The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Garden Chore Day 

Today was a perfect day for gardening, so I did some chores…keeping in mind that this is still January and a freeze or frost could still catch us.

I potted 8 pineapples from 1 gallon to 3 gallon pots.

I moved 2 large 3 gallon Walter tomatoes out of the middle greenhouse and into the full sun.

I planted nine 4-inch pots of cukes on the trellis inside the middle greenhouse. Man, I am ready for some cukes!

Then time to go ballistic!!! Bobby Bunny got into the fence and ate two cauliflowers.
Plant Daddy and I shored up the fence and that Bobby Bunny better behave. Grrr.

A large crew of prisoners walked down the highway today collecting trash. That usually means the county mowers will follow in a day or two.

A cluster of five or six homemade airplanes flew over this afternoon. Must have been some sort of club flying together. I thought they were dangerously close to the swarm of buzzards. (This time of year is buzzard mating season. There are hundreds of them in the sky.)

Plant Daddy had harvested a lot of broccoli yesterday so for supper we had baked potatoes with fresh homemade salsa, broccoli, sour cream, taco chicken and sweet potato pie for dessert.

After supper we watered seven or eight newly planted palm trees.
Then we had a fight about where to plant some ground cover. Decided to put it where a Vinca froze out and irrigation is available.

We shortened our evening walk because we were tired.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hydroponic Farm in Eustis 

Hydroponics in Eustis

Today a friend and I visited a hydroponic greenhouse in Eustis. They were having an open house and giving tours of a state of the art greenhouse operation.

It was fancy, I must admit.
I’ve heard about this for a while and never have seen it up close. It’s a system used in Europe, especially Holland and Denmark.

This one today was all shiny and new.
(I could tell it was new because none of the plants were exhibiting geotropism…stems stretching upwards due to gravity. There was also no algae or fertilizer stains or water scale on any of the fixtures.)

The greenhouse is located at a church/home school type location. Church members are using it as a community garden. Mom harvests salad while the kids learn the parable about “The Sower”. Not bad actually. I’m all for more gardening opportunities for folks.

You can buy a small version home kit for $499! Yoiks!

I would have thought that the price of the kit was way out of reach, but I saw 3 people buy them. Amazing. And I overheard one lady say they were selling “shares” to put up a second house for more production.

It was a perfect weather day to be out and about for a tour, then I went to Publix where I must say, it is nice to walk right past the produce aisle and think…I can grow that myself!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rabbit Damage 

One of the small cauliflower plants in the garden was snapped off its stem.
Surely the cause was that pesky wabbit.

But closer inspection revealed that perhaps…just perhaps…the real cause for the cauliflower demise was the powerful storm of Tuesday night.

The young plant in question sat near a greenhouse gutter and may have been pounded by downpouring torrents of rain.

The young plant in question was also located on the corner where it was more exposed to wind than were its mates.

Still…easier to lay the blame off a known killer…Bobby Bunny.
Plant Daddy shored up the fencing to prevent potential future raids.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tesserae aka Mosaic Bits 

The storms yesterday weren’t too bad actually. The only thing howling was the weatherman. Plant Daddy drove through some blinding rain in Zellwood, but we had no hail or tornadoes as advertised.

Kid tried all day to send a file on the computer, but you can’t send a two-ton file on a one-ton server.

I started reading The Pearl Jacket, a collection of Chinese smoke long stories (flash fiction) translated by a professor at UConn. I love it.

I found The Pearl Jacket at Powell’s Books by entering “flash fiction” into the search key. A lot of titles came up from iUniverse and Advantage books. (These are self publishers for those of you who don’t recognize the names). Those self published authors might be good, or they might be crappy. I am not wasting my money to find out. I still want a reliable publisher/press to vet the material.

My sister in law told me her brother lost an incredible 30 pounds in 60 days! He has done it by walking 5 miles a day, plus watching what he eats. Yesterday I was inspired to walk 2 laps around the farm for a grand total of 1.4 miles. Today I am all stove up. Enough of that healthy stuff! Ow!

Last but not least, this morning I heard some gnawing on the front porch, but it did not sound like Rough Ralph. I sent Plant Daddy for a look-see. Indeed, it was not Ralph…it was Bob Bunny. Hmmm, this is OK until Bob Bunny eats off my broccoli in the garden…to be continued…

Monday, January 24, 2011

Danvers Carrots 

I needed a carrot today to cook my chicken, so out to the garden I went for the first harvest of the year for this crop.

My favorite variety, this one, Danvers. It gets really large under my growing conditions. Who needs dainty or colorful? I need basic big cooking carrot.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Some Tips on Evaluating Literary Contests 

I was looking around for writing information today and found this really useful article. Enjoy!

Some Tips on Evaluating Literary Contests

Friday, January 21, 2011

Holly and Palm Plantings 

Yesterday, I...with a little help from Plant Daddy...planted about 10 shillings holly bushes and 2 palm trees. I had heard that rain was forecast and I wanted to take advantage of that.

Sure enough, about 2AM the lightning and thunder and rain screamed in. Plant Daddy said we got 2 and a half inches! That is huge! Those plants will be off to a good start.

Today it is still raining drizzling, so I am staying inside and editing a story for competetion.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lizard on my beans 

Someone besides me is excited about the next crop of green beans...

A lot of us were out and about soaking up some sun after all day rain and clouds yesterday.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mr. Pretty Returns! 

My sister has an adorable new kitten.
Cute little eyes.
Fuzzy little ears.
Fluffy. Playful.
Charming name, “Waffles”.

I am terrified!

Many years ago, circa 1968, my sister had a kitty who looked very much like Waffles.

His name was Mr. Pretty.

Mr. Pretty loved Karin.
Mr. Pretty hated me.

You think I am making this up?
Oh No, the cat really hated me.

It would lurk in the hall and when I walked to the family room, he’d leap up, latch sharp claws deep into my calf and bite. I’d scream. I needed Band-aids.

It would poop in my room.

It would vomit fur balls on my shoes.

I would chase it, determined to catch it and thrash it, but Mr. Pretty would always out run me and make a bee line to Aunt Karin. I swear that cat stuck its tongue out at me and went nya-nya instead of meow..

It glared at me. It was evil.
I was afraid to go to sleep.
A year later I went off to college, glad to be rid of Mr. Pretty.
Wonder what ever happened to him?

Maybe he is re-incarnated?
New name: Waffles!

Growing Strawberries in Central Florida 

Here's how we do it:

We pot the small plants into 8 inch pots in September/October. When they start to bloom and fruit, we set the 8 inch pot on top of another pot to elevate the fruit for easy picking.

The only problem is the birds get into the greenhouse and find them easily too. Grrr.

This eliminates having them in the ground and getting gritty with sand. I hate gritty sand in my berries more than I hate a few bird pecks.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Field of Dreams Ornamental Corn 

This new ornamental corn variety is gorgeous. I want some!

I'll be watching and I'll place an order as soon as it comes on the market.
I suspect tho that in Florida I'll have to grow it in the shade to get those colors to develop. It was first trialed in Michigan and it will be trialed this spring in California.I know someone who attends the CA Pac Trials religiously. I'll ask him for a report.
I wonder how fast the caterpillars here will attack it. Oh well, it'll be worth it. It's beautiful.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Horoscope Today 

My Horoscope for Today

Tackle a problem you let slide last year.
Take this opportunity to prune back the aggressively overgrown Wisteria.

Be proud of your accomplishments.
Enjoy a homegrown tomato on your hamburger for supper.

Plan for your future.
Fertilize the latest crop of green beans.

Aggressive Wisteria…yes, it was.

Now that’s a good day right there.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Zodiac Sign 

Have you heard of the new zodiac sign?
Is that pronounced O-fuck-us?

I'm not a fan of astrology as you can see....and I had a lot of wine with dinner.
Italian sausage simmered with bell peppers, garlic and onions in tomatoe sauce, served over hand made noodles, and apple pie for dessert. Of course that was home made pie from fresh sliced fuji apples.

We ate too much and we are now sitting around on the couch shouting "Ophiuchus!"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another Cousin 

Cousin Davey in California just sent this snapshot of his backyard...along with a note about how it's warm...70 degrees...in California.

Okay, we're all envious now.


Seems there's been a possible murder in the family! These are our distant cousins in Oregon. Read all about it at the Statesman Journal newspaper.

We have made it through the first freeze night. One more to go then a little warm up. Hurray.

For dinner we are having pork bbq sandwiches and the green beans. Yum!

At the post office today mailing tax forms, there was a poster on the wall depicting things you ought not to mail. Chickens! Mice! Handguns! Chianti wine!
Who in the world would need to be told not to mail that kind of stuff?
Use some common sense.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Taxes and freezes 

Yet another drive over to the accountant’s to pick up more tax forms. Tomorrow I will sit and write more checks. That makes me so sad.

Then tomorrow back to the Post Office to send each one by certified mail. Certified Mail has saved my butt twice on occasions where the paper pushers claimed not to have received the forms on time…and demanded that I pay the fines and penalties now!

But I have been able to produce proof that the check was in the mail.

After this, there will be only one corporate tax form left to go then we can start on the personal taxes. Sheesh!

On the way back from the accountant’s, I stopped at Winn-Dixie. I don’t usually stop at The Beef People, but it was convenient today. I bought a pork roast and cooked it for dinner tonight. We had it with baked potato and salad. The salad was home grown Bibb lettuce, home grown oak leaf lettuce, home grown strawberries and Plant Daddy happened to bring home 2 pears, so one went in the salad.

It was nice to have a roast in the oven to heat up the house because it is so cold. Back to the upper 20’s tonight. I spent the day moving all those pots of lettuce into the greenhouse for freeze protection the next 2 nights.

The rest of the crops…broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and peas…are on their own. They can make it outside and uncovered if it doesn’t stay too cold too long. So far so good.

We are debating the need to turn on faucets to drip against split pipes. There is nothing worse on a cold night than lying in bed and hearing what sounds like a shotgun blast when a riser snaps. And you know you gotta do an irrigation repair in the morning when the temperature is 35 degrees and the wind is howling.

January…the depressing month.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Green Bean Harvest 

Here's the first green bean harvest of the New Year!

It was one pound and ten ounces.
It was to have been the Christmas Green Bean feast, but the weather has been cold. The Beans were very slow to develop. Many of them are small, but there is another freeze coming tomorrow night, so I took what I could get and got out!

The bell pepper and green beans were grown out doors and we covered them with a blanket at each freeze. The broccoli didn't need covering. The tomatoes came from the greenhouse. I see salsa topped baked potato in my near future!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rainy Day Tax Drive 

Rain delayed my getting out to the accountant this morning, but I made the run this afternoon.
The sales taxes are now in the mail...certified.
The corporate registration fee is due by the end of the week, so I get to make another post office trip tomorrow.

These are the second and third of eight I will have to make before the end of March. And I suspect it will grow worse as the economy falters. Taxes on income (diminishing) will morph into fixed fees.

Tomorrow I will hit the PO and the Office Max. Chairs are on sale and we need one for out in the office where the arm fell off the old grey chair...it ain't what it used to be?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Highwaymen Came Riding 

I left the house just before lunch Saturday and bee-lined to…

the Running Rabbit Brewery in Mt Dora.
My purpose was to sketch some details about their beer list and incorporate said details into my story for the Flights of Fantasy Valentines Day Competition.

It was noon. The door was locked.
That meant no data for the story and no lunch.

I drove downtown, cussing all the way for lack of parking as usual, finally found a spot and strolled toward the Highwaymen Art Show.

I passed Thai Sushi.
Hmmm, I thought, I’ll get some lunch.

There was one booth with 3 people in it.
Three 30 year olds.
They were getting all the attention. They were getting all the food.

There was a table of four 70 year olds.
They got menus and that was all they got.

There was me at a table.
I was invisible.

The rest of the place was empty at noon-ten.
I should have heeded that sign and walked out.
There were 2 waitresses.

The 30 year olds got chicken and sushi and they asked for extra condiments…two waitresses tripped over themselves to serve that table. The waitresses lingered and chatted with that table.

Finally, I was handed a menu.
The printing was blobby and blurry.

The 70 year olds ordered.

I checked my watch. I had sat 10 minutes and not been asked to order.
The table of four got their food. I still had zero.

A manager looking person walked through…oh flurry, flurry, a waitress came. I got an iced tea and the privilege of ordering a 12 dollar sushi lunch.

It took over 50 minutes to get served lunch. (I texted Helen during this time) Once it was in front of me, three times the waitress came around to ask me if I was finished!

The 30 year olds were still chatting!!!

I had to ask twice for the check. Finally one of the waitresses brought it. It was the bill for the table of four. I walked it over to the table of four because they were still waiting, too. The waitresses finally got me a bill. I paid up.

No body else had come in to the restaurant all this time.
These girls struggled to get lunch to 8 people in one hour!

I have been known to tip generously. I think many wait staff are grossly underpaid and ought to get extra. I think if I have the privilege of eating out, I have the responsibility to tip. Today I tossed a dollar on the table and left, disgusted.

I went to the art show. I bought two paintings for my collection. Here’s one of them:

I ran into the editors of the Flights of Fantasy Contest who said the Valentine’s Day competition has been moved to St. Patrick’s Day.

I walked around downtown then headed to…
Walgreens to collect the prescription,
Office Max to collect storage boxes for tax work and
McDonalds to collect a Big Mac for Plant Daddy’s supper.

What a day!

Beets Baby! 

At this point, they're still baby beets, but maybe by the end of the week next week, we'll pull a few to eat. The foliage looks great this year, despite repeated coverings with a tablecloth to keep the plants from dying in the freezes. (The covering keeps the plant alive but often breaks the foliage.)

Today I am wandering in to Mt Dora. First...you'll love this...I have to go to a bar to do some research. Really!
There's a contest coming up and I need some details about brands of beer. Got to go check this out.
Also I noticed...have you seen the beer trucks lately? I mean, I haven't seen them driving around for deliveries like they used to. Are they going at night? Are they carrying guards in prevention of hijacking? I will ask about this ,too, at the bar today.

While in Mt Dora, I am also going to check out the Highwaymen art show. I don't think I'll add to my collection, but you never know.

And I'll be scoping out plants to steal cuttings from! Maybe somebody will leave an exotic something unprotected and I will "accidently" break off a small, innocent snippet!

Friday, January 07, 2011

First Broccoli of 2011 

Hey, Baby, What's for supper?

A vegetable special!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Purloined Peperomias 

About one year ago, my friend Suzy and I went to lunch at a café in Mt Dora. It was a day very much like today- a front is moving through and temperatures are plummeting.

I saw these two Peperomia plants and knew they were about to be frozen, so I pinched one leaf from each. (There is a bright green one and a darker green one).

I carried the leaves around in my purse for several hours till I could get home and plant the cuttings. The cuttings survived and I have enjoyed growing these plants on my window sill all year long.

They finally got too large for their pot, so today I separated the one pot and now have a pot of Red Peperomia and a pot of Green Peperomia.

I stuck more cuttings, too.

Here’s what my kitchen window sill looks like now.

The Plumeria is also from a cutting that I swiped. The orchids are from Plant Daddy as a congratulations for the first place writing award.

Verily, I say unto you…no one has a better kitchen window sill of plants than I do.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

First Place! 

I took a First Place in a national writing competition!

I didn't think I had a chance of winning, but this email appeared this morning!
Woo Hoo!

3 January 2011

Your drabble, “I, Cockroach“ has won FIRST PLACE in the 18th issue of The Drabbler: 2013. In addition to the prize money, one of Sam's Dot Publishing's anthologies will accompany your contributor’s copy, which will be sent to you on approximately February 1, 2011.

If your mailing address has changed, please send your new information to our attention. If you are located outside the United States, then please inform us as to whether you would like to receive a check or would prefer your payment via paypal. If paypal, then please send the Editor your email.

Thank you again for participating in the 18th Drabble Contest! It is due to the efforts of writers like yourself that keep this contest going. . .Our next contest will be posted in the Sam’s Dot Publishing’s “At the Dot” newsletter (available at: http://samsdotpublishing.com/atthedot.htm); spread the news to the four corners of the universe!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Writing News 

Here's a Get Well Soon message for Carole from Palm Group! Hope the medical stuff goes smoothly and you are back at your desk writing in a flash!

Writer's One Flight Up just sent out a "last call" for entries in the Pisces Rising Contest. I sent a story in. Did you?

I hiked over to the post office this morning and mailed off my registration for a writers conference in March. I will spill the details later, but at this point I will say that they offered a contest...free banquet dinner to the winner...write the worst opening line to a story. I wrote one up and sent it with the registration. This means I now can hold a sign "will write for food".

It is tax season. I hate tax season. I mailed the first one out of here today.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Mueller's Noodle Coupon 

Plant Daddy bought me a Sunday newspaper today. Inspired by a TV show this week about Mega Coupon Shoppers, I clipped the Mueller's coupon over my second cup of coffee.

The coupon was $1.00 off two products, so I picked up 2 packages of noodles.

I got 2 packages for $1.70...that's 85 cents each. Makes them taste all the sweeter. We will eat one package this week as a tuna noodle casserole with a salad side dish of the fresh Boston Bibb lettuce that's ready to be picked in the greenhouse.

Today at Publix the produce department was packed with a lot of very heavy people. The candy aisle was empty. The New Year's Diets have started.

The saddest thing ever...I asked the teenaged checker girl what her resolutions were..."To swear off alcohol," she replied.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Bad Martinis!

Well, I mean they were happy martinis. There were lots of them. Then this morning...

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