Grow Your Best Basil

Basil is not only delicious, but easy to grow and manage with the correct approach. Over the weekend, I produced this short video of my Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) co-worker Meredith Epstein giving expert advice on proper plant care. She is the Sustainable Agriculture lecturer and advisor at the IAA, and also manages the University of Maryland’s Community Learning Garden. Meredith is also the one who chose basil as the topic for our first how-to video; I think she made a great decision!

Making a how-to video was a great way for me to get back into using iMovie. I had a lot of fun producing this using only my iPhone and the iMovie app. I found that the app doesn’t have all of the features from the desktop version, but still enough.

I have mentioned in previous posts that the Community Learning Garden is one of my favorite spots on campus. I hope that after watching this video, you will see why I love to spend time there.

Please do enjoy le film. Get ready to grow some expert-level basil!

Around the Block

Just cruisin’ with my friend Meg in her Toro Workwoman vehicle. I interviewed her to find out the best way to get into volunteering with the University of Maryland’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Meg graduated from the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA), where I currently work. The experience that Meg gained through studying Ornamental Horticulture at the IAA led her to become the arboretum’s Volunteer Coordinator. We both work on North campus, so it is easy for us to pester each other. 🙂

Want to help beautify UMD? Email arboretum@umd.edu to sign up!

Sunflower Painting Party at Flanagan’s

Last night I taught a painting party at Flanagan’s Harp and Fiddle in Bethesda, Maryland. Our theme was a sunflower, but I spy a Luigi and two elephants!

Flanagan’s meets my ideal restaurant trifecta of great service, convenient parking, and optional outdoor seating. I guess it’s important to note that the snacks and drinks are great too. 😉 Needless to say, I will be back!

flanagans-sunflower
A meeting of creative minds at Flanagan’s Harp and Fiddle. Special shout-out to our phenomenal server Lenora, as well as Jenny, the manager who booked my party.

Collaboration with Foster’s Flags

I will attempt anything for a friend, even if it means managing to draw straight lines with acrylic paint!

My friend Aaron Foster of Foster’s Flags and Wildfire Creations creates custom wooden flags in addition to working full-time as a Washington, DC firefighter and teaching fitness boot camps on the side. Let’s call him King of the Side-Hustle.

Aaron has created many styles of flags, but this particular order came with a unique request in honor of a Vietnam veteran. The giver of the flag asked if Aaron could incorporate the recipient’s military stripes into the design. Aaron asked me to paint the stripes, and I was happy to oblige.

This flag was completed and given to the veteran at his surprise 70th birthday party. I am excited to have played a part in such a special and unique gift. If you are interested in ordering a flag of your own, check out Wildfire Creations on Facebook.

 

Green Tomato Chutney

Near the end of fall, my friends Meredith and Hardeep showed me how to prepare and can green tomato chutney. Over the course of a day, we prepped, boiled, and heat-sealed enough chutney to send each of us home with over 20 jars apiece!

This chutney is special because all of the green tomatoes were harvested from the UMD Community Learning Garden, which Meredith manages. Hardeep and I were regular volunteers this summer. We had at least 100 green tomatoes remaining at the end of the summer and they all went into this recipe, along with locally-grown apples purchased from the Olney Farmers & Artists Market.

Everything else came from the Burtonsville Giant. Sorry.

Because the tiny jars are so giftable, I decided to design a Christmas-themed label. A 2″ diameter sticker nests perfectly on a standard-sized Ball jar lid, so I took advantage of Sticker Mule’s 10 stickers for $9 deal.

round-chutney-sticker

And then, my super-Seinfeld-fan-friend Hardeep requested a Festivus sticker. It seemed apropos. Hardeep requested a square 2×2″ design so that he could print at home and add in a custom title. He is a regular hot sauce connoisseur and has a need to label his many varieties of homemade hot sauce.

chutney-festivus-sticker

The way we cooked, canned, designed, and labeled together feels so rewarding! Thank you, Meredith and Hardeep for sharing your canning expertise and design feedback with me. Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus to all!

 

“Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way…”

-Frank Costanza, The Origins of Festivus