Remembering

I wrote this post two years ago for Memorial Day and thought I’d share it again today. My kids are a little bit (okay, a lot) bigger but this is still our tradition. Whether your attending a parade or service, spending time with friends with family or spending some time in the garden today, I hope you’ll take time to remember and thank those who have served and sacrificed for us.  Michele

I was talking with a friend at church yesterday about our Memorial Day plans. She asked what we were doing and I shared that we’ll be visiting the cemetery.  She looked a little bit confused for a second so I went on to explain that I like to use it as a teachable moment with my kids. We don’t have family buried here in Salem and I’ll admit that we don’t take the time to visit graves when we’re in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We really should do that more.  On Memorial Day however we take a trip to a cemetery here in Salem and just relax for a few hours. Sometimes we catch guppies in the ponds, or take a walk. My younger kids ask lots of questions about death and dying which is always an important conversation. I usually bring some carnations and the kids and I place them on Veteran’s graves that look untended and lonely. I like for them to think about the sacrifices that have been made for them.  It’s often said that “freedom isn’t free” and we need to remember that. I also use this time to tell them about their grandfathers. My Dad spent twenty years in the Army and retired as a Master Sargent. He was never far from that experience and shared much of it with us. My father-in-law didn’t serve in the military but he was a true patriot and taught us all as well. I love remembering Memorial Days long ago when my family camped together or Michael and I watched the  parade in Wharton, New Jersey with my in-laws. I wonder what my kids will remember and what they’ll share with their children.  I hope that you have a few moments to connect with the people you love today and to take some time to honor and remember those who have given so much for us.

Zebra Finches, Guitars and a Chinese House–Just a Typical Afternoon in Salem

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It’s hard to believe that this afternoon we threw on our shoes, drove five minutes and walked into this amazing building in downtown Salem.

Then paid nothing (because Salem residents are admitted for free), and waited in line for twenty minutes to view from here to ear, an exhibit featuring zebra finches playing electric guitars and cymbals…

No photos were allowed, but check out the video in the right margin here on the PEM website and you’ll get the idea. It was quite an experience.

While we waited to see the birds we looked out and enjoyed this view of Yin Yu Tang, a two hundred year old merchant’s house that was brought here piece by piece from China in 2003 and reassembled by the museum…

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No photos are allowed of the inside of Yin Yu Tang either, but it’s full of original artifacts from the house as it was while it was used by the family that owned it. It was easy to imagine what it might have been like to live there.

After all of that amazing cultural opportunity, we ran right into this guy

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Who elicited this reaction from my littlest girl…

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There was even a quick view of a frozen garden through a window…

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Maybe we don’t need spring in Salem after all?  We’re doing just fine.

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Making Pots From Newspaper

Here’s an activity that we worked on at Bass River today. For my adaptive gardening/horticultural therapy friends and followers, I found that as simple as this was to do, it was full of good opportunities to talk about recycling, work on fine motor and social skills and to start thinking about spring. The post just before this one on Bass River Gardens features a seed tape project that we’ve been doing, which has similar benefits. Most importantly, it was all fun! Michele

Bass River Gardens

Here’s another fun activity that we did this week to help us get ready for spring.

We made seedling pots from newspaper!

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We used a sheet of newspaper, a soup can and a little bit of tape.

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First we folded the newspaper in half lengthwise…

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then we rolled it tightly over the soup can.

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We folded it in, creating the bottom of the pot and used a piece of tape to hold it together.

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Then we slid the can out and we had a pot shape!

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We folded in the top edge to give it stability.

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And we had created a nice pot, ready for some seed starting soil and seeds. When the seedlings are ready, we’ll be able to plant them right into the ground because newspaper is highly biodegradable and a good source of carbon, and the inks are made with natural earth pigments and soy.

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Now we…

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Winter Lettuce and Spinach On the Rooftop!

I’d like to introduce the “other blog” in my life! Bass River Gardens is the blog that I’ve created with the individuals who I work with in my position as an adaptive gardening specialist. Last week we planted an experiment in our new “cold frame” and I thought it might be a good time to share Bass River here on The Salem Garden. This is a really cool project and so easy to do! Check it out, and while your there please look at some of the other posts that we’ve created and follow us! We’re having a good time in the Bass River Gardens, even in the cold weather! Michele

Bass River Gardens

We made a cold frame for our rooftop garden a few weeks ago. A cold frame is like a little greenhouse and it’s used to extend the growing season by keeping in the heat and keeping out the cold, snow and wind. We made ours very inexpensively using window well covers, metal clips and bungie cords. You can watch the video that showed us how to do it here.

We decided to try to grow different kinds of lettuce and spinach to see what varieties would grow best in the cold frame.

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We made labels for each packet of seeds,

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Then we went up to the roof, lifted the cover off and got ready to plant.

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Each set of seeds was gently planted.

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And carefully marked  with a white label.

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When we were done planting we had five varieties of lettuce and three types of spinach ready to grow!

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We…

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Yesterday’s Salem Maritime Festival

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t post a few quick shots of the Maritime Festival! I always intend to get lots of photos of “everything” and beautifully chronicle the event but my focus is on my kids and everything that they enjoy. I remember the days when they were all little and I pushed, pulled and carried all five of them around the festival for the day. As I watch all of the young parents I feel weightless with just an eight and ten year old to look after. They do grow up so quickly! Okay, enough of that!  Here we are, having a great time! Click on any photo to see them enlarged as a slideshow.  Michele

My Favorite Gardening Books, and Yours?

IMG_2311Yesterday one of my co-workers asked me what gardening book I would recommend for beginners and I had to stop and really think about it.  I love so many gardening books that it’s hard to choose, and I tend to rely on the internet these days as my first go to when I have a question. I started looking through my books today and thinking about all of the joy that they’ve given me as I’ve studied and learned.  There’s nothing as wonderful as a good book!

IMG_2313I can quickly identify my favorite gardening book as ” The Moosewood Kitchen Garden Book” by David Hirsch.  Mine is a first edition and as I think back I’m sure that I purchased it in 1992, before I had children. It includes all of  the basics for anyone who wants to grow edible flowers, herbs, veggies and fruit and it’s readily available on Amazon in original and revised formats. I have happy memories of rocking my babies and planning gardens with this book in hand.

IMG_2314Another of my favorites is the classic herb guide, “Herb Gardening in Five Seasons” by Adelma Simmons. Adelma’s unique and wonderful take on herbs and herb gardening throughout the year comes to life in this book. I tend to pull it out at the beginning of each season to help me think about what’s coming next.

IMG_2316I have certainly enjoyed all garden  joys and herbal magic in the years since 1994!

IMG_2317When I was talking with Andrew yesterday the first resource that came to mind was Rodale. Anything published by the Rodale Press seems to work for me and the guide just above is perfect for answering  basic gardening questions. I also use their website, organicgardening.com on a daily basis.

IMG_2318While looking around for one of my current favorites, “The Garden Primer” by Barbara Damrosch, I realized that my nightstand is full of gardening books too. As you can see I love to read about adaptive gardening and container gardening and I always have a few Organic Gardening magazines in the queue and free books on my kindle.

IMG_2320Here’s my current favorite  “The Garden Primer” by Barbara Damrosch.   This is an original edition that I found at the used book store recently. It’s a great resource for the more experienced gardener who’s looking for details, but it’s also simple enough to work for someone who needs a basic understanding.  Like the Moosewood book, it’s easy to read and digest and has beautiful hand drawn illustrations. When I googled Barbara Damrosch I learned that she’s published several books, speaks extensively, writes for the Washington Post and owns an experimental farm in Maine.

So, there you go Andrew… my favorite garden books! Let’s put this out to the blogosphere: What book would you gardeners recommend for a new gardener?

Let us know in the comments section… just a quick note for my facebook friends, comment here rather than on facebook so everyone can see what you have to share!

Michele

Waiting For Pick-Up Time, Ropes Mansion Style

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This afternoon while I was waiting to pick up my daughter at school I had just a few minutes to walk through the garden at the Ropes Mansion on Essex Street. This is always a fun stop… it’s not a period garden, but more a colorful collection of plants of all kinds that are arranged for fun and pleasure. It’s a  beautiful place to stop and rest in for a few minutes.
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Life is good here in Salem, Massachusetts!

I hope that you enjoyed a garden today~

Michele

Growing Life Skills in the Garden

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Garden/Allotment (Photo credit: tricky (rick harrison))

Just below is the link to a great article about a youth gardening program in Loveland, Colorado. It highlights the many benefits that gardening provides to students with special needs. The adults that I work with grow and change as they garden as well. As I settle in to my adaptive gardening specialist position I’m able to see it more every day. Take a minute or two and click on the link to read about the Loveland Youth Gardeners! I truly believe that gardening benefits all who are interested!

Michele

Growing Life Skills in the Garden