Place – Fortescue/Free and Easy

Free and Easy, to me, means fishing. It was finally warm enough in our area to fish on the Delaware Bay in Fortescue. We were welcomed by a committee of one as we crossed the salt marshes, an osprey on the town sign.

In all directions, the sky was a glorious blue.

The jetty, popular with fisherman, was never so exposed. The tide was at its lowest when we arrived. Only one fisherman pulled in any fish, and they were too small to keep.

The low tide exposed hundreds of my favorite treasures: sea glass, oyster shells, and driftwood. We had a lovely day.

Pheathers – Lovebirds

I love to take morning walks. This week when I opened the door I immediately saw the silhouette of two large lovebirds on a distant tree. I grabbed my camera and actually jogged toward them, intent on getting a photograph before they flew away. I was sure they must be a pair of eagles. We have spotted one flying high overhead in our vicinity more than once. Perhaps the lone eagle had found a mate.

By the time I neared the tree where they roosted, I was a bit out of breath, but able to zoom in with my camera and check out the photo in the viewfinder. Oh, the pain of it! I was out of breath and wildly disheveled just to get a picture of a pair of old turkey buzzards.

Oh well, I guess buzzards can be lovebirds too. They are very prolific in this area. There is usually not a day goes by that I don’t see a few gracefully circling high in the air. Maybe next time I’ll be able to capture that elusive image of our neighborhood eagle. For now, I’ll have to enjoy the buzzards.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Phlowers – Blooming in the Garden/Daffodils

Some think them common ; I think them sublime!

Then my heart with pleasure fills And dances with the daffodils.
~ William Wordsworth

You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days. ~ Alain de Botton

I have seen the Lady April bringing the daffodils,
Bringing the springing grass and the soft warm April rain. ~ John Masefield

I think if I were living in a utopian world, then it wouldn’t be political commentary; it would be about daffodils. ~ Emily Haines

Awakening Daffodils

Pharmacy – Homemade Golden Happiness

I recently read about “Golden Milk.” The thought of warm, golden goodness bringing about an uplift in mood and good health instantly made me happy, a sure sign I needed to try the idea. Warm milk is soothing, turmeric full of antioxidants and all manner of good things that fight or prevent everything from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, etc., etc., etc. Plain and simple…turmeric is good stuff! Honey, I could write paragraph after paragraph on how I love honey, but I want to keep this brief.

I looked up Golden Milk or as it is sometimes called, Golden Tea and found dozens, if not thousands, of recipes and articles, it’s one of those topics with almost too much information to sort through. My way to create Golden Milk is easy: 1 cup of warmed milk, a teaspoon or two of honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric. Stir several times to incorporate the turmeric. Ah, it’s delicious…but oh dear, it’s so soothing it makes me want to nap.

I’ve also included a duckling planter in the photo because the expression on the duck’s face always makes me smile. It has a number on the bottom and appears to be a vintage piece.

Pheathers – Alone

Our local wetlands have several stands of snags, dead trees that form homes for various types of wildlife. Recently, we saw one of these snags with a big bird on top. If he hadn’t briefly raised his wings, we would have never seen him.

He was alone, perched like a statue against the sky. I zoomed in with my camera, close—

Closer—

Closest—

When we saw his image in the camera’s window we realized he was a great blue heron. I am hoping he wasn’t alone at all, but has a partner and a nest in the wetlands, and will soon raise more baby herons to fill the sky.

This post is part of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Alone. It is also a testament to hope for the clean-up of toxic sites all around the country and world. This area, running parallel to Lipari Landfill, was once in the top ten of worst Superfund sites in the US. The toxic chemicals have been cleaned up and now the wetlands nearby are home to many birds and other wildlife.

Perspective – Remembrance & Reminder

Today, Good Friday, I wanted a reminder from nature of the Cross of Christ Jesus. Venturing into the woods, I fashioned a cross of twigs, fastened it with hardened twirls from thorn plants, and set it within a rustic stump. A good remembrance I thought as I snapped my photo.

I began to make my way out of the woods and felt a pull to turn instead in the opposite direction. As I walked, I glanced down at the trail below my feet and there before me lay a perfect natural cross composed of tree roots.

I was reminded again that all so often God has the perfect moment, word, or circumstance waiting for me if I just heed his spirit and walk in the way he opens to me.

I have found this verse from Isaiah a blessing throughout this past year…perhaps you will too. It’s a good one to memorize as a reminder that God is willing to lead all of us if we will but listen for his voice.

“And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” Isaiah 30:21

Perspective – Rain and Rainbows

Rain or Rainbows – What a terrific subject for this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. I went to one of my favorite places over the weekend, Fortescue, New Jersey, on the Delaware Bay, only to find that the weather was contrary to what we had hoped for when we left home.

The sky was cold and grey and the temperature reflected it. The rain pelted those fishing off the beach; we think they were trying to hook some winter flounder, striper or bunker. We saw a fishing rod bend with a possible bite, but whatever nibbled at it got away.

Where there is rain you will find rainbows. Although I didn’t see a rainbow in the sky, the upturned oyster shells scattered by the surf on the beach reflected a brilliant iridescence, the only rainbow I found.

When they dry, the oysters are plain and bluish-gray in appearance.

The last rainbow is a throwback photograph and video of last year’s vacation in Jamaica. In the early morning, on the way to breakfast, my husband spotted this amazing spider web, damp after the gardener’s early morning watering; the web’s moisture captured the sun and reflected it as a shimmering rainbow.

My 30 second YouTube Video will give you a good look at the spiderweb as it danced in the wind and reflected rainbows.

Perspective, Pheathers and Phascination – Hello Friends!

Today I conceded that WordPress Blogs are the most user-friendly, and paid the fee for my blog’s overabundant media library. This will give me another year blogging at WordPress. I suppose I should say…I’m back.

I’m sharing the Cornell Lab Bird Cams as a start-up post. I’ve been especially intrigued with the Hawk, Fruit Feeders, and Savannah Osprey Cams. I’ve included them in my post. The bird cams are one of my favorite places to visit online. Enjoy!

Planting – All One Color/Moss Gardening

Over the last few months I’ve been collecting moss. A bit from here, a patch from there, I find it in places where motorcycles have created ruts on woodland paths, in deep holes dug by children for their games of war, in low places on the side of the roads I travel. Earth seems to heal her wounds in deep green moss.

I thought moss was a good entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge for this week. CFFC: All One Color

Collecting mosses is easy. I always try to take a piece that is not in an area where people walk or gather. I don’t want to blight the beauty of the landscape by being greedy. Since I’ve collected only bits at a time, the moss garden has taken about eight weeks to complete. The area is shady, the main job in maintaining and nurturing the patch will be to water, water, and water. I must be diligent in this area if I want to have success. It will still be a long shot. When the summer weather nears one hundred degrees even the hardiest plants begin to wilt.

Most mosses have very shallow roots. To plant I use a trowel, rough up the soil a bit, lay the moss on the stirred up ground and water.

I isolated a few of the greens in the mosses, there are surely dozens more, but this is a good representation of some of the tones the moss contains. If you are interested in moss and growing a moss garden take a look at these sites.
Moss and Stone Gardens
Moss Gardening
Growing Moss

Quick Tips – Five Tips on Tuesday/In the Garden

Here are a few quick garden tips. I have probably mentioned a few of them in previous posts, but they are worth repeating.

1. Are your hands too dirty to even touch the doorknob to get into the house? A net bag, think onions, potatoes etc., can be a terrific outdoor soap receptacle. I used some of my favorite flexible garden ties for this tip, wrapping the bag and attaching it to the hose spigot with the same tie.

2. Are you having a problem with ants getting into your hummingbird feeder? Wrap tape sticky side out around the hook post.

3. Are your hummingbirds tired? Just kidding—had to show this sweet hummingbird swing my husband gave me for Mother’s Day. Yes, I was thrilled with the gift!

4. Have your gorgeous tea roses reverted back to a deep red flower? Your rootstock has lived and the grafted on hybrid rose is gone. Since I think these wild roses are pretty in their own way, I will allow them to grow until they begin to look scraggly. The hybrid rose will not regenerate on this root stock. The only solution you have if you dislike the wild rose is to dig it up and replant a new hybrid rosebush. I’ve decided I’m going to enjoy the wild rose this year.

“Grafted roses, commonly called budded plants, are plants where the desired rose is grafted or budded onto a rootstock of a different type. The point where the desired variety and the rootstock meet is called the bud union.” ~ Houzz.com


5. Are weedy plants growing in the cracked areas of your sidewalk and concrete? Boiling water will kill them just as quickly as chemical poison sprays and will keep our world safer for upcoming generations.

Pleasure – Mother’s Day

My daughter-in-law created this amazing ‘Nanny’ shirt for me for Mother’s Day. Do I need to say I LOVE IT? I’m saving it for a special occasion – a family barbecue. She sells through Etsy, and creates custom orders, and has a wide array of beautiful bows, baby items, jewelry, etc. You can reach the shop through this link – BooBooBean LLC, or through the icon located on the right-hand sidebar of this blog.

Plants – Herbal Teas

I’ve lost count of how many years I’ve grown the herb lemon balm. I use it mainly for tea. The butterflies and bees love it for the delicious nectar in its tiny white flowers. I have near two dozen plants growing in several gardens surrounding my home. Why do I grow so many? Well they self-seed, make excellent tea, are linked to longevity, will grow where other plants would succumb to bad conditions, new sprouts are easily transplanted to a new location, and most important, I find the plants pretty.

The batch above is growing strong around my Square Foot Garden boundaries. In some areas it has inter-mingled with spearmint that has also run rampant and multiplied from one plant.

These two herbs, steeped in just-boiled water make a lovely, invigorating, yet calming tea. If you find these plants in a garden nursery and have room to grow them, give them a try.

Posies – Creating a Large Bouquet

Creating a large bouquet for special occasions (Hint – Mother’s Day is coming!) can be easy, if you choose the right flowers. I used hydrangeas and roses for this simple-to-assemble bouquet. You will need a large vase, 10 – 12 inches tall, for this arrangement. Remove all foliage from the stems that will fall below the water line. Fill the vase with water 3/4 full. Add flower food if your flowers come with a free packet.

Place your hydrangea stems in the vase first. These are heavy duty stems with beautiful leaves. Hydrangeas are temperamental. I didn’t do anything to condition mine and the blooms on one of them wilted overnight. A good way to condition hydrangeas is to burn the end with a candle. This seals the milky sap inside. A spray of water on the petals is also a good idea. I found an excellent in-depth post on how to condition these stems. If you are going to make the bouquet and use hydrangeas please check out this article first. Hydrangeas in the House-Tips for Making them Last!

The stems of the hydrangeas are strong. I used four and criss-crossed them within the vase to form a grid to hold the roses.

White roses are the next addition. They come packaged in packs of 12, but I used only eight in this arrangement. (I used the others for some corsages…the story of these will be told later in the week.) You could use any tall-standing flowers in place of the roses: lilies, carnations, spray roses, alstromeria, Dutch iris, etc. Cut all stems at an angle to allow them to draw up as much water as possible. Place the roses into arrangement within the criss-cross of the hydrangea stems. There you have it, an easy and beautiful bouquet for any special occasion.

Plant – Chives

It’s a day of heavy rain here in the Northeast. Before the drops came down too hard I snuck outside with my camera and quickly took a photograph of my prettiest blooming garden plant: a beautiful bunch of lavender pompom blooms topping my chives. I enjoy using fresh herbs in my daily cooking, and chives add a bit of pizazz to many dishes. This week I used a few of them in homemade cream of potato soup. It was delicious, and the chives added some pretty color to the rather bland appearance of the soup.

Chives are easy to grow. Even the potted herbs you find in grocery stores will grow all season if you plant them early enough. My bunch of chives returns without fail every year, bigger and better and with more blossoms.

I’ve read you can pick and dry these blossoms. I think I will give it a try. Updates will follow. 🙂 Chives fit perfectly into my gardening lifestyle.