Project – Update/Sea Glass Mobile +

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For anyone interested in the power of “GOOP” glue, I’m including an update on other items I’ve used in my creations using Goop as the glue. Once again, I created a mobile, this one with my grandsons, and used Goop exclusively for the bonding. As in the directions for the Sea Glass Mobile, see Part I and Part II, I used fishing line and hemp twine for hanging and stringing.

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The collage shows glass, stone, wood, nut and shells bonded together with goop. This is a great project to make with children using collections they’ve gathered from nature. A little bit of goop will even hold items with a bit of weight. (See top photo of small whelk shell)

  • Goop should only be used outdoors due to toxic fumes. Use sticks or brushes for applying the glue, and avoid contact with skin.

Quick Tip – Stabilizing Pots

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I had a late start growing my coleus from seed this year. To give them a better chance to grow larger, I planted them in pre-fertilized potting soil in pots. My ivy beds beneath the pines were the perfect spot for the pots to sit. The vines were the perfect height and strength to hold the pots in place. Now some of the coleus are nearing twelve to eighteen inches in height. The wind has continually knocked them over in the last few weeks. To stabilize the pots and keep them from overturning I aligned short stakes with the drainage holes and hammered them into the ground. This has worked perfectly, a quick solution to a constant problem. I also thought a dollar store pack of pencils would have done the trick for holding the pots in place. Sharpened, and pounded in through the drainage areas, they would also keep the pots stable.

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Photo Challenge – Rare

“Could it be mid-August already? For those of us who live in less-warm climes, summer’s long, sunny days are a prized commodity, something to look forward to all year long. But even during this all-too-short season, some things are more prized than others.” – Daily Post Photo Challenge

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While photographing butterflies this week something rare flew into my lens view…a hummingbird moth. The moth flew  so quickly most of my photos turned out very blurry, but this one of the moth sipping a drink of nectar from a pink zinnia delighted me. The hummingbird moth is my entry for the WordPress Photo Challenge subject of something “rare.”

Here is a quick fifteen second video of his/her flight.

Peculiarities – He’s Back!

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Last summer I published a post on “Featherless Cardinals.” This Spring found all our cardinals  sporting a full head of feathers once more. As soon as the weather grew hot enough to enable feather mites to thrive…oh my…our cardinal from last year seemed afflicted once again. Several of his lady friends are also displaying, or should I say are minus, a few head-feathers too. The condition doesn’t seem to bother them though, and they are a unique sight in the backyard trees.

Plants and Problem-Solving – Sunflowers in Bloom

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Every year I attempt to grow sunflowers. Quite often, the animals that live in my yard will dig up the seeds before they even sprout. I’ve stopped this natural tendency of the critters by sprinkling chili powder on top of the soil that covers the seeds. Even so, if they sprout, the tender green shoots are a delicacy to chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits, and when I’ve checked the progress of the sunflowers I find them nipped away and ruined.

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This year I’ve had a bit more success. The sunflower in the photograph is growing outside my kitchen window. My husband measured it and the stalk was well over eleven feet. The plant is still growing and now has two blooms and many buds. So far, no adventurous squirrel has climbed to the top to bite away the buds and flowers.

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I owe my success in growing sunflowers this year to empty water bottles. After the sprouts broke through the soil I placed a bottomless water bottle, with the top cut away, around the shoot. In a few gardens, as the sunflower grew, I added another bottle for more protection. (Bunnies are very good at standing up on their hind legs to reach the top of a tender plant.) If you live in an area that stays warm through November, there is still time to plant a crop of sunflowers.

Projects – Sea Glass Part II

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My sea glass mobile is complete. It took a bit of patience and four types of glue to successfully put it together.

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After I chose a piece of driftwood to use as a base, I added some cup hooks to the top, and a length of hemp tied onto these as a hanger. To string the glass to the driftwood my best choice seemed to be staples from a heavy-duty staple gun.

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I tried rubber cement first. I taped my eight pieces of fishing line onto a board with masking tape. The next step was gluing the glass to the line.

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  • Largest piece of sea glass daubed with glue and placed beneath the line
  • Middle piece of glass glued on top of line and pressed firmly to bottom piece of glass.
  • Top piece of glass glued onto the middle. Let dry for 24 hours.

When the strings were dry I tied them onto the mobile and trimmed away the excess line. The mobile looked great, but oh my, in the near hundred degree heat of July, the pieces of glass slid down the lines and shattered on the cement floor of my back porch.

I tried gorilla glue next. Big Mistake! The glue was not clear and bubbled up and out of the confines of the glass edges, completely spoiling the glass I used.

Believe it or not, I had a bit of success with glue dots, but the heat of the porch allowed a few of the pieces to slide down the fishing line. By the time I used the glue dots I had gotten a bit smarter and only glued a few pieces together as an experiment.

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Finally, I had success with a glue called Goop. Goop lived up to the promises on its package and within twenty-four hours my mobile was hanging on my porch, in high heat, intact, and glowing in the sun. I’m so glad I persevered.

Pleasures – Sea Glass/Beach Glass Part I

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“Glass from inland waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes is known as beach glass. It is similar to sea Glass , but in the absence of wave rigor and oceanic saline, content is typically less weathered.” Wikipedia Sea Glass/Beach Glass

 

After years of collecting sea glass/beach glass from the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, I’ve decided to create a project and make use of a few pieces of my collection. Most of my glass would be considered Beach Glass. I have had some spectacular finds on the beaches of the Atlantic, but the bulk of what I have has been collected on bay beaches.

I came upon the idea while fishing this past weekend in Fortescue. Inside the café at Higbee’s Bait and Tackle, where by the way you can get the best coffee ever for just a dollar, I spied a piece of driftwood hanging in the window with strings of sea glass attached. I’ve always wanted to string my sea glass, but was daunted by the thought of prepping it first with wrapped wire. Oh my! The easy way the creator of this mobile/wind chime attached the glass is a priceless idea, but that is part II of my post and hopefully, will be published one day this week.

Pain – Sigh…and try, try again.

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I had no idea when I said I’d update that I’d  be posting so soon on the state of my avocado tree. I’m back to first steps again. A dastardly chipmunk decided to bite off the sprouts and unearth the pit. Again, I was inclined to toss out the whole project, but I am going to try again. Perhaps I will have three or four sprouts this time. I’m hoping the avocado pit still has a little life in it.

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I added more soil, and while I was at it, I also potted up the top of a pineapple and some ginger bulbs. My grandsons helped me with this part of the project and enjoyed talking about the prospect of the fruit and bulb re-growing.

 

 

Pheathers & Problem-Solving – Cutting Back on Success

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I love feeding the birds. I have suet and seed feeders spaced out across my back yard. Standing at the kitchen window, or sitting on the porch, watching the feeding birds brings me joy…until this past month. Within a matter of a week my yard was overtaken with “bully” birds. Large grackles, still feeding their adult-sized babies, descended upon my feeders. Now at times, I must admit, I did enjoy the exuberant cackling chatter of the grackles, but as the days progressed, more grackles arrived, and soon my beautiful songbirds moved on to areas less consumed by the flocks of big birds.

I remedied the situation by removing all feeders for a few days. I’ve recently put up a very small, squirrel proof feeder again, and it has been visited by the birds I desire. Yesterday, I once again saw a goldfinch, and even a hummingbird felt safe to visit my gardens. Grackles can be fun for a few moments, a bit like a wild and raucous party, but for my yard, I choose the soft soothing sounds of the songbirds.

Problem-Solving – Wanted for Garden Mischief

Photo courtesy of WetCanvas Reference Library
Photo courtesy of WetCanvas Reference Library

Years ago, it was a rare day I saw a groundhog. Now, they seem to be thriving everywhere I go. These animals are beautiful, but very destructive to gardens. The groundhog who tears mine apart has a penchant for devouring my cruciferous vegetables.

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This is the kohlrabi I posted about on June 27th. It has been ravaged by the front incisors of our local groundhog. The kohlrabi itself is still intact, but I am having a few qualms over eating it after the obvious close encounter with a wild animal’s mouth and saliva. Hmmm…washing  thoroughly works, but will I be able to eat it and enjoy it?

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I know it is almost impossible to protect some vegetables from this hungry groundhog, but today  I’ve put a few barriers in place I hope will help. As a start, I’ve unwound a dollar store bath puff. Did you know these are a long tube of nylon gathered together? Unwound, they have many uses.

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I snipped the tube into small lengths and placed these over my ripening tomatoes for protection. The elasticity will keep it in place, and the leftover scent from soap will also be a good deterrent. Squirrels are very fond of taking one bite of my tomatoes and moving along to the next one, and  to the next one,  and then to the next. Argghhhh!

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Another idea for newly emerging bean sprouts is a few branches of vitex laid across the ground. The sprouts make their way through the twigs, but the strong scent of the vitex, and the sharp edges, will hopefully keep hungry critters away until the beans are big enough to set fruit. At that time I will have to find another solution, but at least for now the branches give me a little time for planning. I love gardening, but sometimes it can be frustrating!

In the comment section Alli Farkus added such a great idea for keeping groundhogs out of the garden, I knew I must add it to the original post. Thanks Alli!

There’s only one (labor intensive) way to stop groundhogs. Their digging abilities make rabbits look like pikers, and they also have pretty good climbing ability. My guy and I spent three summers (working intermittently) putting up a 5′ high barrier of 4 x 4 posts and horse fence. Along the bottom of it I dug a trench and put rabbit fence from about 1 1/2 feet above ground to 1 1/2 feet below ground and then bent it into an L shape at the bottom to extend away about a foot from the fenceline and thwart digging. Along the top rail of the fence I installed wire and an electric fence charger. The critters still dig burrows all over the place, but I have never had one get into the garden since the fence was completed. Along the top of each of the five raised beds I also run the electric wire. It teaches the squirrels to stay out, and by the time the plants get so big they ground out the wire the invaders have already been “trained” to stay away. Lots of initial work, but pretty much zero frustration. Now if only I could solve the destruction of the cruciferous crops… 
~ Alli Farkus

Place – Opposites in Island Joy

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Treasure Beach, Jamaica

Two islands that I love are opposite to each other, located in the North and South of the western hemisphere. Jamaica and Block Island, Rhode Island are two of my favorite islands in the world. Neither of these islands can be reached by car. Jamaica requires air travel, and Block Island requires a ferry ride, or a quick flight in a small plane.

I’d say the most obvious differences between these islands is the heat or lack of it. Block Island might become hot and sunny in the summer, but the water always feels a bit cold to me. Jamaica’s blue-green waters maintain their warmth, and are always inviting. Block Island is a place of bustling activity, Jamaica’s atmosphere is laid-back and more relaxed. I love both these islands, and enjoy the unique aspects of each.

 

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Block Island, Rhode Island

Photographs – Two on Tuesday

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Heavy storms washed away the camouflage of trash and brush a mother raccoon had used for hiding her baby kits. She was nowhere to be seen today when someone pointed out these babies to us. Raccoons are nocturnal and these little babes were trying their best to continue napping beneath a bulkhead on the Delaware Bay. Hopefully, the mother raccoon can repair, or move her nest, before the busy weekend arrives. Wild baby animals are cute, but should never be touched.

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Plant – Kohlrabi

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Kohlrabi! Who knew it was so easy to grow? I’ve seen it on seed racks year after year and never tried it. This year I remedied that by planting a free packet someone gave me. I’m excited by the plants that are growing now. I’ve read kohlrabi tastes like a mix of cabbage and broccoli, and can be eaten cooked or raw. It is also recommended as a good addition to soup puree. Kohlrabi leaves can be cooked like mustard greens.

I found some good hints on using kohlrabi at the kitchn.com website.

A LOT OF P'S WITH A BIT OF QUIRKINESS THROWN IN FOR GOOD MEASURE.

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