Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Shanghai Cricket

Shanghai Cricket

Cool sightings @ the Orchid Show.

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More goodies...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Praise the Lard

Our bird looked nothing like this, but we still had a whole lotta fun.
 At 11 a.m., on Thanksgiving morning, I received an email from our hostess saying they were under the weather and the big gathering was cancelled.

 "There is sickness in our house." So sayeth the subject line. Suddenly there's excitement in mine. You see, my daughter and I love to cook. Being up to our elbows in flour and spices brings out the best in both of us.

A few mishaps along the way ~ from scratch pie crust. (The birds loved it!)
 From my perspective, Thanksgiving dinner is not very difficult to prepare. All you need is 10 pounds of butter and enough pans to cook up a million yummy side dishes you never allow yourself to eat at any other time during the year.

 It's mostly just a timing issue, and it all hinges on one thing: how long it takes to roast that massive bird.

 So, slight panic in the beginning. It's noon! How can we make this work?

 We stripped out of our comfy jammies, no time for showers. Bee-lined it to Whole Paycheck Whole Foods to see if, by chance, one lonesome, fresh, not frozen, turkey might still be in the display case. (I picked Whole Foods because it's the least frequented store in our town, therefore the odds might be in our favor.)

Beginnings of a Peach Melba Pie. (This one turned out okay.)
 We found one, frozen, 15-pounder that we snatched from the unsuspecting hands of two 20-somethings, who at noon, on the big day, were wandering aimlessly around the market trying to plan a meal.

Desperate times. Desperate measures:
The girls asked me what size turkey could feed 12 people, but since there was only one 15-pounder left, I steered them toward a larger bird. And, selfishly placed the only frozen* possibility in our shopping cart.

So, I guess you might say that, on this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for strangers who trust me.

Homestyle Rosemary Swiss Cheese Bread
* Did you know that you can safely roast a frozen turkey? Why, yes you can. We did. And, we're not dead. This isn't the first time we've been behind that proverbial 8-ball. If you don't stuff that bird, it will still be done in plenty of time to put on a fancy feast.

Impatiently waiting for his fair share of the Crab Appetizer.
Here's hoping you all had a marvelous holiday. We're thinking, from now on, we won't fret about our shopping list until the 11th hour. Because all of this frantic scurrying around turned about to be a whole lotta fun.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Oxygen Garden

Favorite annuals are dragged indoors to populate the [indoor] Oxygen Garden.
 Temperatures have warmed. First snows are a distant memory.

 I spent a muddy afternoon inspecting the soggy [outdoor] gardens. Preparing for winter. Something I should have done long before that first arctic blast. Because chopping the ice off of a badly abused lawnmower, and schlepping stiff as a board, frozen hoses into the garage is really not the wisest of ideas.

Sunny windows are filled with brightly RE-blooming Butterfly Orchids

 But I got 'er done. And, I was only a month overdue. Which is actually pretty good for me!

This is the very first Orchid I ever purchased. 2009. Still gracing me with happy flowers.
 Do you make lists? I make one every morning. While savoring a cup of cowgirl coffee, I jot down all kinds of things that need doing. Pressing things! Important things! Things that cannot wait a moment longer.

I've discovered the key to plentiful Orchid blooms is way more sunshine than the pros recommend.
 And, I'm hugely committed to this list! Right up until I get a phone call. Where I'm offered something more interesting to do.. And, well... you know how this story ends.

Sometimes I wonder if the soul purpose of that ever-growing to-do list is simply to bring out the Catholic guilt in me.

Christmas Cactus enjoy a cup o' tea almost as much as we do. Left over tea = fab fertilizer.
 'Tis the season for me to be highly energetic in the Oxygen Garden, though. Coaxing and coddling all kinds of indoor blossoms who clean up the air and add delightful color to every nook and cranny.

 I had dinner with a friend last week, who said she, too, has an indoor Oxygen Garden, which consists of a Spider Plant. {Seriously?} Hopefully, I talked her into getting more creative. Hopefully these pictures have inspired you, too. Because we all need beauty. Especially on a cold winter's eve.

Searching for some new ideas for flowering houseplants?

You're in luck!

I was given this {terrific!} book to read and review and now I'm giving it to you.

Just leave me a comment ~ here, or connect with me on Twitter,  Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

After a few dozen glasses of champagne during the Thanksgiving holiday, we'll randomly pick a commenter out of the virtual hat.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day ~ November 2012

Heaps of snow, outdoors & Plumeria Buds, indoors.
 I'm coming up empty on this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

 The outdoor gardens are buried under a chilly drift of snow. Indoors, the house is filled with Coming Attractions...

Orchid Bud
Buds, buds and more buds...

Been waiting around all afternoon for this little lady to open up ~ desperately wanted to show off one new goodie. I suppose she'll do so tomorrow, when it's too late to claim her as a bloom day bloom.

Apologies for so many lame photos.

I'm just wandering around the house documenting what's happening. So many buds on this Orchid, she's drooping under the weight. When she does get around to flowering, it should be spectacular.

Someday soon, we'll be enjoying Calla Lilies and Amaryllis, but not on this bloom day...

What do you think about that Spanish colonial cross thingy in the background? I can't decide if it's cool. Or, tacky. It doesn't fit into the decor of this house at all. It's just a little reminder for me that I should be moving south to New Mexico, where I'd most likely be weeding an outdoor garden today.

I'm conducting an odd experiment with Hen and Chicks indoors. IF this wretched little thing survives, (and that's a very big if) she could become an extra special Christmas present...

I do have some ecstatic bloomers in my lair ~ aka the office...

A couple of little cuties in the kitchen...

Plus heaps and heaps of snow, everywhere I look. Did you know that snowdrifts serve as a thermal blanket for your outdoor garden? It gets so deep around here, I can cheat growing zones by two, from USDA 5 to USDA 7.

Pay a visit to Carol at May Dreams Gardens to meet other gardeners in kinder climates. And, Happy Bloom Day, Everyone!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ In Case You're Wondering...

Just in case you're wondering... what I must have, truly need, desperately desire for Christmas!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

7th Heaven

They're forecasting 500 inches of snow.

Oh... did that make you do a double take? 500 inches of snow for the whole winter, not for today. (And, that's normal this high up in the mountains.)

I probably should have clarified that right up top but this way I inspired you to scroll down and see another picture!

 ~  Of my beloved powder hound. He has a doggie door, so he can let himself in and out of the house whenever he pleases. He has not let himself back into the house since the fluffy flakes began to fall. He loves him some winter weather.

It has been quietly snowing for 3 days, now. Muffling the sounds of traffic, and passers by, inspiring me to cozy up next to the fireplace. Right after I pelted the dog with a few well-targeted snowballs. {It's our winter version of dodge ball.}

I don't like winter to last forever. But, I sure do love the change of seasons.

The cold, crisp air. The bright whites of a winter wonderland. And, a cup of hot cocoa, with peppermint, of course, after an exhilarating romp in the snow.

Did you know? Prior to the invention of the telescope, Saturn was the farthest planet we could see. And, it was literally the seventh heaven, where people believed the souls of the dead met with God. 

These days it's just a time in our lives when all is right with the world.

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Friday, November 09, 2012


Can you hear all that backstabbing and name calling?
Those incessant warnings of the next apocalypse...? Yeah, me neither.

Hey! The election must be over! A fine excuse to go plant a bushel of bulbs*

This is my autumn bulb collection. Please scroll to bottom of post to get the skinny on these beauties.
However your candidates fared on Tuesday night, I'm hoping we can all join hands and breathe a collective sigh of relief. That all of this ultra-nasty, and oh-so-unnecessary, negativity is now over.

Maybe even get back to being friends? Sheesh! It became so divisive, for awhile there, that I abandoned Facebook entirely. And, that used to be my nightly entertainment.

Yup. Don't color me blue. Or, red. Color me a loser for wasting so much time on FB.

Allium (Critters absolutely hate the taste of these bulbs.)

Produce stickers starting with 8 = GMO
I can't take credit for anyone winning this election. Seeing as how I wrote myself in on the ballot. Well, why not? Come on, people. Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor any more?

For me, the biggest loss of the evening was Prop 37 in California. The only real thing I paid attention to. The one thing that might actually impact the average human being.

That initiative would have required mandatory labeling of GMO genetically modified foods. That 'O' stands for 'organism' ~ which should suffice in creeping you out and, hopefully, get you on the Say NO to GMO bandwagon.

I'm waaay disappointed in California for nixing that one. Aren't they supposed to be our hippy dippy forward-thinking neighbors to the West? Hmmm... Perhaps I've spent too much time people-watching in Venice Beach.

Anyhoo... all is not lost. GMO foods are already labeled.  

Just look for the number '8' ~ the first number on the produce code sticker. That indicates a GMO food item. Once you find that #8, drop whatever you were thinking of purchasing and run like hell. Over to the organic produce section.

The Skinny on these Gorgeous Spring-Flowering Bulbs
Top row, left to right:
  1. Gladiator Allium: Stunning 6-inch purple flower globes on 4 foot tall stems. 
  2. Itty bitty (2 inch) Grecian Windflowers create a spring carpet of cheery color. 
  3. Camassia: (My all-time fave) Weeks and weeks of brilliant blue stars on 36-inch stems. 
  4. Glory of the Snow: Brilliant Lily-like blooms peek out through melting snowdrifts. They're available in white but why in the world would you plant white flowers timed to bloom in the snow? 
Bottom row, left to right:
  1. Allium Schubertii: 16-inch tall, spider-like blooms, put on a stunning fireworks show. I bought mine at the Star Trek convention! (kidding.) 
  2. Arum Italicum: Bright orange, seedy things. (I know nothing about this flower but I ordered it anyway.) 
  3. Monsella Tulips: Fragrant, feathery flowers, posing as peonies. 
  4. Replete Daffodils: Daffies masquerading as magnificent tulips ~ how cool is that? 
* Tip: When planting Tulips in mountain gardens surround these bulbs with Daffodil or Allium (onion) bulbs. Critters can't smell the yummy Tulips and they won't get gobbled.