Phlowers – A Humble Weed

It might be a weed, but I think it’s also pretty enough to be included in Cee’s Flower of the Day. Garden Cress is a wild edible. It grows luxuriantly in nooks and crannies all over my yard. This small plant has interesting leaves. I press quite a few each year to use in pressed flower crafting. You can take a look at how to press this on The Flower Ark – Pressing Garden Cress.

What you might not have noticed in the first photograph is how very small the flower is. The flowers in the first photograph would barely cover the diameter of a dime.

Photo Challenge – Weather Vanes March 27th

It’s a proven fact, unless you’re looking for an item, you often walk by unaware of its presence. I never noticed this weather vane during past visits to Longwood Gardens. I was glad to find it. I want to let the Wednesday Weather Vane challenge run for a full year and that means through June. I’m running out of sources for vanes.

The terrace the gazebo is built on provides a spectacular view of the fountains and the conservatory.

Inside the Exhibition Hall Himalayan Blue Poppies bordered the outer wall. Poppies are spectacular in color and form, but unfortunately, when we visited most of the blooms were turned away from the walkway and faced the sunshine beaming through the windows.

This beauty cooperated and I was able to get a wonderful photograph. It is my contribution to Cee’s Flower of the Day. I’m contemplating making an attempt at painting a blue poppy again, but I know from experience, that their heavenly shade of blue is hard to capture.

Thanks to these bloggers for taking part in last week’s challenge.
Geriatri’x’ Foto Gallerie – Weather Horses
The 59 Club – Flipper

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. 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. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Quick Tip – Stinky Scare Sticks/Repelling Pests in the Garden Organically

A chill is still in the air, but I know that as the temperature rises the pesky critters will wake up too. Right about the time I plant out small sprouts and plant seeds they will be roaming about with voracious appetites. This year I am prepared in advance with a new idea: Stinky Scare Sticks.

I gathered some good repellents: eucalyptus essential oil, cayenne or chili pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Organic coconut oil mixed with the eucalyptus oil was my glue. A toothpick dipped into the oil, and then into the spice mix, made the perfect stinky stick. Placed in garden pots and beds, the haze of pungent smells will hopefully hinder the munchies of the chipmunks and other pests.

I made quite a few and stored them at the ready on a garage shelf.

Another idea I’ve used in the past has been rocks and shells with a drop of eucalyptus, peppermint, cinnamon or other essential oil loathsome to small critters placed somewhere on their surface.  This also works as an unobtrusive repellent.

This post wouldn’t  be complete without a bit of a giggle. I also wrapped some of my kitty-cat’s  fur (rodents recognize the smell of a predator in the fur) around a toothpick, added some googly eyes, and placed it in the same pot for added scare appeal. I wonder if the chipmunks will run or just laugh at my silly creation.

Photo Challenges – South Jersey Spring has Sprung

On occasion, I enjoy taking part in Restless Jo’s Monday Walks. Warm weather is perfect for a springtime stroll in the small woods behind my neighborhood. There isn’t much budding yet, but I still found plenty of God’s art to admire.

Circular patterned stumps were a good choice for Ryan Photography’s Photo of the Week. I enjoy aged wood and stumps; gnarly pieces of branches adorned with moss give my spirit a lift.

I came upon a hollowed out portion of a tree. “That’s where the dolls come to get a drink after everyone’s sleeping.” I heard the voice of my beloved grandmother as if she stood beside me. She told the best stories about dolls and woodland animals and their naughty shenanigans when children and their parents slept. At that moment the water inside the hollow really did seem magical as it took me back in time, oh, about fifty years.

Of course, the rest of my walk was enchanted with lovely memories. I found fairy wishes bursting out of a pod and released them into the air. I thought my camera didn’t capture their image, but when I downloaded them, I could just see the outline of one wish as it flew through the air. Can you see it against the sky? A fairy wish floating through the air is also something that lifts my mood.

I don’t know if Spring has completely sprung but the lichen were thriving in the warmer temperatures.

Once again, I heard my grandmother’s voice telling a story, “The dolls used the lichen as a ladder and climbed all the way to the top of the tree, but they couldn’t get back down again! ‘Oh no!’ cried the dolls, ‘What are we going to do?'” How rich my life remains because she helped my imagination come alive. I hope I can do the same for my grandchildren.

Quick Tip – Dollar Store Planters

I grow quite a few annuals that bloom best if they are routinely dead-headed of spent flowers and seed capsules. Johnny Jump Ups, one of my favorites, benefit from this type of grooming. I also use these small violas in my pressed flowercraft. To make access easy for pressing and dead-heading I like to be able to move the container they are growing in to a higher level. The dollar store oil pan they are planted in makes this easy, and yes, the pans are only a dollar. You can find them in the automotive section of most dollar stores.

I used several of these last year for my annuals. All I did to prep them was bang a drainage hole in the bottom with a hammer and screwdriver. (See below for my drainage hole trick) I found the entire bottom cracked and this made no difference at all. The bottom was hidden, and the wide cracks kept the soil well drained. Plants that don’t have a tap root do very well in these oil pans. Four to six annuals fill the pan and grow well for most of the summer.

Drainage bang out trick – To bang holes in plastic containers I place the bottom flush against the lawn. The grass gives the screwdriver/ice pick a stable area to enter after it cleaves through the plastic. This is an easy method that only takes a minute or two. The bottom doesn’t look that nice, but hey, who sees it anyway? Only you, me, and the earthworms will know the difference, and I”m not telling! If the hole/crack seems too large cover the area with a coffee filter before adding soil.

Plants – Leggy Tomato Seedlings? No Problem!

A few weeks ago I planted four tomato seeds in each of fourteen Solo party cups. Most sprouted and I’ve already snipped away the extras leaving only two sprouts to continue growing. Snipping makes more sense than pulling the tiny plantlets up. There’s no chance of disturbing the remaining roots if you snip the sprout off near the soil.

Today I will choose the sturdiest plant in each cup and snip off the other. I also will add more soil to the cup, topping off near the rim. Did you know that tomato plants develop more roots along the stem if you plant them deep or add more soil?

Here’s a great article in the Spruce with good tips on growing excellent tomatoes:
Growing Strong Tomatoes

Plants – Forced Tulip Update

An update on the forced tulip bulbs: the gathering of bulbs bloomed in shades of red, pink and yellow; they bring joy into the house as they herald Spring.

The bulbs grew well in water, but those in sunlight are greener than the bunch on the kitchen table

Next year I plan to grow another package of forced bulbs in water, and when they begin to bloom transfer them to vases.

I found after blooming it was very easy to take the entire plant out of  water and place in a new receptacle. You are only limited by your imagination on how many unique places you can find to place these flowering bulbs.

The forced bulbs in potting soil grew best in a deep pot. The bulbs planted in shallow soil did very poorly, as the above photo demonstrates.

Will I force tulip bulbs in the bottom of my refrigerator again? Oh Yes!

You can read more on how to force Spring-blooming bulbs here: Bargains in the Clearance Aisle.

Photo Challenge – Crabby

Wow! I was very crabby last week when I couldn’t take a photo of this weather vane? The next time I drove in the same direction I remembered my camera and took a photo of Bobby Chez Famous Jumbo Lump Crabcakes. Oh my! While I was there I bought two of their crab cakes to heat up for dinner; they were spectacular. The key to good crab cakes is to mix in as few ingredients as possible and let the jumbo lump crab have the starring role. I am delighted that I live in an area where fresh crab is readily available.

Thanks to these bloggers for taking part last week:
Geriatri’x’fotogallery – Austrian Weather Vanes
The 59 Club – Weather Alert

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. 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. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Plants – Quick Grow!

I’m a firm believer in nicking and soaking large seeds for twenty-four hours to facilitate quicker sprouting. This year a few of my moonflower seeds, prepped by the nick/soak method, began growing while they were still soaking.

While the seeds were still in the water a small sprig of green emerged from the nicked area of the seed coat. Within a few days of soaking, the entire seed burst and a shoot emerged and began to grow.

The labels in the pot are the same makeshift markers I used last year: old window blinds snapped off into small pieces and labeled with a Sharpie marker.

Tomato seedlings are also growing fast. Today, every small hair on the stem and leaves was shiny in the brilliant sunshine. Did you know the hair on plants is called trichomes? It amused me to read that trichomes on plants are just as diverse as human hair.

“Trichomes can run the gamut in structure, appearance, and texture. Some trichomes are frail, some coarse; some are branched like tree limbs, others star-shaped; some are long and straight, others are short and curly.” Indiana Public Media

Perspective – Coming Attractions

I have observed the signs: the date on the calendar, felt the temperature rise, taken notice of longer daylight hours. I am assured Spring is coming soon. I’ve used this beautiful photo of a convolvulus flower and bee in a previous post, but this Sabbath Day seems a good time to revisit it and be reminded of coming attractions.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” ~ I Thessalonians 4:16-17

The Lord will come again.

Perspective – Bugs in the House

I made two mistakes when I picked up a cat food crumb off the carpet. First, the crumb was not a crumb at all! As I neared the kitchen trash can the piece of kibble began to move. I looked at what I held in my palm and instinctively threw it on the floor, a stink bug. I picked the bug up with a tissue, wrapped it like a mummy, and deposited it in the trashcan.

What was my second mistake?

Stink bugs are detestable but also awesome at the same time; the indestructible insect somehow unwrapped itself and climbed out of the trash can. I didn’t make the same mistake. I threw the stinker away again and sealed the trash bag. Victory!

I don’t like stink bugs, but I love ladybird beetles. They also find their way into the house in the winter, but are welcome guests. I found one on my tomato sprouts and was so enamored I took a dozen photographs of her as she traversed the top of the party cups. Sweet!

Pheathers – Spring-Cleaning

An ‘oddball‘ place to find a piece of Easter Grass.

The days are lengthening, the temperature is rising, the gardens are beginning to thaw, time to clean the birdhouses before birds begin nesting again. We removed the bottom of the birdhouse and discarded the debris left by the previous occupants. Two of the birdhouses were rather empty, causing me to wonder if birds have already begun renovating and tossed out the twigs inside. One house was still full of sticks and a small nest. We spotted a single sprig of Easter basket filler woven into the dried grass.

We rehung the birdhouses with new strips of leathers. The knots harden and don’t loosen up once they are wet by rain. Although they might hold up another year I like to change them when we clean the houses. The three birdhouses are ready for new life. I might add another one on a tripod near my back window as I have in the past. Birdhouses 101 advises to place houses at least five feet above the ground and keep each house twenty-five feet away from the others.

“Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us knows what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought-proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied memories, noble histories, faithful sayings, treasure houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb, nor pain make gloomy, nor poverty take away from us. ~ John Ruskin

This post is part of Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by Traveling at Wit’s End: Feathered Friends.

Photo Challenge & Pressed Flowers – A Departure From the Norm

I found a great weather vane last weekend, but didn’t have a camera with me. I drove back to the location on Monday, and NO, realized I had forgotten the camera. I will try again before next Wednesday, but for this week’s vane, I’m going to fall back on an old cliche: necessity is the mother of invention. Before you is that invention, a weather vane created with pressed flowers.

The flowers have been between the pages of books, in a dark closet, for 8 – 10 months. A few have faded, but I was surprised by the vivid color some blossoms and leaves retained. The flower names, bottom to top are: Alyssum, Pentis, Blue Lobelia, Marigold Florets, Johnny-Jump-Ups, white filler flower, (can’t remember the name) a Chasteberry leaf, separated for the pole, and some vine sprigs forming the vane.

The sweet bluebird was created from two petals of a beautiful blue Delphinium. A perfect fold in the petal created the bird’s wing, the darker discoloration at the tip resembles a beak. The tail was cut with small manicure/embroidery scissors into a bow shape. A small dot with a sharpie was all that I needed for the eye. While writing this post I suddenly realized my little bird almost resembles a fish. Perhaps my next pressed flower scene will be underwater. 😁

The letters…hmmm…a bit of a mystery??? No…I didn’t form them from vines. Trying to find and place curving pieces of stem and vine would have been a nightmare. Instead, I photographed the flower composition and used Ribbet to place the letters depicting north, south, east and west.

Thanks to these bloggers for taking part in last week’s challenge:
Dunrobin Hall Vane – Exploring Colour
Allendale and the Topper Site
Flying with wind – Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. 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. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Pressed Flowers – The Oddities of Pressing and Forced Tulip Update

Today I found an oak leaf with a beautiful section of skeletonized vein. The lacy leaf reminded me it’s time to take a walk in the woods and meadows to search for aged leaves and other oddities that will be good for flower-pressing.

When all the Autumn leaves disappeared this year I spotted a large hornet’s nest in a tree near our home. Every time I drove into my neighborhood my eyes were drawn to the nest. I have pressed hornet’s nest paper in the past and was hoping to have a chance to do so once again, but the nest hung on. I could see it was deteriorating and had little hope it would be usable when it fell.

This weekend, after another heavy rain, it slipped off the branch and hit the road. I saw it in time to collect it and just might be able to salvage some of the hornet-made paper to press. I don’t need to worry about eggs inside. I know only the queen survives and hibernates in bark or other crevices until it is warm enough to start a new nest. According to Pets on Mom.me, the hornet queen never returns to the old nest. I’m hoping to discover a way to slice the egg cell paper also, and will try to press that too; I love the pattern the hornets create.

Here’s a quick update on the tulip bulbs we forced. The bulbs in water and river rock are outpacing the bulbs planted in the shallow container of soil. I’ll update on bloom quality when they open up. My grandson was amazed when he visited a few days after planting the bulbs and saw how fast they had grown.

Pheathers – Phriday Pheathers/Bird Cam Time

It’s time to watch nesting hawks, cahows, hummingbirds, eagles, owls, etc.

PANAMA BIRD FEEDER LIVE CAM

You can find many more links on the Cornell Lab Live Cam pages across the top bar.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cams

HUMMINGBIRD NEST LIVE CAM

Explore Live Cams also has many links to live animal and bird cams.

Explore Live Cams

ISAIAH AND MRS JEFFERSON – EAGLE CAM AT DOLLYWOOD

CAUTION: You might find yourself addicted to these amazing cam sites. ❤