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2019 Heirloom Expo: Epiphany & the Singing Plants

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, we had a great time at the Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, CA last week, with several memorable experiences. Today I’d like to share one that just blew my socks off (okay, I wasn’t actually wearing socks…) I’ve since recovered, but it was a powerful experience so I’ll try to hearken back.

As you know if you’ve been keeping up, my husband and I were at the Expo as vendors, hawking the Seed Savers series. This meant we couldn’t fully take advantage of all the wonderful speaker sessions, etc. But we tried to get to a few.

So I had arrived about 40-45 minutes late to one entitled “Moringa: Growing the Superfood.” I’ll be honest. I’d never even heard of moringa. I was just going to see the speaker since we’d met at an earlier conference and I wanted to say “hi.” So it wasn’t too big a deal that my husband didn’t get back to man the booth in a timely manner. Although I’m always up to learn about superfoods!

I’m standing over on the edge of the room, the speaker is talking kind of low, some people are leaving… I hear nothing about superfoods, but I stick around. Then some slides are put up on a screen. Speaker is saying something about plant songs, plants singing. They are playing an audio clip. I hear music, sort of, but I still don’t know what she’s talking about. You see, my friends, although I’d heard that plants communicate with each other, I’d not heard that we have the ability to measure the vibrations, synthesize it, and play the music of plants. Maybe you have. Since returning home and googling it, apparently it’s not new.

But back to my story.

So I’m standing there wondering what the speaker means by plants singing, wondering what this has to do with the title in the program when the speaker says that we are now going to listen “LIVE” to the plants singing. They explain about how it’s done, and then hook the plants up. I’m pretty sure one of the plants was a Moringa tree (makes sense, right?), but I don’t know what the other one was.

Friends, it was mesmerizing. I almost cried. Of course my technology failed me (plot by Apple), so I can’t play it for you now. I walked out of the building into the sunlight and felt I’d been changed. Like it was one of those life-changing experience you sometimes hear people refer to. Words fail me now, in trying to describe it. Back in that moment, I look to my right and see a sign over a food booth proclaiming “Plant-based Food!” Aah! I think about the vegetarians who I thought so clever when they proclaimed they didn’t eat anything with a face. It’s all the same! I’m thinking. We are all in this together. The plants, the animals–they sing! As long as we honor what we consume, it’s okay.

Not trying to get all woo-woo on you here, just telling you the thoughts exploding in my head at the time. I was also wondering if the houseplants I recently killed by overwatering had been screaming at the time. So it goes.

Now as I sit here, all of those feelings have subsided. But it was a remarkable experience. If you’ve never heard plants singing, especially live and in person, I hope someday you get the opportunity. 🙂

And because I have no video or even a photo of the singing plants, I leave you some of the lovely flowers displayed at the Expo. Peace

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Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!

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2019 Heirloom Expo: Serendipity & the Littlest Fan

We made it back from the Heirloom Expo late Friday night, driving it all in one day and not spending time with the lovely Redwoods as we sometimes do.

I didn’t think the Expo was as well-attended as when we had last visited (2016), but all the things I love about it were still intact: the friendly visitors, exhibitors, & vendors; the wonderful speakers; the array of healthy and earth-friendly products for sale; and of course, the beautiful displays of vegetables and flowers. I’m sorry to say I didn’t make it out to the animal barns this year.

This was my first time back at the Expo with the new covers, and also since the Seed Savers series was completed. It meant I had to get new banners, bookmarks, etc., with the new branding. Here’s my table:

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Looks great, doesn’t it?

There were a lot of special moments, but three that really stick with me. I’ll share one of these now.

I was sitting at my table and a little girl saw my books and ran over and grabbed one. I thought it was probably Seed Savers-Lily and that the girl’s name was Lily because similar things have happened before with Seed Savers-Lily. The woman with her, who I assume was mom, gave me an odd sort of look when I asked if the girl’s name was Lily, but then explained that they had just bought Seed Savers-Treasure.

“Oh, you bought it yesterday?” I asked. (This happened on the second day of the expo.)

“No,” she said. “We bought it off of Amazon, it’s out in the car. I just read her the first 14 pages; she loves it.”

What!?? Someone had randomly bought my book elsewhere, just started reading it, and then run into me at this fair! We talked a little more, they asking if they brought the book in the next day if I would sign it, etc. Yes, of course!

It was so serendipitous!

The next day when they returned for the autograph, they also bought the second book. My husband was with me at the booth this time, so we got a few pictures together. Here is my littlest fan:

She was very excited to run into the author and get a signed book!!!

I’ll write another post later about other highlights. For more photos, check out my author Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!

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Heading to the Expo!

For the first time since 2016 I’m heading to the Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, CA! If you’ve never thought vegetables were beautiful, think again. (And get yourself to Santa Rosa next week :))

I’m very excited to be going. I love the displays, the educational sessions, and the people! For the three years I was there in the past (2014, 15, and 16), the Seed Savers series display has been in three different halls, but this year we will be back in the main hall, so hopefully if you’re there you won’t miss us!

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I’ve got all new banners & bookmarks to match the beautiful new covers of the books. And, remember, THE SERIES IS NOW COMPLETE!

I’ll be there to sign books and mingle and for those buying the whole series, you’ll get a great discount! Please come find our table!!

In other news . . . book one, Seed Savers-Treasure ebook is currently on sale all over the place for only 99 cents!

Teachers and librarians, please check out my new flyer for school visits!

For those of you who are already readers and fans of Seed Savers, I’m right now putting together a Facebook Group! Join here. (Don’t forget to answer the questions!)

Until next time …

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!

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Everything’s Coming Up Peaches

 

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August is such a busy time of year!

As I mention in some of my author bios, each year I pick and can 75-100 pounds of peaches. I eat the canned peaches during the winter as part of my breakfast. Though I come from a farm family and get a lot of my produce for free, peaches, sadly, are not among the bounty. But I do have my favorite farm to buy the peaches from, and so every August I drag my husband along and we pick Veteran peaches.

Here is a look at this year’s adventure:

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And, of course, the final product!

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And let’s not forget the peach pie I took our family reunion.

 

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Yum! Do you have a favorite summer fruit you like to stock up on? Comment section below.

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!

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A Peek At this Year’s Garden

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It’s been a busy summer (isn’t it always?) and there’s a lot I could say, but I think I’ll make this first post back from a several-week hiatus a mostly pictorial post. Since my book series is about gardening, here’s a summary of my own backyard/urban garden of 2019.

First off, I threw a few pumpkins out there last fall thinking if a few came up maybe I could keep them from spreading. HAHAHAHAHAHA.  A LOT came up this time and I didn’t know whether it was the mini-pumpkins or the regular size. I transplanted a couple over to the iron arch, hoping to train them upward. I let a few others live.

The nasturtium also seed off too much every year and it’s so hard for me to pull them out. But when you let them live they take over. Then again, I love the burst of color they offer and so do the hummingbirds. Dilemma.

My rhubarb also just wouldn’t stop. I kept picking it and my sister told me that’s why it wouldn’t stop. Anybody want 16 cups of rhubarb from my freezer?

Pumpkin taking over

 

On a brighter note, my corn is growing really tall! (I had a hard time getting it to come up at first, that’s why there aren’t very many.)

Tall corn and overgrown nasturtium

My green beans were beautiful! And early on so was my basil. And my radishes did better than usual.

My tomatoes haven’t done very well. The big juicy tomatoes put only 3-4 tomatoes on this year. What??? Not sure why. Could be a few things. Also, note to self: Do not plant perennial herbs directly into garden. Such as tarragon, fennel, or sage. They just get TOO BIG.

 

In a nutshell, my garden this year is a jungle. 🙂

 

 

How is your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!

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Happy Fourth & Book Excerpt!

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The concluding book of the Seed Savers series, Seed Savers-Unbroken, takes place during the week leading up to the Fourth of July. In this future USA, the government is on edge about protests happening nationwide and has issued a ban on Independence Day parades, which only incites the people more. Here is an excerpt from chapter 64, Fireworks.

The weather was already warm for morning. Too warm for all these people.

Clare heard yelling and a commotion. She looked toward the noise. Above the crowd, aloft on horses, men in black, wearing helmets and dark glasses and carrying clubs, rode through the crowd. “Break it up! Go back home,” they shouted. “The parade has been canceled.”

“We’re not a parade!” someone in the crowd fired back.

Clare scanned the sea of faces and the signs ricocheting up and down. Wait.

She moved her gaze back: Arturo and Trevor. They were heading toward the courthouse from another direction. She tried to lift her hand to wave, but it was no use, even if she could get her hand above her head— which she couldn’t. The men were focused only on the courthouse.

Clare began pushing harder through the crowd. No one cared. They were all one pulsating body. As the sun rose higher in the sky—throbbing and scorching—the crowd, too, heated up. More yelling, more black-clad men on horses and on foot.

Clare couldn’t watch the men in riot gear. She had to keep her eyes on Arturo. It dawned on her that Trevor and Arturo thought she was long gone. They would never see her; she had to get to them. Just then the communicator vibrated in her pocket. Jason!

Torn from every direction—the crowd, the police, Arturo, Jason—Clare struggled to an edge of the mob where the sidewalk ran up against the buildings. She leaned against a corner building and reached into her pocket, her eyes never leaving the changing scene in front of her. She thought for a moment that she heard music playing.

Clare gasped. The crowd filling the street between Arturo and Trevor and the courthouse parted, and down it strode marchers donning both Guy Fawkes and skeleton masks. They carried guns.

Loud laughter from the side street pulled Clare’s attention from the protesters. Her eyes caught on a couple of teens hanging out a window in the building next to her. Dangling from one boy’s hand was the largest string of firecrackers she had ever seen. The teens were laughing and hooting.

“Happy Independence Day!” one of them crowed.

Clare’s eyes flitted to the scene unfolding in front of her. The police, hands on holsters, had formed a line facing the men in masks. Clare glanced back at the kid with the firecrackers. His other hand was cupped and his thumb pulled down sharply.

In that moment, Clare saw it all: The flame of the lighter flicking alive as the youth holds it to the fuse. She looks straight at him. Nooooo! But it is too late. The boys stare at her as she points to the lines of men with guns, just now coming into the boys’ view. The one holding the firecrackers turns, then looks back at her in horror. He drops the cake of explosives and disappears, but it is too late. The fuse is lit. As the fuse ignites the first row of firecrackers, they pop like popcorn in hot oil. Pop pop pop pop. Then, answering from out in the street: pop pop pop. Clare ducks instinctively, but not before she hears the screams and sees people fall. Not before she sees Arturo lurch forward, then disappear down into the mass of confusion.

Why not order Seed Savers-Unbroken today? There’s no rule that says you have to start at the beginning of a series. 🙂

Happy Independence Day!

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Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!

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A Book About Youth Changing the World: Review

This series should be in high school classrooms everywhere as a literary example of Margaret Mead’s quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Okay, so I’m still excited that my book series has officially come to a conclusion (although, yes, some readers are asking for MORE . . . sequels, prequels, etc.).

I’m also basking in some wonderful reviews, so please indulge me as I share one more. This one, unlike the last one, is from a reader who is entirely new to the Seed Savers series, and in fact, has not read any of the first four books. She still enjoyed Seed Savers-Unbroken. I am grateful.

Here is the review she shared on Goodreads:

The Seed Savers series grabbed my attention at first because I am an amateur gardener. Then I learned it’s about a not-so-distant future in America where the government and corporations have taken over all food sources, and I was hooked.

My first recommendation is that you start at the beginning! Unbroken is the fifth in the series, and there was so much I missed out on. I plan on going back to start at the beginning, but given my TBR shelf at the moment, that’ll take some time. So I read, and enjoyed, the fifth in the series. But I know I missed out on so much character development. I felt as though I walked in to the party just as the caterer was starting to clean up. 

If you are looking for a series that can help YA readers understand all the control the government can have over its citizenry, this is an amazing example. It also contains many situations in which the characters have to analyze the intentions of all around them ~ because in this dystopian America, it’s hard to know on which side people are on. What I LOVED, as an educator, is how the characters search for information. They know they must work to make things right, and they do that work. Throughout, I was reminded of The Hunger Games: action, corrupt forces, and a quest for justice for all citizens. This series should be in high school classrooms everywhere as a literary example of Margaret Mead’s quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Thanks to Kristin Crouch, teacher reader/reviewer

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Seed Savers-Unbroken is available at various online retailers and can be ordered at your local bookstore and requested at your local library! Schools, libraries, bookstores: Ingram.

Thanks for reading!

Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!

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