Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

MOTHER OF ALL GARDENERS: If anyone deserves a wholehearted “Happy Mother’s Day!” it’s Charlotte, a newish HOMEGROWN member from upstate New York, not far from the banks of Lake Ontario, and the mom of a blended family of nine. We’ve been drooling over photos of Charlotte’s garden-to-be all spring, from her first sprouts, to her impressive seedling spread, to her greenhouse made from recycled windows. We’re thrilled to benefit from her maternal and botanical wisdom. Happy Mom’s Day, Charlotte.

What is Meet Your Neighbors? Most of us spend a fair amount of time tending our online gardens, but it’s easy to forget there’s a real person behind every quiche recipe, chicken inquiry, and hoophouse design here on HOMEGROWN. Well, nuts to that! MYN gives us a chance to meet over the back fence and shake hands. (Or maybe hug? We’re huggers. But no pressure.)

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Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 10, 2013 at 8:56am

Good morning, Charlotte! You're writing to us from New York, right? What part of the state? And what kind of a day is it shaping up to be there so far?

Comment by Charlotte Besaw on May 10, 2013 at 9:01am

Good morning!  Yes, I live in New York state, about an hour north of Syracuse, right in the snowbelt!  No snow today, thank goodness, lol.  The sun wants to peek out, but we may get some rain today, fingers crossed, we really need it.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 10, 2013 at 9:05am

We've got our rain fingers crossed for you! First off: Thanks so much for chatting with us this morning. But more importantly: Happy early Mother's Day! A little birdie told us you're a mom of seven! Any special plans this weekend?

Comment by Charlotte Besaw on May 10, 2013 at 9:11am

Actually, I will be in NJ for a craft show all weekend.  My kids are mostly grown and on their own, and the two youngest live with their mom, nearby in Phoenix, NY.  We are a blended family, 4 are mine and 3 are his...6 boys and 1 girl!  The eldest is 26 and the youngest is soon to be 15, so no more baby fun around here. I suppose grandchildren will be next!  Hopefully, we can all get together later next week for a meal or something.  It's tough when your children grow up and live their own lives.  I am proud of their independence, but I do miss the baby days!

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 10, 2013 at 9:14am

They're all lucky to have you—and we're sending you a big Mother's Day hug right now! About that craft show, what kind of crafting do you do? And we heard something about a fully recycled house-turned-studio. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Comment by Charlotte Besaw on May 10, 2013 at 9:35am

I make mittens, hats, scarves, skirts, bags and more from upcycled sweaters and other castoff clothing.

Since 2006, when I started, I have made over 10,000 pairs of mittens.

Recycled house-turned-studio?  The previous owners lost their home in a fire, so they bought a house that was down the road, took it apart, piece by piece, and reconstructed it on their property.  Too cool!  The ultimate in recycling, eh?

The property was overgrown, but I asked hubby not to mow again until I had identified all the plants!  So many perennial flowers, herbs and berries!  I have added a lot, too, from local plant sales and trades.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 10, 2013 at 9:40am

Now that's ingenuity in the face of adversity! And speaking of projects, we've been admiring your seedlings' progress all spring, thanks to your photos. In your HOMEGROWN profile, you said, "If it's not cooked at home, we generally don't eat it," so it sounds like food as always been a big part of your lives. Have you been growing food for a long time, as well? Is the importance of good food something you've aimed to pass along to your flock?

Comment by Charlotte Besaw on May 10, 2013 at 9:46am

I have been growing my own food for a while, now.  I think nutrition is so important.  When the kids were little chicks, I made their baby food at home, at first out of necessity, then by choice.  My mom taught me how to can tomatoes and peaches, and she was the best bread baker you'd ever want to meet!  I've taught all the kids to cook and fend for themselves, and one is going to culinary school in the fall.  Food is medicine, prevention is the best cure.  I'm not saying they don't hit the drive-thru every now and then, but when given a choice, and if mom is cooking, they'd rather have homemade anyday!  When we are on the road, we look for a mom&pop diner or small town restaurant that serves locally procured foods.  You are what you eat!

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on May 10, 2013 at 9:49am

So well said—and what a testament to your household’s focus on good food that you’ve raised a future chef! (Are you looking to take in any full-grown adults, by any chance? We have big appetites but we always do the dishes.) On that note, one last question before we sign off: What’s for dinner at your house tonight? And thanks again, Charlotte. So good to know you.

Comment by Charlotte Besaw on May 10, 2013 at 9:57am

If you do the dishes, you can come over for dinner anytime!!!!  That is one bonus I get when the kids visit.  In fact, I see dishes right now!  lol 

Tonight, we are going to have leftover spaghetti, I think.  Not very exciting, but it's always better the next day!  Maybe I can get a loaf of bread going...  

Thanks for the chat!  It's good to know you, too!


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