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Showing posts from April, 2015

Mama Kat Thursday: Blossoming Joy

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I'm combining two Mama Kat prompts today, since my blossoming flower beds are my present joy! My garden looks best at this time of year, before the sweltering heat takes over. If you were driving up to my house, this large Gardenia bush and native orange Day Lilies would be the first thing you'd see: Then, if you were going to the front door, you'd follow the sidewalk past this where my white ceramic cat would watch you pass with glassy eyes: Once you reached the front door, you could look toward the rear yard and you'd see this rain garden with it's purple "Chocolate" Elephant Ears, orange Day Lillies & tall flag iris greeny: But if you decided not to walk to the front door, but wanted to look at the beds on the opposite side of the driveway along the north side of the house, you'd first see this bed, where Easter Lilies & Sea Holly are preparing to bloom: And if you wanted to get a better look at the Host

Garden Pic Wednesday: How To Sprout Seeds

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Wednesday's are my free-day to spend how I want out in the garden, if it's nice and it's very nice this week. Tonight and the next couple nights, 56 to 59 F, which is cool for north Florida. Today, I edged some beds and moved the nice St.Augustine grass from those locations to bare spots, planted some new plants that came in the mail and mowed that north side of the lawn. The plants that got planted included a Rue shrub, an Imperial Artichoke, a French Thyme and a type of butterfly milkweed. Today's pictures are how to force seeds to sprout using plastic wrap and a paper towel: T his is a good method for the following cases: 1) For fine or small seeds that might get lost in direct sowing. 2) For checking what seeds might still be good in those seed packets you've had for a couple years. 3)  For checking seeds you saved from last years flowers or veggies to see which ones will sprout.  4) For getting a quick start by sprouting some seeds, such as

Good Eating Monday: Japanese Fried Rice

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Greetings! Today the plumber is here to put in a new kitchen faucet, move the ice-maker water hose connection to under the kitchen sink rather then from the master bath (which means a copper line runs up the master bath wall, across the attic and down the kitchen wall behind the frig, which, to me, is just a disaster waiting to happen. Lucky it's lasted 25 years as it is.) Also, I asked it he could fix the bathroom sink drain stopper thingy, so the lever would be connected to it again to make it go up and down. I figure the best way to make use of an expensive plumber is to have a whole honey-do list for him! Today's Good Eating Recipe is a tried and true recipe for "Japanese Fried Rice." Now this is a Japanese home-style cooking recipe given to me by my Japanese room-mate in college. It's not fancy or elaborate. It just uses hot dogs, carrots, green bell pepper, scrambled egg, soy sauce & precooked rice! It's a good recipe for left-over rice or y

Mama Kat Thursday: Worst Eating Out Experiences

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The Mama Kat blog writing link-up prompt for today is, "What is an unpleasant experience you had eating?" I can immediately think of two horribly unhappy eating-out experiences! The first happened early-on in our marriage while we were still living in the Washington D.C. area in the early 1980's. We had decided to try a Chinese restaurant in College Park. It wasn't a buffet. Chinese all-you-can-eat buffets hadn't come into vogue yet. This was a traditional sit-down, order-from-a-menu, moderately expensive Chinese Restaurant.  One of their specials that evening was "Chinese Style Crab." Now I had no idea what this was, but it sounded interesting, so I ordered it. What I got was a platter of small, nearly unrecognizable crab parts in a dark barbecue-like sauce. I picked through it, hardly able to find anything edible in it. When we left, I told Hubby I was still really hungry and could we stop at a McDonald's? I'm pretty sure I gobbled do

Garden Pic Wednesday: The Remodeled Bat House

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Greetings! Another fine spring day! Rain has finally let up and it got nice and cool for working outside! I had a dream last night that I was inside a yellow house looking out at the back yard that was a standing pool of water that seemed to be looming close to the foundation and I was worried about being found. In reality, my house is tan; not yellow and the only place water stands is in the various rain gardens I've built (where water was standing anyway) and even then, it's gone within a few hours. Today's Garden Pics are of the old bat house I remodeled into a bird house and a nice photo of my Pinks! First, the house.   It looks tres`chic now, but as a bat house it was hanging on a pine tree, so weathered it was split from roof to base with an inch wide chunk of wood gone and the slat-panels for bats on the inside were falling out. Never once had any bat taken up residence! So, we took it down and I began the process of gluing and nailing it back togethe

Good Eating Monday: Crab Fried Rice!

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Hubby and I both had a dental appointment this month for the bi-yearly cleaning--we were both Crest-kids with no problems!  Then we had lunch at Panda Express near Lowe's, because we needed to pick up a new kitchen sink faucet. I was down to just the hot water handle working and now it's on it's way out, so time to bite the bullet. I want a plumber to install in because I want him to also move the ice maker hose connection to the kitchen pipes. Believe it or not, the contractors who built our house back in 1989 attached that connection to the master bath sink pipe, so the copper pipe runs from there, up into the attic, across, then down to the the wall behind the refrigerator to poke ungraciously out of a hole in the wall behind the frig to connect the ice maker to...one  of many reasons why I have very little good to say about the guys a home builders or the contractors they hire. Today's Good Eating recipe is one I'm going to try tonight: Crab Fried Rice!

Mama Kat Thursday: Throwback Thursday--Garden Art

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The Mama Kat blog writing prompt for today is, "Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from last April and write about it. "   Last April's photo was this little white & blue ceramic cat that I purchased while home in Indiana last year and brought back for my large garden container in my front bed.  I bought it to replace the previous ceramic cat that had blown apart in last years super deep freeze last January/February--at least as a central piece! The new ceramic cat, spring 2014 But I loved that little blue ceramic cat that shattered in the freeze so much, I I glued him mostly back together and still use him in one of the smaller Amaryllis pots out front, though I store both in the garage during winter! No more weather-shattered ceramics for me! The cat that shattered in the freeze. Next is my newest Garden Art addition: it 's part of a pretty clay pot that I'd been using on my patio for years for flowers and, this spring, the window bl

Garden Pic Wednesday: In My Veggie Garden

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It was clear enough today to mow the front yard and put down some weed & feed. (I use Scott's Turf Builder Weed & Feed for Florida ) It was the first mow of the season. Today, I thought I'd show you my new walled in veggie garden and what I've planted in it: The soil level inside is much higher to protect it from getting flooded. I'd call Florida an "aggressive gardening environment."  By that, I mean the soil here is sandy and poor; the climate is hot, humid and either too dry or too wet; the bugs are ferocious and the weeds, tenacious. Bugs & weeds are can be dealt with; it's the climate that's the biggest problem. For that, I usually turn to my favorite garden seed catalog, Park Seed for veggie seed bred for my kind of climate. Seed I ordered this year with catalog pictures: Partenon Hybrid Squash (Zucchini) Key feature for me : it pollinates & sets even in 90+ degree heat !  Also it's a bush squash,

Good Eating Monday: Banana Pudding Squares!

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Greetings! It's raining here in Florida and has been for 3 days, but just a light rain that comes and goes; not a down-pour.  The grass, veggie garden and flower beds are bursting with lust green! Today's Good Eating Recipe is another no bake recipe that's easy to make: Banana Pudding Squares! This particular recipe is meant to be low-calorie, so many ingredients are sugar free or reduced fat, but you can use opt for regular ingredients if you like.                                                   Ingredients: 35 Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers, finely crushed (about 1 1/4 cups--which you can sub *graham cracker crumbs for if you prefer) 1/4 cup butter/margarine, melted 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 8oz tub Cool Whip Whipped Topping, sugar free or lite; thawed & divided 3 bananas, sliced 2 small size boxes of Vanilla Flavored Instant Pudding, Sugar Free 3 cups cold fat-free or low-fat milk 1/2 square Baker's semi-sweet

Mama Kat Thursday: March Disappointment

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The topic for the Mama Kat blog writing prompt this weeks is, "Share something you learned in March." I've learned that affiliate programs are kind  of like the wolf in Red Riding Hood disguised in Grandma's jammies; they talk a bunch of sweet stuff, but they can bite. I've been buying my seed from Park Seed online for years and decided I'd try signing up for their affiliate program. Since I do a Wednesday Garden blog, I though having an ad from the company I use might be nice for my readers, who might be interested in ordering.  Of course, they use a neutral party ad manager system I had to sign up through and I did describe in great detail that mine is a lifestyle blog covering different topics different days, with gardening being just one topic on Wednesdays. Then I waited with baited breath, afraid my blog wouldn't be judged as suitable. I mean, it's not exclusively gardening. To my great surprise, around the first part of March

Garden Pic Wednesday: Ajuga & Dutch Iris!

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A couple weeks ago we were visiting our friends Bernie & Jacqui (pronounced Jackie) in Pensacola and she was proudly showing me her dirt filled seed-starter trays that had seedlings sprouting. She said she'd planted pole beans in them. I looked over the collection of sprouts thoughtfully, but saw only one single bean.  The other dozen sprouts clearly had the fan-shaped leaves of some kind of squash. I pointed them out, saying, "This is a squash, this is a squash, this is a squash and this is a squash." Then I pointed at the only pole bean. " That is a pole bean." "Are you sure?" Jacqui asked, her expression completely surprised that she had squash she hadn't planted. "Yup," I replied.  I pointed out a pole bean stem in another tray that had been eaten down to the dirt. "Snails or something have been eating your pole beans." However--the reason Jacqui had uninvited squash sprouts is because she mixed compost from