Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yes, I'm Still Here!

I remember these beautiful twin cosmos from this past summer. I am so looking forward to growing these lovelies again. In fact, I am looking to the day soon when I can start seeds of cosmos indoors along with all my other seeds.

Rose and I spent a couple of hours this afternoon going through our seeds and all the ones we have each been sent from some of you. We divided them up and put them in little plastic craft bags. It seemed that each packet we opened had smaller seeds than the last packet had! I honestly am not sure how I am going to plant some of them. We have our seed starting mix, our peat pellets and peat pots, our trays and our seed. We are ready! Hopefully in a couple of weeks, there will be seedlings to show.

I want to apologize for my lack of posts and especially for my not getting around to reading many of yours these last couple of weeks. Things here have gotten very busy and complicated. My Dad has Shingles and has been very ill with them, even spending a night in the hospital. He developed a staph infection from them and is on several medications. So I have been over there 2 and 3 times a day. I have been working 4 days a week on top of that, plus taking Sara to the Dr. to get her weekly shot in the neck. Besides her back-which they are going to do surgery on next month, she is having disc problems in her neck. And last week she fell down the stairs and sprained an ankle. Poor dear is just about at the end of her rope.

My point is...after taking a long weekend starting this Friday, I will be back and should have much more time to devote to one of my favorite activities. And that is visiting with all of you!

Do take care dear friends, and think Spring!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sky Watch Friday

Close to sunset with the sun shinning over an oncoming cloud bank. I loved the starkness of the bare trees against the warm pinkish tone of the sky.

Same sunset, just a little different angle. I like the fluffy cotton-ball clouds in the foreground with the ominous looking solid cloud bank in the back.
For more Sky Watch posts you can go here.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Girls' Weekend!

This is an out of the garden post with a lot of rambling on my part. Or as the description of my blog says, 'a journal of my life as it pertains to family...' As many of you know, we get 3 of our granddaughters once a month on the 3rd weekend. Fudging just a little this time, we had them this past weekend. We normally have them from Friday evening to Sunday evening. But since this Monday was a holiday we had them an extra day. Hooray!

Friday night is usually our night to spend alone with them. As much as we enjoy having the rest of the grands and all the family over on Saturdays, we feel we need some time with just them -a chance to connect a little deeper. Saturday night is a free for all with any and all the grands (now numbering 8 girls and 1 boy!) spending the night. Sunday morning, Papa fixes a big breakfast of all their favorites and by mid afternoon parents come around to collect a few of them. This week the 10 yr. old from the other set stayed Sunday evening too.

While always a busy time when the girls are here, this weekend was filled with activities more than usual. We celebrated a birthday and did Valentine oriented projects.

The birthday girl actually turned 10 last week, but she didn't mind having a second party with us. This is Andrea's oldest and I cannot believe she is 10 already. Where does the time go when you are watching your grand children grow?

A budding tradition (just started last year) on or close to Valentine's Day is to decorate cupcakes. We made 6 dozen this year.

A long table was set out with icings, candy conversation hearts, Twizzlers, gummy bears, red licorice ropes, and pink and red candy corn. There were no rules except no arguing and all were allowed to decorate their cupcakes to their hearts' content.

This is the youngest showing off one of her creations.

And the birthday girl with one of hers. Each grand gets to keep the ones they have decorated and take them home. I put the cupcakes on a paper plate and slide them into a gallon freezer bag with their name on it. The kids love doing this and really it's not as messy as you might think. I'm fortunate to have help with some of the parents standing by with wet cloths.

I was surprised this year with Valentine presents. Usually Hubby gets me a box of chocolates, but this year he also gave me a book I have been wanting. Wilbur Smith is an author I found just about a year ago. I have enjoyed reading several of his books, Birds of Prey, Golden Fox, and Eye of the Tiger. This one is the 4th in his Egyptian novel series-River God, The Seventh Scroll, and Warlock. I have always had a fascination with ancient Egypt and even more so after having seen the "King Tut" exhibition in Chicago a couple of years ago. I will let you know how much I enjoy reading this book!

My daughter surprised my with this beautiful bird feeder. It's made of glass and metal and I am hoping the squirrels will leave this one alone. They have eaten 2 of my feeders this winter. Well, maybe not eaten, but chewed on them enough that they won't hold seed any more.

It is decorated with butterflies and dragonflies! I was very touched by her gift. She gave her dad a big box of chocolates and of course being the generous soul that he is-I will also have even more chocolates to enjoy. :)

The last gift was one I gave myself. You see about a month ago, I lost my camera. I know where and the parking lot of a WalMart. As I got out of the car my purse fell to the ground. But it landed open side up and I thought nothing more about it until that night when I went to get my camera out of my purse to download some pictures. My camera should have been right in the top where I always keep it for easy access. That's when I realized that even though my purse landed upright, the camera had bounced out and under the car unseen! I was heart sick. I had developed a love-need relationship with that camera. Of course I wanted to run right out and get another! Finances were a little tight, though and I decided to wait until after tax time. So this past week I finally have that extension to my right hand. It's a Canon Powershot A470 with 7.1 mega pixels, macro and super macro, and a 3.7 zoom. There are a lot of other settings that I haven't had time to learn yet-that may take a while. But it will do pretty much what I want and was well within my price range. I am happy with it.
The picture of the hawk was taken from across the road. Not a great close up ( I'll never be the photograper that Mary and Robin are!) but much better than my old camera could have done. I am pleased. Now what kind of hawk is it??
Hope you had a great weekend and are keeping spring in mind!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Valentine's Gift for You!

I wanted to do something for Valentine's Day for all of you out there, but couldn't decide just what. Then it came to me-Roses!

Did you know roses are the single most given flower om Valentine's day? It is also said that roses are the most popular flower in the world. *Roses have been symbols of love, beauty, war and politics since the beginning of time.

The birthplace of the cultivated rose was probably in Northern Persia. The oldest fossils of roses were found in Colorado and they have even been found in the tombs of Pharaohs in Egypt.

Roses are from:








There are Species roses, more often called wild roses. They are a 5 petaled flower and have colorful hips. The Rosa rugosa is in this family and are prized for their hardiness, disease resistance and low maintenance.

Old Garden Roses are easy to grow, disease resistant, and most have a lovely fragrance. They grow as shrubs, bushes and as viners. The China Rose, Moss Rose , Damask Rose and Tea Rose are found in this group.

The Modern rose, anything bred after 1867, include such roses as Hybrid Tea, Floribunda and the Grandiflora. Even though there are beautiful colors in this group they are at best a finicky lot. They don't adapt well to cold, they require a great amount of care, they need deadheading and trimming. and they don't have much of a fragrance.

Of course we all know a red rose means love. But did you know the other colors also have meanings? A white rose is purity and innocence. A yellow rose is jealousy and a decrease in love. Coral colored roses mean desire. Lavender is enchantment. Orange is desire. And a pink rose symbolizes perfect happiness, secret love, grace and sweetness! There are many more meanings and you can find them here.

Do you know where the most roses are grown? *The Netherlands, with about 8000 hectares of land under Rose cultivation, is the global leader in Rose cultivation. 54 per cent (about 5000 hectares) of the cultivated land in Ecuador is under Rose cultivation!! Zambia, a small nation, had 80 per cent of its cultivated land under Roses.

Noisette Roses are the only rose that originated in the United States.

John Champney received and 'Old Blush Rose' from his neighbor in 1800 South Carolina. He was a rice farmer, who took this rose and cross bred it with Rosa moschata. This resulted in Champney's Pink Cluster. He sent seed to his brother in France and this started an area of breeding what was called the Noisette Roses

There are literally thousands of books written on the subject of roses-more than one could ever hope to read in their lifetime! They are truly one of the world's most beloved and revered flowers.

All of the pictures above except this last one came from Internet sources. On one site alone, I found over a hundred thousand photos! This rose is mine and it is Double Delight-a hybrid tea rose who has defied the odds and made it through many winters. It makes me smile every time I see it's beauty.
So , my dear Blogging friends, these roses are my Valentine gift to you!

* article found here

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Getting Back on Track!

I'm pretty sure some of you think I might have fallen off the face of the earth. I seem to be posting less and less these past few weeks. For that I am sorry. It's been a cold, hard, long winter and I have gotten very lazy. I have enjoyed reading others' post, trying to leave cheerful and witty comments, but even that has been an effort some days.

Today, however, we had lovely blue skies and temperatures close to 60! Those things combined with a seed starting seminar at a local garden center have somewhat renewed my energies. At least my thoughts have once again turned to gardening and more importantly, to blogging and sharing.

Rose and I made our way to the garden center about 9:00 this morning. Grabbing a cup of their free coffee, we seated ourselves close to the front-all the better to see my dear! I think she is going to do a post on the actual information we received so I won't go into that, but we did get a 20% discount on all seed starting necessities.

I bought several of these type of peat pots. Last year I had very good luck with them and when it came time to transplant they easily went straight into the ground or container without worrying about damaging the roots. I think I will use these for morning glories ( Heavenly Blue!), sunflowers , Sweet Autumn clematis(from Racquel) and Verbena Bonariensis and Shirley single poppies (from Cheryl). Also, I am going to try, moon flower and Purple Hyacinth beans (from Monica).
Italic I also got a plastic tray with the cell packs and a top. I used this last year also and was pleased with the results. I stopped short of buying anything else as I knew I had some things left from last year and just need to take inventory before getting too carried away.
In these flats I intend to plant some zinnias, Antirrhinum, Love-in-a-Mist (from Cheryl), Mexican Mint Marigold, Cow Pen Daisy (from Aunt Debbi) and probably several other varieties I haven't bought yet. The seeds from Monica and Aunt Debbi were part of a seed swap started by Monica that Rose and I participated in. That was a lot of fun and we had a great afternoon looking through all the seeds and deciding which ones to try.
When thinking about doing this post, I Googled seed starting and found a few great sites with much more info. One has the time it takes for different seeds to germinate and be ready to transplant outdoors. This one is really interesting and tells how to plant each flower by name. The other site has information on seed starting medium, light, water, etc. Also very interesting and was a lot of what we discussed in the seminar.

With all this seed starting to look forward to-still a couple of weeks too early here-I am beginning to dream of flowers blooming in great masses all over my gardens.
Hope you have a garden dream going!