Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's UP with these cucumbers?!

                                      OK.. I won't plant this variety again!

Have you ever seen so many shapes of cucumbers
to come off of the same plant?

Some are straight ...  Some are crooked.....

And the strangest thing of all is that they are FUZZY !!
Who grows - Much less EATS
a fuzzy cucumber!

Unfortunately, I didn't save the tag to know what kind this was.
I just wanted to put up a few jars of pickles
and have a few to cut up in a salad.

                 I guess I'll consult the Burpee catalog next time around.
                          Starting to close this post,  I am reminded -
                                     "Give Thanks in ALL things"!
                       Peeled, they taste just like a regular cucumber
                           and they grew despite the heat & bugs!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Glass Totems of my OWN!

( http://www.bhg.com/decorating/do-it-yourself/)
A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of glass totems that I found on the internet like this picture on my Pinterest board.

 This got me "hooked" and let me just say - these are FUN to make!

The addicting part is that now every time I see a piece of cut-glass (vase/bowl/saucer) or ceramic vases, I can envision it turned upside down and glued to another piece! OH MY!

Here are a few I've made .... I think I have enough in my own garden for now ,,,

This one has a salt shaker on top, then an upside-down ashtray, a green juice glass, a candy dish then glued to a green glass vase.

Can you make out the different pieces ?

Check out the blue one now and see what I used to make it ...

This time I have a blue ceramic bell on top of an upside-down candy dish, on a blue votive holder, on an oriental bowl, on top of a clear glass plate, glued to a glass light fixture placed on top of a blue ceramic plate glued to an upside down vase!

                  Get the idea?

But I couldn't stop ... I just had to try a few more .....

                             This one uses plates, a vase, a voitve candle holder,
                                a flower coaster and a ceramic bird to top it off.

Wouldn't these make cute gifts to give away to friends who like to garden?
(Besides, I need to find a way to use up all those glass items I bought at the
Goodwill  store & now have WAY more than I can use in my own yard !)
If you missed my earlier post about how to make these - scroll down to find
the original article on April 27th. They aren't hard to make but they do take time to let the adhesive set up.
TIPS I learned when making them:
- faceted glass will sparkle more than plain glass and looks better for totems
- metal doesn't glue very well to glass so you need to use a different kind of adhesive made especially for this
- the taller the totem, the longer the post that must be driven into the ground to support the weight of the glass on top

If you've made some, I'd love to see your pictures too or hear your tips for making them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not All Caterpillars Are Created Equal

Two months ago I posted a picture of my newly planted tomato plant that had been eaten by a dreaded "tomato horn-worm".

I almost missed him ... he was so camouflaged that I allowed him to grow fat while eating all my tomato leaves!

Here's a CLOSE-UP in case you still missed him ...

I thought that sad little tomato plant was ruined ...

I even posted on a garden forum and asked if it would
re-grow leaves or would it be better to start over with a new plant and I was told ...
"Start Over"!

Well, since the theme of my new year is "HOPE,"
I decided that I would replant this little struggler into a different spot in my yard and see what would happen .....

and here it is today - with lots of leaves, lots of flowers
and EVEN some new tomatoes coming on despite our intense heat!!

           So imagine my concern when I went out to check my garden
           this morning having just examined my dill plant a week ago ....
                                           which looked like this:

                                                  But today looks like this:

                                                        Need a close-up?

          My 1st instinct was to swat them off the plant thinking about all those
                        leaves and beautiful flowers they were devouring ...
                     but them I realized - these are MONARCH caterpillars!!

                                                         Go Ahead -
                                                  MUNCH AWAY!
                                   Psalm 27: 13 "I am still confident of this:
                    I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shoes on the Porch

(Photo from Pinterest)
What do you do with your shoes on the porch?
I can't help it - the backyard gardens call to me when I get up in the morning
... and when I get home from work
... and after supper when the sun is going down ....

and every time I head out the door, I seem to have on a different pair of shoes.
I think it'd be a good idea to have "garden" shoes

or at least change from my good shoes and put on a "garden" pair to step off the porch ....

No matter what shoes I've been wearing, I try to take them off at the door when I come in the house because invariably, I've stepped in some dirt, walked thru a puddle, or picked up some grass in the soles.

Before long, I realize I have a pile of shoes by the door
- waiting to dry or be cleaned off.
I found some cute photos on Pinterest of shoes on the porch
- somehow these look more interesting than mine do
(from http://shannonfricke.blogspot.com/)

Maybe it's the dog or cat hanging out with the shoes that makes it cute .. or the decor?

Do "critters" lurk inside my tennis shoes? Have spiders slept there at night?

I really do need to find a neater way to keep them on the porch instead
of in a random pile -

and I'd love some suggestions to make them look cuter ..  minus the animals :-)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My FAITH & My Garden are Growing!

One of my favorite quotes is "who plants a seed beneath the sod, and waits to see, believes in God".That's me! Last year at this time, with the encouragement of family & friends, I had faith that all those little seeds I was planting would sprout, that those seedlings I was planting really would produce blossoms that would become vegetables, and that in my little plot of a backyard, I could grow a garden that would give me more pleasure than grief.
And take a look - MY FAITH IS GROWING!

Here is what my backyard looked like a year ago when I first moved in ...

a big square rectangle of grass with one small "eyebrow" garden"
(that's my term for the growing space in the corner.of the yard)

notice the grass under the window on the left -
there was no flower bed there when I moved in

                              and there was a pathetic looking bare patch of weeds
                                             under the lone tree in the yard
                                      with the bare roots of the tree exposed
                     (and there were no petrified wood pieces to define the space)

                             (with one stray sunflower from a birdseed dropping)

              here was my cinder block garden when it was first built in late March ...

                              and here it is now producing vegetable and flowers

..                                      what's a garden bed without flowers!


                                    now, a year later, this is what I get to look at
                           when I step out onto my back porch in the mornings...
                                      It's still a long way from being finished
                          since I have to be frugal and can't do too much all at once
            and it's certainly not as beautiful as those gardens I see in magazines but ...

Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". These verses are speaking about Jesus & knowing for certain that His words are true - even though we face hardships & failures. But it applies to other areas of our life as well and as for me and my garden, I have the pics to prove it!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Garden Produce - a "snacks" worth!

The one thing I'm learning from gardening this year is that I won't gain any weight or need a bushel basket to collect my vegetable bounty!
Almost 2 months ago I planted the following starter plants in my cinder block raised bed:
3 tomato, 4 okra, 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, 6 cucumber, 1/2 pkg of green bean seeds, and a lot of flower seeds (these were just to make it pretty!)

Maybe I was overly optimistic - I envisioned not needing to travel to the local farmer's market or needing to peruse the produce isle at the grocery all summer.

I finally did my 1st "picking" .... and I got
3 cucumbers and 3 beans ... and 2 green tomatoes!

I guess I wasn't thinking too well - or maybe I just haven't given it enough time - or maybe a small vegetable garden is meant just for "snacking"!
There is a zucchini coming along nicely ...

.... and a couple of okra are on the plant
(it turns out that I bought purple okra!)

I don't have enough to eat a whole meal from all of this .. 
but looking on the bright side:

I've gotten lots of exercise hauling blocks and dirt and bending and stooping;
I've gotten a suntan working out in the yard during the heat of the day;
I've gotten over my fear of squashing tomato hornworms,
and to top it all off -

it's been a LOT of fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Winds of Change

Sometimes you can just feel that God is moving you in a different direction and that you need to be considering doing other things. The statement “you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect to get different results” is so very true.

Sometimes God moves people in and out of your life – forcing you to make some changes that you need to make.This week, my beautiful daughter-in-law graduated and moved to be with her husband full-time! I’m so happy for them but it sure will be quiet around my home for now.
Winds of change often create “music of a different tune” – not bad – just different than we are used to. And the best thing is that God is behind it all and has a plan and a purpose in it.
Speaking of winds – Click here to check out these cool wind music instruments made of plastic bottles. You can even LISTEN to the sounds they make on this site! Do you think I’d drive my neighbors crazy if they emit an eerie sound on a windy night? The good thing about getting older and not hearing so well anymore is that they won’t be bothering me :-)

This photo of painted bottles came from Pinterest

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Not ALL Visitors are Welcome!

 Sometimes visitors drop by and we are so excited to see them.

Today I went thru a stroll of my vegetable garden and look who else came to visit…..
Little Lady Bug on my dill plant

But then I noticed I’d had other visitors that were NOT invited nor welcome ..

Something stripped the leaves off my tomato plant branches!
They didn’t stay around to visit – just took what they wanted and left.
Isn't there enough to share so I shouldn't care if they wanted what is mine?
That may be true of people – the Bible says “"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20

But does it apply to gardens?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Over the top!

Oh My! I've found myself making a file folder (on Pinterest, of course) of things I want to make or do with my grandchildren one day.
Today I found a website at SheKnows.com that shows how to make Cinco de Mayo cookies

Who wouldn't love these!!

Next year (it might take me a year to make them!) I'll be ready to WOW my little granddaughter (and probably my whole family and myself as well!)

What "OVER THE TOP" things have you done for your grandkids?

Monday, April 30, 2012

It's the little things ...

It was a typical Monday - hard to get out of bed - hard to get excited about going to work - and no milk in the refrig  :-(  
But, it turned out to be a productive day at the office and because it was busy - the day went fast and before I knew it - I was headed home to see if anything had miraculously grown up in my garden.

To my suprise - I have blooms on my cucumber plants! Now I know this isn't earth shattering - but it's big excitement for me. It means that all my hard-earned money and time put into making this veggie garden hasn't been a waste - I have hope! There are going to be veggies growing in this bed someday!

And in the meantime - I have fresh basil and oregano growing! Click on over to "My Personal Garden" page (link at the top) and you can see the progress!

Here's a peek ..... 

                                                                    .... and yes, I did make those teepee trellis' !!

Thanks to my friend, Bill B., I now know how to tie a Boy Scout knot called a "clover knot" and how to lash sticks together

                - I think that's worthy of a scouting badge!
                  Do they give them out to Grandma's?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Garden Glass Totems

I'm finally back home and am enjoying getting to work in my yard again. It gives me great pleasure to sit out on the back porch and watch the birds, see what's growing and "be still" for a bit and try to listen to what God is trying to tell me for the day.

This week I decided that I needed to bring some "homey-ness" into my backyard. Some people call it "yard art" and the internet is full of sites that show you how creative you can be by copying what others have done to dress up their gardens.
One such project is called "Glass Totems". They are simple and fun to make. Essentially, these are arrangements of colored or clear glass items (bowls, candle holders, vases, plates, ash trays, candy dishes, etc.) that are stacked and glued together to make a sun-catcher ornament to tuck among the plants in a flower bed.
To make one you need to go on a "treasure hunt" for items you might have around the house that you can use, check out garage sales for inexpensive odd glassware, or browse a flea market or junk store for colorful, clear, pottery, or milkglass pieces that would look good stacked together. The ones that work best are heavier pieces that have a very flat base so that pieces will stack together nicely. I found that the glass ones are prettier (and have more sparkle) if you use faceted glass (inexpensive cut glass) or pieces with some pattern to it.
You'll also need a tube of GE Silicone II (clear) for Windows and Doors. You can buy this at the local hardware store or Walmart but be sure and check the expiration date on the tube to make sure you are getting a fresh tube.
And lastly, you'll need a piece of rebar, copper tube, PVC pipe or stake to mount your totem on to show it off in your garden bed.
Now for the fun part - assemble your glass pieces, and start stacking them in an arrangement that looks good to you. Remember, some pieces will be used upside down on your totem - others used right side up.
You will need to wash each piece and dry it completety before you begin to glue the pieces together. (this is not a picture of my living room, by the way!)

After you get your "totem" pieces arranged as you like them, use a thin line of glue to put 2 pieces together at a time. Keeping the glue from coming out too thick of a bead depends on how you cut the end off of the tube. Cut it near the tip and at an angle and it won't come out in a blob - as long as you keep the tube moving.

Glue in sections, let dry completely (24 hrs), then put all the pieces together to make whole "totem" unit. (Now for the hard part) ....When the totem is complete, let it dry for a full week before putting it outside in the garden bed. This will help it last through the heat, cold, rain or snow (!) and assure that the pieces will not come unglued over time.

Mounting instructions using copper tubing, pvc pipe or stakes is explained in greater detail (along with some of the pictures in this post) at a wonderful site on the internet at http://www.gardensandcrafts.com/totems.html.
Here are some of my favorite examples that I found on sites all over the internet to show you how creative you can be with this project ... but let me warn you ... it can be addictive!!
This one was made using a clear bud vase - turned upside down, then a silverplated bowl - turned upside down on top of that, then add a candy dish (inverted) then top it off with a small bowl.

Getting the idea ??
Check out some more ....

This is NOT a picture of my yard ... yet :-)

When I get my totems finished, I'll post some of my very own pictures and show you my flower beds "adorned.