Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christmas Seals

Christmas Seals funds the American Lung Association and research into the prevention and treatment of lung cancer, and to promoting clean air, free of pollutants that contribute to lung disease.

The first Christmas seal was designed by Emily Bissell in 1907 and raised $300 for a small TB sanatorium in Delaware. The sanatorium was a small shack on the banks of the Brandywine River, about to close its doors forever.
Emily drew the first seal, which showed a half wreath of holly, a red cross, and “Merry Christmas” on it. She borrowed $40 from friends and had 50,000 Christmas seals printed, and sold them for a penny each at the post office. Even President Teddy Rossevelt endorsed the campaign, and publicity from the seals got donations which raised the fund to $3,000 which was enough to save the sanitorium. You know that $3,000 is much more than that in today’s dollars.

This year’s stamps are very cute, featuring Santa, a snowman, a reindeer and a polar bear.

Today the American Lung Association suggests that a donation of $5.00 is very helpful: to donate money call 1 800 LUNG-USA or visit or

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bon Appetit novel winner

Coaches Trophy
Originally uploaded by chasingfun
Hi Friends,
The winner of the novel Bon Appetit is Jenn.
I wish I could send all of you a prize for your comments, you are all winners in my eyes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jon Katz has website

I found a fascinating website that belongs to Jon Katz, of dog book fame. Now I really want to read his books.

Visit for great farm and dog photos, brief write ups about his dogs and more. I haven't explored it all yet, but like what I see.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I am guest blogger at

There is an excellent blog at where Pamela focuses on the theme of Victory Gardens.
She asked me to be guest blogger today, and so I wrote about growing and selecting living Christmas trees, and a bit about my Christmas book.
Victory Gardens' time has come again.
Isn't this a pretty photo that I found on Flickr? Someone planted their living Christmas tree and it looks so mystical in the snow.
Please head over to and say hi with a comment.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bon Appetit novel by Sandra Byrd free copy

I will send a copy of Bon Appetit by Sandra Byrd to a randomly selected person who leaves a comment on my blog from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24.

This novel is a light and engaging confection about Lexi and her adventures in her new home in a small village outside of Paris, where she is enrolled in a pastry school, which is run by a severe pastry chef who is not fond of Americans.
Lexi is twenty something, and made a dramatic move away from her parents and her ex-boyfriend Dan in Seattle, to a sojourn at the cooking school.

There are tantalizingly delicious recipes included here, descriptions of delectable pastries, and Bible verses, as Lexi studies the Scripture of Jean, which is French for John. She chalks up on an extra menu board the verses from Jean that her church is studying. Lexi is beguiled by a delightful child named Celine and Celine’s widowed father Philippe adds a bit of spice to Lexi’s life.

For tension in her life, Lexi encounters “faux amis” or false friends, who may be sabotaging her in the pastry school. “Faux amis” also refers to words that sound alike in French and English, as Lexi learns to her embarassment when she tells a chef that Americans add preservatives to pastries. The English word “preservative” and the French “preservatif” have shockingly different meanings.
As you read, you will wonder if Lexi will end up with Dan or with Philippe, if she will pass the pastry program which is very difficult, and where she will live in future: in France or in Seattle.

I imagine that the previous novel “Let Them Eat Cake” and a sequel in this French Twist series to be published in 2009, are certain to be as much fun to read as “Bon Appetit.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

LED Lights for Christmas Trees

Originally uploaded by penmachine
I bought some pretty round LED Christmas tree lights today.
Yes it is early, but I want to be organized and have them on hand for December.
What prompted me is my issue of Back Home Magazine for November arrived last week, with my article in it "Go Green With Christmas Trees" and in this article I recommend LED lights.

LED lights are gorgeous, bright, and come in all the colors and many styles including miniature and round and snowflake. One online source is, and Home Depot sells them too.
There is a notable savings in electricity with these lights so it is good for our dear mother earth AND saves a bit on your electric bill.

Monday, October 13, 2008

We can buy historic trees for our gardens

Originally uploaded by romdos
Sometimes I find something wonderful and share it here; today I visited a website that allows gardeners to buy trees descended from famous trees.
At I found available for purchase many intriguing trees, including trees from the Southern Magnolia tree growing at Elvis Presley's Graceland. See photo.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in the shade of a Live Oak tree in 1965 in Selma, Alabama and you can buy a descendant of that tree to grace your garden, in an homage to this gifted man. Henry David Thoreau's Red Maple from Walden Pond and a Live Oak from the Alamo are available, and the list is much longer than these I am mentioning now. There are categories for Adventurers, Women, African Americans, Authors, and many more.

George Washington planted two Tulip Poplars at Mount Vernon in 1785, and today they are alive and stand at one hundred feet tall. Their seeds produce trees that you can buy.
Betsy Ross has a Sycamore tree associated with her, Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in the shade of a tree, and Andrew Jackson planted a Southern Magnolia tree in 1828 at the White House.

All of these trees and many more have descendant trees that we can buy and plant in our gardens. That would definitely be a thrill to watch it grow, and a living history lesson.
The Historic Tree Nursery is connected with American Forests, the oldest nonprofit conservation group in the United States.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bible is a Banned Book

Banned Book Week is observed in the U.S. from Sept. 27 to Oct. 4 this year.
One thing to be concerned about is that many Muslim countries ban importing, owning or reading the Holy Bible.
This is like the dark ages.
Above is a link to an article about how bringing a Bible, crucifix or Star of David into Saudi Arabia is very difficult. Official churches are not allowed there, and foreign residents are discouraged from meeting on Sundays, since that looks suspicious to the religious police.
Let's celebrate that most of us live in countries where religious books are freely available, and we can choose to attend services, if we so desire.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Watch Garden

Blumenuhr 2
Originally uploaded by dugspr — Jetzt in Wien
Flower Clock designed by Linnaeus
Imagine having a Flower Clock made in a circle in your garden, with plants planted in 12 positions around the clock face, standing in for each hour. The plants will be placed corresponding to the hour that their flowers open.
Carl Linnaeus, the 18th century Swedish botanist, wrote about this lovely idea, which he called “Horologium Florae”, literally “Flower Clock”, in 1751 in the publication “Philosophia Botanica.”
He drew up plans based on the times that flowers, many of them wildflowers, opened where he lived, in Hammersby, Sweden. If you want to design your own flower garden, you will need to adjust the plants by finding out what hour they open in your location, since the times vary by latitude.
For some general ideas, dandelions open at 4-5 a.m., morning glories open at 5 a.m., day lily at 6 a.m, gentian at 9 a.m., sweet peas, Star of Bethlehem and Iceland poppies at 10-11 a.m., passion flower at noon. Put a bench at the 1-3 p.m. location for resting in the heat of the day, ten four-o’clocks at 4 p.m., moonflower at 6 p.m, and so on.
I first read about this delightful idea in the small book “Hortus Miscellaneous: A Gardener’s Hodgepodge of Information”, by Lorene Edwards Forkner and Linda Plato. I had to buy it as soon as I read the title and picked it up. I am all for having fun in our gardens, and anyone who puts the word “hodgepodge” in their book title is ok with me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hodge Podge Salad From the Garden

A bowl of salad
Originally uploaded by Anushruti R
I call this a Hodge Podge Fall Salad, which is a gourmet's delight, filled with delectable garden gleanings from this early October garden in California.

My husband created a fabulous salad with garden bits and pieces: green beans, yellow wax beans, lettuce, Japanese mustard greens, tomatoes, onions, and a yellow zucchini.
In addition he opened a can of kidney beans and chopped up an avocado, added oil and balsamic vinegar, thoroughly mixed it all, and let it set for an hour. A few pieces of feta cheese or tofu can be added if you like. It is equally good the next day, so make alot and enjoy it as you bid adieu to summer.

Hurray for end of summer, early fall garden gleanings and my husband's ingenuity.