Daylily pictured: Time Stopper
Listen up daylily lovers. Not only is lemon juice great for making delicious lemon bars, it's a necessity for cleaning up your hands. After deadheading the mushy, drippy red and purple daylily blooms that stain your hands and fingernails, simply rinse your hands in lemon juice, then wash them with warm soapy water. Your hands will instantly look sparkling clean again!
Daylily pictured: Time Stopper
I'm not at all fond of orange ditch lilies (Hemerocallis fulva) as I've spent countless hours digging their invasive rhizomes out of my flower beds, but I'll be the first to admit that they look pretty darn good in roadside ditches.
Daylily obsession typically arrives in degrees. It slowly creeps up on you. When does the realization hit that you may have an addiction? Here are 20 common indicators:
How many of these indicators should you admit to before you are considered a daylily addict? Good question! I'll venture to say that at least five true statements indicate you've started walking down that path ;) And myself? I'm definitely in trouble for the simple reason that I am familiar with each and every indicator, but I'm not admitting that they're all mine...
Daylily pictured: 'Something Angelic'
2020 was uncharted territory for me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
Pictured: A quaint storefront I passed by in Bath, England.
Most landscaping design, along with interior and print design follows traditional color theory using complementary colors on the color wheel. Red and purple are an unconventional and unexpected color combination that will turn some heads. In fact, it's one of my favorite combos with flowers. I always buy Wave Petunias in these two colors. It was fun to try this pairing with daylilies. I love the look! So if you're bored with color and want to try mixing unusual tones, red and purple may give you that extra edge.
Daylilies pictured: 'Woman's Scorn' in the foreground and 'Integrated Logistics' in the background
This photo never fails to make me smile. Our (very social) granddaughter was out-of-town for a weekend visiting her other Grandma and Grandpa. Ange and I had stopped at her house to feed and play with the two family cats while they were gone. We found this message on the steps that lead to the front door. Clearly our granddaughter was worried that all of her friends would come looking for her and wonder where she was. And it also looks like her Mom told her it was not a good idea to write a message like this on the front steps. So what do you do? Well, you just cross it out. Too cute!
Here are some of my experiences that make up the ever-present irony of daily life. Do any sound familiar?
Recently I passed by a home that had a ginormous resin cow in the front yard. The homeowner had tied a chain around the cow and wrapped the chain around a tree trunk with a padlock. Cows are big here in Wisconsin! This is yard art at its best!
You've all seen yard whimsy gone wild, yes? It's that yard that has one too many flamingos and somehow crosses the invisible line between tasteful and tacky. It stops you in your tracks to gape at in disbelief. Thoughts I ponder when I see yard whimsy gone wild:
I'm gifting myself with a couple of weeks away from technology. My blog will be on hiatus until August 18th. We'll catch up then!
Pictured: Twin fawns that visit my yard daily - Mom is hidden in the thicket, watching.
Grateful living is happy living. Every year at this time I like to take time to reflect on things that made me smile or feel grateful over the past year. Here's my list:
Pictured above: Minneapolis sophisti-cat 'Sophie,' a shelter rescue who now lives the life of a princess
Here are some arborvitaes in our yard that we refer to as 'Poodle Trees.' Note that all the lower branches are missing. The deer stand up on their hind legs and eat the branches as as high as they can reach. Over the years, we have come to embrace this look. Deer topiaries? There are deer-resistant arborvitaes available, but we didn't know that at the time these were planted.
I tried to get a photo of the deer eating the arborvitaes, with no luck. So instead, I added a photo Ange took many years ago of an apple tree that used to be in our yard. It's of very poor quality because he took it through a window from inside the house. During apple season, the deer would visit the tree every day. Some days there could be up to three or four deer at one time dancing around the tree -- so comical to watch!
October 27th was National Black Cat Day. What a perfect opportunity for me to reminisce about my first black cat, 'Uncanny / Canny' (I liked both words / Couldn't make up my mind). I got eight-week-old Canny when I was in college. We shared an upstairs apartment in an old house with roommates Sandy, Gail, and Gail's small dog (pictured). Ange was around in those days, too. We stayed in that apartment for a year or so, but did what most college students frequently do; we moved and (of course) did not get back our security deposit back. Gail's dog had chewed a good portion of the bedroom carpet and I melted a huge candle onto the orange shag carpet in the living room. Long story; not important. Sandy, you must have done *something* to that apartment -- it wasn't all Gail and me, right?
We loved our larger place, but apparently Canny didn't. We kept him inside so he would acclimate to the new surroundings, but he would sneak out if someone opened the door. He kept trekking back to the old apartment, which was about six blocks down and two blocks over. When I'd walk to school in the morning, there he'd be, sitting on the porch of the old house. He would never fail to come down and greet me. On my way home, if I'd see him, I'd pick him up and carry him back to the new place. Canny would stay for a day or three, but eventually disappear again. Over the course of many weeks, this happened numerous times. Canny's territory seemed to be more important to him than anything else. So I finally talked to the girls who had moved into our old apartment about the 'Canny situation.' They loved having Canny around. He was, after all, a most awesome cat! So I reluctantly passed the torch to them knowing that he would be well taken care of.
So there you have it, my very first black cat, Uncanny/Canny, left home and never said goodbye. Could this be Ange's fault for relentlessly teasing him with a water spray bottle? Probably.
There are mixed opinions as to the exact date of National Black Cat Day. I went with October 27; being close to Halloween just seemed right. #loveblackcats
Since yesterday was Earth Day, I thought I'd share some summer scenes.
Daylilies pictured: "Persian Ruby," "Lady Neva," "Coral Majority," and "House of Orange"; Zinnia: "Profusion Orange"; and Echinacea: "Pink Double Delight"
Over the winter I have renewed my relationship with a long-lost friend--Ibuprofen. Due to overzealous landscaping last fall, I have been dealing with a cervical disk that is supremely unhappy. Why-oh-why do I do these things to myself? It's been a winter of Ibuprofen, physical therapy, neck traction, and lots of ice. Imagine wearing an ice pack around your neck four times a day while it is 10 degrees below zero outside. Unhappy face.
What I take away from this:
* Patience, patience, and more patience
* Injuries hurt even more when you inflict them upon yourself
* The physical therapy department has awesome coffee
* It's okay that it's snowy and cold outside
* And finally, when something hurts, don't ignore it and keep working!
Hopefully, with the gift of time and a rigorous physical therapy regimen, I will be outside, happily gardening come April. Until then....aaarrrgh!
Our neighbor down the road was ready to clear out his vegetable gardens before the first frost and invited Ange and I to come over and pick whatever we wanted that was remaining. His wife said she could not can one more jar of salsa -- she was DONE! This was great news for us since we no longer grow a vegetable garden. (The daylilies have taken it over....oops!) We picked red and green tomatoes and even some green beans that were planted mid-season. We will continue to enjoy these fresh tomatoes for a couple more weeks yet.
Using these fresh tomatoes, I just finished my annual ratatouille-making marathon. I made a few batches so there is enough in the freezer to last until next summer. Ever since Ange and I first had this delicious soup/side dish at my good friend Sharon's home, I have been regularly making it every fall. I use many of Sharon's recipes - she's a great cook!
Here's the recipe:
This recipe can be served either hot or cold and freezes very well.
¼ c. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 onions, thinly sliced
3 green or red peppers, cut in strips
1 eggplant, diced
4 zucchini squash, cubed
4-5 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. dill
½ tsp. Herbes de Provence
½ tsp. sweet basil
¼ c. lemon juice
Heat oil until a haze forms, Sauté onions and garlic until golden brown, then add green pepper strips, eggplant and squash; continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Put in tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, dill, Herbes de Provence, sweet basil and lemon juice. Cover and cook over a low flame for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes to allow excess liquid to evaporate.
Yield: 2 quarts
½ cup = Approx. 150 calories
Last Sunday the thermometer climbed to the high 80's. It was sunny, breezy, and it felt great to be outside. Ange and I didn't think we'd have many more days like this to complete our "To Do List" before winter weather arrives. So we loaded up our SUV with some heavy-duty garbage bags and shovels and drove to the riding stable down the road. Yep...time to get horse manure. Our neighbors always welcome us to take the manure away and we are happy to get it. Each spring I amend the garden soil with a mix of peat moss and the dried horse manure. The daylilies love it!
Usually when Ange and I gather manure, the horses are all over us wanting some love (or more likely, treats). It's sometimes difficult to shovel unless one of us lures the horses away with grass. This year, for the first time ever, none of the horses were even remotely interested in what we were doing. That is, once they realized we didn't have any food for them. It was easy going -- in no time we had multiple bags filled. We always look for the driest manure available, so it's light for us to shovel and much of the decomposition has already taken place. Once home, we re-filled our vinyl garbage containers with manure, ready-to-go for next spring. Done! Cross that off the list.
Trivia: A 1,000-pound horse produces approximately 40-50 pounds of manure every day. That translates to about eight and a half tons per year! Add bedding to this and the amount of stable waste only grows.
if it's about
my backyard and garden, I LOVE to talk about it!