Slow Gardening Give Away!

Felder Rushing's Slow Gardening is a broadly informative book that echoes my personal philosophy of gardening: don't worry about perfection, just get out there and do it. The book is chock full of pictures and explains the basics in a thorough, enjoyable way.

Beyond that, the book takes a conversational approach. Rushing doesn't lay out rules, he takes a gentle, encouraging approach, telling the us to get into the dirt and explore the life around us. He guides you through the seasons with an emphasis on enjoying each and every moment rather than getting bogged down with spring preparations. Don't get caught up in trying to make sure every last detail is right, just enjoy the details for what they are! There are creative ideas for recycling and reuse in the garden, plants to grow, and plants you can usually find for free. (Just make friends with other gardeners!) 

If you need step-by-step guidance, this book isn't for you. If you want a diving board into the pool of gardening joys, this is the go-to guide you've been looking for.

I have my review copy of the book to do a quick, one-day giveaway open to residents of North America, only. (Unless you want to pay shipping, 'cause that gets too expensive for me.) How do you enter to win? Comment below--do you take a slow approach to gardening? Are you a new gardener and need a little guidance? Just tell me a little about your gardening self. I'll draw a winner tomorrow at noon!

PS Don't forget to include an email address or link in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win!

No tinkerbell-fairy-princess-diva-glitter-bombs

Are you familiar with tea collection? I don't remember the first time I saw their children's clothes
but I'm pretty sure it was before Mabel was even a thought. I remember being impressed with their selection of kids' clothes because they don't necessarily look like kids' clothes. Don't get me wrong, they're not dull, they're not typical uniforms, they're playful, but with sophisticated choices in materials. No tinkerbell-fairy-princess-diva-glitter-bombs to be seen.

This, in my mind, is a peek into heaven; especially after being inundated with box store clothing choices that seemed to force kids to walk around as Disney billboards. Dare I mention the the lack of selection in pants/shorts without some sort of logo and catchphrase scrawled across the butt.  {Can I get an amen?}

So yeah, tea. They contacted me about doing a review of some of their girl's stuff and I jumped at the chance. Maybe even literally jumped...I was pretty excited.They gave me $100 store credit to buy whatever I wanted to show off. I got 3 shirts, totalling $99.50.

 And you want a review? Here's the thing--we've had the clothes for over a month. I ordered them at the beginning of July and they shipped promptly and arrived quickly. They were instantly added to the rotation* of Mabel's clothing, worn, stained, washed, worn, stained, washed... and the kid moves faster than lightening, so getting her to stop and model for the camera? Not going to happen.

But what did happen? The clothes feel soft and comfy, hold up to markers and the usual toddler beatings, and keep on kicking. Mabel gives her tea collection 5 (out of 5) crayons!

*Here's how that works: item is added to rotation and is worn quickly. Toddler draws on, spills on, and smudges with anything that could stain. Lazy mom doesn't use stain treatment, clothing goes in the wash and is never handled delicately. If said clothing comes out with stain intact, said clothing item ends up in a "fix it" laundry bin full of clothes that need hemming, mending, buttons, and stain removal. That particular bin rarely gets the attention it needs and clothing seems to stay in it until it's simply given to a thrift store or repurposed (hello reusable rags).

Natural Beekeeping a book review

A little while back Chelsea Green kindly sent me a copy of Ross Conrad's Natural Beekeeping for review.They aren't paying me to talk about the book, unless you consider a free copy of the book payment. So keep that in mind as I talk a little bit about what I think.

My (non-existent) beekeeping back story (if you're not familiar): We're still trying to catch a swarm that annually splits off the hive living in the wall of our house.  We haven't seen one since the early spring sighting, but I've tried pheromone lure and lemongrass lure, both to no avail. It will happen, but we don't have the time to invest in really watching out for swarms, plus the heat is keeping us inside more often than previous summers.

All excuses aside, beekeeping is our goal, though it just might have to wait until a certain little girl is old enough to understand directions like "Stay there, stand back." In the meantime, I'm trying to absorb as much information as possible.

This book is exactly what I was looking for: a succinct, in-depth guide to all things beekeeping that echoes my own approach to life: Let's just keep things natural. I don't want some sort of chemical "treatment" for every type of ailment we have around our home. Natural Beekeeping focuses on  organic approaches and preventative measures to care for your hive without all the crazy weird (scary) chemicals.

Natural Beekeeping is a comprehensive (though not intimidatingly thick) tome that starts with a broad approach to keeping a healthy hive. From there Ross Conrad pinpoints the specifics for maintaining your hive. I sat down to read it straight through for the purpose of this review and many things seemed over my head, but that's because I'm a hands-on learner. Some of the terminology I wasn't familiar with, some of the techniques seemed like a foreign language. The beauty of having the book, though, is that I know where to find the information when the time arises.

It's an invaluable reference for any beekeeper, even the conventional ones will want to have a copy around. Why?  

As we're learning is the case with the meat industry, overly prescribed treatments are only a temporary solution to a problem. As these problems continue they evolve to develop tolerances to the prescribed solution. All of the sudden we have a widespread seemingly unsolvable mystery on our hands. Colony Collapse Disorder ring a bell? Varroa mites are another intimidating problem.  If the conventional solutions aren't working you better have a Plan B to try, so why not try something natural?
Looks like there is also a soon-to-be-released companion DVD. I have a feeling the DVD will reinforce the knowledge I've gleaned from the book, giving me the hands-on experience I need, possibly before we get our hands on some bees.

If you're already a beekeeper I can't recommend Natural Beekeeping enough. You'll find all the answers you need to take an organic approach to caring for your bees. If you're a beginner like me, the book is chock full of information, but you might need a guiding hand or a local Backwards Beekeepers group to help you understand the complexity of caring for a hive the natural way.

 Maybe some new prints heading to the shop? . . . I don't know. I'm feeling kinda wishy-washy about adding them to the shop. Maybe I need a break. Maybe I should try making them into PDFs. What do you think?
{eta: I've made the houseplants drawing into a desktop wallpaper, available for download here!}
Then there is the other business at hand. . . 
we have a winner! I should've closed the comments Monday morning but was lazy. If you tried to leave a comment after the deadline I didn't publish it. I'm sorry, we already had a winner all picked out! And, without further ado, the winner is: Melissa!
Everyone tell Melissa CONGRATULATIONS!

$75 gift certificate giveaway!

Happy Monday readers! CSN stores, home to an assortment of modern rugs, amazing furniture, and pretty much anything else you can imagine, asked if I wanted to do a giveaway and I said, "Sure, I'm always glad to give stuff away. . . especially when it's not my money!"

So here's your chance to win a $75 credit to use in any of their stores: Leave a comment telling me what you've got your eye on. **Make sure you enter your email address so I can let you know if you win**! Sorry international folks, this contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada.

You can leave one comment a day, until the contest closes 12:00 AM, February 7, 2011.

What would I use it for?A Chilewich shag mat for the kitchen or an Aalto vase (I know this is ridiculous, but I've been daydreaming of getting one as the perfect storage solution for our remote controls)? A gorgeous Herman Miller Spinning Top Set or Areaware desk accessory kit? Either would be a perfect gift for the Mr. An Italtrike for the little one? Hmm, maybe I want to keep the store credit for myself. 

It's not hard to come up with a list of wants! What would you buy?