My Green Velvet Life

Where everything sticks.


garden & nature

If life is a bowl of cherries you’ll need a pit bull.

We just spent a lovely weekend with family in Wisconsin’s thumb (Door County), the land of boats, lighthouses, hollyhocks, and many apple and cherry orchards.  I bought the smartest, granny-est souvenir from

Orchard Country’s Cherry Pitter

Yay! Now I can eat cherries respectfully at work.  No cherry-pit-spitting-cup needed!

I also brought home a bag of dried cherries.  (We won’t talk about the chocolate-covered dried cherries that mysteriously disappeared).  This gave me the perfect excuse to make my  Please try it! It is so yummy and easy!  No bull!

Quiet Ladies Get Their Way & Look Good Doing It

Every weed is but an unloved flower. — Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919), American writer

For many years I tried really hard to kill these beautiful lady bells. I didn’t know what they were and naively treated them as a troublesome weed. Every year they would just come back. Eventually I gave up and discovered their gorgeous purple bells. But, next problem, they grow quietly and stubbornly in places I do not choose. I have no say in the matter.

Now that I am softer and older, I just smile at them when I walk by. They know they are messing with my patience, just like each of my daughters did at around age 13. And, like my daughters, they know I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Any weeds sassing at you lately? Or are you too busy looking for love in all the wrong places to notice?

A (Salty Wisconsin) Spring in My Step

While much of the country is enjoying green grass and budding trees, us northerners are thrilled just to glimpse the geese flying bravely in the whipping March winds while we make mad dashes through our salt covered parking lots to our still frozen cars.  Salt is our friend all winter.  It keeps our roads and sidewalks safe.  It is the secret to outsmarting Cold Mother Nature.  But aside from all that important stuff, it drives us crazy with its ability to stick to e.v.e.r.y.thing.  In March, we’re so ready to wash away the salt and season our eyes with color once again.

The other day I did stop in the parking lot long enough to catch a few pictures of the lovely stuff.  Perfect material for a little Photoshop fun.  See the faded cracks?

So what’s under your feet this time of year?  Bet it would make great art . . .

A Little Dancer in My Garden

The basic paradox: Everything is a mess yet all is well.  — Ezra Bayda, Zen teacher & author

This is what flowers do when unsupervised.  My sweet autumn clematis was supposed to climb up the tree stump.  Instead she danced all over the garden and left a tangled white mess.

Since I’m too tired to clean it up I’ll just enjoy her lovely, sassy show.

True Poems & Summer Flee

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie –
True Poems flee–
                            — Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet

August.  Most of our social demands start winding down.  No more graduation parties, softball games or weddings.  Finally, just maybe, a Sunday to hang out, read a book and let the kids get gloriously dirty playing outside till after dark . . . then . . . wham!  Back to school.  It’s already happened in some parts of the country.

I just want to know: Summer, where are you going?

A Willful Girl
Summer is a dancing flirt.
She throws loud parties and long naps
while crickets and frogs wink from the sill.
Summer got lost yesterday.
She forgot her candle, and left
us so many mosquitoes to kill.
Summer is forgetting us?
She took the wool blanket last night
and left us in snormonious chill.
Summer is moving away.
She took down her lacy curtains
and left the sun to burnish the hill.
Summer is saying good-bye.
But as she walks away, I know
she’ll drop her crumbs like Jack and Jill.
(oops.  like Hansel and Gretel.)

Get Fried with a Friend

Fried Green Tomatoes.  Either you love them, hate them or really don’t care (and your response probably has a lot do with you being a southerner, at least at heart).  But you absolutely must love the movie!  My daughter Tara and I watched it once again on Sunday.  It’s the perfect movie for a lazy summer afternoon.  It’s about non-perfect people and friendship.  Who can’t relate to that?  Okay, if you think you don’t have one friend in this world, I promise you that is not true.  The world is full of people just waiting to be your friend.  Maybe you’re shy.  Well then take a class or volunteer, or start a blog for shy people.  Maybe you’ve hurt people.  Well then stop hurting people and ask for forgiveness (it’s never too late).  Maybe you’ve been hurt.  Well then cry, let go and move on.

Or.  Maybe you’ve just been cranky and depressed.  Well then remember Tawanda!  (And just maybe you need to get you some hormones?)  You don’t need to smash into any cars or knock down your bedroom walls.  Just smash into life and knock down your I’m-scared walls.

If you’ve never had fried green tomatoes, here is Tara’s yummy recipe.  She is like her mother and often struggles with being specific on quantities and measurements.  Don’t ever be afraid to eye-ball it.  Just be careful not to let it get out of hand like Idgie and Ruth did.  

 Tara’s Fried Green Tomatoes
green tomatoes (unripe red tomatoes)
flour (Tara recommends Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour)
milk (can add egg if you like)
salt & pepper (optional)
vegetable oil (we like canola oil best)
1 to 20 friends, depending on the size of your living room
1 Fried Green Tomatoes movie
a few paper towels (to drain tomatoes after frying)
1 box of Kleenex (to drain tears after crying)
Slice tomatoes to whatever thickness you like.  Dip each slice into a bowl of flour, then milk, then flour again.  Heat approximately 1/2 inch of oil in skillet and fry tomatoes, turning once when nice and golden.  Drain on paper towels.
Note:  When frying anything, do not crowd the skillet.  You’ll get much better results by making just a few at a time.


and here’s my recipe:

Recipe for a Lazy Gardner

I went to my garden today, looking for my supper.
It had been a hard season and I have been neglectful
so I didn’t even bring a basket.
Besides, weeds and mosquitoes would be waiting–
stealing the show, my energy and my time.
I found a few surprises, as we often do
in life and in gardens.
My tomatoes, even forgotten, grew.
Beefsteaks–big-shouldered and sweet.
Lovely heirlooms–classy and dependable.
And Roma’s, those saucy little mamas!
I smiled, until I saw the busted ones.
No excuses.  Only regrets.  Move on
to what I was really looking for.
The sassy young ones
without spots or bruises,
still smug with secrets of life.
Long ago, somebody was brave
or hungry or crazy enough
to throw them in a skillet
and call those tarties’ bluffs!
I went back for my basket,
thinking of oozy goodness
all melty under a salty crust
you can only get from frying
after milk and seasoned dust.
I’ll get better at tending my garden.
I’ll consider it a social routine,
because tomatoes grow like friendships,
and some kinds just best fried green.


A little flower-mercial while I’m working on this site. View is from my kitchen.

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill”

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