Monthly Archives: April 2020

Gardening as Art

Elizabeth Murray

 

I love all kinds of plants. My parents didn’t do much with plants, preferring no maintenance over other priorities.

We live on top of a ridge line in Arkansas. The only ‘soil’ we have was brought up here by truck – enough so that we could have a small yard around the house. The rest of our approximately 8 acres is wooded.

Over the years my husband, son and I built 14 brick planters around the house. filling them with potting soil so that I could grow some flowers. Flowers lift my spirits. I can FEEL my heart filling and the concerns fading when I see some of my flowers doing well. I love adding perennials each year so there is less I NEED to do. Then I concentrate on annuals to dot into the planters, plus put into little planters around the yard, on the front porch, and on the deck each year. This year, because of the pandemic, I’m not planting any annuals, so I enjoy the perennials that defiantly and proudly spear up out of the planters and put on a lovely display regardless of the world around them.

I’m like a little kid at Christmas with my raised bed, square foot garden. I had never seen any food grow, and so I have learned a LOT about what NOT to do over the years, finally achieving some success over the past several years. I LOVE watching the plants lift their faces to the sun. I even enjoy weeding the ‘boxes’ of my garden, since the Mel’s Mix soil alternative makes it easy to weed. The fact that the boxes are at my chest level also makes it so I can do the job without bending over double or getting up and down off the ground. Today I’m starting work on weeding UNDER my garden boxes. That’s a bigger job, but the weeds are growing fast now. I need to get things under control as soon as I can.

 

My favorite sign in our yard is –

Amazon

My break is over now. It’s time for another session murdering weeds…

 

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Niki Firmin Pet Portraits

No words needed about the incredible talent of pet portrait artist, Niki Firmin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And In the End…

Indian Hills Community Center

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Hope in Flowers

While most of our world remains in concern, fear, and lockdowns to various degrees, I look for things that give me hope that all will be better eventually. I find hope seeing our perennial flowers blooming, in spite of severe weather a couple of nights ago, oblivious to what else is happening in the world. They bloom their lovely hearts out, aware of only warmer temperatures sunshine, and water.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope that you, too, can find things that fill your heart with hope for the future.

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Art on Buildings 3

Email from Marsha Koenig

 

 

Email from Marsha Koenig

 

 

Email from Marsha Koenig

 

 

Email from Marsha Koenig

 

 

Email from Marsha Koenig

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Thoughts on a Wednesday 4-29-2020

in an email from my friend Marsha

We have had a busy couple of days.

Yesterday severe weather was forecast, including rain, high winds, large hail, and flying hairballs to start around dark. I took old sheets out and covered up the veggie plants in my garden, plus my tomato plants, protecting them as much as possible. The bad weather came, with lots of lightning, wind, rain, etc. I didn’t know if we got the hail. This morning I uncovered everything, and we seem to have come through with no damage to my sweet veggies!

I’m doing several loads of laundry to change the dirty, dripping sheets into clean, dry sheets ready for the next time.

 

I am really relieved. If we have a quiet, nice day tomorrow, I’ll work on cutting down the weeds and then spraying weed killer UNDER my raised bed boxes, as well as around the perimeter. I’m not sure if we need more mulch to spread under the boxes. I’ll know more when I have the weeds under control.

I’ll also use the push-around weed whacker to clean up the area beside the garden. We have the lawn mowed after finally getting the new belt installed, but my husband didn’t have the time to mow around or beside the garden.

I took pics of our rose bushes before the storm. It’s a good thing, because ALL of them are bent clear over after all the wind and rain.  I am going to try to find some things to prop them up while they try to recover.

 

 

 

A small sign of things starting to get back toward normal was that the company that sprays for bugs for us called and sent out Adolpho to spray the inside, plus around the outside of the house for everything – including elephants. When you live outside of town in a wooded area on top of a ridge line, one of the things you take seriously is the creepy, crawly things that will suddenly erupt without constant heavy duty spraying by professionals. We have Tri-Hill Pest Control, 1308 Zero St, Fort Smith, AR 72901, (479) 782-2847.  Adolpho is the man who comes to help us. We can’t say enough about him. 

Besides uncovering plants, washing sheets, and meeting the bug man, I have made us lunch and baked another loaf of keto bread. I can’t say enough about this recipe from MyKetoKitchen.com

I’ve tried a lot of recipes for bread, since that was the thing I had been missing the most. I wanted one loaf of bread that I could slice and eat instead of eyeing my husband’s roll with dinner. I wanted one that I could slice and put in the toaster while my husband had regular bread – and one that I might even be able to use for a sandwich, if I felt the urge, such as when we want a comfort dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for dinner.  I wanted the yeasty smell and taste of regular bread, as much as possible.

This one does all this. One loaf lasts me approximately a week. It doesn’t rise as much as regular bread, but it tastes good to me. I don’t feel deprived watching my husband eat regular breads – rolls, bagels, toast, sandwich bread, hot dog buns, etc. I will eventually branch out, trying other keto recipes for all of these various things, but this has really helped me in my efforts to stay on keto and lose the lard.

I hope that your day is full of hopeful things, too.

 

 

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Filed under DIET!, Gardening, Great Companies Who Deserve Your Business, Healthy Eating, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Thoughts on a ________

Art on Buildings 2

email from Marsha

 

 

email from Marsha

 

 

email from Marsha

 

 

email from Marsha

 

 

email from Marsha

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Gary Wing Art

Gary Wing Art

 

Gary Wing Art

Gary creates all kinds of wonderful art. See more here.

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Character-Building Exercise

BeInspiredChannel.com

My Facebook page got hacked. Not only that, but I’ve had this for YEARS and I started it with a then-current email, so I cannot just change my password. They want to send the code to my old email address. There seems to be no way to reach anyone to help, so I am starting over with a new account, current information, etc.

If you get a friend request from me, it IS really me. I’m having to delete the old account. Please consider adding me to your list again.

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“Dragonfly Dreams”

“Dragonfly Dreams” –
Carol Cavalaris

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Escape – Plus

Elisabet Scott via NUSTBookClub.wordpress.com

I have always been a voracious reader. I am ALWAYS reading at least one book at any given time.  I cannot imagine a life without being surrounded by lots and lots of books.

Lately, I’ve been re-reading some of my favorite Nora Roberts books. I work hard all day, doing chores and working in the yard more and more as the weather permits, and then spend some glorious time escaping into a well-loved book – like a pair of comfortable shoes – knowing it will turn out right in the end, loving the wonderful characters and their the conversations that touch my heart or make me laugh.

I’m also enjoying some of my art books. The talent of people will never cease to amaze me. I love to try to emulate the techniques they are trying to teach me.  They put wonderful ideas in my head that I can try out in my art room – if I can make the time and still have energy. I so much enjoy pouring over the possibilities in these books!

I’m also trying out new recipes. I’m not imaginative on my own, so I’m delighted when I can find recipes that my husband says are, “YUMMY!” or requests that we have again. Today I will bake another loaf of keto bread for myself. My husband enjoys all kinds of regular bread, but I’m trying to get the lard off, so keto bread means a lot to me.

I am lucky to have more books than I can enjoy. They make me feel rich!

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Filed under learning new things, Reading is FUNdamental

Fresh Fish

I love watching my fish check out the different decorations I put in their home each time I clean the aquarium.  They don’t say much about the changes, but they wriggle harder and blow lots of bubbles, so I know they are interested.  You can only see the white gold fish in this pic, unless you know that the orange curved ‘stripe’ on the right side of the tank is the orange one. He is about 4 inches long now.  I like seeing the brightly lit tank, the sparkling clean water, the bubbles of the aerator, and the fish chasing each other. I talk to them – making bright conversation – but they don’t engage in spritely repartee.  It’s a nice, quiet, appreciative relationship.

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Art on Buildings

email from Marsha Koenig

I have seen some of these before, but I LOVE the creativity and imagination of some wonderful people who transform what is ordinary into something extraordinary.

 

email from Marsha Koenig

 

 

email from Marsha Koenig

 

 

email from Marsha Koenig

 

 

email from Marsha Koenig

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Feeling Lucky

My husband and I just came back from running some quick errands. I can’t get him to wear a mask, so we keep our errands to an absolute minimum and move in and out of the store very quickly to avoid exposure as much as possible. I’m feeling grateful that Arkansas is one of the states that did not require a complete lockdown.  Sometimes we can go through a drive-through or call and get curbside service at one of our favorite restaurants. We got a rotisserie chicken today, so I don’t even have to cook tonight. I’ll make a salad to go with it, using our head lettuce and spinach leaves from our own garden.

Several states are now in the process of trying to carefully reopen their economies. Arkansas is one. I’m interested to see how this works. I think that people will need to think for themselves about what is a safe situation. My husband and I are in the high risk group. so we will probably continue to do what we’re doing, avoiding exposure as much as we can until further notice. If we see something that we consider safe, or consider the risk worth it, we will expand to new things again.

I feel lucky that I can continue to plan my days here on top of our ridgeline, filling it with things I SHOULD do – like household chores and exercise – as well as FUN things, such as writing my blog and playing in my art room. It just doesn’t get much luckier than that.

So far friends and family have managed to avoid the virus, or have HAD it and don’t know it. I hope this continues.

I’m am hopeful that we can open our economy carefully, getting good people back to work, getting a start on putting our world back to normal.

natural life via 2 STAR art

 

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Cats

via Jeff Jett – Linkedin

 

 

via Jeff Jett, LinkiedIn

 

 

via Jeff Jett, LinkedIn

 

Kanno Hisao with Maya Ansa and Yaeko Hishida

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Appearances

Farmgirls Country Sale

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Happy

Begin with Yes-art by Inspirivity

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Paper Art 3

Sena Runa – MyModernMet

 

 

strictlypaper

 

 

Wikipedia

 

 

Yulia Brodskaya-Proactive Creative

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Our Plants Survived!

I went outside with trepidation a few minutes ago to see what was left after the wave after wave of hard storms we had yesterday and throughout the evening. I noticed hail hitting the dining area window a couple of times and feared my new tomato plants and veggie garden would be beaten to death. As you can see from the photo above, the tomato plants in this planter are fine! Hooray!!!!!

 

This is the second planter for tomatoes. This one is more sheltered than the other, but nothing will help when hail is coming down. I was really relieved to see all the sweet tomato plants are still doing well.

I walked to the other end of our property where our raised bed square foot garden is. I could tell the water came up high on the plants before draining out, but nothing seems to be broken or beaten down.

This shows you some of the head lettuce and the red onions.

 

A couple of spinach plants, but mainly head lettuce.

And the spinach. As you can see, the plants were almost covered with water and soil by the storm, but then the drainage did it’s job.

We seem to be due for more storms tomorrow, but we have dodged another bullet, and I’m grinning from ear to ear.

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Filed under Gardening, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Our Favorite Rose Bush

Our favorite rose bush is called Rio Samba. We have no clue what we’re doing on growing roses, but this one seems happy with us. We have three of these. You are looking at three photos of the same rose bush from different angles taken just a few minutes ago.

We love the fact that we have so many different colors on the same bush, depending on how long the rose has been blooming.

 

When it is a bud or very early bloom, the flower is bright yellow with a swash of coral. When it opens completely, it is still yellow, but has coral edges and the older petals start to turn a much milder coral.

When if is almost ready or ready to prune, the whole blossom is a sweet shade of coral.

 

 

There are few things that lift my spirits as much as visiting our rose bushes this time of the year. They give me hope that things will one day be back to normal, in the normal flow of nature.

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Sand Sculptures 2

Drindus-Instagram via Beautiful World

 

 

HazeIce Breamm-Instagram via Beautiful World

 

 

See_the_world_with_green_eyes- Instagram via Beautiful World

 

 

Sudarsan Pattnail-Twitter via Beautiful World

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Some Needed Laughs

My good friend Marsha Koenig sent me an email that made me laugh so many times I lost count. What a treasure these days! I had to share it with you –

How do you decide who to marry?

 

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Thoughts on a Wednesday 4-22-2020

Garry Dano – I Love Elephants with Elephant Addict

How could anyone feel ‘down’ after seeing this sweet baby elephant?

We are having storms this morning. We have lost power once briefly and Internet once so far. Rain, wind, hail, and flying hair balls are predicted all day and into the evening.  I am worried about my veggie plants and my tomato plants. Fingers crossed that we DON’T get the predicted hail.

I am thankful we have a warm, dry home. Usually we play ‘doggie doorman’ all day long, but both doggies are sound asleep as I type. Both cats are inside, too. And, of course, the gold fish are safe from harm.

We started a project last night of replacing the long board that is on the outer edge of our deck, trying to shore things up a bit. We got part of it accomplished, and planned to go to the local hardware store to get a replacement board today. So much for our plans. We will hope we can continue the fix tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we are trying to sell an old riding lawn mower. A man just called and is on his way out to see it – in the middle of this weather. I’m hoping that means that he really wants a mower and will be delighted that we can sell him one cheaply that works. Fingers crossed!

123RF.com

I finished the painting I started several days ago.

 

The weather has really thrown a wrench into our plans for the day, so I’m not sure what I’ll try to accomplish today.

I got two stars yesterday because I FINALLY did my elliptical trainer in the morning and my yoga in the afternoon. I will try to do that again today.

Penn Fitness Warehouse

 

Bored Panda

I could really tell yesterday that I had stiffened up in my yoga practice. I have to prove to myself over and over again that I really need to do this at least several times a week, if not every day. I’m a very slow, stubborn learner.  Here’s hoping I earn my two stars today.

Please take care and stay safe.

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Filed under exercise, Mother Nature, playing in my art room, Thoughts on a ________

Today’s Harvest 4-21-2020

This picture shows you the head lettuce leaves I harvested today. I had to wash each leaf carefully under running water, and it was easy to see that the hard rain had pretty much filled the squares high up on the plants faster than it could drain during the storm we had yesterday.

 

These are spinach leaves. I’ll use these in our salads, but I’m hoping that the plants will give me enough that I can freeze some for later. I’m looking forward to a nice, big salad tonight. Our weather is glorious today – sunny and 74 degrees. We did some freezer diving last night and will cook out tonight for the first time this season.

 

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Filed under Gardening, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Tomato Plants

We call this our ‘nook’ planter. It is one we built in a space on the backside of the house right beside our screened-in porch. It is somewhat sheltered from our weather, so it’s a kinder spot for plants.

We converted the nook planter and this longer brick planter from potting soil to the soil alternative we use in our vegetable garden. It’s called “Mel’s Mix,” and was developed by Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening. (You mix 2 parts Vermiculite, 2 parts peat moss, and 1 part each of as many different composts as you can find. )

Here’s another view of the longer brick planter. We have a total of 10 plants in the two planters. I was worried the hard rain would have broken the new plants, but happily, they came though fine. Fresh tomatoes sliced with salt is one of our favorite foods in all the world. Hopefully, we’ll have a nice crop this year.

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Checking on the Garden

I was relieved to see that my veggie plants weren’t damaged by the recent really hard rain. I made the decision to plant only one plant in each square, although Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening says that you can plant 4 plants in a square. I wanted to give these plenty of room, particularly since I probably won’t be planting anything other than radishes with the pandemic.

 

This is one of the head lettuce plants. It is already taking up about 2/3 of the square. It looks healthy and happy, so I’m glad about my decision to spread out more.

I this picture, you can see three of the six boxes we built for our raised bed square foot garden. You can also see the irrigation system, in which the sprinkler in the center of each box waters the plants in that box. We have a timer attached so the plants are watered at the same time each day. We can either cut back on the time or increase it, or turn it off altogether, as needed.

 

Right now my head lettuce plants are a lot larger than my spinach plants. I’m carefully harvesting leaves from both, encouraging growth  and trying to keep the plants producing.

So far, everything is going well.

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Sand Sculpture

Alexandar Petrov-Instagram via Beautiful World

 

 

Beautiful World

 

Beautiful World

 

Beautiful World

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My Sloth Brought Wonderful Results

One year I was digging up iris and trying to replant it around the yard. I ended up with SO many plants that I was completely exhausted. My friends weren’t interested in extra iris, so – I’m ashamed to admit this – I threw the plants off what we call ‘the edge of the world’ into the wooded part of our front yard beyond where we try to keep reasonably civilized.

My sloth had happy results! These are blooming beyond the edge of the front yard now.

 

 

 

 

 

There is no telling how many tubers I wasted, but I’m glad that iris is the type of plant that practically plants itself and doesn’t need much care. It really lifted my spirits to see them this morning.

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Poohism

A.A.Milne via Penny Yaffe Krakow

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The Incredible Art of Bethany Kerr

Bethany Kerr Fine Art

 

Bethany Kerr Fine Art

 

Bethany Kerr Fine Art

This is only the tip of the iceberg on Bethany’s talent. Please contact her for a commissioned drawing or painting, or browse through her prints to find things you’ll just HAVE to have. Bethany Kerr Fine Art 

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Filed under Bethany Kerr, drawings

Pooping Contest

Even though the fish grumbled, my husband helped me clean the aquarium today. I asked for help because I have now changed to a filter for a 10-gallon tank even though ours is a 5-gallon.  The part that hangs the filter system on the tank didn’t want to go on, so I enlisted his expertise.

I only have the two fish you see here. The whiter one has grown to be about two times as large as he was when I bought him about a year or so ago now. The gold one has increased in size at least three, and maybe four times. He’s a monster now.

I didn’t realize when I bought them that gold fish have a well-earned reputation for pooping. I realize that fish need to, but these two wrote the book on it! I guess it’s like being on lockdown. They have nowhere to GO. Not much to DO. No HOBBIES to get involved in. Still, one would think they could devise games to play in there, rather than having pooping contests.

I am cleaning their tank once a week in order to keep the water sparkling clean most of the time. It gets a bit cloudy, and then, suddenly, the water is GREEN and desperately needs to be changed. I have read lots of articles on the subject. I’m following all the suggestions. It’s a good thing that I find these two fish NICE. I enjoy having the aquarium and love the look of it when it’s nice and squeaky clean.

Maybe one day they will listen to my not-so-subtle suggestions and get with the program…

 

 

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