Saturday, August 30, 2008
I love being surprised with a boquet of flowers. But the plant surprises that just show up in my yard are great too. We had a little shrub just sprang up a couple of years ago. It is so beautiful now. I still don't know what it is but it has these nice glossy leaves and a dark green color but no blooms yet. I think we might have brought the seed in with some old manure we added to our soil. I also had some purple heart just spring up after I planted some potted plants I bought at Lowes. I think birds spread seed around too. At any rate, it is always fun to see them.
Sometimes I know what they are and sometimes I have no idea. A pretty little plant is growing in my Lantana bed. It is just hiding up under all that foliage. It has these pretty little yellow flowers that look a lot like violets. I didn't plant it although I did plant some johnny jump ups earlier in the spring. This is much bigger though. Lantana springs up in the most surprising places. Herbs will spring up everywhere too. I have basil and thyme coming up all over the place and lemon balm is growing back where I pulled it out at the beginning of summer. That's good, because I really like it now but at the time I wanted the room for chives.
Another surprise I had this year was finding a vine with gorgeous little white flowers, blooming around my mailbox pole. We have a rural mailbox and I always planned on decorating it with flowers but never did. I hope it comes back next year. I am hoping for a new mailbox too. One the mailman will actually close shut. : )
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Aren't these wonderful? I made some of these in the early seventies and gave them as Christmas gifts. People just loved the Kissing Balls. The one in the center is from the Martha Stewart website. She gives you instructions for hers. You can also make them square like a dish. Here is the link to the website for the Kissing Balls and the other wreath and square. These are so much fun to make. Try one and surprise someone with it.
Instructions for Kissing Balls and squares
Monday, August 25, 2008
Our kitchen windowsills serve as an art gallery for a lot of us. I have put tomatoes on my kitchen windowsill in various stages and let them sit there too long. Then I end up cleaning the window and feeling really sad when I let the red ones sit too long. I am responsible for them not reaching their ultimate mission which is to nourish our bodies. I love to see them all lined up there, looking so pretty in red, yellow and green. It is particually nice if we have a window above our sink. I am blessed to have a bay window over my sink but the sillls are not that wide. I would like to make them wider.
I also love to see pots on a windowsill, holding herbs or flowers. Chives, basil, lavender, parsley, mint and thyme are good choices for herbs. One of the first things I wanted to do when I got married was grow herbs on my windowsill. I will stick little flowers in small bottles of whatever wildflowers I find on my trips outside. In the early Spring, there is a riot of yellow and purple flowers along my roadside. I don't know their names but I enjoy them every Spring.
I had a friend who lined her windowsill with beautiful, colorful bottles. Some green ones, one vintage, vaseline colored, one dark cobalt blue, and some lovely ones in various colors that contained scented vinegars someone had given her as a gift one Christmas. They looked really pretty with the Sun shining through and I am sure, cheered her up every time she looked at them. I haven't seen her for years, but I'll bet wherever she is, she still has those bottles on her windowsill. I hope she has a window over her sink.
I have seen windowsills lined with old, vintage salt and pepper shakers. Or those little miniature pottery pieces that we all love. I have seen little tiny vases and salt cellars, toothpick holders or even little miniature cups and saucers or cute little animals. One friend has marbles on hers. She puts them in little clear jsrs. The light makes them sparkle. I have seen shells, bringing back memories of a special trip, lining a windowsill.
The next time you visit someone, look at the windowsills. I'd be willing to bet, if I was a betting person, that you will something interesting displayed there. If someone looked at yours, what would they see?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I love peppers. Hot, mild, sweet, any type of peppers appeal to me. I like their pretty colors in the garden but most of all I love the many ways you can use them in cooking. I lost track of how many types I raised this time, because I threw away the little markers. I know I have at least six types of sweet and a couple of hot. I didn't plant enough hot or poblano peppers this year. Next year I will plant more of those. I love the bright red of the little tiny chili peppers.
I have dried enough for a string of dried peppers for my kitchen in addition to putting some up to grind for later. I like the look of dried peppers and herbs, hanging in the kitchen. I think it gives it a homey, warm look. I love peppers too because they are easy to freeze. I just seed, slice and freeze. You don't need to blanch them if you use them in a month or so. Billy will probably use the ground up ones in his tamales. Although I have been known to add hot pepper flakes to kick things up a notch. I love hot! I think they will keep producing up until the middle of October at least.
I like poblano peppers for stuffing with cream cheese and then wrapping with bacon. Pop in the oven until the bacon is brown and crisp. Billy smoked some once and they were really good. I think my favorite way to make peppers though is the same way Mama used to make them. Stuffed bell peppers with rice, meat and cheese was a dish I loved as a child. I love rich, red pepper pesto made from bell peppers for corn chips, crackers, crusty bread, pasta, and roasted potatoes too. You can find that recipe all over the Internet. Everyone has their own version.
If I could only grow five veggies, I would pick yellow squash, peppers, tomatoes, green onions and potatoes.
DIY drying and stringing peppers
Monday, August 18, 2008
I love it fried up all crisp and brown. But this year I grew some for Billy to make his world famous gumbo. I am not a fan of gumbo, although I like everything that goes in it. I just don't like it mixed together. I prefer my shrimp, boiled with a good cocktail sauce or fried up in a nice sandwich with lettuce and tomato. I love crabs dipped in butter. Now, I know according to his brothers, his gumbo is really good. I'll take their word for it. I don't like the texture on my tongue. That is funny in a way, because I do like boiled okra in field peas with a big ole hunk of buttery cornbread.
My basil, if I don't get it out of there, is going to overtake my okra. We have been picking okra from just these few plants for a long while. It has been enough for his gumbo but I think next year, I will plant just a few more plants.
Here is a good recipe for Fried Okra..you can leave out the hot sauce but it won't be Southern fried. We use hot sauce in the South.
1 pound fresh okra
2 eggs, beaten
4 to 6 dashes hot pepper sauce
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
oil for deep frying
Wash okra and drain well. Now cut off ends and save them for your compost pile. Cut okra crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. In a bowl, combine beaten eggs and hot sauce. This is what I do, I like it. Add okra and stir to coat all pieces well. In a shallow dish, combine cornmeal, salt and cayenne. Dip okra pieces into cornmeal mixture to coat well.
Now Mama fried hers up in a big black iron skillet but I use a deep fryier. It's all good....
Heat oil in the deep fryer to 375°. Fry okra in batches until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes for each batch. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
We have had a lot of rain in the last few days, but maybe it will give my tomatoes and squash we planted last month, a boost. I ran out in the rain and put fertilizer around the plants and bumped my head on my storage container, I was in such a hurry. Now I know none of you run out in the rain like that to fertilize. I am an idiot. But my thinking was, it will help to wash it in. I am hoping to get in another harvest of fresh tomatoes an squash before I get involved with the fall garden. The peppers are still doing really well. Other than that, most of the earlier crops are gone. I do have a lot of basil left to harvest and I want to save the seeds from my marigolds I had in the garden. They were particularly pretty and I though I would save them. Since they are probably hybrid, I doubt I will get the same plant but it is worth a try.
I need to get a ramp built for my sweet little dog Solo. He is getting old and is losing his sight. I want to do everything we can to make his life seem as normal as possible. He is afraid to go down the steps anymore and I don't blame him. Stepping off into the dark has got to be frightening. He has mapped out the house pretty well though. He can find everything he needs. We taught him when we first got him to go on paper at night and we take him out in the daytime. It came in handy when we were gone a lot when he was younger. So that is not a problem for him. He does seem to be walking a lot though. Just pacing back and forth but I think in time, that will stop as we get him outside walking again. It hasn't affected his hearing any. He can still hear me try to sneak open a candy bar wrapper from two rooms away. LOL
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
We are about to be hit with those blasted lovebugs again. They land all over anything and everything. They get in your hair, land on food or drink when you try to eat outside, die by the thousands on your windshield, lights, grills and are very hard to remove. To get rid of the mass of deceased love bugs that shellacked themselves to your car's finish, I have help. There is a product called Spray and Wash that can help clean them up. Simple Green can help too. They can cause your car to overheat if they get drawn into the cooling system of liquid cooled engines. These are some bad bugs. I feel no love for them at all. Okay, maybe a little.
The love bug, Plecia nearctica, is a member of the family of march flies. It is also known as the honeymoon fly, telephone bug, kissy bug or double-headed bug. The adult is a small, flying insect common to parts of Central America and the southeastern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast. The adult love bug feeds on the nectar of flowering plants. Upon reaching maturity the love bug spends almost the entirety of its life copulating with its mate, hence its numerous romantic nicknames. Think of it like this: they meet-and-greet and date-and-mate all in one fun-packed evening.
"Once large enough, larva will spin cocoons in
which they will undergo metamorphosis and emerge
as fully mature flying adults. This change will
usually take 1-2 weeks. As flying adults, males
have one thing on their minds: find females".
And just how is that different from human males, pray tell!!!
Folklore says they might be a result of an experiment gone wrong in a Florida lab. Mixing a mosquito with a genetically altered fly to create an enemy for mosquito larva. See what can happen when you mess with Mother Nature!
Monday, August 11, 2008
So, I'm making chicken and dressing and Billy walks in. I like fresh chopped parsley in my dressing so I ask him if he would mind getting me some fresh parsley off the back porch. I hand him a bowl and the scissors I use to cut my herbs. "Just cut it all back because I will dry what I don't use" I told him. Parsley grows back really quickly so by the time I need more there will be plenty of new growth.
In a few minutes he comes back in, bearing not a bowl of parsley but my entire basil plant. He had cut it all off. I looked at him in total disbelief. I was going to pot it up a pretty pot after cutting back where it is trying to seed. I really don't need the seed, I have plenty but I can carry this plant through the Winter if I just pot it up and bring it in on the colder days. Oh well, I do have more out in the garden, just not the same type. I think the roots still have time to make another anyway before it gets too cold. At least he left the roots. LOL... Bless his heart, he thought I said basil. I let him off the hook but next time, I think I will attend to the herbs. For now, I hung the stems upside down with a nice piece of twine and will just let them dry.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I rather like the swag on this door. Although I'm not sure I am the swag or wreath type, I can see this for the Holidays. Since I have down time now before we start the fall garden, and I have already picked all I plan on picking and freezing, from the current garden, I am turning my attention to other things, like my front entrance. I'm not sure exactly how I want to decorate my front entrance. I want to change it up, and add some new things, but I want the look to be tasteful. I think you can get away with a lot of things near the front door such as stepping stones, railings, planters and wind chimes if you coordinate all of the styles and colors so they go together well.
I have some hanging baskets and a bird feeder. I have flowers and plants, but I need a new porch light. I want to make an address sign too. I like unusual mail boxes, and I have one somewhere out in my shed. I don't get my mail in it, I just like it. It is a vintage style box. So how many of these things do I use? I think five or six is probably enough. I saw a home the other day that had one tall green topiary on each side and a matching mat in front of the door with a nice green wreath on the door. It looked simple and nice. All in green with an eggplant color on the door.
I have one especially large pot, that was given to me by my brother in law. It is just as pretty inside as it is outside so I never know if you are supposed to put a plant in it or not. It came with it's own stand, which I love. So this will stay. I have a couple of chairs which I would like to replace with a glider instead. I have a two tier, little wire plant holder that holds 6 medium size pots. This is where I usually put my pansies in the spring. Since I have just a simple white porch with white posts and railings and steps with banisters on either side with a plain glass door, I can use whatever colors I like. My floor is a pale to medium gray.
I think it would make a great challenge. Have every one put up a picture of their front entrance. I don't know how you do these challenges so I will leave this up to those who run this type of challenge. I would love to see how other gardeners use plants and flowers around their front entrance.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
This is my wonderful, vintage flower arranger. I have had it for a long time. I bought it years ago from a nice lady at an estate sale. This lady's Mama had died and she was selling her things to settle some debts. Since most of her things were from the forties or early fifties, I think this must date back to that period. It is unmarked with only the marks made by the kiln feet, on the bottom. I just love it when It is filled with flowers. It is probably on the list of my ten favorite things I own.
I wish I had a picture with flowers in it but I haven't taken many pictures of my arrangements because even with this, I am not a great flower arranger. I love trying though. I have another metal frog, a round one, which looks to be pretty old. It makes pretty bedside bouquets.
I love this one because the frog is an oval shape and makes it easy for me to arrange flowers in a more pleasing way. It is about 12x8 and nearly three inches deep, so you can make a fairly large arrangement in it.
Monday, August 4, 2008
A windsock or wind cone is a tube made of fabric (nylon or some type of plastic can be used also) designed to indicate the direction of the wind and, in some situations, the relative wind speed.
Windsocks are often used at airports to gauge wind direction or alongside highways at windy locations to warn of gusts and strong breezes.
At home, windsocks can be seen flying from porches and flagpoles to proclaim festive occasions or holidays.
You can buy one or make one. Yes, you can buy classy looking ones too. LOL.. If you are crafty and want to give it a try, (it is easy) here are the directions:
DIRECTIONS FOR A WINDSOCK
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Someone on another post said their garden was in maintenance mode. To go into maintenance mode, means you have to be a whole lot more organized than I am. I try, Lord knows I try, but things just get out of hand quickly. Ornamental grass, banana trees, wisteria vines, all things tropical, just go bananas when the rains start. We get rain in the afternoon, just about every day, this time of year. It is great, I'm not complaining but it can cause problems.
You mow the grass in the front and by the time you get to the back, the front needs mowing again. The vines just reach out of the woods and grab everything in sight. I have let the woods get closer to the house in the last few years, than I am comfortable with. I use to cut it way back but I just don't have the energy any more to keep it neat so it is going a little wild back there. George of the jungle could not get through.
Yesterday I actually found a pile of dirt we hauled in a few weeks ago, had trees growing out of it. Pretty little pasture type trees with yellow flowers. And some type of vine. Boy, if you are too slow, Mother nature just reclaims the soil. I wanted to fill in some low spots but it just got so hot so I though it would be better left to a cooler day. I should have covered it with black plastic to kill off any seeds, but all I seem to learn from my mistakes, is oops, I did it again.