Quick Tip – Saturday Reruns/Using the Heat at Hand

Some of my best tips are buried, way, way back in the archives of the blog.  Give this flash-drying tip a try, you will be amazed at how well it works.

Using the trunk of my car to flash-dry parsley and other herbs has been one of my better “quirky” ideas. Gently rinse fresh herbs, dry on a towel, lay in a single layer on a metal cookie sheet, place in your HOT car.

Parsley, and most other herbs, dry to a perfect crispness in only three days. The leaves lose none of their brilliant green color or sensational scent as they dry. I’m thrilled with the results.

In the photo above I’ve dried lemon balm, thyme, and basil. At this stage, the herbs are very dry. To further ensure they have no moisture left in their leaves I keep them in labeled brown lunch bag for a week or two longer, before final storage in a jar or plastic bag.

  • One note…basil does not retain its brilliant green color, but the flavor is still intact.

Give this easy drying technique a try…flowers work too!

Phriday Pheathers

A few weeks ago a mother robin built a nest in the boughs of our crape myrtle tree. It’s a beauty, compact and perfectly fit into the crook of the branches. Eventually, we heard peeping, and once, from my vantage point at ground level, I saw a little beak and head rise above the edge of the nest.

Time passed by, and when the nest became crowded, we could see two additional heads; the nest held three babies.

The mother robin was so diligent feeding them.

Soon they fledged and became bold, standing on the edge of the nest, one at a time, contemplating their first flight.

One by one they flew away. Now I hear them in the pines surrounding our backyard, peeping to their mother. She calls back with the distinctive chirping of a protective mother robin.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday and is cross-posted in Birdy, Birdy. Thanks for birdwatching with me.

 

 

 

Peculiarities – Sea Marbles

Tuesday’s with Laurie, A WordPress blog I follow, was my inspiration for this post. Laurie’s title is intriguing: Losing Your Marbles. I immediately thought of all the marbles I find around the house and all the strange places they turn up in. One of my favorite marbles was found on a beach; I’m sure you can pick out the sea glass marble amid the pieces of pottery shard sea glass and a cobalt blue vase top.

I found an article on how marbles find their way into the ocean. The West Coast Sea Glass blog devoted a whole post to the answers. Sea Glass Marbles – How Do Marbles End Up on a Beach. One possibility I liked was the combination of slingshots, young children, and floating driftwood as a target. Since I’m a grandmother I can easily imagine that scenario. Thanks Laurie for being my inspiration for this post. Check out Laurie’s excellent blog: Tuesdays with Laurie.

My cobalt blue vase and the vivid orange-red of the marble will be my entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge for this week.

Quick Tip – Garden Tips/Marking plants for Seed Harvest

The wildflower garden is full of beautiful bachelor buttons; there are many blues along with pink, lavender, and one or two white bachelor button flowers. I want to save the seeds of all of them but especially want to collect the white variety as there are fewer plants of this color.

As you can see in the photograph the plants are packed in, and after they bloom, it is hard to differentiate one from the other. A marker in the soil wouldn’t work, but something wrapped around the stem itself would be ideal. Aha, what about a self-adhesive address label? Most of us have these stored with our mailing supplies. I folded a label around the stem of the bachelor button, wrote the variety of plant on the end, and it is holding well. The marking might fade, but I am confident the label will stick. The glue is strong enough to withstand the mailing process, and I am sure even a little rain will not loosen the adhesive. Hopefully, I will be able to create my own wildflower mix with my favorites for next Spring.

Plants – Propagating Coleus

I hope to save many coleus this year as both plants and seeds. To do this I will leave the majority of the plants in pots outdoors to flower and develop seeds, but for the ones I especially admire, I will take cuttings while rapid growth is taking place.

I like to come up with names for the coleus that are unique. Pink is a color I desire in a coleus so the leaf on the left is especially fine to me with that large pink splotch in the center. I also like the scalloped edges in two tones of green. I think I will call this one: The Scalloped Rose.

The coleus in the center is so unique I am astounded. The center of the leaf is an ecru/pinkish/white color and it is edged with brilliant lime green. The ruffled appearance of the plant makes me think of a Victorian cravat and Jane Austen books. Aha! The perfect choice of name: Lymed Cravat. For those of you who read Jane Austen perhaps you will notice my play on the word lime as the town of Lyme in ‘Persausion.’

I haven’t come up with a name for the third yet, but I’m thinking…any ideas? Many thanks to Candice, you can read her reply in the comment section. The name of the third is now ‘Wildfire.’ Thanks so much Candice…it’s a perfect choice. Candice is a WordPress Blogger. You can read her posts on: This Made Me Smile Today.

Problem-Solving & Photograph – Weather Vane Wednesday/What’s on Hand?

It pays to think ahead is a cliche’ for good reason, because it’s true. I ventured out this morning, camera in hand, ready to walk toward a neighborhood lake where I knew a good weather vane could be found. I walked about a hundred yards and immediately turned around. There is a terrible junkyard fire raging miles and miles away across the Delaware River and the smell and smog are reaching New Jersey. When my head started to ache within a few minutes, and I began to cough, I knew taking a long walk was out of the question. I am thankful I have air-conditioning to filter most of the smell out of the inside air.

Long story short, this is a weather vane, perched on a home built beside the Delaware Bay, photographed and tucked away for just such a day as this one.

I miss the WordPress Photo Challenge and thought an interesting alternative would be to offer one of my own on Wednesdays. Weather Vane Wednesdays is just what the title implies, a photo of a weather vane.

Create a weather vane post, the name doesn’t have to be in the title. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge

Planting – Tips on Tuesday/Coleus Samplers 2018 Part I

 

Coleus are one of my favorite plants, and also a plant that grows better by having the growing tips pinched out. I gave my coleus their final pinch during the week of July 4th. Chrysanthemums are another plant that will bloom better by pinching out through early July. I am letting my coleus flower because I collect and sell the seed throughout the year. If I didn’t want the plants to produce seed for harvesting I would continue to pinch the growing tips throughout the entire summer.

Most of my coleus plants are growing in pots of rich potting soil. They are doing well this year, and being heat-lovers are growing strong in the current summer condtions. I’m hoping for amazing cross-pollination for this year’s harvest of seeds.

Collage samplers created in Ribbet.com

 

Perspective – Through My Eyes with Gratitude

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant?”
~ Henry David Thoreau

I’m sharing my world and including a note of gratitude to you, all my fellow bloggers, who share your world and lives too. Thank You!

I love these rustic pilings and enjoyed the sight of the cormorants sunning themselves on the tops.

Old docks are stacked upon each other along Fortescue Creek. A good photo for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge/Stacked created by Cee. Thanks Cee, for all the great challenges.

If you spent time with me you would quickly discern that one of my favorite activities is beach combing wherever there is plenty of interesting sea or bay drift. It has been a good weekend. God bless you all on this Sabbath Day. Thanks for stopping by!

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
~ Numbers 6:24-26

Planting & Phlowers – Wildflower Packets

I planted three small garden patches with an inexpensive wildflower packet this year. I think I paid about 20 cents each for a handful of packets. They grew with hardy exuberance, filling the patches with foliage. When the temperatures warmed up they began to bloom in a glorious array of variety and colors.

The nectar and pollen draw all types of pollinators, both large and small, and today when taking photographs I saw a few butterflies hovering over the patches.

The foliage can look a little weedy and that’s okay because, in reality, many of these wildflowers are considered weeds.

I love the Black-Eyed Susans that grew from the packets. The close-up details fill me with awe over what the good Lord has created in miniature. This photo is part of Skywatch Friday. The burst of petals is reminiscent of the fireworks on Wednesday night.

Sir Water Scott perfectly describes the way my wildflower garden grows and how I want to live my life. I like orderly garden beds that bloom with decorum at the right time and in the right place, but I prefer the glorious action and surprises in a patch of mixed wildflowers.

If you press flowers, you will find that many of these wildflowers make terrific candidates for pressing, as does their sparse foliage.

Sketching, painting and other forms of art using wildflowers becomes easier by isolating single varieties with a large sheet of posterboard.

It’s not too late to plant wildflowers. I will be adding fresh seeds to my gardens for a few weeks yet in hopes of enjoying wildflowers throughout the entire summer and fall.

Photographs & Phlowers – Poppies and a Weather Vane on the 4th of July

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! 

Beautiful fringed poppies are growing in my garden. I don’t know what’s prettier, the flower or the pods they develop after blooming.

Today’s 4th of July Weather Vane Wednesday.

I miss the WordPress Photo Challenge and thought an interesting alternative would be to offer one of my own on Wednesdays. Weather Vane Wednesdays is just what the title implies, a photo of a weather vane.

Create a weather vane post, the name doesn’t have to be in the title. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge

Pheathers – Diagonal Lines of Swallows

A Swallow on a diagonal line is my choice for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Diagonals.

The swallows living near the Delaware Bay were everywhere, swooping through the air to eat greenhead flies and other insects. I also saw several in the heat of mid-day cooling themselves by fluttering and lifting their wings in the breeze.

Another choice for Cee’s Challenge was this little getaway spot underneath the deck of a beach house. A stack of lobster buoys hung nearby, the stairs a perfect diagonal from deck to the ground.

Quick Tip – Transplanting Tiny Volunteers

Anyone who reads my blog knows I love plants that come up on their own in strange places. This week, in my front garden, I noticed several coleus sprouts beneath larger plants, volunteers from last year’s coleus. The coleus are extremely small and have no chance to thrive if left to grow beneath large trees.

After I spot a desirable sprout I dig a small shallow hole for transplanting. My favorite tool for removing the small plantlet is a putty knife. The knife slides into the soil easily and lifts the sprout right out of the ground. I don’t want to disturb the roots any further so I fill the transplant hole up with water, and while it is sinking into the ground insert the sprout into the well of water. The pull of the water plants the sprout without me having to touch it or crush it with a stream of water from a watering can or hose.

If you spot a small volunteer sprout in your garden and have a perfect spot for it to grow, give this technique for planting a try.

Photo & Place – Weather Vane Wednesday/Ocean City, NJ, 12th and the Boardwalk

Monday evening, we drove to Ocean City, a good hour’s drive, just to have boardwalk pizza for dinner. Eating pizza at Manco and Manco, once known as Mac and Manco, is a tradition for many people in our area. The pizza was delicious and sitting on a counter stool with the ocean in view while we ate was sublime. Oh, and did I say, Manco and Manco makes the best pizza in the world? I also was lucky and found several weather vanes in the area. Here is one with a resting gull beside it. Happy Wednesday to you!

Skywatch

I miss the WordPress Photo Challenge and thought an interesting alternative would be to offer one of my own on Wednesdays. Weather Vane Wednesdays is just what the title implies, a photo of a weather vane.

Create a weather vane post, the name doesn’t have to be in the title. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge

Problem-Solving – Hornet’s Nest

Today, while working in the garden I was stung. My first words were a startled, “What was that?” I thought right away it was a bee, but because I didn’t see the culprit, wondered if it might have been a spider of some kind disturbed by my earlier weeding.

Later in the morning, another pass near the spot drew my eyes up to the robin’s nest in the crape myrtle. She was gone, probably looking for some food, and then…I saw it, a few feet away from the empty nest, a hornet’s nest. NO!

I apologize for the fuzziness of the photo, but I took a quick shot…not willing to risk getting stung again. These hornets are bald-faced hornets.

I didn’t want to douse the nest with insecticide in hopes the robin might come back. Instead, I squirted a small amount into the opening and RAN. Of course they swarmed out; the insecticide didn’t seem to affect them other than make them angrier. I was righteously indignant too, and returned when things settled down with a large-lidded coffee can and pruning shears. When the hornets went back in the nest I quickly snipped away the branch, and let it fall into the can. I sprayed anything still flying into oblivion with a hard spray of water from the hose. I saw the queen escape, but don’t know where she went. Since this hornet’s nest was small and low this worked for me. I would never try it on a large one.

I filled the can with water and hopefully that is the end of the dilemma and hornets in my yard. Since I never provoked them, and was only walking by the bush when stung, I am so glad I saw it before more hornets hatched out. I have five grandchildren, and one has life-threatening allergies, he has never been stung as of yet so multiple stings could have been a disaster. Thank you Lord for eyes to see hazards around me.

Quirky – Weather Vane Wednesday – Fortescue, NJ

I photographed quite a few weather vanes this past weekend in the Delaware Bay town of Fortescue, NJ. Here’s one that seemed ‘beachy’ to me. I think it is a heron design.

I miss the WordPress Photo Challenge and thought an interesting alternative would be to offer one of my own on Wednesdays. Weather Vane Wednesdays is just what the title implies, a photo of a weather vane.

Create a weather vane post, the name doesn’t have to be in the title. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge

Photographs – Summer Creativity


A seashore or bay town is usually a boon to the creative spirit of its inhabitants. This horizontal line-up of birdhouses on the porch of a trailer in Fortescue, New Jersey, is a testament to creativity, and also a good photo for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Horizontal Lines.

I was surprised to find CREATIVITY listed as a virtue by Virtues for Life. This virtue, for me personally, is a lot easier to achieve than some of the stickier virtues…such as ‘Flexibility or Detachment,’ two virtues I have trouble following at times.

Another good example of horizontal lines is this flat-bottomed boat appropriately named, ‘The Greenhead Hotel.’ If you’ve ever been to the Delaware Bay or another New Jersey salt marsh in summer you won’t need to be told what greenhead implies. Once bitten by a greenhead fly you will never forget the name or the big pinch of the bite.

I’ll close this post with one of my favorite quotes on creativity.

Background – Elephant Ear leaf.