30 August 2013

But Some in the Crowd Stayed Blind

Just after Jesus healed the blind man, and opened the eyes of the crowd to show them one need not be without need to come to Him, He came through the gates into the city of Jericho.

If you take the end of Luke 18 and proceed to Luke 19 without a break, it appears to be the same crowd thronging the Master, the newly healed used-to-be blind man leading them in praise to God.

It's the same crowd that almost keeps Zacchaeus from Jesus.

Yet he's persistent, and Jesus looks up into the tree to address this man who so much desires to see Him.

And the crowd?  These people who should have just learned that those who need help are welcome to come to Jesus?

They complain.  They call Zacchaeus a sinner, saying Jesus shouldn't have anything to do with him.  By so doing, they distance themselves from he painful but all-important truth that they, too, are sinners Jesus came to save.  Not them.  They're perfect.

But Zacchaeus?  He's trouble.

Or so they think.  When the short man defends himself before them all, we see a much more generous heart than the crowd expected to see.  We see a man ready to sacrifice anything for the Lord, except his integrity.  Rather than cheat anyone, he goes above and beyond the law, recompensing much more for any hint of unfair dealing than the Lord by law demands.

Do you think the crowd learned their lesson that time?  That maybe they were sinners in need of Jesus just as much as the blind man and the short man?  That God loves to rescue those who come to Him in faith?

Of course we can't know.  But my prayer is that I will learn that lesson, whether they did or not.  And I will, by the matchless grace of God.

29 August 2013

When Jesus Healed a Blind Multitude

Picture the scene with me.

You're walking with a crowd down the street of a city, and you have to squeeze by someone begging.  Maybe a street musician, maybe clean cut, maybe not.  You don't want to stop because there's someone important ahead you want to keep up with, trying to grasp every word.  You don't have time to stop, but the question comes anyway, from a blind beggar.

"What in the world is going on?  Why the crowd?"

It's Jesus.  You pause long enough to say those two words before moving on, pushing your own way closer.  And then, when the cries of the blind man get louder as he attempts to be heard by the Everlasting Ear, you pause again to tell the ragged man on the sidewalk not to bother.

Jesus has more important things to do than listen to a blind man's cries.

You and I, reading the story in Luke 18:35-43, know that's a complete lie.  We self righteously side with Bartimaeus, mentally placing ourselves a notch higher in the kingdom than those selfish crowd members.

Yet how many times a day do we believe that lie?

I'm not important enough for Jesus to listen to me.

Or, I don't believe person x, y, or z is as important as I am, and I'm sure Jesus agrees with me.

We can't think those thoughts without them coming through in our actions.

Jesus knew that when He heard the voice of the blind man and the rude voices of the multitude.  And rather than moving toward the man in mercy, by His action proving His love, He commanded that the very ones who rebuked the man who cried out to God for help be the ones to bring him to Jesus.

They, too, needed healing, and obtained it by obeying the command.  In so doing, the relinquished their pride and selfishness, and acknowledged God's grace as a free gift to all.

Perhaps this blessing of twofold healing is still the reason Jesus would have us bring others to Him.  Perhaps in the exercise of our witness, our own hearts become transformed.

27 August 2013

This Week in the Garden: Farewell

We've been through a lot together, these plants, our family, and I.
My mother-in-law tells me that if we get to where we're headed soon enough, and in that super warm climate plant a "fall" garden for harvest in December and January, we'll have planted gardens in four states in one year.  Pretty good, huh?  We get around.

Last time we loaded up the car--really loaded it up--we brought all the plantlets along on our travels.  This time, they'll stay rooted where they are, bearing fruit to be eaten after we're gone.

And isn't that the way life is?  Our labors keep bearing fruit after we go, even when we don't see the results.  Perhaps, just perhaps, it's enough to realize with Paul that one plants, another waters, another harvests.

When we learned we'd be leaving that first state's garden plot behind, we weren't sure we'd be able to bring the things planted along with us.  But then we did.  And the first loss turned into a two-fold gain with two gardens in other people's yards.  Really their gardens, where they let our garden fit into the mix.  We still planted, we still tended, we still harvested.

And isn't that how God works--all things together for good, turning losses to gains?

It delights me to no end that the people who welcomed and comforted us this summer will have something to remember us by, something to add to their autumn stews and sandwiches that will remain in our place to give our thanks.

While I won't eat these fruits, I have fruits of a different kind--those tangible reminders that in the place where God plants, growth happens fast, that roots still crawl their way through the earth and take hold after even a traumatic transplant.

These once-tiny tomatillo plants are now just about up to my neck, and I thought it was good of them to put out the first ripe fruit for us just before we go on our next big adventure.

Here are the hints of a harvest as we hand off the work to another.  We've had pleasure and satisfaction in the work, as we've watched how something so small could turn out to be so large, and maybe even begin to feed a family.  

Now if they can merely bring a few tomatoes to perfection before the first frost?  I'll feel so delighted, so happy, even if so far away.

So it's not a sad goodbye to the garden today, but a grateful fare-thee-well, to my latest two gardens, and a hopeful looking forward to my next garden, which might just be planted in September and October to thrive through all the mild winter.

You've been a balm to my soul, a joy to my eyes, a delight to my taste, a little spot on earth where honey bees enjoyed to be.

Be fruitful and multiply, my plants!

25 August 2013

Polishing Silverware

 We've been polishing old silverware around here, and it got us all thinking, about silverware and people, about investing in the seemingly mundane tasks of life.  See, we never knew which ones would be savable until we did the polishing.  Some of the worst became the most beautiful, and some of the "easy" ones didn't shine up so well as we expected.

It's been a good reminder.  Or several good reminders.

Jesus recognizes the true silver in people, beneath all the tarnished messes of our lives.
Sometimes those folks with the worst looking lives?  Turn out to be the sweetest in the end.  Every piece is worth working with.  We just hope we're getting to them all in time.

Maybe we didn't go looking for these pieces, and maybe they came into our lives when we, well, didn't really want to spend time on polishing silver.  Maybe it took a change of heart and some outside encouragement to get us going.  But think how delighted the Giver would be to see us working over every detail, loving every gift, rescuing every perishing piece.  Better late than never, don't you think?

The tarnish may be thick and it may take a lot of work to remove.  The results may even be unpredictable.  Yet think how many beautiful pieces would be lost if we never tried.

23 August 2013

1 Corinthians 13: The True Profit Formula

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."  1 Corinthians 13:3

Because I can't expect the world to revolve around me, to owe me everything and to pay me back for every little thing I contribute, I become a miser with my gifts.  I stop giving.  And everything I do end up giving comes with strings attached, begrudgingly.  Which takes away the blessing from the receiver, to think I'm only giving to get something back from them.  No matter how large the gift.

But if I give freely, like Jesus gave for me?  I may not see any immediate results.  I may even lay down my life in service to others--to Him--and not realize any benefit.  I may think my efforts have been wasted, forgetting there's One who sees what the right hand and what the left hand are doing, who sees in secret, who rewards openly for genuine service to the King of kings.

I may not see, in this life, how anyone was blessed through my life.  Yet if I live it with the unselfish love that comes as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, there will indeed be a mansion someday for me.  With Him, motive matters--not outward show, not even miracles done in His Name without this delicious fruit of love--and He will not pass by the heart of a humble servant, who only did her duty and truly lived like her Master.

20 August 2013

This Week in the Garden: Baby Tomatoes

The tomato plants are finally having babies.

They fatten up a little every day.

The blossoms keep coming, so the babies will have little siblings soon.

Parent tomatoes and tomatillos got heavy enough this week to need staking.

This tomatillo plant is chest high, and looks like it will add lots of heavy fruits to the highest branches ere long.

This balloon isn't empty anymore--its fruit will soon burst the paper, I think, and be ready to eat.

The Common Thyme is still small, but putting out more branches.

The peppers are beginning to blossom after their Epsom salts treatment.

The squash, green beans, and love lies bleeding are making a jungle out of their end of the garden.

The squash is growing up and through the fence.  We think we'll train it to run along the top.

19 August 2013

Canning and Freezing Peaches

 I grew up in a home where we canned and froze as many kinds of fruit as we had energy to work with in the summer and early fall.  Applesauce, canned pears, and of course frozen and canned peaches stacked up in my parents' extra freezer and in an insulated "fruit room" in a corner of our shop/garage.  I still believe there's nothing quite so beautiful as shelves full of fruits you've canned yourself, and no sound quite so exciting as the pop of a jar as it seals.

So it still surprises me a little, like it did yesterday, when I hear of people who haven't had these experiences like I have.  Or who didn't have a good friend to teach them when they wanted to learn.  If you happen to pop over here from Google wanting to learn how to can peaches, will you let me know if the instructions below were helpful?  Or if you have questions?  I can't stop by and spend the afternoon with you, chatting and slicing and snitching a peach here and there, but maybe this post can get you going.

Here's my first piece of advice:  get a friend or family member to help you with the work.  Canning and freezing takes less than half the time with two people than it does with one.  It just does.  If you don't believe me?  Try it both ways and compare.

For canning, you will need:
  • wide mouth canning jars, with lids and bands
  • water bath canner
  • a jar lifter, such as this one 
  • peaches
  • sugar/sweetener
  • clean water (use filtered water for every part of the process if you filter your drinking/cooking water)
For freezing, you will need:
  • freezer zip lock bags, or freezer safe containers of your choice
  • peaches
  • sugar/sweetener
 The first few steps for freezing and canning peaches are the same, so begin here for either chore.
  1. Buy free-stone peaches.  Peaches that are not free-stone don't come off their pits very easily, which makes them easy to squish and crush.  If the crushed peach look is what you're after, that might be fine, but it will take you longer to process the peaches.
  2. Be sure the peaches are ripe.  The results of your canning and freezing will be drastically improved in flavor if you do.  Ripe peaches don't have any green showing in the stem area (or anywhere else), and are soft to the touch.  Peaches are typically not quite ripe when you buy them in the store or the stand, and will not necessarily all ripen at the same time.  Separate out the ripe peaches when you're ready to freeze or can.
  3. Try to set yourself up ergonomically.  You'll need a work space you can be comfortable in for several hours, so try to make sure you can sit down if you need to and have everything within reach.
  4. Blanch the peaches, a few at a time.  Blanching makes the peaches super easy to peel, which takes your time down by a lot (and saves you from cutting parts of the peach away when you peel each one--blanched skins come off with only the skin).  Bring a large pot of water to boil (enough water to cover the peaches).  When the water is boiling, put as many peaches in the water as will fit in the pot.  Let them stay in the water (even if it's not boiling once the cool peaches are put into it) for 30-60 seconds.  Remove them with a large spoon (preferably with holes in it), and let cool until they are touchable (it doesn't take long).
  5. While waiting for the pot of water to boil, get out a large bowl and fill it about two-thirds full of water.  Add a little sugar, lemon juice, or Fruit Fresh (found on the canning aisle of just about every grocery store).  When you've peeled the peaches, place them in this bowl so they won't get brown while you prepare enough for your jars or freezer containers or bags.
  6. Peel the peaches.  The skins will come off easily now.  I like to slice the peach in half and twist it off the pit before I slide the skin off the peach.  If you slide the skin off the peach before you twist one half away from the pit, it's MUCH harder to get the peach off the pit, even if it's a free-stone peach.
  7. Put the peach halves into your bowl of water.  When that's full, you're ready to fill a few jars or freezer bags.
If you're here for canning, continue to the steps in this section.  If you're here for freezing, skip to the next section.
  1. Prepare your jars--wide mouth jars are best for peaches, especially if you plan to can halves (you can do any size of chop you want, but bigger is faster as far as your time is concerned).  Wash them--the dishwasher is a great option here, if you've planned ahead.  Also wash the bands and lids.  The lids are not re-usable (I've heard of some re-usable types, but haven't tried any yet), but the bands can be used year after year.  Just don't use any with rust. 
  2. Prepare your syrup.  Now, I have canned peaches without any kind of sweetener in the water, but I DON'T recommend it.  Here's why--and it's exactly what happened the year I experimented with the no-sweetener canning:  You start with naturally sweet fruit, and put it in jars with water, which has no sweet in it whatsoever.  The sugars in the fruit escape into the water, to make everything in the jar sort of equally sweet.  So your unsweetened water ends up sweet after the canning process, but your peaches end up less sweet than they were to begin with.  So use a sweetened syrup of some kind.  I have used two methods, and I'll share both with you.  They worked equally well.
  3. Syrup #1:  Put 1/4 cup sugar of choice in each quart sized jar.  Put a little water in each jar, stir it up, and add the fruit up to the neck of the jar.  Then cover the fruit with more water until none of it sticks up above the water.  (Again, this should be about up to the neck of the jar.)
  4. Syrup #2:  Put 1 cup of sugar in a 4 cup measuring cup, and then fill with water.  This will end up being more than 3 cups of water, of course, because the sugar dissolves into it.  When it's dissolved, pour the syrup over the peaches in the jar as described above.
  5. Once the jars are filled,  wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, wet cloth or paper towel.  For the jars to seal, the point of connection between the rubber on the lid and the glass rim have to be completely clean.
  6. Screw the lids on with the bands, and place in the water bath canner.  Fill the canner with water up to the necks of the jars.  Bring to a boil, and let boil for 20 minutes.  And know your stove--don't let the peaches boil so hard that the liquid in the jars boils over and out of the jar.  This can hinder the jar from sealing when you take it out of the canner.  You may need to turn the temperature down when the water boils.
  7. Remove the jars from the canner.  I like to use a kitchen implement specifically for this purpose, which you can purchase on the canning aisle of most grocery stores, and even stores like Fred Meyer or Walmart.  I place the jars on a couple of layers of kitchen towels on the counter to cool.  When you hear the lids start to "pop"  and you can see that the lid is dented in instead of out, the jar is sealed.  You can also tell if a jar has not sealed when, after sufficient time to cool, the fruit is not floating in the syrup but resting on the bottom of the jar instead.
  8. When the jars are cool, remove the bands from the jars and wash both the bands and jars.  They can get a little sticky in the water bath process.  (Once the jars are sealed, the bands make no difference to the seal--just the lids do.)  Store the jars with the bands or without.  
  9. Your peaches will keep for several years...but I've never had them around long enough to find out just how many!  I like to aim for a total of jars that's a multiple of twelve, so I can average a certain number per month (ideally, a minimum of 48, so I can average four every month or nearly one per week of the year until the next canning season).
  10. A note about water temperatures:  If you're planning to put your jars into water that is boiling or close to boiling, you need to bring the jars to a boil with the water, and you need to pour near-boiling syrup over your fruit (into the already-very-hot jar).  I personally don't like to do this, because I am clumsy enough to burn myself on the jars or with the water at every turn.  I make cold syrup, and begin the canning process in water that's cool enough to keep my finger in for a few seconds.  If you put cold jars with cold contents into boiling water, they will shatter during the canning process.  If, however, you begin with water that's comfortable to the touch (both inside and outside the jars), the jars will be tempered as the canning process happens.  Cold jars need to be heated gradually, right along with the water--otherwise, you will risk losing your jars and your peaches.
Continue here if you're freezing your peaches.
  1. Chop your peaches to a size that will efficiently fill your freezer bags.  My mom and I like to chop them down to bite-sized chunks.
  2. Mix them with a little Fruit Fresh or sugar (similar concept as described in step 2 of the canning section).  Even though these peaches will not be surrounded by water, like in canning, they do have the potential to get brown and to lose their sugars into the peach liquids that inevitably come out of the peaches as you process them.
  3. Put them into the freezer bags or containers of choice.
  4. Lay bags flat in your freezer--you don't need randomly shaped bags of peaches running around in your freezer.  If they're laid flat to begin with, they'll be much more stackable and rearrangeable when they're frozen in solid blocks.

16 August 2013

Epsom Salts' Use on Plants: Source Roundup

 Although not related to Epsom Salts at all, I've been enjoying bees lately.  This one was out in the wild.

As I mentioned the other day, we did an Epsom Salt experiment on our tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers in our garden.  While it's still too early to tell you how it's working out, I did want to share with you the sources I used to assure myself that the Epsom Salts were not just Pinterest hype but an actual practice used by actual gardeners.  I've been collecting quite a few gardening ideas on my "Gardens and Gardening" board on Pinterest, and before using the salts on the garden this week, I went back to read all the relevant articles I had pinned about them.  Then my husband and I decided the salts were worth a try.

There was general agreement about the solution ratio to use:  1 T Epsom Salts to 1 gallon of water.  Here are the articles' links, and a short overview of each.  {Click each link for more specific information on each topic.}
  • From Measured by the Heart, advice on planting and watering with a mixture of sugar and Epsom Salts.  This site does not feature a list of plants that do or do not benefit from Epsom Salts.
  • From Today's Homeowner, an article by Julie Day, information on magnesium and sulfate in the garden, with advice NOT to use this as a regularly applied fertilizer for all plants, but specifically as a boost at certain times for roses, tomatoes, and peppers, because these plants like extra magnesium.  Julie gives specific advice about WHEN to use the Epsom Salts, which I found helpful.
  • From Salt Works, an in-depth article on more types of plants that benefit from Epsom Salts, how to use the salts, and why they are good for plants.  This article goes beyond the uses for roses, peppers, and tomatoes and deals with many types of plants, including shrubs, flowers, trees, house plants, and lawns.
  • From The National Gardening Association, another great in-depth article on Epsom Salt gardening, including test garden experiments and results.  Plus, this article led me to discover the National Gardening Association's GREAT web site with a myriad of gardening resources.

14 August 2013

This Week in the Garden: Epsom Salt Uses and Experiments

 A few of the heirloom basil plants were ready to prune this week.  Oh, how large the leaves were!  And how delicious with tomatoes from my  brother's girlfriend's family's farm.  I know, a lot of possessives.  But delicious nonetheless.  Now instead of two stems putting out leaves, there will be four stems putting out leaves.

I'm excited to see my second planting of Slo Bolt Cilantro from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds beginning to look a lot like cilantro.  Did you get a little holiday tune going through your head when you read those words?  I did when typing them.  Feel free to sing it out loud, even in August.  We were wishing the little guys were a little bigger just now for our haystacks (essentially a stacked taco salad), but we'll have to be patient a while longer.

 Since this is the first year I've ever grown the heirloom Tomatillo Verde, or any tomatillo, every part of their growth has been an exciting adventure for me.  The way they grew about an inch a day for a while.  The way they started putting out blossoms.  And now the way they're putting out the papers that surround the fruits.  Some of the bigger ones look like balloons or Chinese lanterns hanging from the plant.  So festive!  I will absolutely be growing these again.

Given the growing concerns about honey bee depletion, as even TIME Magazine reports here (August 9, 2013), I confess that I get excited about every honey bee I find in my tomatillo patch.  I didn't catch any in the photos for you today, but I smile to myself every time I see a few enjoying these beautiful tomatillo blossoms, or the tomato blossoms in my small mostly-heirloom garden-corner of the world.

The tomatillo plants are waist-high on me now.  Remember when I was measuring them against my fingers?

One of the biggest "balloons".  Can't help but smile at the sight.  {SMILE.}

The tomato blossoms on all the plants have been coming on for more than a week now.  You can see in this photo that some are fading and making way for the fruits to come on.  Gleaning ideas from several garden web sites, we decided to try an epsom salt boost for the tomatoes and peppers.  As I researched it, the average recommendation is one tablespoon of epsom salts to one gallon of water, which is then applied either to the ground or to the leaves as a foliar spray.  We did a spray/watering combo.  As I understand it, this adds usable magnesium to the soil and helps the plant produce more blossoms with more and bigger fruits.  I'll let you know how it goes for us!

Just part of the path--Love Lies Bleeding, summer squash, beets, and Japanese White Eggs showing.

The squash, zucchini, and green bean corner of the garden.

For perspective, a shot of the whole garden, since I haven't shared one for a while.  The marigolds have gone crazy and are producing tons of flowers per plant.  Yay.  :)

13 August 2013

1 Corinthians 13: Living a Meaningful Life

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."  1 Corinthians 13:2

Some of us know what it's like to study, in hard persuit after knowledge.  We struggle through information, we ask a pile of questions, we read and re-read graduate level articles to gain understanding wondering all the while how in the world our classmates manage not only to grasp all the same information but also do it in English when English isn't their mother tongue.  Those classmates have my total admiration for that alone.

We do this for knowledge we'll use in our careers, which we choose wanting to contribute something meaningful to society (and not just earn a living--I would never have been enticed into graduate school if I had not wanted on the one hand to enrich my own knowledge base and on the other hand to deepen my ability to enrich another human being's life in my chosen field).

We do this for knowledge we'll use in our families--to be better budgeters and gardeners and parents and spouses.  We do it for knowledge we'll use in our hobbies--to be better quilters and sewers and cake decorators and you-name-it-ers.

 The knowledge we gain, in general, does seem to prove useful to us and make us useful.  It's this usefulness that, at least in our culture, fuels our sense of being somebody and having importance, if not in the world at large, then at least in our job, family, church, and social circle.

We believe, somewhere deep down, that if we have knowledge and expertise to contribute and we get to work with what we know, we can gain worth.

As if Jesus on the cross while we were yet sinners didn't prove our worth.  As if we have to constantly work harder to make ourselves irreplaceable, when those hands and that side said His life wasn't too small a price to pay for {insert your name}.  He left wonder and riches and beauties--all He knew--to become knowledgeable in every pain and temptation we had to face in this dark earth--all we knew (gaining the victory over them all for us, too)--

Because you couldn't be replaced with anybody else.
Thing is, if all a person had to do to have a worthwhile life was gain knowledge and then use it, Satan himself would have a pretty worthwhile life.  He's smart.  He gains knowledge, and uses it all the time.  What he does certainly makes a difference.

But he doesn't use his knowledge in the love born of God, and the difference he makes with the knowledge in his head isn't anything I would be proud of.  It doesn't make his life worthwhile, any more than knowledge and skill and usefulness without love make me worthwhile to anyone.

So this gaining knowledge thing can't be about proving worth.  It can't be about being useful just so I can say I'm someone important (because that would be living a life completely about me).

If I want to be somebody, and be important and knowledgeable and all that, my life can't be about me.  It has to be about Jesus.

I can gain knowledge and be a blessing, but not if I don't have Jesus' love in my heart when I put the knowledge to use.  If all I do is all about me, my knowledge and everything I do with it is worse than nothing.  That's the way the devil uses his life, and that's not where I want to be.

I want to be with Jesus, who poured out everything, for me.

11 August 2013

Dahlia Season Pictures

Exquisite Pleasure, catching water in the petals
My husband's grandparents and parents grow dahlias.  He remembers helping on the farm in Alaska as a young boy, being utterly delighted when someone chose his bouquet to buy.  They'd get up early, make sure the entire acres-large garden and dahlia patch was entirely weed free, and then pick bouquets for the passers by and tourists who drove by on the way to the reindeer farm down the road.  I can't describe how completely picturesque the Alaskan farm really is.
Exquisite Pleasure (they tell me it's not a good blossom, because the center is showing...they're picky)
To give you an idea of the extent and popularity of Grandma's dahlias, I have to tell you about my small town library in Virginia.  Of course, I'm no longer there, but one of the first things I did when I arrived in Virginia was get my local library card.  I checked out cookbooks, garden books, and all kinds of other fun books--I needed to lighten up a little after graduate school.
The library kept a few piles of "used" magazines any of us could take home for free and never return, and it was one of my favorite corners of the library.  One day, I picked up several Birds and Blooms magazines, and gasped delightedly as I turned the page to see Grandma's dahlia garden, with the "well house" in the background (my husband's first childhood home).  The magazine was several years old, but I called Grandma immediately to recount my amazing and random find.  She knew all about the article, and we both reveled in the delight her garden gave so many people--in person and in print.
Exquisite Pleasure again, a little shy this time
Exquisite Pleasure produces lots of bulbs, and its deep maroon color is one of my husband's favorites.  But when the center shows (as in the photo before this one), they break off the blossom and throw it at each other around the yard. "They're not supposed to have a center," they tell me.
And I can hardly believe how such a thing of beauty could be called inferior, let alone battered and beaten in a game of...flower tag?
Robin Hood
They tell me these are one of the best varieties to grow, because they have consistenly healthy plants; long, strong stems; and it produces a lot of bulbs.  Of course, it's beautiful too.  :)  The coloring of the blossoms doesn't show fading and bruising as much as some of the other varieties.
Robin Hood, closer up
The No-Name Dahlia:  White Seed?
My father-in-law planted single seeds from a bloom several years ago.  Each seed makes a different kind of dahlia bloom.  Then, once the plant grows the first year, he saved the tuber to plant the next year to insure that the flower would come out the same as the flower did the first year.  The seeds, especially when the parent flowers are in a garden with lots of close-by different varieties, can produce all kinds of fun surprises.  He says this one is a nice bulb producer.
No-Name White Seed
To get a dahlia registered with the dahlia society, a grower has to take the new variety to dahlia shows, and the flower has to win a certain number of shows.  Or, the grower can submit the flower to a trial garden, where the flower will be tested and cared for to be sure it is a steady enough flower to be named and sold as a consistent variety.
We don't think we have all the details on the process, but we think it would sure be great fun if one of the family's own varieties got registered and sold as its own distinct variety.
The label faded...we'll have to find someone who remembers which variety this is.
 See the little "ears" sticking up?  The flowers are such a delightful part of visiting my in-laws (and my husband's grandparents during the Alaskan summer, when I'm lucky) and their garden.  The plants' lush greenery sets off the colors of all the varieties along the two double rows of dahlias.  They get the most garden space every year, but don't worry--there's plenty of room for all the edible garden delights, as well.