Sensational Sedum: Autumn Joy

Sedum Autumn Joy flowers turn a deep maroon color as fall arrives.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall has finally arrived in our neck of the woods and the mild sunny days are punctuated by clear blue skies and a parade of technicolor foliage.  But for most gardeners, fall usually means that the garden is beginning to look a little rough around the edges.  Because our vegetable and herb gardens surround the house the last thing we want is to let things get too ragged looking.  Over the years we have grown various perennials around the perimeter of the garden in an attempt to screen and draw attention away from the less attractive bits.  Of the many varieties we’ve grown, our fall favorite is a lusty and beautiful sedum that is appropriately named “Autumn Joy”.

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Nature Notes: The Silent and Unseen

By Joshua Mayer (Flickr: Flying Squirrel on Roof) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commonsby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

This story happened many moons ago in a garden we used to tend.  It was a sultry late summer morning and Dean and I were meandering through the garden discussing future chores.  We were having a nice walkabout, chatting and discussing one thing or another, and I suddenly turned to him and said, “Do you feel like someone is watching us?”  His perplexed look answered my question and should have set me straight, but I just couldn’t shake the strange feeling I’d had all summer long.  Someone or something had been watching me.

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Grow Pure Seed with Blossom Bags

IMG_4007by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Seed savers know that the key to obtaining pure seed is by controlling the pollination process.  Each species is made up of many varieties.  If two – or more! – of those varieties get too close to one another during flowering their seeds will not come true.  Of course, not all gardeners have the room to grow multiple varieties spaced far apart.  Sometimes, we just don’t know that we’d like to save a certain variety of seed in early spring and so we don’t pay any attention to the spacing requirements for purity.  If this sounds like you; have no fear!  Blossom bags are here to save the day!

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Essential Herbs: Basil

Classic Genovese basil ready to harvest.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without a plethora of lusty basil plants flourishing in the garden.  In fact, I love the sight, smell, and taste of these leafy annual herbs so much that I always over-plant in the spring and by mid-summer wind up with more basil than I need – or even know what to do with.  Yet, every spring when my husband asks me if I think we might just have too many basil starts, my reply is always the same… there’s no such thing as too much basil!

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Seed Saving Time: Harvesting Dry Seeds

Freshly harvested lettuce seed ready to be cleaned.By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

For gardeners, the most rewarding part of the season is when the harvest begins and all those luscious fruits and veggies really start to add up.  For seed savers, that joy is doubled when, in a few short weeks after the fresh harvest begins, the handful of fruits or plants that are purposely left on the vine to mature begin to set seed.  After a long season of planning, cultivating, monitoring and harvesting the bounty of the garden, the reward is more than bountiful!

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Buck: A Short Story (part two)

2001 - 11 - Peace Valley - Buck scenting the windThe continuation of a short story about our beloved lab, Buck, whose life was much too short.  Continued from Part One: 

He had around his neck a dirty old blue bandana that had been folded up like a collar and tied on when he was but a pup. That bandana was like an announcement that clearly said he belonged to someone. Probably one of the local Salish families here on the Rez. But whoever it was hadn’t noticed, or cared, that the puppy they’d strapped that thing to was not a puppy any more and now the damn thing was nearly choking him to death. It’s a wonder he could even swallow; that thing was so tight around there. Kinda irked me to see it, but he wasn’t yet sure of me and I thought twice about pissing off the wrong person. Continue reading

Buck: A Short Story (part one)

1993-1 - Gafield, AR - Buck see's snow for the first time! editBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I wrote this short story many years ago.  Our beloved 12 year-old lab, Buck, lay dying on a pallet in the middle of our living room as Dean and I and Buck’s best buddy, Milo, comforted him until his time came.  It was sudden and wrenchingly painful and left us with a hole that could never be filled.   But even as we mourned, we laughed.  For Buck’s life, and ours with him – and with Milo – were joyous and filled with adventure, laughter and lots and lots of love.  This is a short story about a dog whose life was too short.  From my heart; in Buck’s voice.  This hasn’t been edited thoroughly on purpose.  Buck would want it that way.  I hope you enjoy. Continue reading

Make Your Own Garlic Braids in 10 Easy Steps

2014 6-30 How to braid garlic 2 (26)by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

In my kitchen, garlic reigns supreme.  I use it for so many dishes that I like to joke that I put garlic in everything but dessert! Because we use so much fresh garlic, we always grow enough to last us all year.  The only problem with growing a ton of garlic is storing it in a way that saves space, preserves quality, and allows for quick and easy removal of bulbs that develop bad spots, bruises, or those that have begun to sprout.  To solve these problems I began braiding our garlic. With garlic braids, not only can I easily choose which bulbs need to be used first, but the long strands can be hung virtually anywhere and take up absolutely zero storage space on my shelves.  Of course, garlic braids look great and they make wonderful gifts, too.  So get your garlic on and let’s braid it in 10 easy steps!

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