Tag Archives: Garden

My Father the Farmer: Dirt Runs Through His Veins

dirt in his veins

My father is a farmer. Not the up with the rooster, working the fields, dirt under nails kind of farmer. He is the kind who looks at a yard and sees a small plot of earth in which to grow things. The kind who thinks and plans and plants and eats and then thinks and plans….He is a man of letters with South Carolina agrarian blood generations old pulsing through his veins. He scrapes scraps, churns refuse, spreading and working it through the soil like a baker kneading bread. He sees life beginning, stretching, full of possibility, regenerating in every square inch of dirt he has sanctioned. I have heard the tenderness in his voice as he walks me through his garden, seen the loss in his eyes when he talks about leaving a place and leaving behind his plants. He has taken an impossibly cold, rock of an island in the St. Lawrence River and planted tomatoes and herbs. Dirt runs through his veins.

I have long hoped that this same blood runs through me—this love of the land and tending things. Maybe it will become more dominant as I age, settle and slow down but for now, it is still just a longing. I lack the patience, the attention to detail and the long view that characterizes one who plants. My desire is for the immediate, the applause, the back slap. I live for the dreams, the ideas, the process, the prototypes. My father patiently turns and nourishes the soil. Waters and dead heads and stakes his plants. He collects leaves from neighbors, hand washes delicate egg shells and sorts through the remains of meals to create the perfect compost cocktail.

These things don’t come naturally to me. So, for now, I emulate hoping that in the doing—the digging and planting—any remnants of the South Carolina soil that runs in my veins will be stirred and awaken the farmer in my soul.

And the Winner is . . .

And the winner is...Garden Party Giveaway on amywatsonsmith.com

My first giveaway is over and the winner is . . . Anne Walpole from Charleston, South Carolina!

Thank you to all who signed up for my mailing list last week. I cannot tell you what a boost you all gave me. So many of you not only signed up but took the time to offer me sweet words of encouragement.

If you missed out on this giveaway, do not despair. I will be doing another one in June, so go ahead and sign up now so you don’t miss my next giveaway announcement!

Some of you have asked about how to purchase some of the items in this “Garden Party in a Box”. I do not have my “store” set up online quite yet but am happy to take an order if you just contact me at amywatsonsmith@gmail.com. I will have other items available in my store in the future so be sure to check back here.

Just as a reminder, here are a few of the items in the Garden Party box:

Hand-decorated glass bottles with coordinating straws - $4 each

Hand-decorated glass bottles with coordinating straws – $4 each

Hand-made Garden Party Invitations and envelopes - quantity 8 - $16

Hand-made Garden Party Invitations and envelopes – quantity 8 – $16

It’s A Garden Party Giveaway: How to Win

Sign up with your email to join my mailing list to win this Garden Party Giveaway on amywatsonsmith.com

Sign up with your email to join my mailing list to win this Garden Party Giveaway

I am so excited to be able to offer my first-ever “giveaway” on amywatsonsmith.com. I have put together a Garden Party in a box to show my appreciation to my followers.

Want to enter to win this giveaway? Then pop over to the sidebar on the right and sign up to join my mailing list. I would be thrilled if you would share this opportunity by regramming this post on Instagram and on Facebook.

This giveaway ends on Friday, May 16 at 10 pm. I will draw a winner on Saturday.

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I had the best time putting this together. Here is what I included in my Garden Party Giveaway:

  • Six glass milk (or other beverage) bottles hand-decorated in pink and green
  • Striped pink and green paper straws
  • Handmade Garden Party invitations
  • Paper coasters
  • Pink enameled pail in which to serve dip (included) or other yummy snacks
  • Flowers and tablecloth are not included

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Thank you for following me! I would love to hear from you and look forward to getting to know you better!

Why I love Rainy Days

Today was a rainy day in Charleston. But I didn’t mind.

I love rainy days.

Its a good thing because we get a lot of rain in the Lowcountry.

Here are some of the reasons why I love rainy days.

Catching up on some old-school letter-writing in celebration of the last day of National Letter Writing Month

Catching up on some old-school letter writing in celebration of the last day of National Letter Writing Month

Charleston is known for it's flooding problems especially in the area around my daughter's school. Getting around town in the rain can be a challenge but fun!

Charleston is known for it’s flooding problems especially in the area around my daughter’s school. Getting around town in the rain can be a challenge but fun!

April showers bring May flowers. And I love any opportunity to wear my Hunter boots and pink trench coat!

April showers bring May flowers. And I love any opportunity to wear my Hunter boots and pink trench coat!

Sunday afternoon essentials

An afternoon in to read, relax and get some puppy love.

How do you spend a rainy day?

The Secret of Summer? Tomato Pie

Edisto tomato pie

Tomato pie. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Tomato pie is synonymous with summertime in South Carolina–especially in the Lowcountry.

I remember the first time I tasted this delectable treat. I was staying with friends at Edisto Beach and our hostess had purchased a tomato pie from one of the road-side vegetable stands. With the first bite, I fell in love with the salty, acidic, creamy, cheesy dish served up in a flaky, buttery pastry shell.

Over the years I have eaten my share of pie and have worked on perfecting a recipe of my own (see below).

This past weekend I stopped by the road-side vegetable stand not far from my house. Run by Boone Hall Farms (http://www.boonehallfarms.com/), this stand is open virtually year-round. They have a great market/cafe a bit further up Highway 17, but I love the  red and white tent that sits in the midst of the u-pick fields.

Boone Hall Farm

I love to wander over to the fields to see what is growing. Strawberries, blueberries and blackberries were still available, according to the signs but I didn’t seem to make it past the rows of tomatoes.

tomato fields

At this point in the summer they are still in their teenage state of greenness.

tomato vines

Fortunately they had some vine-ripened tomatoes from Florida.

tomatoes

 These tables will be overflowing in a few weeks. I can’t wait.

peaches

South Carolina peaches are just appearing but they need to ripen a bit more. I decided to give them another week or two.

peach crates

Sandy

Sandy smiled and laughed as she rang up all of the produce I purchased.

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What are your favorite road-side vegetable stand finds? Do you have any favorite recipes that use fresh produce? I hope that you will share them here.

slice of pie

Edisto Tomato Pie 

1 (9-inch) pie shell

1 egg white

1 teaspoon water

2-3 large tomatoes*, peeled and sliced or chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried minced onions

dash of red pepper

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons flour

4-5 fresh basil leaves chopped

dash of paprika

  1. Beat egg white with water. Brush over unbaked pie shell. Line pie shell with parchment paper and pie weights (can also use dried beans). Bake pie shell according to directions. Cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Peel and slice or chop tomatoes. Gently squeeze tomatoes to remove excess liquid and place in a bowl. (*If you don’t have good, home-grown tomatoes then you can use a mix of tomatoes. I always replace a cup of grape tomatoes sliced in half for one of the tomatoes because they are always tart and good). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix mayonnaise and shredded cheddar together in a bowl. Add half of the parmesan cheese. Add minced onions and a dash of red pepper and mix.
  5. Put flour in bowl. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon to reduce liquid and place in bowl with flour. Toss tomatoes in flour.
  6. Place tomatoes in bottom of the cooled pie shell. Add remaining salt and pepper, garlic powder and basil leaves.
  7. Spread mayonnaise-cheese mix evenly over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and paprika.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.