May 26, 2008

Watching the Garden Grow

Here in the south we have some pretty short Winters so the arrival of Spring is refreshing but not earth shattering. Summer just sort of slides right in behind Spring and the next thing you know the temperatures are in the 80's and everything in the yard, especially the weeds, have just taken off. Seeds sown in hope last Fall shoot up and set flower in the blink of an eye.

Each year in late Spring when things start budding my husband and I begin our daily "yard walks." We begin at one end of the back yard and make the rounds to see how everything is doing. Dead-heading annuals, picking a stray weed or pesky beetle and always talking about what we'll add next year. This year we added a few more blueberry and raspberry bushes. One can never have enough raspberries in my opinion. Our figs are heavily fruited and hopefully we'll get more of the them than the birds do this year. We've also added several types of peppers for salsa this summer. I am in love with fresh salsa served over grilled chicken or fish. Now if I could just get the cilantro to stop bolting before everything else is ready I'd be in good shape.

It has taken me a long time to somewhat master the growing conditions and seasons here in North Georgia. I grew up in sandy, hot and humid Florida where we could grow things year round as long as we kept it watered. When I first got here I killed a lot of poor plants because I put them out too early. I now follow the "April 15th and not before" mantra my landscaping pal taught me. The soil in our yard was as hard as a rock and took an auger to plant anything more than one inch deep. That was 10 years ago and since then we've amended the soil each year with organic compost and use raised beds for much of the vegetables and other annuals. It's still a work in progress but that's the fun of it.

My husband and I took advantage of the holiday and sat in our glider on the upper deck lazily rocking away part of the afternoon. There's something magical about the early Summer garden. The water from our pool reflects on the deep greens of the new foliage of the forest of trees lining the perimeter of our property, sending dapples of liquid gold throughout the canopy. Even if you're not in the water it seems to make the yard cooler just by being there. The birds, bees and butterflies flit from one side of the garden to the other performing their dedicated services of bug control and pollination. Soon it will be time to weed the herb garden and harvest the lovely tomatoes and squash. But for now I can just sit and watch the garden grow.

May 25, 2008

If It's Not One Thing...

Please give me a break! I've had problems with my back for ages apparently due to athletics and idiocy of my youth. Not one particular problem but the pain seems to randomly migrate from one place to another. If I have a month with relatively no back pain it's a miracle!

This month it's my upper left quadrant, including neck, shoulder and everything in between. Muscle spasms, stiffness, pain - oh yeah - it's awesome. Now this would be enough to slow me down but my body seems to react to a lowered immunity with a vengeance. I have had a sinus/cold thing going on for about a week now. If I didn't think it would stuff me up more I'd have a good cry. Instead you're stuck listening to me whine.

I see a chiropractor who is very good at relieving my symptoms, but this just keeps coming back and usually at night so I can't sleep. Obviously that isn't helping matters. Today when I cough, which is often, it's creating painful twinges under my left shoulder blade that radiates pain like a super conductor throughout my back. I'm not loving life this morning.

Oh, and the kids drank all the milk last night so I couldn't have tea this morning. Hmphh!

May 12, 2008

A Bidwell Botanicals Update!

We recently hit a growth spurt here at Bidwell Botanicals and proud parent that I am, I wanted to share our progress with you. Our products are now being offered in Norway, Abu Dhabi, Greece, and soon traveling all the way to the Cape of South Africa. I would like to tuck myself into one of the boxes and tag along to these exotic destinations!

We've added several new products to our line-up:

Mangosteen & Açaí Berry: A refreshing fragrance coupled with some of nature's best antioxidants to help fight free radicals and boost skin cell regeneration. Enjoy these benefits in our exclusive Shea Butter Sugar Scrub, Hydrating Body Milk, Shea Butter Body Wash and our new Trilogy Body Butter™.

Trilogy Body Butter™: Indulge your skin with the triple moisturizing power of Trilogy Body Butter™. Replenishes skin with Mango, Shea and Cocoa Butters and helps to sustain moisture throughout the day. Infused with beneficial botanical extracts and nutritive oils to protect, renew and rejuvenate your skin.

Coming soon:

  • Goji Berry & Quinoa Seed: A fresh berry blend with the powerful punch of organic Quinoa Seed. Goji berry boasts one of the highest levels of free-radical fighting antioxidants of all the superfruits. We team this awesome performer with organic Quinoa (pronounced /keen-wah/ ), the "Mother of all Grains" for gentle exfoliation in our Shea Butter Sugar Scrub, and Quinoa Seed Oil to impart moisture benefits and high levels of tocopherols.

  • Bidwell Botanicals Home Care: We can't wait to introduce our new line of natural home care products! Refresh your home and laundry with natural essential oils, vegetable based cleansers and aromatherapy scents like Ruby Red Grapefruit and Lavender Fields to help create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere in your home. You might even enjoy the cleaning process and we know you will appreciate the results.

Last, but not least, we welcome our new employee, Megan, and look forward to her help in the packaging & shipping department. She comes to us with years of experience in retail and we plan to put her experience to good use as we pick out our holiday '08 gift packaging this summer.

I'm off to plant more heirloom tomatoes and peppers. We grow organic veggies and herbs every summer in our kitchen/deck garden and in the bigger garden in the yard. This year we've added several new heirloom types including the Black Krim and Black Cherry Tomatoes. They grow alongside of our fave Cherokee Purples, Sweet Basil, Greek Oregano, and varieties of peppers, summer squash and eggplants. The raspberries and blueberries are fruiting heavily this year. I see some delicious preserves in our future. I hope you can get out and get a bit dirty this weekend too.

May 6, 2008

Hugs and Kisses, or the Lack Thereof

You all know about Empty Nest Syndrome. Though my "nest" is not yet empty I think I might have a mild case of its lesser known evil twin No Hugs & Kisses Syndrome. I was thinking about it the other day after I dropped off my nearly 19-year-old son at work. When he was young and I took him to school he would smother me with kisses and hugs before leaving me for the day and again when he came home in the afternoon. Now I'm lucky if I get a "Thanks for the ride, Mom" out of him. I realize that he's an adult now but no matter how old my children get they're still my children, right?

It comes and goes but I feel that something has been missing in my life for some time. It occurred to me recently that the problem is the lack of physical affection from my brood. When you're used to years of hugs, kisses and fixing boo-boos it feels pretty strange when all of a sudden (or so it seems) your kids don't need you for those things any more. Okay, that's not entirely true. They do seem to need me for rides, occasional loans and Sunday dinners, but things have definitely changed.

Maybe I just didn't want to see that they're saving their hugs and kisses for other people now. Not that there is a limit of affection one can give in a day but apparently hugging your mother is so not cool after a certain age. I remember my mother telling me she felt the same way. Although in her case there were so many of us that by the time she got to the last kid the older siblings were providing a new crop of kidlets for Grandma to cuddle. So while her arms were usually kept busy I now understand how she felt.

My children are old enough to have their own babies that I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to snuggle with, but I'll gladly wait until they finish their educations and figure out what they want to do with their lives. No baby pushing from me! Well, maybe just a little nudge?

Now go give your mom (or your kids) a big hug. Happy Mother's Day!