My Tea Garden

I am a tea drinker. Yes, coffee in the morning…but tea the rest of the day. Hot tea, even in summer. But I do love brewing tea and then pouring it over ice on especially hot days. All kinds of teas…dark and caffeinated to light herbal teas, green teas with a touch of lemon or ginger, peppermint…well, it’s all delicious!

Except for Lapsong Souchong…nope…don’t like that stuff…tastes like a mouthful of smoke. Blech.

But I digress…what I’m so crazy excited about is my newly established Back Deck Tea Garden! I’ve been dreaming of it for a while now, got a book about how to start one and what kinds of plants would yield what kinds of teas. Of course, doodling ideas in my sketchbook was a must to work out what I might like to start with, what I already have on hand, and how it might grow right there on my deck.

You see…I’m not very much of a gardener. Oh I have all kinds of grand visions of gardens and I can plant them in the ground. But then I say to the little plants “Grow and Flourish” and I walk away. If I don’t see them, I tend to forget they need watering and tending. Come mid-summer they are wilting and gasping for water. But if plants are on the deck, right where I can see them out my kitchen window, I tend to them much better.

So here’s my little Tea Garden in its infancy. Of course, I have flowers in and around the herbs. Some of the flowers, such as Bee Balm (which is actually Bergamot!) and Tufted Violets were listed in my Tea Book as lovely plants from which to harvest flowers and leaves for tea! Planted in and among the other flowers I have lavender, rosemary, peppermint, basil, another kind of mint, lemon balm and I hope to have some chamomile I’m trying to grow from seed. A good start I think!

I’m dreaming of sipping freshly made teas from my little garden all summer and then drying them for fall and winter tea. I’m also planning on lots of drawing and sketches from the flourishing plants!

Now to go water them and whisper to them to grow, grow, grow!

Meet Mortimer & Millicent

A love story in pictures…

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There are times when you just have to make them. You don’t understand why.

You’re not going to give them to anyone. You want them for yourself.

You know it will take time. A lot of time.

But you just don’t care, ’cause you swooned when you saw this book.

And in and among all the wonderful patterns in that book was a mouse the authors had named Magnus.

There was also a doll named Hippie. And you noticed that the bodies for each of these were knitted quite the same.

So you set about to make a boy and a girl mouse, tweaking ever so slightly the shape of the “snout”.

You also wanted them larger than what was called for in the book, so you chose Worsted Weight Patons Wool to knit their bodies.

Then you chose some lovely cottons to knit up their clothes (all patterns in the book).

Their personalities came out with each stitch.

You relished seeing them come to life.

Even Lucy, your cat, welcomed them with a kiss.

You laughed with delight as you photographed them in your back yard.

And you thought…this is good…they were meant to be.

Just because.

Mortimer & Millicent wish you a very Happy Easter!!

And so do I!

Title of book: Knit & Crochet in the Garden by Arne & Carlos

A Garden of Gratitude

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I’m feeling quite overwhelmed these days. The only way I can wrap my head around it is that we’re experiencing a harvest time in our family. With the goodness of a harvest, comes a lot of activity. It’s all good. But wow. It’s a lot.

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I’ve been moved and delighted by the response to Genevieve and the Kite. A few of you have already gotten your copies (I’m still waiting on my BIG box to land on my front stoop!:) and your comments have been so encouraging to me. Thank you. All of you, really and truly…thank you!  If you are so inclined, I would love for you to submit a simple review of the book on Amazon. You’ll see the words “customer review” highlighted in blue. Click on that and you can submit your thoughts on the book. That would be awesome! Thank you in advance! 🙂

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Another thing growing in our Garden is an EP of six original songs and retuned hymns, titled Songs of Grace, by three incredible musicians in our church. One of these guys is the fella who lets kids throw pies at him. 🙂 He’s pretty special to me.  Every time I listen to this CD, I’m amazed at his voice and all the talent these men have.  If you enjoy worship music, click here to go the BandCamp site where you can stream and listen (free!) to the songs, and/or purchase the digital downloads for so cheap! Also available there for free are the lead sheets to the music so that you or your church can incorporate these tunes into your worship experience. It truly is beautiful music.

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And…our son. Goodness me. As if the above two weren’t enough, our son William’s EP of original songs came out last week as well! We have watched (and listened) to him bloom into an amazing musician/singer songwriter. With the help and expertise of Michael Kuehn, a friend in our church and one of the guys featured on the Songs of Grace CD mentioned above, William was able to record six of his own songs and compile them onto a CD. When he asked me for artwork for the cover, I was happy to oblige. 🙂  (If I type any more of these smiley faces, it’s gonna be obnoxious!)  William plays guitar, banjo, and harmonica and sings, while Michael has added numerous other instruments to make for a marvelous listen. Randy and I are so proud of and excited for our 16 year old boy.

OurHarvest

Whew. Harvest time for a farming family is the busiest time of year. And the above three things are only just a few of the things going on in our family. Our oldest just performed in her Fall Concert at Wingate University and will be performing in the their fall opera in just a few weeks. And the JDRF Walk is coming up for Maddie and I.  Once again, we have been overwhelmed by your generosity in giving on her behalf for this wonderful organization. We can’t wait to walk on Saturday October 26th to represent Maddie and all of you who have supported her in finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes!!

I feel a bit like I’ve got the Kite by the tail and I’m soaring off into some pretty lovely, but unknown realms.  Thank you to all of you, dear readers, for your cheers, your encouragements in comments, your thoughts and prayers. We, the Edwards family, are so blessed by you!

P.S. The above watercolor is a recent sketch from the Ciener Botanical Gardens. In the midst of all that’s been happening, the Gardens are a lovely respite to the “fullness” of my life. Can you stand one more smiley face? 🙂

A Garden of Hope

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I spent a couple of hours working in the Garden this week!

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In December, you say?? Yes. This is a year-round Garden.

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A unique garden whose rows and vines are shelving structures.

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The food “grows” on these shelves and then gets harvested and bailed into bags

to be given to school children in Guilford and Forsyth counties.

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Please read more about this amazing Garden here!

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I’ve written about the Out of the Garden Project before, which you can read about here. I really do love the mission

that Don and Kristy Milholin have planted.  (Don pictured above)

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The growth of the Garden is astronomical: they now serve over 900 children and their families in over 50 schools.

 That’s 900+ bags of food EVERY WEEK OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!

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As you can see from my photos, the shelves are quite bare. A Winter Garden to be sure.

But this Garden needs to be producing all year round and especially so at the holidays!!

There are many ways you can help:

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If you’re local, you can give canned food and/or volunteer to pack and deliver bags!

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If you live anywhere, you can donate money! And this is the best part of it: For every $5 you give, you receive an Honor Card (the little painting is by yours truly. 🙂  This makes a wonderful gift to give on someone’s behalf.  The back of the card has a space for you to write the name of the person in whose honor you have donated to OOTGP.

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No matter where you live in this wide world of ours, consider giving in some way to those less fortunate than you.

In so doing you will bring hope to the children of the Garden!

Weeds

I do allow for weeds to exist in my life…but I have to watch! They can easily choke out the flowers! I think of “weeds” as all the little things we do in life that aren’t crucial to the stuff we want to see GROW.  My family, art & friends are all flowers I want to see flourish…so anything that I want and need to do to encourage that flourishing is the bedrock of the garden of life.  But there’s so much else that gets crammed in there, in between all the flowers, that seems to take over!

What’s that thing called, a “weed eater”?  That’s what I need.  I don’t want to get rid of them all, just enough of them so I can breathe!