The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Seasons 52 

Restaurant Review

MM and PD and the Kid and Tourist Nephew went to Seasons 52 last night.

For appetizers we had…

A flatbread topped with shrimp and pineapple chunks and chipotle peppers…to die for!

Chicken on skewers with chipotle and guacamole sauces…the satay at the Thai place in the Lake Square Mall was far better (Unfortunately that place closed, as Mom predicted)

Shrimp cocktail…this was visually pleasing with ginormous shrimp but it tasted like bait. Blech! Chewy. Blech!

For dinner I had scallops and asparagus. It was delicate and delicious.I do not know what the little round things were, maybe pearl barley? But they were tasty. Want more.

PD had pork tenderloins. He loved the tenderloins but gave the spinach and mushrooms away to Kid and me. No one could identify the yellow soufflé-ish thing on his plate, so it went un-eaten.

Kid had goat cheese raviolis with parmesan and tomatoes and some flat bread to capture the sauce. Yum.

Tourist Nephew had grilled chicken salad. He ate it all, so I guess it was good. It looked pretty and was probably refreshing after his flight. Airplanes are high on salt, low on fresh.

Then there was dessert.

Dessert is the whole reason to go to Seasons 52.

I had German chocolate torte cake. Plant Daddy had key lime pie and carrot cake.
Kid had Rocky Road and a German chocolate cake. Nephew had Strawberry short cake and Key lime pie.

Dessert was Heaven.

The bill was steep.

Please Mr. Bush send our tax incentive check before the charge card bill arrives!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summertime Planter for the Shade 

If you have a lot of shade in the back yard, like I do with a huge oak tree, you can foliage plants instead of bedding plants for summer color.

I made this one with three Fittonias and a Philodendron.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Seems Normal To Us 

“Stop the truck!” shouted Jimmy.

“What is it? What is it?” Gary struggled to keep the SUV under control as they decelerated from 70mph to dead stop along the country lane.

“Back up!” Jimmy shrieked.

Gary twisted till his neck ached, gripped the back of the passenger seat and hit reverse. “What’d you see?”

“It was yellow,” was all Jimmy offered. “It was unusual.”

“How far back?” Gary was driving almost 70 in reverse now.

“There! There!” and in a flash, Jimmy shoved open the door and flew across the ditch to his prize.

Quiz: What did Jimmy see?

A dead body lying naked in the ditch?

A Van Gogh painting stashed by thieves for later pick up?

A bale of marijuana tossed by dealers fleeing police?

You aren’t plant people are you?

We all knew the instant Jimmy yelled “Stop!” that there was foliage involved.

Here he is rescuing the specimen!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trick my...Dumpster? 

The lids that came with this dumpster were solid steel. It was absolutely impossible to lift them. So most of the time, the top stayed open.

Mr. Opportunistic Racoon, and probably all his friends too, threw garbage out every day. Poor Plant Daddy was on pick up patrol every morning collecting cans, meat wrappers, etc.

As you remember, Mom once chased a Buzzard out of the can too.

Well, no more. Mom got the top off and Dad replaced it with greenhouse bench material! Works great.

Yesterday Mr. Buzzard was circling, lured by the delightful smell of sour catfood in 90 degree heat...but he couldn't get in!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mosaic Shoes 

The cheapest place I've found to buy shoes for arts and crafts purposes is the Christian Bible Thrift Store in the Orange North Plaza in Apopka.

All they want is $1.50 per pair and that's 2 projects!

The Goodwill charges $6.99 per pair. Way too high in my opinion.

There is a different feel to each individual shoe, left footed or right footed and the design has to be custom fitted to each.

All ornamentation has to be stripped off and all lining has to be pulled out. (This may be hard for mature students with weak hand strength).

Pick the shoes based on the heel shape and have the heel recapped if needed BEFORE you start the mosaic work.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorable Memorial Day 

When Plant Daddy and I got together 30 years ago this weekend, we spent our hours together planting trees.

This farm was a cow farm...open pasture, not a tree in sight. We have planted hundreds and hundreds over the years.

Today we are enjoying sitting in the shade and eating salsa. Little Mind Escape is in the sun BBQing herself but PD and Zeus and I are cool.

Tonight we will BBQ and enjoy corn, corn and more corn.

Happy Anniversary to us.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Pachypodium Plant 

in one of my earlier mosaic pots. My mosaic style has improved since then, but look at them thorns! Are you gonna try to get that plant out of that pot? I'm not.

Sowing Caudiciform and Pachycaul Seeds 

Yeah, yeah, this should be over at Plant Daddy's site. But it was a question I got from a reader of Florida Gardening magazine. He wanted to germinate pachypodium rosulatum seedlings. Since I bought my plant already growing in a 3 inch pot, I haven't a clue. So here is the word from Gordon Rowley who wrote the book on the subject:
Seeds may be fine as dust, or large enough to handle separately; spherical, oddly moulded or flat, winged and airborne. Fine seeds should be scattered on the surface, larger ones covered to a depth equal to their own diameter. The medium used may be the same as for adult plants but not over-rich in nutrients and sifted finer with the smallest particles at the top. Warmth is needed: at least 15-25° C (59-79° F.) and, in absence of a propagator made especially for the purpose you can use the airing cupboard, but remember that as soon as specks of green are visible light will also be necessary. In the hottest months of summer, seedlings can be raised on a south-facing windowsill.
During the first few weeks the soil should never be allowed to dry out completely, nor to scorch in full sun. In the wild the only survivors are those that arise beneath shelter shrubs or in chinks among rocks. Ventilation is needed, so if a glass plate has been laid over the pans at the start it should be edged off bit by bit to admit more air as the days go by. Seedlings are highly susceptible to damping off, and to minimize risk of fungal infection the pots should be clean and the medium sterile. The seeds should be free from chaff and bits of pod. Mild fungicides are available in various trade preparations with which to soak the pans as preventative. Another problem is that the tiny seedlings may be choked by a carpet of moss, and chemical deterrents may be needed to combat this.
A simple and popular technique used by many is to enclose the newly sown, moistened seed pans in a sealed polyethylene bag and let well alone until the baby plants are large enough to handle singly. It is so easy and can work wonders. If seedlings are seen to be growing long, pale and spindly, it is a sign they need more light and air.
Seed sowing is always a gamble. Even if conditions are ideal, failures occur because the seed may be old, immature or inviable. Good seeds usually sink in water; empty ones float, a simple if not infallible test. If the seed is large enough to handle, slice one in half with a razor or secateurs; good seed should contain a plump white embryo.

From: Caudiciform & Pachycaul Succulents by Gordon D. Rowley Strawberry Press 1987.p.241-242. ISBN 0-912647-03-5

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Plant Daddy's Latest 

Plant Daddy has a new release...an Anthurium called "Orange Hot".
Click here to go take a detailed look at this beauty.

Even after 30 years, Plant Daddy has yet to name a plant after any family member.

Not wife nor daughter nor Mother nor Zeus!

He says the name should reflect the characteristics, not leave folks guessing!

However...I think he should name a plant Bubba!

Wouldn't you love to adopt a little philodendron named Bubba?

I would!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

East Lake County Library Writers Group 

Palm Writers Group last night was awesome!

The East Lake County Library made us feel welcome. Kudos to them!

Linda’s talk was exactly the information needed to give newcomers an introduction to being in a critique group.

And there were THREE newcomers!

There was just the right amount of material to review.

And I really enjoyed having Jackie to carpool with.

It’s all good…well, except we couldn’t get inside information on who had won the poetry contest… basically we all know if Bernie entered, none of the rest of us won.

Bernie’s on vacation in Sicily! Once he gets home and starts writing about the trip, those poems will be stunning and we might all do well to save our contest entry fees!

(OMG! I forgot to ask the newcomers if any were bloggers! Well, something to ask next month.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Here's A Bad Monday! 

The guy is hauling his yard trimmings to the Astatula Dump and he says, "Damn! I thought I had it tied down better!"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Palm Writers Meeting 

Hooray tomorrow...Monday Night 6:30PM at the Sorrento Library...

Writers Group Meeting...

Jackie is going to carpool with me...aren't we "green"!

Also I picked up drinks and cookies. Hope we get some new members and new ideas cookin'.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Half Way Home 

As of yesterday, I have written half my book!

I have 50 100-Word stories.

That feels so good!

Yesterday we had cucumber salad with poppy seed dressing and pickled beets and fried chicken. Sweet corn is about 7 days from harvest!

Never try to diet in May!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another 30th anniversary milestone 

The summer I was 16, I taught myself to make jelly.

My Mom never made jelly, although she made a Vienna Torte Cake which was to kill for!, and the maid was too busy to teach me.

So I got me a bottle of Certo and 5 lbs of sugar and a batch of blackberries and set down to it. Lo and behold, it gelled! And changed my life.

Over that summer I also made a batch of Kim Chee.
The Kim Chee was not properly pasteurized. It exploded all over the pantry after about 36 hours and both my Mother and the maid banned me from the kitchen.

My father sat me down and explained the word “botulism” to me, so I decided to stick to jelly and pickles and water bath stuff. (Some where along the line at the University of Georgia, I learned how to pressure can, but I am still a right shy of it.)

Anyway, I learned to make jelly from peaches, plums, apples and tomatoes. I made chutneys. I made pickles. I loved to put food stuff in cans and water bath it.

When I met Plant Daddy EXACTLY 30 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, he says,”I have a garden full of beets.” And I says, “Let’s pickle ‘em.”

That was our very first date; making pickled beets in my apartment (because the apartment had a dishwasher)
And the rest is MM and PD history.

So today, I decided to surprise Plant Daddy with pickled beets, (made from scratch of course. what are you thinking? canned beets? Blech!)

Anyhoo, PD walks in after work and sees pickled beets on the table and the first words out of his mouth are, “Just like 30 years ago!”

By God, I love this man!

My day so far 

Down on the farm I'm ready to mow,
But da ole lawn mower, she ain't gonna go
The batt tree is dry and won't make spark
So I'm in da house where it's cool and it's dark!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jackie Visits Mom 

Yesterday Jackie K., from Palm Writers Group, and her husband Richard came over for a visit. They came in the evening after they had been to church.

Evening is a lovely time to see the garden, since the sun is down and it’s so much cooler. They got the golf cart tour and a bag of veggies.

On Monday, Jackie will be back at 6PM and she and I will car pool over to the library in Sorrento for the Palm Writers meeting, If anybody else wants to carpool, let me know.

I’d better get crackin’ causa I haven’t read this month’s submissions yet. Usually, I am on it the day they come in, but I’m late because of all the other work I’ve committed to. Nargh!

We’re closing in on 40 days without rain. It is so dry, my eyeballs hurt. It is so dusty, I am wheezing. We are watering the garden twice a day and still the yellow squash wilts every afternoon.

The light radiation is the killer. There is not a cloud in the sky. Not a one. I never thought I’d come to hate blue sky, but I have.

When I came to school at UF in 1971, puffy clouds would gather every afternoon and rain would pour at 2PM…set your watch by it.

As a newly married housewife in 1979, I had to cook supper before 1PM. Why? Because the thunderstorms every afternoon would knock out the power and generally we’d have no lights, stove, A/C, etc from 2 till 6PM.

But now, no rain at all. Just azure sky and howling wind.

The water temperature in the pool is 83 degrees so we’ll be swimming this weekend. Remind me to wear my hat so I don’t sunburn my scalp!

Tonight PD and I will feast on the first eggplant of the summer! And the last of the lettuce which has finally succumbed to the heat.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Malabar Fires 

The editors of Florida Gardening Magazine, Kathy and Wae Nelson, are at ground zero over in the Malabar fires. We hope they are OK and their house is undamaged. Hope they post up an email or a post to their website when they are able.

Also their neighbor over there is Frank Brown. We are hoping he is in Thailand and not at home experiencing this stress. He is in his 90’s now. His estate includes a priceless collection of Aglaonemas. This is just terrible.

It has not rained in Central Florida for 35 or 36 days, something like that. The humidity is 13%! It is sunny and not a cloud in the sky. Temp at 87 and the wind howling near 30mph. Days like this will break your heart and your spirit if you love plants.

When I was a student at the University of Georgia, my apartment building caught fire. I came home from class to find a fireman ripping the walls out of my bedroom with an axe to check for attic embers.

The bed and carpets were soaking wet and the smoke smell was gagging.

I had to throw away almost everything I owned. No insurance.

My heart aches for all these people on the coast. Pray for rain.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mosaic Strawberry Pot 

Strawberry jar mosaic 

One of my favorite planters this spring is the mosaic strawberry jar I made.
I had never really worked in picasette style, so I told myself to just relax and work by color grouping. I did no other organizing on any motif. I like the way it turned out. Especially once the dill in the top got tall and the mint trailed along ths sides.

Today I composed 2 more 100 word stories. Yay! My goal is 100 then I will have a book!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day 

A Happy Mother's Day is when the family picks blackberries together and then Mom sits back while PD and LME work in the kitchen making yummy blackberry muffins!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

86 dollar cat butt injury 

Early in the morning, before the sun is up, Zeus accompanies Plant Daddy on irrigation rounds. After all the sprinklers are set, the two boys spend their dawn reading the sports page in the nursery office.

Zeus gets some pats, then naps in the green chair.

Mid-morning, when Mom makes it out to the nursery office, Zeus whines until Mom places a tub of Meow-Mix on the feed tray. Zeus also enjoys fresh Friskie crunchies and a blue bowl of fresh well water.

Zeus gets some pats, then naps in the blue chair.

In the cool of the evening when PD and MM are gardening, Zeus makes his rounds.

He meanders to the catnip clump and rolls in his drugs for a spell.

Next he visits the blackberries and sniffs about for babby bunny hors d’ouvres.

The blackberry bush has not a productive visit so far this season, so he heads for the Z shop where tasty lizards await.

Finally he checks the big oak tree for tender young squirrels.

He grabs a snack at the food tray and joins PD and MM on the sofa to watch American Idol and CSI.

Because he kept up his routine, neither MM nor PD noticed that his butt was injured.

Sure, he was licking it more than usual, but hey, he’s a male cat with an outdoor life, what do you expect?

Still, since it’s Hartz worm medicine season, Mom happened to look.

Lo and Behold, the boy had a 2 inch hole in his backside. It looked alarmingly like he’d been snake bit!

So yesterday, Zeus and Mom got to ride over to the vet.
Oh what a happy ride with Zeus singing all the way!

The vet says, sure enough Zeus’ ass has blown out.

He took Zeus into a private room and shaved his ass. (I was not invited in, thank God, but I heard Zeus cussing the doctor in French over this). The doctor irrigated the area and administered antibiotics and Mom is to return for a look-see next week.
The charge for this was $86. I would not irrigate a cat’s ass for triple that amount, so I think I got a deal!

Zeus is fine. He made his rounds last evening…but I am following him around more closely lest he fall prey to coyotes or raccoons. I have 86 bucks invested in that little butt now so I want it protected.

I have to finish writing this blog and go administer antibiotics. I will be lucky if I don’t get bit!

That’s life in the country today.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

100 Word stories 

I wrote two 100 word stories yesterday.

One was about a stick-up at the convenience store.

The second was a 100 word suicide note.

I am composing a third about a priest who hears a murder confession.

This begs the question..."Who am I ?"

Actually, I think it's a combination of growing up watching the Twilight Zone and reading Joyce Carol Oates.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Lookey! Lookey! 

Here is the latest from Plant Daddy's workshop...

Click here to see the gorgeous plant!

Yesterday PD and I planted 7 Jatropha's in the front yard. Moved the Brazilian Red Cloak out of the way to accomodate the new plants.

I had moved a Philodendron seloum out of the same area. Hope this is the final form for that garden area for a while.

I washed the kitchen floor, scrubbed the shower, hung new shower curtain...singular. I couldn't afford 2 panels! I just bought one.

I ate 3 cups of blackberries yesterday. I think they make me peppy or something. Or else that it's 90 degrees outside!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Florida Blackberries 

In the past week, Plant Daddy and I picked 10 cups of berries. Then Little Mind Escape picked 15 cups of berries.

So what? You ask.

Well, over at the Winn Dixie or at the Publix, both of whom have advertised blackberries this week, the price for a cup of berries is $3.99.

And, I wish to add, that is for Mexican berries. God knows how long they sat in a truck to get to the shelf.

Anyway, some quick math says we have picked 25 cups at $4.00 per cup is $100!!! worth of berries in a few days! This is awesome.

We almost didn't get berries. Plant Daddy said trellising berries is too much work.
I said use the Georgia technique. Plant them in a mound. We did and they did and now all is happy land!

We are expanding production next year.

PS we are not making a profit because we are buying Redi Whip, shortbread cakes and Drambuie and sugar...and new pants to fit our expanding fannies into!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Lake County Writers Group 

It feels strange that a "second Thursday" is approaching and yet there will be no Palm Writers Group Meeting this week. We got the official announcement yesterday...

Palm Writers is moving to the 3rd Monday...Monday May 19th at 6:30 PM at the East Lake County (Sorrento) Library!

I had reason to take inventory last week. I have 17 !!! manuscripts out for review at the moment! Seventeen.

I started writing as a hobby and with the support of Palm Group this has blossomed into a nifty little enterprize!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Moscow Trip 

Aunt Karin has left for Moscow today…and I don’t mean Idaho!

She and Uncle Rod are headed to Russia!

Now, did you know that exactly 40 years ago, Aunt Karin was traveling?

I know because I have her travel diary from that little family vacation to London, Madrid and Lisbon! Here are some excerpts:

Jan. 1, 1968…New Year’s Day…We left Madrid for Lisbon. We left at 12:30. The plane was late leaving. When we arrived, we had to change some money. What a job!

Jan. 2, 1968…We toured the city today. We saw old churches, a memorial to Vasco De Gama, the Royal Coach House, and the Flea Market.

Jan. 3, 1968…We left Lisbon at 2:30. We will arrive in New York at 4:30….

We were fog bound in New York so we went to Philadelphia to see our grandparents.
We spent the night then left the next morning…

Snow!! Wonderful snow!!!…

We left for Atlanta at 9:30. We arrived at 12:30. This was the longest flight we’ve ever had from Phili to Atlanta.

When Daddy went to get the car, it had a flat tire which had to be fixed.

Bon Voyage Aunt Karin and Uncle Rod!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sand Flea Rake 

Hit me, Baby!

Plant Daddy wrote a post about sand flea rakes.

Almost 350 people hit his site in one day looking to use his design!

I have a lot of people hitting me at the moment looking for how to make mosaic shoes.
I think I am going to mosaic a sand flea rake instead!

Actually I started mosaicing an Anthurium sculpture today!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Teapot Dome Mosaic Scandal 

"Oh my God, Larry! What has that woman put in her yard now?"

"It's kind of a teapot flying saucer."

"It's a monstrosity!"

"I don't know...there's some wedgewood in it and some Bisazza. That's Leclaire's teapot and Favis's cocktail forks."

"We need to move, live somewhere where the yards have covens to control yard art."

"You mean convents?"

"Yes, Larry, covenants."

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