THE U-Pick GARDEN will be closing August 20th. This will be the last year the garden will be open to the public. Next year I'll be operating as a CSA, supplying about 20 regular customers with weekly boxes. Thank you for your support over the last 8 years, but it's time to try something new.

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, you can mail a check for $25.60 to:

Lori Adams
P O Box 6021
Sitka, Alaska

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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Card 2014

If you were nice this year you probably already received your Adams Family Christmas card in the mail by now. But if you were naughty, you didn't.  So, this post is for the ones on the naughty list.

This year's Christmas card had a nautical theme.....

I cut up some of our old nautical charts for the background....

Then added a sprinkling of glitter.....

Then topped that with a sheet of plastic that had a compass rose printed on it.....

And sewed around the perimter with the sewing machine to adhere all the layers and trap the glitter for a "snow globe" effect......

  Once that was done I set to work making little paper boats....

 And the little paper flags for the little paper boats......

And the little paper masts to mount the little paper flags onto the little paper boats.

The paper boats were then glued to the cards along with some paper trees, and a metal brad was attached to the center of the compass rose....

Each card looked a little different.....each one was unique.

Finally, the good tidings were stamped in the inside of the card using white ink.

And all of the cards were done in time for Christmas....that's the real miracle!

Here is a photo of what my cat thought of all the craftiness going on around here....

 "Hey, pay attention to me! This is mine.....all mine! And that...that's mine too."

And here is a copy of the letter that was enclosed with each card....

This year’s Christmas card is made using pieces of our old nautical charts. Today we navigate with modern, computerized electronics, but there was a day when the paper navigational chart was one of the most important pieces of equipment on the boat! When we bought our first boat we had very little navigational equipment….a compass, and a depth sounder, and a few charts. Those paper charts meant EVERYTHING to us as we wandered around the vast ocean. Every mariner now has a pile of old charts stashed in the back of their closet. As I was sitting in my crafting room making these cards, I started noticing little interesting things on the charts.

At first I was just fascinated with all of the interesting names for the bays and points of land….some of the names are just crazy-weird, and you have to wonder how in the world they got to be called that! There truly is a story for every single rock and harbor on these charts. “Someone hit a rock here and sunk their boat.” “Someone went aground there, but they waited for high tide and got off okay.”  “I saw a weird sea creature in this bay and no one believes me!”  “We rode out a tremendous storm in this harbor and I was so glad to be safe!” There are literally thousands of these stories….happy stories, amazing stories, and very sad stories.

Some of the charts are in perfect condition, and some of them are creased and wrinkled. Many mariners folded their charts and stored them in drawers in the pilot house, and after years of use the creases turned into tears which necessitated the inevitable use of Scotch Tape. If your boat was big enough, the charts could be stored in large banks of shallow drawers, open and flat without being folded - but that was a luxury that most of us didn’t have. As for us, we kept our charts rolled up like scrolls and then we stored them above our heads between the beams in the ceiling. Everyday wear and tear did a fair amount of damage too….. coffee stains, rips and tears, and blood can be seen on some of the pieces. You can see that many times a chart was gripped by someone that was worried about something….where to fish, which way to go to get out of the weather, or how close they were to the rocks in unfamiliar territory…the list is endless, but I know that many of the wrinkles were put into the charts by a mariner that was wringing their hands agonizing about what to do.

Any important information about an area would be noted directly on the chart. I found all sorts of marks showing compass and loran readings and flashing buoy light sequence rates. And there are little notes that say, “Oysters,” or “Fast tides,” or “Good Anchorage,” too. This information was either learned the hard way or was passed down by an experienced mariner to a less experienced mariner.  A lot of this information was considered “top secret” and it was a great breach of security if someone snooped through your charts.

Even though the paper charts are basically obsolete, I found it very moving to hold them and think about what they meant to the mariners of the past, and wanted to share of piece of history with you as we wish you a… VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, from “Our snug harbor to yours!”   Dale and Lori Adams

photo circa 1986

Monday, December 22, 2014

Project Sunflower

This Spring I tried something new....I planted Sunflowers. Lots of Sunflowers. And not the kind that you buy in little tiny seed packets.

 I planted the Sunflower seeds that come in a great big giant bag that are intended to be fed to birds.

And look, they were specially formulated for Alaskan birds! How about that!?????!!!!??? Hmmm.

Anyways, I think I had dreams of a virtual field of Sunflowers, because I broadcasted half the bag out - all over our property.

Even on Mr. Adams' half of the property! The ducks LOVED the rare treat.

They gobbled up lots of them. Well, they are Alaskan birds, so I guess that makes sense, right?

I was not spuer impressed with the results of this experiment. The germination rate was pretty poor. Ironically, the best germination occurred where the ducks were able to get to the seeds. Weird! Anyways, we did have Sunflowers lining the driveway,

And alongside the house.

The plants were on the small side with one flower per stem, and most of the flowers had green centers.

IN the end there were lots of pretty Sunflowers, and a few of the heads even matured enough to produce some edible seeds!

Honestly, the best Sunflowers I've ever grown have been volunteers from seeds that have fallen from plants in the garden the Fall before and sprouted the next season on their own. I guess that IS nature's way of doing it, so it makes sense that it works the best. The plants were stronger, tip over less easily in the wind and seem to be the healthiest. So, maybe I'll go out and broadcast the rest of the bag of seeds NOW, and see if that makes a difference. I'll let you know what I find out next year.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bonnie Sue's Journal

Well, I'm hot and heavy into making Christmas cards right now, and I think that they're coming along nicely. There's a good chance they will be done and on their way by the end of this week!! Here's a sneak peek at what the theme is this year....

Okay....that's all I can show you for now. It's all top-secret, hush-hush until Christmas!

Right now, I want to talk about my good friend, Bonnie Sue. Here she is, she's the one on the right, in my garden a couple of years ago, laughing at something I said that must have been really funny.....

Bonnie Sue and I go way back....about 20 when our kids were little and we were homeschooling. She is a writer, and one of the most creative people I know. When my first crochet patterns were published she sent me a really nice gift....this great picture book about a little girl that knits to make the world a more beautiful place.

I just LOVE it! So, when I heard recently that she was going to have her first novel published, I wanted to send her something nice too.

First, I took a paint-by-number kit out with me on the boat and worked on it when I wasn't busy cooking. Then I found an appropriate quote and decoupaged it onto the surface, cut the painting in half, and bound the two halves together with misc. papers to make a blank journal.



I think it turned out great, and she loved it!

I've become very obsessed with the iconic paint-by-number look. There are so many cool things you can make out of them! The problem is that the vintage style kits are hard to find. One of the bear hunters on the boat this Fall took an interest in what I was doing, and said that she would look around for some for me when she got home, and sure enough.....all of a sudden one day.... a box arrived in the mail for me.....

Wasn't that nice? Thanks, Debbie! Now I've got some painting to do!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving On The Boat

Guess who came home for Thanksgiving?

Levi!!!! Ordinarily I wouldn't bring him home for Thanksgiving, because it is so close to Christmas, but this year we took the boat out to do a little deer hunting for a few days, and we didn't want him to miss out on the festivities. 

During the day the troops would go out hunting and I stayed behind to to the cooking and cleanup.
Here they are all getting outfitted with life jackets....

I think Levi's life jacket might be getting a little too small for him.

Unfortunately, even though there was plenty of effort, no deer were harmed during our venture. But we sure put the hurt on some prawns. Here are Ben and Emily running the gear.

And here are all 3 of the kids pinching tails...

Yummy! I'm thankful for prawns.

Emily stayed on the boat one day with me and made some delicious pies.

 We ate a TON of food during the 3 days were were gone. The weather was not too rainy, but the wind REALLY blew one day. Several boats in the area had some trouble, but we were safe and warm....

photo complements of Ben Adams Photography

.....and I'm very, very thankful for that.