Little Green Tomatoes

Tiny Seeds of Goodness

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Tigers & Turtles & Toadstools – Oh My!

“The Summer hath its joys…” ~ Robert Campion

Loads of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies this time of year! 

Spicebush Swallowtail & Black Swallowtails are here too!

Toadstools – the fungus among us – wild mushrooms.  Whatever you want to call them, there are LOTS of them popping up everywhere! 

Seems to be an abundance of turtles out and about as well.  Kind of unusual for this time of year.  Heavy rains in recent weeks may be a factor.  This guy or gal decided to rest for a couple of hours in the shade right outside our patio door.  





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FRESH Extravaganza!


I am blessed to live where fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers are grown locally and readily available. This is blueberry, blackberry, and peach season in North Carolina, and for me, there is nothing quite like fresh picked berries and peaches.  Early in the morning, about every week or two during mid-summer, I treat myself to a 20-minute drive through lovely North Carolina countryside to Blueberry Thrill Farm.  If I can beat the heat, berry picking is a joy.  Seeing families and friends enjoying their time together and hearing the kids announcing their conquest of the “Biggest One EVER!” or “Dad, you’re not gonna believe how many berries I just picked” makes me smile.  Women chat about what they will make when they get home – cobblers, pies, salads, cakes, ice cream – old family recipes or something new they want to try.  Dads and grand-dads hold the kids up to reach the high ones, and help to referee contests between siblings.  Honestly, it’s a slice of Americana, a great learning experience for young and old alike, and generally a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a summer morning.  I think it’s the berries and the flowers – I think they make people happy!


Blueberries have been folded in to pancakes for Sunday brunch, sprinkled on sweet kale salads, and combined with sweet corn in a delightful summer salad.  I’ll be freezing some from this picking.  And I think I have enough left for a cobbler!

I made cinnamon applesauce from the summer apples – some for enjoying now and some is in the freezer waiting to brighten a winter day!


And the flowers, oh the flowers!  Beautiful! Zinnias, Ageratum, Cosmos, Globe Amaranth, Lemon Balm.  Picked a 5-gallon bucket full and arranged some Mason jar bouquets for the kind vet clinic staff who take such good care of our canine kids (and us too).  We appreciate them!

So, here are a couple of my favorite fresh blueberry recipes.  I’ll be sharing some more in future posts.


Blueberry and Sweet Corn Salad

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh sweet corn, cooked and cut off the cob
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper


  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime or lemon juice – your preference
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl, except for oil, and whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Slowly add canola oil and continue to whisk until dressing thickens.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine blueberries, corn, pepper, & onion.  Add dressing and toss gently.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

Makes a great light side dish to grilled chicken or pork chops. Or, enjoy on a bed of fresh salad greens or as a salsa with salty tortilla chips.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.


Blueberry Coffee Cake

Pecan Topping:

  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries (or frozen) – rinsed, drained, and patted dry.

Prepare topping. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter.  Remove from heat and stir in flour, pecans, sugar and lemon peel to form a soft dough.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9”x13” baking pan.

Prepare batter. Cream butter and sugar. Reduce speed to low, add flour, baking powder, lemon peel, salt and eggs. Increase speed, beat until smooth and creamy. Smooth evenly in to greased baking pan.  Top with blueberries and crumbled pecan topping. Bake 45 minutes or until golden. Lovely when served warm.  Serves 16.


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Tiny Windows…..

“…….in the shadows, in the mystical place between life and death.” ~ Jon Katz, Bedlam Farm Journal 

“……..our existence is not a toggle – “on” for alive, “off” for dead – but a dimmer switch that can move through various shades between white and black.” ~ Robin Marantz Henig, National Geographic, Crossing Over: How Science Is Redefining Life and Death

“Death is a process, not a moment.” ~ Sam Parnia, Erasing Death

“What I remember about grief is what becomes perfectly clear in its wake, this perfect knowledge that nothing about the life we live, nothing about the story we write for ourselves, nothing about what we have taken for granted regarding waking up and being alive is ever, ever the same.” ~ Lynne Hinton, The View From Here

“That which brings us sadness has once brought us joy.” ~ Flavia Weedn, Wrapped in a Ribbon


Areas Between…….Twilight Worlds…………

Passage: the act or process of going from one place or condition to another.

I have some level of understanding of these things.

25 passages within 12 years time.  Each different, unique.  All beloveds.  Knowing what I know now, I hope that I could have acted differently in some cases.  I did the best I could at the time.  My intention was good.  I would like to think I acted out of my best intention.  I am not sure of that.

Some passages have goodness – light – peace – appropriateness linked with them in My Mind and in My Spirit.

Some passages have restricted thinking – overwhelmedness – avoidance of authentic communication – sadness linked with them in My Mind and in My Spirit.

Many have different and separate associations in My Mind versus in My Spirit.

All feel peaceful and loving from the other side of the veil.

With each, different ailments or conditions, stage in life, physical manifestations. With each, a unique individual – Mind, Body, and Spirit.

With each, a different role for me to play. With each, I was officially a caregiver, a steward. With each, ultimately, it is uniquely his or her own passage, his or her own leaving. I struggle to navigate the winding path weaving between the two – mine and theirs.

I want to help, I want to understand.  I desperately desire to act out of my best intention, with compassion, in love.

I wonder, is it a tiny window whose opening grows a bit larger with each passage of grief, loosing, losing, loss, and letting go? Or is it a new tiny window that opens each time – creating a mosaic of tiny windows – each with its own unique view?

I do know this – it resonates throughout My Mind, My Spirit, My Knowing:

It is morning on the other side…and all is light & joy.

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I 💚 Trees


I suppose it could have gone either way – my relationship with trees – could have been love, could have been hate.  From the time I was a wee babe, resting in my mother’s arms, I’m fairly certain I was a silent participant in many discussions, ruminations, and heated debates revolving around trees.  And, I imagine there were a fair number of tears, earnest requests, ultimatums, “I told you so’s”, and “we have to do somethings” associated with the above communications!

When I was only 3 weeks old, my father uprooted my mother, my sister, and me, and we moved to a new house, in a new subdivision, surrounded by other new subdivisions – all of which had been carved out of corn fields and a berry farm. While many folks would love to have a new house in a new neighborhood and would think that my Dad was a pretty nice guy for providing us with such, the new lot and the new neighborhood were basically treeless.  And there-in lay the problem.

Knowing my Dad, he was probably thinking, “If I can get grass to grow in this heavy clay backfill, this yard is going to be a CINCH to mow!”

Mom, on the other hand, was a bit on overload with a newborn and a 12-year-old – moving, settling in to a new house, a different town & a different school district. She was yearning for her beloved bungalow and its shady corner lot, surrounded by street after street after street of attractive homes within established lawns and gardens, populated with big beautiful trees.

As luck would have it, that summer was an unusually hot one.  The builder of the new house had not installed central air conditioning, which was actually a common practice at the time.  To make matters worse, with stationary picture windows and small awning style windows set up high on the walls, there was very little air circulation.  And, the old stand-by, the box fan, could not be accommodated by those awning windows in that modern ranch style house.

No doubt as an act of self-preservation, Dad paid a visit to a local tree nursery shortly after the move. As the story goes, he asked the proprietress what he could get that would grow fast and cost little. (He did, after all, have plans to build a man-cave/bar/ping pong & dart room in the basement.  Pennies would need to be pinched!) Out of the ensuing conversation grew the trees of my childhood.  White pine, weeping willow, tulip trees, and silver maple.

I spent many a summer lounging in a hammock under the arching branches of that weeping willow, breezing through my summer reading program books. Many a crisp autumn afternoon was spent raking leaves. Many a supper was consumed while listening to Mom complain about the mess those tulip trees made and the drainage issues the tangles of willow and silver maple roots were famous for. Dad’s mowing scheme did not pan out the way he intended either.

But, ya know, those trees did grow fast. Their roots helped to break up that heavy clay. The grass grew green and healthy. The lawn, shrubs, flowers, and trees helped to make that house a home.  Under and around those trees we played on the swing set, practiced archery, trained the family poodle, had badminton matches, visited with family, friends, and neighbors.

I think we all came to love those trees. They grew up and grew older with us – their progress visible in the family photographs that were snapped through the years. As they matured, no matter which window we looked out of, branches and leaves were part of the view.

As we lost them, one by one, over the years, it was sad – like saying goodbye to an old friend with whom many happy memories had been shared.  The pine trees succumbed to power company butchering, and, broken hearted, Mom had them removed a couple of years later, replaced by lower growing shrubs. The willow tree had to come down after the Roto Rooter men said its roots were breaking apart the terracotta drain tiles running along the basement footings. One of the massive tulip trees was struck by lightning and exploded in the front yard.  The silver maples lost limbs in ice storms and by venturing too far over the neighbor’s property line.

Mom and Dad are both gone now, as are most of those trees of my childhood. My sister and I have both migrated south to warmer winters. A new owner now resides in my childhood home – reportedly drawn to it, in part, because of the mid-century man cave/bar/rec room my Dad built in the basement, and the established lawn, landscaping, and trees.  Both of which would have made Mom and Dad happy to know.  And, for my sister and me, the new owner’s appreciation for things that had been important to Mom and Dad helped us to feel better about transitioning our parent’s home.

The one remaining massive tulip tree and the one remaining silver maple stand tall, still nourishing the soil and shading that little brick mid-century ranch house, holding memories of the other trees of my childhood and the happy family that dwelt among them.

And so, the stage was set, and it was inevitable, I reckon, that all throughout my 30+ years of inhabiting other abodes, the #1 criteria on my “must have” list has always been TREES.

As I walk from room to room, window to window, in the little brick ranch style house I now call home – guess what?!  It’s mid-summer, and I see boughs heavy laden with beautiful green leaves in every view! These trees are well-loved too!





Valuable Idea

“If an idea, I reasoned, were really a valuable one, there must be some way of realizing it.”

– Elizabeth Blackwell

These words were written by the first woman to receive the M.D. degree in the United States.

If our dreams are valuable ideas, they will be useful goals.  When dreams become goals, they have a way of calling us forth.  We have a responsibility to nourish these dreams, because they come from what’s best in us.


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So, why “Little Green Tomatoes?”

So, why the name of “Little Green Tomatoes?”

a. Well, why not?

b. We could take the philosophical approach.  Little green tomatoes are perfect tiny versions of their grown-up selves, with clear, smooth, skin, and a perky cap of green.  Swollen with promise – as I would hope for my blog to be.

As it is with blog entries, some little green tomatoes will no doubt drop from the vine, shrivel, disappear, and never realize their full potential.  Some will be plucked before their prime, but with some TLC, a warm spot on a sunny windowsill, and some time, will ripen into quite adequate “fruit”. And some, if allowed enough time and the right nurturing, will ripen into deliciousness on the vine.  Perhaps with bumps or ridges, their perfect green cap having turned a bit gray. Perhaps a bug bite or two, an asymmetrical ‘lean’, and a couple of places where the skin wasn’t quite elastic enough to accommodate the swelling of goodness within.  Ahhhh, but all the more deliciously, perfectly ripe and delightful!

In a sense, little green tomatoes are an intriguing metaphor for this infant blog of mine.

c. Or, we could just go with – it’s cute and kind of fun to say – the words roll out quickly and with a little “skip in their step”.

As you will notice, little green tomatoes turn up in the craziest places.  You just never know where you might find a little green tomato.

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