Friday, August 30, 2013

Powers Fall Festival

Today vendors, artists, supporters and dozens of organizations are busily preparing for Powers Fall Festival 2013, held on August 31st, Sept 1st and Sept 2nd in the far southwestern part of our county.

Powers Fall Festival has been held for 43 years and is well known nationally and well-loved by all our local community who have faithfully supported and attended this event. Formally Powers' Crossroads Festival, this event has been given top honors on a number of popular tourism and event lists over the years. Though it has recently gone through some changes, it is still a great event to enjoy the end of summer and the beginning of the fall season. 

Powers Festival was formed by well-known artist Tom Powers in 1972 on the grounds of the Powers family plantation and achieved phenomenal success. In 1975 Tom Powers gave up the operation of the festival to Coweta Festivals Inc. and is currently comprised of five non-profits: Newnan- Coweta Chamber of Commerce, the Newnan-Coweta Art Association, Newnan-Coweta Jaycees, Pilot Club of Newnan, and the 4-H Boys and Girls of Coweta County. These non-profit organizations purchased the festival site a few years later and now sponsor a number of events throughout the year.

The price of admission of just $7 and you can get in all weekend for this price. You will see plenty of arts and crafts, good food and many things that will entertain. There are plenty of things to see and experience but of course the vendor booths are never free. Bring your wallet and plan to start your Christmas shopping because there are beautiful painting, jewelry and crafts of all kinds. Many vendors feature things kids will love as well. If you get hungry the food vendors can help with festival faire of all kinds. I don't go every year but I have always enjoyed it.

To learn more go to to check it out.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How sweet it is!

Yesterday we worked in our garden, taking out the old dried up plants and putting in some new cool weather plants and seeds for our fall garden.

After planting was finished we dug up a few sweet potatoes. We (especially my husband) have been impatiently awaiting the sweet potato harvest. It isn't quite time to harvest all of them but we did have some vines on the back side of our garden that looked a little dried up.

One reason we went ahead and dug up a few of the tasty root vegetables is to make a sweet potato pie--hopefully like my mother used to make.

Sweet potato pie

4 medium sweet potatoes
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 unbaked pie crust

Peel and cut up sweet potatoes in slices, cover in water and bring to boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes until potatoes are soft. (Sweet potatoes could also be baked and the peeling removed.) Drain potatoes and transfer into bowl. Mash potatoes. Add sugar, butter, eggs, heavy cream, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until potatoes are firm and slightly browned.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Really? A pergola

Every now and then I see something that makes me wonder what happened. I want to say--really? Why would you do that? When I see something I consider odd I will take a photo and comment. My reason is that I just can't imagine what people are thinking at times. Here is my first photo with comments.

This past weekend I went to a yard sale and I saw this beautiful butterfly bush and this nice pergola and I just couldn't understand why this was part of their landscape. The bush doesn't need shade and the pergola has no real reason to tower over this bush which has grown so large that it almost fills the entire space.

I was just amazed. One reason is that I would love to have a pergola--perhaps in my backyard and if I had one, I might put a table under it or a bench and I would have a very nice vine climbing over it. I might even add an outdoor fan over it to blow away unwanted insects but I would never fill the space with a butterfly bush--even a nice one.

The people were very nice and they had done some really nice things with their house. I just had to comment. I now feel better!

Monday, August 26, 2013

CRGC Meeting tonight

Tonight is the August meeting of Crossroads Garden Club. Dianne and Mike Carnicom will present the highlights, successes and challenges of growing a new garden. This past season has been their first year growing a backyard garden and they will be presenting a slideshow with photos showing how they started their garden and the perceptions of a new vegetable garden, including what their thoughts are now with a season of vegetable gardening under their belts. They will share their successes and failures. I know this will be enjoyable for all gardeners--since we have all been there at one time or another.

This presentation will be of special interest to gardeners who are just exploring gardening in their backyards. Below is a photo of one of their beds as they began their garden.

The meeting is at 7:00pm at 3072 Highway 154, Newnan.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My new grow light

It was against my better judgement but I had to make a Walmart run this afternoon. I knew it would be crowded and I was looking for four or five items all located in opposite sides of the store. (I know there are usually four sides but I am counting the garden department as another side since it is located in an alcove.)

A grow light bulb was on my list because I am starting collard, broccoli, cauliflower, onion and leek seeds in my basement for fall. I went to the garden department to find a grow light and didn't find one then went to the lighting section and found plant lights but no grow lights. After reading on the package that plant lights are for spotlighting a plant to make it look more appealing, I knew they were not what I needed.

I hoped for a couple of inexpensive bulbs to go in some shop light fixtures and the plant lights (not what I needed) were over five dollars each. After scanning row upon row of bulbs for every purpose imaginable and for every possible use, I found this great $10 fixture that was an actual grow light. I also can use it and replace the bulb when it goes bad. This covers more space than my shop lights and when I plugged it up, it was kind of pink. I liked that. I hope my collards will, too.

Also, I must say that Walmart turned out to be less crowded than I feared. It was a good day.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My new, old cookbook

I finally found a copy of Southern Cooking by Mrs. S. R. Dull. It's  a book I have been searching for at yard sales and on the internet for some time. I found it on Amazon from a used book seller. Last year I found one online that was listed at more than $200. Last week I found it for around $12 and I decided I needed to go ahead and purchase it while it was available.

Above is the photo from the bookseller and below is the actual book. It's not quite in the shape the photo shows but I was quite pleased to have it, especially after searching for so long.

From what I have read about Mrs. Dull she was a women who found herself in need of making a living when her husband was unable to work. She did the only work she knew--she began cooking for people in her church and for her neighbors, then began to teach young women in schools and colleges. Mrs. Dull was so successful that she eventually found herself writing the food section for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It was quite a feat for a women who learned to cook from the servants on her family's Georgia plantation.

Mrs. Dull became an authority in the kitchen and her cookbook is like a cooking manual for southern cooks. According to what I have read, her favorite food was cornbread and she was said to be a very nice person to those who knew her.

I haven't fully checked out the recipes but it is a very complete treasury of southern cooking from what I can see so far. As a bonus, there were even some recipe cards typed by a previous owner of cheese straw and a few other desserts.

I know I will find things that will help me become a better, more authentic southern cook--a continuing legacy from Mrs. Dull.

Monday, August 19, 2013

More from the Christie's garden

The Christies in Sharpsburg have more tropicals than any private garden I have ever seen. They also have some other beautiful and picturesque mini-garden areas that would be a great places to spend some time.

A very large butterfly plant was covered with pretty butterflies posing for my camera.

And beautiful yellow and orange cannas.

I loved the chair sitting among the lush and lovely vines.

The staghorn fern is so large and beautiful. It has a place of honor in the front yard. Cindy told us they had forgotten to bring it in one year and were very pleased that it survived the frost. Staghorn ferns are a type of air plant. This one is mammoth!

I really loved this beautiful fern.

And there are several areas that are just a sea of ferns. When we left, Mike gave us a fern to take home.

There were areas of color.

And unusual trees that are not usually grown here, like the ones below.

And so many areas that are covered with tropical plants, vines and southern favorites.

They grow some very nice hydrangeas.

Some very pretty succulents, used as ground cover.

And a hosta garden.

Sometimes the deer eat the hostas. This year they have not been attacked by deer.

Everywhere we turned, there were surprises that delighted us.

I wonder if they purchased the gazing ball to match the flowers or vice verse?

I also loved that they have a vegetable garden area. The tomatoes had been attacked by the deer but the peppers look very good.

Though shade covers most of their property, they still have an area dedicated to roses.

On their deck they grow geraniums and beautiful herb plants.

When they moved here, most of their property was covered in grass and now they only have a small patch of grass left which will soon be turned into a water feature.

They have invited us back in the spring to see things in bloom and also visit their new water feature. I can't wait. I know I will be similarly impressed with anything they add. I really appreciated their hospitality and the plant gifts. Their garden is truly remarkable. I know they spend so much time working in the garden and I wish I could tend a garden half so well.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A tropical garden

Last Saturday, my sister and I received an email from our friends Mike and Cindy Christie telling us their gingers were in bloom and inviting us to come and see them.

We knew the Christies really loved tropicals. They moved to the Sharpsburg area from Florida and also love to vacation in tropical climates. I didn't realize that they had transformed their property into a tropical paradise here in Georgia.

One of the amazing things we saw as we arrived was a very tall, lush palm tree. I didn't know they would grow here but this one is thriving here.

In front of their palm tree are beautiful gingers. They are growing large with big green fronts just like I saw last year in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

 I still have a hard time believing my eyes but the Christies say that gingers grow well here. They do need plenty of water but this year, he has hardly had to water at all.

Mike says that they aren't really available in local garden centers, but he has been growing them successfully for years.

The gingers have a lovely smell and are a bit like little fragrant orchids.

They do smell a big like ginger but these aren't the same plant as the ginger we cook with. According to Mike, those ginger plant is not showy at all.

 They also have large showy cana lilies that welcome you when you pull into their driveway.

And so many tropicals--everywhere!

Of course there are semi-tropicals that I have seen in local landscapes for years.

In beautiful colors.

And these bromelaids are usually grown inside, but Mike and Cindy grow them outside in their landscape.

 Outside on their recently added new patio are potted citrus plants. Above is a lemon or lime. I don't really know which.

Or is this the lime or lemon?

I believe they said this was a Valencia orange tree--with fruit. Being from Florida--they MUST grow citrus.

And there are beautiful elephant ears.

And flowers everywhere.

Mike's mother grew gardenias and the Christies have a gardenia garden with tropical gardenias.

Flowers from these tropical gardenias, native to the South Pacific, were used to place behind the ears of natives. The large single flowers are beautiful.

The Christie's garden is filled with lush vines, flowers and delightful tropicals.

I will show you more photos of the Christie's garden tomorrow.