Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Rainy Day Books and Lemon Balm Tea from the Garden

“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” – The Carpenters I’m not going to mince words — the weather is shit right now. It’s grey and cold and the coffee I drank two hours ago has been unable to penetrate its dreary, low energy malaise. I feel like a zombie and I look like


The Human Side of Plants

“All truths point to a universal truth; all the divisions of nature are closely akin to one another.” Rancho la Puerta is a mostly media-free retreat that provides guests the opportunity to unplug from television and Internet for a week, as much or as little as they choose to do so. In its place, the

Photo by Gayla Trail

Storing My Preserves & Cookbooks

In our new(ish) home, I am fortunate to have a cold storage room in the basement where I can keep my canning overflow. This is such a big change from my last place, where canning was stored wherever I could fit it: out of reach in high closets and cupboards, in boxes shoved underneath the

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Tomato Skin Powder

The concept is so simple I wish I had thought of it: take the throw-away tomato skins that are left-over in the preserving process and make them into something useful. Something other than compost. With over 80 lbs of tomatoes (and counting) harvested from my garden this year, it is safe to say that I

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Leaping Off of the Fence

Update: The winner is Manju. Congrats! Another post was intended for today, but in light of a recent (and disturbing) disparately located online thread that suggests that garden writers should stick to sunshine and roses and leave out the “negative” stuff, I have decided to switch gears and reintroduce a book I have discussed at


Winter Reading

I haven’t done much book buying or reading recently, but it’s been ages since I’ve done a book round-up and there have certainly been books in the months since I last wrote about what I’m reading. Crazy Water Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa, by Diana Henry – I’ve

Dewey Donation System

Have you heard about The Dewey Donation System? It’s an online library fund-raising drive that helps raise cash money and books for libraries in need across the United States. They’ve just launched their 2010 initiative to help a community-run library in Baltimore called Village Learning Place. Village Learning Place has a remarkable story. They’re a


A Bit of Light Summer Reading

As usual I’m acquiring books faster than I can read them, although I have placed a light moratorium on cookbooks. Last year I mentioned a sudden and insatiable craving for cookbooks. A year later and I have no where to put them! The cookbook monster has been placed on a leash for the time being.

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This Week’s Inspiration

Yesterday I posed the question, What is inspiring your edible garden this year? I think it is only fair that I join in and divulge my current inspirations for the 2010 growing season. I saw this book, Terrine by Stéphane Reynaud the other day but couldn’t justify the purchase. The next day I treated myself


Let’s Learn About the Historical Origins of Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables

Have you ever heard of sea cabbage, a wild cousin of the domesticated brassicas? Did you know that edible bananas are a primitive plant thought to be related to some of the first trees of the primeval forest? I didn’t either until this weekend when I was finishing up an article on unusual vegetables and

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Two Inspiring Cookbooks “Moro East” and “The Kitchen Diaries”

A few months back I decided not to do reviews anymore. Not that I did many in the first place, but the decision lifted a huge load off of my shoulders. It’s the difference between just not doing something, and making a conscious, said out-loud choice not to do something. I love books, yet for

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