When you have too much time on your hands…..

I find that if I get involved into a new project I tend to put a lot of effort into making it lighthearted and fun. This Pineapple Challenge is just that for me. I have big plans on this challenge and will be kicking it up a level or two ~ Into the Twilight Zone, so to speak.

With the temperatures beginning to drop at night and watching the black birds hurrying around in the trees, while the little chickadees flutter around hiding from these big old black birds. Even the squirrels are not bothered by the flock of black birds as of late. They are more interested in finding the supplies needed for our long winters.

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I found out from my daughter this morning just why the power outage happened last evening.

Squirrel !

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Needless to say a power outage caused by a squirrel is far worse for some reason?

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Until next time

~Laura~

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Gluten – Free Pancakes

The other day I found a box of gluten free Bisquick pancake mix in the grocery store. I was excited to give these a try so our family unit could all eat pancakes together again. My trial with taking my son off of all gluten in his diet for reasons of his eczema worsening since this spring.

I was happy with the mixture when whipping up the batter and the appearance of the pancake cooking on the griddle.

august-29th-2016-009I must tell you he said they tasted really good, but not like the ones with flour that he’s grown up with. But, this gluten free product opens up a door that was closed to him. Over the past two months his eczema has improved quite a bit. During this heat wave we’re experiencing would have been agony for him as the heat tends to make the eczema worsen to the point of driving a person mad.

But, with the gluten taken out of his diet all together ~ This equals success for him and his condition is now manageable. I’ve made the bread in the oven and in my brand new bread machine that my daughter and son bought for my birthday ~ It’s Red.. Love it…

The homemade gluten free bread made in the bread machine is so much easier and the finish product is much like the regular bread. I slice it once it’s cooled off and wrap each slice in wax paper. I then place them into a freezer bag and put into the freezer. This gluten free bread tends to do better if it’s frozen first.

I bring out one package in the morning to thaw inside of the wax paper and it’s ready for the next meal. We’ve also found that the store bought gluten free buns taste better if you also freeze them and thaw one at a time.. The consistency after freezing and thawing is closer to flour bread.

I’ll post my combination of gluten free ingredients for the bread machine version in another post, but until then happy eating to all those out there who are gluten free ….

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Until next time

~Laura~

Grab a Tea or Coffee and settle in for a spell ~ 18 minuets

Along with that coffee or tea you might need a small snack by your side to view this amazing video.. Alright, I can not lie ~ I got long winded with talking all about my Potato trials, but just wait until the Tomato trial comes around the bend.. Wink,

So, if you chose to accept this mission click the link below before it self destructs…

~yes, I love mission impossible~

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You can do it, I have faith in you…. wink….

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Until next time

~Laura~

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~

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~

The Beauty & Magic in a Sunrise

Just when you begin to complain about never waking up early enough to catch each mornings sunrise, you begin to rise an hour earlier just in time.

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I ponder…Did my brain listen to my thoughts and complaints about always missing the sweetness of the mornings pinkish skyline? Or, did I say I wished I’d wake earlier and somehow program my brain to wake up at 5 in the morning, instead of 6?

This has been going on for a month now and by the time the dinner dishes are cleaned and put away in the evening I’m ready to crash into bed for a little television watching ~ or should I say snoozing though the show merely to wake and shut off the noise with the remote.

Perhaps, I’m beginning to already miss the summertime, while the Fall quickly approaches like a speeding freight train every year. I do love the Fall when the leaves here begin to turn and after a week or two they are all ablaze with colors, fire engine reds, lemon yellows, pumpkin orange with shades of green that’s hanging on until the leaves begin to dance in the breeze falling lightly to the ground like a ballerina floating in mid air making the noiseless landing on her tippy toes…

Ballerina

There is a kind of magic in the cool air of the mornings, even though I know the day will warm back up and become humid again. The magic does however continue after the dinner dishes are done and I sit outside for the final time each evening. I do treasure greeting each morning and tucking in each evening with my presence.

I suppose it’s comforting to know each new season as it approaches us here in northern Canada, because it’s like a dear friend who never fails to visit us offering up a change of pace ~ With the coolness in the air and the display of Autumn leaves soon to follow.

It’s when we dig out our jackets, and search for the mate to our favorite gloves, which have seen better days, but we’ve just begun to break in the stiff leather and it feels like a second skin when we slip them on with ease. No longer needing to press between the fingers to get the gloves to fit properly. They have become one with us and fits perfectly on each finger passing over the knuckles with such grace.

So, I’ll greet each new morning and validate its beauty, until the first snowfall touches my nose and I bring indoors my crafted wooden bench for the winter. I’ll take it down to the basement for a fresh coat of stain and check the screws just to see if all is well. Perhaps, a dab of carpenters glue may be needed here and there just to make sure that I’m taking care of the bench that has served me so well in the Spring, Summer & Fall.

When I turned around to see what my pup was doing early this morning I noticed something I would have missed if I’d slept in …

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Waning Crescent Moon

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I sat on my wooden bench by my patio door and watched as the sky became brighter and the crescent moon began to fade into the morning sky. This moon looked so bright and if I were taller it felt like I could almost touch the tip. The hummingbirds fluttered in to take a sip from my blooming zinnias and all was going to be well for the entire day.

There are so many little treasures that are free for the taking to fully enjoy and bring happiness into your day, so get yourself out of bed and catch a sunrise ~ Because it’s there every morning just waiting to see you….

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Until next time

~Laura~

 

 

Fact or Fiction? ~ Citrosa, Mosquito Plants

When strolling the isles of my outdoor gardening center around the end of June I noticed something I didn’t know existed…

Citrosa ~ The Mosquito Fighting Plant

Bug fighting plant on background

After laughing out loud all by myself I looked around to see if anyone was near by. I do that a lot I’m afraid to say, but if I find something hilarious I don’t care and I laugh…

The closer I came to this plant after squinting to read the label I grabbed two of the sad looking plants that were starving for water. Actually, by mid-June most of the plants are marked down and rarely given any water. Probably, in hopes they would all just die so they could close that section of the center.

The plants smelled just like citronella candles minus the smoke from the wick burning. I was sad to learn that these plants were annuals and not perennials because I thought it might be nice to have these come back each year.

I won’t be bringing these indoors when the frost arrives, because the aroma is very strong and they would have me choking like I do when following someone in the grocery store who sprayed half of their bottle of perfume all over their bodies.

So, I thought I would research these plants to see if the claims were any where near true. Given my detective nature I was off on yet another journey over the inter-webs…

I found out that you must crush the leaves to release the essential oils from the plant and rub this over a small section of your arm for the first time just in case you get a reaction you don’t want from the oils. They said there was a short-term mosquito repelling qualities 30 to 40 percent that of DEET.

But, there are plants with better numbers compared to DEET out there such as:

Lemon Thyme

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Crushed Lemon Thyme will give you 62 percent the protection of DEET.

Lemon Balm

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Crushed Lemon Balm offers a much greater quantity of citronella, 400 times as much as the Citrosa plant.

These two plants are less expensive and easier to grow it also stated.

Here are a number of other plants that can be beneficial for you as bug repellent and good also for your garden plants as a deterrent to those nasty bugs and slugs that eat away our growing vegetables..

Alliums

Take that you cabbage worms, carrot flies, aphids, and the dreaded slugs… I will be planting these flowers next year and they are really tall and beautiful in the garden…

Dill

Run for your life you nasty Tomato hornworms, squash bugs,cabbage loopers, spider mites, and aphids…

Basil

Get outta here! You mosquitoes and house flies!

Chives

Move on out! You Japanese beetles, aphids, and carrot flies…

Fennel

Slugs you better slime away, along with the aphids and snails…

mint

Mosquitoes don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, run for the hills!

Rosemary

Be gone! Vegetable plant bugs, mosquitoes and flies…

Petunia

This beautiful flower packs a big punch! Wham.. you asparagus beetle, tomato hornworms,squash bugs, leafhoppers, and aphids…

Parsley

oregano

Last but not least is the Oregano …

There are many more if you want to research it, but this has been a good start for me and I’ve made a nice list of new plants and old ones to grow next year and the proper placement for them in my garden to try and have a bigger harvest, instead of the bounty I’ve been feeding to the slugs, and other bugs… I want harmony in my garden and food for my belly… wink 🙂

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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.

Fingerling Potatoes on Wooden Sign

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.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears on brown background

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~