colorwithjane

thoughts about life, art and color


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I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote “With a Little Help from My Friends” for Ringo Starr. Cool, huh? friend stuff. Enter more friend stuff. The song’s real success came when Joe Cocker changed it from 4/4 time to 3/4 time which completely changed the feel of the song, and it gives us the opportunity to do that back and forth sway thing when we hear it. I hope my piano teacher is paying attention because my challenge with timing really frustrates her. Anyway, John & Paul were thrilled with the change and they gave Joe major kudos in the music world and as a result, we all know this time honored song.

Fast forward to September, 2015 with a completely different cast of characters. It’s week 18 of my ongoing 365 project, and I just couldn’t pull it together this week. Major aha moment – call on “A Little Help from My Friend”. I reached out to my friend Jane, yeah, that’s her real name, and da-duh, lucky us, we have flower pics. They aren’t just your run of the mill pics, they are beautiful representing her garden which is lovely, loved, and so well maintained. This gave me a chance to get re-energized and re-focused while sharing a friend’s love of her garden. I sometimes like to show you other gardens because each one is unique and has a personality of its own, just like us.

So, this week, not only am I “getting by with a little help from my friend”, but like John & Paul, I’ve been given a chance to re-examine and love my project.  Just like flowers in a garden, we all need tending.

Thanks Jane.

FW book fall 001  F & V171  F & V024  F & V033  FW book Summer small b 012

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One of THOSE Weeks

This past week was one of those weeks. You know the kind I mean. You have so much to do that you feel like you’re going in every direction AND you just aren’t feeling well to boot. Of course you do, we all do. I have a spider flower that grows along the walkway entering my home. It’s tall, wispy, is busy growing seed pods from its stems and blows in any direction the wind is blowing. It has a botanical name but I can never remember it.  It seems to reflect and verify that the person who lives here is mimicking its growth pattern by just going in every direction and doing way too much. These flowers are currently shedding their seeds. “Enough” they’re saying. They’re going to take a rest, protect the seeds they dropped, engage in a little self care, and then work on their own strength to prepare for next year’s show. Lots to do but because it’s for themselves, you can’t see it. This season of all that blowing everywhere and anywhere is ending for now.

Have a good week.

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It’s September?

Where did this summer go? Tomorrow is September 1 – really? The kids are back in school, days are shorter, and plants are dying back.  Simultaneously, some are so full they resemble children in the back seat of a car trying to claim their own space, “he’s touching me”. I fondly remember those days. So many of us say to our children and grandchildren as they are approaching life milestones such as first grade, graduation, college, marriage – “I can remember holding you when you were just a baby” –  so bittersweet. Time does seem to go by quickly, and already I’m realizing I’ll be missing the garden in the not too distant future.  I remember when you were just a mere seedling. He-he!

Have a good week.

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FREE PROGRAM – WHO KNEW?

If you go to South Park on a Tuesday afternoon you’ll find volunteers working in a demonstration garden who can answer your questions about flowers that do well in our area – even with deer; who knew. These folks are members of the Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County and they are testing these beautiful pollinating gardens.

The Penn State Master Gardeners of Allegheny County will host a special annual event at South Park and North Park on Saturday, August 15, from 9:00am to 1:00pm educating county residents about gardening in our area. They will have tasting stations, tons of information and children’s activities. In addition to this special event and the knowledgeable volunteers, you’ll want to check out their website, Allegheny County Penn State Extension – TONS OF INFORMATION.

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Family, Hard Work, & Memories…and did I mention hard work?

I have been going to the farmers’ market since I was a small child, as long as I can remember. I get so excited every time pulling into the parking lot. I love the smells, seeing the new purveyors, reassured when I see the old standbys, waiting for the horn to blow, and most of all, knowing we’ll be eating what is now considered quite chic – farm to table. Where have you all been?

I grew up in the city and I do mean, right smack dab in the center of the city. No rolling hills, no green grass, no flowers, none of that good stuff growing around us. We were surrounded by the landscape of Pittsburgh, better known as Belgian block. But, I was raised by my grandmother who came here from “the old country” so she only knew fresh or “putting up” for winter. For you newbies, that means canning. I learned to respect food at a very early age. Enter the hard work from my side. It’s really hot and tiring standing over a steaming pot after picking through, peeling, cutting, and prepping produce all day, actually a lot of hot summer days.

But this post is to show you a little from the production side of this process; again, stressing family, hard work, and I’m guessing, a lot of memories. I contacted Janoski’s Farm because I LOVE the aesthetics of how they display their produce, bushels, and baskets of bounty. Everything is lined up perfectly straight, ever so neat, piled so high you wonder how it stays balanced. They agreed to permit me to come into their space to photograph and I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Janoski, the matriarch of this hard working, proud family. She is such a pleasant and lovely woman and was kind enough to tell me about her husband, who recently passed, and her children and grandchildren who have been taught how to continue working their farm for posterity and for you and me. Besides the pride showing in the way everything is displayed, the way they work together while unloading is a beautiful choreographed dance. The family and workers move in unison, everyone knowing their part; step left, step right, bend, turn now, repeat. It was beautiful. I’m guessing everyone is tired at night’s end so, again, family, memories, and of course, hard work.

I prepped what I purchased that night and I’m going back to Janoski’s next week to get my tomatoes for canning. No matter how tired and hot I get, those memories of working side by side with my grandmother keep me smiling while I’m making new memories with my family. Maybe that’s why I love the farmers’ market so much. It’s like going home. Treat yourself, go to the market.

janoski  truck  pickles  peaches  peppers  mixed_bushels  garlic  bushels_peppers  beets  market_sign


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URBAN CREATIVITY

This week I saw a garden that highlights creativity, determination, and most of all, frugality. We learn about these characteristics our entire lives, but we don’t always follow through unless we really want something badly enough and we’re willing to show up and do the work. These folks showed up.

They were able to plant a garden filled with goodies without spending any money. They live in a plot that is about a 45 degree drop and enclosed on both sides by other houses. No backhoes in here! They also made the decision that they didn’t want to buy dirt so they brought compost, dirt and manure from another site by carrying in bushels. (My grandmother would have been proud. Buy dirt?!) They carried those bushels until they had enough dirt to provide them with a workable planting space. They’ve also made the most of every square inch by planting in between, underneath, and rotating. Now here’s the best. They started their plants from seeds or cuttings. So, think about this. You have a really good heirloom tomato for dinner tonight, save the seeds, dry them, protect them, and then start new plants for next year’s garden to enjoy a bunch of tomatoes. Take a look at what can be accomplished if you just work at it. Hats off!

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