People & Quote – D.L. Moody


“Few people have done more than Dwight L. Moody to evangelize lost souls and mentor and train the next generation to fulfill the Great Commission.” Profile in Faith: D.L. Moody by Lyle Dorsett

I’m sharing a song today that I’ve shared before, but I think it is timely in these troubled times.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” ~Mark 16:15

Perspective – What’s Important?

This song never fails to inspire me. I have posted it in the past, but with the worldwide conditions and changes we’re facing now, it reminds me once again of what is important, the relationship of men and women to their Creator…all over the world.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 (KJV)

Plants – Coleus & Betty Grable

Betty Grable 20th Century Fox.jpg
By Frank Powolny – 20th Century Fox studio promo portrait [1], Public Domain, Link

What do Betty Grable, famous pin-up for World War II enlisted men, and coleus, famous rainbow-hued plants, have in common?

Legs! Well, not really legs where the coleus are concerned, but definitely a bit of legginess can develop as my young coleus sprouts grow.

Coleus, left side, before pinching, right side, after pinching out growing stem. 

When my coleus sprouts begin to shoot up and become leggy I know it’s time to pinch out the middle top leaves. Before I do this, I make sure the plant has at least six true leaves. Using my hand as a garden tool, I carefully grasp the last set of leaves between thumb and forefinger, and pinch the topmost leaves away. This will allow the top to branch out into two separate stems. I continue pinching throughout the summer months, helping the coleus to become bushy rather than tall and leggy. On August 1st, I stop pinching and let the flowers develop. Another plus to growing coleus is helping out the pollinators who make use of their flowers; at this point bees happily cross-pollinate the plants for me.

The coleus in the foreground has already been pinched. At this stage I can judge which sprouts are going to be tall and large-leafed, and which will be small with interesting swirled, fringed leaves.

Here’s a look at a sample of my sprouts. I have between 150 and 200 growing in the house. Our weather has been very cool and I want these babies to have the best start possible. Coleus cannot tolerate cold weather.

I’m thrilled with these babies since I know they will only improve, deepen in color, begin to swirl and turn, develop scalloped edges or stay straight, as they begin to grow outdoors under the pine.

 

Plants – Moringa oleifera ( Part 2 )

I am so honored to have a guest author write a post for my blog. SusieShy45, another WordPress blogger, has been a friend of mine for years through our contact on WordPress Blogs. She has grown Moringa trees from fallen stems into large trees. She has written to me of her experience and has given her consent for me to present it here. Thanks so much Susie. You can read more about Susie and follow her posts here: Susie Shy 45.

Moringa trees are a favorite tree of Indians- particularly South Indians- it can grow in warm dry rainless climates like in the Middle Eastern desert where a large number of the population has emigrated from South India. In a storm about 5 years ago, I got the watchman of our compound to get me fallen stems from moringa trees to plant in my backyard. This was in the heart of summer. Constant watering during the summer kept the plants alive, until they established roots. And then they survived on their own through the desert summer. By winter of that year, the leaves were green and the tree had started flowering. The flowers are creamy in colour and grow in bunches. They are used for cooking too- of course after removal of the stamens and pistils. Flowers are washed thoroughly to remove insects as they are a major source of nectar. The moringa tree loves the sun and direct sunlight, explaining why they are doing so well in the Middle East. And it is classified as a drought resistant plant, so does not require much watering. The tree grows tall in order to capture the sunlight.

Later the flowers turn to the moringa fruit, which is a delicacy and is used in many curries and sautes. The pulp from inside the fruit is what is edible, though the fruit is cut into small pieces and cooked – skin and all- only the soft part inside the fruit is eaten after they are cooked.

The leaves can be eaten any time, they are a good source of iron, folic acid, vitamin C. For us,eating moringa leaves in various sautees and curries, is supposedly responsible for the long, thick, black hair of many south Indians.

Here are some more photographs of Susie’s Moringa trees.

Drumstick Fruit

The flowers are edible.

Doves and other birds live on the tree.

Thanks Susie for the article and the great photographs.

 

Plants – How to Grow and Use Moringa oleifera/Drumstick Tree

This year, as I was browsing information on heirloom seeds, my interest was piqued by an amazing plant/tree, native to India, known by the name of Moringa, or Drumstick Tree. After reading through the health benefits found in this plant, I searched out seeds and located a source. I almost felt I was in possession of Jack-in-the-Beanstalk’s magic beans when I opened the packet; large, amazing seeds lay in the palm of my hand, dark brown/black with papery wings. I was thankful for the instructions: soak in very warm water for three days, changing the water frequently. I followed the instructions and was amazed at how fast they sprouted.

Because I started several seeds, I have half a dozen sprouts, and they are plant-like already; their growth rate is phenomenal, I am able to grow them in several different conditions to see what suits them best.

I’ll grow one in the house. I’ll need to pot it up soon as I’ve read they develop a long tap root and I want it to have room to expand.

One is planted in a container on my patio. I have two more to plant in my outdoor gardens. I’m excited about growing these and the harvests of leaves and seeds I hope to gather from them.

In the meantime, I am enjoying this amazing tea. It’s delicious and it gives me double satisfaction in knowing I am doing my body good.

The video below is excellent with tips on the health benefits of the plant and how to grow them best.  Beneath the video is an excellent link with information on Moringa.

Benefits and Side Effects of Moringa

Praise – Who???

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~Joshua 24:15

Here’s a great worship song, sung by one person, Ben Everson, in many parts. Beautiful and interesting.

Who is on the Lord’s Side

Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King?
Who will be His helpers, other lives to bring?
Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe?
Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go?
By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

Not for weight of glory, nor for crown and palm,
Enter we the army, raise the warrior psalm;
But for love that claimeth lives for whom He died:
He whom Jesus saveth marches on His side.
By Thy love constraining, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

Jesus, Thou hast bought us, not with gold or gem,
But with Thine own lifeblood, for Thy diadem;
With Thy blessing filling each who comes to Thee,
Thou hast made us willing, Thou hast made us free.
By Thy grand redemption, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe,
But the King’s own army none can overthrow;
’Round His standard ranging, vict’ry is secure,
For His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure.
Joyfully enlisting, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

~Frances Havergal

Planting – Here We Go Again/Critter Maintenance

I’ve begun planting out seedlings and potted plants. After placing this pretty orange pansy in the ground I found it uprooted and wilted within twelve hours. I pushed it back into the soil, and it revived a bit, but it probably will not regain the vigor it might have had if its roots hadn’t been bitten half away.

The situation is a Catch-22 for sure. I enjoy the cute critters that populate my yard. I’ve even been known to throw them a nut or two, and I keep the bird feeders filled. To help with the hungry animal problem we let the back yard grow naturally, and this has really helped with the bunnies,  since they love the dandelions and clover that grows in the lawn. The squirrels make use of the bird feeders in an entertaining fashion, but they also have a digging instinct that will cause them to uproot smaller plants in the garden and hanging baskets that show exposed earth. How to control the squirrels digging instinct is my biggest dilemma until the chipmunks emerge, which is a whole other story.

This year I marked my seeded plots with corks on short skewers. The skewers were purchased at the Christmas Tree Shop, 100 for about $2.00. The corks were a lucky find, dozens upon dozens in a bag at the local Thrift store.

A cork, stuck onto the sharp end of the skewer, with a drop of a ‘stinky’ essential oil on its top, is a great animal repellent. I started with pungent Eucalyptus oil. Because animals will adapt to  a smell they begin to recognize I will rotate Eucalyptus with Tea Tree oil, Cinnamon, Peppermint, and other oils I’ve gathered through the years. The oils won’t poison me, nor the animals, and will last forever since I only use one small drop and it quickly sinks in. The corks do double duty of labeling and repelling.

Other items can be used in place of corks. I’ve used seashells turned upside down to hold drops of oil in the past. I will update on how my plants do during this initial stage of planting. Once they are bigger the plant itself is usually left alone, it’s the fruits and vegetables that become a draw at that time.

Quirkiness – Garden Hacks

So…I couldn’t sleep…probably not alone in this…there’s a lot going on in the world. Between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m., I was watching Youtube through Amazon Fire Stick, and drinking coffee, yes, coffee in the middle of the night. Oh my! I came upon this video of the most outrageously amazing ‘garden hacks.’ I was hooked by the first tip…Did you know you can root an aloe vera sprig inside a banana? The tips keep coming, and they get even more unbelievable. I began to write them down…I can’t wait to try a few. Anyway, long story short, I thought I’d share the video here…just in case you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep. Oh, also, if you’re not a gardener, look up ‘Amazing Life Hacks,’ or if you’re a crafter, a cook, a makeup artist, a mom…the list goes on and on of the tips you can find. Give these video tips a try…you’ll be hooked.

Phuture – Easter Sunday Postscript

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” ~Revelation 1:8

In the 60’s, through the present time, I’ve sung this hymn.

I’ve included the words to the chorus, it’s a catchy tune, filled with truth…fun to sing as you go about your day.

“Coming again, Coming again,
May be morning, may be noon,
May be evening and may be soon!
Coming again, Coming again;
O what a wonderful day it will be,
Jesus is coming again.”
~ John W. Peterson

Plants – The Big Coleus Transplant – Hooray! (Tips for Etsy Seed Purchases)

I’ve been growing this year’s coleus crop in recycled chicken rotisserie containers since mid-winter. They have grown well, and it’s time to transplant them. Before I begin I gently move the larger plants aside; the coleus are already showing different colors, sizes, and leaf shapes. Years ago, and I have no idea where the advice came from, I read that often the best coleus are the last ones to sprout and grow large. I have found this to have a modicum of truth, beneath the larger coleus sprouts are often the best plants.

I transplant into small cups with a drainage hole cut into the bottom. A light potting soil is best, I add a bit of vermiculite to lighten it further, but it’s not necessary if the soil drains well.

The best method to remove the seedling from the surrounding sprouts is to use a fork. The fork lifts without cutting through the roots.

At this time I closely examine each plantlet and take note of those that have the most potential. I was impressed by this small sprout. Although it it is tiny it is loaded with color and sass. I like the spots and it reminds me a bit of a leopard.

Here’s my first tray of seedlings potted up and ready to grow on for a few weeks. Coleus cannot tolerate cold temperatures. I will grow them on in the trays until after the full moon on May 7th. At that time they can be placed in their permanent pots outside.

I love coleus. They can be sown and planted at any time throughout the year. They make an amazing houseplant. I’ve included a photograph of a coleus I’ve grown into a topiary.

The Flower Ark Etsy Shop Coleus Seeds

Project – Re-blog Post/Creating Crayon Bit Easter Eggs

more eggs 003

This week my grandsons and I created stained glass Easter eggs from waxed paper and crayons. The process must involve the participation of an adult.

SUPPLIES

blog and boys 004

To start, I tore away the crayon paper and chopped them into bits with a large knife, much as if I was chopping nuts. The crayons chop easily, but also fly about a bit. Children can create their own crayon bits by tearing away the paper and sharpening the crayon into fragments. This method takes quite a bit of time. Since I planned on creating three dozen eggs it was easier for me to prepare in advance.

blog and boys 005

Egg cartons are the perfect container for the chips.

blog and boys 016

I used a cookie cutter as a pattern, several egg patterns can be found at this link: Egg Patterns. Our eggs are about six inches in length. This was an easy size to handle and large enough to display the colors and patterns.

In retrospect, I wish I had traced with something other than a marker, but can’t think of what might withstand the heat of the iron and still show up for cutting. The process causing a bit of steaming and light smoke to fill the room. It’s a good idea to have some sort of ventilation when you begin (kitchen fan or a slightly open window) If anyone has a good idea for tracing please let me know via the comment sections below and I will edit the post to include your ideas. Thanks!

blog and boys 008

The boys scattered chips of crayon into the pattern with small measuring spoons. It’s best to limit each eggs choice of color to three, any more than that and you get a muddy look.

blog and boys 010

An adult needs to complete the next step. Fold over the waxed paper or cover with another sheet. If you are using a good iron cover with newspaper. Since I used a craft iron that is specifically used for messy crafts, I ironed directly on the waxed paper so I could see the progression of the melting. Here’s a step by step look at the bits melting into the finished design.

blog and boys 013

blog and boys 014

blog and boys 015

At this point lay the egg aside to completely dry. This only takes a minute or two. When it is cool and the wax hardened, cut the egg out with scissors.

I hang my eggs by using glue stick on the back and placing them directly on the windows. The glue dries clear, and upon removal is easy to wipe away with a wet washcloth before cleaning your windows with Windex.

We found using a large amount of chips equaled a vibrant, colorful egg. To create a more pastel appearance, such as the last egg featured below, use less chips.

Here a few samples of our Easter eggs. I hope you will give this beautiful craft a try.

easter eggs 012

more eggs 001

easter eggs 009

more eggs 004

easter eggs 007

easter eggs 005

easter eggs 003

Follow Me on Pinterest

Project – Bandana with Hair Ties (Stand-in Medical Mask)

Dollar Tree still has dozens of hair ties. You can also substitute rubber bands. I can sew, but with everything I am doing in the garden I’d rather not. This is a great tip for making a stand-in mask during the Covid-19 crisis. You can use a bandana or fabric if you have a stash on hand. Even a shirt, cut into a square, a sheet, or a pillowcase…any type of covering is better than nothing…and remember…wash after just one use to get rid of germs.

Phun – Beary Nice Day

Did you hear about the Teddy Bear Scavenger Hunts? I don’t always follow the crowd, but this fun idea is too wonderful to miss participating in. Children, walking around neighborhoods, are going on scavenger hunts. Teddy Bears are fun to hunt! Since I have Teddy Bears in the house, I placed them in my front window. Two are very old, passed down to me from my grandmother. Since this is the grandmother who told wonderful stories about dolls and stuffed animals coming to life, I know she would approve. What a good distraction from all the mess surrounding us right now.

“God Bless Us, Every One!” ~Tiny Tim (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol)

In the same token, this activity reminds me of an amazing show I’ve begun watching, ‘The Chosen,’ on PureFlix.

Through this trying time of dealing with Covid-19, I want to live with the pure faith of a child.


Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
~ Matthew 19:14(NIV)

Perspective – Choppy Waters

Life’s a little choppy right now, are you anchored? Jesus is the ‘Anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll.’

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.                                                                           ~Hebrews 6:19

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Savior’s hand;
And the cables passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy the blast, through strength divine.

It will firmly hold in the straits of fear,
When the breakers have told the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.

It will surely hold in the floods of death,
When the waters cold chill our latest breath;
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the veil.

~Priscilla Owens

Pheathers – Cornell Lab Live Bird Cams

Every year I like to include links to these amazing bird cams courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Nesting birds, feeders with frequent visitors, exotic locations, bird lovers will find these sites addictive. Enjoy.

If you have Youtube through Amazon Fire TV, or another means, you can watch the Bird Cams in large-sized format. My cat watches quite often and is so content if he finds a patch of sun to lay in while the bird feeder cams are on the television. Fun!

There are many more bird cams available on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

 

 

 

Project – Natural Birdhouse

The weather has warmed up. The birds are beginning to nest. It’s time to create a few birdhouses out of the gourds I’ve been drying throughout the winter.

I bought two large varieties in late Autumn, and grew the small one myself. They hung from my porch rafters through the colder months and grew some interesting molds on their surfaces. After brushing them with a light bleach solution, and leaving them in the sun for a few hours, I began my crafting.

I cut a small hole with a craft knife, pushing it in carefully at tiny intervals. Removing the seeds was easier than I had anticipated. I used a paint paddle, swished inside a few times, and all the seeds and fluff fell out. Two holes at the top were easy to drill for the hanging wire.  I also drilled several small holes in the bottoms to allow any collected rain to drain out. To stop larger birds and squirrels from raiding the nests, I used my glue gun and glued a border of pennies around the opening. I like the way the copper sets off the color of the gourds.

I placed one birdhouse on a tripod of sticks near my back window,  two are hanging on thin twigs. I am hoping the close proximity of the house, and the thinness of the twigs will keep squirrels from tampering with the houses. I’ll update later in the season.

This post is part of Skywatch.