Springtime is Flower Show time here in the Philadelphia area. Quite often the crowds are almost impenetrable around some of the larger exhibits. This past year I found this sweet smaller garden complete with whimsical fairies, and not much of a crush of people surrounding it.
I find that most of my photographs don’t turn out well inside the Philadelphia Convention Center. My usually dependable Canon camera can’t seem to adjust to the high overhead lights. I don’t know what the solution is, but every year I am a bit dismayed by the dim lighting for this event.
I love “Old Wives Tales” and “Do it Yourself Remedies” that work! I found this tip on the Pinterest Boards and promptly pinned it to my Garden Tips board.
Find out how to use pennies minted before 1982 to fight tomato blight: Fighting Tomato Blight With Pennies
I’ve set aside quite a few to have on hand to use when the need arises.
I have begun harvesting some of my lettuce. The seedlings I grew through winter-sowing have leaves big enough to pick and enjoy eating.
The delicious lettuce leaves above, varieties Cook’s Garden Mix and Black Seeded Simpson, were the perfect addition to a turkey sandwich on toast.
A gift of newly forming oak leaves fell into my front yard Sunday morning. The beautiful velvety pinks and greens of these small leaves demanded pressing.
Almost all deciduous trees have leaves that will press. The emerging leaflets are born wearing colors that shimmer and gleam. They are clothed in an ephemeral glistening that will disappear as the leaves begin to thicken. If you don’t begin to press these beautiful miniatures now, you will lose the window of time they are available.
Miniature leaves press well between the pages of non-glossy paged books. Using the microwave book method often destroys and browns their beautiful colors. Because the small leaves are thin-bodied, they will be ready in 7 -10 days for pressed flower crafting.
Last week someone dear gave me this amazing handmade “frog.” Frogs are pins mounted on a stable base. They are used to keep the stems of flowers and foliage in place. Floral frogs can be very plain, spectacular, or handmade by an artisan. My floral frog was purchased in Amish country, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Frogs are perfect for creating Ikebana. I have used mine to display some crabapple stems that are on the verge of blooming.
Here are the crabapple stems blossoming. O Happy Day!
Martha Stewart has a great online article on how to use floral frogs. You can find it here: Martha Stewart – How to Use Floral Frogs
At first glance this photograph resembles goldfish swimming in a large school. In reality what you are seeing is a layer of hot peppers, covered with oil, simmering OUTSIDE ON THE PORCH in a crockpot. Only adults wearing protection on their hands, and possibly a mask over their mouth and nose, should concoct this brew. After a few hours simmering, I strain out the peppers and keep the resulting oil in a jar. The oil itself did not cause me any distress when I gingerly sniffed it, but when I cleaned the crockpot in water, the steam from the hot water rinse made me gasp a bit as it was loaded with hot pepper particles.
I have been using this on the edges of pots of sunflowers that I am growing outdoors until time to plant in the ground. Every year most of my sunflowers and many other seedlings are nipped off by squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks. To combat this in the past I have tried chili powder sprinkled around my plants, but as soon as rain or heavy dew falls, “Nip, Nibble, Nip,” and all my careful plantings are ruined. There is no cruelty to the animals in using this oil. Their noses are so ultra-sensitive they should be able to smell the heat at least a yard away. I do have to make sure I explain to my grandsons why they must not touch or even walk near the pots. The smallest drop on a fingertip could seriously irritate their eyes.
This method of pest control is organic. Take precautions in using and it should help in repelling rodent and other pests.
I love Cream of Wheat and have for years and years. It’s absolutely scrumptious with fresh or frozen fruit in the morning. I have a decadent secret though…what’s even better than Cream of Wheat…why it’s fried Cream of Wheat of course!
A quick how-to for you.
Make two to four servings of cream of wheat according to the directions. Cook the cereal until it is rather thick.
Pour it into a buttered loaf pan of some kind. Use a miniature pan for two servings, a larger size for four servings.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, upturn the pan on a cutting board and cut the Cream of Wheat into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces. (Optional: Dredge lightly in flour)
Fry in a buttered pan.
Slather on some butter, maple syrup, fruit…anything your heart desires.
Oh Yum! It sounds a bit odd, but my oh my, it is DELICIOUS!
The photo above shows a happy kitty-cat having his chin scratched. Hans, the scared and frightened kitty featured in the post about removing pet urine stain and odor: Removing the Odor of Pet Urine, has completely adjusted without any further accidents. He is a joy to us. Sweet, calm and now a companion to our Maine Coon Cat, he has quickly become a beloved part of our household.
Tulips – 8×8
I love taking part in the WetCanvas Watercolor Studio Group Challenges. Each month a new reference photo is chosen, and then it is so interesting to see everyone’s interpretation. I am sometimes disappointed by my paintings, because…well…they look like mine! Other painters would know exactly what I mean by that. The longer I paint it seems the more firmly ingrained my style. No matter if I try new techniques…the watercolors shout out who painted them. I guess this can be considered a good thing, but I sure wish I could learn how to be looser and have a less heavy hand.
Check out all the beautiful paintings of the tulips at this link: WetCanvas March Challenge
The challenge does not close at the end of the month…try your hand at the tulips too.
The April challenge is proving harder for me…a landscape with beautiful rock formations in the foreground. You can see the reference photo here: WetCanvas April Challenge
Please pick up your watercolors and brushes and take part. It’s so much fun!
When your gas barbecue has grilled its last burger or steak, repurpose the lid into a fire pit. Enclose the lid within brick or another fireproof stone. Make sure the top is level and fits the circumference of the lid. It’s as easy as that. Sharpen a twig and get out your marshmallows and hot dogs. Happy Smores to You!
I have used the small card pictured above in previous posts. I am using it again because it so perfectly illustrates a recent instance of pure joy in my life. I have three grandsons who I watch a few days through the week. On my day to pick up the oldest grandson at school, I waited in line for him outside of the building, holding the eleven month old baby boy in my arms, while the middle grandson stood beside me.
Something startled the baby. He tightened his grip upon me, and laid his head against my neck. I felt such joy as he rested against me, trusting that I would protect him from harm. In the midst of the sweetness of the moment, the middle grandson looked up at me and said, “Nanny, I love you so much.” Could my heart have swelled any larger with the joy of it, you might think not, but when my oldest grandson exited through the doorway, and his eyes and expression kindled with love, yes, my heart almost burst with joy.
“He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” [Isaiah 40:11]
In my relationship with Christ Jesus, I want to have the heart of these precious boys. I want to trust him, and know that he protects me from harm. I want to stay so close to him, he can gather me in his arms and carry me against his heart. I want to tell him that I love him so much…every day…more than once. I want to feel excitement and happiness…experience joy when I come into his presence. I want to always remember I am his child.
When I hang a new birdhouse in my yard it is often filled by a nesting wren. I love wrens. After one has claimed the new house for a home the air is soon filled with trills, chattering and even scolding sounds when I venture too near. A week or two ago as I cleaned last year’s birdhouse, I noticed the seams of the roof had warped and widened. I knew if I left it in place the wrens would have to deal with a very leaky roof.
Happily, my local craft store had a special on birdhouses, and since I have plenty of acrylic craft paint on hand, adding two new birdhouses to the yard only involved a few dollars and a bit of time.
I was happy to see the bottoms of the birdhouses were attached with screws rather than nails. The birdhouses should be cleaned out before the start of the nesting season.
I coated the birdhouses with primer. In the past I have used acrylics on the bare wood, but I had the primer on hand and wisely used that first. I was pleasantly surprised to find that by using primer I only needed one coat of the more expensive acrylic paint.
I finished the houses and hung them in place by using four screw eyes on the roof and doubled floral wire.
Most important for me was protecting the entry to the house from gnawing predators. This has been quite a problem for me in the past. I hammered in a ridge of heavy staples around the edge of the doorway. This should discourage the attempts of the most feisty of squirrels or chipmunks.
Update: April 24, 2013 – SUCCESS! This afternoon I heard the singing and trilling of a wren. Sure enough, when I investigated, all the “wren-talk” was sounding from the trumpet vine bush shown in the first photograph. I spied a wren perched atop the house with a small stick in her mouth…definitely nest-making material. O Happy Day! The new birdhouse will have a resident wren family.
If I am using the zest of any citrus fruit in a recipe I make sure I use an organic piece of fruit.
Often a single piece of organic citrus fruit is expensive. I’ve found it much more cost effective to buy bags of fruit. When I am lucky enough to come upon one of these good deals, I sometimes can’t use all the fruit before it begins to spot and go bad. A good alternative to wasting the money is to grate and freeze the citrus peel. After grating, I have found a good way to freeze the peel is in cupcake liners. Each peel yields about a tablespoon of zest, sometimes a bit more for a larger piece of fruit.
After the zest freezes, I fold over the sides of the liner, tape in the middle, label and store in a container or ziplock bag in the freezer.
I also freeze the juice from the fruit in ice cube trays. Each cube is about two tablespoons of fresh juice. Pop out when frozen and store in ziplock bags or freezerproof container.
I’ve grown so many of my plants from seed this year, I really have no inclination or need to purchase anything at all. That was my mindset until I saw these brilliant pink petunias a local farm market I visit weekly. Oh my! How could I resist. To justify my purchase I decided they must be a table arrangement for at least a week or two. The four pack they are planted in fits perfectly into a ceramic pot I love.
I think the petunias look very happy filling in as a flower arrangement on the table. When the danger of frost is past I’ve decided they will be perfect inside a hanging basket.
This is a spider plant I have had for several years. I let the plant become potbound…this is key to the mother plant sending out shoots of plantlets, or as I call them, “babies.”
I have rooted many babies and now have other baskets of plants growing in the rafters of my basement, waiting for warmer weather to move out onto the patio.
Spider plants are more than just a pretty sight. They also are one of the top plants for filtering out impurities in the air you breathe. More information about houseplants that filter air can be found here: Houseplants That Filter the Air
I also have more “babies” rooting in containers and vases all over the house. They add a bit of green to the rooms they are in, they root quickly, and are soon ready to pot up. I have loved spider plants for as long as I have enjoyed and collected houseplants. Happy gardening!
I put together this floral arrangement a few days before Easter. It contains only one bunch of alstromeria, some pussy willow branches, some curly willow branches and a few pieces of beautiful foliage. It is lovely, and I have enjoyed it very much. Even better…it is still going strong, and the curly willow branches have leafed out.
Willow twigs will readily root in water or loose soil. I have used branches as trellises and had them regrow once more as they gave support to the vines. I might try to grow these and plant the resulting bushes in a back corner of the yard.
Alstromeria is one of the best flowers for long-lasting arrangements. I wonder how long I can keep this beautiful display alive.
Floral Tip: Remove the bottom leaves of the alstromeria stem. These leaves yellow and die long before the flowers are finished blooming. Your arrangement will last almost a week longer if these leaves are removed.
The geranium plants I overwintered in the cold garage are growing amazingly well under lights in my basement. Several of the leaves are full-sized in only three weeks of warmer temperatures and intense light. Hooray!
Original post and how-to found here: Geraniums Reborn
The coleus seeds I carefully sowed with a wet pencil tip have grown well, and have never experienced damping off disease.
How to sow small seeds without waste: Planting Small Seeds – Coleus
The tomatoes I sowed in recycled juice containers have also steadily grown in my back window. I thinned them out a week ago, and was able to save a few of the extra tomato seedlings in recycled coffee cans.
Check out the original post here: Hanging Tomato Gardens
- Personal Postcard
- Phairy Lore
- Pinterest Project
- Plant Tips
- Pots and Pans
- Pressed Flowers
- Psalms and Proverbs