HELENA SMRCEK

Stories with a Soul 

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Welcome to Helena's Blog 

Weed or Not to Weed

I vividly remember sowing spinach into my cold frame. I was happy when the first signs of green appeared. Watering my baby plants every morning, I waited for them to grow, hoping to snip a few leaves, and present my family with a home-grown spinach salad. As my botanical marvels strengthened I noted that the plentiful little leaves fail to resemble the picture on the seed packet. Strangely, they looked very much like the tall weeds we fought last summer atop our manure pile. And here comes my question: How come weeds grow without planting, care, or watering (accept the ones in my cold frame), and yet make it through all weather extremes, bugs, and ever-hungry critters. Surveying my gro

The Warcookies

Starting the car, phone on speaker, I knew my tardiness would mess up her day. My hairdresser kept her appointment book full. “I’m on my way,” I said, leaving the driveway. “Fifteen minutes.” Finally in her chair, I blamed the bees. I was to take the frames off the hive. My husband offered to extract the honey, using the brand-spanking-new stainless steel extractor he purchased, instead of the DIY contraption I asked for. Due to a beekeeper’s error there were complications. A honey super holds ten frames. I only put in nine. The diligent workers bridged the gap with honeycomb. As soon as I touched it, there was honey everywhere. Despite the angry bees, and my hair appointment, I had to

Cukes or Pickles

Numbers 11:5 "We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone.” This was the summer of our oversees girls’ trip; my niece was getting married. My daughter was excited, I felt a little reluctant. What about my garden? I picked, froze and canned all that I could, anticipating difficulties. Before we headed to the airport, I walked the men through my green patch and explained everything. They got it. Two days into our adventure I logged into Skype. The garden was fine, my husband assured me. When I inquired about the pickles, he asked where exactly did I plant them. A little concer

I’m Exactly Where I’m Supposed to Be

I love the freshness of summer mornings. The high notes of birdsong invigorate my senses as I draw in that first fragrant breath. Every morning has a slightly different scent on our farm. Grass, flowers, and sometimes fertilizer. We have always been city people; such dramatic change in our lifestyle came as a shock to my husband, and a fulfilment of a life-long dream to me. When I suggested the idea for the first time, he resolutely told me he is a golfer, not a farmer. Living our hectic lives, much like most of our contemporaries, seemed just the thing to do, until little health issues started to crop up here and there. Nothing as terrible as cancer or heart attack, yet serious enough