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Pheathers – Nesting Part II

Now is the time to check the hanging apparatus of your birdhouses and clean out those with removable bottoms. This winter, the wire loop hanging my birdhouse from a tree limb, rusted through, and allowed the birdhouse to fall to the ground. Thankfully, it didn’t have any occupants. This Spring I’ll be sure to use a wire that will not rust.

Broken wire

Broken wire

If you paint your own wooden birdhouses be sure to choose one that is made of durable wood and is screwed together rather than glued.

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I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s a good tip, and after my birdhouse has hung outside for two seasons, I know it works. To keep gnawing rodents, such as chipmunks and squirrels from breaking into your birdhouse, surround the hole with tacks, staples, or anything else indestructible that can be fastened tightly to the wood.

Staples surrounding birdhouse entrance.

Staples surrounding birdhouse entrance.

The staples keep the pesky rodents from chewing through the wood.

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Pheathers – Nesting Part I

The birds are all a-twitter. Time to lay out some string and others soft materials for their nests. This is a great project for children to participate in.

Nesting material, cut short and scattered over twigs.

Nesting material, cut short and scattered over twigs.

“HOW TO OFFER NEST MATERIAL

•Place nesting materials, such as twigs and leaves, in piles on the ground—other materials, too, if they won’t blow away.
•Put fluffy materials, hair, and fur in clean wire-mesh suet cages, or in string or plastic mesh bags. Attach them to tree trunks, fence posts, or deck railings. The birds will pull out the material through the mesh holes.
•Push material into tree crevices or drape it over vegetation.
•Put material into an open-topped, plastic berry basket (such as strawberries are sold in).
•Some manufacturers sell spiral wire hangers especially for putting out nest material. (One type looks like an oversized honey-dipper.)
~ The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Don’t be too quick to clean all of winter’s debris from your yard.


Gather up some of these items in your yard into small concentrated piles:
•Dead twigs
•Dead leaves
•Dry grass (make sure the grass hadn’t been treated with pesticides)
•Human or animal hair (especially horse hair) (use short lengths—no longer than 4-6 inches long)
•Pet fur (Never use fur from pets that received flea or tick treatments)
•Sheep’s wool
•Feathers
•Plant fluff or down (e.g. cattail fluff, cottonwood down)
•Kapok, cotton batting, or other stuffing material
•Moss
•Bark strips
•Pine needles
~ The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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Planting – Dahlia Tubers

Dinnerplate Dahlia Tubers

Dinnerplate Dahlia Tubers

I often grow common dahlias from seed. They reach a height of twenty-four inches and bloom in August when grown in this manner. Dahlias are great for late-season color in pots and borders.

The larger dahlias, often called the dinner-plate variety, are best grown from tubers. These are available for purchase in almost all of the larger warehouse stores and garden centers. The tubers are placed in the ground, and bloom late in the season. The best luck I ever had with the larger dahlias was the year I bought a pre-planted tuber from a local nursery. This year I decided to start a few dahlias in pots to get a jumpstart on their blooming time.

Dahlia tuber with sprout

Dahlia tuber with sprout

Before I purchase a package of dahlia tubers I check to see that at least a few sprouts are visible. If there is no sign of life, I don’t buy the package.

 Dahlia tubers with buds

Dahlia tubers with buds

When I open the package I check to see that all the tubers are firm. Each should have a few purple buds showing, and hopefully some green shoots.

Dahlia tubers potted up.

Dahlia tubers potted up.

I found six good tubers in my package. Instead of planting each in a separate six-inch pot, I planted all the tubers in one ten inch pot. When the tubers begin to thrive and grow steadily, I will replant each in a separate pot. When all danger of frost is gone I will plant them outdoors. Hopefully, the early start will mean early blooming. I will update their progress in a few weeks.

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Project – Faux Wooden Easter Eggs

I love the appearance of wooden Easter eggs, but they can cost a pretty penny when hand-painted and strung for hanging. I found an alternative, but I must also include a warning: these faux eggs might magically disappear before you can use them for Easter decorating.

Malted Easter Eggs

Malted Easter Eggs

I recently purchased a package of  malted Easter eggs in my local drugstore. I chose them for their eye-appeal; covered in pastel candy, speckled in darker pastels, the malted eggs were small, delicate and irresistible.. While I was pondering all the ways I could rig them for hanging, I ate one…then another, and so on…and you know the end of my tale, by the time I had a plan in place half my eggs had disappeared.

Skewering an Egg

Skewering an Egg

To create a hole for threading, place the malted egg on a wash cloth or other thick cloth, pointy end up. Place a barbecue skewer, ice pick, heavy-duty toothpick, etc., on the top and slowly twist until it penetrates the outer shell. Continue twisting and applying pressure until the skewer reaches the bottom of the egg and exits through the bottom.

Malted Easter Eggs with Ribbons

Malted Easter Eggs with Ribbons

A thin looped ribbon was easily pushed through with a toothpick, and knotted on the larger end. Easy faux wooden eggs for a fraction of the cost. They won’t last more than one season, but if they did I would miss the fun of making (and eating) them again next year.

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Psalms & Praise – Psalm 57:8

Salt Marshes, New Jersey Shore

Salt Marshes, New Jersey Shore

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Pleasures – Fresh Donuts!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fresh.”
“For this week’s photo challenge, share with us a photo that expresses something fresh.”

Block Island Donuts

Block Island Donuts

When I think of fresh I think of Payne’s Killer Donuts on Block Island in Rhode Island. They truly are FRESH and capture that “Melt-in-your-mouth” goodness we all crave.

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Peculiarities – Spring?

What lies beneath the blanket of snow? Pansies!

What lies beneath the blanket of snow? Pansies!

Is this SPRING or APRIL FOOL’S DAY!

Persian Carpet Pansy

Persian Carpet Pansy

Fortunately, pansy plants and flowers are extremely hardy and won’t mind a day or two of snow. Brush the flakes away and there, pert as can be, are the whiskery faces of the flowers.

Persian Carpet Pansy

Persian Carpet Pansy

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Pheathers – The Blue Jay

This is a re-posting of one of my favorite moments last summer. I can’t wait to see if we have any more close encounters with the blue jays.

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A “teenager” Blue Jay, wild and reckless, made friends with the ones his Mama told him were the wrong crowd. What an amazing experience this was for all of us.

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We gave him some bird seed. He gobbled up a bit, but seemed to like the attention he was receiving more than the food.

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He first captured our attention by bathing in a muddy puddle the grandboys had created with the hose. The two year old baby was excited and bold, he went right up to him and petted him on the back. We were amazed. No worries for those of you who might wonder if the bird was sick…no…just very young…feisty, strong, and bright-eyed. We wondered if perhaps someone had hand-raised him…he was that tame.

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As I took photographs he pecked the camera.

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He also took a liking to my wedding ring.

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After a bit he flew to a perch in one of the pines bordering our back yard. Fly away home little bird…stay safe. Small miracles happen every day. Thank you God!

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Plants – Wordless Wednesday/Clivia

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People, Plant & Quotes – St. Patrick

 

“Christ beside me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”
~ St. Patrick

White Wood Sorrel

White Wood Sorrel

 

“If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.” ~ St. Patrick

I am quite fond of my Wood Sorrel Oxalis/Shamrock plant. I purchased it last Spring as a “Proven Winner.” I planted the oxalis in a medium-sized pot and grew it beneath the shady branches of a crab apple tree. The dappled sunlight it received allowed the plant to thrive. In the Autumn, I brought the oxalis into the house and placed it in a shady basement window. The plant thrived all winter with minimal attention. In a few weeks I will place it outside beneath the crab apple tree once more. A terrific plant, but might not be easy to find. It is available online.

“This is a sweet plant with lots of delicate small white flowers. Its leaves resemble shamrocks so it is a perfect St. Patrick’s Day gift. It will grow happily in a window of your home in a cold climate, as did my first plants. It also grew happily outside in my garden in the Caribbean isle of Montserrat. That’s not bad for flexibility which automatically makes it one of my favorites.” ~Green Garden Online Plant Source

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Produce – Charentais Melon

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“A Charentais melon is a type of cantaloupe melon, Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis. It is a small variety of melon, similar in flesh to cantaloupes, but with a more fragrant smell. It was developed in western France around 1920 as a more refined cantaloupe. Most are now produced in North Africa, with some limited production in the United States.” ~ Wikipedia

Cantaloupes are not a new type of produce for me, they have been a staple on my table for as long as I can remember, but The Charentais Melon is a new taste experience. The melon I recently bought might have been a tad under-ripe, but the flavor was wonderful. The color of the flesh was tantalizing, a deeper apricot color than the cantaloupes I often buy at this time of year. I really admire the appearance of this cantaloupe, and enjoyed cutting slices using the green stripes as a guide. Would I buy this cantaloupe variety again? You betcha’.

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Quote – Isaiah 11:9

Isaiah 11:9

Isaiah 11:9

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Photograph – Shadowland Selfie

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Wall.”

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I love shadows on the walls. This week I wandered into an upstairs room and found my geraniums, backlit, and casting amazing shadows on the wall. Of course I had to enter into the Shadowland.

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Adieu for today my friends!

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Painting – Floral Parade Challenge – Magnolias

Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas Library and Duhvinci

Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas Library and Duhvinci

The WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge for March 2015 is the Magnolia.

Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas and Macdragon

Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas and Macdragon

These are a few of the reference photographs available for the challenge. You are also free to use one of your own. Any media can be used for the challenge. Please visit WetCanvas and the Floral and Botanical forum for the rules and more information. WetCanvas Plant Parade March 2015

Photo courtesy of WetCanvas and Lady Carol

Photo courtesy of WetCanvas and Lady Carol

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Perspective – Betwixt & Between

 

Betwixt and Between – “Undecided, midway between two alternatives, neither here nor there.” The Free Dictionary

Winter is waning, but still trying to hold us in the grip of its icy fingers. Spring is attempting to become a reality and turn Winter into nothing but a bad memory. Who is winning? I hope it is Spring, but this past week has been a dilly of an example of living in the “Betwixt and Between.”

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The sun has begun to shine as if it means business.

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The volleyball court at the local park resembles a pond,

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The sidewalk resembles a stream.

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The skunk cabbages, regardless of the snowy surroundings, are thrusting their folded leaves toward the sky.

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Yesterday, after the snow finally disappeared, the crocus opened their golden blooms and the birds began singing “The Hallelujah Chorus.” I am joining in with a few “Hallelujahs” of my own. Welcome Spring, you can’t arrive soon enough for me.

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Prayer & Pressed Flowers – The Prayer Flag Project

The Prayer Flag Project


“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16

I recently participated in “The Prayer Flag Project” by creating a prayer flag.

“In June of 2011, Vivika Hansen DeNegre started The Prayer Flag Project. She invited people from around the world to to join her in making Prayer Flags. Each flag is created in the artists own style, then hung outside for a while, its words and sentiment dissolving into the wind and being spread to all whom the wind touches. They are a living, breathing, kinetic journal of our hopes, dreams and concerns. The Prayer Flag Project… Join us if you’d like.”

The theme: Create a flag that incorporates “Images of leaping humans (think leap of faith), and of course maps and lettering.” My flag, and the flags of others, can be viewed by clicking on the button at the top of this post.

My initial flag was created with pressed flowers on Mulberry paper. It turned out lovely, but I realized it was too fragile to send through the mail, and most likely would not hold up being sewn to binding along the top. Here’s a peek at the finished flag.

The Dragonfly: Pressed Flower Artwork, 5 x 7, Blue Hydrangeas, Queen Anne's Lace, Seaweed, Lichen, Mulberry Leaves

The Dragonfly, pressed flower artwork, 5 x 7, Blue Hydrangeas, Queen Anne’s Lace, Seaweed, Lichen, Mulberry Leaves

Pressed Flower Tip: Hydrangeas are a good pressed flower candidate. The hard round center must be removed before pressing. Press without heat in between non-shiny pages.Lichens can be pressed flat in books. Seaweed can be dried and pressed between pages. Wildflower and tree foliage presses beautifully.

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Perspective – Gratitude

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” ~ John Milton

Live each day with a grateful heart.

Live each day with a grateful heart.

I recently, quite by accident, stumbled upon a blog post where the author decried the many people who “followed” his blog. How sad—other than the spam he mentioned, and even after reading what he called a “humorous” explanation, I can’t understand why any blogger would not want his or her blog read or followed.

Please know, I feel quite the opposite…I DELIGHT in the comments fellow bloggers and others leave on my blog. I cherish the “Likes” you are kind enough to give me. To all who visit these pages and follow my blog; I thank you with all of my heart. Blessings on your day!

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 2:14-15).

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” ~Henry Ward Beecher

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Prose & People – A Woman’s Prayers to God

My Letters to God by S. Corrine Davis

My Letters to God by S. Corrine Davis



“My letters to God came about by my need to communicate with him on a regular basis. I need—as a Christian, a wife, and a mother notwithstanding—to pray every day.”

This beautiful book is filled with words from the author’s heart to God. Corrine Davis is a Pastor’s Wife, a mother of five, a grandmother, a wonderful cook, an amazing seamstress, a pianist; she can take anything old and make it look new again. She is an inspiration to many, and I am proud to call her my Aunt.

Here are a few quotes from, “My Letters to God.”


“Lord, I see that so many are struggling with the ‘daily stuff’ of life. And, it’s really so true for everyone. That little stuff—the nitty, gritty junk we all deal with—is sometimes what can make us or break us. All the time we are looking at the ‘big’ stuff that threatens to hit us and take us out, when in reality, I find that the junk drawer that refuses to shut is often what can wreck my relationship with you.”

“My desire is to be like Jesus. To do this, I will reevaluate my goals, my dreams, my hopes, therein finding the sweet will of God. Hold me close, Lord. Please don’t let me slip out of your grip.”

You can find “My Letters to God” from these sources:

My Letters to God by S. Corrine Davis
“My Letters to God – Kindle Edition

You can read more of S. Corrine Davis’s Prayers to God at: My Letters to God Blogspot

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Phlowers & Pholklore – Daffodils II


“The daffodil is a symbol of rebirth – a sign of the new beginnings that come with spring. Daffodils are often found connected with Easter and Easter religious services because of their new birth significance. In Wales finding the first daffodil of spring is expected to bring more gold than silver to your life and home during the following 12 months. The word “Daffodil” didn’t come into the English language until the 1500s. The old name for daffodil was “Affodyle,” believed to originate with the Old English “Affo dyle,” meaning “that which cometh early.” It ultimately derived from Dutch de affodil meaning “the asphodel”(of Greek mythology).” ~oocities.org

Longwood Daffodils

Longwood Gardens Conservatory Daffodils

Daffodils are considered by many to be the best Spring bulb. Tulips are gorgeous too, but do not have the reliability of the daffodil. The sad truth is tulips eventually decline in their blooming ability. Most of us take daffodils for granted. Their abundance, created by the ability to quickly reproduce and create naturalized fields of flowers, cause many to consider them common.

This year, I almost lost a large clump of my daffodils through neglect. Accidentally uprooted when I transplanted favorite flowers to overwinter in the house, they were left exposed on the ground for months. When the ground became too frozen to replant the bulbs, I brought them into the garage.

Forgotten daffodil bulbs

Forgotten daffodil bulbs

My good intentions were soon forgotten, and the daffodil bulbs languished in an old sweet potato box for several weeks. A few days ago, I noticed them, and was overjoyed they had begun to sprout. The garage stayed cold enough through this brutal winter to give them the “chilling” time they needed. I soon had them planted in some potting soil in a terracotta pot.

Potted Daffodils

Potted Daffodils

The terracotta pot fit perfectly inside a beautiful urn, I eagerly await the blooms. Wishing you a daffodilly of a day! :D

Daffodils

Daffodils

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Praise, Poetry & Phlowers – Daffodils Part I

“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” ~ Hosea 6:3

Longwood Daffodils

Longwood Gardens Conservatory Daffodils

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

 

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
~ William Wordsworth, I Wander’d Lonely as a Cloud

 

“Symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings, the daffodil is virtually synonymous with spring. Though their botanic name is narcissus, daffodils are sometimes called jonquils, and in England, because of their long association with Lent, they’re known as the ‘Lent Lily.'” ~ Teleflora

Longwood Daffodils

Longwood Gardens Conservatory Daffodils

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