I’m Diggin’ Friday: We’re Growing Steady

Welcome to I’m Diggin’ Friday, a weekly feature here at Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog that explores the ins and outs of Barefoot Gardening, a fun, family-friendly, low-stress way to grow fresh produce right at home!

Things are growing steadily in the barefoot garden. I’m also embarrassed to admit that I haven’t done much out there in the last couple of weeks. Not even watering, as Mother Nature has taken care of that with a trio of well-timed thunderstorms.

We’ve harvested the last of the in-ground potatoes and will see if the potato bin experiment was a success when I return home from my business trip next week.  The cucumbers are ripening nicely, as are the cherry tomatoes.

The Great Pumpkin

Cucumber patch
The cucumber patch. We've already harvested a half-dozen "Boothby Blond" yellow cukes.

The pumpkins are completely insane and one is ready to harvest. My brother suggested pinching off all the other flowers and seeing how big it could grow, but I think this variety is bred to produce smallish pumpkin. (I have no idea because all of the pumpkins were volunteers – more on that in this post).

I’ve been reminded that The Great Pumpkin will only visit a sincere pumpkin patch  – I think an enthusiastic, all-volunteer patch qualifies, don’t you?

Asian eggplant
The first tiny Asian eggplant. A few more weeks and yum!

Eggplants, Pole Beans, and Bamboo – Oh My!

The eggplants are starting to grow, although only two of the four plants have fruit. I can’t eat Italian or globe eggplants (allergic reaction) but have no problem with Asian eggplants, so I grow them every year.

Well, now I do, since I live in a warm enough climate for them. Boston’s summers just weren’t long enough but Maryland is just right!

We planted pole beans in the patch where the garlic had been and they’re coming up nicely.  Strangely, the vines haven’t been winding themselves up the poles. Instead they’ve been winding around each other and trailing on the ground so I have to untangle them and coax them up the poles.

As you can see in the cuke photo above, bamboo is my favorite pole and trellis material. We just cut in from vacant lots or friends’ backyards. In the DC-area is grows like a weed!

Asparagus is desperate need of weeding. Planted last year - ready to eat NEXT year.

The Value of Patience

This fuzzy patch is one of two asparagus beds planted last summer. Asparagus is a hardy perennial that is very easy to grow, but it requires patience!  You plant the crowns in the early spring and then leave them alone – no harvesting, no nibbling – for the next TWO summers. After that, however, you can have fresh asparagus for a decade or TWO!

Now there’s a plant that personifies (botanifies?) the barefoot gardening approach. You give it a little care up front and it pays you back in spades for YEARS to come. More on using perennials in the vegetable garden in a future post.

Feeling Fruity – Berries and Figs

It’s not all veggies around here. A few weeks ago I blogged about strawberries. In the berry realm, we also have raspberries, blackberries, and currants. I planted two goji berry bushes but one died and the other’s not looking too hot- I may try to transplant it to a better spot.

Figs
We're gonna have an awesome fig harvest come September!

But those aren’t the only fruit we have. One of the reasons I LOVED our house on sight – or I should say four of the reasons – were the mature fig trees growing on both sides of the house. Until then I had assumed that figs needed a Mediterranean climate, like olive and apricots. But they grow wonderfully here.

Oooo – Pretty! (And Yum!)

I’m not big into planting flowers – I want food for my efforts – but the woman who lived her before me did such an amazing job planting bulbs and perennials that I still benefit from her labors. In the spring we eagerly anticipate the emergence of the crocuses and daffodils followed by the tulips and irises.

But nothing pleases me more than the hibiscus that pop up amidst all the lilies across from my office window. And did you know hibiscus flowers are good in herbal teas?  In fact, if you’ve ever had one of Celestial Seasonings “zinger” teas, you’ve tasted it. The citrusy taste is from hibiscus.

Hibiscus
Hibiscus flowers: beautiful, huge (dinner-plate sized), and yummy in herbal tea.

My son loves it so this year we’re going to harvest and dry some of he flowers ourselves.

…in an Itsy Bitsy Gardening Space

I have to clear up a common misconception.  I don’t live on a farm. I don’t live on a huge lot in a distant exurb. I don’t have a huge community garden plot or allotment (to use the English term).

I live on a normal-sized lot with grass, flowers, shrubs and a driveway. All the veggies and fruit bushes and trees that I’ve described to you grow in small patches. The biggest is maybe 8 x 10 feet.

In a future post (yes, I know I promise that a lot – I mean it!) I’ll focus on how to garden in tiny places – like balconies and containers – as well as where to garden when you have absolutely no space of your own.

In the meantime, grow green – and barefoot!

How does YOUR garden grow?

How are your tomatoes, cukes or pumpkins? Got any bean coming up – or veggies ready to harvest?  Have bugs got you down or is drought drying you up?

Share, kvetch or commiserate – in the comments below!

BONUS: July Poster Giveaway

This month’s special giveaway is this fabulous out-of-print NOAA poster, Marine Mammals of the Western Hemisphere. Everyone who leaves a comment between now and the end of July gets one entry in the drawing. Link to this site on your blog and get two entries. Get your comments in now!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. She’s currently writing a series of short erotic romances. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

 

I’m Diggin Friday: Strawberry Patch Play-By-Play

I’m digging this Friday. Literally. I started a post early this morning, but took a break to work in the garden before it got too hot. It’s been in the upper nineties all week, with record-breaking temperatures over a hundred for the last two days. Today’s forecast is “only” for the low nineties and I’m praying that the promised rain really comes.

My goal was to prepare a bed for my four new strawberry plants. We already have a strawberry bed on the other side of the house, started last summer with just four little plants from a friend’s garden. (Well, six originally but two died). Those plants produced tiny, very sweet strawberries that were best right off the vine – so that’s how we ate them! They’re just now reaching the end of their harvest, but man, was it a good one.

In addition to those yummy beauties, we wanted some larger strawberries that we could freeze or make into jam. (As if they would last in my house without being eaten! But one can always hope.) Since I was already at the farmer’s market for some pepper, tomato and eggplant plants – you can read this post about my poor seedlings to learn why – I picked up some strawberry plants as well.

A big thank you to the wonderful folks at Waterpenny Farm in Virginia for hooking me up with some great plants this year. (Check out their website to find out what a waterpenny is and why they chose that name for their farm).

It took me a week of wandering around my yard to find the perfect spot for my new strawberry venture.  No, not because my property is that big but rather because it is so small.

Strawberries are perennials – whatever real estate I gave over to them would be out of the annual rotation for good. And since they like sun, that meant giving up prime garden space.

Or creating it.

The perfect spot

Bare patch in front of the rain barrel

I found the perfect spot. It was a weedy patch between the sweet potatoes and a shrub that now has lots of sun under it, thanks to the large branch that Mother Nature took off during a storm last winter. It’s too small and inconvenient to use as a regular part of the garden rotation, but perfect for establishing a nice patch of strawberries.

I started by loosening the soil with a garden fork, one of my favorite garden tools. This part isn’t totally necessary but I wanted to be sure to get out the roots of some vines that liked to climb up the shrub. They’d been annoying me for a while and I didn’t want them bugging my new strawberries.

Next, I wet the ground thoroughly. (See the rain barrel in the back – convenient, eh?) Over the damp soil I laid a thick layer of newspapers (6-10 sheets) to smother weeds and create some great habitat for earthworms. Some folks suggest wetting the pages first so they’re easier to handle and don’t blow away, but I didn’t bother. (Translation: I forgot).

I covered the newsprint with some rich yummy soil and…wait, you’re wondering where the rich yummy came from? Ah, so you noticed the baked clay in the early photos. Yeah, it’s true. In Maryland you either hand sand or clay and I’m stuck with the latter. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting lots of great produce through cheap barefoot gardening (a redundant phrase, BTW – barefoot gardening is all about being cheap. And lazy :-)).

Getting good soil

If you don’t have good soil – import it! Many towns and counties sell compost and mulch dirt cheap. What did you think they did with all the leaves they collect from your curb every year?

I get mine from neighboring Prince George’s for $20/cubic yard plus delivery – last year that amounted to $75 and a HUGE pile in my driveway that I’m only now using up. Even if you don’t want that much, local garden shops will often carry the local stuff in bags.

It’s wonderful rich sifted compost that’s broken down so far that it’s basically soil. And that’s how I use it. So, as I was saying, I hauled a wheelbarrow of the stuff over and raked it over the paper. How thick? 4-6″ for small plants, up to 12″ for big guys with deep roots, like cabbages.

I used about 4″ because that’s how much there was when I spread the wheelbarrows’ contents. (Did I mention that I’m a lazy gardener?) Then I put the plants in, spaced about 12″ from one another. Over the summer, they’ll send out little runners and fill in the space between them with new plants!

Transplanting

A note about transplanting: when I pop the pants out of their little black plastic pots, I like to loosen the soil a bit before putting it into the ground – just to give the roots a little space. Then I fill in the hole and make a little well around it to catch the water. This is especially important in this spot, which is on a bit of an incline.

Completed strawberry patch with mulchFinally, I got a bucketful of wood mulch and covered the whole patch, so it wouldn’t dry out. Many counties also sell leaf mulch, but we make our own. Given the amount of shrubs and trees we trim, my husband decided to invest in a second-hand chipper we found on Craigslist.  It’s definitely not a requirement in the barefoot garden – rather one of those fun little extras.

Robin in the sweet potato patch

The whole process, from garden fork to mulch took less than an hour, including filling the wheelbarrow and pausing to turn the drip hose on the potato bins.

While I was working, this robin kept stopping by to check on my progress. Clever bird knew that digging humans and freshly-turned soil meant yummy worms and grubs coming to the surface. Help yourself!

Sheet mulching

Sheet mulching is a wonderful technique that is a mainstay of every barefoot garden. You don’t even have to dig up the grass or weeds! My husband laid whole sections of newspaper right on top of a section of lawn last year and now it’s growing peppers and tomatoes! Only use the black and white pages (remember this is for food plants – the black ink is soy based and safe. who knows what’s in the colored ink).

I learned about sheet mulching and other wonderfully lazy gardening techniques from Ruth Stout, the grandmother of barefoot gardening. Her classic book, “Gardening Without Work,” is out of print, but Mother Earth News published an excerpt, which you can read here.

(Ruth took barefoot gardening to a whole new level, having tended her yard au natural – a technique I would not recommend without a lot of sunscreen and very tolerant neighbors). Ruth died in 1980 at the ripe old age of 96, so maybe she knew something we didn’t, eh?

How does YOUR garden grow?

Setting out plants? Establishing a new bed? Gardening in the buff?  Let us know in the comments below!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

I’m Diggin’ Friday: Growing Garlic and Greens

Garlic has an honored place in the barefoot garden. It’s planted in mid-fall, when all the hard work and harvesting is done, and the weather is comfortable and cool. It isn’t fussy and requires little care (a must for the barefoot garden). And it’s absolutely wonderful to eat and so much cheaper to grow than to buy organic.

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Types of garlic

There are two main types of garlic – hardneck and softneck, which describes the stiffness of the stalk. I prefer softneck. It’s a bit easier to grow/less fussy and it grows larger heads, although the cloves are smaller than hard-neck garlic.

Also you can braid softneck garlic into long twists and hang them on your kitchen wall, for decoration AND convenience all winter long. (OK, until January or so, when we run out). Softneck garlic is the kind you usually see in the supermarket.

What’s not to like?

Well…there’s one big trade-off. Garlic demands a good sunny spot and takes a long time to grow. In many cases, cloves planted in October aren’t ready until July. that means tying up prime garden real estate for six whole months, including the critical early summer.

Or so I thought.

This is my third year growing garlic. On the recommendation of my favorite gardening company, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange I decided to a sampler of Asiatic and Turban Garlic, “a must-try for Southern gardeners.”  Their flavor is described as “strong and hot raw but smooth and mellow when baked.” Who could resist?

The garlic came up in the fall as usual and seemed to weather the winter just fine. Early spring came and went and everything looked good. Then the stalks started to wilt.

What happened???

In my experience, garlic plants will send up scapes, curly flowerheads that you cut off to use in salads and stir-frys, to encourage the plant to put more energy into bulb formation. That never happened. Instead the stalks started to brown and flop over.

Earlier this week, I decided to cut my losses and harvest whatever heads were there.  I dug my fingers gently around beneath he stalk – and was shocked to discover a large, full-formed head! Under stalk after stalk I dug and was delighted to discover a whole patch full of garlic heads, ready to come out!

They knew it all along

Looking back at the SESE website I see the note: “These will be the earliest garlics ready to harvest in your garden. They grow big and mature early all at once.”

Yes, I’d forgotten that. But even if I hadn’t, I never would have expected to have my garlic patch harvested and ready for the next crop in early June. In fact, for the condition of some of the heads (paper cracking, cloves starting to split apart) I could have harvested them two weeks ago!

Asiatic and turban garlics will now have a permanent place in my garden. They’re a little fussier than the types I tried before, and I lost about 10% of the heads to rot or some other such problem. But they’re delicious. And did I mention EARLY?

My favorite garden blogger

No discussion of garlic in my garden would be complete without giving credit and kudos to my all-time favorite garden blogger, Kenny Point of Veggie Gardening Tips. Kenny’s blog was the first I went to when I was learning to garden, and where I still go for ideas, inspiration or advice.

Kenny was the one who convinced me to try garlic in the first place, as well as fall & winter gardening, goji berries, and many other gardening adventures. Whether you’re new to gardening or an experienced gardener looking for a few tips, check out Kenny’s free eBook, The Veggie Garden Primer.

The greens are going…going…

The summer heat has hit DC. Although today is cool, the temperatures over last weekend and  the early part of the week climbed to the HIGH 90’s! At the end of May!

Aside from soaring A/C bills and new summer dresses, that also means and end to spring greens. I’ve enjoyed greens all winter and through the spring, so I have no reason to complain. (Will that stop me? Nooo.)

The greens I planted in August and October stayed green and fed us throughout the snowy months and all the way through April. Again, credit to Kenny Point for teaching me about fall and winter gardening.  (More on that in a future post).

Then they bolted (sent up seed stalks and stopped putting energy into their leaves).

That was fine, because by then the seeds I’d put in with the peas took over feeding duty. They’re still going and will likely stick around for a few more weeks before they bolt. (The arugula has already started, as you can see in the photos above).

Greening the summer garden

In hot humid DC, it’s nearly impossible to grow lettuce or spinach in the summer so I’ve been forced to look for alternatives. Not for salads, but at least for cooking.

Last year I tried Malabar spinach a slightly gummy succulent that works just like spinach when cooked. It grows as beautiful magenta and green vines that covered our fence and prompted comments and compliments from all the neighbors!

I haven’t sown any yet (I’ll put them behind the tomatoes when I pull out the peas), but you can there’s a photo above of some self-sown plants already coming up.

Sweet n’ green

Another yummy summer green comes from one of my all-time garden favorites: sweet potatoes. It may be hard to believe form the photo above, but those little plants will produce a sea of foliage, enough to cover the ground (no need for mulch!), beautify the garden, AND fill the cookpot.

And don’t forget the dozens of potatoes you’ll get some the fall. The sweets will definitely have their own post, once the foliage really begins to grow.

What else do I dig about gardening? Showing my son and daughter where food really comes from – and no, it’s NOT the grocery store.

How does YOUR garden grow?

Ever tried to grow garlic? Gotta get some summer greens? Crazy about homegrown sweets?  Let us know in the comments below!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

 

Wonderful Waterful Wednesday: Living on the Edge

…all things are one thing and that one thing is all things—plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.

John Steinbeck (The Log from the Sea of Cortez)

Sea grass and kelp at Bodega Bay, CA
Bright green sea grass and shiny kelp at California's Bodega Head. Photo: David Liittschwager/National Geographic

I love tidepools, those bits of ocean left behind when the moon lures the water away for a while. They’re microcosms of the sea, featuring much of the diversity and spectacle that makes the ocean so extraordinary, in a tiny and accessible place. I wrote a blog post on these “sometimes oceans” a few weeks ago, which you can find here.

This week National Geographic has given me a wonderful opportunity to return to these incredible places. (All photos are from the June 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands May 31).

Photo: Brandon Cole/National Geographic

In “Brimming Pools,” author Mel White and photographer David Liittschwager explore the pools of the Pacific Northwest. The unique climate and geology of this region gives it the most diverse and spectacular tide pools in the world. The cold upwelling waters off the West Coast bring abundant nutrients to the shore. Frequent fogs protects exposed sea creatures from the sun and the absence of hard freezes mean the rocks are not scraped free of life in the winters.

Among the creatures described in the article is a species of Pisaster – a sea star. These creatures are remarkably strong and patient. A sea star will crawl along the tidepool floor looking for bivalves like mussels or clams.

When it finds one, it grabs onto the two halves of the shell and pulls, using its tiny suckers for leverage. When it’s pried the shell open far enough, it everts its stomachs into the shell and digests its meal. I kid you not.

Sea stars are far from the most bizarre creatures found in tidepools. Here’s a great composite of some of the creatures found in the pools of the Pacific Northwest.

The rocks and pools of the intertidal zone are home to an array of creatures fancifully named for their shapes and colors. Photo credit: David Liittschwager/National Geographic

For those so inclined, here are the names of these critters:

From top First row: red abalone, Cockerell’s dorid, ringed nudibranch, variegate amphissa, grainyhand hermit crab, ochre sea star, cabezon

Second row: red octopus, opalescent nudibranch, mermaid’s cup, smooth iridescent seaweed, San Diego lamellaria, purple sea urchin, hammerhead doto, leather star

Third row: red rock crab, calico sculpin, colorful dendronotus, stubby frond nudibranch, rough limpet, calico sculpin

Fourth row: red sponge nudibranch, chink snail, woody chiton, nereid worm, syllid polychaete, peanut worm, brown turban snail, red sea fern

Fifth row: shield limpet, sea clown nudibranch, red sea fan, monkeyface prickleback, bat star, green rope, red rock crab, flat porcelain crab

Sixth row: splendid iridescent seaweed, Farlow’s soft seaweed, blood star, six-armed star, Pacific sea comb, glycerid worm, sea palm, red gunnel, tinted wentletrap, surf grass, red sea cucumber

National Geographic June 2011 coverThis article and more can be found in the June issue of National Geographic.  Check out the article featured on the cover about how stone pillars in Turkey are inspiring anthropologists to re-examine their assumptions about when and why religion began. Enjoy!

Blogging and Writing and Blocks – Oh My!

Writing is going well. Checking in during the Round of Words in 80 Days? Not so much. I’ve come to the conclusion that Sunday blog posts are just not going to work for me. Sunday is for family and it’s really difficult to get time in front of the computer. When I do, I prefer to work on my fiction. So I’m dropping the Sunday update and focusing on Wednesday instead.

Overall, blogging has been a bit erratic lately. I’ve started a new writing project with a serious deadline – getting it up and running took up a lot of attention. I kept to at least one post a week but I prefer to do more than that.

I’ve committed to at least twice a week (“Wonderful Waterful Wednesdays” and “I’m Diggin’ Fridays”) and I’m thinking about adding a mash-up post on Mondays. An odd day for a summary, I know, but it’s the only one that fits into my schedule.

The fiction is going well. For the first time I’ve written out a synopsis before starting to write. It’s functioning as an outline, which is totally odd for me but working.

I hit a serious block about 4500 words into it. (It’s a short – I’m aiming for 10,000 to 15,000 words). What I’d written was awful. Not the first draft kind of crap – I mean totally flat. There wasn’t a single line that I liked. Not a good sign.

I took a step back and thought about the problem and realized that I just didn’t like my main characters. I didn’t get them and couldn’t write them. After some brainstorming with my husband (he’s great at it) I figured out what I needed to do; how I needed to change them.

It worked. In the last two days I’ve written 2500 words with very little effort. Whew!

And You?

Ever played in a tidepool? Touched a live a sea star? (Never gonna look at them the same way, eh?) Found your way over, under, around or through writer’s block? Let us know in the comments below! And remember to check back on Friday to see how my garden is growing – and tell me all about yours.

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

I’m Diggin’ Friday: Gardening Bums

Who doesn’t dig Fridays? I do – and I dig digging!  I’m passionate about playing in the dirt, planting veggies and fruit and gorging myself on the harvest. So this Friday I’m launching I’m Diggin’ Fridays, a brand-new feature here on Danielle’s Barefoot Blog. Once a week I’ll write about what’s going on in my garden and I hope you’ll share what’s coming up in yours!

A bit of background: I live in a semi-urban area, walking distance to shopping, the metro and a community college, among other things.  Not Manhattan but not suburbia either.  All of my gardening takes place in the spaces I’ve carved out of the flower beds and the lawn. It’s not much, but I grow a huge amount of food there. And you can too!

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But first, a little drama…

Garden bums

A couple of weeks ago I received a nasty letter in my mailbox.  It was anonymous, of course as nasty letters always are, with no return address. Written on a torn-off piece of paper in a spidery scrawl, here’s what it said (I’ve used boldface for the words that were underlined):

To the bums at (my address)–

Can’t you see All your neighbors take pride in their homes — Yours [triple-underline] is an eyesore with your tumble-down side porch — you dont even cut Your grass. Why did you buy a house? Our next move will be to call the county zoning. you are the only Bums [triple again] in our neighborhood.

If you’re wondering what the hell? you’re in good company. If you’re thinking that my place must look like an abandoned-lot-druggie-flophouse, you’d been in for a big surprise.

Odd grammar and emphasis aside – oh, and the reference to us as “bums” I mean who uses that kind of language? – this note is freaking ridiculous. And I’m happy to say a minority viewpoint. Neighbors wander by all the time to ask what this flower is or that plant tastes like. Everyone who actually speaks to me face-to-face (rather than anonymously through nasty notes), says how much they like our yard.

I’ve been given so many compliments, I should be in Better Homes and Gardens!

There are few people in my area who take more pride in their garden.  In fact, I’m willing to bet my whole potato harvest (and I planted for than 30 seed potatoes, so it will be substantial) AND my garlic harvest (100+ cloves) that I spend more time I my garden than almost anyone in the neighborhood. (The editor of Washington Gardener magazine lives down the street, so there’s some serious competition here :-)).

We spend so much time planting, growing and harvesting food crops that my six-year old refuses to be called a gardener – he’s a farmer.

What’s growing on?

Let’s see what us bums have been up in the yard so far this year. Here’s a list of what’s growing on right now (#s in parentheses indicate # of different varieties of a plant):

Planted last summer/fall & harvested through the winter until now: collard greens, kale (2 ), arugula (2), lettuce (half-dozen or more), radishes (2), spinach (2), gailan/Chinese broccoli,  pak choy, mustard greens (4), cilantro, salad burnet, mache/corn salad, Swiss chard (2), turnips. (I’ve pulled up one overwintering bed to make room for sweet potatoes – the rest will come out when the peppers and eggplants are ready to go in).

So far this spring: White potatoes (7), peas (2), Malabar spinach (self-seeded from last year), patty pan squash, winter squash (2), cukes (2), other squash (pumpkins? no idea – transplanted seedlings from the compost pile), volunteer tomatoes, lots of garlic (4).

Yesterday, I planted sweet potatoes. I cannot recommend growing sweets strongly enough! They are super easy, super prolific and you can even eat the greens. They’re similar to spinach when cooked and grow at temperatures that would defeat the most heat-resistant spinach.

Seedlings growing under lights, ready to go out when the beds are ready: tomatoes (6), tomatillos, hot peppers (3), sweet peppers, eggplant (2), ground cherries. (What are ground cherries? No idea – the seeds came as freebies with another order).

Perennials, bushes and trees, oh my!

Perennials, bushes and trees  – planted last year and coming up on their own or put in recently in the hopes of future harvests: walking onions, Jerusalem artichokes (they’re going crazy!), strawberries, thornless blackberries, mulberries, gooseberries, goji berries, red currants (2), raspberries (2).

We also have four 20+ year old fig trees (2 or 3?). I’m hoping to propagate them this year and plant more trees – you can’t get enough fresh figs, especially when they’re $4.99 for 7 at Whole Foods!

Perennial herbs: rosemary, lemon balm, parsley, purple cone flower (Echinacea), lavender, chives. mint. Annuals: basil, dill, cilantro.

As for non-food pants, I recently transplanted two suckers from the lilac bush into the ‘hell strip” between the sidewalk and the street, and they’re doing well. We also trimmed our monster rose bush from a brier patch the size of a VW bug – I’m not kidding – to something closer to an extra-large beach ball. And it looks great!

And the verdict is…

Does that sound like the work (or non-work) of a “bum”? OK maybe my root veggies didn’t do too well – I always get more greens than roots on my turnips, kohlrabi, and beets (no idea why – suggestions?) – but otherwise I’ve been pretty successful. And damned busy!

So what’s this guy’s beef? OK, I confess, my yard is not neatly manicured and picture perfect. The weeds always have a good run in my beds before I get around to picking them (if I ever do), and the lawn sometimes grows until we legally have to mow it. (In my neighborhood that’s 10″).

Fancy fertilizers aren’t my thing, not even the organic kind, so I have a monster compost pile for yard waste and a smaller one for kitchen stuff. (I also got a few cubic yards of leaf compost from the county, which is piled in my driveway and doubles as a jungle gym.)

It is lovely, in a way. I have lots of flowering bushes and bulbs – the asparagus is nestled among the false indigo, the hydrangea and the peonies, the Jerusalem artichoke is making a space for itself between the butterfly bush and the lilies. (The latter have edible tubers, by the way, although I’ve never sampled them myself).

A girl’s gotta eat

The truth is that most of the plants I tend are for food. If I’m going to sweat out there – and in the DC area in August I mean sweat! – I want more payoff then just something pretty. I want to eat.

And the tumble-down porch? it’s made of stone without a chink in the mortar. Yes, the screens are torn and I would LOVE for my irate neighbor to come over and repair them. In the meantime they’ll stay on my to do list – I have some more weeding to do.

What else do I dig about gardening? Pushing the wheelbarrow when it’s full of dirt. It’s damned heavy and makes me feel strong.

How Does YOUR Garden Grow?

Have any stories about nasty neighbors? Garden favorites or suggestions?  Questions about how to grow any of the above? Let us know in the comments section below!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Continue reading “I’m Diggin’ Friday: Gardening Bums”

It’s Alright By Me

Darius Rucker AlrightShort check-in today because I was up until midnight last night finishing my synopsis and plan to spend tonight away from the computer. Writing is going well – I came up with a new story, pitched it and submitted a two-page synopsis.  Waiting for feedback and then I have a month to write it. My story includes an engineer who designs stock cars, so I’ve been learning about NASCAR from the web and a host of wonderful Twitter folks! I’m hoping to get to Old Dominion Speedway sometime in the next few weeks to check out a race myself.  I’ve been advised to bring earplugs.

Haven’t done much on the learning front – either Holly Lisle’s fab course How to Think Sideways or the Artist’s Way. I think I’ll put those goals aside for now and fit them in the next round. I have been doing my morning pages, regularly and before noon. They’re a wonderful tool for exploring ideas about a story in progress – and unloading all the BS like insecurity, self-doubt, and perfectionism that get in the way of writing.

Recently a writer friend noted that I always seemed so happy and wondered if I was at all discontent. I replied with a litany of things I wish I could have: more time to write and greater productivity when I do. The money, time and energy to pursue all those interesting pastimes I explored but abandoned in the past like rock climbing and martial arts. The opportunity to travel more and a more flexible job for my husband so we could spend 6 months living in Paris, Scotland, or India. (I’m a consultant so my time is pretty flexible. Besides, time in India would probably help advance my project).

You know what was funny about this exercise?  Rather than making me depressed or more discontent, it was cathartic. I felt lighter after putting my dreams out there. I realized none of them were do or die. I’m pretty happy right where I am.

I also realized that few of my wants are unattainable. I mentioned my list to my husband and he started thinking about what he could do to make more travel possible for us. We’re still a long way from 6 months in Paris, but now we’re planning 2 weeks in the fall. Not a bad start!

This afternoon I heard a Darius Rucker song that captured just how I’m feeling: Alright. It’s such a wonderful feeling and a fantastic song. Check it out here. Afterwards, give yourself a treat and head on over to YouTube to check out more of Darius’ music – you won’t be disappointed! (If you think the voice sounds familiar, you’re right. He’s the lead singer from Hootie and the Blowfish, all grown up and singing country).

You check out the other wonderful folks participating in the 2nd Round of Words in 80 Days. They’re all right here.

How about you? Are you content? Confused? Are there things you’d rather be doing with your life? Can you think of ways to make them happen? Try writing them down and sharing them with others – in the comments section!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener, and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Wonderful Waterful Wednesday: the Language of Clouds

Today’s waterful blog post celebrates not the water in oceans or streams, but that which hangs out in the sky: clouds. Yes, of course you knew that clouds were masses of water droplets (or ice crystals) suspended in the air – after all, without clouds you can’t have rain.  But doesn’t it amaze you still? Hundreds of millions of gallons of water – hardly light stuff – suspended from meters to miles above our heads.

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Of course, not all clouds are alike. And with a little practice you can even learn to read them.  No, I don’t mean finding the one that looks like a bunny or a train. (My son comes up with really elaborate images, like a one-winged dragon eating an eagle that’s holding a fish in it’s claws – and winking). I’m referring to one of the oldest ways to forecast the weather. Because different cloud shapes say different things about what you can expect.

Clouds are classified on their shape and their elevation in the sky. Some common cloud terms are:

Shape:

Cirrus means ‘curl of hair’; stratus = layer; cumulus = heap; nimbus = rain. So cumulonimbus, the tall anvil-shape that signals a huge thunderstorm means “heap of rain” – ’cause that’s what’s coming!

Elevation:

Stratus clouds are found below 6,000 feet; alto from 6,000 – 20,000 feet. (Just to confuse things, stratus means sheet and can be used to describe the shape of a cloud OR it’s elevation, since stratus clouds are usually found in the lower part of the sky. Go figure).

[UPDATE: My original list was way too complicated. I’ve simplified it below].

Clouds that portend rain, snow or a change in the weather

Thin cirrus clouds are found high, high up.  These wisps usually portend a change in the weather within the next 24 hours.

Cirrostratus clouds are also high up. These are sheet-like; thin enough to see the sun or moon through. When the sky is covered by these, expect snow or rain in 12-24 hours.

Altostratus clouds create a mid-level layer that covers the entire sky with a sheet of gray. These clouds form ahead of storms of continuous rain or snow.

Altocumulus clouds are large gray puffy masses, that look like God is communicating with smoke signals. The message on a warm, humid morning is: be prepared for thunderstorms in the late afternoon.

Stratus clouds are the low thick masses that cover the sky, and make you feel like your walking under a low gray ceiling. Light mist or drizzle might fall from these, but not necessarily – they could be fair weather clouds as well.

Nimbostratus form a dark gray wet cloudy layer low in the sky. They are associated with continuous light or moderate rain or snow.

Cumulonimus clouds defy characterization by elevation because these anvil-shaped monsters can stretch from close to the ground to 50,000 feet. These proclaim “run for cover” as loudly as a thunderclap.

Clear Skies Ahead

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. No so with clouds and rain…

Cirrocumulus clouds are small rounded puffs that appear in long rows  high in the sky (beneath or round your airplane). In temperate regions, these clouds mean that you can expect cold but fair weather.

Stratocumulus are low puffy and gray. They make you want to bring an umbrella just in case, but rain is rarely associated with these clouds.  However, they can turn into their foul weather cousins, nimbostratus (above).

And last but not least:

Cumulus are the white puffy cottonball clouds that children put in their drawings – usually next to a  big bright sun. That’s appropriate because these clouds herald fair weather.

So, the next time you’re walking outside, look up and see if you can read the next day’s weather in the language of the clouds.

What’s the weather like in your neighborhood? Is the sun shining or the rain falling? What’s the craziest cloud shape you ever saw? Share in the comments below!

Writing update: A Round of Words in 80 Days

Holy smokes have I been busy! Didn’t do a blog post or ROW80 check-in on Sunday, but I have been writing. An agent friend challenged me to come up with an erotic short story. The deal was that I would send her a two-sentence summary and two paragraphs of “backcover copy” within a few days, a two-page synopsis the following week, and the completed story within a month. She doesn’t usually rep erotica (and I don’t usually write it!), but if it’s good, she’ll try to sell it for me. I needed a new challenge, something to write that would take my mind off the revisions, so there it is.

I’ve completed the first part of the challenge and the synopsis is due this weekend. So far so good – wish me luck!

Other goals? Hmm – writing is going well, both this story and the morning pages.  I’ve put aside revising for now to focus on this story, which is good because revising was making me nuts. The learning goal has stalled for a bit, but I’m eager to do some more Artist’s Way lessons and an artist’s date. Tune in on Sunday for more! In the meantime, check out everyone else’s progress here.

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, science geek, gardener, and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Wonderful Waterful Wednesday: Carnival of the Blue & Round of Words Check-in

Who doesn’t love a carnival? The sights, the excitement, the sounds. This week I’m honored and excited to host The Carnival of the Blue, a monthly round-up of ocean-related posts from around the web.

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Carnival of the Blue # 48

Seafood at risk: Dispersed oil poses a long-term threat —  Allie Wilkinson

This April marks a year since the Deepwater Horizon spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and almost 2 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit were dumped to “clean” it up. In a guest blog at Scientific American, Allie Wilkinson asks: “With all federal waters currently reopened, the question still remains— is the government responding appropriately to ensure not only that the present levels of oil and dispersants are not toxic, but also that those levels won’t build up over time through the accumulation of toxins in the tissues of seafood, contaminating Gulf seafood for generations to come?” Great question – and the answers are far from reassuring. Check out the post here.

Marking the Oil Spill Anniversary In Washington DC — The Beacon: Oceana’s Blog

Oceana marked the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with an event in Washington, DC featuring actress and supporter Kate Walsh (“Private Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Aaron Peirsol (gold medal-winning swimmer). Also attending was Patty Whitney, a Louisiana resident-turned-activist whose home was affected by last year’s disaster. Couldn’t make it to my backyard to attend? You can watch a video of the event here.

Awesome Orcas All Around — Amanda Banks

Author Amanda Banks describes an exciting encounter with a pod of orcas offshore of Monterey Bay, CA. I’ve only seen orcas close up once (further north of where she was, but also with a group of whale researchers) and it’s an experience I’ll never forget. Check out her play-by-play of the amazing behavior and victorious hunt of these incredible animals here.

The Ways of Whales —  Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog: http://daniellemeitiv.com

As a complement to Amanda’s orca post, I’m including one of my own about the evolution of whales, some of their unique characteristics and the threats they face today. Check out the fabulous photos – and a link to a life-sized encounter with a blue whale, the largest creature to ever live on Earth – here.

Hiding the doomsday device: camouflage and venom in stonefish — Zen Faulkes, Neuro Dojo

Zen Faulkes writes about the stonefish one of the most venomous creatures in the sea. Interestingly, the stonefish don’t appear to use their awesome powers for anything – good or evil. They’re ambush predators, so their venom isn’t used to capture prey, but neither is it used to ward of predators. As Faulkes notes, it sounds like a good subject for a dissertation! Check it out here.

Squid Have Mirror Eyeballs — Danna Staaf, Squid A Day

Many sea creatures use camouflage to hide themselves from predators – but their eyes remain a dead giveaway. Squid use smoke and mirrors – ok, maybe just the mirrors – to hide in the open ocean. Their eyes reflect ambient light like a special kind of mirror called a ‘dielectric.’ When the light hits them a certain way, their eyes don’t appear to be there at all! Don’t take my word for it, check out Daana’s post here.

Ping-pong paddle worm — Susannah, Wanderin’ Weeta (With Waterfowl and Weeds)

Wanderin’ Weeta brings us a video of a tiny paddleworm that hitch-hiked a ride to her home in an empty thatched acorn barnacle shell. I love the music! Who knew that invert biology could be so entertaining. Watch how this critter wriggles to the music. Ok, maybe the wriggling came first, but it’s still fun to watch here.

The fun continues  – just head on over the the blogs listed above and see what these ocean authors have in store for you for May!

What are your favorite ocean topics? Let us know below!

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Round of Words Mid-Week Check-in

My progress has been somewhat inconsistent this week, but still pretty good so I’m pleased.

  1. Writing/revising: my good friend, the talented literary agent Louise Fury, convinced me to take on a cool new writing project (complete with deadlines!) so I’m psyched about that. I’m still revising my WIP and received incredibly supportive and valuable feedback from my new writers’ group. I have yet to do my ‘Morning Pages’ today – and it’s after 9pm. Sigh.
  2. Learning: Working through Holly Lisle’s How to Revise Your Novel (while I do just that), but haven’t done much on The Artist’s Way. Hope to go on an artist’s date tomorrow – Friday at the latest.  Perhaps a hike?
  3. Blogging: I’m here, aren’t I? 😉 I’m pretty happy with my new Sunday feature – a mash-up called ‘Beachcombing.” That brings me to twice weekly. I’m hoping to add a third on Fridays, but I’m not committing just yet…

Check out everyone else’s progress here.

How are your goals coming along?  Steaming along, dragging your feet?  It’s all good. Let us know so we can cheer you on – below!

Marine Mammal Poster Giveaway

I’ll announce the winner of last month’s drawing soon, I promise!  just haven’t compiled the names yet.

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, science geek, gardener, and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Sunday Beachcombing Booty: the Environment, Health, Writing and More

My son Rafi and I examine our beachcombing booty.

Beachcombing is one my all-time favorite activities. And why not? It happens outdoors, by the ocean and it’s best done barefoot! There’s a certain mystery about it: I can never anticipate what I’ll find and I’m sure never to find the same thing twice. (This is also why I love shopping at secondhand stores).

Beachcombing takes patience, curiosity, and a love of discovery. One time you may happen upon the perfect snail shell; a smooth piece of glass the next. Look carefully and you’ll find a dozen treasures to take home, things you want to remember and show to your friends.

Surfing the web is a lot like this (minus the sandy toes). A lot of stuff gets tossed onto the shores of the Internet – it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume. But if you look carefully, there will some clear gems, people and ideas you want to remember and share with your friends. Here are a few of the special bits and pieces I came across this week.

Oceans & the Environment – Much of my personal and professional passion is dedicated to learning and writing about the environment and working to protect it for the future. Here are just two of the dozens of wonderful resources I turn to on a regular basis.

Speak Up For the Blue features the best of the ocean blogoshere, brought to you by Ocean Leaders from around the world. is the brainchild and passion of Andrew Lewin, a marine scientist dedicating his time to encouraging people to speak up for our endangered seas. I am honored to be included as one of Andrew’s Ocean Leaders, alongside such great advocates and personal heroes as Sylvia Earle and the Cousteau family.

Lake Titicaca Frog
The Lake Titicaca Frog: one of the cool and bizarre critters waiting for you at Arkive.org.

Arkive: With my two-and-a-half year old daughter poking her head under my arm as I try to avoid typos write this post, I have to toss in one of our favorite nature sites. Arkive is a collaborative collection of images and information about endangered animals and plants from all over the globe. With photos and videos of everything from elephants to octopus, frogs to eagles, my daughter and I are entertained for hours.

Gardening & Health – Gardening is something else I like to do barefoot. OK, not the serious digging, but I’m often out there shoeless, picking weeds and harvesting greens – or just admiring what’s come up. Being outside toes in the grass is good for you, as are all the yummy things I plant, so I’ll toss some health stuff in here, too.

When I was getting started with my new veggie garden, Kenny Point’s Veggie Gardening Tips was the first gardening blog I read and still one of my all-time favorites. Kenny introduced me to the joys and ease of growing garlic and fall and winter veggie gardening, which is A LOT easier than you think. This year he’s inspired me to plant goji berries – I’ll keep you posted on how they do!  Subscribe to his blog for a free intro to veggie gardening.

rows of garlic - March 2011
The main garlic patch, mid-March. Now the greens are twice as big.

Two very different posts from Mark’s Daily Apple will illustrate why I love this blog. In 6 Common Herbs and Why You Should Eat Them (Hint: They Don’t Just Taste Good) primal eating and fitness guru Mark Sisson describes the health and cooking benefits of six herbs you’ve eaten, and could easily grow yourself. The Mysterious World of Smell examine the power of our most ‘primitive’ sense.

Mark’s Daily Apple is one of the web’s best intros to the ‘paleo’ or ‘primal’ type diet. After 27 years as a vegetarian, and 3 years as a reluctant meat eater, I’ve recently become convinced of the superiority of eating those foods that our bodies evolved to consume: meat, veggies and healthy fats – and eliminating those that are products of recent agricultural history: all grains and grain products.

The result: I feel better than ever, and although I was not overweight to begin with, I’ve lost 5 lbs in two weeks with only minimal exercise (so it wasn’t just ‘water weight’). Check it out. Another good intro to the primal lifestyle is Whole9Life.

Writing & Creativity

Time Management for Writers – Getting More Done in Less Time, by author and blogger Kristen Lamb. As a fellow ENFP, I can relate to her struggle to learn the organizational skills that come naturally to her more detail-oriented husband (mine is the same), and REALLY appreciate the insights and suggestions she shares. I’ve learned a whole lot about writing, online media from Kristen’s blog and even more from her online classes, so don’t be surprised if she shows up on my list in the future. You can find her on Twitter as @KristenLambTX

Writing is an art and the well that all artists draw from is called creativity. Patrick Ross, creativity explorer extraordinaire and the blogger behind The Artist’s Road, tweets as @on_creativity and sends out some really great stuff.  If you’ve missed his gems, you can catch his weekly round up: Creativity Tweets of the Week.

Round of Words: Week Four Check-in

I’ve set three types of goals for this 80-day challenge. You can read the details about them here. Some of those goals are right on track:

  • Blogging: Twice weekly check-ins (Sunday & Wednesday) as part of a weekly Wednesday post, and now a regular Sunday mash-up.
  • Writing:
    • Morning pages (an exercise from the Artist’s Way): and EVERYday, so far. Nnot always first thing, but more often than not in the morning, so that’s something,
    • Daily/Weekly words: Over the past four weeks my writing goals have flip-flopped from revising to writing and back again. After attending a weekend retreat called “In the Company of Writers,” I’ve come back to my original goal of revising the current WIP (work-in-progress): the first draft of a fantasy novel focused on the sea. Since I’m back in revisions I’m going to drop the daily wordcount, and instead give myself a target of doing some revising everyday. I may make that more specific as I get further along – or not.
  • Learning: I didn’t even look at the Artist’s Way last week and skipped the artist’s date as well. Will jump back in at Lesson/Week Four in the upcoming week. Since I’m not creating but revising, my coursework will shift from Holly’s How to Think Sideways course to How to Revise Your Novel. But the goal to do some revising via Holly’s method everyday.

Check out all the other wonderful writers taking the 80-day challenge here.

And you?

How are your writing, revising, blogging or other goals coming along?  How does your garden grow? I’m always looking for new resources and new online friends, so stop by and say hi below!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, science geek, gardener, and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

Wonderful Waterful Thursday(?): Life in a Sometimes Ocean

Welcome to Wonderful Waterful Thursday! WWT as I like to call it is the extra special blog post that follows what would otherwise have been Wonderful Waterful Wednesday, if I hadn’t spent an extra five hours waiting in Baltimore-Washington Airport for a flight to California…

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What is a “Sometimes Ocean”?

If you’ve ever visited the shore and poked among the rocks, you’ve seen them: shallow puddles on the edge of the sea, cut off from the great Mother Ocean for hours, even days at a time. They’re tidepools of course, and a whole host of organisms have become adapted to living in them.

Some of the marine creatures common to tidepools in North America are sea stars and urchins, snails, barnacles, and crabs. And of course various kinds of seaweed or algae thrive in tidepools, providing all important cover and shade for the creatures who live there.

Living on the Edge

Life in a tidepool is a study in extremes. Temperatures rise and fall over the course of the day. Salinity too. A water evaporates the pool itself can shrink and at times disappear. Considering that conditions are relatively constant in the open ocean, these kinds of conditions are pretty unusual for marine creatures.

And while they may seem idyllic, dangers lurk in those placid little ponds. In the sea, there’s lots of space to flee and find food. Not so in a tidepool, where you’re trapped until the next high tide, which can be hours or days away. Some parts of the intertidal zone (the area between the high and low tide levels) are only submerged at the highest of high tides, while other areas are only uncovered during the lowest of the low.

The Whys of Tides

The rise and fall of the tides is caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon on the oceans. When all three celestial bodies are arranged in a line (called syzygy), we get spring tides, which are higher and lower than usual. Quadrature is when the sun, Earth and moon form a right angle. This occurs during the quarter phases/half moons. The tidal range is smallest at this time – the highs are lower than

Every shoreline has its typical tidal range determined by the shape of the basin and where on Earth it’s located. In some areas the range can be as little as a few inches a day; in others many feet. The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia holds the record for the largest range: more than 53 feet during a spring tide!

Most coasts have semi-diurnal (twice daily) tides, but a few shores experience only a single cycle.

Tidepooling at its Best

Rocky shores like those found in New England and the Pacific Northwest are my favorite places to explore. I have a very clear memory of holding a sea cucumber given to me by a park ranger in Acadia National Park in Maine. My dream of becoming a marine biologist was cemented that day.

I also saved a couple of sea urchins from a grim fate as souvenirs, but that’s another story.

Marine Mammals Poster Giveaway

This month’s giveaway is an out-of-print NOAA poster of Marine Mammals of the Western Hemisphere. Every comment left in the month of May equals one entry. Every link or reference to this blog on your site equals two entries. The drawing will be held on the 1st of May, so start your entries now!

Have you ever held a prickly sea star, caught sight of a crab scuttling through a tidepool forest, discovered a sea star clinging to the underside of a wet rock? Share your tidepool discoveries – and any other fond seaside memories – in the comments section below!

Danielle Meitiv is an oceanographer by training, an advocate for all things marine and a writer of science fiction and non-fiction. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Brave Blue Words, and Danielle Meitiv.