Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don't Blame Me!


Don't blame me...I must pick the hips of my California wild roses and scrape out the seeds for planting...


California wild rose


Don't blame me for being away so long...it's the garden! The garden entices me outside every morning and I don't come inside until my nightgown is caked with mud and my body is permanently kinked over in a weeder's crouch.


Don't blame me...the 'Painted Lady' runner beans need to be harvested...


Plants need trimming and feeding...


and blossoms gathered...


Edible flowers must be dried...


Bronze fennel seed heads must be capped with paper bags and processed into herbs de Provence...


The Feijoas (aka pineapple guava) must be made into jelly...


Straw must be spread on the beds of artichokes and herbs (and soon chard)...


My crop of sunflowers must be bundled for the birds...


Tiny clumps of "faerie berries" must be separated and planted...


I'll be pressing the borage flowers for cards and Midsummer Night's blend...


and potting up the Calandrinia...


Harvesting the last of the apples...


and pomegranates (did you know that you can cut them underwater and remove the seeds? Much cleaner and simpler than staining everything)...


and a bumper crop of figs...These are so great cut in half and topped with a triple cream brie...




 Oh, and did I mention that whenever I climb into my car I am lured up the canyons to hunt for chanterelles and to pick up yet another variety of apple?



picking apples at a friend's home (isn't the apple ladder great?)...


and foraging for Chanterelles in hidden spots among the hills...


and cooking for friends and family...

Here is a simple recipe that will use some of your supply of sage leaves.

Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and roll a cold block of cream cheese until a thin layer.





Top cream cheese with leaves. Use the plastic wrap to tightly roll the cream cheese. Store in the fridge for a few house till thoroughly chilled. Cut the roll into thin pinwheels. These are great on crostini or crackers.

So there you have it. I have been trying to catch up with life. 

Sending love across the miles,

Sharon

P.S. Please leave a comment to be eligible for a give-away of this fabulous big book. You'll open a page every day of the year and become acquainted with a new and wonderful garden.



I'll do a random drawing next Sunday (November 6th). Good luck!


55 comments:

Blondie's Journal said...

Oh...you have been and will be so busy!! I can see that you came back to a garden filled with delight! Most of your plants I am unfamiliar with so this makes for a very interesting post for me. Would you believe I have never had a fig?

I am going to try the cream cheese roll up if my grocer has fresh sage. It looks delicious and impressive!

Wishing you all the best in settling back in!

XO,
Jane

Vee said...

I'm exhausted just thinking about what you're doing in that wonderful garden of yours. And this is the reason that I shall never have a large garden.

That apple ladder looks precarious. I hope that you weren't up it!

Take it easy now with all this harvesting. Wish I'd had that recipe for sage leaves before I froze my wee harvest.

suzanne said...

Sharon...no wonder you are lost in your garden~ So much to do. Your apple looks so crisp and sweet. Mine are just little buds at the moment...Yes Sharon 'Mousehole village (proper name Mowzil) does exist in England. I stumbled upon it on one of my Sunday reads of the British Country Living magazine. Quaint little sea side town. A must visit little treasure village. I too have that on my list of to do's..

I listen to robin calls all day long. I have many in my garden and I do associate them with Beatrix Potter...very magical little birds. Still yearning to see a hummingbird. Maybe one day.

A happy day to you and Jeff Sharon
Love
Suzanne

Terra said...

This sounds like a full two weeks of garden work and it is tempting and easy to over do. The cream cheese and sage roll up is intriguing and please enter me in your book give away.
P.S. I am sorry to hear Van Reid's series has ended, but I am lucky cuz I have only read the first one.

Crafty Cristy said...

Love the cream cheese with sage roll up idea. Sounds yummy. I bet it would work with other herbs too.

Diana said...

I'll be trying the sage/cream cheese pinwheels! Lots of sage here. I love it when you take us with you into your garden.

Unknown said...

You are an inspiration. Note to self, "Plant more food."

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear "Unknown,"

YES! PLANT MORE FOOD! I can't explain how tickled I am when I pluck a fruit, preserve something I've grown, or share it with my friends and family. I LOVE IT.

Now I am planting more herbs, greens, and flat leaf Italian parsley in my front yard.

A good inspiration for you might be Yvette Soler's Edible Front Yard, or Rosalind Creasy's magnum opus about edible landscaping. Very inspirational.

Best,

S

Larkrise garden girl said...

Hi Sharon,Yea, Pictures. I love your garden and I too have been busy it's always fun to be outside hearing the birds and gardening away!Cheri

Theresa N. said...

Learn something new everyday, I didn't know you could scrape out the seeds and plant them from the hips.
Theresa N
weceno(at)yahoo(dot)com

lemonverbenalady said...

Love that I don't have a produce bill in the summer except for bananas! You're so lucky to have gardening year round. I need the break! Love the pomegranate info and love, love the sage leaf and cream cheese do dad. Thank God you're around to think these do dads up! xxoo Nancy P.S. You posted twice or something like that!

Kay's flowers said...

Oh my goodness! How do you even have time to post?! It all sounds so wonderful. So glad you are enjoying life. Have a great week.

Blessings,
Kay

Elizabeth Ann said...

Thanks for sharing California gardening with us! We have a new home here in Idaho and haven't got to plant a garden yet but I can hardly wait until next year. When we lived in California I would go out early early and pull weeds and enjoy my veggie garden too!

Comfrey Cottages said...

I am glad to hear you are outside enjoying the bounty and the blessings of our earth! Marvelous, Sharon, just marvelous xxxx

Carol said...

It's great to be out and working the dirt with our hands. Your photos are great and I'll have to try the cream cheese and sage. We do seem to have a bumper crop of sage this year.

GRACE PETERSON said...

Okay, okay, I won't blame you... After all you are awfully sweet. Thanks for the reminder that life is full of blessings. So full that we can't always fit in all of the blessings around us. :)

taylorsoutback said...

An absolute delight to stroll through your garden (since mine is tucked in for winter) and what a fabulous way to use sage leaves - so pretty too!

A big garden book...be still my heart :o)

Rebecca said...

You definitely have an "excused absence" from me.

Thanks for the great cream cheese idea! I can think of a some other possibilities - now that you've introduced rolling cream cheese out flat to me!

Pomegranates were $1@ at the grocery store this week. I almost picked a couple up. You're right. Underwater is a great way to get those seeds out!

Marguerite said...

Sharon, what a great boon your garden has this year. I'm amazed (and I bow down to you!) at how you managed so much considering you were in Maine for so long. my garden would have gone to ruins in that time. p.s. thanks for the tip on pomegranites, I'll be using that one in the near future.

Farmchick said...

The color on that apple is just perfect and those figs.....look delicious. I have never tried the cream cheese and sage. Must do that.

Kay G. said...

Love every single thing you have shown us here and then, at the end, to have a giveaway. How wonderful!

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

Thank you so much for sharing the sage idea. I have two beautiful sage plants and didn't know what to do with them. I put my greenhouse to sleep this weekend and my roses are next. I love how fulfilling gardening chores are. Have fun!

kj said...

dear sharon,

i blame you for everything!!! i blame you for loving the land, for tending the garden, for bowing to herbs, for sharing your bounty, even for your giddiness toward the smallest seed.

but most of all i blame you for your charming ways and my increasing affection. you have snuck into my life and now i smile when i think of you. :^)

it's all your fault.
love
kj

Lori ann said...

haha, kj, what a great comment.

sharon, your garden sounds like the best kind of work, i can just picture you muddy and engrossed in the plot of land you tend. as always you are an inspiration. like kj says.

xox lori

p.s. the book looks awesome.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Hi Sharon..
My goodness, what a lot of work you have ahead of you. I hope you have some help. I saw your "dirty hands" club and nearly jumped right in and joined...then I KNEW darned good and well I wouldn't keep up with it. I can hardly keep up with my silly blog..Not to mention the second one with a silly Teddy Bear..never mind.
I'm rambling.
I love the cream cheese and sage idea. I am passing that one on to daughter..as she is the one that does all the family entertaining.

Isn't Autumm a glorious time of the year..and Winter..but then so is Springtime and Summer. *smile*

Teri said...

I don't know how you do it! How do you go away for such a long time and come back to a garden that is not all gone to weeds? If I just go away for a week or two, things are in such a mess that I can never catch up. You must have the stamina of a thousand people! I, too, love to go out in my PJ's and then before I know it, they are all messy and I think "why did I do that"? Great tip about the pomegranates. I never knew that before!

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Oh my - you are one busy lady.
I have a bumper crop of sage.
Looking for ways to use it other
then my dressing for Thanksgiving.
Thank you for this idea.
Rest....

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Question - may be so early I am not thinking straight. When I roll the cream cheese with the plastic - will plastic paper be in the pin wheels ?

Anonymous said...

Love the cream cheese and sage roll up - will give it a try for pre Thanksgiving meal. Nanc

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try that cream cheese roll up! Yummy! I have put my garden to bed for the long, dreary winter with hopeful thoughts of an early spring!

Kristina

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Ernestine and other curious cooks,

I use the plastic wrap (which was under the cream cheese as I rolled it out) to help me roll the thin layer, but it is never inside the roll. Just outside. Does this make sense Ernestine??

Love,

S

Privet and Holly said...

I don't blame you....
I envy you!
You and your flowers
and seed and pods
and apples and sage
and ALL of your garden-y
goodness : ) In Minnesota
we are mostly beyond all
that....in the waiting time.
Although gardening
season has come to a
close, I still love to read
about you puttering around
in yours!

Happy November, Sharon,
xx Suzanne

Maggie said...

What great photo's, I felt like I was in the garden getting my hands dirty right alongside you.
Love the marbled pumpkin in the last shot.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Maggie,

I've gotten some e-mails from folks who want to know the name of that beautiful marbled pumpkin. I called my friend and asked her the name. She specializes in rare pumpkins and squash and she grew it. It has a funny name, but I can't remember it. Check back!

S

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi all,

My friend Beth Kendall, who grew those handsome squash in the photo, says that the name of the marbled one is "One Too Many." It is a new hybrid. I love it.

Beth Kendall sells at our local farmer's markets...Templeton, Cambria, and Paso Robles. She is the lovely lady who has hosted the past Squash Tastings that I've written about on my blog.

S

nana pam said...

I don't blame you-wish I could join you!!!! I miss my visits to Callie now my daughter lives in MD. We actually spent the night in Cambria at a bed and breakfast a few yrs. ago-6/7? on our way up the coast-it was so charming, I fell in love.
Here in the Finger Lakes of western NY we have to do a small bit of weeding, cut back some rose bushes that have gone wild, plant hyacinth bulbs and top off a few perenials yet. It is 40 today. The best thing about here is the autumn leaf show.

nana pam said...

oh, one more thing-thanks for the tip on the poms-rarely have one as they are too expensive but glad to know how to fix them in an non-messy way.
How is the bird book coming-dare I ask? Maddie and her Nana(me) eagerly await.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Nana Pam,

Thanks for asking. In September my editor of 17 years retired. I am still in separation anxiety treatment.

Anyhow, the book was pushed to Autumn 2012 instead of March. I still have polishing to do and about 30 more little bird illos. I am mostly finished though.

Workman Publishing has thought up a GREAT add on to go with the book. Fabulous. I'll post a photo on the blog when I finally get one of the finished product.

Books take so long to birth...speaking of which, I am working on my middle grade novel and my 9 year old grand is thoroughly into it. Her teacher is going to read a copy to the class. Fun!

Joys,

Sharon

Nan said...

Oh, your pictures take my breath away, Sharon. So, so beautiful. Thank you for bringing me on a little trip this November day.

Lori in Indiana said...

Hello Sharon! What beautiful photos of your garden! Living in the midwest, all I'm seeing now is leaves, leaves and more leaves. They do provide a wonderful splash of color before the gardens all go to sleep for winter. Love the seasons and you ...

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Did you just say figs with triple cream cheese? I might just go kill myself now and be done with the envy I'm always filled with when reading your blog posts.

Be well.

Linda Powers said...

Good morning! Thanks so much for the pomegranate tip!
I enjoy your writings and photos and gentle sense of wonder! Love across the miles ....to you!

teri said...

I followed you here after reading your lovely comment over on Sharon's blog (One Woman's Life in Maine)- your spirit of abundance shines through. Magical and full of creativity. xo teri

vicki said...

Oh to be able to play and get dirty in your wonderland of gardens--- just being outside is a delight- but to play in your beautiful place would be heaven. Oh my friend- you go right ahead and dig in your dirt- enjoy the weather- harvest your fruits--- this is the stuff that brings true joy to our soul. I have SO enjoyed the beautiful photos--
Vicki

Beth said...

Hi, Sharon!!!!! I love the abundance of your garden. It is paradise there. One of the things I love about Switzerland is all the tiny yards with fruit and nut trees! And I love the picture of your English robin...did you go to England recently? love, Beth

Anonymous said...

i really do need exact instructions for the pomegranates! thea

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Thea dear,

I have a big glass bowl that I set in my sink (because pomegranate juice stains). I fill the bowl with water making sure to totally cover the pomegranate. Slice the pomegranate in half and use a peach pitter or a grapefruit spoon or? to pop out the seeds. Drain water away, dry seeds with a paper towel, and store them in a tightly covered container in the fridge. These are little gems on a salad!

S

Lili said...

It strikes me that I really do not know what needs to be done in my garden after reading all the things that you instinctively do. I love learning from you though! I'm also wondering if I could use other herbs with the cream cheese, boy doesn't that look/sound wonderful though! Bless your little mud caked nightgown! xo ~Lili

W-S Wanderings said...

I KNOW this call of the garden. It is powerful. Empowering. Devouring. It feeds the body and soul (even if it sometimes exhausts).

I am intrigued by that recipe!

africantapestry said...

I realize once again how different the climate there is in Ca in comparison to here in France...my sunflowers have loo..oong gone and been picked out by the birds already a month ago! BUT, we have extraordinary weather...no sign of winter yet...even had a tomato plant that started flowering...the poor thing will have a shock pretty soon.
Bises
Ronelle

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

You mean real life? Me too. I've been busy finishing up bulb, pansy and viola planting. Also, been walking an hour a day. I love your cream cheese leaf with leaves. Yum. See you someday, but thinking of you always.~~Dee

Sharon said...

As you know, in Maine November is the time to put all the plants to bed for the winter. It must be rewarding to find such abundance in your California garden on your return. Your photos are amazing.

a woman who is said...

Could you be any busier...lol? I loved my quick read through, cutting pomegranates under water...love it, and the sage cream cheese idea, I am doing it. Have a lovely Thanksgiving! Enjoyed your pumpkin, squash selections too!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear friends,

My modem died and I have been offline for days. Using my iPad, but very slow going.

Cheers and I will answer your e mails when my new modem arrives,

Cottonista said...

I love your pictures and ideas. They make me want to go outside and make a difference in my yard. Except that it's cold, rainy and dark out there, so I'm going to watch a movie with my husband instead!