Tag Archive | Quotes

Seed Harvest

Bluey and The Sunflower 2014

Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature. ~Gerard de Nerval

I harvested my Sunflower seeds on October 5th with the help of my Blue Healer!   I had two sunflower plants this year.   This one was huge and produced tons of nice plump seeds.

Sunflower measure 2014

When the flower head was brown and very dry, the seeds were ready to harvest, and they came out pretty easy.   I then set them on a single layer on newspapers to dry them even more.

Drying Sunflower Seeds Harvest2014

‘Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes!
~William Wordsworth

After drying, I have stored them in several jars for planting next year.   I collect all sorts of everyday jars that are perfect for storing seeds.  Notice the small 2″ ketchup bottles?   All the seeds shown here are from one Sunflower head.   There was quite a bit more that I left on the head for the Momma and her baby deer that visit our yard.

Sunflower Seeds 2014

With all these seeds, I have more than enough to plant rows of sunflowers in the spring.   Its gonna be a looong winter of waiting.  Do you have a favorite plant or flower you collect seeds from?

With every seed that is planted in the garden, it’s growth is your hope for a brighter future. ~Pamela Kinney

Autumn Tree 2014

Happy Fall Ya’ll!

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Sowing in the Sunshine; goodbye Summer

I Love Sunflowers!  I sowed several Sunflower seeds this year, just outside my back door off the wood deck. I wanted to be able to be greeted by the sunny brightness when I look out my kitchen window.  Only two took to root.  The first plant to bloom, grew a mere 4 feet, but what it lacked in height, it grew an abundance of flowers.  I counted about eighteen.   Its largest was about 9 inches in diameter.   I enjoyed several vases from this one stalk.  I was thrilled to bring their happy, bright bouquets into my kitchen for a few weeks.

Where flowers bloom so does hope. ~Lady Bird Johnson

Sunflower 1st bloom

Sunflower 1st bloom

He changed sunset into sunrise ~ Clement of Alexandria

Sunflower1 bunchThe second Sunflower plant to bloom grew to a massive height of over 10 feet.  It’s only flower ~ bloomed into a huge 18 inches in diameter.  That’s a large pizza pan!  Its center had a thickness of approximately 5 inches front to back.  This is the largest sunflower I have ever seen, or grown, (as of yet).  I Love it!!!  It grew in the exact location of  my sunflower last year, and the perfect place.  This giant is the first sunshine I was able to see out my kitchen window (day or night).  It grew so top heavy, that it’s weight lowered the flower head about two feet….and it still tried to reach the sun.

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. ~Buddha

Sunflower Giant 2014

Sunflower Giant 2014

Top heavy

Top heavy

My Tomato plant to date, has provided 19 tomatoes from one single seedling.  I planted along the backyard fence, where it received morning and early afternoon sun. It was in the shade in the later part of the day, and I presume that is the reason for it’s spindly vine, and long ripening process.  All in all, they turned out very well, and I didn’t find the need for any bug sprays etc.  I am super excited & look forward to the growing season again next year, when I will plant several Tomato plants in full sun and give them their very own garden.

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion

I still have not yet dug up my first Potatoes. I shall put on my gloves and dig in the dirt over the next few days. I have my fingers crossed for them.  I won’t be surprised if they haven’t grown properly, as I mistakenly planted them in full sun.  This year was a learning experience for sure.  Next year, I will be better prepared and hopefully, more knowledgeable about potatoes! I have a lot of reading to do!

Additions to my garden this year, (Russian sage, Moonlight Coreopsis, and Black~eyed~Susan) took off, and provided many flower arrangements along with all the other seasoned perennials in my gardens.  My Rose bush however, didn’t have as many recurring blooms this year…thanks to an invasion of beetles.  It’s perking back up finally after many treatments of Sevin dust.

For the third year in a row, (for fun) I entered in the Baking and Gardening exhibits at my local Fair.  I took home 2 Blue (First), 1 Red (Second), and 2 White (Third) ribbons! A whopping $23 😀 came with them….. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, but rather an little added bonus for doing something I love! You can find my recipe for the cookies here: https://countrypkin.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/cranberry-oat-squares/  Let me know if you make them!

~My Ribbons~      Fair 2014

~My Ribbons~
Fair 2014

So summer is over for another year.

 My helper "Little one" in my wheelbarrow of weeds

My helper “Little one” in my wheelbarrow of weeds

Often times, someone can help just by being near you.  They don’t even need to lift a finger; or a paw!

Wheelbarrow2As I cleanup the wilting flowers & weed out the overgrown flower beds and grasses, I am reminded that everything has its time and season.  I am thankful for the harvest of sunshine, and flowers. No need for sadness, even gardens need to rest.  I am thankful for the coming fall, and look forward to the winter season that also follows.  Christmas will be here before we know it, and the biggest celebration of all will once again be ours, to honor the Father who made ALL life possible.

Bringing in the SheavesWe faintly hear, we dimly see In differing phrase we pray; But dim or clear, we own in him; The life, the Truth, The way. ~John Greenleaf Whittier

Rose

Sunflower vase

Beefsteak Charlie 1

Tomatoes are one of the simplest of vegetables that one can grow. Providing the right conditions, (including water, sun, soil, and enough attention from the gardener);  you will have yourself eating a BLT with your very own fresh tomatoes in about 60-90 days.  Even at my age, planting tomatoes, is a first for me…..I have a looong way to go to become an expert vegetable gardener who offers up advice. This post is purely about  my experience.

 The best place to seek God is in a garden . You can dig for him there. ~George Bernard Shaw

I planted a seedling a little over two months ago, having no idea if vegetables will work with my soil type. Tennessee has more rocks than dirt in my neck of the woods., so I did NOT take the time to prepare the soil, nor did I make a decent garden bed. \Shame on me/ I figured, if this one plant survives and produces, then next year I will make a proper garden elsewhere in my yard.

I dubbed my first seedling “Beefsteak Charlie 1“. I’ve been checking daily for it’s progress, and with each growth spurt, I have been pleasantly surprised and tickled pink. Often times I have a childlike enthusiasm and I tend to flip out over the simplest of things. (insert big cheesy grin here !) 😀

About 1 week old tomato

I have been watching the leaves grow on BC1, from one leaf into three, four and so on. Seeing little yellow flowers grow on the stems and wondering what they were and if it was normal or not. I have been giddy with excitement from the first teenie tiny tomato which was about the size of a straight pin head.

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

As BC1 matures, his shape is nice and round, but his green stalk/vine is rather leggy. Not as many leaves as I had thought, and not very bushy as I have seen in other gardens. Perhaps it is because I planted BC1 in front of a fence which gives him a bit of shade. (not smart on my part). Next year, I will hopefully remedy that mistake, and plant my tomatoes in full sun. Live and learn.

Approximately 3 weeks old

3 weeks old

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ~W.E. Johns

Beefsteak Charlie1 on the rise

Turning red

Super Simple Tomato Marker made from a (recycled) plastic lid and a Twig, using Acrylic (color) Paints and Clear Krylon sealer paint.

Super Simple  Tomato Marker made from a (recycled) plastic lid and a
Twig, using Acrylic (color) Paints and Clear Krylon sealer paint.

Double Tomato

Picken my first Tomato 7-16-14

Picken my first Tomato 7-16-14

Today I harvested my very first Tomato. Although small, it must’ve been ready, because it came off in my hand as I was checking it’s firmness on the stem. It may have come off too soon. It does have a little pale (orangey) color on the backside to it yet, so I will let it sit on the window sill for a day or so to fully ripen. It should be a deeper, brighter red., in my opinion.

Beefsteak Charlie 1  debut 7-16-14 Black Eyed Susan,  Moonbeam Coreopsis, & Russian Sage  Pitcher Vase made in Italy

Beefsteak Charlie 1
Black Eyed Susan, Moonbeam Coreopsis, & Russian Sage
Pitcher Vase made in Italy

Once the tiny tomato formed from the flower, it took a little over 30 days to produce a somewhat ripened tomato ~ give or take a few days. In the mean time, BC1 gave me a chance to learn how to use a makeshift photo box, for better photos of my smaller objects. (Thank you Pinterest)! Now I just have to remember to use my good camera instead of the convenience of using my cell phone……what a difference it makes!
Happy Gardening .

My first Tomato Harvested

My first Tomato Harvested

Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. ~Mrs. C.W. Earle

 

Angel. A kitten of any other name, just wouldn’t be the same.

I once lifted a lifeless, near frozen kitten out from under a wooden step. His mother had refused to feed him and left him trapped under our back porch deck. For several days he was under the deck. I never imagined a mother could abandon her baby like that, but she did. I only assumed, and had hoped that she had been taking care of him. I was wrong. She had left him to die.

A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows it. ~ Frank A. Clark

The tiny kitten, had somehow managed to crawl himself under the connecting porch step which was sealed in front, top and sides (basically it was like a box with a sealed lid). I heard his cries getting softer. At first, I had hoped that the mother’s intuition would kick in, and she would finally nurse her sickly sounding baby. She never did. It had gotten quiet, and I could barely hear a sound. I thought I had to be mistaken. I ran over to the step, and listened. Nothing. My heart started to race with panic. Did I wait too long? I hollered into the house, for my husband to get his crowbar. I needed him to pry the step apart.

Love unlocks doors and opens windows that weren’t even there before. ~Mignon McLaughlin

My own heart skipped a beat, as I saw the baby kitten through a tiny crack that was made from the crowbar. He wasn’t breathing. In mere seconds, the top board was off. I reached in and picked his hardening, and ice cold, lifeless body out from the step. Was I too late? Please God, no, (I prayed over and over in my head). I refused to let him pass from this life. I refused to let him die.

I carried him inside the house, and grabbed a few kitchen dish towels. I heated the towels in the microwave for 15 seconds each, and wrapped them around this kitten. I did this “every five minutes” for the next four and a half hours. I held him in my arms, while sitting on the couch (semi watching tv), and talking to him and to God. With each trip to the microwave, I hugged him close to my chest. The towels warmed my hands, while thawing his tiny body. I was determined, I wasn’t prepared to stop. That is, until slowly, a tiny, furry white arm, reached out from under a towel, as if to say ‘alright, I’m alive, stop it with the hot towels already!’

With God all things are possible. Mat. 19:26

In that moment, I felt one of the greatest feelings I have ever felt. I saved a life. I felt as if God himself had done his work, through me. It was beyond amazing. It was itself, a miracle. My eyes teared up. I was overwhelmed. with joy, with relief, and also with a sadness that I could finally let go. I no longer had to feel sorrow. I didn’t need to because he did not die. For a few minutes I felt like a hero. It was pretty cool. My micro waved towels idea – they worked. But wait, it wasn’t just me…..it was really my prayers that had been answered. That’s what worked. Ultimately, that is what healed him. Without further thought, I had found a name come rushing to my mind. I called my little kitten “Angel”.

Nursing "Angel" back to health

Nursing “Angel” back to health

Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much perfoms much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

In the days following, I began to nurse him back to health. He wasn’t the ’prettiest’ to look at, at first as some might‘ve thought. He had teary eyes and looked a little sickly. He almost died after all! My “Angel” was not stunted in any way, from his moments (technically hours) of death. Over a time, he grew to a normal size. He was quite healthy, although he did have an occasional bout of lazy eye, and he was a little deaf. I would stomp on the ground when I wanted to get his attention. A couple of thumps on the sidewalk and Angel would come running from around the corner, always happy to see me. Always full of energy and spunk. He was my little pal. He was so cute. So cuddly soft, and the whitest of white thick fur with patches of orange stripe. And did I say cute? Yes, he was adorable. He really was….lazy eye and all. His lazy eye was kind of funny at times and the hubby dubbed him “Chico”!

Angel on road to recovery

Angel on road to recovery

Like a Mom, I taught Angel how to climb a tree, just as I did his brothers and sisters before him. He followed me around the yard, while I watered flowers, pulled weeds and took pictures etc. He was learning. Learning about me, as much as learning about himself. He learned what he could and could not do. He also made friends with his once estranged brothers and sisters. Angel and his Mom bonded once he was well again. His Mom, Callie, tended to give Angel the cold shoulder, but on so many occasions I caught her tenderly grooming him, and then holding/hugging him during naps. If Angel happened to “ignore” his mom, she would taunt him with her tail, until he played with her.

omma Callie & Angel taking a nap

Momma Callie & Angel taking a nap

He became best buds with our outside yellow Lab. Angel and Jake routinely slept together…..that is, Jake, (often reluctantly), allowed Angel to sleep on top of him. (I had many photos of the two, but as of this writing, I sadly cannot locate them on my computer. If I find them later on, I will edit and add them).

Angel would only climb trees if I was nearby.

Angel would only climb trees if I was nearby.

Angel and a Thistle. (She loved to pose!)

Angel and a Thistle. (She loved to pose!)

Angel was always rubbing into our Labs’ face…somewhat annoying him, perhaps getting fur on his nose…..getting Jake to stand up and move…..over and over again. It was Angels’ little game. Angel was a very active, and playful two year old. He paled around with me, Jake (and the other cats) for about 2 years. That is, until one day, he just disappeared.

Angel

Angel

Angel was never one to leave my yard. He was always here. He ’never’ went beyond the fence he sat on…..unless I carried him. He would always stop short, as if there was an imaginary boundary telling him to stay put. It has been over a year now since he disappeared. I like to believe, that a traveling salesman picked Angel up and kept him to be his own pet, because the guy thought our cat was cool (that was the last time I saw him). I am hoping also, that he is still playing with someone else’s dog and sleeping on them too, like he had done with our lab. It is a much better thought, than the alternative.

I loved that little kitten that I rescued from under the wooden step, and I love & will remember the fun, happy, playful cat that he grew to be. I also know that I will see him again to, after all…. he is my little “Angel”

In Remembrance.

In  Remembrance of you Angel, wherever you are. <3

In Remembrance of you Angel, wherever you are. ❤

If we deny love that is given to us, if we refuse to give love because we fear pain or loss, then our lives will be empty, our loss greater.

Roses from the Garden

A great pleasure of mine is time spent in my garden.  Sitting, walking, daydreaming and yes, even weeding.  I could spend all my waking hours just meandering outside.  Stopping along the way to pull a weed, sniff a flower, or to gaze at the blue clear sky.  Watching occasional puffy white clouds slowly moving by as they take the shape in an array of made up creatures and faces.

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn

Recognizing the gift of hearing, I Listen to the many voices of the chirping birds. the buzzing of the bees and the croaking of the frogs. Hearing single-engine planes off in the distance of neighboring skies, while a few doors away a lawn mower clips some grass. Laughter fills the air, as the young children next door play gleefully; chasing puppy dogs and being silly.

“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings”. – Eric Hoffer

I awoke yesterday morning, to my (un-prunned) rosebush in full bloom. Wow, what a sight! With pruning sheers in hand, I headed out of doors, and into my backyard. I delighted in the sweet scent of my fittingly named “Knockout Roses”.  I snipped my first rose of the season, and as I closed my eyes I took a deep but gentle breath in through my nose. The beautiful smell took me away to a place of pure enjoyment. A scent I can only describe as…….. Heavenly.  I cannot begin to tell you, how thankful to God I am, for my sense of smell & the gift of sight; to see such beauty.  How very thankful I am also, to my husband, for buying that first young rosebush several years ago. I love roses so much, that I named my cottage “La Vie en Rose” which means, “life in pink” or “living life through rose colored glasses”!  I will write about my cottage in a future post (coming soon).

Rose cuttings in wicker

“The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose”. – Gandhi

Roses in the garden are for me, like butter is to toast. You just have to have them. Toast without butter would be dry and tasteless. A garden without roses would be, well, I just couldn’t imagine having a garden anymore without roses.  I need them.  They bring a lot of happiness to me!

Roses n wicker

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say, ‘Thank you?’ – William Ward

In light of Mother’s day coming up in just three days, might I recommend getting a live “Knockout Rose” if you don’t already have one, for your wife or mothers garden? It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.  It is very low maintenance.  I think it even grows out of neglect.  Virtually failproof I guess you could say.  I sadly, have not given mine a proper “cut back” since it was planted about 4 years ago.  It still is thriving! I do trim it however, to fill an abundance of vases all spring and summer long; even well into fall here in middle Tennessee.  The more you cut, the more it blooms.  I snip flowers just about every day. I am noticing, as the older my rose bush gets, the thorns are getting larger, and stronger.

From a bush of thorns bears a fragrant rose…….

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears”. – Anthony Robbins

Happy gardening!

It’s about (spring) time!

Looks like we made it. Pretty far into April, but spring has finally arrived here in Tennessee.  And it’s about time!

Spring. A time of renewal. A time of growth. A time of fresh, crisp, clean air in the mornings.  Bright sun beckoning you to shed your coats and enter each day with flip flops, cotton shorts and tank tops.

Days get longer, and life bounces into your steps. Smiles seem to come easier in the spring. I see many more toothy smiles when the spring is new.  It just makes us all happier.  Spring. One of my favorite times of the year.

I ventured outside two weeks ago, for my first yard cleanup. My intentions were, to clean up my garden, with weeding and some planting. I made it as far as our woods to throw a few dead leaves.  Then I lost 5 hrs of my day, to picking up fallen limbs and sticks, and starting a fire in our fire pit. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I even toasted a few marshmallows.  I paid for it, the next day, and for 2 weeks. I am still paying for it. My back gave out.

What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. ~Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1871

Donning a back brace and handling a cane, I gimped outside today. I am tired of feeling helpless. I pulled some weeds, in my gardens, around my house. It was a daunting task, and even though it hurt more than usual, it also felt good to tidy it up a little. Much more needs to be done, but all in good time.

Greeting spring with it's first sign of life, and color!

Hummingbird. Greeting spring with it’s first sign of life, and color.

The first thing I do every year, is to fill several of these little feeders with colored sugar water. These fragile  ‘looking’  birds grace my front porch in swarms, buzzing about  and working themselves into an almost “high” like frenzy. I sit in a rocker close by, and I am always greeted just inches from my face with a curious hummingbird. I hold my breath, as not to startle him/her. Of course, I talk to them.

Oregano starting to grow.

Oregano starting to grow.

My first Oregano planting ever. I am excited to see how these work for me.  They have already begun to emerge after about 1-2 weeks.

 

Yellow Coreopsis   emerging.

Yellow Coreopsis emerging.

Butterflies really love Coreopsis. These dainty flowers last well into the summer and early fall.

White Crepe Mrytle finally getting its buds into its second year.

White Crepe Mrytle finally getting its buds into its second year.

We had a long winter and several late frosts. I was beginning to think my Mrytles were lost. This is a welcome sight to see.

Russian Sage. Still needing some cut back, but is starting to grow.

Russian Sage. Still needing some cut back, but is starting to grow.

This is my next project. I need to place some river rock around my new flower bed. I have been collecting river rock for a year from places  I travel to, to implement in my garden.

Pink Dianthus in full bloom. This smells heavenly.

Pink Dianthus in full bloom. This smells heavenly.

See my Gnomes and their Mushroom? I paint these every year. They are beginning to fade.

Yellow Daylily. When bloomed, the Light fragrance is dreamy. Even my husband loves this one!

Yellow Daylily. When bloomed, the Light fragrance is dreamy. Even my husband loves this one!

I gathered the weeds here after I snapped the picture.

White variegated Hosta. I can always count on these to bloom, whether in full sun or shade. My go to plant to fill a space.

White variegated Hosta. I can always count on these to bloom, whether in full sun or shade.

My go to plant to fill a space, is Hostas. They are simple to grow, and very low maintenance.  Just dig a hole, plant them and you are done! Once established, they do not need much watering.

Cornus Sericea. This is really full so far this spring. It has white flowers on some of the branches. In the winter, it's stems turn red.

Cornus Sericea. This has really thickened so far this spring. It has white flowers on some of the branches.

In the winter, the stems on the Cornus Sericea turn red and drop their leaves.   My beautiful garden statue adds Angelic peace and a touch of romance to this part of my garden.She overlooks a cement garden bench that I often sit upon, gazing over green pastures.

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver

Purple Creeping Phlox. One of my favorites with its hypnotic  &  amazing scented flowers.

Purple Creeping Phlox. One of my favorites with its hypnotic & amazing scented flowers. These are in full bloom.

My little cement dog was a real find at a closed up shop in Cross plains, TN.  I picked him up for a mere 5 dollars.  He was crumbling on his base, but I buried him in the pea gravel. His is standing a firm watch.

More Light Yellow Day-lilies. These should bloom soon.

More Light Yellow Day-lilies. These should bloom soon.

My gardens are a continuing work in progress. I like to implement recycled items into them. The brick used around my cottage was from our front porch step that we knocked out when we poured a new sidewalk.

Chives. (Allium schoenoprasum) Nice onion-y flavor and scent, good in salads.

Chives. (Allium schoenoprasum) Nice onion-y flavor and scent, good in salads.

I have several cats that avoid this area, thankfully, due to the Chives here. Cats do not like onions! Now, to get them to stay away from my Thyme.

Pink Knock out Roses. My all-time favorite in my garden. I am ready for this to bloom again this year. I didn't cut it back, and it is getting over grown, but just wait till it blooms!

Pink Knock out Roses. My all-time favorite in my garden. I am ready for this to bloom again this year. I didn’t cut it back, and it is getting over grown, but just wait till it blooms!

Leo, one of my girls here, tends to follow me about my yard and gardens. I stop to hold her many, many……many times.  All my cats tend to drink from this fountain. I used to worry about them digging and ruining my plants. Once I gave up chasing them, they left things alone. My advice? Let them be. They will become lovers, not fighters, and actually stop to smell the roses with you!

I have many more perennial flowers, and plants that I will save for future posts.  More to come.

What plants are your favorite in the garden?

(Solar) Nighttime Angel watching over my garden.

(Solar) Nighttime Angel watching over my garden.

I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.  ~Ruth Stout