Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer Moments And A Recipe

What a beautiful morning. Considering our week, our hot, humid
and hazy week, we deserve a little respite.  With a gentle breeze,
high 60's temperature, and a tolerable humidity level, there are
many of us out. We are "grabbing" this morning and hanging on
before the sun and heat takes over. With a nod or a hello to
neighbors, we move along enjoying our nature thyme. It's quiet,
no lawnmowers yet or service trucks, just the occasional burst
of loud buzzing from the cicadas.  I've been watching the beautiful 
cardinals "flitting  about" and enjoying the lush flowers beds in
some of the yards. It is the very essence of summer. It is the thyme
to be lazy and lounging, swimming and soaking, or camping and 
canoeing. Fresh air, fresh fruit, or fresh-cut grass, take your pick.
Do your own sweet thing. Go on, really...have FUN!
Picture Thyme...

See EARTHLY DELIGHTS for a salad of
Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Onions. Cold and crisp, you'll love it.

next up: August

Friday, July 24, 2015

A View of the Porch, Fairy Gardens, & A Tobacco Hornworm

This is our very favorite place to be in the summer. It's 
comfortable and cozy. There's a settee for sleeping, a table 
for eating, and rocking chairs for relaxing. What more can
you ask for. It's our go to spot for wine and conversation,
and when the kids are home, this is where you'll find us.
Mornings you'll find me just sitting, listening to the birds,
gathering my thoughts and planning the day. Nature is all
around me, and I can see my entire garden space from this 
porch, so blog posting here provides inspiration. Enjoy!

"How shall we beguile the lazy time if not with some delight?"
                                                     William Shakespeare

Here she is, another charming lady of the garden, Miss Porcha.
My, I believe she loves the color red. All decked out, ready to
show us around her domain. Love the red boots!

And Sam has his spot, right where he can see us, and take off
after the squirrels.

Sam, a little nap thyme, but has
the ball just in case you want to

I think someone is here to visit…

Thyme for 2 more Fairy Gardens.. the one below is in a concrete
planter that belonged to my Dad. It's very old and sits at the side
of the driveway. The other one is in a flower bed just off the patio.

Had to share this picture of the Tobacco Hornworm. Ron and I 
found it while picking grape cherry tomatoes. The next evening 
I found 2 more. Yes, it will defoliate tomato plants very quickly. 
They don't like the heat of the sun, so will be on the interior of 
the plant, and in the early evening work toward the outside. 
What distinguishes it from the tomato hornworm is the red horn 
on its rear. One source says it "packs a whallop" with the sting
of the horn. The damage begins midsummer and will continue
throughout the growing season. Pick it off, drop it in water, or
snip it in half. Should rototill your soil after harvest to to get rid
of any pupae that might be there. I'm on the alert folks. Find
more info on Google.

Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

ANTS! A Recipe & Something New

Ants… another pest to deal with. We've been noticing the large
black ones known as carpenter ants, also known as sugar ants,
on our front porch. I've been seeing too many to be comfortable
with. Carpenter ants will nest in moist and dry wood, they like
moist. They live in colonies and excavate wood. They don't eat 
the wood but hollow it out for the nests. We've recently noticed
a small pillar of sawdust around the front porch pillar. Yep!!
They will search for food typically at night. And that's when I
have noticed them the most. We want to get a handle on this, 
so guess what another exterminator call will go out. Want to get 
a handle on this soon. Will keep you posted. Know this, keep 
waste wood, firewood away from the house.
I'll notice those annoying little brown ants when I dig in an
established flower bed or my little garden, or just a landscaped
area with mulch. All of a sudden a swarm, a gush, ALOT of
those little buggers will be after you. And they will bite. Ever
had this? You have to move away quickly. They will be on you
within seconds. I'm sure there are nests and they are tunneling.
(Ever have an Ant Farm?) I find if I annoy them they go to a 
different spot after awhile. Here's what you can do. USE Borax,
this is the 20 Mule Team Borax (labeled for laundry use.) You
will find instructions on Google or Pinterest. USE Diatomaceous
Earth, an organic product found at garden centers. USE boiling
water, but keep away from the plants. USE salt, cinnamon, black
pepper, or cayenne pepper. Pour directly down into the area 
where the ants are coming from. USE RAID for ANTS and spray
away.  Is there a best way? Don't know. I will use an insecticide 
as a last resort, but try not to. There are always more ants…
Caution with children and pets!

Let's move on.

SOMETHING NEW friends. Thyme to expand our garden 
vocabulary! Did you ever get stuck on what a certain garden 
word or phrase means? Hmm, ok raise your hands all those 
who know what WILT means or INSECTICIDAL SOAP, 
or DECIDUOUS PLANTS…. well then pay attention. It 
starts here, today…….

Soil pH--a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of soil
                on a pH scale, 7.0 is neutral… below 7.0 is acid, above
                7.0 is alkaline. This is all about how your soil can absorb
                nutrients, the pH affects this. Most of Ohio clay soil 
                derives from limestone, hence high pH. You can soil test    
                with a home pH test kit. Work toward neutral. Compost 
                is great, it helps build your soil, increasing nutrients. If 
                you're looking toward having a specific garden, like 
                growing blueberries or azaleas or just hydrangeas, then 
                you amend accordingly.

I believed I promised you a recipe. See EARTHLY DELIGHTS
for Easy Spanish Rice using Rice A Roni.

I spray painted an extra hand pump a cranberry red and put
it on the potting table. Looks great doesn't it. I've been moving
things around, hanging tools, pictures etc. I'll update you later
as I go.

Guess who….

next up: meet Miss Porcha,
tour screen-in-porch, fairy

Shakira and Mark on bike path

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July Chores, Odds & Ends

July continues and so does the unusual weather patterns we're
having. Today brings us temps in the 60's, rain, and cloudy skies.
Sam (the Pug) is visiting for a week and we head out early to
get our walk in before the drizzle starts. It was dreary and wet 
from yesterday's drenching. I was glad I got the grass cut and 
Ron had trimmed. My positive is I don't have to water the flowers
or garden today. But I made my rounds with Sam at my side.
I always carry a bucket to dehead a little or pick weeds etc.
Have you noticed a lot of mushrooms in your yard. I can't stand
them so guess what… in the bucket they go.

I'm hearing the bees as I meander through my garden spaces. A
delightful sound. Humming and pollinating, paying no attention
as I cut some flowers. 
bee covered with pollen

It's time for Japanese beetles and I saw my first one 2 days ago
in my perennial garden. They are coming and they are frustrating.
They feed on about 300 species of plants. With a light infestation,
knock them off in a bucket of soapy water. Otherwise you may
have to resort to organic pesticides, insecticide soaps, or other 
chemical control. Google or visit your local garden center to find 
what best suits your needs. Remember the larval form of 
Japanese beetles, grubs, can cause lawn problems. Treating for 
grubs should kill most of them before they emerge as adult 
beetles. Fall is the best time for grub treatment. Another garden 
pest is the flea beetle. They chew holes in the leaves of the plant. 
While it won't kill the plant, the leaves aren't pretty to look at. 
I'm seeing my perennials being affected as well. I'm amazed at 
the beetle varieties. Again I Googled to read up on them and what 
can be done for control. The pests are out there. Know your 
garden. Inspect it routinely, and learn to identify common
"bad bugs." Finally note the problem areas in your garden,
correct it now to avoid the bigger ones later.

Are you harvesting cherry tomatoes yet? It's happening here.
I've got the round cherries and the grape varieties. They are
delicious. I'm needing to pick them before they fully ripen 
and with the weather the skins are splitting, (see picture.)
And don't worry they will ripen in the house on their own.
Hopefully you're staking your tomatoes and removing excess 
side-shoots (suckers). Why… too many leaves and stems 
produce smaller fruit, opens the plant to more sunshine, and
less foliage lessens chance of fungal diseases. But it's your 
choice, there are pros and cons to both options.

Enough said,  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
use your fresh herbs.

Finally, the Hydranges and Zinnias make
for lovely indoor displays.

next up: ants, recipe
& something new

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


                                          BECAUSE YOU CAN

 Fireworks, parades, barbecues, all part of the 
4th of July holiday. Each year we celebrate the
birth of the United States as an independent
nation. Enjoy your day friends.

Out early morning for a bike ride. There's
a gentle cool breeze, the sun warming slowly.
I hear the birds tweeting, it's pleasant and
peaceful. Not typical for a July summer day.
A lot to do today, mow, my blog, errands,
and I haven't forgotten the flower beds need 
a clean-up after the rain. It will all happen.
Right now everything is green, flowers are
full and blooming and I'm enjoying the ride.

Next up: July chores