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.

Project – Tin Can Upcycle Part III

I’m grateful for the requests I’ve had for a part three of this project to show how the tin can rack was put together. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I kept my eyes open for wiry baskets for weeks when I visited thrift stores. I found a set in the local Goodwill for $3.99.

I used a Shepherd’s hook for my hanging apparatus and placed it near the corner of the porch where I intended to display the cans. This was a providential choice explained later in the post.

Painting the cans was easy. Rain also created a ‘happy accident’ while they dried.’

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Bob Ross

The moisture, on paint not yet set, rippled the finish, and gave the cans a crackled appearance without the purchase of an expensive crackle medium.

Leather strips, purchased long ago in a large bag of scraps, were the best choice for hanging the cans. I threaded them through the side holes and knotted the ends. Leather is durable and withstands tearing on the sharp edges of the can as they pass through.

My hardest problem to solve was how to hang the cans on the rack. Threading the leather strips around the weave of the baskets was an option, but if a plant dies, I want to be able to remove the can, re-pot with another, and attach to the rack again. S-hooks would work, but are expensive; I searched for an alternative. I found this in a 12-pack of wire shower hooks. These were inexpensive, easy to use, and matched well when sprayed with a coat of matte black spray paint. I needed 2 packs of these.

A few baskets seemed wobbly at their junctures, so I strengthened them with long plastic strip ties and cut the extra length away once attached.

I ran into a problem once I had the cans planted; the weight of all eighteen was too heavy for the Shepherd’s hook and the structure began to lean forward. NO! An oversized eye screw was needed to stabilize the contraption. This is where my location proved providential. I attached the eye screw into the wooden porch railing and secured the Shepherd’s hook with two plastic strip ties.

Out of necessity I will check each plant daily. The growing area is small and will dry out quickly. Updates will be posted later in the season. This strange tower of wire baskets and cans is certainly worthy of being entered into Kammie’s Oddball Challenge.

Place – Spring Walk/Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City Boardwalk North

Spring’s warm weather brings hundreds of Shoobies to Ocean City to walk the boards. Shoobie is a slang term for daytrippers who visit the Jersey shore for a day or weekend. I’m not ashamed to admit the moniker ‘Shoobie’ can often be applied to me.

It’s sometimes difficult to decide which way to turn on the boardwalk, but our starting point is usually Ninth Street. Why? Ninth street is where our favorite pizza place, Manco and Manco, is located.

Ocean City Boardwalk South

If you don’t want to walk you can pull up a seat on a surrey.

It might seem odd to find a library on the beach, but I think it’s a great idea. I’ve seen these small book exchange boxes in local towns, but this is the first beach library I’ve seen.

We stopped at the neighboring town of Strathmere on the way home. Walking the beach we took notice of an area on the edge of the dunes. Cordoned off with wire, signs warned against entering the area due to endangered birds nesting in the area. I love shore birds and was glad to see their nesting area was protected. I hope they will nest and rear their young before even more Shoobies arrive in the summer.

This post is part of Jo’s Monday Walk.

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 – Side Roads and Odd Menageries

“Take the back roads instead of the highways.” ~ Minnie Pearl

In late winter, we often find ourselves driving down side roads. All of our tried and true winter activities have usually been visited and we like to try a few voluntary detours off our usual paths. Over the last few weekends we’ve collected quite an assortment of oddities while searching for weather vanes. The selected vane for this week is hard to see against the thick bramble of branches. We think it is an Irish Setter and we wouldn’t be surprised if one is in residence in the home below.

As we were driving I spotted this scare wolf. At first glance I thought it was alive. It took a moment, and the zoom lens on the camera, to see the pole holding him up. My husband thought we had spotted this oddity on past trips.

The farmer who owns this field should consider a scare animal of some type too. I’ve never seen so many wild turkeys in one place. I can imagine the damage they would do to just-seeded crops or sprouts.

This beautiful angel and surroundings are a natural black and white photograph without any tweaking, perfect for Cee’s black and white challenge: tender moments. She is in a graveyard, a monument to a General who died in 1906. The angel’s wing has been lost to erosion or vandalism, but it is no less beautiful for the loss.

A last image of our trips down side roads is this sand plant in South Jersey. The plant is still functioning, but many of it’s buildings are on the verge of falling down in one of our N’orEaster storms. I thought this building a good example of abandoned architecture.

Thanks to these bloggers for taking part in last week’s challenge:
Exploring Colour – Waipapa Point Lighthouse
Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery – Weathercocks
The 59 Club – Wider Than a Mile

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!

Plantings – The Joy of Pink/Kammie’s Oddball Challenge

Every year one of my gardening goals is to try one new and unique vegetable or flower. This year I chose pink celery from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

I won’t be at fault if the celery doesn’t grow. Although I’ve never grown celery before, I’m planning to start it three ways. The package says to begin 8 – 12 weeks before the last frost. That time is now. Last night I planted the celery in a milk carton for winter sowing. Tonight I will plant it in flats to grow under lights inside. Lastly, when the soil warms, I will try a few seeds directly in the soil.

Pink Celery…I think it odd enough to be part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge this week. I can’t wait to show this oddball vegetable to my grand-daughters and their mother…they all love pink!

Quick Tip – Sprouts!

The first snowfall was pretty, but also makes me resigned to the long winter ahead. For those of you who, like me, enjoy standing in the garden eating peas right out of the pod, I’m posting a reminder about sprouts. I love sprouts. The batch above was especially delicious, although definitely odd in appearance, when I used them on hummus for lunch this week. The meal might look a trifle strange, but it is full of health benefits and a good percentage of your daily vitamins and minerals.

Amazingly, the sprouting seeds I used were purchased in 2015 from The Sprout House through Amazon. After three years almost all the seeds in the packet I chose to use still sprouted. The Sprout House offers an amazing variety packet that will last for months, if not years.

“There are tremendous health benefits from including sprouts in your diet: … Vitamin, such as A, B, C and E, and essential fatty acid nutrients increase in sprouting and minerals bind to protein, making them more easily absorbed. Sprouts alkalize the body and protect it from disease including cancer.” ~Longevity Wellness Worldwide

The Sprout House on Amazon. Here’s the link to the variety package I purchased in 2015. You can also find smaller products through Amazon offered by The Sprout House.

This post is part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge

Photo Challenge – What is That?

On Saturday, during our walk at the Tall Pines State Preserve, a forest filled with beautiful pines and deciduous trees, we came upon a beautiful lake. We noticed a strange bird, or large bug of some kind, hovering over the water. Could it be a late-season hummingbird?

I took out my camera and zoomed in.

And zoomed again even closer…

There it hung, a lure cast too close to the tree branches. It will probably hang for years on the ultra-durable monofilament fishing line. Unless of course someone like me, who doesn’t mind getting wet feet, wades out and cuts it down.

We have quite a collection of washed-up fishing lures collected from beaches we visit. The photo shows our largest find. It is about six inches long and has gigantic hooks. It hangs on our back porch year round, far out of reach and beyond the height of anyone’s head. One day I’m hoping to make it the stationary piece of a ‘found lure’ mobile or wind chime.

I wonder if the Tall Pine’s lure will still be hanging when I visit again.

This post is part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge.