Winter Garden Update

I thought the cold snaps we’ve been having were going to ruin my lettuce but they seem to love it. There are about five gigantic full-grown heads that have suffered no ill effects and the babies that are coming up are also fine. There is one in the in-between stage and it seems to be destroyed by the cold or too much wet. I planted fava beans at the same time (late summer) and they are tall and healthy. They are companion plants for my lettuce and beets. I believe the fava are protecting and sheltering the lettuce. Even if some of the fava are a couple of feet away from the lettuce, the fava “fix” nitrogen into the soil. Adding to all the green is a clump of bright yellow calendula flowers that love the cold. A welcome splash of cheerful on a dreary winter’s day.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Poor Jonny's Cover

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My Depression-Era Parents Glamorized Poverty… Sort of

My parents grew up during the depression. Sometimes my mother didn’t wish to talk about her childhood, like the time they had to burn the piano to keep warm. She grew up in a beautiful home her father and his brothers built. Her father built homes along the river in Atchison, Kansas and several times he didn’t get paid for his work. “Oh well,” he’d say, “at least they have a nice house to live in.” Looking at a picture of my mother when she was about nine, she said, “I remember that day. I was happy because I got a new pair of shoes. That was the last new pair of shoes I had for years because the depression hit.”

Before he was a teenager, on the streets of New Orleans, my father carried a freezer on his back and sold ice cream. He grew to be a fantastic salesman, helping his family by selling newspapers, shining shoes and selling bananas that fell off the boats. But there were a lot of hard times. Born in 1920, he remembers standing in line at Christmastime and getting oranges and a toy that the fire department gave to depression-era kids. As a young man my father hopped freight trains and headed west. He and my mother used to laugh about their hard times, like sharing an ice cream because they had only enough money for one. Or the time my mother let my father ride the trolley with a block of ice while she walked because they had only enough for one fare. And then there was the time their car was smoking and rattling as they drove it across the bridge while people laughed. “Let’em laugh,” my father is quoted as saying.

Because my father was such a good salesman and my mother a good bookkeeper, they made money over the years in furniture and antiques. But I always remembered their romantic stories about their adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the 1970’s I let go of most of my possessions and gave poverty a shot. I’m not sorry I took that path. I found the very core of my soul and like my parents; I’ve got a lot of great stories to tell.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River. Available here:

Gold River: http://www.amazon.com/Gold-River-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484094042

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ocean

Gold River Colored Cover

Leave Recipes Laying Around To See Long After You’re Gone

Never do I feel closer to my mother than when I run across her notes to me regarding cooking. In these notes she praises me for my skill, gives me confidence and guidance, her mothering giving me energy that makes me feel she’s still here. My mother died in 2010 but lately I’ve been running across her notes every day. Her pretty handwriting and the loving thoughts she put into her notes and letters are a gift I did not expect. Thanks Mom.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Poor Jonny's Cover