Monday, March 26, 2012


Today I am remembering my father-in-law, Mr. Sam Allen Winget. This would have been his 94th birthday!

Dad was a beloved husband and father, and an amazing grandfather too. He built the house on our farm where he lived and worked with Mom for over fifty years. The same farm where Al and I built our house when we got married and still live today. He was known for his green thumb and had an amazing vegetable garden that fed his family and friends in all seasons. Dad loved his family, his community, and his church where he became an elder in 1943.

Our three children had very special relationships with their grandfather. Growing up next door to their grandparents was such a blessing. Dad was so involved in their lives, finding joy watching the boys play sports and Erin ride her horses. Leading by example, he taught them so many precious lessons about life.

A sweet moment captured. Dad holding Mac and Erin when they were babies. Mary Beth made the beautiful painting below from this photo!

We lost Dad the summer of 2006, but the memories of his life keep him close at all times. Part of him is everywhere on our farm and we still miss him dearly. Below is a blog entry that my daughter Erin wrote in 6/08. I hold it so dear and wanted to share it again with everyone today.

Dirt reminds me of who I am and where I come from. I grew up on a farm and my grandfather was famous for his garden. Out of the earth he could grow the most delectable things. I much preferred an evening spent plucking the treats from his apple trees to any dessert in a restaurant. He would grow a special spot of watermelons every summer just for me and I would turn up my nose at any corn other than his. His hands were stained with the red clay of North Carolina and his fingernails were always short and dark around the edges from the soil. He would till his plot for gardening and I can remember the smells and feeling of the fertile ground that would produce treasures to share with our neighbors and friends. It was a dirty job but it was magic to me. He welcomed me to learn from him and help him plant, weed, harvest and water. No job was a clean job and I knew that I would need a bath after helping my granddaddy but it was worth it.

Dirt reminds me that we're all the same. My grandfather showed me that being dirty is a part of life and I shouldn't be afraid of a job that I have to roll up my sleeves to do. Dirt is not a mark of shame. It is a sign of a hard day's work and not something to be looked down on. I believe that dirt unites us because there is no escaping it. It is in every city and town in some form and no matter how hard you try to rid your house or your body of it there will always be some there. I believe that instead of trying to figure out a way to make my life more sterile and clean I should embrace the messiness and enjoy the process.

Happy Birthday, Dad! We love and miss you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Dirty Dozen

There is so much talk about our food everywhere - where it comes from and what is in it. But even our best efforts to buy food that is safe and healthy for our families and environment can be difficult if we don't understand the lingo. Sometimes it is hard to know what words to even trust... natural, organic, free range, fresh, grass fed, cage free, locally sourced, pink slime(!??)... it can really make your head spin!

Unfortunately, I do not have this all figured out to share with you today. But, I do have something that will at least help when buying produce! Have you heard of The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health. They conducted a survey that tested the amount of pesticides in produce from 2000 to 2009. The results are two helpful lists.

The Dirty Dozen are produce that should always be bought organic, and the Clean Fifteen are produce that do not have to be bought organic. (although they do say all organic is best, when you can!) This is important information because even small traces of pesticides have been found to have adverse effects on our health - especially for children.

The Dirty Dozen
Nectarines (imported)
Grapes (imported)
Sweet Bell Peppers
Blueberries (domestic)
Kale/Collard Greens

The Clean 15
Sweet Corn
Sweet Peas
Cantaloupe (domestic)
Sweet Potatoes

I'll definitely be keeping these lists on hand for future grocery shopping! Choose organic when you can - it's good for your family's health and good for the planet!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Flowers In Bloom!

I snapped a few pictures of some of my flowers the other day and wanted to share... I love watching the trees and plants come alive this time of year. Each little blossom warms my heart and gives me inspiration to carry into the studio.




Some of these may pop up in my next Nature's Grace Lang calendar :)