Monthly Archives: May 2012

Tie-Dying Mischief & Mayhem

So my daughter sends me a YouTube video the other day of this gal doing a tutorial on making tie-dye shorts and tells me that she’d really like to try it.  Well, I could hardly get to the arts and crafts supply store fast enough!  I’m not just a huge fan of tie-dye… I’m a gihugeic fan!  Gigantic + huge.  Yeah… I like to make up my own words.  😉  I love it so much in fact, that I would embarrassingly have to confess that at least 1/4 of my wardrobe consists of some sort of tie-dye or other variation close to it.

Funny thing is though… I have never tie-dyed anything myself before.   I actually find it a bit shocking that with all of the other creative endeavors I’ve explored and with my obvious love for tie-dye, that I’ve never thought to do this before now.  And an even more ginormous shocker to me is that my sis (who is the most “authentic” hippie I know) hasn’t either!  So, thanks to my kiddo (who it just so happens is not especially crazy about tie-dye) for suggesting it!

Here’s more pictures than you’d ever want to see that we took of our tie-dying mischief and mayhem…


On the video tutorial the gal made the shorts using cut off jeans, so my daughter found an old pair of jeans that she never wears and got down to business.

Here she is marking where she’ll cut.~

And then cutting.  Watch your hair there kid… ~

Next they needed to be frayed a bit.  She used a tweezers to pull at the edges.~

Fraying all finished.  Or at least good enough.  It was a bit tedious.~

Her dog Teddy was standing near her during the fraying process and didn’t even notice he was getting frayed upon.  He was too busy being on the look-out and guarding the patio from other dogs in the neighborhood.  Quite fierce looking don’t ya think?   😉~

Here’s the tie-dye kit that we picked up at the craft store along with 3 hobo style white bags, and my daughter’s freshly frayed shorts ready for bleaching.  She also found an old crusty white camisole she thought she could infuse with new life by tie-dying, and a pair of light blue shorts she thought she could bleach and then tie-dye as well.  ~

So now we’re all set to get started!

Right after I set up this fan…Who takes a picture of a fan?  (Apparently me.)  And what does this have to do with anything?  Well, it was way too warm out early in the day, and I absolutely hate being hot.  So being the weirdo that I am… I brought a fan outside.  Yes, and then I took a picture of it.  Funny thing is… it got super windy out as the day went on.  And we’re talking windy like “It’s a twister auntie Em!”  Guess my having a fan outside gave mother nature a little hint.  Maybe bringing a fan outside on a hot day is kinda like doing a rain dance…  😉


Okay, so first things first, it’s time to soak her shorts in the bleach.~

And then wait for them to process.~

“Meanwhile back at the Bat-cave…” 

We started binding up our hobo bags with rubber bands.

My daughter’s conglomeration ~ all loosey goosey with no rhyme or reason whatsoever.  So cute.  🙂~

My sis scrunched hers and bound it up real tight.  Not sure what she was doing using a piece of twine for that one little random part, but she always has danced to the beat of her own drum…~

And finally mine ~ I tried to be organized about it and spun the main part of my bag into a spiral.  I wasn’t so sure what to do with the strap though so I just kind of twisted it up.~

Finally it’s time to add the dye…

Here’s my daughter little miss free spirit just splashing on the colors (and making a mess ;)).~

My sis started by dabbing yellow here and there and then moved onto pink while going around in a circular pattern.~

Being the orderly person that I am, I decided to color mine in sections.  Never mind the fact that tie-dye, in it’s very nature, is not orderly.  At all.  ~

When my sis and I saw this photo my mom took of the two of us we laughed so hard!  For multiple reasons… first of all, our facial expressions ~ they’re nearly identical, lips pursed, furrowed brows, and we look “oh sooo serious.”  Usually, no matter what we’re doing, we are laughing our heads off without a care in the world, but apparently tie-dying is very serious business.  😉   Next, notice each of our left hands ~ again nearly identically posed.  What a couple of freaks!  ~

Here’s our colorful little bundles…

My sis’sAnd mine

Didn’t catch a photo of my daughter’s bag before we wrapped them all in plastic to let them sit overnight.


Here are our finished bags…

My daughter’s~

My sis’s~

And mine

Not too bad for a bunch of noobs!


Here’s my daughter working on her camisole.  I love the pink, purple and blue that she used!~

“Haste makes waste” and my daughter got sick of waiting for her shorts to dry so the first time around, the shorts ended up being a complete fail.  They hadn’t dried enough and there was still so much bleach in them that the colors didn’t take.  Ew the colors were all muddy… ~

So we had to re-bleach them and try again.  “Practice makes perfect” and the second attempt = success!  Beautiful vibrant color!~

It seems that my family never does anything in small quantities and while we were yet in the middle of all this tie-dye mischief and mayhem, we decided that we liked it so much that we wanted to do more.  So back to the store we went to get more dye…

And after watching the rest of us, my mom wanted to give it a try.  Here she is applying some color to her own hobo bag. Yeah, my mom is pretty cool… 75 and doing tie-dye!


Her finished bag~

As for me the second time around ~ I grabbed an old crusty white tank top of mine and pretended I was a sculptor (or something).  Hah take a look at this freaky binding job…and then I added color…Ta-Da!  Look at the fun results…

FrontAnd back…I got confused when I was binding and coloring it and thought that the designs along the bottom there on each side was the front shoulders.  Oh well it’s pretty having it on the backside too  😉


I also tried my hand at tie-dying a pair of socks.  I was bummed that the only ones I could find had gray on the toe and heel because I was worried about what it would look like once colored.  I also noticed as I was coloring them that the way they absorbed the dye was weird.  But look how they turned out!Talk about happy feet!


My daughter colored a pair as well…~

My sis had a different idea for her second project.  She bought some white rayon fabric and made herself a nightgown/dress of sorts.  Here it is all bound up…And this is how she colored itIt reminds me of a dragon.  🙂

And now for the grand finale of our tie-dying adventures…

I don’t know about you, but I think the way this turned out is absolutely amazing!  Everything my sis touches with her unique creativity becomes a beautiful masterpiece!  These pics don’t even do it justice…l absolutely love the colors she ended up with on this sleeve!


I have been stealing my big sis’s clothes since I was a little girl ~ sometimes to my detriment (ie getting the crap beat out of me for it), and even though this new nightgown/dress of hers might not fit me, I still may have to sneak into her apartment one day when she isn’t home and nab it.  Her own fault… she never should have given me a key.  😉  That or make her help me make one of these for myself.  Although she has already said she has no clue how she even did it.  She’s always winging it and ending up being amazing.  When I grow up I want to be just like her.  ♥


So tie-dying was pretty fun!


Adventures in Gardening Part 17 ~ Trouble in Paradise

I guess the road I’m traveling on in these new gardening adventures is going to be paved with a few stumbling blocks along the way, because these city thugs, er I mean bugs, aren’t taking kindly to a country gardener trying to grow things on their turf.

Honestly, like I said before, in 20 years of gardening I’ve never had pest problems.  Why now?  Here my mom opens up her yard to me, giving me a little piece of my long lost paradise so I can get my gardening fix, and the stupid bugs have to come along and cause trouble.  How aggravating!

I’m afraid my spinach is becoming a lost cause.  This doesn’t exactly look appetizing to me…~

And now I see something has also poked holes in my cucumbers too.  😦~

Look at this big chomp something took out of one of my bean plants…~

The leaf miners are continuing to make their ugly designs in my broccoli.~

And now I’ve noticed one of my lettuces looks it has a leaf that is a bit puckered up.  And not for a kiss…~

Something has removed all but one main leaf of this poor zucchini, and my other zucchini plants aren’t looking all that great either.~

Thankfully I have this one zucchini that seems to be doing okay, but I’m not sure what the story is with the speckled looking stuff on that leaf on the left… ~

It’s so upsetting to have my precious yummy veggies getting all chewed up and destroyed by pests, but I’m going to keep at it with the garlic/pepper spray in between all this rain and keep hoping for the best.

On a positive note…

My carrots are finally starting to get a little bigger, but still so small that I can’t seem to capture a clear focused shot of them.   They sure have been slow growing.  ~

My peas are getting taller every day!  They are being a bit willful at training them to go evenly up the trellis which messes with my need for orderliness, but at this point with all of the issues going on with my other plants ~as long as they stay healthy… I’ll be happy!  🙂~

There are 4 little strawberries forming on my strawberry plant.  I can’t wait to eat them!~

While out running around with my sis the other day I picked up this cute little snail planter.  He was just begging me to give him a new home.  😉  So I stuffed him with some Lobelia and set him on the grass next to my garden.  He looks pretty content there don’t ya think?~

Oh and feast your eyes on these beauties!  My mom’s peonies are in full bloom right now, so to try and focus on something positive after seeing the destruction in my garden, I spent a great deal of time enjoying these and trying to get just the perfect shot of them in all their glory.  What do you think, did I succeed?~~~

~Gardening is my therapy~

A Purpose in the Pain

It has occurred to me on more than one occasion (and maybe it has to you as well) that our sufferings in life have a purpose.  We hate it so much.  Suffering.  It hurts.  It’s scary.  And while we’re in it we just want it to stop.  Whether it’s physical or emotional or anywhere in between.  But through it we learn.  We learn about ourselves.  And we learn about others.

We mustn’t hurry off now to make some nice warm fuzzy realizations here, because the pain we go through is real and needs to be validated.  And we shouldn’t just rush through the sucky parts so that we can see that silver lining or get to the light at the end of the tunnel, because we need to allow ourselves to experience the low down dirty nitty gritty of it all in order get out of it whatever its purpose is.

There is a fine line here though because although we can wallow for a time, we have to be careful not to get stuck there.  We do learn while we’re wallowing though.  And even if we get into self pity ~ we learn there too.  During our wallowing we may make some bad choices because when we’re feeling low we may want to.  And guess what?  We learn from those too.  The wallowing process is different for everyone, and the amount of time we spend there varies as well.

And on the other end of that spectrum, we can try and “be positive” but we also have to be careful not to be fakey about it.  We need to be authentic and not just put on a “happy face” for the outside world to see.  There is a lot to be said for surrounding yourself with positive things when you’re going through a difficult time.  I have found this to be very helpful, and because I am generally a very optimistic person I usually tend to take this route.  I will often go out and buy myself flowers or do other nurturing types of things for myself when I’m hurting.  But at the same time, if someone asks me how I am, I am careful not rush to the typical response of “I’m fine” when I’m really not.  That is actually a pet peeve of mine ~ when people add “How are you?” to the end of their greeting of “Hello” when they have neither the time to listen nor do they really even care.  But I won’t get into that right now (heck, that deserves its own separate post).  Sometimes I’ll just roll over that question and not answer it, or simply say “OK” ~ because hey… I’m alive and breathing, so for the most part that can be summed up as being OK right?

But what is the purpose of the pain we endure in our lives?

I think a lot of it is about growth.  We are like the plants, only different.  Lets see if I can adequately describe the analogy that is forming in my mind…

Imagine a seed.  All of its life force trapped inside a hard shell.  But the seed isn’t meant to stay a seed.  It’s meant to be something else.  Something living.  Something growing.  Something bearing fruit.  Something that adds to the rest of the world.  Something to benefit the other “things” living and growing around it.

But in order to fulfill its purpose, it has to emerge and come out of its shell.  It may be painful ~ the delicate life breaking through the hard shell.  And the pain doesn’t stop there because once it finally emerges, there are oh so many other difficulties it experiences as it strives to grow ~ to fulfill its purpose.

Rain comes.  The rain brings with it, life.  But too much rain and the plant can drown.  Storms may come and the plant may struggle to keep its roots planted firmly in the soil as the winds blow.  And hail may come and beat down upon it, damaging it, sometimes seemingly beyond repair.  Insects may come and eat away at its tender leaves and fruits, even at its stem, threatening its very life.  And sometimes the plant gets cut down.  On purpose.  Pruning is painful, but necessary to produce more growth.

I know you can see the similarities here.  We too deal with all of those same things ~ only on a much more complex level, of course.

The storms, the wind, and the hail, may be the various trials of life.  And unfortunately we have no control over the “weather.”  We get blown around and beaten down.  But these trials serve to teach us.  To help us grow.  To show us what we’re made of ~ that we have what it takes.  And we can only continue to strive to survive through it all.

The insects may be disease.  And although we may have some natural immunities for fighting off certain diseases, sometimes an “infestation” occurs.  Modern medicine can work as a “pesticide” (that is exactly what chemo reminds me of in regard to cancer :().  Sometimes there are natural “remedies” that can help (like the garlic/pepper spray I just made for my plants the other day).  Sometimes the damage the “insects” cause to our bodies is beyond repair and severely weakens our physical form, but we still have our minds so therefore we can still “grow” and learn.

And finally pruning.  Pruning is so hard.  Because it’s intentional.  And it’s so painful.  If you are a person of faith as I am, you may wonder “God, ouch!  This hurts way too much.  Why?”  The answer I hear… to put it simply, and to repeat myself once again ~ is growth.  Pruning makes us grow.  Stronger.  More “fruitful.”  And as I grow as a person within my own self, I gain more understanding, more empathy.  I become more effective at reaching out and being a help and a source of light to those in the world around me.

We may not ever know how our lives, our story, with its various struggles, impacts the lives of others, but I have to believe that somehow it does ~ and maybe that is the purpose of the pain.


And sometimes some pretty amazing and beautiful things are born out of pain…


Besides…  what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Adventures in Gardening Part 16 ~ Take THAT, Bugs!

With my latest discovery of pests in my garden I knew I needed to take immediate action before things got out of hand and those stupid bugs ruin all my delicious veggies.  Maybe I’ve been living in a bubble for the past 20 years, but I’ve never really had a pest problem in any of my gardens except for one time when we had a serious and disgusting battle with potato bugs (they won), so I wasn’t really sure what to do.

So I solicited the help of my readers and after reading my post about my buggy dilemma, fellow blogger thebeadden recommended I try a garlic/cayenne pepper spray.  So after taking a look at her recipe and also checking out a few other sources, I played mad-scientist and made my own little concoction using:

2 C hot water

3 tsp cayenne pepper

3 tsp garlic pepper

3 tsp natural lemon dish soap

2 Tbsp mineral oil

And then got down to business mixing it all together…~

You can’t really tell in the photo, but the mineral oil made the mixture look all sparkly in the sunshine.  Maybe it’ll blind the bugs!  😉~

Here’s my bottle of pepper power.  And here’s to hoping it packs a punch and gets rid of those pests!  I’ll let ya’ll know.~

Secondly, on the advice of a friend of mine and also a fellow blogger conversationswithmymuse, another thing I did was went out and picked up a bottle of white vinegar and filled 4- 8 oz glasses and set them near the 4 corners of my garden.  She says it will work to keep the bad bugs away while still allowing the good ones to enter.  A bad bug barrier ~ I like it!~

Hopefully between these two suggestions I will be able to stop my plants from any further destruction.  I’ll let you know…


After I finished practicing my alchemy skills I went about checking out the rest of my garden and was excited to find that my beans are sprouting!  The way it’s emerging here reminds me of  the movie Aliens for some reason.  😀~

And my second planting of peas are growing.~

Also, my mom had thought that the bleeding heart I had planted for her some years ago had died, but we were excited to see that one popped up in a different spot ~ outside of her garden.  Plant teleportation!  Sweet!~

Bought these on impulse while out running errands ~ I love me some Double Impatiens!  They remind me of tiny roses.  I can’t grow a rose to save my life!~

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 15 ~ Houston… We Have a Problem

Just when I thought everything was going along splendidly…

I noticed this damage to my spinach today  😦~

I believe this may be the culprit.  I found it crawling along the stem of one of my other spinach plants.  I picked it off and then snapped this photo before it met with its untimely demise ~ under my shoe.I can’t seem to find any photos online that can indicate to me what this is exactly.  Anyone know???


Also, I think leaf miners of some sort are going after my broccoli  😦~

Because I am growing everything in my garden organically, using any sort of pesticide is absolutely out of the question, so any alternative suggestions would be most welcome.


My daughter made this little animated icon for me for Mother’s Day and I’m thinking going forward it would be fitting to add it to the bottom of all of my gardening posts.  Isn’t it cute? ♥

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 14 ~ Planting Pleasures

After purchasing all of my goodies at the garden centers in Part 13, and then buying even more again on Mother’s Day, it’s needless to say that I ended up with quite a bit of planting to do…

And I loved every minute of it!  Up until now it has been only seed planting for me, and don’t get me wrong, it has been very exciting to watch all of those little green lifes poking up through the dirt, but planting actual plants definitely has pleasures of its own.

And because it was Mother’s Day, I also had the pleasure of having company while planting ~ my mom, my sis, and my daughter all took part in making it fun and memorable. ♥


In all my years of gardening I’ve never happened to grow celery before, but I thought I’d give it a try and see what happens.  I love celery and I’m always up for trying something new!  🙂~

I love jalapeno peppers ~ gotta keep life spicy!  😉  Over the years I’ve developed a delicious recipe for jalapeno poppers that I came up with by combining bits and pieces from 4 or 5 different recipes.  With limited space in my tiny garden I only planted one, so I don’t know if I’ll end up with enough to make many poppers with.  Hopefully I’ll have enough to make at least a small batch.  They are sort of a pain in the butt to make anyway, so maybe it’ll better this way.  😉  I’ll just have to wait and see.~

I also planted a yellow bell pepper called “Golden California Wonder.”  I hope it grows happily here in Minnesota. 🙂  In the past I have always had red, green, orange, and yellow bell peppers in the garden (for making salsa), but again… with limited space, I had to pick and choose.  So I chose yellow because they are my favorite out the bunch.~

I didn’t know this, but apparently my mom absolutely hates the smell of Rosemary.  Oops sorry mom, you’ll be smelling it all summer in your yard.  It’s a wonderful garden companion to vegetables, not to mention its many culinary and medicinal uses.  I placed it near my carrots and beans because it is a great carrot fly and bean beetle deterrent.  And by the way, I happen to love the smell of it!~

Oregano is another great vegetable garden companion and provides excellent general pest protection, including being a delicious seasoning!~

I hadn’t planned on planting basil, but when we were in the herb section of the garden center and caught a whiff, it just smelled too good to resist.  You can see my one lone broccoli in the background.  It’s such a spindly looking thing, I sure hope it grows.~

The Apple-Mint I got is so pretty and yummy smelling!  I can’t wait to start snipping some of it off and using it to make tea!~

That first pretty strawberry blossom that hooked me into buying my strawberry plant is fading, but now comes the yummy part… the fruit!  You can see the strawberry just starting to develop.  Nature is so amazing! This is an everbearing variety so hopefully we’ll be enjoying fresh strawberries all summer.   Aside from this new beautiful bloom, I see 3 other buds starting too!~

I planted 2 Roma Tomatoes in an old double bench planter that I handed down to my mom when I moved ~ not knowing I’d eventually be the one using it to plant in again.  They’ll have a lot of growing room as they get taller inside the fun blue colored tomato cages I got.  😀


Like the tomatoes, I planted these Yellow Sweet Spanish Onions in a separate container.  I love them and there just wasn’t room to plant them in the garden.  I’ve never grown onions in a pot before so I hope they work out.  Poor things look so pathetic in this photo, all flopped over.  Hopefully they’ll perk up a bit after getting used to their new home. ~

While we were at one of the garden centers, my sis surprised me by buying me some Bee Balm!  I absolutely love it and have always grown it in my gardens.  It’s a butterfly, bee, and hummingbird magnet!  This big guy will be living in a pot though because there is no room for him in the garden or anywhere else in my mom’s yard.  I am not used to growing perennials in pots, so I hope I can get it to overwinter all right.~

My Spinach is continuing to come along nicely…~

My cucumbers are now sprouting up!~

And even though that evil diabolical squirrel came back and all but destroyed 3 out of 5 mounds of my beloved zucchini, I am happy to announce that the ones I managed to salvage are looking great!~

My lettuce are coming right along as well…~

Gardening isn’t just all about planting food ~ it’s about flowers too…

I know Marigolds are common and not all that exciting, but they are bright and cheerful and last well into fall.  They also deter many garden pests.~

I rescued these Impatiens from one of the garden centers.  They looked so sad, all root bound, and scraggly, but I knew all they needed was a little TLC, so I bought them and put them in a mini Terracotta planter ~ another rescue, from a thrift store.~

When I moved, I couldn’t bear to part with a pair of urns that I had, so I brought them over to my parent’s and set them in front of their garage.  It’s a perfect spot for them and with a few growing things in them make for a lovely entrance when pulling up into the driveway.  🙂~

As soon and my mom saw this Hydrangea bush at the garden center she fell completely in love with it, and it just so happens that she has a bare spot along the side of her house to plant it!  ~

As we were leaving to go out for breakfast on Mother’s Day morning we noticed a bunny visitor over on the side of my mom’s yard.  She says it’s been making itself comfortable there for quite a while now.  It’s cute, but I have to say that I’m really glad that I built my raised garden up so high now because rabbits can reek havoc on a garden.  My peas and onions are pretty near to the ground in their separate pots though, so I hope this cute little critter doesn’t decide to team up with the evil squirrel and become a problem…~

My Mom Can Beat Up Your Mom!

“My mom can beat up your mom” ~ a common phrase I remember from my childhood.  I’m not sure that I ever actually used it myself, but for some reason it came to mind today.  Maybe because I think my mom is the best!  ♥


When my mom turned 70, I gathered together an ENORMOUS collection of photographs from her life and scanned them all into a computer file to preserve them.

As her birthday gift, I put them all into chronological order (as best as I could) and used them to make a DVD slideshow documenting her life through the years.  I also used some very cool scrapbooking software to make a scrapbook and then printed it all up and put it into a handcrafted photo album for her.  It was a modern technology meets an old fashioned look at it’s finest.  And it was a LOT of work!  But she’s totally worth it! ♥

Well, in contemplating Mother’s Day this year I found myself looking back at that DVD and all of those photos.  And not only remembering all the work it was for me, but also thoroughly enjoying taking a look again at all those special moments of her life.

So for Mother’s Day, please allow me to share a few of my favorite photos of this wonderful woman who is my mom.  It’s sooo hard to narrow it down to just a few!

First, some oldies…

I absolutely ADORE this one!  I believe it was from someone’s wedding that she was a bridesmaid in.  My dad kept this photo in his wallet for many years and I can see why… love the pose, love the dress, love the shoes, love the worn out faded color of this photograph… love my gorgeous mom!~

Another old one that I love!  My handsome parents at some dinner celebration taking place in and around the time of their marriage…~

I have always thought my mom looked so pretty in this one ~ with her dark hair and dark eyes, wearing this black dress.  These kids in the photo with her are my brother and sister.  This was taken before I burst out onto the scene and made the world a brighter place!  😉~

Here I am!  Although, way after my initial “bursting.”  Weirdly, there aren’t a whole lot of photos of me and my mom from when I was a kid.  Certainly none that would be considered my favorites.  This is my mom and I on my wedding day.  Even though the marriage failed, the memories of this day are still very dear to my heart.  And look at how lovely we looked, all dressed up and fancy like…~

Yep, she’s gonna love me showing this one!  😉  One of her less flattering photos, but definitely one of my favorites!  Classic mom face!  Oh, and that’s my punk nephew peeking in there from the side…~

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love, love, love this one!  Omygosh it rocks my socks right off!  This was taken during a road trip that we took several years ago.  It was at one of those “trading post” type of places that we happened to come across along on our travels.  This is my daughter putting my mom in stocks.  My mom gets a bit out of hand sometimes and needs to be restrained…~

A  favorite photo of mine of my precious parents ~ from a day spent at my brother’s house during some happy times for our family…~

Mom relaxing along the shores of Lake Superior.  This was taken on my last birthday this past August when we spent the day in Duluth.  My favorite place in Minnesota… with my favorite people in the world ~ doesn’t get much better than that!~

And here is the follow-up companion shot to the photo above.  My Mom insisted on rinsing our cake forks in the lake, and for some reason we all just found that beyond hilarious (drunk on angel food cake maybe?), so I took a picture of her washing our forks while I laughed so hard that tears ran down my face and I needed my inhaler afterward.  Wonderful memories. ♥  Hey, at 75… my mom still has a pretty nice looking rear end don’t ya think?  😉~

I could just “end” with that.  Literally.  😉  But I’ll share this last one.  It’s not actually one of my favorites, but it is the most recent.  It was taken this past November on my mom’s 75th birthday.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again ~ this world has been a better place for the last quarter of a century because this woman is in it…~

Happy Mother’s Day to my precious momma.  I couldn’t ask for a better mom, and I’m so very thankful that you are mine!  ♥

I am also thankful to be a mom myself to a beautiful, amazing, and wonderful daughter.  Being her mom has been one of my life’s greatest blessings! ♥


Adventures in Gardening Part 13 ~ Garden Center Goodies

I just couldn’t wait until my usual Mother’s Day kick-off to head to the garden nurseries for plants this year.  We had such an unbelievably early spring and with the lovely weather, it just wasn’t fair to make my inner gardening child wait any longer than absolutely necessary.  So off I went to visit a couple of garden centers that are located here in town ~ Bachman’s and Linder’s.

It was so wonderful just wandering around and taking it all in, both of these particular garden centers have an exceptionally pleasing atmosphere.  Whoever is in charge of their aesthetics is definitely doing it right!

Although I have specific nurseries that I prefer to buy my tomatoes and pepper plants at, I’m not as picky about my herbs.  So once I ventured into the herb area of the garden center, I started selecting ones I have planned (and ones I just got on a whim ;)) to put in my new garden this year.

My potting bench was so happy to finally have some potted plants setting on it ~ even if only temporarily until they get put in the ground…~

I picked up the regulars like Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, and Chives.  And of course… the ever constant veggie garden companion (and pest deterrent) Marigolds.

But I also got a few others that I haven’t got before like Apple-Mint…I had originally planned on Chocolate Mint ~ makes a delicious tea, but once I rubbed the leaves and smelled the aroma of this Apple Mint, I had to have it!


And the same thing happened when I saw (and smelled) this Pineapple Sage ~ I’m pretty sure my mouth was watering…I have no idea what I am going to do with it.  There was a mention on the tag of using it as a garnish, but it is soooo yummy that there has got to be more I can use it for.  I’m open for suggestions…


I also got some Lemon Verbena, Celery, and one lone Strawberry plant…I wasn’t planning on planting strawberries ~ we usually go to the farm and pick our fill there.  I think it was the sweet little pink bloom that sucked me in and made me have to buy it.  I don’t know where I’m putting it yet, but I’ll find a spot…


Another not planned herb that I ended up with was lavender…This is a French Lavender variety that I haven’t seen before.   And the smell… now there’s something you need to understand about me and lavender… “we’re like this.”

Or here… this may explain it a bit better ~ For the Love of Lavender ♥, an earlier post of mine.  I have tried for years without success to grow Lavender as a perennial here in Minnesota, so I’m potting up this little baby (and the English Lavender that I also bought ;)) and bringing it inside when the weather gets cold.  🙂


I’ll be planting all these bad boys tomorrow and there’s simply nothing better than breathing in the wonderful scents of herbs while gardening…

I’ll also be making more visits to the garden nurseries this upcoming weekend, and selecting my tomatoes and peppers, not to mention some flowers ~ I’m so excited!

Stormy Heart

© Julie Rehnelt 2012


For the Birds

One of my favorite past times has always been bird watching.  In every home I have lived in over the past 20 years, I have always had a special area set up in my yard for bird watching.  In addition to having a variety of feeders, I would also plant certain things to help attract birds too.  It’s not only a relaxing and peaceful activity for me, but also interesting and exciting to me as well.

I’ve spent the past year and a half living in an apartment so I haven’t had a place to watch the birds. 😦  But with putting in my new raised vegetable garden in my mom’s yard I thought maybe I could put up a few feeders in her yard too.

Because my mom lives in the heart of the inner city, it’s not exactly a “nature” type of area for attracting a great variety of birds, but in being so deprived of this simple pleasure, I’ll take whatever little feathered friends I can get at this point.

A couple of my favorite feathered friends are Orioles and Hummingbirds.  So I dug my Oriole feeder out of storage and bought a new Hummingbird feeder, and put them out today.  It may still be a teensy bit early yet, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to put them out.

I use the type of Oriole feeder that has little dishes in it that you use to put grape jelly in.  There is a spike for putting orange halves on it as well, but I have found that it’s the grape jelly that they really seem to love…


And here’s my new Hummingbird feeder…

I’ve had many different styles and varieties of Hummingbird feeders over the years and I don’t know if there is one style that is any better than another, I just know that I feel special and honored every time one of those tiny little jewels happens to visit.  Hope some will visit this one!  🙂


Here are a couple of older photos from one time when we captured a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird coming to the feeder that we had hanging out on our porch…

Little wings beating so fast that all the camera caught was a blur.


I didn’t take any of the following photos (heck I wish!), but I have had visits from these (and many others) in my yards and gardens on occasion over the years.  Maybe you have too…

Baltimore Oriole

I have found Orioles to be somewhat cautious at first, but once you get them coming for that grape jelly, their boldness increases and matches the boldness of their striking orange and black color!


Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Such precious delicate little things.  ♥



We put out several Bluebird houses around our property to attract these pretty and beneficial birds to our yard, but the Swallows usually took them over.  However, we still had them in and around the vicinity and many times they would sit on the edge of the porch roof just below my bedroom window and “hunt” for bugs.  They even brought their young there to “train them in.”



I adore these brightly colored little birds.  They often come in large groups to visit feeders offering thistle.  On our last property where we had acreage, we had a “wild” area where the thistle grew on its own so we had tons of Goldfinches flitting about everywhere.  It was wonderful!  🙂



So common, but a sure sign of spring after the long winters here ~ Robins are always a welcome to see!


Blue Jay

Blue Jays are sometimes a bit pushy and aggressive at feeders, and tend to scare away other birds, but they are so pretty.  And the other birds are always waiting in the “wings” and come back once the Blue Jays have had their fill.



Cardinals were one of my most favorite birds for a long time.  Like the Hummingbird, I would feel so honored when they would visit my feeders.  Often times pairs would be repeat visitors and I would watch as the males fed their mates.  So sweet.  ♥


Indigo Bunting

I have only caught a glimpse of these a few times visiting my yard and gardens, but it was very exciting when they did!  So colorful!


Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The first time I saw a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at one of my feeders I got so excited to see something new!  Eventually they became regular visitors and delighted me with their gentle presence.



I love Chickadees!  They may not be very colorful or interesting to most people, but I find them adorable ~ chubby little things hopping around amongst the tree branches, making their cute little sounds.  🙂


Cedar Waxwing

This is such a gorgeous shot among these blossoms!  I love his “mask” around his eyes.  I rarely caught a close look at the Cedar Waxwings that would visit my yard, but I heard them.



Dark-eyed Juncos are another bird that I find adorable.  They are ground feeders so they make for a good “clean-up crew” underneath bird feeders.


Yellow Warbler

I didn’t see these too often, but I heard their bright cheerful little calls that match their color.  🙂


Purple Finch

Sometimes Purple Finches and/or House Finches would try and build their nests in my hanging flower baskets that I would hang out on my porch in early spring, It got to the point of being a serious nuisance because I would fork out some serious cash for those hanging baskets and their nest building would all but ruin them.  So a few times I put out a “dummy” basket ~ especially for them, but they still preferred my store bought ones ~ little suckers have expensive taste apparently.  😉


Chipping Sparrow

Sparrows are another “common” bird, but there are many, many different varieties, and I think Chipping sparrows are cute!


Tree Swallow

I often had Tree Swallows flying around me whenever I would mow our land with the riding mower.  Excellent bug control!