Archive for July, 2009

I’m going to call my next book Why Bad Things Hap­pen to Good Gar­den­ers.***

The first chap­ter will be enti­tled “Sh*t Hap­pens and Mother Nature is on Vaca­tion.” It will be an indig­nant rant about how dis­ease, pesti­lence, drought, flood and other nat­ural dis­as­ters inevitably hap­pen to every gar­dener sooner or later.

I will use my own expe­ri­ences as exam­ples. I will dis­cuss how my toma­toes have fur­sar­ium wilt—for the sec­ond year in a row, despite rotat­ing them to an entirely new loca­tion where toma­toes have never gone before. I will describe how a legion of leaf-footed bugs dec­i­mated my tomatil­los and sweet autumn clema­tis last year and how I haven’t seen a sin­gle one this year. I will show pho­tos of my monarda bloom­ing with pow­dery mildew.

And let’s not for­get the roses, oth­er­wise known as black spot on a stick.


The title of the sec­ond chap­ter is cur­rently up in the air, but I’m con­sid­er­ing some­thing such as “Plants Have Loved and Lost” or “Emer­gency Rooms I Have Seen, Cour­tesy of My Fiskars Pruners.”

*big sigh*

As I was water­ing for hours and hours today (see chap­ter on drought), I was won­der­ing to myself, “What would I do if I didn’t garden?’

Being fairly obsessed with pro­duc­tiv­ity and in love with checks in lit­tle boxes on a to-do list, I would prob­a­bly do some­thing use­ful. But what?

I’m not con­sid­er­ing giv­ing up gar­den­ing. This is more like an intel­lec­tual exer­cise I do when I get frus­trated. What would you do?

***Why do I say “next book?” Because, yes, I am writ­ing a book. To be pre­cise, I’m co-authoring a book cur­rently called Gro­cery Gar­den­ing. You’ll be hear­ing more about it in com­ing months, but you can reserve your copy now by order­ing here.


I won­der if the rea­son God makes baby ani­mals so adorably cute is to ensure that we will love and care for them?

Think of a baby kitten’s wide-eyed stare, pup­pies tum­bling over each other in enthu­si­as­tic play, baby koala bears hold­ing on to their mums, baby kids flop­ping their big ears around. Heck, even babies that grow up to be killers are lov­able when they’re little—baby bear cubs, coy­otes, foxes.

Not snakes though. A small size does not improve a snake’s lov­abil­ity factor.

Baby chicks, I think, rank among the most adorable of the adorable baby ani­mals. Adorablest? I know because I have six new baby chicks as of this morning—two buff laced Pol­ish, two stan­dard white crested blue and two Easter egg stan­dard. (At least, that’s what I ordered.)


This adorable Easter egg standard’s name is Mered­ith. Not only will Mered­ith go nicely with Myr­tle, Maude, Madelein and Mar­i­lyn, but it is also Ben’s girlfriend’s name. Live long and pros­per, Meredith!

This lit­tle cutie is one of the Easter egg stan­dards and will grow up to lay blue/green eggs.

If every­one sur­vives to adult­hood, we will then have 12 hens and a big old rooster named T. Boone Chick­ens. That will dou­ble the num­ber of hens T. Boone must service.

My hus­band keeps shak­ing his head and ask­ing, “What are we going to do with a dozen eggs a day?”

Frankly, I don’t give a damn. I just like my chick­ens. The eggs dishes are a bonus—quiche, pound cake, omelets, souf­fle, frit­tatas, egg salad, dev­iled eggs, creme brulee, choco­late ice cream, cookie dough ice cream, choco­late chip cherry ice cream…


Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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