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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tomato Seedlings

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, and since there are many who -like me- still hold firm to the old ways and require a bit of a nudge, I submit the following images of tomato seedlings. I too was a loyal shopper, purchasing seeds from “those companies” you know them, I don’t need to list them. I used to grab seeds here, order them there, and wonder why in the world my plants didn’t produce.

The first photo is an image of Rutger Tomatoes. Billy’ prefers this variety. However, upon closer inspection notice the thin and spindly nature of each plant.

By comparison, on the right you will see the Cherokee Purples. If you read my blog regularly, these are the seedlings planted in a plastic shoe box and kept warm with Christmas-tree-lights. If you missed that post, click here to read. Tomatoes need hours and hours, and then a few more…hours of sunlight every day. Both the Rutgers and the Purples were planted at the same time. Both in my home, same care. I wanted a side-by-side comparison with the hopes of swaying Billy (and you) into growing only Botanical Interests seeds, instead of those “other companies.”

Rutger Tomatoes, One of Billy's favorites

Rutger Tomatoes, One of Billy’s favorites

Cherokee Purple Seedlings. Planted same time. Notice thickness of stalk

Cherokee Purple Seedlings. Planted same time. Notice thickness of stalk

Here is an image of the same plants today.

As you see in the image below, the Rutgers are still the same size. They have barely grown, while the Botanical Interest’s Cherokee Purples have sprouted new leaves. Considering the dreary weather, and frigid temperatures, I’m pleased with my Purples.

Please consider trying Botanical Interest’s Seeds.  In Georgia, seeds are available in Pike’s. Also, ask for them at Harry’s Supermarket. It’s time to start those seedlings. Happy gardening and remember to keep those hands dirty.

Update March 29, 2013 at 10:55 am. WOW. After receiving a comment that I had the same images, I have inserted another image today (difficult to hold one box over the other while holding the camera, and trying to snap the photo; but, I am quite offended that someone would think I am not honest. I guess the next allegation is photoshop). As you can see, side-by-side. I can’t zoom in (no extra hand), but you can see very little growth on the left, explosive growth on the heritage seeds. If you want to purchase genetically altered seeds, by all means, please do so. My goal has, and always will remain, teaching people living in urban areas how to grow food.  I have given away seeds and helped people plant gardens (all without compensation). Unless you are actively, hands on- trying to help people grow their own food, and until you take the time to personally get to know me, please toss negative comments toward someone else. What do I have to gain by manipulating anything?

Please, only sunshine and tomato seedlings here. 

The seedlings. Side by Side.

The seedlings. Side by Side.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. In 2012 she released Stress-Free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. 2014 will see the release of In the Kitchen with Billy: Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches. She is currently working on her first novel. She would love to hear from you. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2013 in Growing Your Own

 

The Harlem Shake, Bookstore Style

The Harlem Shake, Bookstore Style

Breaking News: It is world wide knowledge that Indie Bookstores go the extra mile to sell books. They have free giveaways, quirky contests, and sometimes . . . ask authors to act a fool while someone captures their shenanigans on film. Cat Blanco, owner of The Book Exchange in Marietta, Georgia recently did just that, ask me and a handful of others to act a fool.

Younger readers will recognize The Harlem Shake as a phenomenon that has taken over YouTube.

For those who are unfamiliar with the phenomenon, here’s the gist: as best as I understand. The video begins with a group of people hanging out. These people could be in the Starbucks, college dorm, or in this case, a local bookstore. All of the sudden a kooky person enters, dancing all kray-kray while no one else seems to notice. Then when the music hits a certain note everyone starts dancing kray-kray.

For the record, we realize our feeble attempt is in no way similar to the “Original” Harlem Shake. We’re just trying to spread the word that Indie bookstores are anything but boring.

Cat assembled the group and we picked out our headgear (apparently head-adorning-implements are required for this type of activity). Next, it was time to cue the music.

Law have mercy. It’s a good thing none of our parents have internet access !

What you can’t see on the video are customers entering the store as we’re standing there wearing hats, motorcycle helmets and bunny ears. Cat explained, Don’t mind us; we’re just filming a Harlem Shake video.

She said this like it was an everyday occurrence. Then she asked. . . wanna join us? The look on their faces was priceless. By the way, no one volunteered to join us.

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Hold still and let me get your hair on straight !

Cat also pulled the guy next-door from the barber shop. C’mon, join the fun. Here’s a pic of her covering adjusting his silver wig.

As my people would say, They help my time.

It took a couple of takes, before the video was done. Even now, we look at the video and smile. We were supposed to stand in one spot and shake our booty. But there was something about the music, the excitement that filled the room that made up hop around the room like excited bunnies.

If it’s been a while since you’ve visited an Indie Bookstore you’ll see that they are, loads of fun. No stuffed-shirts hoity-toity folk in here. Most Indies bookstore owners remember your name, and your reading preferences. They provide jobs for the neighborhood and are far from being extinct. If you haven’t visited The Book Exchange well it just up the road from you on Canton Road.  The address is 2932 Canton Road, Marietta GA 30066. If you’ve got your eye on a new release, or you want to load up on your favorite used books give Cat a call at (770) 427-4848.

Cat is known for hosting fabulous author events that bring New York Times best-selling authors to North Georgia. If you have never attended an author event, here’s a listing of upcoming author appearances:

April 16, 2013 Wendy Wax

May 16, 2013 Charles Martin and Patti Callahan Henry

June 4, 2013 Karen White

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Yes we will do anything for Indie bookstores.

I promise. We will leave our goofy headgear and stick pony at home. You will find that we’re just a group of passionate readers happy to support the local Indie, and a group of devoted authors acting a fool all for the love of books.

Please visit The Book Exchange on Facebook and LIKE their Page. We’d hate for all our Tom Foolery to be for naught. Oh, and while you’re there please follow me, or send me a friend request.

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Check out the dog in the video. And don’t forget to FOLLOW The Book Exchange on Facebook. Come see us soon at the author events.

 

 

 

 

 

And now, without further ado, the video. The Book Exchange’s version of the Harlem Shake. 

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. In 2012 she released Stress-Free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. 2014 will see the release of In the Kitchen with Billy: Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches. She is currently working on her first novel. She would love to hear from you. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com

 
 

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Potato Soup on a Cold Day

A dusting of white snow shocked me this morning as I approached my baby tomato seeds. Each morning I check on their progress. I bet today, the warm-and-toasty seedlings appreciated the added warmth from the Christmas Tree Lights. Last night, Old Man Winter blew through the Atlanta area leaving a scattering of snow.

Merciful heavens, doesn’t Mr. Winter know we don’t “do” snow here in the ATL?

So today, with the wind gusts whipping the pines, I opted to cook up a bowl of hearty potato soup. Potato soup is a quick and satisfying meal. Seasoned with ham scraps I keep frozen, curling your hands around a bowl of this scrumptious dish is satisfying.

Ingredients:

Three large potatoes (baking potatoes will do)

2 Tablespoons plain flour

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

Pieces of ham (chopped)

Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded cheddar cheese

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Chop potatoes into bite size pieces. Don’t forget to add a dash of salt.

The Process:

Peel potatoes then chop them into bite size pieces. Cook in saucepan with approximately one quart of water (or enough to cover the potatoes). Add 1 teaspoon of salt during this process. Boil potatoes until you can stick them with a fork. Taste for doneness.

While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in a cast-iron skillet. Add flour and stir well then add one cup of milk and stir well.

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Image of rue. Add this to the potatoes after they are completely cooked.

Image of rue. Add this to the potatoes after they are completely cooked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incorporating this “rue” makes a thick, rich soup.

If necessary, drain the potatoes and then add the rue and one cup of additional milk.

Stir gently to prevent sticking.

Chop ham and add to soup.

Note: to maintain the texture of the ham, add it at the end of the cooking process.

Save tiny pieces of your Christmas or Easter ham. Use them to season soup and beans. Yum !

Save tiny pieces of your Christmas or Easter ham. Use them to season soup and beans. Yum !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garnish with cheese and enjoy.

Potato soup. The perfect one-dish meal for those unexpected snow days.

Potato soup. The perfect one-dish meal for those unexpected snow days.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. In 2012 she released Stress-Free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. 2014 will see the release of In the Kitchen with Billy: Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches. She is currently working on her first novel. She would love to hear from you. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Recipes from the garden

 

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