Category Archives: Favorite Things

Mother Nature’s Gifts

Monett Times

“Where the tree tops glisten

And Children listen

to hear sleigh bells in the snow….”  (“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby)

I guess I never really thought about it before. I’ve sung the song a million times, but just glossed over the words. Today Mother Nature had iced and frozen the trees to the point I thought it had snowed for a minute, looking out the window. Then the sun came out, after a really dark, dank day yesterday, and the tree tops DID ‘glisten’ – spectacularly!  You could almost see every branch as the sunlight hit the trees. We both remarked on how beautiful it was on our way to town. Multiply the sample above by about a thousand and you’ll have an idea what we enjoyed this morning!

Fox 4 News

The icing on the cake was when we rounded the curve and saw FOUR deer crossing the road! This picture gives you an idea of what we saw – 4 deer, one following the next in a parade as they crossed to the other side. There was no other traffic around, thank goodness, so we just slowed and watched them as they crossed safely to the other side, and then moved on.

Mother Nature was in a really good mood, smiling down on our part of Arkansas today.

 

 

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Filed under Favorite Things, Mother Nature

Eagles vs Patriots

My husband and I are not football people. We catch bits and pieces of games now and then, but mostly because we want to see “60 Minutes” which is often delayed by football games. We almost always watch the Superbowl, though, because we figure it’s THE game of the season – the best vs the best. I’m glad we watch it by ourselves in our own home because I would probably be killed otherwise. I like a good, hard-fought, close game when you don’t know who the winner will be until the last seconds. Therefore, I keep switching sides, rooting for whoever is the underdog at the moment. I know that people who are really fans of particular teams would happily squash me like a bug because they found me absolutely so annoying they couldn’t stand it.

I also love to watch the commercials during the Superbowl, knowing that advertising agencies really worked hard to come up with the most entertaining or special commercials they could create, hoping that people will play them over and over, talk about them and the products – as they should, in that Superbowl commercials cost a gazillion dollars or so for 30 seconds now.

I love all the half time ceremonies and performances, whether we particularly like the performers or not. The ‘show’ is usually over the top. My husband and I dropped our teeth when we heard Lady GaGa sing the national anthem awhile back. My husband taped it so he can hear it again and again on his computer. He cries it’s so beautiful.

We’re breaking our low carb diet for dinner today – enjoying a big bowl of frito chili pie – a long favorite comfort food we almost never have anymore. We’ll have it all ready – the chili in a huge bowl ready to be nuked back to temperature in the microwave, the onions cut up, the shredded cheese ready to sprinkle, the bowls and spoons out. We’ll leap up at some point of the game and put it all together quickly and gorge ourselves on a true low-carb no-no. Ahhhhhh!

I hope the game today is really the best of the best – a nail-biter to the closing seconds.

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Welcome Visitors

Recently we’ve received a wonderful gift of being able to look at lots of birds we don’t often see. When we’re eating breakfast, we love watching the birds come to eat the seed we put out. We’re not official birdwatchers, and identify most as just ‘pointy headed birds,’ ‘cardinals,’ bluejays’ (my husband tries to shoot the bluejays because he read they eat the eggs of other birds), and more.

Recently, though we’ve seen –

a wonderful roadrunner who looked like a baby. He sat in the dish of one of our deck planters, then finally made it over to the shovel bird and found sunflower seeds in the shovel part.  We see full grown roadrunners from time to time in the summer, running in their characteristic, comedic way, where they put their head and tail down to form a kind of horizontal line with their body, run like mad for a few feet, then stop putting head and tail up – frozen as they survey their surroundings – and then the ‘horizontal line’ runs again as they cross the yard.

We also saw –

TWO robins! I guess we probably have a lot of these around, but recently was the first time we remember actually SEEING them on our deck railings and feeders. I realized that I didn’t know if we were seeing two males, or two females, or a pair. I found this –

 

So we saw two males – meaning that we hopefully have at least two pairs of robins close around!

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Cats and Flowers

One of my dear friends ordered two sets of hand-painted, personalized thank you notes recently – one with a cat theme and the other floral. I’ve had more fun doing this!

 

My friend knows my work. The cats will be silhouettes and cartoony and the flowers I paint are mostly ones that never were – except in my own mind. I’m spending a bit of time each day playing in my art room, trying to create thank you notes that will bring a smile or two.

Spending time there working on a project, trying to bring order out of chaos, or just experimenting, is just about the best time there is for me. The years fall away. Aches and pains fade. I’m totally absorbed, bopping to my music, surrounded by fun materials, with the only limitations my own imagination and ability. HEAVEN!

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Filed under Childlike Fun, Etsy.com/CreativeArtwks, Favorite Things, Hobbies

When ‘Favorite Thing’ Meets ‘Pet Peeve’

Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

I LOVE to watch figure skating. It’s one of my favorite things in life. My husband found that the contest for who would go to the Winter Olympics in figure skating was on television Friday and Saturday nights. I was in Heaven. The ladies skated on Friday and the men on Saturday. Seeing so much dedication and talent in one place is awe-inspiring.

 

Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

The women were all very talented, but it seemed to me that the contest wasn’t as close as the men’s.  I have to say I’m really pleased to live on the same planet as these talented people.

The reason I titled this post “When ‘Favorite Thing’ Meets ‘Pet Peeve'” is the people who ‘help’ me watch the performance. Yes, they’re professionals. Yes, they know better than anyone how well the people skate. They’ve watched these folks in practice. They have been where these young people are and know what they’re feeling and how nervous they are.

My pet peeve is that I don’t want to listen to them! I want to watch the ice skating. I want to listen to the music they’ve chosen. Even “I” who can’t tell the difference between a ‘quad,’ and a ‘triple lutz’ (spelling?) can SEE when someone does a brilliant job of skating. I can tell if they almost fell or actually fell on their butts. I don’t care what the name is of the thing they’re about to do. I don’t want to know how nervous they are or that they had trouble in practice. I JUST WANT TO WATCH THEM SKATE AND LISTEN TO THE MUSIC. The commentators can talk in-between performances, even showing ‘where-little-Johnny-fell-on-his-butt’ over and over again, if they would like.

The result of this pet peeve is that once the skater begins, it’s about 4 seconds before one of the commentators HAS to tell me what is coming up and how important it is that little Johnny doesn’t fall on his butt this time. I mute the sound and watch, then unmute to see if I can hear at least a few seconds of the music before another commentator HAS to break in to tell me that little Johnny said that this performance was really important to him tonight. Well, DUH!

So, the performances are largely done in silence in the Lewis household. Amazingly, even without listening to the commentators, we can tell who did a good job and who didn’t. We realize all the years each of these talented people have practiced. We have an idea of what they’ve given up to get to this place. We want them to do well.

I just WISH we didn’t have to appreciate them in silence…

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Encouragement, Favorite Things, Pet Peeves

Mr. Bountiful

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My husband and I work in harmony each morning to get all the animals fed, breakfast fixed and eaten, dishwasher unloaded, and our basic chores done.

He usually takes the animals out first thing, stopping at our big bucket of sunflower seeds in the garage to take out to the deck for the birds. We put out both sunflower seeds and the small seeds you see in the picture above.

After he comes in and we are sitting at the dining area table for breakfast, it’s like the memo went out – “Mr. Bountiful has come!”

All of a sudden we’re awash in lots and lots of birds of all stripes bouncing from feeder to feeder, plus a squirrel or two, entertaining us as we eat.

We put a special squirrel feeder up, right on the other side of the window. It has a gallon glass bottle held up by a wooden closure. The squirrel has to come into the wooden enclosure and then stretch out to get the seed in the bottle. We get a really great look at him. There are little pointy-headed birds that also use this feeder, popping in and out with regularity.

With the birds and squirrels outside the window, our two dogs and two cats sitting on the floor around the table, and the fish happily eating in their aquarium, we feel happy and rich.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Family, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature

It All Started with Bird Seed….

I wish this picture were of birds in our yard. Aren’t these birds beautiful?

My husband is good about putting bird seed in the bottle we have right outside the dining area window. He likes it that the birds have to actually get into the gallon-sized bottle, pick up a seed, and then fly away. They’re really close so we can see them well as they eat breakfast. He also puts seed in the shovel bird we made and attached to the railing of the deck. Not so much the other feeders hanging about.

I noticed that the snowman bird feeder was almost empty. I also wanted to add another feeder, since our traffic is up with the cooler mornings.

I found one of our favorite feeders. It’s shaped like a ‘cabin,’ with plexiglass on both sides and a big root. There are places for suet on either end of the feeder. I discovered that one of the pieces of plexiglass was gone, so I put the feeder on the floor and will ask my husband if he can fix it.

I found another feeder, of COURSE on the top shelf in the garage. I got out the ladder and still had to get the grab-stuff-you-can’t-reach tool to actually get it off the shelf. I got the mud dauber’s nest remnants off, but it still needed a good cleaning. I brought it inside and had to unscrew the top in order to get the inner part out so I could wash it. A very laborious time later, the feeder was clean and ready for seed. I filled it and also filled up the snowman feeder and put them out. We’ll deal with the broken feeder later.

I then checked the greenhouse, finding that the elephant ear and purple passion greenery had not survived the latest cold snap. I went out to behind the shop and filled up two buckets with peat moss and took them out to the greenhouse. I cut off the dead parts of the plants and put the roots deep into one bucket of the peat moss, then filled up the bucket with as much as I could get in there and patted it down. The bucket is now on the counter in the garage for storage until I replant them in the spring.

Today is a pretty day. Since we have another cold front coming through later this evening into tomorrow (with hopefully some good rain) I’ll probably spend more time out in the yard, cleaning up as much as I can. The big area remaining is the planters on our deck. I couldn’t stand the idea of taking out the live flowers, so I just waited until the last front came through and did the flowers in. Now I won’t have any trouble clearing out what is dead. :0)

I hope you’re having a nice day.

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood

Fall Fun

My good friend Stephanie Youmans Wilson took this photo of her grandchildren (and pup) playing in the leaves in her yard. My heart just opened when I saw it. I could almost hear them laughing as they played. It brings back wonderful memories of my own childhood when life was so simple. I’m delighted that she gave me permission to share it with you.

“Playing in the Leaves” – Stephanie Youmans Wilson

 

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Filed under Childlike Fun, Favorite Things

Happy Saturday

mulpix.com

Good morning!

We’ve been up for hours, but I’m just now getting time to write. I hope you’re having a great day.

I’m going between ‘have-to’s’ and ‘want-to’s’ today, such as paying the bills and then taking the doggies out to play for a while; or filing paperwork and then giving myself time to look at wonderful stuff on the net. :0)

I think, by the time I go back to the eye doctor on Monday morning, I’ll be completely back to normal. I only have the vestige of a headache and eye irritation today. I’ll ask if there are any SOOTHING drops I can use going forward.  My husband says we have some protective goggles I can wear when I’m doing yard work that will hopefully prevent a repeat of this painful episode.

We’re having a spectacularly beautiful day today. It’s 68 degrees and sunny with almost no wind. A perfect day to spend a lot of time outdoors.

Other than playing with the doggies, I’m planning to see if there is anything left in my raised bed square foot garden. We had two freezes while I was incapacitated with my eye injury, and I was unable to cover my plants. If there is lettuce left, I’ll do some harvesting. If not, I’ll start the cleanup-for-the-winter process out there.  I have one tomato plant in my dining area window. I’m not sure if it will live or not. I would love to be able to keep it alive over the winter and put it back out in the garden in the spring.  I also just started some celery inside. I’ll simply plant it in planters to live in the greenhouse, or bring them in to also live in the window. It will be interesting to see what I can do over the winter.

I think I told you that year-round use of the greenhouse without expensive heating and cooling isn’t in the cards, so I’m concentrating on extending our regular growing season by starting things out there really early for the spring.

I’m still making Christmas gifts for friends, so I’ll try to get up to my art room some time this afternoon.

Have an enjoyable day. Try to make time to do something FUN.

 

 

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Filed under Favorite Things, Mother Nature

Last of the Flowers?

We may be to the last of the flowers now. Although it hasn’t been down to freezing again yet, we had a cold snap that has pretty much stopped things from blooming any more in our area.

I brought in these hydrangea yesterday. Even my husband reacted when he saw them on the table. I’ll be glad when we can take them a little bit for granted next spring and summer.

 

 

I also found some twice-blooming iris, probably the last for the year, that we can enjoy.  It would be really nice if we could enjoy these through Thanksgiving!

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Garage Sale Goodies

My husband likes to go to auctions. I hate those because you stand around at least half the day, waiting for the items you want to come up, and then are outbid many times by others, coming home empty-handed. I just don’t have the patience.

I love garage or yard sales. Everything is out where you can see it. You can quickly see the prices, decide if you want it, and buy it or not and leave quickly. What could be better?

We went to a yard sale yesterday and I found several goodies!

The lady having the sale told me that another lady had gathered these handkerchiefs with the idea of making a quilt from them, but then changed her mind. I got them for 50 cents a piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the salad spoon and fork, and the others are ice cream scoops. You can NEVER have too many of those…

 

This is heavy glass, with a light ‘frosted’ look on the outside. I just love it. ($5.00)

 

And this is heavy cut crystal! ($5.00)

I’m very happy with my new treasures!

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Favorite Things

Lovely Place

goodbookscents.wordpress.com

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Filed under Favorite Things, Reading is FUNdamental

Fun in My Art Room

Yesterday afternoon I finished digging out the iris from the backyard planter. (I still need to make sure the planter is completely cleaned out, add more potting mix and  replant some of the iris, but I declared victory for the day.)

I rewarded myself with some time in my art room.

I’m working on some Christmas presents for my good friends from Lunch Bunch. (Shhhhh!  It’s a secret!) The time flies by while I’m up there, thinking of my friends and trying to make something I hope they’ll enjoy. I have quite a few things to make, so I’m hoping I can sneak up there a lot in the coming weeks.

I also have some refurbishing to do on some of our yard art. Our ‘box turtle”

needs an eye re-glued, plus some touch up on peeling pain on his back.

 

I found some orange “neon” paint. I repaint the orange on both sides of the jack-o-lantern, hoping the paint will make him pop when headlights hit him next year.

 

We have an 8 foot tall (with stem and leaves) metal flower attached to a power pole in the back yard. Some wasps figured out a way to get between the metal of the flower and the plastic saucer type thing we glued to the center and covered with glass beads. We think our spraying has finally at least caused the wasps to relocate, if not die outright – so we’ll bring this into the shop. I’ll remove the center piece, clean everything up, caulk the center back on and replace the glass pieces that have fallen off.

I’ll work my way around the yard, repairing things as best I can. We’re also looking to repair some other critters still in the shop so that we can attach them to the ham radio tower extra length part we stood in concrete recently.

We have a few things in the shop that need to be repaired or finished that we can hang on here, plus critters we make in the future. This will be our “Critter Tree.” :0)

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Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Favorite Things, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, Lewis yard art

Dreaming of Working in My Greenhouse

As our temperatures here in Greenwood, Arkansas start to decrease as we move toward Fall, I’m starting to dream about working in my new greenhouse.

Since we built it this past spring, it’s been WAAAAAAAY too hot in there to even think about spending more than a minute or two inside.

 

We put a regular thermometer in there (the kind with the red mercury in a line up the center) and it got so hot inside the greenhouse that not only did the thermometer not read correctly, the top blew out of it! We literally had to clean up the table and the floor around it and throw the poor thing out. We replaced it with the kind of thermometer that only shows a number, and it went right to 120 degrees F. and stayed there, giving us at least a minimum temperature in there.

I had a folding chair out there that burned my generous nether end through my jeans in the time it took for me to sit on it and then leap back up! Needless to say, I have not spent a lot of time out there, waiting to organize it and start planting seeds until at least mid fall.

 

You’re looking through the open doorway to the greenhouse here. You can see the exhaust fan we mounted in the end. With the door open, the exhaust fan on, and the people fan on, soon I should be able to work in there.  This picture doesn’t show all the ‘stuff’ I’ve moved into the greenhouse – starter trays, a trashcan full of Mel’s Mix, water sprayers, planting tools, etc.

This morning I harvested a bunch of seeds from tomatoes we grew. They are drying on a paper towel on top of the microwave. When they’re completely dry, I’ll put them in a  baggie in preparation for planting them in the greenhouse. I’m hoping to plant lots of things in the hope that the plants will be ready to transfer to my square foot planters outside in the spring.

I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, standing on one foot and the other waiting for the cold front tonight, and hoping that we are, finally, on the way to cooler temperatures and I can start to play. I’ll do a lot of reading and planning, plus get the greenhouse organized and set up for lots of seed starters. I have two tomato plants I plan to dig up, put in pots, and put in the greenhouse at the first threat of frost. I also plan to winter-over a couple of non-hardy plants, – an  elephant ear and a pretty purple plant my friend Laufrain gave me. I already have all the seeds I need, so I just need to exercise a whole lot of PATIENCE now…

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Arkansas, Childlike Fun, Dreams, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Steaks, Potatoes, and Woofles

I just love this picture!

We’re cooking out tonight – steaks and baked potatoes – we’re not really cooking ‘woofles,’ (sorry, Amber and Molly) but I just HAD to share this picture. :0)

I love cookouts. It’s only going to be my husband and me, plus most of our animals. We all end up in a pile on the deck, surrounded by aromas that make my mouth water just thinking about them. Most everyone is there – the dogs (Molly and Amber) the cats (Abby and Smoke ) – everyone except the fish, who couldn’t care less about cooking out, and our son who is living across the world from us.

As the evening gets darker, we turn on the rope multicolored LED lights, and then, finally, the yellow light that allows my husband to see to cook. :0)  He has a beer in hand. I usually have coffee. We’re gradually getting Amber to quit dive-bombing all the others…

It’s a time to enjoy the wonderful weather. A time to r-e-l-a-x. A time to play with the animals. And a time to talk – all of us enjoying being together in no rush to accomplish anything or go anywhere. The potatoes have been nuked and then transferred to the oven to finish. The charcoal is getting hot and ready to use. The steaks are ready to bring out.

If we’re lucky, we’ll still see a hummingbird or two, maybe a firefly, maybe the pair of doves who sit on the electrical wire together.  I would love it if deer would visit us, but our animals keep that from happening. We did see a deer on the way to Lunch Bunch this morning. I’m glad he decided to dart back into the woods, rather than running into the car. He was there and then gone in the space of a second or two. A beautiful bright spot of nature reminding us to be in the moment, appreciating everything around us.

I hope you have a nice evening planned. I know a special lady who is having a birthday today who I hope is being treated like a queen in celebration. Even if this is a day like most others, I hope you enjoy it to the fullest.  Maybe you can make some ‘woofles!’

 

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Filed under Family, Favorite Things, Mother Nature

For Jane – City of Joy

My friend Jane Daniells sent me this exquisite picture from Medellin, Colombia of a several story shopping mall with a stunning peacock made of flowers and surrounding garden area. It really blew my mind, as she knew it would. :0)

I’m returning the favor by posting two pictures of Kolkata, The City of Joy, posted by Mukesh Sharma on LinkedIn.

 

Lake Road in #Kolkata being hand-painted by locals before the arrival of Goddess Durga.

 

Durga Puja is the greatest festival of the Bengalis and is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga.

I love what creative people can do when they work together.

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Filed under Art Around the World, Creativity, Favorite Things

Hummingbird Birdbath Update

We’ve had a really poor year for hummingbirds.

How many we have varies from year to year. One year we remember fondly we would try to keep our heads perfectly still and count the number we could see. There were SO many, we would be laughing, unable to get an accurate count.

This year we had seen a few, but far between, in that our spring was longer, wetter, and cooler than normal. While that was wonderful for humans, I think it discouraged the hummers from coming to see us.

We went ahead and built the hummingbird bird bath above, hoping that when they finally came, they would enjoy it.

All of a sudden yesterday, while I was in the front talking to our wonderful handyman Foy, I saw FOUR at one time in the wisteria! I was amazed. Either our wisteria hasn’t bloomed enough or at the right time, or I wasn’t in the right place at the right time, to see them.

Since then, I’ve seen TWO at once several times going to the deck feeders.

But not one have we seen even TRY the bird bath!

I decided months ago that it didn’t really matter to me if the hummers, or any of the other birds, liked the birdbath or not. I love the LOOK of the thing, and I’m even happier with the SOUND. I find it very relaxing to stretch out in a chair, cold drink or hot coffee at the ready, feet propped up, closing my eyes and enjoying the sound.

Foy and Judy had some iced tea before they left yesterday and Judy mentioned the ‘water feature.’ I told her it was built for the hummingbirds, but that they didn’t seem to like it. She just looked at me and said, “Their loss.”

Isn’t that a great attitude? :0)

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Attitude, Favorite Things, Lewis projects

Tomato Harvest 7-18 – 2017

Well, I pruned the tomatoes in the nook planter, taking out a LOT of particularly the plant on the left side of the planter. Then I moved to the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house where the other tomato plants are, pruning them. I got pretty ruthless, because I want all the nutrients and energy going to the parts of the plants that might actually produce.

The plants don’t look pretty now, but it looks like they’re responding to the pruning, fertilizer and Seven I put on them about a week ago.

Here is today’s harvest. We’re really pleased with our crop this year. We’ve been oohing and ahhhing at lunch and dinner, eating a BUNCH of sliced ripe tomatoes at every meal except for breakfast. We particularly enjoy giving people we like bags of tomatoes, since we have more than we can eat. (I now know how to can, but I hate to give any of them up when I can eat them fresh off the vine.)

Our friends Laufrain and Dave (our friends and bowling buddies) were telling us last night how pretty the tomatoes were and how good they tasted. :0)

We also gave some to our driller and brush hog master, Foy, and his wife, Judy.

Who can ask for more from a bit of work to grow them?

Sheer luxury!!!

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

1st Tomato Harvest

Yesterday the first tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. I saw a couple that will be ready in a few days, too. We feel rich!

This is a wonderful time of the year for us. We LOVE going out to test the tomatoes to see if any more are ready to come in and be devoured.

We ate three of these with our dinner last night and may finish up this first harvest this evening. I guess that people who have grown up having gardens know all the veggies and fruit that homegrown tastes so much better than what you can buy at the store, but the only one I personally know about is tomatoes.

I wish you were here so I could share with you

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Tomato Plants

Huffington Post

One of my husband’s and my favorite things in the world is home grown, red, ripe, sliced tomatoes with a meal. No matter what else we try to grow, tomatoes are the main thing.

We built a raised bed, square foot garden for our other veggies (though I AM trying some grape tomatoes in two of the squares this year), but we moved our tomato plants to the east side of the house. We have a brick planter in what we call “The Nook” beside the porch at the end of the house, plus an eight foot brick planter on the east end of the house.

 

This is the 8 foot planter. We have six plants here. We planted two plants every two weeks.

 

This is “The Nook”. There are only two plants here, planted two weeks apart. As you can see, we have really large plants that are difficult to keep supported.

 

Here is a closeup  of some of our green tomatoes.

 

And here are more.

 

And HERE is the first ripening tomato! Whooopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Encouragement, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

The Hummingbird Lady

I’ve had these pictures for quite awhile, and I neglected to get the name of the person who took them, so I cannot give credit as I would like to. I was fascinated by this lady and the hummingbirds’ attraction to her. I could sit with a little feeder in my hand until I melted into a puddle and hummingbirds wouldn’t flock around me like this. What a special lady she must be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Favorite Pictures, Favorite Things, vicarious enjoyment

New Green Tomatoes!

QuartoKnows

I’m hoping we’ll be like this cute little boy soon, picking fresh, ripe tomatoes off the vines to slice for a meal!

 

It’s kind of like treasure hunting now. You don’t see the tomatoes until you get up close, and sometimes you have to search a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

I worked out in the square foot garden for about an hour yesterday, trying to undo the neglect due to too much rain, then my husband’s cataract surgeries, and then the new puppy. I’m basically down to tomatoes, onions, two kinds of lettuce, some spinach, some celery, and one spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed in the kitchen. I’ll try to get pics of the garden tomorrow. I’ve been using a push weed-whacker, trying to go around the outside of the garden today. It’s hard work for an old lady. I ran into a tough something-or-other, snapping off the whacking cords. My good husband put some new ones on, so when the sun is a bit lower, I’ll do another hitch out there.

I hope your day is good.

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Maligned Clowns

Wikipedia

I’m always sad when a word changes its meaning – due to the population using it differently – and I no longer feel comfortable using it. One example – the distortion causes children’s poems to be suddenly ‘inappropriate for children,’ or you can’t read one aloud anymore without the laughing killing the whole point of it.

I understand that if a language isn’t changing, it dies. But, sometimes, the changes kill wonderful memories, too.

I’ve always loved clowns. Like mimes, they make you see a ‘story’ without saying a word. Truly gifted, they can make you laugh or cry.

 

babble

But clowns have taken on a sinister aspect, due to movies, weird books, and demented souls who think it’s funny to dress up as a beloved clown and then do horrible things.

 

Heavy.com

I just looked for images of clowns on the net, and could only find THREE I thought fit MY image of a clown. Most were trying to be frightening or sickening.

I don’t want to accept this change. I’ll just remember when clowns were sweet, gifted, and a joy to people everywhere.

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Filed under Attitude, Changes, Favorite Things

2nd Annual Greenwood AR ArtFest on the Walking Trail

Greenwood ArtFest

 

After running some errands yesterday, my husband and I took a few minutes to see the 2nd Annual Greenwood ArtFest. It was on the walking trail, part of which goes behind two bank, the court-house, some restaurants, and more on the south side of the square.

The city has created a walking trail that now goes almost all the way around the main part of the city. Not only are there nice sidewalks, there are benches every so often so you can stop and rest. There are trees, birds, squirrels, and flowers, too, so it’s a nice feast for the eyes as well as a great place to get good exercise.

There were lots of artists. Each had a tent and displayed their artwork. The only thing that could have been better was that the wind might not have been quite so energetic.

I saw several artist friends.  I got to hug necks and visit a bit. My husband and I enjoyed the variety of artwork being displayed. Some teenagers were working on string art, and had some for sale. There were several artists displaying original paintings. There were artists who made jewelry. Some were showing prints of their work. One artist specialized in leather and wood. One lady did 3-D carvings in horizontal cuts of  tree wood, with the ring of the tree being the ‘frame.’ One of my friends was showing some of her hand-painted gourds, some decorated bottles, her original Fort Smith AR Civil War paintings, and more.

I was delighted to see so many talented folks in one place.

I’m going to see if I can make some small  ‘people and critters’  out of screws, nuts, bolts, and small scraps – with the idea that I might participate next year. I’m excited to dive in and see what I can come up with! :0)

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Greenwood

The First Hummingbird is Spotted Today!

All About Birds

This isn’t THE hummingbird we saw this morning, but it is the kind we see most often around here – A ‘Rufous,’ I believe it’s called.

We were eating breakfast when the sweet hummer came in for a quick drink. He was gone so fast my husband didn’t get a chance to see him.  It was only 56 degrees F. at the time, so he wasn’t even thinking of playing in our new hummingbird bird bath, but I hope he at least looked at it and will consider it the next time he comes.

My friend, Carla, assured me that hummingbirds weren’t due here until the 14th, so obviously this little guy didn’t get the memo. I’m glad we had fresh nectar for him so he could tank up.

Have you seen hummingbirds yet? Do you think they actually will enjoy a birdbath, or was someone just playing with us when we saw a picture of a gazillion of them playing in the water on Facebook?

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature

New Plants!

Yesterday I told you I spent the afternoon and early evening planting new plants, mostly on the deck.

We have two of these pretty burgundy wave petunias.

 

 

 

We have these impatiens planted on both sides of the front door.

 

These are electric orange wave petunias. I planted two of these in the planter to the left of the front porch.

 

 

I brought these blue iris in yesterday, since we’re supposed to have lots of rain and possibly severe weather today, tomorrow, and into Saturday.

 

This is the new ground cover I planted in the trio of brick planters between the driveway and the front yard.

 

A pretty purple wave petunia. We have two of these on the deck.

 

This rose is called “Sedona.” We liked the color of the roses a lot, and thought it would be a nice addition to the Rio Samba rose bushes.

 

 

We have two white wave petunia plants on the deck. We’re hoping all of these will spill over the sides of the planters.

 

And, finally, this is the official hummer welcome area. We have two feeders out right now, plus the bird bath. My friend, Carla, told me the hummers are due around the 12th. I’m hoping for sooner…

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Rodales Organic Life

 

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.[1]”

 

I’ve liked this rhyme since I was a child, but I no longer garden by it. Now my garden is not only the wonderful square foot gardening, started by Mel Bartholomew, allowing people like us to bypass our awful, rocky ridge line soil, having a chance to enjoy a garden, but now I have a RAISED BED square foot garden.

This lady is hopelessly spoiled now. I can plant, water, weed, and harvest – all without having to bend over double or get up and down endless times off my knees. I have SQUARES of plants now, rather than rows, and the plants seem very happy about it.

 

Our total garden is approximately 25 feet long and 15 feet wide. It’s surrounded by fencing, and then chicken wire around the bottom. We have all kinds of critters roaming around because of living on top of a ridge line, outside the city limits, in a more wooded area, so we have deer, possums, raccoons, rabbits, roadrunners, etc., who need to be kept out of the garden. We have a neon pink surveyors tape around the middle of the fencing to let deer know the garden is there before they run into it.

 

The garden has six 4 foot by 4 foot ‘boxes’ that are 8″ deep on metal support tables. They’re about chest high. We then marked off sections with stretchy string. I had some little bitty weeds trying to get a foothold in the garden yesterday. I weeded the whole thing in about 45 minutes with little effort, other than trying to make sure I got all the ones I could see out.

 

We have our irrigation system on a timer that goes for 5 minutes at 5:00 daily right now. We can change this any time it’s needed.

Last year I had some beautiful broccoli and cauliflower LEAVES, but didn’t get a lot of actual VEGGIES from the plants. I have no clue why. I’m hoping for some good eating this year. I’m also trying to grow celery and spaghetti squash for the first time this year.

So, you see why this lady is spoiled beyond repair now, happy as a clam, playing in my plants, and looking forward to eating romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, radishes, spaghetti squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and tomatoes this year!

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Hello, Spring!

source unknown

I just LOVE this! Along with the sentiment, the whole idea of spelling it out with things from nature – with the delicate colors – is  perfect.

I’m not sure what today will bring, but we certainly have the weather for it here in Greenwood, Arkansas. In fact, today’s high will be a huge change, at 88 degrees F.  We might even have to turn on the air conditioner for a bit this afternoon!

My husband and I enjoyed the first cookout of the season last night, grilling steaks. It’s been a long time since we enjoyed one, so it’s hard to describe how DELICIOUS it was. AND, since we don’t eat potatoes as a rule anymore, the baked potatoes tasted especially good, as well.

There was a wonderful breeze as we cooked on the deck. The sun was going down. We had both doggies out with us, having one on the long deck leash and the other running free, then changing them. Both cats visited from time to time, then found something to pounce on in the taller grass along the edge of the ‘civilized’ part of our back yard.  My husband enjoyed some iced tea. I had a cup of coffee.

We were tired, but nicely so. We had changed our truck tires from the snow tires to the regular ones. This is getting to be a harder and harder job for us, but we’re still managing. My husband has decided that this is a matter of pride now, so we’ll probably be trying to do this ourselves for several years from now.

We discussed how wonderful it was that we discovered that Chuck Berry, 90, one of our teenage favorites, was married to the same woman for 68 years. We can hope for some time together yet. :0)

I hope your 1st day of spring is a happy one!

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Filed under Arkansas, Changes, Favorite Things, Greenwood

Garage Sale Riches

My husband went to get the mail yesterday while I was making pudding. I started to worry when he didn’t return after half an hour. He finally showed up with a wonderful vase in hand. He said he got it at a garage sale down the road from us. He wanted me to stop what I was doing and go back to the sale with him.

He bought a tool and die set, a power scraper we can add to our air tool collection, some clamps, and some other tool type stuff. He was very happy, encouraging me to get whatever I wanted.

The house was empty except for the sale stuff. The lady who has lived there since way before we moved here 30 years ago has gone to an assisted living center now and is very happy with her new life.

I have to show you my goodies!

Here is the vase my husband brought home – without, and then with, flowers.

 

 

I LOVE pitchers of any type, size, and color. I found these –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the most expensive thing I bought. It was $10. I spent $33, including the vase my husband got for me.

 

AND, I got these two adorable doggies to live on the front porch. I also have ceramic ducks on the porch, plus a frog, a gnome, and a hedgehog. I’ll take pics of the porch when I get it cleaned up and the flowers planted.

I just love garage sales! You don’t spend a lot of time figuring out if you want something or not. When you do find something, the price is marked clearly, so you don’t have to wonder if you can afford it, and you don’t have to bother someone to find out. You don’t have to wait around all day, as you do at an auction, for what you’re interested in to come up for bid, only to lose to someone who is willing to pay more for it than it costs new.

I feel rich!

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Speeding through the Day

"Gone with the wind fabulous" - Johnathan Cruz

“Gone with the wind fabulous” – Johnathan Cruz

This is the way my day has felt.

On the good side, I’ve gotten a lot of little fiddly things off my to-do-list, like giving our dog, Molly, a session with the defurminator so she will leave fewer big tufts of hair all over the place. (Abby, the cat, is next.)

I’ve cut up veggies to munch and to cook for next week. I’m cleaning out the fridges in preparation for making a grocery list for tomorrow. I’ve made puddings and other stuff, running the dishwasher twice so far today.

And so it goes, the little things that we need to do to make our lives go more smoothly.

It was a good day to do this stuff. It wasn’t supposed to rain but it did, giving me a good chance to do inside stuff. We opted not to go to town, freeing up more time. The only sad thing is that my energy has never been a good match for my to-do list.

My husband is out working busily in the shop while my energy reaches its ebb. I think I’ll have a cup of coffee and put my feet up to see if I get another surge of energy.

I hope you’re having a really nice day.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Challenges, Favorite Things

Tour of My Now Clean Art Room

art-hallwaytoartroom

On the second floor of our home we converted a third bedroom into my art room. My husband and I built these shelves in the hallway outside the bedroom, plus installed some cabinets underneath with a top to hold some supplies. The shower curtain to the right of the picture keeps dust (and cats) out of our linen area.

 

art-draftingtable

This is my drafting table where I do most of my painting. I have a sheet of vinyl to protect the actual drafting table, and then I have a large piece of heavy glass. This was set up to start my new Christmas cards and ornaments, but will be cleaned off to start painting the stationery and note cards order.

 

art-jewelry

We put up shelves over a dressing table area. I have all kinds of ribbons and string on two long rods below the shelves and above the counter top. The counter top is set up for making jewelry. To right right are shelves full of note card and stationery supplies.

 

art-drawingarea

I’ve set up this table as a ‘learn to draw’ table, with my Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book, with lessons to work through, templates I  made before, the beautiful pencils set my husband got me for Christmas, etc. This is also the area where I do things with my alcohol ink. (You can see the wooden base my husband fixed for me, making holes the little bottles of alcohol ink can sit in.)

 

art-shelvesandcounteracrossend

This is the far end of the room, past the drafting table in the middle and the drawing area to the right of the picture. We hung shelves all the way across to hold supplies over a counter top with drawers on both sides. Between the drawers I have three roll-arounds.

As you see, I have many wonderful things to work with in my art room. My biggest problem trying to clean is that I want to stop and do something with a wonderful ‘thing’ I had forgotten I had… I could easily spend all day every day here, playing with my goodies.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. This afternoon I’ll be heavily into creating stationery and note cards for my customer. I’m not sure if she wants personalization or not yet. I’m excited to get started!

Have a wonderful day!

 

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Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Favorite Things, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob