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Earth Day Sale on All Seed Savers Books

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Before I forget to mention it, don’t miss my biggest sale of the year, the Earth Day sale.

In 2014 I actually did an Earth Day tour in Texas. At that time only the first three books in the series were out. It was an amazing time and I enjoyed meeting many wonderful people. So I always think of the the Seed Savers books and Earth Day fondly together.

In fact, in the fourth Seed Savers book, Earth Day is the catalyst for the “food revolution” beginning in book 4 and ending with the series finale in book 5 on Independence Day.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Seed Savers-Keeper:

Chapter 13–Earth Day Demonstrations

Clare squatted and pulled the tiny weeds competing for space and nutrients among the newly sprouted peas.

“Hey there.”

She was pleased to hear Jason’s deep voice. She’d been thinking about him a lot and about how she’d miss him after graduation when they went their separate ways.

“Hi.” She stood and smiled up at him.

He glanced around furtively. “Have you heard about the demonstrations?”

“No,” she replied. “What demonstrations?”

“On account of Earth Day. Canadian news is full of the story. Four days ago was the one hundred and eighth Earth Day. There are protests all across the U.S. This could be it.”

A couple of classmates walked by. Jason smiled at them. “Hi, how are you?” When they had passed, he continued. “This is just what I’ve been waiting for. A revolution.”

“What are you talking about?” Clare asked.

Jason put his hand on Clare’s shoulder, steering her down as he knelt and joined in pulling the weeds. “Peaceful demonstrations. But people gathering nonetheless. They started as Earth Day marches, celebratory, marking the day. But they’ve turned into nonviolent protests against the government’s food and environmental policies. A lot of people are out in the streets. Some are carrying signs: Free the Seeds, Send GRIM Packing, Gardener in 2080. Stuff like that.”

Clare gasped.

Jason’s eyes shot to her face. “Whatsamatter, Clare? It’s what we want, isn’t it?”

Clare nodded, but said nothing.

“I can’t believe it’s happening before Monroe and I—” he stopped abruptly.

“What?” Clare asked.

“We have plans,” Jason said. “But apparently we’re not the only ones. All the better.”

Before Clare could speak, he hopped up. “I gotta go. So much to do.” He sprinted off toward the classrooms.

Now through Earth Day (April 22) all five of the Seed Savers ebooks are discounted to just $3.99 each, a savings of ten dollars! The sale won’t last long and they are rarely all discounted at the same time, so grab the whole series now!

Seed Savers is a great series for this time of year when everyone is thinking about gardening. To read more about the series click here.

Happy reading and gardening!

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

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Book Discussion Questions for Seed Savers-Lily!

_I don't get it. if stores have all the food we need...why would anyone need or want to make their own food__ copy

Recently I posted discussion questions for Seed Savers-Treasure.Today I am adding questions for the second book in the series, Seed Savers-Lily. The questions can be downloaded by the link at the bottom and are also available under Resources on the publisher website here.

I hope you enjoy reading Seed Savers-Lily, a story set in a future where gardening is illegal and real food unknown by a majority of the population. Topics and themes include gardening, friendship, trust & betrayal, difficult decisions. An introduction to Seed Savers-Lily is here and tips for using Lily in the classroom are here.

Following are the new discussion questions for Seed Savers-Lily.

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Book Club Discussion Questions for Seed Savers-Lily

1.Seed Savers-Lily is written in a different POV than Seed Savers-Treasure. What is the point of view, and how does this affect you differently as a reader?

2. At the beginning of the story, Lily struggles with being left behind. Have you ever felt left behind when a friend moved away? How did you deal with it?

3. Lily hides her gardening activities from her mother. Why does she do this? Do you think she made the right decision in doing so?

4.What is your impression of Rose and how does it change throughout the book?

5. Learning about growing, cooking, and preserving food is an important theme in this story. Why is this important to the characters? Have you ever grown, cooked, or preserved fresh food?

6.One of the things Lily does to sort out her thoughts is write in a journal. Do you journal? What do you do to help you process things?

7.When Ana describes how to preserve through canning, Lily feels fearful. Ana responds, “Don’t be afraid, Lily. It isn’t so hard. It’s just a new thing to learn, like all new things.” What new thing have you considered doing that made you feel afraid?

8. What is your first impression of Arturo? What about Rose and Lily, how do their impressions of Arturo differ?

9.When Lily first sees Arturo’s yard/garden she is disappointed. Describe how her feelings about it change. Why do you think her impression of the yard changes?

10.Near the end of the book, Lily gets mad at Rose and refuses Rose’s plea for forgiveness. Do you think Lily made the right choice? What kind of repercussions might this have for the future?

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

Special: Easter through Earth Day Sale on all 5 Ebooks! Regularly $5.99 each, all books now on sale through Earth Day for just $3.99 each. 

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Happy Easter 2020!

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I’ve always loved Easter. This year with the pandemic bending the cultural traditions of many of us, I thought it more important than ever to keep the traditions I had control over.

So I dug deep in my cupboard, not knowing whether I had an egg dye kit or not. I figured I have food coloring one way or the other. It turns out I had two coloring kits. Our kids are grown and have been out of the house for years so I hadn’t actually dyed eggs in quite a while. My husband and I sat down and colored eggs together, just the two of us.

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I also baked a cherry pie, cleaned, and have a ham ready to go in the oven. Tomorrow I’ll do my best to cook many of the traditional foods we usually have on Easter, including the ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, home-made egg noodles, home-made buns, etc. I will miss my sister-in-law’s fried rice and my sister’s green fluffy stuff salad. I will also miss not having more than one kind of pie to choose from.

But most of all I’ll miss sharing the dinner and afternoon with a bunch of my relatives. I suppose later on we’ll drive out to see them, keeping our distance, of course.

We’ll still have church, but it will be on Zoom. The Easter breakfast at church I was supposed to help prepare won’t be happening. The wonderful Mennonite singing together doesn’t quite work out either.

But the weather is fine and we are all safe. We keep the traditions we have control over and have the hope inherent in the holiday for brighter days ahead.

May you have a blessed Easter.

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

Special: Easter through Earth Day Sale on all 5 Ebooks! Regularly $5.99 each, all books now on sale through Earth Day for just $3.99 each. (You may have to wait to see the price change if it isn’t showing yet.)

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And Yet Another Tomato Blog Post

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Tomatoes are amazing. Or rather, tomato seeds are amazing. (Don’t get me wrong, tomatoes are amazing too.) I just finished replanting my pepper plant seeds (a lot of the hot peppers failed to germinate), but when I checked my tomatoes–every pot had someone in it. Amazing. It’s amazing because none of the seed was new. Terrific viability. 

I got a text from a friend the other day that said “I had seed from 1998 that came up!”

Let me guess . . . “Was it a tomato?” I wrote back immediately.

“Yes!”

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And yet, I always overplant. Just in case. I mean, why lose the time starting over if the seeds are too old? And those seeds are so small. There are so many (one of the reasons I have so many old seeds!)

So I plant two or three of all the kinds I like to grow, plus those new ones someone gave me, plus. . . Before you know it I have 30 or 40 plants. Yes, I’ve posted about it before. I will say this: Last year I didn’t plant any from seed–I just bought a few plants at the local farmer’s market. See there, I’m not a total addict.

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What does one do with so many tomato plants? Let’s see, six for me, six for mom, there’s my neighbor, the community garden. . . Yeah, you try your best to give them away. Kind of like the jokes about anonymous people leaving zucchini in your unlocked car.

What kinds of tomatoes do I like to grow? I like to grow really big tomatoes (Tiffen Mennonite is one). I just do, okay? No good reason. I’m not even a big fan of raw tomatoes. If it’s a big paste tomato, like Amish Paste, so much the better. I make my own salsa and spaghetti sauce. I prefer my freezer salsa recipe, but I also can some. When I really end up with too many tomatoes I just put them in a ziploc freezer bag and toss them in the freezer. I have a great chili recipe that I make in the winter and then I just add those frozen tomatoes right to the pot. Easy peasy.

Another thing I do if I have a bumper crop is dry them. They’re called “sun-dried” tomatoes but most people don’t actually do it out in the sun because then you have to deal with the possibility of flies. . . gross.

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Even though I have my favorites, I always try a new one if it comes my way. Like at a seed giveaway or exchange. I seriously don’t buy new tomato seeds since I have so many. A new one I got this year at an exchange is called azoychka tomato. I never heard of it before. Because it was most likely the freshest seed, those germinated first and are looking strong! Can’t wait to see how they turn out.

Do you have a favorite tomato to plant? (or eat?) Let me know in the comments below.

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

 

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Seed Savers-Treasure Now has Book Club Questions!

_I don't get it. if stores have all the food we need...why would anyone need or want to make their own food__

As people have become more interested than ever before in gardening due to Covid19, I’m hearing from more book clubs that they are reading Seed Savers! So I’ve finally gotten in gear and written some book discussion questions. So far I have them for book one, Seed Savers-Treasure, with questions for the other books to come.

The questions are listed here and also under Resources at my publisher, Flying Books House. 

Enjoy, and let me know know how it goes. I always appreciate hearing from readers!

Seed Savers-Treasure Book Club Discussion Questions

(best for ages 8-12)

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  1. At the beginning of the story, Lily questions Clare about why they should make their own food when the Trucks and Stores have what they need. When Clare responds that not everyone is as healthy as others, Lily says, “But that’s the way things are.” Have you ever used this rationale even when you thought something was wrong?
  2. What is Clare’s personality like? How about Dante? Do you see any change for either of them throughout the story?
  3. The children are able to plant two kinds of seeds discreetly on their own. Have you ever planted seeds? What were they? Discuss that experience.
  4. Do you think Clare and Dante make the right decision when they find their home broken into and their mother in jail? What could they have done differently?
  5. Clare and Dante live in a big city. The first time they are out in the country feels overwhelming to them. Where do you live? Have you ever been to a place so opposite from what you are used to that you find it overwhelming?
  6. Why does Gruff say he is allowed to grow vegetables out in the open? Do you find this a credible explanation?
  7. In the second part of the book, Clare and Dante make another big decision. This time it is Dante’s reasoning that they follow. Have you ever been surprised at the knowledge or wisdom of someone younger than yourself?
  8. During their journey Clare and Dante find strength to move forward through their religious faith. How do you find strength when you face something difficult or that frightens you?
  9. If gardening were forbidden, would you secretly grow or save seeds? Why?
  10. Why is this book called Treasure? What do you think the message is?
  11. Will you read book two, Seed Savers-Lily, next?

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

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Cherry Pie & the Pandemic Blog Post

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These are the tart “pie” cherries I stayed up late one night last summer pitting. It was too late in the evening when I picked them from my parents’ tree, and I sat up by myself past 10 pm pitting them one by one. It wasn’t fun.

Now, though, I’ll soon be enjoying a fresh-baked cherry pie here at home in the midst of this world-wide pandemic. Back then, who would have dreamt it? 

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I love cherry pie. It’s my favorite pie. I’m not sure I realized how much I loved cherry pie until I was in college. Whenever Mom knew I was coming home for the weekend she always baked up a cherry pie just for me. Mom’s standard was berry pie (we were berry farmers), but she knew I had a sweet spot for cherry, so there it always was, waiting for me. Maybe that’s also when I realized how much my mom loved me.

Nah, I think I always knew that.

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These days have made me reflective. I write in my journal nearly every day now. So much so, that I’m working on my current WIP less than I should. I bet you’ve become more reflective too.

Care to share your thoughts in the comments below?

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

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Doing My Part During Covid19

 

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In my last post I discussed what I was doing to be a helper during this time of crisis. Not feeling like I was a good enough seamstress to help with sewing masks (my daughter’s significant other works in a hospital), I pleaded “gardening.”

Authors (of which I am one) are also stepping up.

Some are discounting or giving ebooks away for free. Some are hosting read alouds on Zoom or Skype, even Instagram. Some are offering writing or drawing lessons. Some are creating collections and lists of books for all the parents and kids at home.

What am I doing?

Before the virus got out of hand I had already put my first three ebooks on sale for Plant A Seed Day. I had planned to go back to full price (normally $5.99 each), but instead I’ve left the books on sale. In fact, yesterday I put all five of them on sale. You will find the lowest prices at Smashwords, who is hosting big discounts in their Smashwords store for any author who joins.

I’ve also signed up with Draft 2 Digital to enter my ebooks at a discounted rate to libraries through Overdrive. I don’t know if my books have been chosen, but I did sign them over.

Another thing I’m doing is making sure the Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood are always stocked with children’s books. (take precautions, people! wash those hands!)

Finally, I have some Audible codes to give away for a free audiobook of my first book, Seed Savers-Treasure. If you’d like a code, let me know in the comments below. I have only a limited supply. You will need to leave your email for me to contact you. Or you can comment and then email me at sandrasmithauthor at gmail.

If you are not on the frontlines already, what are you doing in your own small way to be a helper? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Stay safe!

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

(If you’re not familiar with my books, Seed Savers is a 5-book series that takes place in a future where gardening is illegal and real food unknown. The first three books are appropriate for elementary age kids and the last three “age up” somewhat.

Go here for summaries of the books.

For comprehensive reviews of each book, check these out:

Seed Savers-Treasure (book one)

Seed Savers-Lily (book two)

Seed Savers-Heirloom (book three)

Seed Savers-Keeper (book four)

Seed Savers-Unbroken (book five) )

 

 

 

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Which American Girl Doll Are You?

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“You’d be a terrible American Girl doll!” my daughter said with disapproval. I’ll admit, no one had ever hurled this insult at me before.

My daughter is 27 and lives in Indiana though a good portion of her heart is still here in Oregon. We talk nearly every day on Facetime, yes even before the virus. On this particular day she asked if I would like her to send me instructions on how to sew facemasks. Her boyfriend is an emergency room nurse.

“Uh, no,” I answered. I have way too many things to do.” That’s when she hit me with the American Girl doll thing. For those of you unfamiliar, when my daughter was young, American Girl dolls were very popular. And they aren’t just dolls. They are dolls with history, of history, and they had lots of books that went along with each doll. We read them all. She even had a subscription to the magazine. But I digress.

I felt the accusation was unjust. As I tried to explain my way out of it, she kept telling me it was my American duty and reminding me of the many ways “the girls” helped during their particular place in history. By golly, before she’d finished with me, she’d even brought up George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life.

“Do you think George Bailey wasn’t out there volunteering during the war BESIDES running the Bailey Building and Loan??”

“But, but, I am doing something,” I said. “I took the Garden on Wheels out to grandmas! I gave vegetable starts to my neighbor. I’m sharing seeds.” I was talking fast now, gaining momentum. “I’m the gardening American Girl doll, not the sewing one!”

She was silent a moment. “Okay, there is that,” she admitted.

Phew.

Which American Girl doll are you? 🙂

Take care. Be safe. Do your part. (Which is all just short for: try your best to stay home if you aren’t one of those who need to be out taking care of the rest of us. And many thanks if you are one of them!)

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

 

 

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Garden on Wheels

 

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Not the one I took out there, but similar. (I forgot to take photos!)

I’m sure you’ve heard of Meals on Wheels and all the good work they are doing (and always do, but particularly needful at this time). Yesterday I did something for my parents I’m calling “Garden on Wheels.”

This is how it all began. Here in western Oregon we have been basking in a week of great weather. Sunshine, highs in the 60s, blue sky. So those of us with a little land (we live on a lot and a half in town) have been planting whatever can be planted this time of year: onions, potatoes, lettuce, carrots…things like that.

But our soil here is wet and clay-like, so really only raised beds and containers can be planted since the soil is too wet to work. Alas, my parents’ garden falls into that category. My mom was bemoaning that everyone was talking about planting their gardens and there was no way she could get started.

Enter my idea of the portable garden. It just so happened that I had one of my larger containers that was empty. I also had an unopened bag of garden soil and potting soil. We had already planned that I would visit them during the heat of the day (63 degrees) so that we could sit outside, a proper social distance away. (Tracy, call your parents.)

So I showed up with the container, placed it in a warm, sunny spot, added the soil, and planted it full of Walla Walla onion starts, radishes, and lettuce seeds and gave it a good watering. Voila, garden on wheels.

“This will give you something to do,” I told Mom. “Until your ground is dry enough to work.” (It’s supposed to start raining again and rain for a week or more.)

We sat and talked for a while, I cut some of last year’s chard from the big garden to take home to my 4 urban chickens, and we gave each other air hugs goodbye.

I’ve got two more days of warm weather, so off I go to plant a few more seeds.

Take care wherever you are.

S

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Example of last year’s lettuce in container.

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

**Seed Savers-Treasure, Lily, & Heirloom ebooks still all on sale.** 

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Hope in the Seed

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For whatever reason, lately my husband has had a bee in his bonnet when it comes to pollinators.

He’s collected mounds of seeds to plant flowers to attract pollinators and has been approaching neighbors about planting on their property. He announced in church he had a handout for bee friendly plants (before church was cancelled on account of the virus). And every day (even though it’s barely warm enough yet), he’s been bugging me about when can he plant seeds.

“What I don’t understand,” I said to him recently, “is where in the alley you plan to plant the seeds. I think the ground would need some work done.”

“Oh, I just want to go and scatter them about,” he answered.

“Just toss them?”

“Yes.”

Having planted many a seed in the best of circumstances that have NOT come up, I shook my head. “You have an awful lot of hope in those little seeds,” I answered, feeling immediately the irony of me–author of Seed Savers–doubting my own motto.

Today we walked out in the alley and scoped out the possibilities. On the other side is the vacant lot where the daffodil bulbs I tossed there last year are in full bloom.

Yes, there is hope in the seeds. And hope in spring. Despite these trying times, we celebrate the new life of the budding blueberry bushes and flowering cherry trees.

Scatter your seeds. Happy spring! Happy Plant A Seed Day!

 

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

**Seed Savers-Treasure, Lily, & Heirloom ebooks still all on sale.** 

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