My mom is a master at homemade soups. I try, and family likes them OK, but in my mind I am never quite up to par.
Last year I brought a new neighbor some of my soup and she raved about it for days. My only secret was that my mom taught me to use fresh stock whenever possible. Oh-and the turkey was fresh too.
You can make it by following the directions below.
To make fresh stock:
- Pile all your turkey bones and remnants into a pot.
- Add water to the top of the bones if you want a few good containers of stock to freeze. Add water only halfway up if you want less of very rich stock.
- Heat to boiling.
- Reduce to simmer and add lid but make sure it keeps boiling.
- Boil for several hours. I boil for 10-12 hours and sometimes add water but have to be careful of adding too much or it can really water down stock. The darker the stock, the richer it is.
- Use strainer to divide juice and bones.
- If you want, pick through bones to pull off and freeze more turkey meat. Your dog can also enjoy the bones at this point as they are fairly soft.
- Pour stock into freezer containers that you have lids for. Place in refrigerator with lids set on top but not sealed for several hours or overnight.
- Once solidified, scrape fat off of top of stock. Place lid on containers tightly and freeze until needed.
- When you need the stock, run the container under hot water until the stock loosens and drops from container. Place in a pan on the stove and you are good to go.
To make soup:
- Chop up yummy garden veggies. I use bok choy, spinach, peppers, carrots, onions and cabbage and add to stock in pan.
- Add already cooked, leftover turkey.
- Add your choice of potatoes, rice or noodles. This is optional if you want just a turkey and veggie soup.
- Add seasoning of your choice. I use salt and pepper, garlic salt, thyme and fresh chives usually, but am not afraid to experiment. (smile)
Are you catching up on your garden reading this season as rain falls relentlessly from the sky? I have been doing some of this, mostly enjoying reading about brand new plants.
Have you heard of deer-resistant wildflowers?
High Country Gardens carries them, and they also have a mutitude of additional deer-resistant varieties. They have drought-resistant ones, as well. I am sorry that I can’t post pictures right now due to computer difficulties but their offerings are well worth a click over on the catalog. I will link it at the bottom of the post.
Another reading venue I am catching up on is garden blogs. Did you know that Joe Gardener recently vamped up his site? It’s really nice and and he is posting on his blog a lot more so I am catching up there. Joe is reading Rowan Jacobsen’s book, “Fruitless Fall; The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis” and recently highlighted a case of intentional Colony Collapse in his blog. It’s just sad. Again, linked at the bottom of this post.
Seattle PI has some very cool features in their garden section. Forums are active with people that really can answer your questions. Also, one of the best parts is that there is a place to upload your garden pictures. And of course, that means you can also take a stroll through a multitude of gardens. This has been a fave place of mine to hang out this winter.
I have been reading up also on Live Christmas Trees. I have some challeges with getting one and you may too. But at the same time, you can’t beat the eco-friendliness of one, if you replant it afterwards. I am pleased to see that many of them come in a bag as opposed to a pot, as I don’t have an open-bed truck. I also don’t have land right now to replant one-but that’s OK-we will find a place. I also discovered that if you live in Portland, Oregon, you can RENT a live tree that will be delivered, picked up and planted. I hope other non-profits in other cities start a program like this one!
What are you reading this winter?
Flora: Tell us about the classes you will teach at the NW Flower and Garden Show?
Karen: I am both honored and excited to have been invited to present two seminars at the Garden Show again this year. Both my demonstration style talks will take place on the Monrovia DIY stage so I can make a mess!
My first seminar “Containers for Small Gardens – bringing impact to outdoor rooms,” will inspire and encourage you to bring color and life to the smallest deck or balcony. Space need not restrict your creativity! I will show you how to achieve dynamic plant combinations by using a strong backbone of evergreen plants accented with a few seasonal color spots. Minimum work, maximum impact – my kind of gardening!
The second presentation “From Blah to Ta Da!” will demonstrate how to transform those dull containers into bold show pieces. Add pizzazz to your pots and cure those winter blues as we explore the colorful possibilities together.
Flora: What does Le Jardinet offer?
Karen: Le Jardinet is a custom container garden design business creating unique combinations to reflect the clients’ home, surrounding landscape and personal style. After an initial consultation I assist in the selection of any new containers which might be needed and then plant everything up on site. Typically I will refresh containers twice a year but keep in touch with a monthly newsletter offering seasonal tips to keep everything in prime condition.
Being a certified professional horticulturalist, I also offer landscape consultations to address general gardening questions and concerns together with suggesting design ideas. How often do you see that something isn’t ‘right’ but don’t know what to do about it? That’s where I can help brainstorm solutions that you may not have considered.
I am always excited to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm and gardening knowledge with others by presenting seminars to garden clubs and nurseries in addition to larger venues such as the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Meeting other ‘plantaholics’ and inspiring new gardeners is a true pleasure. All upcoming classes and seminars are posted on my website together with details on how to book a seminar for your own group.
Flora: Why did you open your own design business?
Karen: While working for a local leading nursery I was frequently asked by customers to help them design containers for their home yet without the benefit of actually seeing the space I could never be certain that everything would work together to produce a cohesive design. Being a perfectionist that was frustrating!
As an independent designer I take all the guesswork out of container gardening for the homeowner ensuring a professional result each time; beyond their expectations and meeting mine!
I absolutely love what I do, combining creativity and building relationships with so many delightful people. (I must admit that not having to water plants in the nursery at 6am or deadhead hundreds of pansies is definitely a plus too!)
Flora: What inspires you as an artist?
Karen: I’m not sure that I take myself that seriously! I just love to play with plants.
However that initial spark may come from dramatic foliage or the shape and color of the container. Occasionally the inspiration is drawn directly from the client. I was recently asked to design a rooftop garden for a lady with a wonderfully gregarious and extrovert personality. Her request was that my designs be “wild and colorful”. What more could a designer ask?! I created over 20 containers in a myriad of bold colors using accents ranging from cobalt blue beach glass to peacock feathers exploding from a grass! The result perfectly reflected my client and she absolutely loved it.
The artistry itself comes from creating exciting combinations of plants through the use of color echoes together with contrasting textures and form. Details such as the color of buds or undersides of a leaf are incorporated to achieve the greatest effect. Marrying the style of the container itself to these compositions also produces a more unified design. For example a sleek black container can perfectly support an elegant, contemporary arrangement whilst a simple rustic pot is more suited to informal creations.
Whatever the inspiration, the process should be FUN and the result something which will give you many months of pleasure.
We have a variety of birds in the Northwest and if you enjoy birds at all, you might also enjoy watching for them at each place you visit. Here at the coast, we of course have seagulls and crows. I also have a blue heron who loves to hang out by my fishpond (and also stared at me mournfully from the treetops when I put a net over the pond-wow, those are big birds!) But a few times a year, we get a treat here.
A large rock on our beach is a nesting ground for puffins and when they are here, they skirt around on the river like they own the place and are beautiful and fun to watch. They play and chase and even fight here and there. In addition, we get very large flocks of cranes that swoop in and out. Fortunately, they get along well with the seagulls.
What kind of birds do you see in your garden? Some people culture specific plants to draw hummingbirds because they enjoy them and still other put out bird feeders with certain food to draw particular masses.
Have you made watching birds a family activity? If not, you should consider this as it can be a magical experience. I especially recommend that you keep a bird journal and track when they come, when they leave, what they eat, what they do and what they look like? Have little artists in the family? Have them draw the birds that they see.
It’s fun and educational for all.
I hear that the Northwest Flower and Garden Show catches a lot of attention in the media every year. Why is this?
It’s a large show and successful because the team works very hard to make it a unique and quality experience each year. I think they should write a book on the subject because they are experts. They are a true team and meet frequently to review and grow. Their goal is always to make the show better for both attendees and vendors. They seek quality speakers with a passion for teaching on garden topics and offer tickets at an affordable price. Simply said, they care about you and your experience.
What is some of the fun associated with the Show?
Too many fun things to count! The show itself is a ton of fun and talking with people there even more so. One of my favorite aspects is the learning opportunity with the seminars. The ticket prices are low-considering that you can get hundreds of dollars worth of instruction at the shows. The fun, learning opportunities are also endless with the Show Gardens. Best of all, you can talk to the very hands-on designers and planners. Hope to see you there!