Category Archives: nursing

Shmita 2016

Celosia

Celosia

Someone told me 2016 was the shmita…

The sabbath year (shmita Hebrew: שמיטה‎‎, literally “release”) also called the sabbatical year or shvi’it (Hebrew: שביעית‎‎, literally “seventh”) is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel,[1] and still observed in contemporary Judaism.

During shmita, the land is left to lie fallow and all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). Other cultivation techniques (such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing) may be performed as a preventive measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants. Additionally, any fruits which grow of their own accord are deemed hefker (ownerless) and may be picked by anyone. A variety of laws also apply to the sale, consumption and disposal of shmita produce. All debts, except those of foreigners, were to be remitted.[2]

Chapter 25 of the Book of Leviticus promises bountiful harvests to those who observe the shmita, and describes its observance as a test of religious faith. There is little notice of the observance of this year in Biblical history and it appears to have been much neglected. (source)

I say, bring back the shmita! We have (unintentionally) observed it this year and am so glad we allowed Spy Garden to rest.

Dexie in the garden

Dexie in the garden

Are you all enjoying this season? It has been very mild and warm here.

November 15, 2016

November 15, 2016

The leaves have been slow to change

The leaves have been slow to change

Bear sculpture near Spy Garden

Bear sculpture near Spy Garden

The invasive honeysuckles stay green until it gets very cold

The invasive honeysuckles stay green until it gets very cold

Today is November 15 and our basil is still green as can be. When the basil turns black you know the first frost has arrived and winter is coming! Woo! I really love winter. Winter is quite shmita-y; the perfect time for rest and reflection. The first frost is due this weekend.

What I am NOT schmita-ing is school; So. Much. School work. I am currently taking two courses; advanced pathophysiology and advanced pharmacology (studying to get my doctorate in nursing practice) so basically endless reading of bloated anthologies of all the possible things that go wrong in the human body and all the drugs we’ve created to fix these problems whilst creating new problems (#sideeffects).  I prefer the topic of health promotion/prevention and a nonpharmacological focus on wellness; but of course this stuff is good to know.

I wasn’t quite ready for Halloween to end at the beginning of November so took a little more time and refined the carved pumpkins:

Butkus as Bunnicula: Bunny bat dracula!

Butkus as Bunnicula: Bunny bat dracula!

A friend meeting Butkus

A friend meeting Butkus

Little Halloween boy of yore

Little Halloween boy of yore (~2006)

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I see a face

I see a face

Moles everywhere in the yard

Moles everywhere in the yard

Aunt Spy snuggling Butkus

Aunt Spy snuggling Butkus

Super excited to have a friend over!

Super excited to have a friend over!

At a cupcake decorating place

At a cupcake decorating place

At Forest School

At Forest School

Orange Truck

Orange Truck

Prepping for the superbowl

Prepping for the superbowl

Go Lancers!

Go Lancers!

Go Lancers!

Go Lancers!

The Battle for 109

The Battle for 109

Apparently they can be beat but it sure was close!

Apparently they can be beat but it sure was close!

Ughhhh! Too much purple! #Rivals

Ughhhh! Too much purple! #Rivals

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#7

#7

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#7

#7

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Game at Sunset

Game at Sunset

We had two great field goals ...the score was 12-16 until the last four minutes and they scored. So close!

We were ahead until about 4 minutes were left in the game!

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Little Fan

Little Fan

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Jr. Lancers 4/5th Grade 2016

Jr. Lancers 4th/5th Grade 2016

Fresh local pecans (from a coworker's yard)

Fresh local pecans (from a coworker’s yard)

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Squash blossoms in mid-November

Squash blossoms in mid-November

Knockout Rose bush

Knockout Rose bush

Blackberry Bloom

Blackberry Bloom

Checking out the supermoon

Checking out the supermoon

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Microscopic Moon Dust (Source; Dr. Gary Greenberg)

Microscopic Moon Dust (Source; Dr. Gary Greenberg)

And check out these cool microscopic views of grains of sand:

The Microscopic Photography of Dr. Gary Greenberg (source)

The Microscopic Photography of Dr. Gary Greenberg (source)

Happy November everyone! Please share in the comments what you think about the practice of a schmita year…Or the supermoon…Or those amazing microscopic photographs! Your comments are welcome and thanks for visiting Spy Garden!!

The Last of Summer in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

It feels like fall here; a nice, crisp chill in the air. Rain, thunder, wind. The garden will still be growing and changing until the first frost but here’s the low-down, re-cap of Spy Garden summer of 2015: A robust garlic harvest, lots of cucumbers (Sikkim and dragon’s eggs), plenty of blackberries, ground cherries and loads of fresh herbs. What to do with all the cucumbers?

Sikkim Cucumber

Sikkim Cucumber

Aside from eating them raw, I make super easy “pickles” like so: Buy a jar of Kosher Dill Claussen pickles (the best!) and eat. Then fill up the jar with your own washed and cut cukes and put it back in the fridge; 2 or 3 jars of Claussens for the price of 1! Or, how about roasting cucumbers? Why not?! I have been roasting the Sikkim cukes along with whatever other veggies I have on hand and they are great that way.

The pumpkins were sadly killed by squash vine borers but the Loofah gourds have climbed the teepee and so hopefully we will get a bunch of those! Not exactly winter squash, but maybe a close second? Also, the Hartman’s Giant Amaranth never disappoints and we have several very large, tall specimens this year.

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman's Giant Amaranth plant

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman’s Giant Amaranth plant

This time last year St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles Magazine did a photoshoot of Spy Garden (click here to see the article)! The garden is definitely not in photo-shoot-ready mode (yet?! Maybe we’ll do some more serious weeding before the first frost?!) this year but that’s ok. Every year (and season) of gardening is always different. That is one of the best things about gardening!

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Wild Dagga (also called Lion's Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Wild Dagga (also called Lion’s Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not "perfectly" in bloom

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not “perfectly” in bloom

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Dexie thinks so too!

Dexie thinks so too!

Seed pod stamp painting

Seed pod stamp painting

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

A wreath made by Baby's friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

A wreath made by Baby’s friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

And now, here are some really random recommendations (in no particular order)…

  • Falafel-stuffed peppers. Instead of meat or beans, add falafel mix (which is basically spices and dehydrated chickpeas), some water and tomatoes to spiced brown rice (I like a tiny pinch of garam masala plus a heaping amount of Ras el Hanout, turmeric and paprika) and some sautéed onions then stuff into peppers (I usually halve or quarter the peppers instead of stuffing whole peppers); just dollop the stuffing into each little pepper portion and bake.
  • Mendota plan-unflavored-sparkling water. Something about it is so indulgent and ridiculous (yes, and wasteful, but come on, I do live in America!) I mean, it is canned water, there is just something funny about that. I get on a kick every once in awhile and buy the stuff. I think I drank like 24 cans this week. So sparkly and delicious. One day I really should just buy my own carbonator. But carbonated tap water just might not be as fun as the blue, cold, sparkling cans of Mendota. Pelligrino and Perrier and bottled club soda are good too, but still the whole canned water thing is just the best.
  • Hail Merry Miracle Tarts. Persian Lime and Meyer Lemon are my two faves. Two servings of delectable dessert (half of one is a perfect portion) for only $3. They are super delicious and nutritious. I get them at Dierbergs but it looks like you can order direct from their website (though it looks like they’re much more costly that way).
  • Hormone Horoscope: having nothing to do with astrology, this free app you can download for your phone tells you what your hormones are up to each day; how they are affecting your mood, appetite and other things. This thing is genius.
  • Pantoprazole is better than ranitidine in the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Ok that one is way out of left field, right?! I thought this was a GARDENING website! But I am working on my doctorate of nursing practice and feel compelled to share this little finding. What good is learning if I don’t share with the Spy Garden masses?! I did a partial literature review comparing randomized controlled trials of these two medications. So before you reach for the antacids or Zantac if you have frequent heartburn you should probably ask your doctor (or nurse practitioner!) for a script for Protonix (pantoprazole). Nurse practitioner education covers all body systems and fields (how wonderful it is to have the option to go into any specialty) so stay tuned for more random recommendations! Right now my real passion is psychiatry and psychoneuroimmunology; who knows, maybe a capstone project fusing gardening AND nursing is in the cards?

Below are some random pictures to continue with the non-sequitur theme of this post!

Missouri River Sunrise

Missouri River Sunrise

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Another good catch!

Another good catch!

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Checking out the pump

Checking out the pump

Milking a cow!

Milking a cow!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn't it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn’t it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Haybales and movie theater

Haybales and movie theater

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!