The Garden of Eden Has Weeds to Pull

There it is, tall green grass, yellow buttercups, wild purple violets, songbirds… just like the Garden of Eden… until… it all dries and turns to weeds and the county threatens the neighborhood. “Cut that grass or we’ll cut it for you and send you the bill.”

Such is the life of those who live in the country. It all comes at once, the change of the seasons when everything needs to get done… now. Seeds need to be planted, soil needs turning, fences need repairing… quick, hurry, stress!

Years ago, a friend came by and I stood gazing out the window at the beauty the spring brought. “I get really stressed out about needing to get my garden started,” I told him. He was not easy on me. He rolled his eyes disgustedly and said, “What’s the point?”

My friend had it right. I moved to the country so I could let my hair down, wear two different colors of socks, grow my own food, have a horse, dogs, cats, rabbits. The Garden of Eden meets Noah’s Ark. Even if it’s a mini farm, it is a lot of work. It’s tiring just thinking about it. In the old days, the farmers had kids. My kids wanted a ride to town where they could skateboard. Good thing I have a husband, I call him, P G & Jon. (PG&E is our utility company.) There is nothing my husband can’t build or fix. “Even a broken heart,” my mother used to say.

I’ve been living like this most of my adult life. Someday, I’ll move from here because I’ll be too old to lift a shovel, or maneuver a weed eater. Until then, I’ll try not to forget that it’s paradise. I give thanks that I made it.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

Cooking: Salvaging Burnt Beans… LOL

I swear, there are some personality types that never seem to learn. They get distracted and let the beans burn. Because, let’s face it, beans take forever to cook and I mean, who worries about whether you’re going to burn fifty cents worth of beans? I mean… really. My kids are grown and live miles away, but I still worry about them but a pot of beans?

On the other hand, as a vegetarian, beans and legumes are a crucial part of my diet. And I believe they give me stamina. But here’s the deal, you put them on the stove and you forget about them. Yes, I could have set the timer but I didn’t. And when I was upstairs typing away, I heard weird noises coming from down below. Was it the wood stove or was it the rain on the roof? Not a thought to the pot of beans on the kitchen stove, I forgot about those long ago. I didn’t even remember I was cooking them, until I heard the crackling noises of the water being all boiled out and the beans burning. So I dashed down stairs and just like my mother taught me, I picked up the pot (with hot pads) and I stuck the pot in water that was in the sink and I quickly added cold water to the pot. It did the trick. I saved them. And it wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor even the third time I’ve salvaged burnt beans. So I thought it was a valuable bit of kitchen trivia that should be shared.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available herehttp://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

There Was a Feeling in the Air… Hard Times Were Sure to Come

After I wrote “Acorns and Eat’em,” a how-to cookbook for gathering and preparing acorns, I wanted to share what else I had learned while living in the mountains, far from the grocery store, with a limited budget. Y2K was fast approaching and survivalists were sending me checks for my acorn book. Obviously there was a feeling in the air that hard times were sure to come. I care about people and nutrition so I continued creating unusual recipes from simple, natural, unprocessed ingredients. For example, in “Poor Jonny’s Cookbook”, my recipes teach you the art of making biscuits from scratch with minimal ingredients. Our great-grandparents knew how to survive, we need to follow their example and return to the basics. There’s a little bit of everything in this cookbook, my hope is that when you use this book, you’ll get into the flow of cooking with what you

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

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You Can Put On All the Make-Up In the World But…

There are thousands of make-up products one can slap onto their face but it will never take the place of the healthy glow we get from exercise. During the winter it’s hard to get outside and “play” and the cold weather can dry and weather your skin but there’s no substitute for a blood-pumping walk. I’m a nature lover and live in the country. I lift rocks, push around bales of hay, toss logs and garden and I make trails and drag branches. But most of the time I take a break from my writing projects and just go for a plain old walk. When I return I can’t help but notice that my cheeks are flushed (rosy), my eyes sparkle and my lips are red. There she is, the healthy me. The younger looking me.

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

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

 

Gardening: My Cup Runneth Over But it’s A Lot of Work

Summer is over but the garden work has not stopped. Lettuce needs to be washed, beets scrubbed, tomatoes are still hangin’ round, pumpkins need to be made into pies and herbs need to be dried and stored. Never a dull moment in a Gardener’s kitchen. Here’s are some tips. For herbs, stick them in a large paper bag to dry. For tomatoes, pick them green and let them ripen in baskets. Don’t worry if they get wrinkled or a little soft. Don’t leave picked pumpkins lying in the sun and keep an eye on them; they go bad sometimes sooner than one might think. And as for the lettuce, if you’re lucky enough to live in a temperate climate, it will get a little muddy and tattered but will stick around making you feel as if your garden is an extension of your refrigerator.

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

The Beauty In Beans … They Are Nutritious … Easy and Inexpensive

Beans have got to be one of the cheapest foods available. Humans have cultivated them for thousands of years. Some of the beans we plant in our gardens are the same variety the ancients planted in theirs. I don’t doubt that cultures who eat a lot of beans also have nice skin, hair, bones, nails, etc., provided they’re other nutritional needs are met. Beans have the fiber we need, they have protein, no fat, no cholesterol and almost no salt unless added. One quarter cup of dried black beans has nine grams of protein and that can be increased if you eat corn or rice with it.  They’re delicious too. What’s not to like? I’m cooking black bean chili today. I’ll cook up the black beans then add some cumin spice, onions, basil, oregano, a little soy sauce and I’ll add some tomatoes as well. I leave it on the back burner all day and maybe I’ll toss a teaspoon of brown sugar into the pot to bring out the flavor. About an hour before dinner I’ll make some whole grain whole wheat corn bread. My husband will love it and I will too.

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

 

Gardening: Mice Eating Your Melons?

If you go into your garden and see that half your melon is gone, it means that the mice and bugs have had at it. I have a suggestion. You know the plastic dishes that tofu comes in, or the blue ones that mushrooms are packaged in? Turn those upside down and place them under the melon when it is young. It will keep the bugs and mice away from it. You can also use the trays that produce comes in, like dates or tomatoes, but I wouldn’t use any that had meat on them, that could attract the mice even if they’ve been washed. 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

Life Got You Down? Spend Time with a Wise Old Tree

We get nuts, oils and fruit from trees but spending time with them brings energy and inspiration. They don’t speak to us in the manner that humans do but their longevity speaks volumes. What have we been through that they have not? One of my favorite big ol’ trees spreads a shady canopy over an old schoolyard. You can see where years ago, lovebirds carved their initials into it. The ancient tree has withstood fire danger and storms. Wet winters threatened fungus infestations while insects waited to make a home in its dead carcass. Next time you need inspiration, go find a wise old tree. Lean up against it and receive its embrace. Gain strength in the knowledge that you too can grow and prosper through life’s difficult times. I don’t know who said it but I’ll never forget it, “That great oak was once just a little nut that held its ground.” Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

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And God Gave Us Hemp

Ancient Chinese legend has Cannabis Sativa as the solitary plant that God gave humans to fulfill their every need. Cannabis has been grown for thousands of years; archeological digs reveal the plant was etched upon pots. It is no wonder cannabis was revered. Throughout history, hemp oil was used in lanterns and the fiber was made into fishing nets, strong rope and articles of clothing. Medicinal properties are also associated with cannabis albeit other strains.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the satirical novel Gone North. Available here:

Gone North: http://www.amazon.com/Gone-North-Long-After-Summer/dp/1484094360

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:

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