Important Upcoming Events...
...as well as 3 new members: Carol, Diana and Wanda, who are most welcome,
Well, March will be a busy month for us. 1st We have a meeting on March 6th at the BCA at 11:30am (see below). We have invited the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden to come speak to us about their past, current and future work in creating Pittsburgh first outdoor public garden. This group has worked tirelessly to build a Botanic Garden in Pittsburgh and have raised the funds through multiple avenues including membership opportunities, and particularly for us, a garden club group membership. Group membership can be attained if 10 people join at $25 (single or individual membership is $35). I believe it to be appropriate for the BGC to support these Gardens, as part of our mission is to educate and promote education in gardening. So I am asking for you to consider joining by bringing $25 to the meeting where I will have some membership forms available. If you cannot come, I can still sign you up so please call me at 412-247-4129. We have to have 10 people to get the discounted rate. Additionally in the fund raising department, the PBG has an annual plant sale that I have found to be superior. They sell native perennials, shrubs, small trees and garden-related equipment/paraphernalia and our speaker, Kitty Vagley, will bring some Plant Sale brochures for us, if they are ready. This is another way to support Pittsburgh's "living museum". 2nd Adrienne is in charge of the Basket of Cheer again, and asks that you please bring a donation for the basket of cheer, which is one of our major raffle prizes. (It would be best if you made a monetary donation so she can vary the kinds and amounts of alcohol we put in the basket. A monetary donation just give us more flexibility, however if you have a fine bottle of something that is just sitting on your shelf then please feel free to donate that.) And, if anyone won't be at the meeting but is willing to make a donation they can bring it to Adrienne's house or call her and she will pick it up, 412-244-1864.
3rd We have our Bloomin' Corners Benefit. I hope everyone is coming and has sent in their reservation and raffle tickets to support our corner maintenance and renovations. Deadline for reservations is March 9th with the House Party starting at 7pm on Friday March 16th. If you cannot come for some reason, please support us with a donation, but I would much rather have you come and socialize with Blackridge friends and neighbors, enjoy a birdhouse contest, some jazz piano and the usual fabulous food at Longue Vue Club. So please, invite a friend, your spouse, your partner, and join us for good company and a good cause.
Phew....hope you read all this,Nancy
Today, I attended a lecture cosponsored by Chatham University's Rachel Carson Institute and their Office of Career Development. Thelma Redick of the Wildlife Habitat Council, a nonprofit, non-lobbying 501(c)(3) group of corporations, conservation organizations, and individuals dedicated to restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat. Thelma has addressed the Blackridge Garden Club in the past, as has her colleague Marcia Maslonek.
Ms. Redick spoke about the mission and projects of the WHC and their members, as well as provided us with information about the Pollinator Partnership. I encourage you to take a look at the three websites I've linked to in this post for lots of fascinating information. Ms. Redick sent me some additional links, which I've quoted below, pointing to specific pages on the WHC and PP sites. If you have any questions, pls let us know in the comments section below.
Description of the Wildlife at Work program http://www.wildlifehc.org/programs/wildlife-at-work/
Description of the Corporate Lands for Learning program http://www.wildlifehc.org/programs/corporate-lands-for-learning/
A Directory of ALL our members projects, searchable by state or by company: http://www.wildlifehc.org/certification/registry-of-existing-programs/
The link to the portal of the Conservation Registry can be found on our front page or at http://wildlifehc.conservationregistry.org/ (this link lists all the site in the Continental US--- no other countries; but what is cool is that it has overlays with other conservation projects that might be near – for example…look at the certified programs in and around Denver Colorado, then click on the overlay for public lands owned by US forest service—and see how closely our member’s sites are to those areas. We use this tool to help members and partners visualize landscape level projects.
For those of you who were interested in the case study of a restored Brownfield ( I mentioned our Woodlawn site, managed for Bridgestone): http://www.wildlifehc.org/programs/council-managed-programs/new-beginnings/
ALSO: here are the links to the www.pollinator.org website that have the planting guides by zip code: http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm (Contact me if you want my personal native plant lists for western PA—I am happy to share them with you!) If you are interested in Pollinators and work with kids, you might also want to download the NAPPC curriculum: Nature’s Partners. It’s FREE and a great source of lessons for schools or Scout groups.http://www.pollinator.org/nappc/PDFs/curriculum.pdf
Makin' Soup Today
I'm of the opinion that the BGC's Blackridge Cookbook is one of the best community cookbooks ever. It contains some true Blackridge classics, like Bill Arthur's chicken wings, Maria Pegnato's wedding soup, Adrienne O'Toole's ginger cookies, Grandma Viviani's pizza, and Kathy McCann's berry salad--among many others. Today, I'm making one of my favorites, BCA Craft Show Kitchen Vegetable Soup.
This recipe has been passed around Blackridge throughout the years. I know that at one time Barb Trusilo gave the recipe to Darlene Turner, and Darlene passed it to my former neighbor, Mary Lynn Haynes, who made it from time to time. Darlene also could be relied upon to brew up a big vat of this soup—called at that time “Rainy Day Vegetable Soup” and made with a chicken stock—plus equally big vats of her famous ham and bean soup and her steaming hot chicken noodle soup, for the big area craft show that we used to hold at the clubhouse every November. I used to volunteer in the kitchen a lot during those years and this soup was a big favorite, and boy, does it smell great when it is cooking! I have substituted vegetable stock in my version, but omnivores can use the original chicken stock. I have found the recipe to be very flexible and very easy to make in bulk and freeze (without the pasta or rice, which can be added when you are ready to serve.)
BCA Craft Show Kitchen Vegetable Soup
3-5 Tbsp. olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped (use all of white and part of green)
2 onions, halved and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced (or more to taste)
8 cloves garlic, minced (Yes, 8!)
2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
2 quarts vegetable stock, or 2 lg. vegetable bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 quarts water
2 28 oz. cans Italian plum tomatoes with juice
1/2 - 1 tsp. cayenne, or more to taste
1 tsp. dried thyme, or more to taste (Other combinations of herbs may be used.)
salt and pepper to taste
2 c. stemmed fresh spinach (or more to taste)
1/2 c. rice, pasta shells, or small egg bows
In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the leeks, onions, carrots, garlic, and zucchini. Sauté these vegetables about 15 minutes, then add the vegetable stock, tomatoes, cayenne, thyme, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, then add spinach and pasta or rice. Simmer 30 more minutes. Serve hot with grated Parmesan. Enjoy!