THE U-Pick GARDEN IS CLOSED

To get a copy of my book, "How To Grow Vegetables In Sitka, Alaska" just give me a call....The books are $20 plus tax. If you live out of town and want me to mail you a copy, mail a check for $25.60 to:

Lori Adams
P O Box 6021
Sitka, Alaska
99835


Down To Earth U-Pick Garden is located at 2103 Sawmill Creek Road in Sitka, Alaska. It is open usually from mid-June through late August. Hours are Monday-Saturday 12:00 to 6:30. On Farmer's Market Saturdays I am not open until 2:00. Children are welcome but may not run through the garden or chase the ducks. If you have any questions you can contact me, Lori Adams, at 907-747-6108 or 907-738-2241. My email address is downtoearthupick@gmail.com

Friday, April 8, 2016

What In The Heck Is Compost?

One of my favorite gardening jobs is sifting  compost.  It's really quite embarrassing how long I can entertain myself at this task. It's so fascinating and addictive.

I have not always appreciated the value of compost. When I was quite young I heard my Mom talking to her siblings and parents about Grampa's amazing compost. I didn't know what they were talking about, but they sure seemed excited about it. One sunny day at a family gathering we all trooped outside to inspect what I thought was going to be this amazing, magical thing......imagine my surprise when they stopped in front of a boring dirt pile. What was it exactly that we were looking at, I wondered? It was very mystifying....and I walked away from that experience very confused.


Fast forward to today..... I am now very much aware of the value of this amazing "dirt".


Sifting compost takes time.....time that I usually spend reflecting, planning, meditating and praying as
I sift out the small bits and throw the identifiable items back into the compost bin.



Looking at those identifiable bits is like the whole gardening season in review.......

Fruit and Vegetable stickers

"Thank you Lord for my boys. Thank you that they are passionate about eating healthy food. Thank you that they appreciate what I grow. Please be with them as they grow, make decisions, and deal with whatever life throws at them."

 Fern foliage from valentine flowers from Mr. Adams

"Thank you Lord for my husband. Thank you that he sends me flowers and encourages me in my gardening adventures."


 Mussel shells that come in on the seaweed

"Thank you Lord for the amazing resources that you provide in the sea. Thank you for the seaweed, seashell sand, starfish, herring eggs, fish carcasses, and beach mulch. I am always amazed how richly you bless us with your bounty. Please help me to continue to have the strength and energy to go out and get it!"

 Rocks that come in with the seaweed and animal manure that people donate to me

"Thank you Lord for the friends and strangers that bless me with gifts. Manure, buckets, fencing, planting pots, food for the ducks....many times I come home from a trip to town and find that once again someone has dropped off something. Rocks are not fun to pick out of the compost....and there are a lot of them.....but they remind me of friends....old and new."

 Bones

"Thank you Lord for delicious animals....especially chicken and pigs. I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight."

 Evidence of ducks from the past

"Thank you Lord for the ducks. Thank you that they love to eat slugs. Thank you that my family tolerates them. And thank you for a neighbor who has ducks too and doesn't seem to mind if mine quack too much. Thank you for the joy that they bring to my life and that they make me laugh every single day! Please help me to endure their mischief and help me continue to find ways to keep them under control. Thank you that it's been a long time since a dog has gotten into the yard and that the moth balls keep the bears away. Thank you that ducks are delicious, provide warm down, and are generous with their eggs."


Whenever I sift compost there are always a duck or two waiting patiently, watching me, waiting for me to find worms for them. I am amazed how long they will sit there quietly....ever hopeful.


How can I say, "No" to that face?


 Here you go, girl.



Before I know it, it's getting dark, and it's time to go in. Once again I've spend way too much time hunched over the wheelbarrow.


But the results, are nothing short of amazing and mystical!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What In The Heck Is Compost?

One of my favorite gardening jobs is sifting  compost.  It's really quite embarrassing how long I can entertain myself at this task. It's so fascinating and addictive.

I have not always appreciated the value of compost. When I was quite young I heard my Mom talking to her siblings and parents about Grampa's amazing compost. I didn't know what they were talking about, but they sure seemed excited about it. One sunny day at a family gathering we all trooped outside to inspect what I thought was going to be this amazing, magical thing......imagine my surprise when they stopped in front of a boring dirt pile. What was it exactly that we were looking at, I wondered? It was very mystifying....and I walked away from that experience very confused.


Fast forward to today..... I am now very much aware of the value of this amazing "dirt".


Sifting compost takes time.....time that I usually spend reflecting, planning, meditating and praying as
I sift out the small bits and throw the identifiable items back into the compost bin.



Looking at those identifiable bits is like the whole gardening season in review.......

Fruit and Vegetable stickers

"Thank you Lord for my boys. Thank you that they are passionate about eating healthy food. Thank you that they appreciate what I grow. Please be with them as they grow, make decisions, and deal with whatever life throws at them."

 Fern foliage from valentine flowers from Mr. Adams

"Thank you Lord for my husband. Thank you that he sends me flowers and encourages me in my gardening adventures."


 Mussel shells that come in on the seaweed

"Thank you Lord for the amazing resources that you provide in the sea. Thank you for the seaweed, seashell sand, starfish, herring eggs, fish carcasses, and beach mulch. I am always amazed how richly you bless us with your bounty. Please help me to continue to have the strength and energy to go out and get it!"

 Rocks that come in with the seaweed and animal manure that people donate to me

"Thank you Lord for the friends and strangers that bless me with gifts. Manure, buckets, fencing, planting pots, food for the ducks....many times I come home from a trip to town and find that once again someone has dropped off something. Rocks are not fun to pick out of the compost....and there are a lot of them.....but they remind me of friends....old and new."

 Bones

"Thank you Lord for delicious animals....especially chicken and pigs. I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight."

 Evidence of ducks from the past

"Thank you Lord for the ducks. Thank you that they love to eat slugs. Thank you that my family tolerates them. And thank you for a neighbor who has ducks too and doesn't seem to mind if mine quack too much. Thank you for the joy that they bring to my life and that they make me laugh every single day! Please help me to endure their mischief and help me continue to find ways to keep them under control. Thank you that it's been a long time since a dog has gotten into the yard and that the moth balls keep the bears away. Thank you that ducks are delicious, provide warm down, and are generous with their eggs."


Whenever I sift compost there are always a duck or two waiting patiently, watching me, waiting for me to find worms for them. I am amazed how long they will sit there quietly....ever hopeful.


How can I say, "No" to that face?


 Here you go, girl.



Before I know it, it's getting dark, and it's time to go in. Once again I've spend way too much time hunched over the wheelbarrow.


But the results, are nothing short of amazing and mystical!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Milking Missy And Meryl

 This is Bobbie Daniels.


And these are her goats......Missy and Meryl


 Meryl is on the left, and Missy is on the right.


Missy and Meryl are just 2 of the animals that Bobbie has on her farm. That's right, there is a farm in Sitka, Alaska.....with real animals and everything! Up until now the farm has not been located in one central location. The animals have been housed in many different small locations while Bobbie's been working relentlessly to get a suitable location for everything. In the meantime she's been raising ducks, goats, quail, rabbits and chickens, and milk, eggs and meat have been being processed. It's really quite an exciting thing for Sitkans, especially for Sitkans who have never had any exposure to farming.

Recently, Bobbie asked me if I would like to milk Missy and Meryl a couple of times a week and keep the milk. Of course I said yes! (never mind that I had no experience milking animals) How often do you get that kind of opportunity in Sitka? So, Mr. Adams, who has vast experience milking cows in his youth, came with me and taught me the ways of milking. The goats were near the end of their productive cycle and would soon be drying up....but we were still able to get a pint of milk from each goat at each milking. I guess when they are really fresh they can produce more than quart a piece!

The milk is VERY good. It tastes almost exactly like cows milk with only a subtle difference. We drank it straight, used it on cereal, cooked with it.....


 And even made Ricotta cheese!


All in all, although I never completely mastered the art of milking, it was a great experience! Thanks, Bobbie! And good luck as you move to your new location at the Sawmill Industrial Park!!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sewing Circle

I grew up in the Mennonite Church, and one thing that the Mennonites are famous for is "Service".
Being the hand of God reaching out to those in need. The women in the church are very talented and crafty and they are always making things to give to missions. At my Mom and Dad's church these ladies gather together once a month for "Sewing Circle".

There's a business meeting....


And special projects....



Like boxes of treats for people that can't get out of the house during the holidays...


And the boxes are pretty too!


Beautiful quilts are displayed....




Hand made, of course.


My Aunt Erma is one of the expert quilters.


Here my Mother and some of my other Aunts are stuffing fabric pressure relieving pillows that are used by bed ridden patients in the hospital. (Where are you, Aunt Ardys? I know you were there somewhere!)



 I have many fond memories of running wild in the church sanctuary with the other kids while our Moms were busy working in the basement. It was fun exploring all of those scary forbidden rooms behind the pulpit.

Along the North wall of the basement there are a lot of built-in cabinets that house the electric sewing machines. They can be pulled out for sewing and then stored away for the rest of the month.


 There are a quite a few drawers for supplies and notions too.


And now, it's confession time.

When I was a very little girl I was exploring alone in the basement while my folks were busy upstairs doing church work. Out of boredom I started snooping through the sewing drawers.


 And I found a metal needle threader. One that looked sort of like this...
 
But the one I found was purple. A bright, shiny, glorious purple. A purple that couldn't be denied. I was so drawn to that beautiful needle threader.....like a raven is drawn to a bright shiny coin, and I just HAD to have it.....so I took it. I took it home and hid it in my room and I didn't tell anybody about it. I felt guilty of course, and eventually, by the time Christmas rolled around, I decided that I needed to get rid of it. So, of course I did the only logical thing a little girl does in a situation like that.....I put it in my Mom's Christmas stocking.

I remember when we opened our presents on Christmas Eve that my Mom found the needle threader in her stocking and was so confused. I averted eye contact and never said a word as Mom and Dad passing it back and forth trying to figure out where it came from. I can't remember if they asked me about it. If they did I'm sure I lied about having anything to do with it.

That needle threader sat right beside my Mom's sewing machine and haunted me for years. As I grew a little older I realized just how bad it had been for me to steal something, no matter how small or pretty it is, so one day I decided to fix the situation. My solution - I took it out of my Mom's sewing room and back to church. And when noone was looking, I put it in back in the drawer where it belonged. Problem solved.

So...now what do you think? Did 2 wrongs make a right?