Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nutrition and diets

I was looking around a bit today on the web for information about a variety of diets, and came across the one that tells you want foods you should eat or avoid if you are of a particular blood type.

I'm type A, and apparently this is the Vegetarian type, who can eat most types of deep water fish but not coastal fish or shellfish (grr), and should also avoid mushrooms, most dairy products, and quite a few lovely condiments like ketchup and capers.  Oh, and apparently I should avoid all nightshades - tomatoes, potatoes, peppers... 

Take all the joy out of my life, why don't you, Dr. Lam? 

Actually I don't doubt that he's got something there, and I'd already been researching low-glycemic,  anti-inflammatory, and paleo diets.  I might be able to come up with some compromise here.  I've already been cutting a lot of processed foods out of my diet.  I really want to be able to control or cure diabetes without taking medications.  I am SO bad about taking meds, and I don't like the side effects some of them have on me.

The major problem I have is cooking for two when one won't or can't eat what the other one does.   It's hard enough to cook for two when you're eating the same thing - trust me, it's a hell of a lot easier to cook for 4 or 8.  Broccoli Boy only likes certain vegetables, so I'll have to make stuff just for myself so I can have more variety.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Real 3D

Hope this gimmick of virtual 3D movies goes away, the glasses take something away from the experience for me if I'm not sitting dead center of the screen.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Getting ready for hibernation

I'm going to try to keep actively doing things this winter, and my first step towards that is to set up a sewing area in the basement.  I've already got a rug to keep my tootsies from sitting on bare concrete. 

Confession:  It's still out in my car ;)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Menu

Last year worked out so well, we'll be doing it again. Mom's making the turkey, stuffing, and gravy. I'll make the rest of the sides. 

Of course I will still have to make a veg that Broccoli Boy likes too! The only thing on this entire list that I know he'll eat is the mashed potatoes.


I'm thinking about playing off of this recipe to make something out of the butternut squash, leeks, hazlenuts, and cream I've already got. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Butternut-Squash-Gratin-with-Goat-Cheese-and-Hazelnuts-240412

Else, I'll go the sage pesto route in this recipe http://food52.com/recipes/7374-caramelized-butternut-squash-wedges-with-a-sage-hazelnut-pesto

Next, a kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) squash recipe. I've only made the La Fuji Mama recipe, it was OK, but the soy braised one sounds lovely:





My whole berry cranberry sauce went over well last year, it featured peppercorns like some of these recipes do - I'm thinking of a possible variation with green cardamom.





 Brussels sprouts

Mom hates Brussels sprouts... unless they're roasted. Maybe I'll add some bacon this year...hmmm. I've got a nice thick center cut applewood smoked bacon in the fridge right now.  http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Brussels-Sprouts-and-Bacon 
I am also thinking about trying out a new way to make them and see if Mom likes these too.  http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-smoky-lemony-sauted-shredded-brussels-sprouts-recipes-from-the-kitchn-196909

 Roots and Tubers

I'm shooting for a maple glazed parsnip dish. Using these two links for inspiration http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/maple-roast-parsnips-recipe/index.html


I'll go traditionally simple on the mashed potatoes and baked sweet potatoes. Then there’s the yearly mashed Turnip Of Doom (some may call it a rutabaga, neep, or swede instead). 

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Gardens outside are dying, so I'm contenting myself with gardening in Minecraft ;)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Blame Canada

21 degrees F this morning.  I was going to pull the last of the late-season tomatoes off the vines tonight, but they may have frozen overnight.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pada śnieg.

It's snowing...at least a little bit.  Flurries all morning, people forgot how to drive according to people I know who drove in to work.  Hail to the mighty diesel engine that hauls my sleeping ass to work every morning.

Friday, November 8, 2013

"Cheesy" popcorn recipe

Totally vegan, odd for a carnivore like me, I suppose.

Air popped popcorn drizzled with olive oil, then sprinkled liberally with salt and nutritional yeast.  Tastes like Parmesan to me!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

When is the best time to go to the dentist? 2:30. Ha ha!

What does it say about me that by 2 PM yesterday I was looking more forward to having my tooth drilled at 5 than staying another minute at work?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall back! Fall back!

Daylight savings time is nearly at an end.  The kids get to trick-or-treat a little bit later than they did in my day, which is good because neither of us get home until after 5 PM.  With the sun setting before 7 PM now, there's precious little time for us to get to see the little goblins. 

I sent Broccoli Boy to the grocery store solo the other day.  He bought way too much candy, 2 bags each of Milky Ways, Kit Kats, and Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups.  Maybe he subconciously decided that he'd give the kids double the amount of candy since last year's trick-or-treating was effectively nixed by "Superstorm" Sandy (that bitch).  At least he bought candy that we like.

My favorite holiday and I did nothing to decorate for it this year, too damned tired to manage to do all of the stuff I have to do let alone the things I want to do.  I figure bribing the kids with chocolate to ignore my lack of spooky will have to do.

I've got the better part of 50 Allium moly "Jeannette" bulbs to finish interring into the ground before it freezes.  Hard to believe because the next couple days are going to be in the high 60's before taking a swing back down to the mid 50's on Sunday.  No worries, it gives me time to rescue some more ripe tomatoes and peppers off the vine before we get a hard frost.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Totally in a rut.  It's wake up, commute to work, eat breakfast, work some more, eat lunch, work some more, commute home, eat dinner, watch some toob, sleep.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Do you believe in magic?

Planted a bunch of bulbs* and astilbe roots over the weekend.  Won't know what the garden will look like until spring.   Though I know the biology of how these plants come up in spring, I like to think of it as magic.

Scilla siberica
Ornithogalum nutans "Silver Bells" & Ornithogalum balansae
Narcissus poeticus "Angel Eyes"
Allium moly "Jeannine"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

First Frost

I had to scrape frost off my windshield this morning.  Winter Is Coming.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October weekend chores

  1. Plant assorted narcissus and allium bulbs & astilbe tubers.
  2. Cut down spent foliage - I'm looking at you lobelia, hosta, and ornamental grasses!
  3. Harvest last-of-the-season tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, & potatoes.
  4. Pull up bindweed & other weeds.
  5. Finish spreading the pile of hemlock mulch that's been sitting in the driveway for a year.
  6. Cut down and fertilize asparagus bed (weed out the females?)

Do I even bother to put up Halloween decorations at this late date??

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Good-for-Nothing Garden

This man pretty much shares my philosophy about working and gardening:

“I suffer from an illness,” Mr. Golden said. “If I want a certain plant, I’ll get it, unless it costs thousands of dollars. It’s one reason I’m still working and not fully retired.”

 MICHAEL TORTORELLO  Published: October 16, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

There's a chill in the air, and something simmering in the pot

Another box of bulbs came in, I will try to get them in on Friday before I head up to the beautiful Berkshire Mountains.  MIL insists I bring my camera - can't promise I'll get any pictures though.

This time of year is great, because it is the time at which I can be most frugal with the food budget.  I buy big cuts of chewy meat on the cheap and cook them slowly to tender perfection.  Whole roast chickens feed us for days, and even the bones do not go to waste.  This is soup season, my friends. 

My usual lineup of soups include: chicken (Polish style with garlic and dill), beef barley, minestrone, split pea, beef vegetable

Stewed/braised meals include chicken paprikasz (I use bone-in chicken thighs), beef stroganoff, & Yankee pot roast (using chuck roast - bone in if I can find it).  Pork shoulder (again, bone-in if possible - sensing a theme?) is a favorite all year long.  I'll also make a big pot of Bolognaise sauce which is good for a quick evening meal of pasta and Italian sausage.

Monday, October 14, 2013

October to-do list

Cut down grasses along driveway

Plant muscari bulbs in front walk bed between hostas

Pack up cured gladiolus corms

Pack up cured calla lily tubers

Trim dead foliage off of leucanthoe, hostas, lobelias, lungworts

Notes for spring: move Drift roses, cut back overgrown azaleas after bloom, monitor leucanthoe

Friday, October 11, 2013

October stuff

I end up doing the same thing in the fall as I do in the spring, which is purge and clean.  I purged my closets a bit and put a bag of clothes out for donation pickup this morning.  The gym at work is doing a shoe drive, so I'm working on also culling any shoes that don't fit well anymore. After helping out getting a friend set up for his yard sale on Saturday (it's looking like the weather MIGHT cooperate), I've got to get into the garden. 

I've got 3 hellebore bare roots, 4 coreopsis, and a MYSTERY Priority Mail box which I think might be some of my bulbs from John Scheepers.  I say might because UPS isn't registering the tracking numbers that Scheepers is giving me for my 2 orders.  They start with an S so I think that's Smartpost which is basically a drop-ship to the USPS for delivery to my home. 

I'm supposed to be getting a milkweed Asclepias tuberosa (aka Butterfly plant) in a shipment today.  My effort to help the Monarch butterfly population.  Purple blazing star is estimated to come between 10/22/13 and 11/12/13.  English primrose and astilbe grab bag delivery estimate is 11/07/13-11/28/13.  Yeah, way to go Michigan Bulb - I'll be freezing my ass off putting those in if they come near the end of that estimate.

Ornamental grasses need to be cut down, they're looking quite scraggly after the rainy summer and early fall.  Dying foliage on the hostas and other perennials needs to be cleaned up as well.  I think I can still move some irises around.  The columbine I tried moving seems to not have liked the rough treatment I gave it - ah well, they multiply pretty readily anyway.  I'll be digging up the calla lilies too.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October nights

Was outside last night just long enough to break a sweat, and for Broccoli Boy to get a mosquito bite (unseasonably warm this early October is).

Moved the misplaced epimediums, put in veronicas, and we'll see if the blue columbine I moved (way too tall for where it was living - now you can see the autumn crocus that was planted on the slope above it) will survive.  BB helped me water in the plants.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The madness begins

I left work early knowing I had a shipment of plants coming in.  Rather than finding one box on my porch last evening as I expected, there were four.  Broccoli Boy had arrived home moments before me and gave me that look that Ricky used to give Lucy, and said "What did you do, Ray?"   Yup, there were three shipments I wasn't aware of - some of these online nurseries have much to be desired in letting you know when your stuff has been released for shipment.  *grumble*

I worked outside from 5:45 until the sun set at 7 PM, unboxed everything; dug up gladiolus bulbs for the winter; I put in 6 cherry hearts epimedium (in the wrong spot - DOH!), 1 pink muhly grass, 1 blue sapphire hens & chicks & 1 dragon's blood sedum (free gifts), and 3 blue queen salvia; then watered everything in.

I've still got 10 plants - 6 veronicas and 4 coreopsis - that I need to try to get in tonight - the calla lilies need to be dug up since the coreopsis is going in near there.  The veronicas will go in around the andromeda where I mistakenly put in the epimediums.  Makes life a little easier since I already dug up the area.  The epimediums will be moved to flank a small hydrangea in a somewhat shady spot on the front wall under the cherry tree.

After I was done, Broccoli Boy broke out the sprinkler and watered in the Weed & Feed since we haven't had rain since I spread it on Sunday.  I hate to use the stuff, but we had 2 bags in the shed left over and I didn't want it to totally go to waste.  We will not be buying it in the future.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Speaking of delayed gratification...

My shipment of Veronica and Coreopsis is due to arrive tomorrow 10/01/13.  Maybe I can squeak in a few minutes of digging when I get home from work.


Sometimes I think my fiance's aunt gets my sense of style better than even my own mother does, and Mom's usually pretty good at picking out things I like.

Aunt B. found a set of salt and pepper shakers at a flea market that just totally scream "me" - they look just like these shakers, which are apparently a 1940's vintage item.  Blue cobalt glass and Art Deco... two of my favorite things.

I'm beginning to amass a pretty large collection of S & P shakers.  It's funny because I don't intentionally seek them out.  I guess I'll have to have a dinner party where everyone gets their own set of shakers.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The problem with ordering from online nurseries...

The problem with ordering from online nurseries is the lack of immediate gratification, thereby creating the temptation and pick up plants at the local nursery while waiting for the online nursery to ship when they deem it to be " the proper time for your zone."

The problem, if you give in to the temptation, is that you potentially overspend your budget (what budget?), and you've now planted a locally purchased specimen in a spot that had already earmarked for a shipped plant.

I guess I can bide my time and occupy myself by tidying up by cutting down spent foliage and flower stalks.

Monday, September 23, 2013

note to self, bring camera with you everywhere

I climbed halfway up Sourland Mountain yesterday evening, and didn't have a camera with me to take a few shots of the beautiful wildflowers.  Blah.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Patience, grasshopper...

It's very difficult to prevent myself from going to the local Agway and purchase whatever deer-resistant perennials they've got left.  But, I've got a couple hundred dollars of nursery stock to come within the next month, and amazingly know exactly where I want to put each specimen.

This past weekend put in three each of catmint, foamflower, and pigsqueak I'd received during the week.  I'd originally intended the foamflower to go in under the sand cherry, but it was too difficult to dig there.  From prior experience, I'm sure there's heavy landscape fabric about 4" under the loamy stuff.  A project for another day, maybe.  I can always keep it mulched and put pots of stuff under there (Lord knows I've got enough pots out in the shed). 

I ended up putting the foamflowers in the shaded front walk bed between my bee balm and hostas.  The pigsqueak went in nearby behind the bee balm, along the curved Belgian block edge of the Japanese maple/rock garden. 

Speaking of hostas, the deer finally got to them a few weeks ago, and the bugs/slugs have eaten some big holes in them, but I'm just about ready to cut them back for fall now & let the primroses and lungworts underneath have their day again.  In comparison, the varigated lirope just on the other side of the walk looks FANTASTIC.

Catmint found a home in a spot between yarrow and echinacea on the highest point of the retaining wall beds - all I'd got in there previously was some anemones that come up in spring and then leave the area bare the rest of the year.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bertha's Blues

Poor Bertha - her rear brakes are just about rusted out, and the fronts are not much better, but will hold out for a while according to the mechanic, whose diagnosis of the cause was "she sits around a lot, huh?"

Yeah, I guess driving a mile to the train station and a mile home isn't a lot of excercise for the old girl.  Guess I will have to do some weekend galavanting - on the cheap, since the repairs are not going to be.  Anyone want to go for some drives in the country with me?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bertha goes into the shop tonight.  I'm glad the brakes decided to start making that horrible grinding noise AFTER I'd returned from my 1800 mile round trip.  64,000 miles on an 2005 Nissan Xterra & this will only be the second time I've needed new brake pads - not bad, I think.

She needs new wiper blades and an oil change, which I'd meant to get to before the trip but didn't.  Hopefully they can also find the source of that rattling sound under the hood - sounds like it could be a fan blade on a wire.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A big box containing 9 plants arrived today, I'd just pulled into the driveway when the UPS guy hopped out of the back of the brown truck.  I've got 3 Nepeta 'Purrsian Blue' (Catmint), 3 Tiarella 'Spring Symphony' (Foamflower), & 3 Bergenia cordifolia 'Winter Glow' (Pigsqueak) sitting in the kitchen on a jelly pan waiting until I can get them into the ground this weekend.

I spy with my little eye, something starting with G

Garden Girl logged nearly 1800 miles of driving in the past week.  What did I see the most of along the roadsides of the interstate routes from NJ to MI?  Goldenrod!  Joe Pye weed was a close second, and often both of them were growing together. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Quelle surprise

It's raining.  Again.  Can only hope that Friday is sunny and cool for my brother's wedding.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend doings

I've got sore and sunburnt shoulders, but I managed to weed and mulch the big bed alongside the driveway (the one pictured in "Hell no, I ain't gonna mow") on Saturday.  Broccoli Boy mowed the lawn and we took bags of weedy clippings over to the Public Works grass recycling.  Should be good to mulch the clippings at the next mow.

The mornings are a bit chilly, which is nice when I have to go out and work my tail off.  It's also been quite wet lately, and I found dog stinkhorns hiding with the weeds amongst the herbs and irises.  They look like orange Nerf darts with muddy tops.  Once I got rid of the sun-occluding weeds, the stinkhorns started drying up in the August sun... and I didn't get a photo of the funky looking things in full "bloom".  Here's one I got from the web:

Dog stinkhorn

I did try to start a new bed behind the shed (it's a northen exposure, mostly shade) on Sunday before my mom and aunt stopped by for lunch, but I was deterred by a great amount of trap rock buried under the soil.  I'd have to spend more time on amending the soil and screening out that rock than I care to, so I think that I'll make raised beds or a container garden back there instead.  I can't even see that spot from my house - it'll be more for the neighbors' viewing pleasure than mine.  I suppose just having repaired the shingles and painting it a few years back was an improvement, but I like to make pretty things for people to look at.  In any case, the shipment of plants I got in from Royal Dutch went into the shady bed on the east side of the house instead.  I have to call them because 4 of the poker primroses that I received were just mush, and I doubt that anything is going to come up.

Next weekend, I think I'll try to dig the black-eyed Susans out of the sloped wildflower bed and start trying to tame that area a bit.  I like the wildflowers in June, but by August they look like a weedy mess.  The Chinese forget-me-nots (while beautiful & blue in June) are now gnarled grey things with the stickiest Velcro-like seeds ever.  I had an unhappy incident a few weeks ago when I got them stuck in my hair.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Teach a woman to cook...

...and you get some wild experimental dishes, especially when there's stuff in the fridge that needs to be used up.

I had a half dozen Thai eggplants in the fridge that I peeled and chopped into bite size pieces, tossed with kosher salt, and let sit in a colander for an hour or so to get the bitterness out.  I rinsed them and set aside.  I cut up a bell pepper, onion, some canned straw mushrooms (not enoki), pickled lotus rootlets, and minced up some dried shrimp.  Stir fried it all together in coconut oil with some fish sauce, lime juice, Thai basil, and hot sesame oil.  Added some chunks of seitan near the end.  Yielded 4 pint containers.   I threw a cup of black rice into the rice cooker to go along with it, which yielded 4 cup containers of cooked rice.  I also made a quart of cucumber & daikon kim chi pickles, so I packed up a cup of that to go with my lunch today as well.

Tomatillos and some of the peppers ended up in a green chicken chili, and I'll be making chicken paprikasz again soon with the Hungarian peppers I've been growing.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Since I'm going to have a sewing area in the basement...

...maybe I'll pick up a few things at IKEA to make it fun.  How about some buttons for the wall and the floor?  Should snag them before they're gone - I don't know how long these button themed items will stay around. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Love this wallpaper, hate the price.

I am now registered for the two ADF festivals I will be attending this year:  Festival of the Midnight Flame and Harvest Nights Gathering.  Missed Wellspring this year, and have been in a bit of a slump spiritually as a result - I usually get recharged there.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It is just so wet in Central NJ right now.  The mosquitoes are happy, I am not.

I think that the only thing that's saving our Ramapo tomatoes from the dreaded "Cracks of Doom" is the layer of 6 mil black plastic we laid down in spring (moments before the neighbor's maple tree dumped polynoses all over our yard - no kidding!).  My belief is that it's preventing too much water to the tomatoes.  Cracks are generally caused by uneven watering: too much water too fast = split skins.

I just gave away about 5 lbs. of ripe tomatoes today at work (suck up to the boss, yeah!).  There's at least that quantity still sitting in bowls on the on the counter, and more than that waiting to ripen in brown paper bags.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Something to do in the off-season

I am now the proud owner of two sewing machines and a serger, inherited from my Aunt who unfortunately can no longer see well enough to use the machines.  I think I may make my own dish towels and maybe some muslin sacks for storage of tender gladiolus and calla lily bulbs over the winter.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I'll be 39 in a week.  I have no idea what I want for my birthday or what I want to do for my birthday.   Blah.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I just got an idea for a way to rearrange some of my outdoor potted succulents from this picture.

If you want to buy the kit that gave me the idea, visit this Etsy link

Monday, August 5, 2013

Broccoli Boy saw this at Ikea last week:


If that's him, I guess this'd be me

What would you do with a shopping bag full of small white eggplants that your friend gave you? 
I'm thinking of making pickles out of them (and perhaps foisting a jar or two off on her).  My Google-Fu found four recipes that sound pretty good.





I've also got 5 green Thai eggplants in the fridge, harvested out of our own garden (many more to come if this produces like my Ichiban Japanese eggplant did last year).  I'm thinking of giving them a somewhat Thai treatment.  We're growing peppers and Thai basil that would go well with them, and fish sauce is a pantry staple.  A bit of lemongrass and lime juice (I admit, I cheat.  I have a tube of lemongrass paste and one of those green plastic limes in the fridge), maybe chop up the leftover white button mushrooms... mmmm, this is sounding good already. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Someone needs to make work busier (it's the usual summer doldroms) so I don't have time to browse bulb and plant websites - that or take my credit cards away from me. I managed to prevent myself from ordering a bunch of stuff last fall/winter for shipment this spring, but I couldn't prevent myself from ordering a bunch of stuff for shipment this fall.

I have to admit, my resolve originally melted with this order on 6/11, but I was able to contain myself for a month before putting in the next order

Photo: Allium carinatum ssp pulchellum  Allium carinatum s. Pulchellum

 Photo: Allium flavum Allium flavum                 

Photo: Allium schubertii Allium schubertii             
Photo: Allium Low Growing Mixture Allium low growing mixture 
 Galanthus nivalis Flore Pleno Galanthus nivalis Flore Pleno

 Leucojum aestivum Leucojum aestivum 


The dam broke in July, and I purchased a bunch of natives and/or deer/drought resistant varieties (ok, the Sedum was free with purchase...)


yesterday's order was
I'll be busy in September and October as these start being delivered

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Great, most of the traffic to this blog is from spam sites.  Whee.  Maybe I can get some more interest if I actually publish some content.

Speaking of SPAM, a good way to use up leftover steamed rice is to make this fried rice.

Ingredients per pint of cold leftover rice:
1/2 cup onion (and/or scallions), chopped
1 clove (or more) garlic, crushed
1/2 - 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 can SPAM in 1/2" cubes
1 egg
1 Tbs. butter
peanut oil (or another oil with a high smoke point)
soy sauce, salt & pepper, sesame seeds to taste

In a hot pan or wok heat up about 1 Tbs. oil.
Cook scrambled egg, chopping it into small bite sized bits in the pan & remove.
Lightly brown SPAM cubes & remove.
Add another 1 Tbs. oil. & sautee onion and garlic. 
Add cold rice to the onion and garlic, break up as best you can.  Cook for a minute or so to get a little brown on the rice.
Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and continue to cook, you may need more to make the rice soften up a bit.
Add soy sauce, salt & pepper to taste
Return SPAM and eggs to the rice, toss with the butter and some sesame seeds, and serve.

You can add peas, cooked cubed carrots, corn, bean sprouts, or whatever you like to your rice.  I tend to like it mostly teppanyaki style.  Sometimes I put in lap xhong sausage instead of SPAM or make it vegetarian without the meat.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A name change, and a promise to post occassionally when not at work so I can actually access the photos I have saved up in the clouds.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I spent the past two mornings working in the garden and am now rewarded with two weed free beds, one of which also got mulched.  Pics later.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dog Days

Here in NJ we've got the usual summertime Triple H weather - Hazy, Hot, Humid - going on.  Perspiration isn't even a relief because the air is too humid for evaporation to occur.  Therefore you just walk around with this sheen of sweat covering your entire body.  Even your fingertips get sweaty.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Dragonfly Omen

When I was walking to work, I spotted a large dragonfly sitting on the ground.  Not a good spot for it, in the middle of a sidewalk that would become quite busy later on.  I nudged it with my toe to see if I could get it to move, but it just twitched a bit and didn't fly off. 

I couldn't leave it where it would surely get squished, so bent down to pick it up.  It would not let me pick it up but it did climb up on to my finger when I presented it.  This dragonfly was nearly as big as my hand.

Tried to let it climb off onto a tree, but it did not want to let go.  So, I walked, with a dragonfly on my index finger, to the front of my building and tried to let it off in the planter.  At that point, it flew off, and up up up it went.  I guess it was just tired a few minutes earlier.

Was interested in what deities are associated with dragonflies, first hit on Google said something about them being associated with Freya.  Might not be historically accurate, but I'll take it.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pics or it didn't happen?

You'll have to forgive me for not posting photos with my words - you see, oftentimes I'm updating from work and cannot access the images I've uploaded to Google from here.  I'll go back and fill in when I'm not overly busy with life.

This weekend, I'm going to try to get the sweet woodruff and bleeding hearts in, between thunderstorms.  The woodruff is going to get planted along the front walk by the new bee balm "Claire Grace" and the bleeding hearts will go in the new bed I'm creating on the north side of the shed, which incidentally is purely for the neighbors' delight, since I rarely go back there.

I went a little Polish on the kitchen last night, the uncleanliness was really bothering me.  Only a little though, since it was nearly bedtime.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Evening gardening

Hmmm, wonder if I can get in a bit of garden time tonight?  I'm thinking of putting sweet woodruff at the base of the bee balm, and putting the rest of the bleeding hearts in the bed I'm working on behind the shed.  I hate to have to wait for the weekend. ;)

Maybe I'll make something for dinner that can cook unattended for an hour or so, or get something pre-made.  It all depends on how busy (and exhausted) I get at work, and how hot it is when I get home.

Otherwise, I'll be steaming my shirts, I suppose.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Broadfork to the rescue & Plant ID

Out with the old, in with the new.  G helped me dig out an overgrown/half dead ornamental grass (the broadfork continues to return on investement) and I put in a bee balm "Claire Grace" which has a lovely saturated magenta color.  I almost put in "Coral Reef" instead, which is hot pink, but saw Claire sitting there all lonely and wilted, and G likes more saturated colors anyway.

Finally figured out that the blue wildflowers are Chinese Forget-me-nots and came from the Velcro-like seeds that kept clinging to me last year.  They're taking over quite a bit (like everything Chinese, it seems), so I think I'm going to deadhead the seed pods once the flowers quit.  The bees love them, but I don't want them to out-compete everything else too much, including the three red poppies that came up this year.  Teach me not to use 100% native seed mixtures...


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Opuntia humifusa

Opuntia humifusa - the Eastern prickly pear - will be joining other succulents in my garden thanks to my fiance's co-worker.  I do believe that I'll keep it contained in a pot, however, as it can be a nasty turf weed in NJ.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gardening as therapy

Spent the weekend out in the garden for some much needed physical and mental therapy.  Being laid up the weekend before was really bugging me.

On Saturday I cut back a lot of roses, since they'd gotten damaged in the non-stop rains, as well as some problems with black spot.  I sprayed them with copper fungicide as well.  I then planted six snow-in-summer plants, three fiesta daisies, two purple beautyberry shrubs (no pear trees though).  Moved some iris, NJ tea shrub, & asters.  Mulched under the Japanese maple.

Sunday I mowed the back lawn, planted another pack of wildflower seeds to fill in a blank spot (the one you see to the right of the Earth Mother there), moved some echinacea & lily-of-the-valley, planted 2 of the bleeding hearts babies in those newly emptied spots, grabbed another balloon flower when we stopped at Home Depot (pseudohubby loves 'em).  Caged the lobelia because they were flopping over.

Tonight if I get home early enough, I'll move the other balloon flowers I've already got from the spot where they're getting crowded out over to where I have the new one, then douse them all with Deer Out to keep them from getting nibbled too badly.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hobbies that bleed into each other

I suppose it was inevitable that my gardening passion would lead to hobbies such as birding and photography, though for some folks it goes the other way 'round.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This weekend is going to be a lot more active than last weekend, because last weekend I sat in a chair indoors and did nothing but ice my injured knee.  It's starting to feel better now, but I'll not be able to kneel in the garden at all, and I have weeding to do and plants to put in.  Going to use some forced labor, and do what I can from a chair myself.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I am SO ready for the camping season.  I just got myself some accessories for my big 3 burner Camp Chef stove, and the camp kitchen from Cabela's.  I'd never been in the Hamburg PA Cabela's before (or any Cabela's for that matter), so it was an adventure.  The end of May cannot come quickly enough!