Monday, February 25, 2008

Keep Them Out of the Garden!

Wouldn't you like to try a little something different? Test your reflexes! I know they're sheep, but they COULD be rabbits! ;-)

Just say you're getting ready for Spring critter prevention.

(I've been a good Sluggish Snail, a happy Bobbing Bobcat, and a rare Rocketing Rabbit. ha.)

How did you do?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wildflowers in Winter Meme - Week 6

This week's subject is to be artwork.
Something created by ourselves and/or someone else.
It must feature wildflowers.

This week I'm sharing a photo of a pen and ink drawing, I created, of a fairly typical Iowa prairie entitled "My Iowa." The original was done by commission for a friend nearly a year ago. Since then, we agreed to make 200 signed and numbered prints available for sale to benefit the local Art Association. We have a new Civic and Convention Center in which the Art Association is housed. Due to this new location, a number of "wants and needs" have been identified. Thus, the reason for a fund-raiser.
(photo of the original)

For a few dollars more, I add oil pastel in the sky and watercolor pencil everywhere else.
Each sale is accompanied by a list of the flora and fauna
located within the artwork.

(The color is yet unfinished in this photo)

It's very simple.

And not at all shady.


Close up views of "My Iowa"

These are some close-ups of parts of "My Iowa."

This was taken with a flash.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Geography Project

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Jodi, at Bloomingwriter, has encouraged people to share where they are located.
So, here's where I'm located.

I live Jefferson County in SE Iowa.
There's lots of history here.
There are also many new and innovative activities being pursued.

This is where you'll find information about the Jefferson County Park System.
And much more. Look at the tabs on the bottom of the page.
Check out the newsletter, education programs, etc.

We have a variety of activities in the Central Park in the summertime.
Often there are live bands on Saturday nights.
Local Municipal band performances on Tuesday nights
(community members conducted by our high school band director.)
First Friday Art Walk around downtown businesses, often with evening entertainment.

As far as the landscape, it ranges from some flat,
a lot of gently rolling,to much very hilly land.
There are many farms.

There is also plenty of forested land.
Can you spot the deer in the field?CRP plays a big role in prairie and wetland restoration areas.

There are very few straight roads.
We moved here 28 1/2 years ago, and
I can still get quite lost on gravel roads
if I don't take a County map! :-)

We deal with a lot of heavy clay soil.
If I continue to live and garden here, I'll be jumping on a shovel -
just to get it in the ground - forever!
That is NO exaggeration.

So, if you're going to garden - get some good dirt, dig it in a bit,
to mix it with the clay soil, but...
the best thing I've found is to make mounded beds!
They're great for drainage (at which clay soil is lousy)
and they're beautiful and interesting!

My wheelbarrow is never far away! :-)
And compost, compost, compost
and amend, amend, amend!

There was No School yesterday...

Monday, February 18, 2007
No school.
Does that explain these photos? ;-)

I'm fairly certain that "Old Man Winter" was enjoying a little company out there.
I don't know who the little guy is spying on,
but he seems fairly absorbed in his activity.

And he's certainly not concerned about me!

I'm not sure I should remain out here.
This could be the spot for a "direct hit!"

And I'm not sure I like the look in his eye! ;-)

It does look as though they're having a pleasant conversation.

Wouldn't you like to eavesdrop?
What do you think?
Can you hear them
Garden Author Deb? ;-)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

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Since there's nothing new blooming here today,
I thought I'd post a gardening reminder!

This little item was purchased about 4 years ago
while my 2 sisters and my sister-in-law and I
enjoyed our second "reunion" in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Another good memory.

This is all I know about its creator.Vegetables ARE good for you! You should grow them!

And we should eat them. :-)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

Today's the 15th of the month. Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. Hmmm. I've about posted all my blossoms.

Now what shall I do?
I must admit it. I've called for assistance.

Let me introduce some of my gardening friends.
They're each very handy, and they're available at a moment's notice!

Actually, I first introduced them in May 2007,
just after I'd began this blog.

As soon as Spring arrives, they're ready to accompany me outdoors.

Gardener Gladys warms the bench
and welcomes me when I need a "breather."
Susie S. Carecrow has retired.
But, let me tell you,
when she stood guard,nary a critter bothered the "growing greens!"

'Thoroughly Modern' Mona is a newcomer.

Somehow she will be introduced to gardening this Spring.
I'm not sure about her gardening capabilities.

We'll see...

She may be just a "pretty face."


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Week 5 - Stitching Up Wildflowers

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The stitchery below is the first item I made for our walls after we purchased our first home in 1974. The unframed piece is about 12" square. We hadn't been married long. It's a kit my mother-in-law gave me. In fact, my father-in-law furnished the frame. All-in-all, I thought it was the "classiest" thing we had in the house, at the time! :-)

But, I couldn't end the post there.
I needed to include a couple of pillows from
guest beds.

I didn't stitch them. They were done in a factory.

This one may be fairly accurate.
although I love this sentiment,
I'm not sure I'd Really
be willing to follow suit.

Just a Little Valentine

It's not a very big one.
I hope you will be mine.
I'm going to wish it anyway...
Will you be my valentine?

by S.G.

Happy Valentine's Day! :-)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

I absolutely, positively was going to have something blooming today! So. Is it cheating to purchase a plant on a "balmy" Winter's Saturday afternoon and suddenly notice, not until I'd brought it home of course, that it was blooming? ha.

My new African Violet.
My mother is very good at raising these (and propagating them).
I could have waited to get one of hers. But
if I give her a leaf from my plant,
perhaps she'll start a new plant for me
from one of hers.
Maybe I'd better wait to see how my violet fares
in its new location. :-)

Now, you've seen my hibiscus before...
but just look at the number of buds it has.
I'll be enjoying its blossoms for awhile, yet.

It was several degrees below zero F. this morning. And it's breezy outdoors. So, even though it's sunny, it's bitterly cold! Brrrr. Think I'll go water my plants.

No shade today.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Snow Man Cometh!

This morning around 8:00 a.m., I mixed my remaining seed and placed it in one of the feeders. Wow, it was so cold outdoors!

But, this afternoon, for about 3 hours, it was pretty balmy. I headed downtown to the feed store to purchase a supply of sunflower and safflower seed. I soon headed home. As I drove towards the garage, I happened to notice someone... a weary traveler perhaps, sitting in my front yard. He didn't even acknowledge me, or turn his head, as I drove by.

Hmmm, I thought. Perhaps he just needed a rest.
I wondered if he'd brought his own "tuffet."

I took some of the items I'd purchased indoors and headed for the living room, where I could better spy on this fellow. Here's a picture of him from the house. I noticed a bit of movement around his head and zoomed in to tell what was happening.

Ha! You might want to click on the photo to see what the movement was.
You might say my curiosity had been aroused. I was not feeling at all intimidated by his presence, so I headed outdoors to the front yard. As I approached, I noticed that he seemed to be gazing out across the way, still oblivious to my presence. Quite odd, though, as I'd not even tried to walk quietly (doubtful as it is that one could walk quietly while breaking through the encrusted top layer of snow).
As I walked around to face him, I believe I noticed a twinkle in his eye. He certainly seemed a friendly sort, what with his wide smile and agreeable expression.

I'd guessed correctly. He was just traveling through and needed a spot in which to rest. We spent a bit of time together. He declined the invitation to come indoors. He was, after all, "quite warm and satisfied to remain outdoors, enjoy the scenery and wildlife."
I don't know how long he'll stay. And if he leaves, perhaps he'll not return.

Never did get his name.
He didn't leave a silver bullet.
He wasn't riding a white horse.

But, I heard a low sound as I returned to the house.
It sounded like mournful tune, and
these are the only words I caught:
"Old Man Winter, I'm Old Man Winter,
I just keep rollin'
I just keep strollin'
I just keep movin'

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wildflower in the Home (Week 4)

Kudos to Elizabeth Joy for giving us something to think about during the Winter besides the weather!

The bowl below was given to me by my paternal grandmother. Hazel Evelyn was born September 28, 1897 and died August 28, 1995. Just shy of her 98th birthday. She and my grandfather were raised in farming families and most of their children were raised on the farm.

Somewhere along the line, when their family was young, their home burned... destroying its contents. Several years before she died, Grandma gave me the bowl pictured below. It had come back to her after her mother's death. Now I am privileged to be holding it until I can pass it on.

Not only is the bowl special, but my grandmother included a hand-written note that will remain with the bowl.

"To K---. I bought this dish for my mother in 1918 -
after 2 years of teaching country school.
Five pupils and I rec'd $52.40 per month.
And, I paid $3.00 a week board!

You were our first grandchild so you will get this dish!

I'm going to guess that the bowl
is approximately 10 - 12" in diameter.

I had to include two objects in this post.
The second object is the little shoe to the right
of Grandma's bowl.
This shoe once belonged to my Aunt MEA.
She has a collection of china shoes that she's had
for a long time. It's hidden away, now.
But when I was growing up, the collection was displayed
on a set of wall shelves in the living room.

I was always enthralled by those shoes.
Several years ago, I imposed upon my Aunt MEA.
I asked if I could have a shoe from her collection.
Of course, my cousin had to "okay" the request,
so I owe her a "thank you," too.

My Aunt MEA is Mom's sister.
I have many fond memories of her involvement in my life.
After we moved away from the community,
she would have my sister Barb and me stay
for a week or so in the summer.
My cousin was a little younger, but we always
had a great time.
A 4-H leader,
cookie baker, soup maker,
and most wonderfully -
a gardener! She can grow anything,
and she still does.

We won't talk about ages here,
but she'll never be old.

These are two of my treasures.
The plate and the shoe reside together
on a shelf in the dining room.

Thanks again, Elizabeth Joy, for my short stroll down memory lane.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Can We Question the Significance of 38 Seconds?

After the Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the Giants on Sunday, it occurred to me that a mere 38 seconds can be a quite enough time... after all,

in 38 seconds, you can:

Solicit a smile, and maybe even a giggle-response;Sing "Happy Birthday" three times;

Get organized enough to watch a parade;
Walk (at 16 minutes to a mile) 4/100ths of a mile and burn approximately 4 calories;

Ready a couple of flower pots, some dirt and a couple of plants that need re-potting or dividing;

Find a study in contrast and bloom to photograph:

Enjoy the time it takes to get into a pool on a hot day;
Locate and photograph a small creature in the grass;
or on a plant...

Fill three bird feeders;

Ready the camera to photograph a plethera of birds (the photo is dark, but there are house finches, gold finches, juncos, sparrows, a Hairy woodpecker in the distance);
Sweep out a bird bath with a whisk broom (adding water adds a few seconds!);

Grab the camera and photograph the beautiful newly falling snow;
Begin to fill the washing machine and add the laundry detergent;

Have a good start at a telephone conversation;

Open your e-mail box and delete three unwanted items;

Type several words on the computer such as these that I'm typing right now so I can tell how many I can type in 38 seconds so as to make a report to you and here it is this is all I could do. (44 words)

38 seconds can make the difference between nicely browned cookies and having to say, "Honey, I burned the batch and I'll have to throw them out."

or in this case, Danish Apple Bars which will soon be 1/2 gone, if I'm not careful! :-)
A mere 38 seconds, and yet...

What can you add to this list? Or, better yet - Why don't you make your own post? (and let me know!) :-)