Textile Style: Celebrate spring in the boldest, most dramatic way–with a blue butterfly on your wrist! This cuff features a large pool blue linen butterfly decorated with a vintage luster glazed button and backed with a blue and silver print. The butterfly is mounted on a gorgeous platinum silk band that’s hand-embroidered with vines and tiny blue buds. The cuff is lined with plum linen and closes with a shimmery shell button.
Aleta Wynn Yarrow: I am drawn to transitions in the landscape: passing clouds, twilight, autumn and spring. It is during transition that we are most vulnerable, and in our vulnerable hour our blessings are the most precious.
Landscape as a metaphor for emotional experience is the uniting thread in Aleta Wynn Yarrow’s work. Night represents intuition, mystery and enchantment. Autumn reminds us that what is beautiful does not always last. The story of Spring is that renewal sometimes happens swiftly. Yarrow’s work exists in the shadow land between technique and vision; emotion and intellect; the physical realm and the emotional one.
“Oh, Mom! What are those?”
I love it when my children get excited about things that can be grown so when my five year-old’s eyes lit up and the chatter started last week as I pulled a packet of Luffa Gourd seeds from the envelope Seven Acre Woods had lovingly tucked them in I couldn’t resist engaging her. The conversation that resulted was even more pleasing than what had spurred it because if there’s anything I love seeing my children excited about more than things that grow it’s how (and where) those things are grown. And that’s exactly where her interest turned.
“Can I grow one of those in my garden? Oh and Mom, don’t let Dad use that loud thing on mine okay? I just want a shovel and a rake.”
‘That Loud Thing’ is the rototiller and while her current interest is a bit misplaced — the decibel level of the machinery used to till land on which food is grown is of little environmental and social concern, after all — her interest in the production of food at all is encouraging; and timely.
For some the Farmer’s Markets either never ceased or have already made their grand re-opening for the 2010 growing season and even for those in colder geographies the season of local production is just around the corner — or so I keep telling myself as I stare out the window at a barren white expanse.
As we step foot back in the Farmer’s Markets this year we may know, at least for the most part, where the goods we find there were grown but do we really know how? USDA organic certification can be costly and for some small producers and those that are trying to keep consumer costs at a bare minimum in order to make healthy, local fare available to all income levels, certification can be downright out of reach — but that doesn’t mean their goods aren’t grown organically. It just means they can’t bare a USDA seal.
Without getting to know your growers; without asking how their products are grown you’ll never know if the goods you choose each Saturday and Sunday morning are meaningfully produced in the manner most important to you. As you venture back out to shop your local farmer’s market this season remember, knowing how is just as important as knowing where.
Last month, as March ushered in just slightly warmer weather and a little more sunlight, our guide to shopping in-season at local farmer’s markets focused on seriously cold weather crops. This month however, as April in most regions brings in moderate temperatures and days with a significant amount more sunshine our list of local foods available gets longer and more interesting.
Those cold weather crops we discussed last month — lettuces, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, garlic and leeks, for instance — are still available in most places, but in certain regions April’s seasonal foods will give us the ability to add more dimension to the table. Citrus, artichokes, beets, chives, horseradish, asparagus, sweet onions, and shallots are just to name a few. In some of the more southern areas Strawberries may even peek out from beneath their vines and make an appearance at the market.
And then there is one of my all time favorites. Though I’ll have to wait a little longer for them here in Michigan, many people around the country can get a jump on my season and indulge now.
When I was young I had a friend whose father I adored. Every year he would head to the woods and hunt. The elusive object he sought to bring home? Morel Mushrooms. And if memory serves, he was always wildly successful.
I remember watching her mom dump the contents of the bags he would bring back onto a cutting board in the kitchen, separate any remnants of the woodland floor they called home from the bunch, gently clean them up and start slicing. When that was done she’d fill the bottom of a frying pan with butter and heat it over the stove until it popped and sizzled before tossing the mushrooms in and frying them to buttery perfection.
Of course, given that Morels have a nasty poisonous twin inhabiting many of the same wooded areas they call home, I would never suggest you try to replicate the entirety of my childhood memories, but hunting a pound or two down at your local farmer’s market where they’re clearly marked wouldn’t hurt. Finding the best, fresh foods in any market is a bit of a hunt, after all.
Not sure where to find a farmer’s market near you? Check out Local Harvest for help. Not sure how to shop a farmer’s market? Never been before? Check out the farmer’s market guide that was featured right here at Try Handmade last year for tips! Happy April Hunting, all.
Planting season will be upon us very soon. More time spent in the garden, kneeling down and bending over in order to fill our little patches with colour come the summer. Cassia Beck has captured a scene from summer; the season that doesn’t seem to hang around Scotland for too long for a couple of weeks between the months of June to August.
And being able to be green-fingered, even when you don’t own a garden is possible by Creating a kitchen herb garden in a planter on the window sill. Most herbs are minimal effort plants and don’t require a lot of TLC.
“Annual” herbs (aka herbs that only last a season) are cilantro, basil and chervil and are probably some of the more high maintenance herbs – they will need to be re-planted every spring.
“Evergreen” herbs (aka herbs that won’t die back in the winter months) are the herbs that will remain green all year round; lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme are examples of evergreens – and they will make your home smell wonderful!
“Herbaceous” herbs (aka plants that will die back in the winter months but grow back strong and healthier than ever before) are the herbs like tarragon and chives and require the least effort – plus they are brilliant for seasoning and flavouring food!
These gorgeous and sturdy planters from Andrew’s Reclaimed Shop are crafted with care; made from mill end waste cut cedar and waterproof food grade glue.
If you’re planning on creating a herb garden make sure you put it into an area with good air circulation and light – most herbs require little effort but they still love the sunshine, good soil and pruning – depending on which variety of herbs you decide to add to your planters.
If you do have a garden spare a thought for your left-overs.
Vegetable peelings work as a great alternative to shop bought fertilizer; simply wash out a left-over ice cream tub and store veggie peelings in there, place the lid back and over time the peelings will break down into compost for your garden.
Milk cartons also work as multi-purpose/make-shift garden tools. Watering cans are created by piercing the milk tops several times, filling the milk carton with water and screwing the pierced lid back on. Or why not create a scoop for your fertilizer from a milk carton? Cut from below the handle, cutting diagonally until you achieve the scoop shape – and viola you have your very own little scoop instead of the carton going out to be trashed.
The daffodils usually spring up in April here; peeking their little yellow heads through the bulbs just in time for the UK Mothering Sunday. Currently we’re waiting for the Big Freeze to end and would be very welcoming to some sunshine, spring flowers and all the lovely things a garden in bloom brings.
Until then, I am tempted to fill my walls with home decor stickers like this:
It would save us hundreds in re-decoration costs – and we’d be able to un-stick these vinyl stickers and take them wherever we were instead of having an eternal mural we’d have to leave behind. Plus it would make my garden-less and bare walled household a cheerier place to be while everyone else enjoys their gardens in the upcoming months.