Just because I can ~ Remembering back…

I’ve taken a break from working on my illustrations for my short story I want to release in the Fall, or that was the plan in the beginning when I started using the Pen Tablet in harmony with my computer.

But, sometimes you just need to play simply Just Because I Can….

I finished working on a few digital photographs ~ making them smaller in size to put in my blogs, since I do use quite a few pictures I’d run out of free room on this blog in no time at all if I used each one at its full size. I use Photo Shop to help me out with that tasks and one day I just needed to play on there. You see there are so many things this program can do and I’ve not even scratched the surface to what it can show to me.

So, I became a child once again and without thought or a plan I started doodling.

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I can tell you that I never planned on showing this doodle to anyone and it was going into the trash bin as soon as I was done playing around ~ Yet, smiling all the while….Hum?

I truly believe that every single thing we do has a reason and or purpose in our day. Through the grins I began to wonder just what I was thinking at the time I was drawing this in Photo Shop.

First, my birthday was fast approaching and I was actually very happy about being another year older. Not, for the reasons some of you might guess, but because I’m really loving each new year as it comes around on the calendar.

All of the Hot Flashes are over ~ Thank heavens for that because mine began in my early forties, and lasted well over twelve years. Hum…I see half a red face, neck and some red on the body of this character, yet she’s smiling….

For me the Change of Life was a welcome change of season for my life. Many things were ending and yet many were just beginning too. I pondered over the side of the face that was black…..?

Darkness, was my first thought, until I could see the black was merely a clean slate for which to draw upon.. Such as to say I’m not nearing the end, but rather a new fresh beginning containing as many possibilities as I wish to have.

I know some of you might say, “Ugh…here’s another positive thinker….”

Yes, yes I am and it has taken me many decades to arrive at this destination in life. I’ve fought through many decades of illness, depression, feeling less of a human because I didn’t go out into the world and make a name for myself.

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But, those things were not on my blank slate…I had other plans for this beautiful lifetime I was going to have. Children, were on the top of my list even though I was just dropped off by my dad many many moons ago on my grandparents doorstep at two years old.. He never returned…

That was the beginning challenge I faced, and I can remember all the way back to being two years old watching my daddy walk down the long driveway of my grandparents and jump into a yellow taxi cab ~ Not looking back once…

So, when this positive person is always appearing Jolly and Happy ~ it’s because I’ve lived a hard life, yet determined to make this my life a better one ~ beyond the shit storms that happened.. and there were many….I will always live with depression I found out, but I fight like a boxer to keep my thoughts and views positive.

It’s really a chore some days to keep smiling through the pain life has in store for us, but I look at the pain a lot like childbirth… After, the pain is gone look what you’re left with.. A miracle smiling up at you.

Black & White

Sad & Happy

Night & Day

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Just to name a few…we can’t have one without the other…All of the colors of the Rainbow or a box of crayons make up my life.. And, I plan on doodling until the end of my days. Either on paper or on my new found friend the Pen Tablet for my computer.

And, of course last but not least, the trees in the pictures below are a symbol of longevity, strength, beauty, comfort from the hot sun, they feed the earths soil, and lastly these beautiful trees all around me keep me positive and strong, yet able to sway when the winds blow hard against the limbs….Like these Cedar trees do…

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Until next time

~Laura~

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Second Potato Harvest ~ Container Gardening…

This second potato harvest on August 30th 2016 was going to produce a smaller yield than the first harvest where I had planted potatoes in a much larger container. But, since this was a trial with the different sizes of containers used for planting and not using the compost tea like I did last year. So, without further adieu… Drum roll, please…

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This time I used an empty plastic tote to dump the soil into and then my hunt began for spuds

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The thing is when your hunting for those tasty, glorious rounds of potatoes you’re going to run across the parent potato in there too. If, you’re lucky it would have already began to decompose and will have flattened as if a balloon was poked with a pin.. But,……

Oh no this container had other plans for me, which is why on this day I was ever so happy with my latex gloves.. I found one of the parent potatoes all slimy and I wanted to run off screaming to the hills.

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But, since I gave up running ~ unless in case of a fire…I said a big old Southern ~ Yuck!  And continued on looking for my spuds..

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This is a stunt box, not the box the spuds were in.. sadly to say..

Plus I felt the need to play around in photo shop …

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Not as many potatoes in this second container but nice looking spuds just the same and also a handful of fingerling potatoes too.. Next year I’m going for larger yields now that I’ve played around with growing in containers. There’s going to be some woodworking involved for this next years project in the garden growing potatoes.

I’m already sketching out the design I want to use, because it might as well be pretty along with functional…

Any ideas out there? On what I should build for growing my spuds next year…..

If, I use your ideas or incorporate some of your ideas into my design I’ll give you a big heads up on my post with your blog address too.

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Until next time

~Laura~

Standing Guard

I had to wonder if this bird was watching other birds, or perhaps me sitting in the garden watching it. I raised the camera slowly not actually thinking I’d get a good enough picture to see it properly, but after taking the picture into photo shop to lighten up the picture I could see it more clearly.

I bet this pretty little bird had no problem at all seeing me…

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Until next time

~Laura~

What’s all the fuss about ~ Fingerling Potatoes

I am beginning to love my attempts at growing my own potatoes from the sprouting spuds in the bag bought from the store. When I harvested my first container of spuds this year, along the roots were tiny spuds, actually they are called Fingerling Potatoes.

If you’re in the grocery store looking in the potato section and notice this little bag pictured below and read the name, Fingerling potatoes these are merely the same potatoes that will if you’re lucky grow huge such as baking potato size.

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I had around a half dozen of the tiny spuds called fingerling potatoes after my first harvest. I don’t know why this realization never happened before. I noticed that the small bag of fingerling potatoes in my grocery store cost 3 or 4 times the cost of a 10 pound bag of regular spuds.

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These fingerlings potatoes are finding themselves on dinner plates at fancy restaurants and I’m sure they come to you at a dear cost to your wallet. Same as buying these small bags of fingerling potatoes in your own grocery stores.

On the other side of this silly issue I’m having with fingerling potatoes, I suppose little kids who may not want to eat potatoes ~ They might have a fascination for the tiny spuds on their tiny dinner plates using their tiny hands to hold these small spuds.  I try to see both sides of many things that catch my eye, but why on earth would they charge you so much more for so much less of the simple tasty potato?

Just pondering over here…. So, if you garden and want to grow your own potatoes please do so, because it’s a lot of fun and you’ll wind up with  a handful of those pricey fingerling potatoes in the mix…

What did I do with my home grown fingerling potatoes from container #1? You might be wondering…

I peeled, sliced, boiled them. Drained them in my handy dandy tiny colander, below…

Handy dandy green collander on green background

Isn’t that just the cutest colander you’ve ever seen. Now, I know I didn’t need yet another colander for straining things, but if you think about it it’s just right for strawberries, blueberries, and now my newly grown Fingerling Potatoes. Just small enough and not too big.. This reminds me of the childhood story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

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I don’t know why this reminded me of that childhood favorite story of mine, except for thinking about the stack of colanders I have in my kitchen or talking with you about children and their tiny hands, but on with what I made with the itty bitty potatoes…

I browned them in olive oil, adding chopped white onions. Letting them brown a little. Then walked out on the patio deck and cut a few Green onions and chives from my homemade garden trug. Broke a few eggs into the pan and cooked these all together, calling my daughter in for a nice brunch served with hot creamy buttered toast and a huge slice of tomato on the side. Yum.. Is all that I can say.. except for get growing next season and add potatoes to your garden…

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Until next time…

~Laura~

Decapitation in the Garden

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the sunflowers that grew on the front edge of my permaculture bed number one. The seeds from last year must have over wintered in the ground and gave me a lovely beautiful surprise this past spring.

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I enjoy many  mornings sitting on my iron chair watching these beautiful flowers and sipping my first coffee listening to all of the birds chirping their morning songs. All was good with my days for weeks and weeks, until this strange particular day …

I sat out there as usual with my clippers in my right hand as I was going to cut off the biggest flower head since all of the yellow was gone leaving just the seeds ripening on the stem. I examined the head carefully, and then something horrible happened…

I managed to become sidetracked by the other permaculture bed and the little gifts scattered in the yard from my pup. I cleaned up the yard and took a look at my first years asparagus growing nicely in its spot. Went inside to refill my coffee cup and remembered today was the day to make a quick trip to the bookstore as I had a coupon worth $10.00 to use on a few new books.

I replaced the clippers in their spot indoors, looking back at the sunflower head that needed to be taken inside for the winter months. Thinking I’d be back within thirty minutes to cut the flower head off and inspect the other two that were merely days away from the same outcome.

To my joy there were two books on the clearance bin in the book store, each for five dollars. I noticed a pair of ear plugs I needed as well. All in all it was a glorious morning so far and back home with me I drove…

I grabbed the clippers and a little wicker basket I use for collecting my beans and the like and went down the stairs on this bright sunny day. I placed the basket on the little green plastic table I have on the lower landing of my deck, sat and turned around to clip off the head.

But, there was a disastrous void where my beauties had grown. “What in the world!” I almost yelled out. Well, I did kind of yell that out… I must not lie to you my dear friends. All of my happy zen of the morning came crashing to an abrupt halt as if I’d been harmed in a strange sort of way.

I should have listened to my gut early this morning when I first had those clippers in my right hand and not become distracted by permaculture garden bed number four…I must admit I’m usually quite good at listening to what my gut is trying to tell me and the outcome is pretty good most times, but not today….

Within one hour something had made a 11 to 12 noon visit to my garden and chopped off the three heads of the biggest sunflowers. To add insult to injury they stayed there with my pup inside of the house and ate all three of the heads. The evidence was clear upon closer inspection of the ground just below the sunflowers. Tiny pieces of the back side of each head lay in the dirt. The only evidence that beautiful flowers were once there.

The culprit did however leave me with about 10 seeds that were still intact, which I brought inside of the house for next year. I cut the remaining stems back to about 3 inches from ground level because it was so disheartening to see this damage.

Early this morning before I went outside the weather channel said it was very chilly, I needed my jacket and socks on my feet for my morning stroll through the garden. Perhaps, that is why my gut was telling me to cut off the head of the sunflower. When the weather changes like that from hot and humid to really cold morning the critters get a jump start on preparing for winter.

I find myself watching their behavior each August as this tells me just how many more warm days we will have until the weather takes a dive into our beautiful Fall. The leaves are beginning to change for the past two weeks, slight at best but changing just the same. Yet, another clue my gut this morning was trying to tell me.

So, if you want to know just when the cooler temps will arrive to your place on this earth, just watch how the animals behave and believe me there are clues there.

I put the tall potato wire cage around my deck tomatoes as they are getting big, but not turning yellow to red yet. I may have to begin covering them at night in a few weeks with this weather beginning to change ever so slightly, or else risk loosing them all together. Did you know you can also pick the green tomatoes and place on a kitchen counter to ripen if your weather at night turns from just right to down right cold….

If, the sudden decapitation of my sunflowers was not enough to completely ruin my day I moved on to the 1st planting of my potatoes in containers. I have two planters with potatoes planted and the third planter with sweet potatoes not due until the end of August and the end of September. So, to distract my sadness about the flowers I might as well see if any potatoes grew from the two store bought tiny spuds that had sprouted in the bag. I really wasn’t too concerned with how many because it’s a medium size planter. Plus I was running another test on growing potatoes.

Last year I took one store bought potato and plopped it into the dirt with compost. Watered it when dry with Compost Tea. You take a big container, fill with water, and take a few handfuls of compost from your bin and mix together ~ wait a few days and water with this instead of plain water. So, last year one potato went into the dirt and a dozen came out..

This year I planted three different types of potatoes, spaced the time I planted them and didn’t use the compost tea this year ~ just the rain water from the barrels. The results tell me the compost tea worked like a charm..

September 22nd Potato Harvest

82 days from planting to harvest

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Since I wanted to empty the container while on the deck I needed a well used tarp… complete with deck stain that didn’t work very well on the deck boards… The very first rain the stain bubbled and began to peel..

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Once I removed the wire cage that worked wonders protecting the vines from the winds, and the critters wanting to take bites out of the potatoes. Also, not one slug in the container either… win….

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I cut off the vines before flipping over the planter. At this point I was going to be happy with just a few potatoes. Anything to lighten up my day after the sunflower episode….

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It’s time to get in there and see what I can find.. I just love this part no matter the results.. For me any good reason to get into the dirt is a good one.. But, just in case there are creepy crawlers in there I grabbed some gloves…

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Join me why don’t you …..

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I’m happy I let the soil dry out, before attempting this maneuver…

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Hum…I remember putting much more dirt and compost in here…..

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Aw…what a cute little mound of dirt complete with impressions of the drainage holes… do you think there are spuds in that there dirt…..?

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Are  you excited yet? I know I was….

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I sure hope these potatoes are bigger than the first one here…

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I hope that the others are at least bigger than this one.. But, a cute little potato just the same..

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Ready, set, go .. Let’s get serious with this mound of dirt.. Where are you baking potatoes?

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Alright then … now we are harvesting and making this gardener happy…..

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Another one, now I’m smiling….

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Pretty fine looking roots these spuds had….

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I wonder how many potatoes went into this small box? Remember I didn’t use the compost tea this year, hint… I should have…

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The sad fact was they didn’t even cover the bottom of the small box. I could say big old Fat Fail, but I won’t… These potatoes were sprouting in the bag from the grocery store in early spring and I didn’t put them in a place where they could really get going. Next year I’ll be building a structure where you keep adding boards as the vines grow. I’ll just add another 4 boards and fill with more compost… and repeat… Since, I have lots of spare wood in the garage left over from woodworking projects.

I still have container number 2 to harvest soon and then container number 3 the end of September. Soon, it will be time to put the garden to rest for the changing seasons coming soon… But the beets, and carrots, Swiss Chard are still going strong and should be great as we move closer to Fall…. Oh and the tomatoes.. next year I’ll plant the cherry tomatoes again as they grow faster than the larger versions.. and yield all summer long.. I’m still waiting on the trial tomatoes to finish growing.. The rest of this week is suppose to be hot again, so that should help…

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If, you made it to the end of this post I hope you had a coffee, or tea near by and perhaps a sandwich and a piece of fruit.. This day for me has had its ups and downs, so I’m heading to bed now and close this day ~August 22nd 2016 with a book by Stephen King ~ Revival… I’m almost finished with this and will begin my new book that I got free with my 10 dollar coupon ~ Season of the Dragonflies by: Sarah Creech

Night, ya’ll

or Good Morning since this is posting at 7 a.m.

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Until next time

~Laura~

Just a simple gesture for all of my friends here…

My friends at Word Press

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I’ve been playing around with creating a Light Box for taking pictures with my digital camera. The reasons are simple, Winter is around the corner for me here in Northern Ontario, Canada and since I’m only out in the snow to blow it with my handy dandy snowblower I need things to do over the winter.

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A few weeks ago I grabbed another medium sized cardboard box from the grocery store and cut out the top and both sides to place white tissue paper in the voids. But, I’ve done this before and found that having a place to store such a large box without tearing the tissue paper is difficult…

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My old Light Box wound up in my closet over the summer months gathering dust and the occasional dusting of baby powder.. I never could find a clear garbage bag large enough to put the box inside, so I thought of crafting a smaller one. Like the box I have here right now..

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A week ago I was looking on the inter-webs for other ideas and had a folding version in mind. Well, I ran across a few ideas that sparked my interest enough to set me off and running to my nearest Business office supply store for some poster boards to make a template.

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I want to craft a light box out of sturdy, but not heavy plastic ~ sort of like the plastic they use for those floppy binders. I thought about just how envelopes are made and fashioned my ideas onto the template. After, I cut out the pieces from the poster board attaching with some double sided tape just to see if I could fashion it as a box effect.

I’ve decided to use small round Velcro pieces to hold it in place when in use, and then it will be a simple action to fold it up, afterwards. I also need to try and find a light strip to attach to the inside top. In the picture above I used my poster board template with just regular light bulbs that created a shadow of the handle.. Using a light strip inside of the Light Box will fix that problem…

Then when in my garage I thought about laminating the folding pieces (6 of them) then cut out those six pieces which would sturdy up the sides of the box keeping the top level with the bottom. I suppose another template is in my near future, I just wish I’d thought about it before I glued it on with a glue stick and followed after with clear packing tape.

At this point I must say I’m very happy with the results when it’s folded neatly. The light box can then be set on a book shelf for storage, along with your favorite novels…

So, my search is on for a LED Light-strip and those circular Velcro tabs for the closure. I also might as well look for one of those plastic handles for the top when it’s folded.. Wish me luck and if all works out I’ll post with pictures about it…..

Here’s a little teaser when the template is folded….

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Until next time

~Laura~