Monday, June 17, 2019


5 years ago I did a wildflower project with our property.  I would identify the wildflowers we have as they appeared each week in the spring.  I took photos of them and put them into an album so that I can refresh my memory each year.

My scientist friend told me to use Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide to help identify them.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that this book is not in color!  Actually, color is helpful when finding a plant’s name, but the structure of a plant is way more important.  Does it have irregular flowers or two regular parts or three regular parts?  Does it have basal leaves, opposite leaves or alternate leaves?  Are the leaves divided or lobed?  This routine will help you to identify what it is.

I discovered a new wildflower in my yard today, right beside the front sidewalk.  I was surprised I hadn’t caught it in the past, but we’ve had a huge amount of rain and rain and rain, so the yard hasn’t been mowed.  I suspect this has allowed them to grow high enough to be noticed.

Our yard doesn’t have much grass; it is mostly…other stuff.  And Selfheal (or Heal-all) is now one of the Other Stuff.

Prunella vulgaris can be found everywhere in the world, often by roadsides and waste-places.  It's leaves and stems can be eaten in salads, and the entire plant can be cooked in stew.  Wikipedia says the Chinese thought it could "change the course of a chronic disease".

I was wondering if I should move it into a more lovely spot as an official herb in my garden, but the internet says it's probably not worth it.  It has no lovely smell and not much flavor.  Some people just call it a weed, and that's what it is in my yard.  I'll just let it join its fellow weeds there and let it be.

Friday, April 26, 2019


This is the Tooth Fairy glass.

When I was a kid, I asked my dad how tall the Tooth Fairy is and he pointed to his glass of milk and said "As tall as this glass."  The glass came free from the gas station with jelly inside, over 50 years ago.

Dad still drank milk from it tonight.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


When I was removing weeds from the garden today, I came so very close to stabbing a creature to death. 

But he moved his wee leg just in time for me to see him.

I thought toads hibernated inside of things, or in the mud--not just plain outside in the grass.  I learn something every day.  I was trying to think of a life lesson this might provide, but this favorite saying is the only thing that comes to mind:
Maybe this Mexican planter will serve as a toad house.  I simply removed the toad n turf and placed it inside.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


In the garden this time of year, I need to be careful.  It all looks so bland, but it's not.  There are treasures everywhere.

What looks like this:

Is actually this:

And will eventually be this:

Hostas are the one thing I have in the flower garden that deer will decimate overnight, so today I made The Horrible Deer Repellent.  "Horrible" means that it has a wretched smell.  But it seems to work, as long as you keep putting it on all through the season--especially in the spring when the deer are checking out the dinner table.


3 eggs
3 T. hot sauce
3 T. garlic powder
3 T. milk

Mix these all together and funnel it into a gallon milk jug.  Fill the jug with water and let it brew for 1-3 days.  Hold your breath and spray it on dry plants every week or after a rain.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


In going through my memory box today, I found something so small that is worth keeping.  These are (almost all) my "year" pins from 4-H.

Today, it seems that a prize like this would be of little consequence for the modern child.  But these were hard earned and something to be proud of, especially the older you got.  Each year pin represented a year's worth of club meetings, meetings with the teacher of your specialty, record-keeping, giving a demonstration speech, and working on small projects and large.  It also meant you took the final project to the local 4-H fair.

I began 4-H in the state of Indiana (Marshall County) where the clubs played a big role.  I sewed a scarf and an apron in the first year and worked up to a dress with a collar in the fourth.

One of my embroidery projects won the privilege of going to the state fair--I saw it there, because all the kids got free tickets and a school bus ride to the fair in Indianapolis each year.

In the end, I was most devoted to entering a barrow pig every year, which brought in a little money.  I had to keep track of feed expenses, cost analysis, and profit.  I gave them exercise every day by making them walk down the lane and back (which they did not like, let me tell you).  For fair week, they had a nice hair trim (oh, the screaming!), a good bath, and a thorough oil and talcum powder shine for judging day.  I became so attached to them.

These memories are filled with extreme detail, some of which are embarrassing or disappointing, but many with a lot of good thoughts.  Mom made me re-do the white collar on that dress five times before she decided it was good enough.  And even though we had pre-washed the beautiful maroon fabric of the dress body, the first time we washed the dress after wearing, the maroon bled onto that white collar and I never wore the dress again.

One of my favorite memories was the last year I took a pig (named Burt).  The judging took place in heats (with pigs of comparable weights), and then the first place animal of each heat competed for the Grand Champion.  But the judge spent a very long time making his decision in our heat--he couldn't decide between Burt and another.  In the end, he chose the other pig, and later we learned why the judge felt the decision was so important:  this pig became the Grand Champion.  Because our heat consisted of heavier pigs, he felt the Reserve Champion should be lighter, so Burt remained with a second place ribbon in his heat.

BUT WE KNOW--and it was enough.

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Sometimes you just gotta settle for less.

I'm in the excitingly fun process of turning some difficult grassy places into a shade garden.  This is located right beside the screened-in porch, and I've always longed for a bubbling fountain.  Wouldn't that be nice to sit inside the porch, hear the water, and see the birds come to it?

But the first disappointment came when I learned that most fountains use electricity, and our house doesn't have any electric outlets on the outside.  After considerations of how much it would cost to have an outlet put on the outside, that was voted out.  (I would rather have a water faucet at the front of the house instead, anyhow)

Then there are solar-powered bird baths.

But this is a shade garden, without sun.

The next stop was to learn that some solar-powered fountains have a solar panel with a very long cord, so that you can put IT in the sun while the fountain is under the shade.  And after reading and researching and looking at thousands of reviews and companies, there seems to be only one thing to say about these:


So I had another idea:  what about a small battery-operated desk/meditation fountain that I could just set inside the screened-in porch?  An ambiance thing that I could turn on and off whenever I'm in the porch--certainly not the ideal I had been nursing, but still:  beggars/losers and all that.

They're Junk.  Or really expensive.  Or don't even sound like "bubbling."


It's a very far cry from what I had in mind, but this is what I've settled for:

And it only cost $1.  The "Healing Sound of Water" is beautiful even when it's techno, I guess.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


My flower garden is shaping up to becoming astounding this year. 

And in spite of the deer munching on the new hosta area, that place under the tree now has something special to make up for it:  a Fairy Ring.

I've never seen one before, so I am happy--whether I should be or not (these are often seen as dangerous places).  It means that fairies have been dancing there.

Ours is very small, but of course fairies are small too.  I would imagine.

Even though the center seems bare with mushrooms growing around it in a circle, the mushrooms are similar to the fruit/leaves, all attached to the main fungus "root" in the center (which isn't seen).

Nearby there looks to be half of another fairy ring?  Perhaps.  There is magic in the air.