Saturday, July 20, 2024

A Cute Visitor to My Yard

Warning: if crickets give you the creeps, give this three second video below a skip. Should I have named this little critter Jiminy?


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Friday, July 19, 2024

Update on the Vegetable Garden

Having grown so many viable vegetable plants from seed, I am so much more invested than in previous years that I stroll around several times daily. Most discoveries make me happy. Now I’m facing a serious issue.

While my container grown tomatoes are thus far unharmed, the corner patch became infested by tomato hornworms. I spent a good while Wednesday morning pulling off and discarding these repulsive caterpillars. Fat and alien in appearance, they cling to the foliage for all they are worth. And their frightening camouflage would have allowed them to decimate every plant if not for their distinctive droppings.
I’m so glad I can recognize this berry-like poop…

On a bright note, an adult moth became trapped in my pumpkin netting (revenge is sweet). Being smaller than its offspring makes the winged bug no less ugly. Unlike most moths’ elegant tapered thorax, those of Manduca quinquemaculata appear revoltingly bloated up to the sharp pointed end.

It did not have a happy ending...
That evening I used the netting for my pumpkins to cover the neighboring tomato plants, as well. And I’m leaving another bit of netting looped over the trellised EarthBox plantings as an extra precaution.


Much to my dismay I saw more droppings early the next day and had to remove another stomach-churning monster. So I bought a spray bottle of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Thursday afternoon.

We once purchased a concentrated form, which I looked for at the store to no avail, but it’s for the best. These natural and effective living bacterium do not have a long shelf life. In fact, we still had the concentrate which is doubtless inert after perhaps an entire decade (!), and I’m a bit annoyed that the label didn’t include a production date. My belated research following the same day application also irked me. This ready-to-use product’s label neglected to inform me that sunlight degrades the product.

I should have waited until evening. But I did not use the entire bottle yesterday and emptied it this morning after killing a small caterpillar. Anyway, this article provided other fascinating information. Humans first discovered Bt’s benefits in the early 1900’s and some field crops have been modified to include the gene responsible for the bacterium’s all important crystal protein.

Did you know that modern Bt strains have also become an essential weapon in the battle against West Nile Virus? And since profit drives more research than human welfare, do you think genetically modified foods pose a health risk?

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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Questions, Answers, & an Issue

I asked the artificial intelligence on my smart phone about squash bees. To my astonishment, these insects were noted as pollinating anything squash related except pumpkins.

These insects fit the description otherwise. Maybe my blue variety attracts them or they have no other preferable plants nearby. As for the behavior I filmed, it seemed like a signal to others of their species but the information also indicated these pollinators build solo underground nests.

Then again, perhaps it’s a mating posture. Ooh… That could be interesting research as nature does fascinate me.

The issue relates to my largest pumpkin growing within the confines of my obelisk trellis. I didn’t think about this until the other day. ~shakes head~ Making sure this beauty reaches healthy maturity is my newest challenge.
I look forward to watching it turn blue.

I have an idea of turning it on its side and adding support netting as their shape is squat. It’s both surprising and dismaying my online research hasn’t offered suggestions.

Is this not a good problem to have? What do you think I should do if the fruit starts becoming malformed?

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Before and After

My cacti began inundating our walkway again. So I decided to tackle the overgrowth on Tuesday the 9th despite extreme humidity.
The growth rate is insane...

This stretch of cement could use a power wash. Oh, well. I will get there eventually.

Outline created by an outdoor mat...

Isn’t nature amazing?

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Sunday, July 7, 2024

The Pumpkin Patch

I have become a very attentive gardener protecting my pumpkin plants with overnight netting. It’s a joy watching fruit set and grow.

Look at these little beauties...
And every day I learn more techniques and benefits of growing this dusky blue heirloom Jarrahdale variety, so named after the Western Australian city known for its original cultivation. I hope no insect pests steal my harvest.

I cannot believe the rapid growth...
Would you ever be interested in having infinite garden space? If so, what all would you grow?

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Sunday, June 30, 2024

A Garden Update

Thanks to all for the well wishes and suggestions for my pumpkin growing adventure. One developing fruit appears super healthy and a little larger (!) every day.

I wonder when the blue skin will become evident...

To my delight, more and more female flowers are appearing on the two largest plants. The fact I started everything but our Swiss chard from seed makes this season even more special.

Cool, huh?

My netting has been protecting the plants overnight. Finished eating a farmers market cantaloupe I tossed the rind into the backyard jungle as compensation to our deer.

Every morning I get to see adorable little bees marching upward to freedom. It never fails to make me smile.
Isn’t it neat that we have a pollinator named after the insects’ favorite pollen source? Do you think the bees wake up as if they’d been on an alcoholic bender, wondering where they are and why they never made it home?


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Saturday, June 29, 2024

Sharknado!

I don’t know if you’ve even heard about the spoof disaster series involving man eating sharks getting pulled into a waterspout and raining down on unsuspecting citizens. Seeing the first (also maybe second), I found the premise delivered a fun and silly popcorn movie night.

Well, Terra discovered my cute stuffed shark, an adorable reminder of those films. This is probably not the healthiest (communist Chinese made) human toy for pet play. However, she appears to use her paws more than teeth. I didn’t know cats batted prey out of the air like that.


Wouldn’t she make a great huntress? Do you think I should be on the safe side and take the stuffed animal away?

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Friday, June 28, 2024

Anticipation

My husband and I hope my successful seed starting early this spring pays off. Almost all the tomatoes and peppers look promising.

I remain most excited about my Jarrahdale pumpkins. This blue variety is said to have tasty roasted flesh/seeds besides being decorative.

They did receive damage early on which I now believe almost certainly to have been done by grazing white-tailed deer. Since that discovery I go out in the early evening and cover them with netting which gets removed early the next day (well, as early as I’m willing to tumble out of bed).

Do these stems appear bitten off to you?

On the subject of tumbling, adorable pollinators tumble over one another within each pumpkin blossom (!) and often overnight within the netting. My latest video is below.


I have my fingers crossed that the bitten off stems don’t introduce disease or that insects attack. The season is yet young. Wish me luck.

Aren’t these little bees adorable? Don’t you hope and pray that pollinators facing extinction is vastly exaggerated?

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Thursday, June 27, 2024

This Woman Groomed the Tiniest Poodle in the World

This video is not short but I couldn’t resist sharing. Feel free to just enjoy the opening.

Do you tend to notice that men often walk the tiniest pooches while women often have more massive pets? Do you think it’s a security issue for a lone female out walking?

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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Welcome to the Neighborhood

After reading Andrew’s post about nice neighbors I decided to share my latest experience. This past Monday evening I sat outside enjoying the night air when the newest homeowner next door called out, “I have some things for you.”

She offered two rather expensive items I could very well use but tried to decline. I conceded after hearing about her online auction addiction. She bids on unnecessary things just for the rush of getting cheap purchases. That knowledge and trading a few jars of homemade pickles made me feel better. Now I have a lovely garden arch and giant patio umbrella needing assemblage.

This event happened after my recent effort to cheer up a woman who lives a few blocks over. I walked over carrying a cute, smiling, cartoonish anthropomorphic sunflower complete with green arms and legs. Upon receipt of my silly gift, she began weeping.

The stories of mistreatment by some neighbors and even her own family break my heart. Sometimes they sound unbelievable. I stopped by today on my way home upon spotting her and her husband outside. Like me, she works hard doing yard work and I wanted her to know about my recently purchased handy weeding tool.

This made yanking weeds a hundred times faster and easier;
I think the handle on my Amazon purchase is longer...
Aren’t good neighbors a tremendous gift? And do you believe in Karma?

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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Giraffe Chiropractor at Oakland Zoo

My husband found this amazing video I need to share. Sad to say, his brothers didn’t bother opening the link he sent them.

How can anyone be too busy for such a short, adorable video? I think they missed out, don’t you?

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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

One Classic Ride

I lifted weights today after a long lapse. My excuse for avoidance has been gardening duties and this heat wave put a halt on that. But then I bought a fast food lunch. Oh, well; two steps forward, one step back. Right?

My unhealthy craving paid off in the form of sighting a gorgeous classic car. Its kind owner allowed a photo.

I apologize for the poor lighting...
Can you believe the condition of this 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood? Isn’t it incredible that the original owners (according to the driver) have maintained and driven the car all these decades?

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Monday, June 17, 2024

The Big Chill

The other day I decided to inventory frozen foodstuffs. We’ve been stocking up on sale items, especially buy-one-get-one-free (!) deals, which I often proceed to repackage in vacuum sealed bags. Yet regardless of packaging I like to rotate items from the cellar to the kitchen, putting newer stuff in the deep freezer.

I decided utilizing a portable cooler would aid my efforts and thus toted fresh purchases down the stairs. Then I went further, stashing newer pork items at the bottom, older ones atop, and putting the entire cooler inside. Before finishing up I heard my phone announce a text message.

But where was it? I looked on the main floor all the while knowing it to be futile. Finally, I remembered. That wheeled cooler has outside pockets to hold shelf stable items like my smart phone. ~shakes head~ I’m also grateful for not having buried the cooler under a whole lot.

Whew! My husband would’ve put me in the deep freeze if my awesome cellular phone became damaged. I promptly disassembled the Otterbox brand case and thoroughly dried all three pieces. By the way, there is still another unused layer; I don’t like carrying it on my waist and the part with the clip is too big for my everyday fanny pack and most purses.


Have you ever seen the 1983 flick “The Big Chill”? And can you recommend another protective phone case brand?
What a great cast...


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Sunday, June 9, 2024

Another Duh Moment

I’m having fun with a plant identification app on my phone. It’s called PlantNet and seems to be extremely accurate. Just this morning I decided to take an image of one of my shade tree’s fruits and realized a very silly mistake. It’s not a buckeye tree at all but a common horse chestnut. ~shakes head~ Somehow my memory got twisted around over the decades.

To my surprise, PlantNet also identified this
as the peculiar squirting cucumber...

Then again, I feel somewhat vindicated after stumbling upon this article. Horse chestnut and buckeye trees resemble one another as they’re in the same genus. And there is so much more I’m learning!

Fun facts:

My tree is the red variety, meaning it has rosy flowers versus white. A woman who saw it in the spring of 2023 not only pulled over to inquire about it, she brought her mother over this past April.

And it’s a hybrid between the red buckeye (!) and white chestnut.

The English call the nuts ‘conkers’. And I understand why after being pelted during that very windy day. lol Thank heaven they’re small and quite soft.

A tasty fall treat for deer, the seeds are toxic to most mammals, including horses. Thanks to this article from the UK I learned two things about the name.

One, a fallen leaf creates a horseshoe shaped scar on the twig, complete with what look like nail holes. I’ll have to look for this come autumn.

And before modern veterinary medicine, crushing conkers released a medicinal compound that, while toxic to smaller animals, helped relieve horses suffering a cough.

Last but not least, harvested seeds are supposedly easy to cultivate over winter. I may have to try this if only for fun.

The entire tree gets covered by these...

Weren’t so-called primitive peoples incredibly inventive? Do you think a horse chestnut sapling would make a nice gift?

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Saturday, June 8, 2024

A Teeny, Tiny Flying Gem

This morning I did some garden chores and spotted this damsel fly. What a lucky discovery; most folks (my husband included) would never spot such a tiny creature.


Here is a photo, as well. I apologize for the blurriness.


Doesn’t that blue color pop? Can you imagine being such a minute yet vibrant and valuable being?

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Thursday, June 6, 2024

Gardening Fun

These are some random photos I’ve accumulated recently. I hope you enjoy them.
A Cool Fungus
A Tropical Tree Given By a Friend
Wild Strawberries Discovered Beneath
Invasive Prickly Lettuce Plants
Not From My Garden, an Interesting
Vegetable Drawer Discovery
These Nonviable Buckeye Tree Fruits
Pelted Me a Week or So Ago
Yuccas Planted by Former Homeowners
3 + Decades Ago (!) Continue Thriving 
What a Vibrant Insect Relaxing on a Rose

Have harvested vegetables ever sprouted in your home? Did you feel safe eating them?

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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Enchanting Abandoned Witch House Of A Famous Artist - What Happened Here?

Since this video is long, I watched it at a higher rate of speed. Old, abandoned structures fascinate me and I felt my time well spent.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Saved Again, and Again

Dear fellow blogger Andrew’s post reminded me of recent ways my (apparent) guardian angels have protected me. A few months ago I tripped over something (?) in our home. If a simple, flimsy plastic cat tent hadn’t broken my fall I’d have bashed my skull against the brick hearth.

A week or so later I slipped off the top step down into our garage. Somehow I didn’t fall onto the concrete. It seems friction from my elbow dragging against the wall stopped me. While there are only three stairs, I perceived some broken bones (or worse) before my sudden miraculous halt.

Who knows why I keep tripping over my own feet? Of course please disregard that rhetorical question. ~grin~ But do you believe (as my drunken self experienced falling down a friend’s full flight of stairs; don’t judge, it was decades ago) that insobriety curbing the instinctual urge to brace ourselves helps prevent injury?

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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Three's Company

Upon returning from the grocery store this afternoon I was pleased to see Terra about a foot away from Dandelion on our bed. Several minutes later, Polly had joined her sister for a mutual grooming session. This development made us very happy.

Before I got up, Dani had settled on my side. We have the sweetest cats. And I can say the same about the three who lived here before passing away.

I like having my smart phone handy...

I took the next image a while back. This little unicorn tent sits on the guest bed. If Terra had a bushy tail like Polly’s I might assume there is just one cat in there.

I once feared the tent too small for a cat;
Obviously, I was wrong...

Can you see the second pair of kitty ears in the tent? Isn’t it funny that I sort of ‘photo bombed’ both of my own images?

Monday, May 20, 2024

A Strange Day

Our cat Dandelion woke me early this morning jumping on the bed seeking attention. After telling my husband, on his computer at the time, I returned to bed.

Ornery Terra later woke me by knocking my phone off the nightstand. To my shock, it was past 11:15! No wonder she wanted me up.

Discombobulated, I thought I might still be asleep and dreaming when my husband then told me about a derecho sweeping through the central United States. Unfortunately for those living in this weather pattern’s path, it’s very real and I wish them all the best.

On a lighter note, I opened a box just delivered. I turned around moments later and found the aforementioned kitty Dandelion sitting there.

Is that expression adorable or what?

Isn’t nature's force often either wondrous or terrible? On a different topic, did you know that the wonderful character actor Dabney Coleman passed away?

There’s a fabulous homage on the blog Shadow of a Doubt. By the way, I do not think the bubbles forming in the rain were caused by any chemicals but rather ideal conditions. It probably would not have happened had the guy who replaced our driveway done a better job years ago.

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Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Perfect Rainstorm

Anyone who knows me much at all is aware I’m fascinated with nature. Bees, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, plants, and especially the forces of fire and water captivate me.

While we spent some time sheltering downstairs under threat of tornadoes days ago, a much gentler storm system followed. I gathered my patio chair (after checking that no toad hunkered beneath the seat pad) and sat inside my garage.

I’m used to wind making playful raindrop patterns. But I don’t recall ever seeing bubbles form, skate the water’s surface, pop, and be replaced. I guess the crappy concrete work served a purpose with these shallow pools.

Have you ever seen such a thing? Have you ever heard the song “Tiny Bubbles”?

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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Big Wins Despite Double Jeopardy

Some months back my husband ordered a reserve bottle of our favorite sushi rice seasoning. Upon its arrival we discovered the cap broken and thus decided to retain the old bottle’s cap.


Well, after my husband used the rest he left the empty on the kitchen counter. Knowing its location, I retrieved the fresh bottle, switched caps, and proceeded to shelve the newer one.

To my horror, the sleeve of my shirt caught the bottle’s neck and sent it flying. I yelled, “Noooo!” watching the glass hurtle toward our hard tile floor.

I’m amazed to report that only the cap broke. I related the tale to D and he was happy as me. But that wasn’t all.

“Wait,” he said, “You’re about to hear something even funnier.”

As it turns out, he knocked the empty onto the floor earlier and, again, the glass did not break. Neither did the cap in his case. We will put the vinegar in fresh packaging and I’ll be careful to strain the product for any inner glass chips.

Do you think Japanese glass makers use a process that helps prevent shattering? Are you aware that some white vinegars sold these days are too low in acidity for safe canning?

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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Busy, Busy

I apologize for falling behind on blogging to the point of failing to publish comments. ~hangs head~ The reasons are good, though, as my husband has been staying up later so we can enjoy Youtube videos and even a movie. Before all that, I spend time daily with vegetable garden preparations and miscellaneous yard work. Planning to relax while my husband napped, I found this cutie...

Starting seeds has proven successful, too. We hope to see large crops of peppers, tomatoes, and (fingers crossed) those expensive dusky blue pumpkins I saw last fall.

And there’s more good news. My husband is doing so much better that we went to the gigantic international grocery store Jungle Jim’s. As long as we kept moving his remaining pain/tingling in his left thigh wasn’t a problem. In fact, I was ready to check out when he suggested it.

Yet it wasn’t due to my annoying little pains. They have pretty much vanished (!) which I think in part is due to his ability to help out more. Driving had been irritating my shoulder blade - not today, despite forty minutes behind the wheel.

I plan to get caught up reading others’ blogs within the next several days. Meanwhile, posting comments on my own remains a struggle. Oh, well. At least we still have the platform. I’d miss the virtual friends made over the years.

Can you think of a way we could stay in touch when blogging platforms are gone? Should we each set up a sort of newsletter and email them to one another?

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Three Nice Surprises

The title tells what I shall explain. First, my husband’s debilitating pain has subsided; he is even driving himself to physical therapy and other doctor visits. What a relief for us both. Taking care of everything left me with a niggling case of tendonitis in my right elbow.

Then extended use of my left arm caused annoying if slight muscle pain around that scapula. Minor queasiness accompanied the frustrating sensation. While it’s happened exactly the same several times in my lifetime, healing takes longer at the age of 55 and I’ve been struggling for many weeks. But enough whining… Here’s my surprise win:

Knowing the grass needed mowing and weeds pulled yesterday, I finally took pain medication, something I avoid whenever possible. What a shock; all this activity didn’t bring greater hurt the next morning. I even managed to lift weights today.

Thirdly, I looked up bald eagle nest cameras online. This Pennsylvania pair has three (!) healthy nestlings. That’s a rare event.
When both parents are gone, one
eaglet always seems alert...


Do you follow any live webcams? Are there numerous raptors where you live?

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

One Wild Bird and Six Pet Kitty Names

Our kind friend Strayer expressed interest in video I took during my riverside walk. Here are two, in fact. ~grin~ The first shows a very determined crane on the hunt. I’m impressed by how still they can stand even near raging waters.
Then I must have gotten too close, which made me feel bad. At least I got to see its majestic flight.
On her blog, Pam shared a cute game in which you try to describe a pet’s name without declaring it outright. I just had to join the fun. I’ll start with the three sweethearts we’ve lost over the last decade, listing each in order of their arrival into our hearts and home. Of course each is listed under my blog’s labels but I’ll put the answers below…

Our Earth’s moon in Latin
Actresses Meg and Jennifer
The wicked wife of Israeli King Ahab
The Earth, ‘firma’
Who wants a cracker?
A prolific yellow flowering weed

Do you think the bird recognized my predatory ocular orientation? And since cats are both predator and prey, why don’t they have a second set of eyes on the sides of their heads?

Here are the girls’ names:
Luna
Tilly
Jezebel
Terra
Polly
Dandelion


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Monday, April 15, 2024

A Day Out and About

I was fascinated to find this derelict power station being dismantled. It’s been out of service a long time.
It looks like Pripyat to me...

Just before midnight must have been set on purpose...

Heavy rains washed debris across the riverside trail like I’ve never seen. At least flash floods weren’t a threat this day.


Water levels remained high. The nearby damn is like a waterfall.


Busy with domestics duties I fell behind reading blogs, let alone posting. I have a rather neat (at least to me) video from that day.

Aren’t interactions with fellow bloggers some of the best? What are you up to these days?

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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Oh, Hail, No!

Wednesday, my husband and I planned lunching out. As the primary driver I don’t mind most weather. With possible hail forecasted, however, we agreed to stay home and not risk vehicle damage.

Today (Thursday) our lawn needed mowing so badly that I decided to brave the light rain indicated on my smart phone app. I kept going until the raindrops turned to hail.

Those little ice balls sting! At least I managed to finish the job between downpours. It’s not unprecedented for me as I’ve planted spring flowering bulbs in bad weather many autumns.

Are you a plant fan? Have you ever worked in torrential rain?

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Gone With the Wind

My area of Southwest Ohio in the United States has been pummeled the last few days by heavy rains interspersed with sunshine. In preparation I wore a waterproof fedora to the grocery store this afternoon. Exiting, I almost lost it when a gust of wind took hold of the brim. Lucky for me, it didn’t get far. Not only useful, the hat was a thoughtful gift from my deceased mother many, many years ago.


Later I walked near our home’s front windows at the perfect time to see a snippet of rainbow. It was the widest band of colors I’d ever seen. Unfortunately, the glimpse passed before I could grab a camera. Ah, well. I’m sure rainstorms this summer will provide many such beautiful sights. And I’m thankful for spotting it.

Do rainbows appear often, or at all, where you live? Have you ever seen the American film “Gone With the Wind”?

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