work a full time job, not only for the financial reasons, but health insurance, 401K, etc.....
Surely, there is some way to have it all, but if not, let's think about compromise.  I have several loves. My Gardenchick business, my love of junking, and making jewelry.  I tried having a booth at shops several times, but just keeping up with bringing new things in  to make enough money to pay your booth and commission becomes overwhelming with a full time job and all of the other obligations we have in life.  Compromise:  My friend Sandra and I rent a storage facility and split the monthly cost. As we buy things from our junking adventures, in it goes.  In April, we have been invited to have a booth at an outdoor show.  Wala. I get to enjoy the hunt of the junk, but not the worry of needing it right now, and what fun it will be to bring it all out in April and display it.

If you make jewelry, keeping up with an online business is hard. The competion online with your own site and sites such as Etsy is daunting. Trunk shows are very popular and you have a captive audience viewing only your creations.  Why not get with a friend or two, who either make jewelry, or maybe something complementary such as bath and body products, hand bags, etc.....    Set the date months in advance, maybe for next Christmas, and have a trunk show at one of your houses.  Remember all those "home parties" you have gone to for friends?  Let them return the favor and invite several of their friends to your home show.   Make pictures of your products to put on your online site and use that as your "catalog", for orders for those unable to attend.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Explore alternative ways to enjoy your passions while continuing to work.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I was vegging out in front of the television this morning watching the "Hoarders" and eating cheetos.  I deserved it.  I had worked a 13 hour shift in the ICU yesterday, picked up my granddaughters after work to stay the night, and had taken them a 35 minute trip to school, in the rain, and in rush hour traffic downtown.   Anyway.... that brings me to the hoarders.  As I watched room after room piled to the ceiling with garbage, I think why don't they just start something?  Pick the sink, pick a corner of a room, clean that, then stop.  Set a timer for 30 minutes, then stop. But do something.  Obviously, I don't understand the mind of a hoarder, but I do understand how overwhelming a big task can be. 
For instance, my huge back yard.  This drizzly morning as I look out my window, my mind drifts to all the projects I want to do this spring that didn't get crossed off my list last year.  I quickly became overwhelmed.  So I decided to take some advice I heard when you want to "do it all", and "do it now".

F.  Follow
O. One
C. Course
U. Until
S. Satisfied

Instead of looking at the whole yard, I picked what I wanted MOST. That is my garden shed for my business.  That's it, no thinking about arbors, fencing, patios, and paths. No new gardens, or putting in ponds. 

In 30 minutes, I picked the location I wanted, determined the size, made plans to clean out area when the weather warms, determined the materials I wanted (from pictures I had cut out of a magazine),  and made a list ofsome flowers I wanted to plant around it.

What big task do you have to complete?  Break it down, 30 minutes at a time, and DO Something.


* I believe Angela Stalcup of Ladies Who Launch (Atlanta), gave me this advise.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Make Your Dreams Come True Day

In the moment you ask, and believe, and know you already have it in the unseen, the entire Universe shifts to bring it into the seen.
"The Answer"

 I was looking at my blog calendar and realized Friday was "Make Your Dream Come True Day".  For over five years I have had a dream to own my own business, and have only half heartedly or sporatically worked on it  And yes, you do have to put work into it.  The problems is   I let everyone's needs come first, or made all kind of excuses to not move forward.  Money, time, and I wanted to do it all. I first thought this inability to make a decision on what my dream was, was attributed to ADD, or now, Menopause!  We are taught early on that we can't have it all, and need to pick one thing to concentrate on or we can't do it well.  Well, I am here to dispel that myth.  I am reading "The Renaissance Soul, Life Designs for People with too Many Passions to Just Pick One.  And guess what?  I am normal, and you don't have to pick just one thing.
So....I spent some time today clarifying what I TRULY wanted.  I broke down the dream, and decided to work on just one, My Gardenchick Business today.  Here is my dream in black and white. No more excuses, you can all hold me accountable for making my dream come true.

  • I want to work at home.
  • I want to work in creative surroundings, in an outdoor office surrounded by gardens. I want the "office" to be built of recyled materials with huge windows so I can see out.
  • I want to build my Gardenchick business, creating natural bath and body products, expanding my line to involve children and pet products. (I already have some of these, but need to refocus, and concentrate on one at a time.)  I want to be the Paula Dean of gardening. I want Gardenchick products such as seeds, garden tools, paper products and linens.
  • I want a blog that like minded people want to read and want to tell others about.
  • I want to go junking with my friends and have "occasional" sales where we can share our finds.
  • I want to create jewelry from found objects.
 Okay, there they are. When I dream, I dream BIG!   I didn't just pick one, I wouldn't have been happy. What is your dream? Please share with me and others. I know there are a lot of us out there and we would love to help each other.  I have decided that every Monday is Make Your Dream Come True Monday. I hope you will join me.


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I live on about 41/2 acres with most of that being in woods.  Even if you live on a small plot in the city, you can create a welcoming home for many different varieties of birds.  Birds are not only fun to watch but are a great addition to your garden, eating thousands of bugs each season. (and a few blueberrys!).  All you need to create your bird habitat is food, water, and shelter.

Food:  We have several different types of feeders including suet feeders.  This provides a variety of food to attract different types of birds.  The only feeders we don't use are the ground feeders that dove like. We have two cats, Tinkerbell and J.R., who come and go in and out of the house as they please, and I don't want to provide them with a little extra snack now and then.  I do have a chicken feeder with ground corn in it for my two hens, Rosa and Emma,
and it provides food for the birds, and the squirrels.

Water: We have a wet weather pond at the back of our property. When we bought this house, we didn't realize the pond was not dug properly, so it does not hold water year round.  In the hottest summer months it may dry up, but most of the time there is water for the birds, and occasional mallard duck who lands. My birdbath in the front yard has had the cracks repaired too many times to mention and currently has an enamel bowl in it.  Keep the water unfrozen during the winter, and change frequently in the summer.

Shelter:  Trees, brush piles, bushes, and grasses.   All of these provide shelter for birds who like to fly to the feeder, then back to shelter.  Place your feeders close to shelter in case they need to return.  Bird houses are another type of shelter and provide a place for birds to raise their young.

Winter is a great time to plan next springs garden.  Look around your yard now and see how you can incorporate some birdscaping into it.  Take your time, don't try to do it all at once. We have trees, feeders, bushes, houses and feeders now.  Next years garden plans are to bring in some fruit trees such as cherries and plums which are a great source of food for birds in the summer.

If you have kids or grandkids, let them start a bird count and find out how many birds are visiting their homes, and find out ways to bring in other species that may not be visiting your yard now.

Many gardeners think there is nothing to do in the winter, but it is a great time attract birds to benefit next years garden, and  is a great time to plan how you want to birdscape your home.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Free Calendar to Start Off the New Year

You can't start the new year without a calendar and why not a pretty one like this to keep you on track with this years gardening goals.
This Herb Themed Calender is a free download from    Alice also has an etsy shop which carries her artwork. 


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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

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