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Showing posts from February, 2014

Mama Kat Thursday: Vivid Dreams

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The Mama Kat prompt today is about my... Everyone dreams. It's how the brain rests.  Dreams occur during the the initial stage of sleep called REM stage (Rapid Eye Movement) and last only a few minutes. The average person moves up and down between REM and deep dreamless sleep at least 3 or 4 times a night. But to recall a dream requires either waking up in the middle of it or right afterward and to retain memory of the details, one must either tell someone about it or write it down---something so it gets rehearsed into memory. Otherwise, dreams are fleeting things, fading quickly away. For me, my dreams are generally adventurous. I'm also what you would call a "lucid dreamer." That means I have an awareness of what I'm dreaming and frequently take conscious control of what's happening. Recently, I've had 2 fun, very vivid dreams: one from last week ago and one from this morning: The setting of the first was a large airplane hanger wher

Garden Pic Wednesday: My Various Flower Beds

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For me, here in northwest Florida, mid-February to the end of March is my window for edging and mulching all my beds while my grass hasn't fully awakened from it's winter sleep.  I say this because I have southern creeping grass, like Centipede & St. Augustine, that is relatively easy to move while it's brown, but horrible to adjust once it's fully greened in and a thick mat. Edging it now makes edging stray grass runners is easier later. Usually, I use mowings for mulch, but it helps to put down a base of pine bark mulch every couple years, then layer the mowings on top of that. This year, I'm laying down the pine bark mulch again.  Finished End of New Block Retaining Wall: I added these red scallop edged blocks on the outer edge to separate the dirt around the tree from the blocks forming the pad for the trash bin.   This, of course, involved moving those blocks over two inches! Then I added Liriope (pronounced la-rye-a-pee). It blooms purple flowe

Good Eating Monday: Orange Dream Cake!

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Today's featured Good Eating recipe is "Orange Dream Cake." This a great cake for your Holiday Entertaining! You'll need candied orange peels & an orange cake mix and the recipe comes from the back of the Paradise label. Candied orange peels are available with other candied fruit used for fruitcakes during the Holiday season at your grocery or can be ordered directly from the company @  Paradise .  Candied fruit can be stored easily in the freezer. I recommend using a bundt cake or tube pan for this, if you have one. It looks so pretty and tastes wonderful! It's a great alternative if you don't like tradtional fruitcake! Orange Dream Cake: Cake Ingredients: 1 package Orange Cake Mix (no substitutions!) 1 package (3.4oz) Vanilla Instant Pudding 1 8 oz container Candied Orange Peel (or substitute one 15oz can drained mandarin oranges & some orange zest if peel is unavailable.) 4 eggs, beaten 1 cup sour cream  1/3 cup oil (or s

Friday Finds: Funny & Useful Pinterest

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First a couple of useful garden ideas from Pinterest to do with Cinnamon & Aspirin: #1)  Shake cinnamon over seedlings to prevent damping off diseases, mold and fungus! I have a seed tray I'm sprouting seedlings in for my herb, veggie & flower garden right now and having seedlings die from mold on the damp dirt is a common problem---so I'm trying the cinnamon cure.   My friend,  Megan, says she always has mold/mildew problems in anything she pots and I said, "why not mix a little cinnamon into the soil mix?" #2)  Two Aspirin in a spray bottle of water will prevent various mildew and fungus diseases common in the veggie and flower garden. But it must be used before the problem sets in as a preventive. But that is true even with commercial mildew treatments, too. Once a mildew is established, it can't really be stopped. I used this last year. I treat my Japanese Sky Pencils shrubs with it regularly because they can develop certain fu

Mama Kat Thursday: This Weeks Smile

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The Mama Kat prompt for this week is: "Something that made you smile this week." Finally, today I smiled with satisfaction. In late 2013,with a starry-eyed visions of enjoying feathery visitors, I bought an Audubon-rated squirrel proof bird-feeder to hang in my yard. Only smaller birds, like finches, sparrows and wrens can access it. In the early spring of 2013, I filled the feeder with thistle seed, that is allegedly supposed to allure finches & chickadees. I was quickly disappointed. It didn't attract the business I'd hoped. In fact, I ended up taking it down within a couple months because I'd hung it on a hook attached to a pine tree, which made it accessible to a baby squirrel small enough to slide through the grill. So much for that. I'm not interested in feeding nuisance squirrels. Then later in the fall, we purchased a nice tall shepherd hook to hang the feeder on, which I placed away from the trees ,  yet in a spot still easily visible

Garden Pic Wednesday: Flowering Snake Plant

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Greetings! Another fine Wednesday for gardening here in the south! One of the good things about flowers and plants is if you don't like where they are, they can be moved. We've decided the Cedar tree out front isn't looking healthy and it's too big to decorate for Christmas anymore. (A big section on one side is brown and dead looking--why I don't know. Either too much sun or some type of fungus.) However, it's not so big we can't cut it down with a simple bow-saw ourselves. The stem is maybe 4 inches across. I want to replace it with one of the evergreen trees such as I see used in the landscape at our local Walmart. They're already trained into a conical Christmas tree shape and have pretty red berries. Perhaps a type of needle-less holly; I'm not sure.  I'd like to get 2: one to replace the cedar in front and one for in back where an Azalea died. Their denseness would make them attractive to birds for nesting. Today's Garden

Friday Finds: Stormtrooper Fun

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There's always tons of Star Wars Stormtrooper humor to be found in Pinterest.  Today's finds features some cute ones: Of course, the references to Disney's acquistion of the Star Wars franchise is endless: Then this clever reinactment of a famous WW2 photo, stormtrooper style: Finally a Stormtrooper reading--what else? The Complete Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy! Prior to Disney buying the Star Wars franchise, Zazzle used to have a Star Wars store, but that disappeared after the buy-out, because ,naturally, the license agreement with Lucas expired.  Disney is no doubt re-imagining what franchise image products they want to sell.  Once they decide, I'm quite sure Zazzle will start printing it for them, since they're licensed to print every other Disney thing including Disney characters, like Mickey, and film stuff like Toy Story, Monsters, Inc; Frozen, even the recent Lone Ranger and, of course, Captain Jack Sparrow.

Mama Kat Thursday: Valentine Craftiness

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Today's Mama Kat prompt topic is: "A Valentine inspired craft!" I don't often do anything for Valentines--years working in a flower shop really burnt me out on it. Still---once in a blue moon---a mood to do something creative will come over me. This was one of those blue moon years. Because I used to make Christmas pin ornaments, I have literally tons of assorted sequins of all shapes and sizes that I've had for years,  just sitting in my craft drawer doing nothing.  I also love blank card stock. I keep a box of multi-color card stock & envelopes on hand, because I like to recycle cards I receive for birthdays and anniversary's into "new" refurbished cards. I don't know why it hasn't occurred to me before--but it suddenly came to me this week that with sequins plus card stock I could make some home-made Valentine magic!  So I promptly out the rubber cement and got busy. Below is photo example of one such card: a heart

Garden Pic Wednesday: First Daffodil & Bed Renovation

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It's chilly this morning and rained last night, which offers the perfect chance for me to get a picture of where I want to install a rain garden in the back yard in a spot water pools---as soon as my camera battery recharges! First Garden Pic of the day is: My First Daffodil!  I took this photo yesterday. This particular set of daffodils is located in a front bed and loaded with blooms! Second Garden Pic is a bed I'm renovating: This is the one I've been working on this week clearing out and digging in that row of single blocks around the edge.  Here, you see the blocks just laying on the surface, since I took this Monday, but most are dug in properly now. My intent is to use this picture to draft out my landscape plan on.  (I can use ribbet.com to draw circles and label where I want to put things.) Amaranthus Autumns Touch Up to now the only thing in it has been a pair of  very  old yellow Lantana, an infestation of wild blackberry, a

Good Eating Monday: Zingy Jiffy Cornbread

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It was nice today and I saw the first sunny yellow daffodil bloom starting to open!  The hubby and I worked outside an hour or so, clearing blackberry brambles out of the bed above my veggies garden. A pair of Lantana plants have been there for years, but I've decided to remove them (thus get to the blackberries woven in with their roots). I want to turn that entire area into a flower/herb/veggie garden. More flowers and herbs, but if I need space to put some veggie, then it will serve. Spreading veggies amongst flower beds is trendy and logical. I'd like to grow an artichoke (for the flowers), but in looking that up discovered it's a very large plant with like a 3 foot spread and I'm just not ready to accommodate that.  This past Friday we visited our friends, Bernie & Jaci in Pensacola. They're on Navigator staff like we are, though they work with Navy people instead of Air Force. They just moved here last spring and we met at the spring conference last

Mama Kat Thursday: Childhood Candy Favs

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The Mama Kat prompt for today is:  "A favorite candy when you were a child. Is it still a favorite?" I have fond memories of candy from my childhood.  Candy bars were just 10 cents in the early 60's. That doesn't seem like much now, but in the economy back then, that was the equivalent of something like 50 cents. So, chocolate candy was something of a treat. I have a distinct memory of sitting in the car as a kid, sorting my plain M&M's into their various colors from least to most, then eating in them in that order. They only came in red, green yellow, light brown and dark brown, back then, with red being fewest and dark brown, most numerous. In my family we went through what I'd call "candy phases," where a certain candy would be like our fad favorite. One summer it was Zero Bars. The snack bar at the public pool in Martinsville sold them and we got hooked, our Mother included. So, we'd be buying them for an after-swimming t

Garden Pic Wednesday: Pampas Trimming & Indoor Petunias!

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It's nice outside today. Sunny. Clear. Mildly cool. It's been so bleak and cold up to now, I haven't wanted go outside. But there's outside stuff that needs doing--one being cutting all my pampas grass back to their base.  But today, being so nice, I headed out and whacked down the first of 5 clumps that need cutting back. Pampas is messy to cut. It's full of dry paper peels that like to blow everywhere and the blades are serrated on both edges. It's pretty stuff, but it's mean, make no mistake about that. I never walk away without at least one cut, even with long-sleeves & gloves. Because the front pair of pampas border my neighbors yard, I try to keep the process relatively neat. It was one of those I worked on today. Having tried various methods for cutting it back, I've found what works best is just hand-clipping the canes in small bunches, 5 or 6 at time, then folding them a couple times and wrapping around the folds with the blades to secu

Good Eating Monday: My Secret Baked Chicken

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A couple weeks ago in the local newspaper, the "Police Blotter," had a number of bear sighting incident reports that police responded to. Also one report of a fox seen in a housing area. According to the report, " when the police arrived the fox had already left the area, so no one knows what the fox had to say." (Honestly, it said that. Which is a play on that popular song called "What the fox says," if you don't know.) I don't know whether the police report was being funny or the reporter. Either way it brought a smile to my face.   Today's Good Eating recipe is my secret recipe for really moist baked chicken. I use chicken thighs, which can be bone-in or boneless. Dark meat is more moist in general. You could use legs or legs & thighs mixed if you like. The secret is using instant mashed potato flakes to roll your chicken in before baking!   Ingredients: Chicken Thighs. (boneless or bone-in ) 1 box instant mashed pot