Put in a Nutshell – The End

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

Sometimes, even cutting back on an activity is not the right choice. It’s time to retire my blogging hat. I’ve been blogging since 2011, for a few of those years I posted daily, and the truth is I’ve run out of subjects and things to say. To avoid further repetition, and to give more time to other endeavors, the blog is now officially retired. Thanks so much for making these eight years rewarding and fun. Timelesslady

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #9

The brokenness of the quote makes it hard to read. If the pieces were aligned and cemented together they would read as Corrie Ten Boom intended…

“Be united with other Christians. A wall with loose bricks is not good. The bricks must be cemented together.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom

This week’s Color Your World Challenge is Brick-Red. I enjoyed playing with both the color and the visual of bricks. Thanks Tourmaline for the challenge.

I have read many times that butterflies enjoy feeding from rotting fruit. When my grape tomatoes split I toss them into a nearby pot until I have a chance to throw them away. I let a few sit several days this week. I will leave them to rot from this time forth: black swallowtail butterflies have been feasting on the rotting tomatoes. This one seemed so enamored by its feast we questioned whether it was still alive. It was, and didn’t even flit away when we took a close-up look.

Bricks, especially novelty bricks, make a good place for hardy portulaca to grow.

The hummingbirds are in love with my brick-red firecracker plants. I’ve grown them as a short hedge in previous years, but the hummingbirds seems to prefer the two I am growing in hanging baskets. Next year, I will grow them in hanging baskets again, but will also add a draping flower around the edge of the pot.

I missed seeing these whopper cucumbers until I pulled out my vines. Since the vines were especially productive, easy to grow, and the cucumbers delicious, I decided to let them ripen in hopes of saving the seeds for next year’s gardens.

My homemade tomato sauce recipe is a shade of brick red, prompting me to share my recipe for leftover spaghetti.

LEFTOVER SPAGHETTI PIE (8 or 9 inch pie pan)
(Wax paper makes it easier to remove contents if you need the pie pan for another recipe. This step is optional.)
Slice meatballs or sausage thinly to cover bottom.

Spread leftover spaghetti over meatballs.

Add parmesan, asiago, pizza cheese mix, romano….any cheese you have on hand will do.

Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes, or do as I did and cover with foil and freeze. These are great to pull out of the freezer, defrost, and eat when you don’t feel like cooking. Happy Eating and have a blessed week.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #8

When I feel everything is going awry: the world around me, the ills of society, life’s circumstances, relationships, and more; my faith grows stronger when I remember God’s promises and the fulfillment of them through Jesus Christ and the workings of the Holy Spirit.

It’s been a good year for growing coleus. Coleus are a great indicator of how light levels affect plants. The leaves in the photograph are all part of the same plant. The leaf with the lovely markings and pretty blush of pink grew outdoors for a few months. I loved the markings and the colors so much, I cut a piece away to root in water on my front windowsill. Although less sun created better rooting conditions, the top leaves of the coleus are duller in color and markings because of the lower light levels. The plant is potted now and on a sunnier windowsill, I’m expecting the blush of pink to return on future leaves. The pink blush of this coleus leaf is part of this week’s Color Your World Challenge – Blush.

I cherish this beautiful Fenton Glass Pink Coin Dot vase that once belonged to my grandmother; perfect for the color challenge in shades of blush. Inside I have an old-fashioned bouquet to match the vintage vase.

I also cherish this stuffed pink poodle my oldest grandson won in a claw trap game for me. These games, often found in restaurant waiting areas and arcades, are usually impossible to win. The secret: only play the ones with a guaranteed prize at the end. We paid $3.00 versus the usual $1.00, but the prizes inside were definitely worth the higher price along with the assurance that everyone wins.

Coral Nymph Salvia is a favorite of mine. I love the delicate blush and coral shade of the pink petals. Hummingbirds love this nectar-producing flower. The plant produces easily harvested seeds and also naturalizes for me each year.

The Flower of the Day is the Blush Pink Zinnia. I was able to save seeds last year from the mother plant and the offspring came back true to the original with no color change. If the goldfinches don’t strip all the seeds away this year, I will save the seeds again and keep the blushing pink beauty growing on each year.

I drove away from my mind everything capable of spoiling the sense of the presence of God…. I just make it my business to persevere in His holy presence… My soul has had an habitual, silent, secret conversation with God. ~ Brother Lawrence

Defeating anxiety and worry is not a battle for the faint-hearted. It takes courage and perseverance and a determined turning away from Satan’s relentless attacks and negative thinking. The quote by Brother Lawrence reminds me that sometimes peace must be fought for by driving away what would extinguish peace within me. I wish you a peaceful week full of God’s blessings.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #7

The color for this week’s Color Your World Challenge is Blue-Violet.

I created the back drop for the encouraging verse from Philippians by blurring this photograph of my garden’s nepata (catmint), also known as perennial catnip. The plant bloomed in early spring. After I cut back the spent blossoms it sent out more buds and has flowered again in the heat of summer.

Blue Lobelia, also known as Blue cardinal flower, blooms in August when most flowers have begun to fade away. The hundreds of blossoms on the tall spikes draw butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Blue Lobelia is my Flower of the Day.

Another great blue-violet garden plant that naturalizes is Browallia americana. It grows easily in full sun or partial shade.

Years ago I filed away an article from Birds and Blooms magazine on Mothing. I couldn’t find the article online but found another with similar information: Finding Moths/National Moth Week.

Before the grandchildren arrived, we hung a white tablecloth on the clothesline and shone a blacklight on it when the sun went down.

We were hoping for large, spectacular moths, but only had a few small ones visit the light. I think the peak time for spotting the larger moths has passed by with the end of July.

Out best moth was this one, rather plain variety, but the grandchildren were pleased to have a look at this one up close.

The most exciting moment in the evening was realizing this large garden spider was using one of our chairs as a tether point for his web. Yikes!

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #6

Wild grapes remind me of my childhood. I often spent a week or two of summer vacation with my maternal grandparents in western Pennsylvania. My grandfather had a big garden and some fruit trees. Near his small orchard grove he had a trellis with vines of wild grapes climbing on it.

I remember being disappointed by the taste of the wild grapes, seedy and sour. Whatever my impression of the grapes was, I wish I was back in time, at Granny and Pap-pap’s, stuffing wild grapes in my mouth, running all over the back yard with my sisters and cousins, all the while spitting grapes at each other with gusto. When I smell wild grapes on my morning walks in late summer/early autumn, I am taken back to those perfect summer days.

Remembering the love of my family reminds me of the love of my Father in Heaven. Recently, while having a conversation about God with my seven year old grandson, I told him God was within us and never leaves us. He suddenly dropped his chin, stared at his own chest and said, “Hello God.” What faith! The amazing, incomparable belief of a small child! I pray that kind of unshakable belief and love is what God sees in me when he searches my heart.

“And he (Jesus) said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

I’ve had interesting visitors to my yard in shades of brown and orange. A box turtle took a stroll through my grass, stayed long enough for me to photograph and annoy him with my attention, and then disappeared into the ivy border.

Happily, the garden has been visited by Monarch butterflies daily in the past week.

I was thrilled to see one laying its white cone-like eggs on my ornamental milkweed. The variety is called Silky Gold Milkweed and is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge. I’ve been pleased with the growth and display of this beautiful plant.

The spent flowers, when pollinated, produce pods full of seeds much like wild milkweed.

I’ve been able to save seeds to plant next Spring.

I’ve taken dozens of Monarch photographs this week…the one I captured of a Monarch in flight is a favorite. Have a blessed week.

The blue-green of the grape leaves is part of this week’s Color Your World Challenge.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #5

The God who splashes pink sunrise clouds across the sky to begin the new day created us to be unique…authentically designed!

I’ve been re-reading ‘Dear Theo’ by Irving Stone. This time, as the words of Vincent describe to Theo a painting or sketch, I look up the subject/painting in a retrospective I have on Van Gogh. The talented writing of Vincent comes to life through his paintings. I love this quote—

“I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.”
― Vincent Van Gogh

I want to take the words of the verse and quote to heart and always be authentic.

Blue Globe Thistle (Echinops bannaticus) grows in my garden as a reliable perennial. I started the plants from seed, and at this time have two growing in my summer gardens. They aren’t prolific bloomers, at least not yet, but the globes last for weeks, and the flowers for several days. Blue Globe Thistles are a good choice for Cee’s Flower of the Day in shades of Blue Bell, the Color Your World Challenge this week.

Other flowers blooming in Blue Bell shades are Blue Lobelia, Torenia, and Hydrangeas.

Burning Bush turns flame red in the Autumn.

After all the blues it’s time for a rainbow of color. The pictures can’t capture all the nuances of the coleus. Some twist and turn and are as ruffled as a pleated collar. Others are flat-leafed, with leaves so large they are longer and wider than my size 7 foot. Several are tiny with long fingers on their edges, the leaves are the size of a half dollar. The flowers are beginning to emerge, and the bees are pollinating; a new crop of seeds is beginning to form.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #4

The quote above is from C.H. Spurgeon. I added his words to a macro photograph of one of God’s most delicate works, the colorful scales on a yellow swallowtail’s wing.

When I’m face to face with God’s creatures or admiring the beauty of His earth, I am reminded that He came to earth in the Person of his Son to bring us SALVATION full and free. I learn so much from the quotes of Spurgeon and other men of God. You can read more of Spurgeon’s words from the excerpt it came from on Truth to Freedom’s Blog.

The Color Your World Challenge from Tourmaline for this week is Blue.

Unplanned decorating in shades of blue was a recent surprise for me. I placed a case of small water bottles in a kitchen crock to have them handy for chilling in the refrigerator. I was so pleased with their appealing blue glow I decided I must always keep the crock filled through the warmer months.

A grouping of objects relational to each other through color, function or design can be a fun focal point.

The author of Priorhouse Blog once gave me a tip on using Dr. Bronner’s Mint Soap as a scrub. I haven’t bought the soap as of yet, but I did find a lotion by the same company. It’s fabulous…not heavy or too fragrant, nicely minty and rubs in without leaving a greasy feel.

I haven’t taken part in Norm’s Thursday Doors for quite awhile, and this week’s color challenge afforded me the perfect opportunity. This is the back yard view of my neighbors blue garage door. There once was a six foot fence between us, but it has been taken down; I love the expanded view of nature I have now. The bougainvillea on the border of our yards reminds me of Jamaica. In most parts of Jamaica the plant grows wild along the roadways and is also cultivated as hedges. Originally bought in a hanging basket it was impossible to keep watered. It’s doing much better in a large earthenware pot. My bougainvillea is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

I wanted to include a bit of the local wildlife/birds in my post. My days aren’t complete unless I take notice of the creatures, trees, flowers and foliage the Lord God has created. I thought these three starlings on a bare branch were worthy of a photo for Skywatch.

I put together a trio of angels for my porch this week. A very easy project using oyster and clam shells along with amazing GOOP glue. You could use any type of shell for this project. I was inspired by the many types of shell angels on Pinterest.

A simple wire hook on the back makes the angels easy to hang.

Lastly, a bit of old-fashioned whimsy. In times past stilts were a popular sight at fairs and carnivals. Nowadays, it’s rare to see someone on stilts walking with such ease in the middle of town on Friday night. This photograph, part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge, was taken in Pitman, New Jersey, on Fourth Friday.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays #3

We’ve been having some major storms, tree limbs down, streets turned into rivers, power outages, but whatever the circumstances around me, inside, I want to be rejoicing and praising God.

I’m hoping to take part through the coming year in Tourmaline’s Color Your World Challenge, this week the theme color is black.

Each day, before the heat becomes too great and my resolve to have healthy habits melts, I take a morning walk. One of my daily jaunts found me walking the path beside Glen Lake. Beautiful dragonflies shimmer as they rest upon the bushes and reeds surrounding the water.

My coffee reflects the sky and the trees above me and becomes part of this week’s Skywatch Friday Challenge. Drinking coffee black has health benefits. I switched over from adding sugar and milk to drinking it black over a decade ago. I never have stomach upset as I sometimes did when adding milk and sugar. Black coffee is amazing!

The dark water around the lilypads seems colorless, but I see reflections and swirls and I begin to feel a little of Monet’s spirit prompting a bit of creative watercolor daydreaming.

I’ve been harvesting herbs and flowers to use in cooking and crafts. After drying in the dehydrator I give them added air time on a sweater hanger in a closet.

I am still sowing seeds. It’s too hot for tender greens outdoors so I am growing them in a sunny window. Arugula, Mesclun and Black-Seeded Simpson Lettuce are sprouting well. I’ll grow and thin them indoors and eat them as microgreens.

My winter sown pansies are still growing and blooming in the intense heat of July. They are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day. The deep purple of this pansy mimics the color black.

I’m reading two books at this time and listening to a third. Erik Larsons book, In the Garden of Beasts, tells the historical facts surrounding the beginning of Germany’s rise to power and the people involved. The story is told through the experiences of William Edward Dodd, Ambassador to Germany prior to the start of WWII, and his daughter, Martha.

I just started reading a book on techniques for saving seeds, Starting and Saving Seeds, by Julie Thompson-Adolf. My third book is an audio choice, read beautifully by LeVar Burton; the biography of Fred Rogers is creating in me an even greater admiration for the man and the path he forged for educational television.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!




Put in a Nutshell – A Month of Sundays #2

I love the resiliency of Queen Anne’s Lace. It is considered an invasive weed by some, but I find its lacy petals and ferny foliage beautiful.

Although it looks delicate, it’s one tough plant. It can grow just about anywhere. This blossom is part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

The Queen Anne’s lace is growing near the docks on the Fortescue Creek. This photo is part of Skywatch.

Saturday morning we went fishing at the Delaware Bay. Rose hips, growing on the sand dunes near the water, are another plant with great resiliency. I find the fruit of the wild roses beautiful against the rustic slats of the dune fences.

The air was filled with beautiful dragonflies finding resting spots on tall stems and trees. Unfortunately, another not so nice insect was also buzzing around…the Greenheads have arrived. If you don’t know what I mean by a Greenhead Fly, and have never been bitten by one, consider yourself very lucky! We have found that Avon Skin So Soft mixed half and half with water works great in keeping all kinds of biting insects off of us when we are outdoors. If you want to know more about Greenhead Flies, Yankee Magazine has a great article: Greenhead Flies.

A bit of a drama played out in front of me while I searched for photo opportunities. A very old gull seemed to study me. I know the wiliness of gulls when food is involved. My husband has had a hoagie and french fires snatched out of his hands by gulls flying past.  I think the gull realized I was lacking any type of food and he sauntered away.

The next time I saw him he was helping himself to a fisherman’s bait board.

The fisherman, realizing he was an old bird, was so kind, and gently shooed him away. I was touched to see him cut away a piece of his bait and throw it out to gull as he swam in the water. I think this gull deserves to be part of Bird of the Day.

Later we thought we saw the fisherman pull in a fish. I sure hope it was a big one; he deserved it for his kindness.

I don’t have any projects going on right now, I’m too tied up with gardening and outdoor activities, but a few ideas are percolating around in my head. I can feel the itch to start something new beginning to take hold. Maybe I’ll paint a portrait of this Cabbage White Butterfly. I love the detail of his eyes and antennae as he sips nectar from my lavender blooms. The creativity of God in even the simplest of creatures always brings me a sense of awe and praise. This photo is part of Sunday Stills – Creatures and Critters with Wings.

If you have Haagen-Dazs ice cream in your area sample their Sea Salt Caramel Truffle flavor. The lid says it’s a limited edition. I think I’m going to have to write a letter and beg them to keep making it. It’s AMAZING! I think the only thing that could make it better is to scoop it out with Pepperidge Farm’s Chessmen cookies.

I’m a big believer in going barefoot outdoors even into old age if you are able. Barefoot is Best – this is a fact you can easily prove for yourself. Feeling blue? Take your shoes off and walk in sand, water, grass, or even on bare ground. This process is called ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding.’ I’m a believer! This week I felt especially buoyant when I walked barefoot on a rainy day. More information can be found here: Benefits of Going Barefoot. Try it, the only drawback is dirty feet!

That’s pretty much my week. I wonder what the new one will bring? I’m happy to have my computer back from the shop. The problem was the power cord, worn out after years of use. It was a reasonably priced repair, and I’m very grateful for that too. It’s much easier to blog on a larger keyboard. I love my tablet but using it to write posts is difficult. Until next time…

Put in a Nutshell – A Year of Sundays – An Explanation

I struggled to find the perfect ‘p’ or ‘q’ word as a category for my new blogging format. After considering the words pause, pared down, and even pruned, I decided on this sweet little cliche that perfectly describes future blog posts.

“Put in a nutshell- To summarize or describe something in only a few words.” ~The Free Dictionary

Putting things in a nutshell is what I hope to do with my blogging endeavors in the next year. I came close to completely stepping away from the blog for a year or two. Instead I decided on condensing the posts I might make in a week to one quick-reading version. Some weeks might only consist of a photograph or a quote, other weeks might find me a bit more long-winded. The only thing I can promise is I will begin writing, ‘A Year of Sundays,’ this week.

One motivation behind the new format is the realization that I circle around and back to the same scenes, flowers, projects and garden hints over and over again. In short, I’m running out of unique ideas. The new technique will be a weekly diary of sorts.

One of the good outcomes I hope to reap from this decision is more time to read YOUR AMAZING BLOGS. Thanks so much for the support through the years. Kathy