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Garden Inspiration

Here's a peak around my 2010 Summer yard and garden. 

Crepe myrtle's first year blooming!
Wild blackberry in the foreground and wild elderberry in the distance. 

Blueberries bushes and a young apple tree. 
Tea herbs: fennel, stevia and lemongrass.

Onions, chard, Arugula. Down the center perennials: Anise, Lemon balm, rosemary.  Blank spaces had lettuce and are waiting for winter greens.

 Wall of pole beans behind peppers, with dill in the center.

 Tomatoes with a new wood border waiting for more compost and dirt. 

Mini frog and fish pond to supply water to the toads, salamanders, and beneficial insects.

Hope he's eating slugs.
Squash and cucumbers showing signs of stress from bugs.  I canned plenty of pickles and relish before the damage got too bad. 


Health and Fitness Just How Valuable is it Really?

By Billy Gaines
One of my favorite quotes of all times concerning health and fitness is that of Covert Bailey from the book “Fit Or Fat” “If exercise was a medicine it would be the most prescribed medicine of all times.

This a amazingly true, because I‘ve learned from reading reports on clinical studies, and personal experience that adopting a healthy life style by diet and exercise is one of the most life altering decisions that you will ever make.

Recently I had a conversation with John Shrorer the Mayor of Franklin TN. We talked about the attendance being down at the Franklin YMCA where we work out regularly. We both commented on the economy, and how it had caused a shift in the priorities of some the YMCA members. I commented that I had to make the work outs a priority because the only thing that I had in my possession that I could not buy another of was my body.

John made a great analogy. He said it is much like businesses that get in financial trouble, and one of the first things that they want to cut is their advertising budget, so it is with people eliminate their exercise program.

Here is a thought there are people that would never put cheap gasoline in their cars, yet they will put junk in their bodies. You can get your fuel tank purged of fuel injectors replaced, in the event your beloved vehicle ingests some polluted petrol. On the other hand plaques build-up in your arteries will might require bypass surgery.

Value yourself. Eat healthy and exercise it may payoff dividends that are more precious that gold, your very life, or quality thereof.

Billy Gaines is a certified personal fitness trainer and personal weight loss life coach residing in Franklin TN.



Stop! Breath! Rest! Be at Peace. . . 


Gazpacho - Fresh Garden Soup

This is a great way to use the summer surplus. This recipe comes to me from my friend Julie.

"Here is my recipe. I added in fresh basil and sundried tomatoes."

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


1/2 pound tomatoes (about 2 or 3 medium), divided use

1 cup chopped sweet onions, divided use

1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped, divided use

1 medium bell pepper, seeds removed, divided use

5 ounces roasted, peeled red peppers (jarred is fine), divided use

1 (14-ounce) can tomato juice

1 clove garlic

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 or 3 slices of bread, cubed

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 Tablespoons chopped chives


Place half of each of the tomatoes, sweet onions, cucumber, bell pepper, and roasted red peppers into a food processor or heavy-duty blender. Add 1 cup of the tomato juice and puree until smooth.

Pour puree into a large mixing bowl and mix in the remaining tomato juice. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Place serving bowls in the refrigerator to chill.

Rub the clove of garlic around the interior of a large skillet. Heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking, then add the bread crumbs and saute until golden brown. Set bread cubes aside.

Chop remaining vegetables to a uniform 1/4-inch dice. Place in a small mixing bowl along with balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Let marinate at room temperature up to 1 hour, then mix into the refrigerated puree.

To serve, ladle gazpacho soup into chilled bowls and garnish with chopped chives and toasted bread cubes.

Yield: 8 servings


Garden Tour

The Coleman's suburban square foot garden - a photo collage!
This garden mom hates worms so planting through landscape fabric keeps them safely apart.  They get to do their part beneath the surface and she can reach in and pick without fear or  weeds!  Thanks for sharing. 


Garden Pest

The pictures in the previous post are of garden pest.  In an attempt to get ahead of a huge infestation and loss of my crops I'd posted these to get some advice.  Krista of Forrest Green Farm offered this advice by phone:

The yellow eggs could be ladybugs, but orange eggs are usually potato bugs.

The the tomato problem - blossom end rot - needs calcium.  For immediate intake she suggest eggshells soaked in water and poured at the base of each plant. 

The yellowing leaves - definitely a soil problem - water fruiting plants with a mix of 2 TBS Epsom salt: 1 gallon of water once followed by weekly doses of 1/2 strength fish emulsion.

Moles/voles - chewed juicy fruit gum in their holes will be ingested and kill them. I know it sounds cruel but a gardener can't be friends with a critter that eats roots.  I've also used repellent with success. 

Flea Beetles - on eggplant, cabbage, arugula - no organic solution that works permanently, its best to plant these in cool seasons and eggplant will have to have a complete cover to survive.

Aphids - buy aphid eating ladybugs (not to be confused with the imported ones in our houses who don't eat aphids), or try organic insecticidal soap

Grasshoppers - dust with flour- they ingest it and die - but you have to wash it off during the day so they can photosynthesize. 

Squash bugs - a real pest, so you have to be diligent - remove mulch, lay down boards to trap them at night pick and destroy them in the morning. Watch for reddish eggs under the leaves and destroy them.

I refuse to loose to squash bugs this year, so when I found them in my mulch, I gathered it up and piled it outside of my planting beds and dusted it with Sevens (a non-organic bug killer) so call this "semi organic."
Japanese beetles are attacking string beans, kiwi, passionflower, ornamental and fruit trees so I'm spraying with neem and pyrethrins as well as manually knocking them off into a bucket of soapy water.  
This week I spotted a tomato horn worm (a fat camouflaged green thumb sized caterpillars with a horn) eating my tomato leaves.  You can find him by looking for bare stems whose leaves are completely chewed away, and by looking for the droppings on the leaves. 
So far pest are under control. I'll post pictures of this year's garden soon.


About This Blog

This website keeps alive the memory and vision of our parents Mary Kathryn Gaines and James L. Smith, cofounders of "The Inspiration" a print newsletter from the days before the internet. They were lifelong learners and generous teachers who always had a tip, a how-to, an-easier-way nugget to share; always practical, wildly creative, and life inspiring. This collection of tips, treasures, wisdom, whit, practical information and inspiration is written to continue that legacy.

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