The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Peaceful Country Life...NOT 

The shooting started around 2:15 AM.
When the first pop woke me up, I thought a rat had been hammered in the trap on the front porch. Then followed too many individual shots to count.

It was over in an instant and three distinct motors drove away.

Then in the quiet, first one, then two, cop cars came racing down the highway.

Plant Daddy slept through most of it. He’d a’ slept through the whole thing if I hadn’t nudged him.

Happy Freakin’ Halloween.
I will be so happy on November 1st.
Well, except for the part where I have to pay the taxes.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Hooker Report 

I did go to the Dollar Tree today, but I did not see hookers. Instead, I saw something infinitely more disturbing.

Two twenty-ish year old men were cashing out right in front of me. Each was buying a toy pistol with caps. The kind you would buy for a 5 year old at Christmas.

The first one says to the second,"We can cut the red safety tip off and they'll look real enough."

Okay, I think, it's Halloween. At best they are discussing a costume.
At worst, they are going to shoot at trick-or-treaters?
Guard against home invaders for Halloween evening?

I came home and chained the gate shut.
I hate Halloween.

Garden Bench 

It took the help of Plant Daddy and the Ford tractor to do the lifting, but we relocated the garden bench this afternoon.

We are not using the south garden space this season. And I needed a place to sit near the front gate. (Sometimes if I know that Plant Daddy has had a hard day at the office, I will go out front just as he is due home and I will close the gate for him so he doesn't have to get out of the car)

I needed a little seat upon which to park. Now I need to locate a can of Raid bug spray so that I can actually sit there and not get mosquitoed to death!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Flights of Fantasy 3 

I had a ball at Flights of Fantasy last night!
Here's the story I entered and read...Enjoy!

That Farm Up In Franklin County

Local folks swore the house was haunted. They bellied up at the tavern and made book on how long any particular new owner would stay. Dwight? The unemployed history teacher? Nobody bet a day beyond January that he’d live on the land he’d inherited.

Dwight’s dream of a homestead had sunk when he saw the dilapidated house; a cabin really with neither porch nor paint. But on inspection, the barn seemed sunny and modern. Dwight rolled the door open and sneezed at the tang of straw. Animal pens lined both sides of the aisle; concrete floors were clean as if freshly hosed. The tack room was finished with drywall, painted white and nestled in the corner of it was a bunk bed with a green crocheted blanket. “Just like the one Andrea was knitting when she quit us, huh, boy?” Master and dog moved in. Buddy, the Yellow Lab, growled all night.

In the morning, which was closer to noon by the time he woke up, Dwight took inventory. No tractor, no plow, not even wireless internet service so he could Google farming. He picked up a rusty shovel and tramped to his front yard, a golden field of fall wildflowers. “We’ll plant it to corn, Buddy, haul in bushels, and get rich.” He tried to open the red clay soil, but the effort of digging wore him out quickly. He drove to the tavern and drank the rest of the day.

Pigs! His headlights caught dozens of pink, curly tails swarming his two-rut driveway when he got home. Buddy leapt out of the window to give chase. Dwight sped to the barn intending to find rope, lasso one and make bar-b-que, but when he rolled up, a short, slim woman met him with a shotgun.

“Your dog is running my pigs,” she said.

“We’ll herd them back to your farm,” Dwight said, sliding out of the truck and instinctively raising his hands.

“This is my farm,” she said, pumped a shell to the chamber, and whistled. Pigs galloped up behind her and took to their pens like obedient puppies.

“Sit!” she ordered and Dwight sat on an upturned bucket. Tan, floor length dress, laced boots, gray hair in a tight bun – this was the ghost the barflies had described. I don’t believe it, he thought.

“Believe this,” she said, “farming is a way of life, not a weekend hobby to do when you feel like it. You live an agricultural life or you don’t.” She shifted the weight of the gun, but held aim on him.

“If you intend to stay here,” she said, “you’ll do everything I tell you, when I tell you. Give me blood, sweat, tears and blisters and I’ll teach you all my secrets. You’ll give up everything for the sake of the farm. No days off. No back talk. But you’ll learn to be proud to be called ‘farmer’”.


“You get out now and you never come back. Ever.”

Dwight weighed these options. College, career, marriage, kids, home ownership; nothing about that track had worked out so far. He was deeply in debt and deeply unhappy. This ghost was offering hard work, grit and toil, effort, real effort, certainly not an easy path, but maybe one with rewards. He sensed that if he left, he’d wind up a homeless bum behind the bar telling a ghost story over and over. He stood and took up the bucket he was sitting on.

“Well?” she asked.

“I’m out,” he said and walked away.

Down at the tavern, bettors settled. Rounds were bought for all. The local realtor polished off his beer, waved good-bye to the gang, and drove off to install another new ‘For Sale’ sign out at the driveway to the farm.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Corsage 

I will be reading my story "That Farm Up in Franklin County" tonight over at the Flights of Fantasy Event in Mt Dora.
I thought I ought to pretty up a little for a night in town, so I made myself a corsage.

It is 91 degrees outside. That's what we call an "enthusiasm killer".
There was a "cold" front (down to 85 degrees) promised for today. Now it has slowed. Won't be here till tomorrow. Sheesh!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Turnip Power 

Turnips aren't exactly my favorites. I planted some this year just as a wink and a nod to Old Joe.
My Dad (Old Joe) always wanted Plant Daddy to breed him an "Instant Turnip". Joe wanted to put the magic turnip seed into the ground, add water and harvest the next day. Wouldn't that be nice?
We are having a rough season in the garden. Good old turnips might be all we get for the Thanksgiving feast!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Green Day 

Today I harvested the green beans!

But I can’t sit in the green chair to rest from gardening efforts…I tossed that chair into the dumpster today.

Goodbye 1980’s!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Flights of Fantasy 

I wrote a little agricultural spoof for this year's Flights of Fantasy Competetion.

It won a reader spot.

So come on down on Thursday and hear a knee-slappin', hoot-n-hollerin' story.

Here's the info and links!
Flights of Fantasy ... 10/28 ... Sponsored by Writers One Flight Up & Mount Dora Brewing ... A Halloween evening of prose and poetry ... $5 for tickets ... Free Light bites ... Cash beer & wine ... Audience votes on winners ... Cash prizes offered ...

Doors open 6:30 ... Readers start @ 7 PM ...

Limited seating ... pick-up tickets @ Brewery or email Jeff@mountdorabrewing.com ... OR email me and I'll hold them for you ... your tickets will be held at the door.

Hope to see you there!

Richard Huss

Beets and Heat 

Yesterday we had record temps...it hit 89 officially and maybe, probably more here at my house. I had just transplanted another batch of beets. Beets are a cool weather crop. They do not thrive in this weather. The cukes are doing well, ditto the bell peppers and eggplant, but beets are unhappy. And it's predicted to be in the 90's at least two days this coming week.

We've had zero rain for October and not a drop is predicted. This is brutal. Even my Pachypodium, which is extremely drought tolerant, has wilted. I had to take a bucket of water to hold the dry sand back when I dug a hole. (I moved the Carex 'Bronzilla' out of the greenhouse last evening. It's too big.)

I feel sorry for all the church groups that are having pumpkin patches this season. Pumpkins do not store outside when it is in the 80's and 90's. Even whole,they get squishy fast. And if they are carved and placed outside, forget about it. Mushy fly food.

It's one of the toughest fall garden seasons I've encountered.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Garden changes 

This afternoon I had to rip the marigolds, cosmos, coleus and vinca out of the vegetable area to make room for more beans and broccoli. They had looked great all summer, but the space was too valuable. I will replant them next summer. They were cheerful in the "off-season". But now vegetable gardening is in full production.

We harvested the first cucumber today. It made a delicious sandwich for lunch! I have green beans to pick tomorrow. We had 2 persimmons for our fruit at dinner. So sweet.

Also this evening I planted another row and a half of onions. Plant Daddy fertilized the next batch of beans. Carrots are coming along too!
Earlier in the week I planted a bell pepper and an eggplant...impulse purchases at Lowe's when I went to get broccoli plants!

I love fall gardening!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Virus and Malware 

The computer fellow scoured the innards of the computer, removed malware and viruses and we are back in business.

The appliance man brought a new Speed Queen washing machine and we are back in business for laundry, too.

I had the appliance man look at the freezer. The seal on the old chest has been replaced at least once, maybe twice. It is loose again and that causes ice to build up inside. The appliance man declined the work, cited the age of the box.

So I will run it like the Maytag...use it till it siezes up. In case of the freezer, I hope that's not right after I have bought a load of chicken on sale at Winn-Dixie.

It's still hot. Up near 90, but Halloween is just around the corner and we are usually cool after that. I think I will set out the mosaic pumpkin for decoration today.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The Maytag gave up the ghost. Today Plant Daddy and I went to the appliance store. A new Speed Queen will be delivered on Thursday.

Got home and my computer died. Locked up won't go at all. PD will take it to the repair shop on Thursday. All my stories and photos are imprisoned.

What will be the third appliance failure?

(Thank God I got my last flash fiction piece sent to competetion before the files locked up!)

Monday, October 18, 2010


Mystery plant
The mystery plant is a Plumeria.
It is Plumeria pudica.
Also known as Bridal Plumeria.
Click here for more.

Potato Baskets
After several hours in the hot sun and fresh air, the baskets from Growers Supply smelled beter. They are now in service storing sweet potatoes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mystery Plant 

Can anyone please tell me what plant this is?

The lady who owned the stock said she thought it was a Plumeria, but I cannot find it among the Plumerias.
I am totally fascinated by the leaf shape. Can anybody tell me the name of that leaf shape?
This might be in the Apocynaceae family, but I'm not sure of that either. The flower looked right for Apocynaceae,less rounded than Plumeria, solid white, no shading towards the throat, but there was no fragrance.
Help! What is it?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stinky Day 

Buggy baskets
I ordered a set of baskets from Gardeners Supply Company to store potatoes and onions.

When I opened the package…PU! They smelled like creosote! Awful smell. The “made in China” tag reminded me of when there was a problem with termites and other insects being imported on Chinese baskets. Obviously these from Gardeners Supply had been well fumigated! I set them in the sun. Hope the smell burns out of them or they will be useless.

Perfumed Preppy Chicks
I had 2 errands to run in Mt Dora this morning. I actually…miracle of miracles…got a parking spot! I walked a half a block to the first destination and two teenaged girls were about 50 feet in front of me. Their perfume was nasty. Just sicky sweet nasty. Fortunately, it didn’t make me sneeze. They went into the same shop I went into. Blech did they stink! I did my business and got out asap. PU!

New Scam
Did ya hear the one about the chick at Wal-Mart? As you pull your car out, she claims you dented her car, but she will settle on the spot for cash or a Wal-Mart gift card. Well, one lady said, “Not so fast. I have collision alert. It did not buzz. We did not collide. I am calling the cops.” Well, the chickie had been pulling this scam all over town; had a string of victims! At least she got arrested.

I saw a new twist on that one today. At a local restaurant, I saw a wheelchair placed right behind a car. Presumably, the diner would exit the restaurant, hop into the car and back up, crushing the wheelchair. The “victim” would demand payment on the spot.
Ya think?
Or maybe someone purchased a cheap wheelchair at Goodwill and set it there on purpose? And would demand cash on the spot!
Check before you back up…and call the cops! Scams abound these days!

Cheap, cheap, cheap!
Did someone go to Mt Dora this morning and take a cutting from a collectible plant?
Did someone go to Mt Dora this morning to sell some post cards? Had that someone checked the values at several web sites? Did that person walk out when offered ten cents for each card! As if!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dieffenbachia Sparkles 

WHen you go to a box store garden center and look over the small foliage plants, you always see Plant Daddy's Dieffenbachia Sparkles there.
Here's a new publication that tells you the scoop.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pineapples on Vacation 

We took the harvest with us on vacation.

Everybody loved the fragrance and the taste of fresh, home grown pineapples.
The fruitflies...well, not so much.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Vacation Photos 

Vacation snaps.

Here is Plant Daddy and the striper fish he caught!

Here am I, Mosaic Mom, ship spotting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vacation Paradise 

Yay Aunt Terri!

On the afternoon we arrived, Aunt Terri showed Plant Daddy where the fishing poles and other supplies were located. Plant Daddy headed for the pier...one happy vacationer.

I had predicted that my Florida clothes were too lightweight for the Chesapeake Bay in October. The temps were in the 60’s and the wind was howling. Aunt Terri gave me a nice pink shirt and a shirt jacket so I wouldn’t freeze to death.

Later in the day, Terri took me to Delaware to Wal-Mart where I bought a chocolate brown colored, polar fleece jacket. I am set for any thing a Florida winter can throw at me now.

We bought Scrapple. I had forgotten about Scrapple and how I love it and you can’t get the yummy brand of it here. So Terri bought me some.

We donated some socks to an Amish lady for her missionaries.

Aunt Terri’s oil light in her car came on. I read the owners manual on her car, but could not figure out what kind of oil to buy…since we were at Wal-Mart anyway. This Wal-Mart did not have a service station.

We made it home OK and PD told us what to buy so he could pour it into the engine.

We cooked pork roast and sweet potatoes for dinner and had a great visit.

The next morning, after a delicious scrapple breakfast, PD and Aunt Terri and I took a grape arbor out of her yard. It was huge but had collapsed under the weight of snow last year. PD and I did some serious whacking and wailing on the thing and had it re-constructed in about an hour.

We loaded all the vines into Teri’s little Nissan pick-up truck. After lunch, PD headed back to the pier.

Aunt Terri and I headed to the dump.

The little Nissan pick up truck is a manual shift transmission. Aunt Terri knows her stuff, she hit all the gears just right and she is a zippy driver. She is not inhibited by the yellow line in the middle of the road. She is a hoot.

The first dump was closed, so we went across a steep bridge to a big county dump. It cost $3.00 to unload yard waste. That is cheaper than my dump. I took pictures. Here is the dump in Maryland:

Atop the hill at the yard waste yard:

The plan was for all the vines to pop out as one mass. It did not. We really had to work hard to unload the truck, but Girl Power! We got it done.

We stopped at a local K-Mart for oil. 10-W-30.
We also got PD some cat food for chum. He had been a great help on the grape vine removal, so he deserved some cat chow and a few cans of tuna supper.

We got back to Terri’s, added oil, extracted PD from the fishing hole and we went to Kitty Knight House for supper. Link here http://www.kittyknight.com/
Aunt Terri had a delicious Appletini.
I had a Dragon Juice cocktail.
PD was the designated driver.
He really earned his chum, yes?

The crab cakes made me shiver! Sooo good. Terri got those also.
Plant Daddy had fish and chips that were to die for.
Got the bill and surprise! We had happened in on Discount Night! Our feast was half price.

Terri and I watched Project Runway together. We both like Mondo. We both don’t like Gretchen.

Friday was another exciting day. It deserves its own post. Check this spot again soon!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Amtrack Auto Train 

Amtrack/ Damntrack.
Here's the skinny on my trip...

Auto Train going North was a nice ride.
By nice ride I mean that the train was smooth on the tracks. It did not herky jerky. It swayed very little. No heave and haw, no pitch and roll. I was very relaxed by the rhythm. I slept well actually.

Auto Train coming South was god-awful.
By god-awful, I mean that me and PD were slammed into the walls as we tried to move around our compartment. Us and all the people trying to go to the dining car were stumbling. Little kids were wailing and adults were puking from motion sickness.

The driver pressed on the gas then hit the brakes, gas, brakes, gas, brakes.
Then he’d go so fast across a switch, the train would automatically be shut down. He’d re-boot then step on the gas, slam on the brakes. Pitch and roll, heave and haw.
It was a really bad ride.

The dining car experience going North was bad.
That wait staff was rude, had their hands out for tips and if they could have used cattle prods on us to move us through our meal faster, they would have. They were pushy and self-serving.
North bound we ate Savory Chicken and Maryland Crab Cakes. Both tasted like Sysco microwave meals. That is to say, open packet, microwave, serve. (If that food came from a chef, Amtrack, you need some up grades) Northbound I had tried the cheesecake for dessert. It was mushy.

The dining car going South was great.
The staff had more passengers to serve, but treated us nicer, less frenetically.
South bound we ate Manicotti and Beef tornadoes. However, my dessert, the chocolate cake was so soft, I didn’t think it had ever been baked. I could not eat it. It was blech!

Greeters and Ticket staff on both ends of the line were A-Plus people.

Lorton is a bigger, better, station than Sanford.

Best advice I found on the internet: take your own pillow. I was so glad to have an extra to tuck under my knees or behind my back.

Worst advice: Someone posted to take a blanket, Amtrack is cold.
When you first get on, the A/C is blasting. It’s freezing.
That is all the cold air you will ever get. In the middle of the night you will be roasting, sweating, wishing you could open a window for a breath of air. Both trains, both ways.

Now let me talk about the one really really wrong thing, both trains, both ways…

Have you ever used a potty on an airplane? Do you think it’s small?
Honey, it’s a mansion compared to an Amtrack potty.

The potty is so small that you have to make sure the seat lid is up before you close the door because you can’t reach around that far once you shut the door.
When you stand up to full height your head hits the ceiling.
When you are seated and lean forward for certaincleaning functions, your forehead hits the door.
You cannot apply deodorant in the potty because your elbows are pinned to your side. You are papoosed.

Now here’s the clencher…the potty… where you crap… is your shower.

You are supposed to sit in there and run a wand over yourself…which is goddam imposible because you cannot access your armpits in that compartment. Besides, if you get that room wet, the next person in is now trying to function inside a wet, slippery papoose.

Take a can of air freshener! The potty smells fresh at the beginning of the trip, but after only a few uses, it is disgusting.

The train going North had clean windows.
The train going South needed a car wash.

Both trains left on time!
Both trains arrived early…which meant a 6AM wake up call over the PA system in the compartment. No sleeping late!

Finally, Amtrack’s advertisement says “Wi-Fi? Why, yes!” and touts wifi service for your computer. That’s not true. Use your laptop to watch a cd or play games, but there’s no internet service.
Hence you did not get a blog from the train.

PS. I waved my little heart out. God Bless all the people who waved back as the train went by.

Auto Train Sanford Terminal 

Taking the Auto Train North was really nice.
There were 159 people, 80 cars and 2 motorcycles.

Taking the Auto Train South was crowded.
There were 440 people, 229 cars and 6 motorcycles.

By the time we got off the train and headed to collect our car this morning, the waiting room at Sanford was full. Lots of people were waiting for their cars to come off the train.

Most people had to crowd outside and sit on the pavement.

Do not feel too sorry for them. They are tourists. It will give them practice for standing in lines and crowds at the amusement parks. They like mosh pits; they pay to have this pack ‘em in belly to butt Florida vacation experience.

When we went North, Lorton station was awesome! Well built, spacious, roomy, landscaped.
Sanford is building a new and larger station, but what you see now is what you get now. Small.

But the real yucky part this morning in Sanford was the way the motorcyclists were so rude.

They revved their Hogs so loud you could not hear the announcements about what cars were coming down the ramp off the train. They played salsa music at ear splitting decibels while they strapped their luggage on. The bikers were crappy ass rude people. I hope all of them get into wrecks while here, get severe sunburn, and later may they develop skin cancer.

So my advice is avoid Auto Train during Bike Week in the spring and Biketoberfest in the fall.

It took me and PD one hour and 15 minutes to get our car

Friday, October 08, 2010

I am at the Chesapeake Bay watching barges, eating crab cakes and scrapple, and relaxing.
Too relaxed to blog much. Talk amongst yourselves till I get back!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Auto Train 

To celebrate the start of the 8th year of blogging, Plant Daddy and I are going on a vacation. Where are we going?
Fishing, of course!
We will load our car onto the Amtrack Auto Train this morning and head to see Aunt Terri on the Chesapeake Bay!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Seven Years of Blogging 

Happy Anniversary to Blog!

Today is the 7th Anniversary of Mosaic Mom Blog!

I have the 7 year itch.

I thought about changing my blog skin (the design you see when you visit), but I didn’t like any new designs.

Bloggers who change their skins a lot annoy me. I visit blogs for content, not jazzy sidebars.

I thought about allowing comments, but people who want to reach me usually do; the spammers rarely bother.

I thought about changing my “Friends” list and the “Mosaics Resources” list. I’ll get around to housekeeping eventually.

What will happen when the “Archives” list hits the bottom of the page?

Over 7 years, I have watched a lot of other Bloggers come and go. Blogging was cutting edge stuff seven years ago. It’s old school now. Facebook and Twitter are the platforms that really succeeded with social networking.But I’m not about social networking.

This is just a bulletin board and I post notes everyday.

There’s actually nothing that I want to change.
I am a happy camper…and I hope you are, too.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Sweet Potato Rows 

So far, we have harvested only 2 rows.

Five rows are shown in the photo. There is a 6th plus an area where we just had a bunch of leftovers so we just randomly planted them.

We got a lotta taters off just a few rows!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Big Sweet Potatoes 

The long thick sweet potato on the right weighs 3 lbs 12 oz.

The sweet potato on the left shaped like a gourd weighs in at 2 lbs 12 oz.

The weight of these two giant sweet potatoes, just these two, is more than our entire crop was last year.

We have not even harvested half the plot back there either. This wagon load represents one row!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Sweet Potato Time 

Here's my haul of sweet potatos that PD and I dug last night...

We are ecstatic. Last year we got one flat from the entire plot. This, as pictured above, is 3 hills. Less than one row! We got us a crop this year. Amazing what a little fertilizer and irrigation will do...DUH!

Anyway, guess what you all are getting for Thanksgiving?
Hint: Not flowers!

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