Simply Summer 2007

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The lushness of Huntington Gardens in California, May 2007

Driving through Lancaster County last week with my husband, the one word that came to my mind was “lush.” Ribbons of green plants covered the fields, reflecting the early lushness of summer and the promise of more green to come. Amish farmers plowing their fields with mules, young Amish women with long dresses planting seeds, and trees blossoming with leaves all gave me the feeling of how each season has its beauty, and summer is the season for lush green plants everywhere.

The pictures we took of the fields did not do the countryside justice, so instead I will sprinkle this posting with another kind of lushness, that of Huntington Gardens in California. It is similar to Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia, whose pictures I featured in the May blog. Huntington Gardens is also a former estate of an industrial magnate (DuPont in PA and Huntington in CA), but the flowers and plants, especially the cacti, are very different because of the climate, which you will see in the photo of my husband Alan and me in the Desert Garden.

Summer is not only a time to enjoy the lushness of Mother Earth, but also a time to enjoy the slower pace that this season seems to bring. Since summertime, like the song, is “when the livin’ is easy,” I have combined June and July, and probably will do another late summer posting in early August. Then again, I may get lazy and do nothing until the end of August, so feel free to be lazy, too! We can all use a little summer activity called “doin’ nothin.'”

Because warm weather does slow me down a bit, I like to cook less and eat more raw foods. Therefore, the recipes will be as uncooked or as simply prepared as possible. Cooking less not only saves time and energy (heat from the stove and oven), but also may have health benefits, which I note in Kitchen Nutrition with Recipes. You may also want to check Products and Services, since I feature stevia, a natural herbal sweetener that you can use in your summer beverages. Also check the other categories to see more photos and more information, such as the two books reviewed in Book, Film and Website Reviews and also Peek to Pique, where you will see picture for an August recipe and an artist for my next woman-to-woman interview. (I’m beginning to feel just like Oprah!)

Whatever you do this summer, take time to enjoy the seasonal fruits and vegetables. My husband likes to barbeque when we have company, so I checked the Internet for some safer ways to BBQ, which I put under Health Flashes.

Take time to sit under a tree and sip some herbal lemonade and read a book or magazine. Let’s do what the kids say: Just “chill out!”

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A tree in the Desert Garden of Huntington Gardens, May 2007
Looks like a giant Ponytail Plant or a tree from one of Dr. Seuss’ zany books, doesn’t it?

P.S. Thanks to Jay Jacobson for the lovely photos he took for us while we were visiting in California.







May: A Bevy of Blossoms

This is a snapshot of the Wall of Orchids at Longwood Gardens celebrating their annual orchid display in May. More flower pictures are sprinkled throughout the posting this month. Too pretty not to share.


May is one of my favorite months of the year for a couple of reasons. First, the blossoms on the trees and flowers on the ground are a visual delightful. Forsythia bushes, daffodils, dogwoods, azaleas, and tulips are dazzling to see, each one with its own beauty and allure. It’s as though they are all crying out, “Look at me! Look at me!”

I also like May because now the days are getting longer and warmer. On a recent walk with a neighbor, I met some women fixing the flowers in front of the post office and decided on the spot to join the beautification group in my community so I could spend more time playing with plants, whether it be weeding or putting in new flowers around the post office and other public areas. Now I can get down and dirty and have something to show for it. My herb garden is also beginning to show some promise, and hopefully there will be some herbal recipes in the summer blog.

Finally, I like May because the foods begin to change in the markets. There are the first berries of the season, asparagus and spring onions, and other produce that I may not have tasted all winter. (Of course, with produce being trucked and flown in from all over, the demarcation of seasons has blurred, but I still refuse to eat watermelon in January or apples in July when seasonal produce is so much better. However, Pierre DuPont did just that in his own hothouse garden which became Longwood Gardens.)

May is also National Osteoporosis Month. (I think we will run out of months before we run out of diseases!) So check out the review of Strong Women, Strong Bones in Reviews.. And in keeping with this theme, the recipes in Kitchen Nutrition with Recipes reflect the emphasis on calcium, Vitamin D, potassium, and other nutrients needed for strong bones.

Oh, yes, May is also the month of Mother’s Day, for which I have mixed feelings, since those of us who are mothers know we need more than one day to be acknowledged. But check out Profiles for something about someone special in my life that I hope you will enjoy.

Browse through the other categories to see what’s new in Products and Services and any other category you feel like taking a peek at, such as Peek to Pique for what’s coming up next. Posting in every category is my challenge, and you will notice that I sometimes keep a review or a health flash on the site for two months, either because it’s to important not to keep another month, or because I can’t get to all the categories every month.

Since I will be going away for two weeks at the end of May to visit my husband’s son Jay (my son-by-marriage, I call him) and my digital son Ira on the west coast and Nevada, I am considering combining June and July into one summer issue. If so, I will probably post it towards the end of June or early July.

In the meantime, enjoy the merry month of May in all its blossoming glory! The photos featured in this month’s posting in almost every category (I had too many not to share) I took on May 6th at Longwood Gardens//www.longwoodgardens.org/. I featured several of the photos in This ‘n That, which I urge you to read. It is a wonderful story called The Daffodil Principle by my favorite author, Anonymous.

Better yet, check out the gardens in person all year ’round. If you are near Philadelphia, the trip is about one hour from Center City and well worth the drive. Spring is definitely in the air and all around at Longwood Gardens where the bevy of blossoms will dazzle your senses.

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Tulip field at Longwood Gardens.






April Posting: Spring is in the Air!
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Although March 20th is the official first day of Spring, April is when I begin to notice the buds on the trees, the daffodils and the crocuses, despite the snowy tree outside my window. (See photo below.) This month’s postings will hopefully spring you into action, not only because it is Earth Day on April 22nd, but also because the ground is getting warmer and you can begin to think about flowers and gardens.

If you live in an apartment, as we do, my only outdoor garden is the patio, where we plant herbs and flowers. Last summer I also planted some lettuce and hot peppers. Since outdoor gardening is limited, I also grow sprouts indoors. This month Kitchen Nutrition with Recipes features sprouts, with basic directions in one of the recipes and a couple of simple recipes.

While April 22nd is also Earth Day, it seems to have been eclipsed by the whole issue of Global Warming aka “An Inconvenient Truth” featuring Al Gore. However, my son sent me a link to a video on an alternative viewpoint, which is, that the carbon dioxide buildup is really not the cause, but rather that the earth is going through a solar warming period and the build-up of CO2 is actually a result of solar warming.

(Try one of these links for viewing this very interesting video: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/017028.php (This worked on my MacIntosh computer), or click on this link:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4340135300469846467)

In the meantime, pick one thing you can do on Earth Day to keep the planet healthy (See a list in Health Flashes) and add one new green item every week until you are celebrating Earth Day every day! (My list has only 10 items, but all the major magazines are giving many more suggestions.)

In Profiles you will read about my interview with Honey Friedman, my former chiropractor in upstate New York, who is now a mentor from the Option Institute. She made a major career change in midlife which has empowered her and helps others. Also, check out Products and Services to view my book, Johnny Alfalfa Sprout, which is available to buy, Health Flashes for “Living Green,” and Peek to Pique to see what’s coming next month.

If you have not read the book review from last month, please click on Book, Film and Website Reviews, because Yoga and Menopause are natural partners. I am leaving it up for another month. Finally, check out Feedback for my question to you about book reviews.

Finally, I have located a program for a reasonable price that will analyze my recipes for protein, carbs, fats, etc. It still has not been released, but as soon as it is, I will download it. I am very excited about this, because I know most magazines with recipes almost always have a nutritional profile.

Oh, yes, I am toying with the idea of posting new articles throughout the month, instead of just once each month. What do you think of this idea?

As I write this, the rain is heavy and hard, with snow on the ground. The weather is windy and cold and the trees outside my window are coated with snow! So my mantra today is THINK Spring! Think SPRING! THINK SPRING!

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Below is last month’s Home Page, which I am leaving intact in case some of you did not have a chance to read it last month, and also because the tree picture above was taken on April 17th, when the weather is supposed to springlike, so it still feels like March. I may delete it when Spring really does feel like Spring!.

March: It Might as Well be SPRING!

As I started to write this posting last week, snow was falling in a light drizzle, sticking to the car windows, but not to the ground. This is not exactly a prologue to Spring, despite the close-to-balmy weather here in Philadelphia only last week. Just a tease or maybe a preview.

Maybe Spring is an attitude. I came across a poem in a Hallmark Publication called Moments of Awareness:Inspirational Verses by Helen Lowrie Marshall (published 1986) that echoes my sentiments about the fact that it is almost Spring, although with today’s unexpected snowfall, “You coulda fooled me!”

Spring tiptoed through the town last night,
Disguised in robes of winter white.
This morning she seems far away—
The wind so cold—the skies so gray—
But there are signs that prove it so,
Small crocus footprints in the snow!

The sepia sketch opposite the poem, done by Muriel Wood, shows tiny crocuses peeking through the snow, so hopefully we will soon see some crocuses, as well.

In the meantime, while waiting for Spring, check out the Green Cuisine in Kitchen Nutrition with Recipes; the Profile on Linda Liss, Yoga teacher; the review of Yoga and the Wisdom of Menopause in in Book, Film & Website Reviews.

As I was completing the posting for this month’s articles, the prediction is that tomorrow the temperature may rise to 70 degrees. Snow to 70 degrees in one week’s time. March is quite quixotic!

Finally, I have a new Spring look to the background, a field of lavendar. Hope you like it! It inspires me to sing “It Might as Well be Spring!”

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