Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Apricot blackberry cobbler

Apricots for the Garden and for Dessert

Apricot cobbler is an easy recipe to fix, whether with apricots from your tree in summer, or from a can at any season.

Dwarf apricot trees are recommended for gardeners with average size yards, for several reasons, including that the tree reaches only 8 to 10 feet tall, and it provides fruit as early as its third year. Ideal for zones 5 to 8, many gardeners can find a hot, sunny spot for this tree. Apricots prefer a full day of sun and are sensitive to frost.

Stark Brothers is well known for the quality and selection of fruit trees that it sells. Their best all around apricot is Wilson Delicious Dwarf Apricot, their heaviest bearer with impressive crops year after year, even way north. In zone 5 these apricots are ready for picking in early July. Stark Sweetheart Dwarf Apricot is a Stark exclusive, with ripe fruit in mid-July in zone 5. www.starkbros.com or 1-800-325-4180.

Apricots need water consistently throughout the growing season, in order to produce large fruit. Water deeply if needed every 2 weeks if there is no rain. When the apricots are one inch across, you may decide to thin the fruit to the three or four healthiest apricots per cluster, which results in larger apricots.

Apricot cobbler is delicious, with many recipes available. A recipe we enjoy includes 3 cups of apricots, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 cup of milk and 6 tbsp. melted butter.

Pour the melted butter into a baking dish to coat the dish. Mix the dry ingredients until just combined, add the milk to the mix and add to the baking dish. Pour undrained apricots over the mix and do not stir. If you like you can use fresh apricots, and you can add a bit of brown sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. This apricot cobbler is delicious on its own, or with vanilla ice cream on the side.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Green Beans and Dilly Beans Recipe

Fall beans
Originally uploaded by farmerjulie
This photo is not of my beans, but don't they look scrumptious?
Here it is July 26, my friend gave me a packet of bean seeds (Tendergreen, Green Bush) and I bought a packet (Garden Bean, Brittle Wax) and planted them.
Her gift of seeds inspired me to plant something different, for me, at this time of year. It is an experiment and since green beans take 52 days to harvest time, maybe I will have beans on September 28.
Does everyone make Dilly Beans?
Steam beans till tender and not overcooked; toss with yogurt or sour cream, garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper.
Dilly carrots uses the same yogurt sauce; we always use yogurt since it is more lowfat than the more traditional sour cream.
Either way yum.

Gardening Uses Calories

Originally uploaded by one2c900d
Isn't it fun to remember that gardening uses calories, and is a form of exercise?
I looked this up today, and found that for a woman who weighs 135 pounds, gardening uses 161 calories in 30 minutes.
Playing with children, by running and walking uses 129 calories, moderate bicycling (12 mph) 258 calories, running (6 mph) 322 calories, and walking (4 mph, level) 129 calories.
For a 180 pound man (lighter people expend fewer calories, obviously) sleeping uses 72 calories in 30 minutes, watering the garden 122 calories, planting seedlings 162 calories, and digging 202 calories.
And a big plus for all that dreaded weeding we do is that he would use 364 calories for 30 minutes.
See, gardening is not only good for the soul but for our bodies too!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Winners! Gary Chapman's Love as a Way of Life

Originally uploaded by krossbow
Cngratulations to commenters Windy Cindy and Christine.
You each won a hardcover copy of Gary Chapman's brand new book "Love as a Way of Life".
Please send me your addresses at
thekilns at excite.com

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gary Chapman Book Giveaway July 18-21

Gary Chapman's "Love as a Way of Life".

In "Love as a Way of Life", Gary Chapman shares tips to help people change in very remarkable and healthy ways, by showing us how to develop traits that help other people, and this focus on others is a dramatic and refreshing change from most self-help books. The publisher has kindly given me two copies to give to people who leave comments here.

The author weaves very compelling short stories about people who had problems and who applied what he suggests with successful results, into his framework of how we can easily change and become more kind, more patient, forgiving, generous and more.

One example he gives really spoke to me: before speaking rashly or unkindly, clap your hand over your mouth, which is from Scripture, and is very helpful to me. Try a few of his simple ideas, and it is likely that you, and the people around you, will be more happy and feel more loved.

Author Bio:

Gary Chapman is the author of twenty-five books, including the New York Times bestseller The Five Love Languages, with more than 4 million copies in print. His daily radio program, A Love Language Minute, is broadcast on more than 100 stations nationwide. Chapman, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College , Wake-Forest University , and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves on the pastoral staff at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem , North Carolina .

Author Photo:

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Way-Life-Transforming-Aspect/dp/0385518587/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215792028&sr=1-1

Interview with The Author:

1. Describe some of the everyday situations that can be changed if a person has a foundation of love.

When love becomes the focus of ones life it will change every encounter we have with people. In the family, the husband is thinking, “what can I do before I leave for work that would be helpful for my wife?” Such thinking may lead him to take the trash out, put his breakfast plates in the dishwasher or feed the baby while his wife takes a shower.

In the workplace, employees are asking, “on my break, what might I do that would help someone else?” They will also make time to listen to a co-worker who seems to be having a hard time with a personal issue.

At the bank, post office, or cafeteria, the lover will look people in the eye and smile, perhaps opening the door to a conversation. They will express interest in what is going on in the lives of those they encounter.

The focus is not on “it’s all about me.” But, rather on “It is all about others.”

2. What is the take-away message of Love as a Way of Life?

Love as a Way of Life is designed to help the person who sincerely wants to make a positive impact in the world. I believe that is ‘most of us.’ Our biggest problem is that we don’t know how and we keep getting tripped up by our own selfish ambitions. The purpose of the book is to help us break free from the prison of selfishness and come to experience the satisfaction of truly loving others as a way of life. It is little acts of love that build up to a lifestyle of service.

3. Why do you need a foundation of love before you start figuring out our love languages?

The five love languages give information on the most effective way to express love in a meaningful way to a particular person. But, if you are not a loving person – don’t have the heart or will to focus on others – the information is of little value. Most of us must make a conscious change of focus from self to others if we are going to genuinely, and consistently enrich the lives of others. Love as a Way of Life is designed to help people make that change.

4. When did you realize the need for this book?

I first recognized the need for Love as a Way of Life when in a counseling session a husband said to me, “I’ll tell you right now, if it is going to take my washing dishes, and doing the laundry for my wife to feel loved, you can forget that.” I had just explained to him the concept of the five love languages and that his wife’s primary love language was ‘acts of service’ and that these acts would deeply communicate his love to her. I realized that he lacked the will to meet his wife’s need for love. He was locked into his own perception of what his role was to be and it did not include washing dishes and doing laundry. I knew at that moment that there was something more foundational than simply knowing a person’s love language.

5. What are the seven characteristics of lasting love?

I view love not as a single entity, but as a cluster of traits, which if developed will enhance all of life. These traits are:

Kindness: discovering the joy of helping others

Patience: accepting the imperfections of others

Forgiveness: finding freedom from the grip of anger

Courtesy: treating others as friends

Humility: stepping down so someone else can step up

Generosity: giving your time, money, and abilities to others

Honesty: caring enough to tell the truth

6. Why do you think it’s so hard for people to embrace these characteristics?

All of us have some of these characteristics to some degree. Most people see love as being better than hate. But most of us are comfortable to live somewhere between love and hate in a lifestyle that is fundamentally focused on self. We feel good when we are making money, accumulating things, gaining status, but in time these things do not ultimately satisfy what I call the ‘true self’. The true self longs to make the world a better place to live. To do something to help those less fortunate than we.

However, we all suffer from the malady of being ego-centric. I call this the ‘false self’. It is that part of man that pulls him to focus on self-preservation and a self-centered lifestyle. This is not all bad. Indeed we must meet our own physical and emotional needs in order to continue life. It is when we never get beyond this self focus, that life becomes a ‘dog eat dog’ world where everyone is out for self even at the expense of others. Such a life never brings long-term satisfaction. However it is often later in life that people discover the emptiness of selfish living. I’m hoping that Love as a Way of Life will help people discover the satisfaction of developing the ‘true self’ earlier in life.

Gary D. Chapman

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mimulus, Drop of Blood

Originally uploaded by Cheo!
Do you ever need a pick me up, done at a plant nursery?

From time to time, these are very spirit lifting shopping trips. My co-worker and I used to say, half-joking, that it is a lot cheaper to indulge in plant retail therapy than to pay for a $150 visit to a psychologist. Well, ok, we weren’t joking, but point well made.

We would ask each other on a Monday, how much did you spend? It is gloriously incredible how many gorgeous plants I can buy for a modest amount in the range of twenty or thirty dollars. Today, after work, I needed some plant retail therapy and treated myself. I really went to buy some bok choi and red Japanese mustard, but none were available.

Would a dedicated plant shopper say ok, and head home empty handed? No way. I headed home with a cute pot that features a realistic frog, a Peruvian lily, a Mimulus luteus that is called Drop of Blood because each yellow flower sports one splash of drop of blood appearing color spot, a Moonflower vine in a four inch pot, a six pack of mixed lettuce, and a rose pink Dianthus in a four inch pot. It is surprising how much joy is created in selecting and planting these beauties.

This photo is of a similar Mimulus, but on the actual Drop of Blood flower the red spot is smaller and more dramatically like, well, a drop of you know what.

What are your favorite garden pick me ups? Please share with all of us.

Friday, July 4, 2008

St. Louis 4th of July Fireworks

Hi All,
Happy 4th of July to all Americans, and to all my friends worldwide, let's celebrate our freedom, and work to protect our freedom.
God Bless America and good people around the globe.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gary Chapman Book Giveaway beginning July 18

Hi Dear Readers,
I just got a fun package in the mail from Waterbrook Press/Random House, that involves two of you!
I have two copies of Gary Chapman's book "Love as a way of life" to give away when I host his blog tour here, on July 18.
When I post here on July 18 just leave a comment and two readers will be selected randomly, to get a copy.
I started reading it today and it is very engaging.
Stay tuned,