I earned my Suzy Homemaker points this week. One morning I was up early and made homemade beef & noodles. I also finished several bars of glycerin melt and poor homemade soap from an unfinished kit found at the Goodwill store. Another day, I made a vegetable pizza for an open house which prompted looking for a recipe for the envelope of Ranch Dressing seasoning. Later this week I plan to make some homemade onion soup. The kind with the rusk on top and lots of melted cheese. Of course, the secret ingredient to onion soup is the addition of red wine. Yummmmmm.
Below is a recipe for Ranch Dressing Mix so you don't have to buy the expensive package mix. I've seen the same recipe without the dry buttermilk - I think it would probably work that way, too.
1/2 cup dry buttermilk
1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1-Combine all ingredients in a blender.
2-Blend at high speed until smooth.
3-If you want to use this to make salad dressing combine 1 tablespoon mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup milk.
4-Otherwise use 1 tablespoon in any recipe calling for an envelope of ranch dressing mix.


I really loved this charming, handmade buckle from the Hippie era. When held, it felt like it had a story to tell, kind of special. I wondered about all the places it's been. However, it sold quickly on Artfire and is on the way to Sicklerville, NJ for a new chapter of its existence. Oh, well, heaven knows I have plenty more things to sell and letting go is what this is all about.
In fact, I am on my way to Aurora this morning to meet a potential buyer for the house there.
I sure have my fingers crossed and hope to sell. Whenever it happens, that will be another bittersweet sale. I love the town, and the river view and the spacious rooms but do not want the upkeep, expenses, etc. The trick is to learn to "bloom where we are planted." In my case, it appears to be the farm. Ol' Shangrala!



I sold enough stuff on Ebay the last few weeks to buy a new flat screen TV......ahhhhhh, I feel like a member of the middle class again. I don't have cable or direct TV but I can get more than 2 channels. But now, the TV is making my computer look bad! Who cares? Life is good!


Lots of Baths. . . .

I hate dusting and, it's been awhile since I tackled this group. But they've all had a bath and I can live with them again. Why do people collect all this crap?


Soapmaking . . . .

Well, I need to add another $25 to the cost of soapmaking. I had borrowed the above book by Delores Boone from the Aurora library. On the way home there was a leaky gallon of water on the floor next to the bookbag and to make a long story short, the book soaked up lots of water. It was damaged. When I showed the librarian what happened, she thought I needed to buy it. So, okay there goes $25. But I like the book and I had already tried to find it online and take them a replacement. Much to my surprise Amazon is showing 2 copies of this out of print book for $100!!!!! Maybe I can list it on Ebay after I finish my soapmaking or become bored with the process and no longer need the info.

I have made three batches of soap: hot process, cold process and another process where old scraps were thrown in and hot process continued. Kind of fun. I'm still looking for a source for Palm Kernel oil other than Ebay where shipping is more than the product. I have the name of a shop in Metamora to check out, the Smelly Gourmet, that might offer this and other soapmaking supplies. Next trip to Aurora, I will make this little detour.
Enjoy this lovely Fall day.


Okra Santas

I had hoped that the article I saved on Okra Santas contained information on how to make them. Unfortunately when I dug out the saved article it was only one page. It was mostly about drying the okra with one sentence about how the Santas are made: . . . . .I made Santas out of the Okra using a polymer-clay mixture.
Here, Here (picture soooo small, but directions included) and Here (these have handmade hats!) are some articles I found on the web with Okra Santas.


Homemade Soap

Today I made cold process (lye) soap. It'll be about 5 weeks before I know if it's any good. I'm hoping for lots of lather and a silky feel. I think I should have poured this batch a little sooner, time will tell. Right now I have this 12" X 19" pan wrapped in blankets allowing the soap to heat up and complete the process for the next 24 hours. I'm doing this from some info in Susan Miller Cavitch's book The Natural Soap Book.
However, the recipie I used is from Essentially Soap by Dr. Robert S. McDaniel.
Simple No-Weighing Soap
A really simple recipe with commonly available ingredients. OK, so you don't have a scale and can't wait to start making soap. Well, here's a good beginner recipe that calls for oils and other ingredients you can find in the supermarket and health food store, and everything is measured, not weighed. To add your own touch, try adding about 1/2 cup of finely ground oatmeal or some kelp powder (green, a teaspoon or two for color) from your health food or bulk food store. When I made this, I added lavendar fragrance at light trace, not Lillly of the Valley, before the soap got too thick. Simple isn't it.
Vegetable Shortening - 6 Lbs (common sizes are 3 and 6 Lb cans)
Coconut Oil - 14 Fl. Oz. (from the health food store, use the whole jar) Olive oil - 3/4 cup Lye - 12 oz can dissolved in 2-3/4 cup distilled or deionized water Fragrance Oil, Lilly of the Valley (I used lavendar) - 2 Tbs (optional)
I have quite a bit of money involved in this batch that will probably yield about 18 bars. I saw several soapmaking kits on the internet that are premeasured and contain some nice ingredients. Crabapple, Brambleberry, and Ye Olde Soap Shoppe are a couple sites with kits.


Okra. Very interesting.........

I grew Okra in the garden this year. Not to eat but I have visions of making some Santa Christmas Ornaments from the dried okra. Surprisingly, I got a nice sized basket full from only six plants. I also thought the plants, which grew to about 4 ft, were very ornamental. Maybe pretty enough to stick among the flower beds.
Then I heard the really good news about okra....... from a site called The Gardeners Rake........
From that site: I read that Okra would control Japanese Beetles. The year before I had horrible leave damage in the gardens and yard. I tried the beetle bag traps and they would fill with rain and fall over or the bugs crawled out. I ended up hand picking them off but it was a loosing battle. There had to be a better way!

One thing I did read and notice to be true is that Japanese beetles were attracted to the color yellow.
That spring I started a few okra plants. I started them indoors living in a cooler Zone 5 growing area and treated them like I would a tomato seedling and transplant. When the plants were ready to set outdoors and all chances of a frost were over I placed them in container and garden pots.

Growing them in containers gave me the ability to move the plants around the yard and gardens to places that were suffering from the beetles. I made sure I placed the plants 20 to 30 feet away from the gardens so that I was not attracting the bugs into the gardens or raspberry patch.
It worked! I quickly noticed a drastic decrease in my plant damage and the pests were no on everything. I moved the plants to another section of the yard and again noticed the bugs were disappearing.

The basis behind the okra plant controlling the beetles is that the large delicate yellow flower on the plant attracted the insect and they would chew on the leaves, which were toxic to this bug and would die. For me this worked and I will have this plant in my gardens from now on.
I also found that the pods dried well and could be used in crafts and dried arrangements.

One other added benefit, the plants are pretty. The leaves are heart shaped and the hibiscus-looking flower is beautiful and adds color to the gardens and yard.
Okra facts and trivia
v Okra is popular in Africa, the Middle East, Greece, Turkey, India, the Caribbean, South America and the Southern U.S. It is not a common vegetable in most European countries. Greece and parts of Turkey are the exception.
v Okra can be served raw, in salads or cooked on its own. It goes well with tomatoes, onions, corn, peppers, and eggplant. Its mild flavor is said to taste like a cross between eggplant and asparagus.
v When buying fresh okra, look for young pods free of bruises, tender but not soft, and no more than 4 inches long. The older and longer the pod is the better chance it will be tough and stringy.
v Okra should snap easily in half. The best varieties are a rich green color.
v Okra does not store well so use it within two to three days.
v Do not wash the Okra until ready to use, or it will become slimy. When preparing the vegetable remember that the more it is cut, the slimier it will become.
v Okra releases a sticky substance when it’s that has thickening properties. In Louisiana, the slaves taught the Créoles to use okra (gumbo) to thicken soups and to this day it is an essential ingredient in Créole Gumbo.
v Okra grows in varying shades of green and can be smooth or have a ribbed surface. There is also a new variety that is red.
v In warmer climates the okra plant can grow up to six-foot tall.The Okra seeds can be toasted and ground and used as a coffee substitute.
v Mature okra is used to make rope and paper. It dries well and pods can be used for many craft projects.v Aluminum pots will discolor Okra.
v Okra is a good source of vitamin C and A, B complex vitamins, iron and calcium. It is low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber. It is also fat-free.


The jacket. . . .

I've been attempting to take a real interest in getting rid of things...including this jacket which only has one hour left on EBay. I think it is soooo cool. Although I tend to push the limits of what is appropriate for someone my age, I wouldn't feel comfortable in this. Hope to see some young lady - or, more confident than I am, old broad - tearing down the road, on a Harley, wearing this wonderful bright jacket.

I'll have more vintage clothes, old ephemera, beaded items and who knows what next. I have tons of old hats and these things MUSTGO. Look me up on Ebay. Seller ID: treazyours......
This particular jacket is Item #200379796763.


My helper. . . .

Wherever there is a box, this cat likes to try it out. I had several boxes of old letters and mail opened in the barn and Mouser climbed in. Shortly after this photo, he had to try the other box which was only half on the counter....he and all the letters went flying to the floor.

I've started my destashing by listing a few items on EBAY. Although I listed the old gas stove in the apartment, I am about ready to remove it and keep it. All the burners work; however, one doesn't seem to be


I couldn't help myself. . . .

I couldn't help myself......I've always had a weakness for these bald-headed, rotund. robed figures. For years I collected Chinese mud men and love buddahs so, when I saw this picture at the Goodwill in Rushville, I bought it. It had a piece of plastic instead of glass in the old black frame. The gold fabric covered mat isn't visible here either because I have it dismantled while I look for a new glass.

Yesterday I had the sudden urge to cook. I made homemade noodles and cooked chicken (I actually prefer beef & noodles). A friend of mine comented once that cooking was her hobbly. The more I think about it.....that is a wonderful hobby. Unlike collecting, you makeit, eat it, share it and its gone! No storage, no providing a place to display, no lugging around from place to place. That friend, Sandy, is coming over today and we'll be having a late lunch of Chicken & Noodles, mashed potatoes, sliced tomatoes and salad??? She is an excellent cook so I hope my lunch is ok. Trouble is. . . . I am low on potatoes and need to head out of here for the store.


Discovery and Justice.. .. .. ...

This morning I discovered this freshly dug hole in the small woods beside my house. It's filled with bees. . . . . not sure what kind. They are yellow and black but not very big. I can't imagine what dug them up. There are several other tunnels evident in that area. Maybe a mole ran into the nest or perhaps an inquisitive critter heard buzzing and decided to check it out. Pieces of this nest are scattered around the opening??????? I sure hope all the other tunnel areas aren't filled with bees! A lady from the garden club said she was weeding and got into a hornets nest. She ended up with over 30 stings! I also have a bottle tree that has been taken over by another type of bee. I've been planning a drive-by shooting of insecticide. Thought I would put on a beekeeper hat, vinyl raincoat, get in my old geo drive up close and spray. Gosh, it's hardly safe to go out in your yard!

JUSTICE: A quick note about my day in court. I had filed charges against the plumber who took my $650 check and never returned. Well, last Friday we were summoned to court. He had hired an attorney. His attorney talked with the prosecutor and they worked out a deal. They said he had done a "bad thing" but would I be willing to drop the charges if he repaid me. YES! So, they counted out $650 cash, I signed a receipt and that was the end of that. I had a choice of prosecuting (which cost me nothing) or for another $150 I could have filed a civil suit against him. I think I made the right choice. When threatened with the thought of going to jail for fraud he came up with the money.

Another interesting thing happened that day. I was the very last one dealt with so I had to listen to all the other cases. One lady was being prosecuted by the state of Indiana because she had found a voucher at the local casino and cashed it. I guess she was supposed to turn it in to the casino. The amount was $701. Her case was going to trial so I don't know the outcome but if you find any vouchers laying around the casino.......guess you had better turn them in! Big Brother is watching.


Vines, vines, vines, more vines.......cut, chop, carry

I've returned from another trip to the house in Aurora. I spent the previous week cutting and weeding so things actually looked pretty good this time. I did have to get the three garbage bags and 6 overflowing garbage cans of yard wast to the curb for trash pickup. Actually I had carried several additional loads of greens across the road and deposited them for the river to carry off. So, all is looking pretty good there. The telephone wires by the back door had been pulled from the house. Since last weekend boat races were on the agenda, I thought maybe an RV treking down the alley may have caught them and pulled them down. I notified the phone company and it wasn't until the guy attempted to replace the wire that we discovered the vines had wound and grown over much of the wire. I think it was all that weight that pulled the wires from the house. All is back in order now but I will have to keep a closer eye on the meandering vines!
I left Autora on Wednesday and planned my return trip through Brookville so I could visit Whites Flea Market. It was packed. I didn't stay long but maybe next time I will make an earlier departure and enjoy a full morning of shopping.


Yard things. . . .& Why I shop at the Goodwill. . . .

I put together this photo collage with a couple of the "yard things" I've been working on. There are two pictures of the bowling ball with pennies in place. I am supposed to fill in with rust colored grout. I haven't done that part because I am enjoying seeing the ball in my yard. It really looks pretty with the sun reflecting on the shiny pennies. Grout directions suggest that you keep it dry for 21 days so I'll get to that part a little later. Also pictured are some plant markers made from twigs. They will be finished as soon as I add a coat of polyurethane to protect them from the weather. I've also made two vine wreaths (not in the pic) from materials in the woods. The neighbor is cutting the downed timber for firewood and said he would bring me some more vines for crafting. There are tons of vines in the back, but some are hard to get out of the trees so I'll let Jeff know I am ready for more.
As for how things have been going at the Shangrala. . . . same ole, same ole. Last week the mower belt came off the big mower and jamed in the pulleys. The belt was $115 and another $100 to have the new one installed. Today I was putting on the bush hog and noticed the front tractor tire was low on air again. Think it was just a couple of weeks ago I had to have someone help me with that$$. They seemed to think it was a leaky valve stem and replaced it, but still leaking - only 5# of pressure today . . .let's see. . . . Oh, I poked my eye with my thumbnail (just being clumsy) and was kind of out of commission with a scratched cornea for a couple days. I've got my summer fill ordered from the propane people.......600 gallons at $1.41 - can't wait for that bill! Then, I had a lawyer fee and they are still adjusting and changing my farm insurance ($1,500 - 1,700)....Jeesh! I guess I am just tallying this stuff up so my brain will realize where all my money is going. Hope I have enough left to pay farm property taxes. . . . .always used to pay in May and November....but now they like to hand out that bill (around $4000 for me) in one big payment instead of two. Oh well, it's painful either way.
I'm halting this blog for today before I get suicidial!!!! Some days the Don't Worry! Be Happy! philosophy is a little more difficult than others.
Better throw in an affirmation: Nothing but goodness lies before me. (No sarcastic thoughts or laughing out loud. . . .Louise Hay said this worked for her.)


Initial stages of next project. . . .

Yesterday I purchased three bowling balls at a yard sale. I have started gluing pennies to the ball on the right. When I get it covered with pennies, I am supposed to put grout on the ball to fill in the cracks and turn this into a copper yard ornament.
Note: This is a sad day for me because my frail, old, one-eyed cat is not going to make it much longer. This summer she has steadily been loosing weight. Now, she is no longer eating and very weak. I will miss this gentle but fearless yellow cat who brought a little sunshine to the farm. Goodbye, Miss Kitty. - P.S. She passed away a little after 8PM, 7/26/09. :' (


Popular Bags from the past. . . .

I have always been a sucker for purses and have quite a collection. I was browsing through a book called Popular Purses: It's in the Bag where I saw this 50's alligator bag listed with a value of $325-$375. Several other purses I have are also listed in this publication. At one time I had them stored in the big barn where it got so hot that one of the plastic (tortoise shell base with amber lid) began to melt. I took it to the house and ran cold water on it but the decomposition couldn't be stopped and that purse, valued at $150-$175, met its demise.

I have a black version of the one on the right. I think it came with some rummage junk I had purchased. I don't know why I even kept it because it definitely is not one that I would think had any value. This leather lunchbox-style purse is listed in the book for $50-$60. So, I guess I had better find where I have stored the purse collection. Of course, just because the book says they are worth something, the trick is finding the collector willing to pay "book" price for them. So, in the meantime, I have a bunch of old purses!


Devils Claw. . . .

I purchased this plant called a Devils Claw at the Garden Club auction. This link http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/333/ has a lot more info on the plant which is described from noxious weed to fun plant. Other names applied to the plant include "Unicorn Plant" and "Devils Snot". . . . .Well, I bought it and I'm going to plant it and see what happens.
I've been having my share of everyday problems. For example, roof leaking in Aurora, termites back in Aurora, no peaches on the tree this year, broke a contact lens, washed my new cell phone, renter had 3 loads of gravel delivered on his drive (aka as costing me another $864 - on top of the $2,300 pump fiasco; I guess the fact that I haven't shot him and ended up in jail is the plus side of that relationship) and after paying $350 for work on Aurora roof - it still has a leak - not as bad as before, but still leaking. There's more.....but even I don't want to talk anymore about any of it......I'm mentioning this because in spite of all these "trials" , my cousin had me chuckling in agreement at the email he sent about the Importance of Walking. Maybe it will brighten your day, too.
The Importance of Walking
  • I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
  • Walking can add minutes to your life. This enables you at 85 years old
    to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $7000 per month.
  • The only reason I would take up walking is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.
  • My grandpa started walking five miles a day when he was 60.
    Now he's 97 years old and we don't know where he is.
  • I have to walk early in the morning, before my brain figures out what I'm doing..
  • I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven't lost a pound.
    Apparently you have to go there.
  • Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise',
    I wash my mouth out with chocolate.
  • I do have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.
  • The advantage of exercising every day is so when you die, they'll say,
    'Well, she looks good doesn't she.'
  • I know I got a lot of exercise the last few years. . .exercise getting over the hill.
  • We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads.
    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
  • Every time I start thinking too much about how I look, I just find a Happy Hour
    and by the time I leave, I look just fine.


A tuteur for my garden. . . .

On Monday, the Garden Club is holding a white elephant auction and meeting at a nearby park. All members are asked to bring something for auction. I am taking one of my latest craft projects. . . . a willow tuteur. Believe it or not they almost look like the one in the book, "Better Homes & Gardens garden decorating", where I got the idea. From the book: This twiggy tepee, known in garden design circles as a tuteur; arose from a French word meaning guide and instruct. In the garden, a tuteur guides and insturcts climbing plants. I do need to trim the top of the tall one, just a bit. Perhaps I should top it with a dream catcher or a star shaped from a vine..........


My Grandma Katy. . . .

I am posting this photo of my Grandma Katy because it makes me happy to remember her. She was one of the kindest women I have ever known. I don't think I ever heard her raise her voice. She accepted what came her way and never complained. Her death at 75-years old was sudden. We found her sitting in a straight back chair with her rosary in hand. She must have died while saying the rosary, something she did every day. And, her death must have been peaceful because she didn't even fall from the chair.


Fun, Fun, Fun. . . .

Last night was a great evening. I attended the Beach Boy Concert at nearby Hoosier Park. I thought it got off to kind of a slow start but the group continued to play hit after hit - in fact, 28 wonderful songs! Beach balls and T-shirts were flying! The group never took a break although at one point Mike Love suggested slowing things down and what he'd really like to do was take a break followed by a nap. However, the group continued to rock on ending with my personal, memory-filled favorite: FUN, FUN, FUN.

Here is what wikipedia has to say about the BEACH BOYS:

The Beach Boys are an American rock band. Formed in 1961, the group gained popularity for its close vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting a Southern California youth culture of cars and surfing. Brian Wilson's growing creative ambitions later transformed them into a more artistically innovative group that earned critical praise and influenced many later musicians.[1]
The group was initially composed of singer-musician-composer Brian Wilson, his brothers, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. This core quintet, along with early member David Marks and later bandmate Bruce Johnston, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 1988. The Beach Boys have often been called "America's Band"[2][3][4], and Allmusic.com has stated that "the band's unerring ability... made them America's first, best rock band."[1] The group has had thirty-six U.S. Top 40 hits (the most of any U.S. rock band) and fifty-six Hot 100 hits, including four number one singles.[1] Rolling Stone magazine listed The Beach Boys as number 12 in the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[5] According to Billboard, in terms of singles and album sales, The Beach Boys are the No. 1-selling American band of all time.[6]
Many changes in both musical styles and personnel have occurred during their career, notably because of Brian Wilson's mental illness and drug use (leading to his eventual withdrawal from the group) and the deaths of Dennis and Carl Wilson in 1983 and 1998, respectively. Extensive legal battles between members of the group have also played their part. After the death of Carl Wilson, founding member Al Jardine was ousted by fellow-founding member Mike Love. Currently, the surviving members of The Beach Boys continue to tour in three separate bands - "The Beach Boys Band" with Love, Johnston, and a rotation of backing musicians, "Al Jardine's Endless Summer Band", and Brian Wilson with a band consisting of The Wondermints and longtime Beach Boys backup guitarist/singer Jeff Foskett.[7] Love retained the rights to the name "The Beach Boys" after a legal dispute.[4]


Garden Orb. . . .

Instead of completing my plant labels from twigs, I got a little side-tracked and ended up with this garden orb of grapevine. I probably won't get back to crafting for a few days. Today I am headed for the King Tut exhibit in Indy with my neighbor Ann and her family.

I've also been marking items off my "Things I Don't Want To Do" list. For example, I've made three trips to the dentist (only 1 to go if my last filling doesn't cause any problems), Termites treated at the Aurora property, roof-coated over porches at Aurora, Phone call to prosecutor's office (guy who took off with my $650 is being prosecuted, trial date 8/21/09), eyes tested and new contacts ordered (broke one against the faucet - never done that in the 50 years I've been wearing them). Only have 2 items left: call about repairing (if needed) and summer filling my propane tank and since I received a letter from my insurance company wanting to "talk" with me ----- I know that means an increase in premiums here at the farm!!!! Both of those items are very costly and I can't put them off any longer. That will start my day tomorrow. So don't be surprised if you see a little additional sarcasm in my posts.

Sieze the day!


My Wildlife Habitat. . . .

I have a small wooded area beside the house that I have now declared a "Wildlife Habitat". It is full of wonderful herbs and wildflowers. . . . . . plus.....I really don't want to mow around all the trees! So, I mow a couple winding paths for walking and imagine fairies, gnomes and other creatures living in the tall grasses. I'm looking for a rabbit of some kind to place beside a stump and brushpile. Then, another sign declaring that area as Uncle Wiggly's residence. . . . I used to love those books as a child. Uncle Wiggly lived in a hollow stump and brushpiles are excellent hiding places.


How I spent my summer vacation. . . . .

This is a view of one of the areas where I had trees planted. I have mowed between the rows but you can see that the trees are barely visible through the weeds still standing in the tree rows. I wonder if the $1,600 spent on spraying really did any good. Could there be more weeds if I hadn't sprayed?
Some areas are worse than others and I've been using the weedeater in those places. . . .remember, we're talking 20 acres here. Hopefully I will get enough trees dug out and they will grow tall enough this year that I can forget about them for the next 13 years.


I know there are fairies. . . . .

This young lady offered to be my tour guide at one of the Garden Walk homes. Here she had to pause to play at the Fairy Garden. I had a psychic reader tell me that I used to be a fairy......hmm, now you know why I don't do many readings. He also told me my home in Aurora would be sold by June....Maybe he was just a poor psychic. So, on to my next "fairy" encounter for today. I was listing a 1926 Youth Companion Magazine on my Artfire site, when I came across this poem:
I Know There Are Fairies
by Clinton Scollard
I know there are fairies, because I have seen of them
One who assurredly must be the queen of them!
Down in the garden, not far from the end of it,
Just where the curving path makes a broad bend of it,
As the gold prow of the shalloplike moon came up,
And the sweet voice of the woodthrush in tune came up,
There sat a creature in satin robes shimmery,
Hair like the daffodil glinting and glimmery,
Foxgloves and larkspurs and lilybells bowed to her;
Roses bent low in a radiant crowd to her;
Pansies turned faces upon her beguilingly;
Merry young marigolds greeted her smilingly;
Under the clouds dipped the moon for a minute then;
When it shone clearly the seat had naught in it then;
There were the flowers, each in everyday attitude;
She-----she had flown to some far-away latitude.
Yes, there are fairies, because I have seen of them
One whom I know was the beautiful queen of them!


Redneck riding mower?

The "riding lawnmower" above can be seen in Middletown. There are several other curiosities on display at this site which contains a lot of scrap metal items converted to yard ornaments. They are among a sign: Wanted yards to mow.


Decoration from Garden Walk

On Saturday, I worked and attended the Garden Walk in Pendleton. There were some beautiful yards with a lot of special touches. This is an example of a rhubarb leaf pressed into a cement cast and painted. This homeowner was the mother-in-law of my gourd patch hostess who had the fountain made from three of these in various sizes and stacked.


Toadstools. . . .

I painted my "toadstools" yesterday....I may give them a coat of polyurethane today. I'm not sure if I'll leave them in the garden or put them in the woods. Believe it or not, the weatherman says we may have 2 days before it rains again.


Learned something. . . .

Today, at Mounds park they were giving a demonstration on how to make a bracelet from basswoood, a product of the Linden tree. The bracelet was made using a technique called twining. It was simple. Fold the strip in half, twist to make a loop. From then on twist the top piece away from you, bring it forward and down. Now the other piece is on top. Twist it away from you, bring it forward and down. Continue this process while inching your thumb up on the finished area to hold it in place. There was some discussion about using Stinging Nettle for weaving. I guess the plant's stem will shred into long strips that can be used for twining.

Always room for more. . . .

There's a little town called Rising Sun south of Aurora. For as long as I can remember Chan has had this little enterprise going in front of her house. She puts her herbs and flowers on the picnic table and porch. If she's not there, just drop your money in the mailbox. I purchased some cinnamon basil, Greek fennugreek, toothache plant, sea grass (not sure what possessed me to buy this), sweet marjoram, true lavendar and anise hyssop. My herb collection continues to increase. I plan to make some labels today. I was thinking one of those enamel paint pens like they used to mark rejects at the factory might be a good permanent way to mark things.


Crafty driftwood. . . . .bugs, leaks, etc

I've been to Aurora again for a couple days for dental appointment and to check on the property. Bad news there. I noticed a roof leak over an overhang - not a shingled roof, but one of those metal covered with black goop. I thought it might be something I could fix myself....probably still will whenever it quits raining! But while investigating this....I notice that the termites I had treated the house for a couple of years ago, are back. They love the wet spot created by the leak. So, I had the pest man out and for .........$720 he will solve the problem! The aggravating thing is - last year I had the house pressure washed. I really think the goofballs pressure washed the old black goop off these porch areas causing the leaks! Guess I will just have to deal with it and hopefully get the house back on the real estate market. I don't do many psychic readings......but last year in connection with a medicine wheel reading - I asked this supposedly psychic guy about my house selling. He said, "Oh, don't worry about that. It will be sold by June....." I guess I had better get it back on the market if that is to happen.
As for the picture, there are two of these driftwood planters on a building in downtown Aurora. I like things made from driftwood and have brought several pieces back that I have collected along the river. I love to go driftwood hunting. The last time I did that I also found a book "Secret Societies" and a pair of pretty nice sunglasses. It's been too rainy of late to even get my work done - spraying, weeding, etc. There is also a bike trail close by and I hope to use it a time or two this summer.

Composting - worm farm . . . .

This is my shoebox worm farm. My neighbor, Ann, and I attended a program on composting at the Middletown library. About 30 people were present and we all made these mini compost boxes. I have to admit it was kind of fun. The lady who did the presentation was from the Waste Management District, New Castle. She was encouraging everyone to recycle their yard waste . . . . and just recycle everything. She quoted a lot of facts and figures.....I have forgotten the exact numbers, but I know yard waste was way up there percentage wise (70% +)in what is contained in dumps.

For attending, we will receive a free compost bin....they are supposed to call us when they come in......will have to post that later. We also got pencils, note pads and packets of flower seeds in addition to 4 fat red worms for our compost pile. I do remember she said to check our boxes in a couple days; we would have a lot more worms. I had no idea worms multiplied that fast.

Mini gourd. . . . .

This is a photo of a mini gourd wood burned by one of our members, Indiana Gourd Artist Joe Lee. This mini gourd is a ball-shaped egg gourd, an ornamental. It is about 1 3/8 inches tall and 1 3/8 inches wide. It is all wood burned and cute! It will make someone a nice little necklace! It will be a prize at this future event Raffle Gourds. I have posted it here to illustrate the talent present at the gourd meeting I attended. Regretfully, I did not take any pictures although I had my camera. I don’t know these people very well (yet) and was a little embarrassed to start snapping pictures. I wish I had.......probably will throw embarrasment to the wind the next time and snap away because I missed some nice photos.
The lady who hosted the party had a really beautiful yard. There was an orchard, a fountain (she made it by pressing huge rhubarb leaves in cement), a pristine garden, a section with big, natural rocks, metal kitchenware filled with plants, an old metal glider and lawn chairs . . . many special touches. Later she took us in the house to show her collection of gourds. I would love to have taken a few photos of those, too.
There were only 10 people present at the meeting. Several tools were available to be tried out and gourd shards were provided for crafting a name tag. Emphasis was on woodburning. Joe Lee who crafted the above mini gourd attends the Pendleton patch meetings and is kind enough to offer his help. He is quite an accomplished artist (more examples of his work can be seen under photos 2008 State Fair at this site Indiana Gourd Society - online Emily Wallace, our hostess, is shown here, too). Lee suggests using a variable controlled wood burner (I don't have one of these). He has offered to teach members how to size a geometric pattern and transfer it to a gourd for wood burning at the next meeting. I love the little miniature gourds he creates.
Note: The underlined red items are links to some interesting pictures.


gourd tag

This is my gourd name tag. It's a fun thing. I tried woodburning but I need to upgrade tools to produce professional results. So, I just did a little dremel, a little paint, a little glue, a few feathers. I can read the name, so I say Pass.


Good lady, Gourd lady . .. . .. . .. .

This is Millie and her new bossom buddy (I've forgotten the gourd lady's name). Millie won her in a drawing at our classmate monthly get together. She was made by one of the lady's talented sisters and Millie gets to keep her until our next get together. I am growing gourds this year, now if I could just make something this cute! I have joined the area Gourd Patch and hope to learn how to polinate the gourds and maybe hand train a few into some wild shapes. I mistakenly thought the meeting was last Saturday, but we will be getting together this Saturday to make gourd name tags.........I'll take my camera!


Aurora topiary. . .

This is a topiary giraffe on the streets of Aurora. I liked her hat and purse so I thought I would take her picture. There are several topiaries all around town as the result of a local florists attempt for Aurora to become somewhat of a tourist attraction known as "Aurora, city of topiaries."

Got a wart? Get Celandine. . . . .

This is a spring wildflower called celandine or golden poppy. I have many of them growing at the farm. I was reading the book called "The Secrets of Wildflowers" by Jack Sanders and came across the fact that there are doctors who prescribe Celandine to treat warts, just as herbalists did in ancient Greece and Rome, and during the Middle Ages.
The treatment is to pick celandine and frequently squeeze its orange yellow juice on your wart. I think it would be worth a try.


Another door replacement. . . .

The first photo shows the old storm door that was on the back garage door. Broken glass and all. I found a used storm door at a garage sale for $5. The stoop was rotten, too. But, finally, after a couple trips to Mennards and a little paint and lumber, I think I've made an improvement. That's what's wrong with this place. Everything is old and broken. Every place you look, something needs fixed. I am becoming one of those things.....old and broke.
Sieze the day!


Nettle Infusion. . . .

I gathered this basket of stinging nettle to make an infusion/tea. Here are the benefits of drinking this green plant:

To make a nourishing herbal infusion: Buy (or gather and dry) at least one ounce of nettle leaf or oatstraw or red clover blossoms or comfrey leaf. Place the ounce of dried herb in a quart jar. (One ounce equals one full cup of dried herb.) Fill jar to the top with boiling water. Cap tightly and allow to brew for at least four hours. Overnight is fine. Strain and drink 2-4 cups a day. Most menopausal women prefer their infusion iced, but you can drink it hot or at room temperature. A little mint or sage may be added to change the flavor.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) builds energy, strengthens the adrenals, and is said to restore youthful flexibility to blood vessels. A cup of nettle infusion contains 500 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of bone-building magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron, and zinc. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, D, E, and K. For flexible bones, a healthy heart, thick hair, beautiful skin, and lots of energy, make friends with sister stinging nettle. It may make you feel so good you'll jump up and exercise.

Urtica dioica
Stinging nettle is also known as Urtica dioica, and has certain therapeutic properties and the reported benefits of using it internally, in the form of a herbal tea (infusion) are listed below.
Stinging nettle is used for the following
Urtica dioica benefits:
breaking down arthritis crystals and gout
heavy menstrual bleeding
anti-allergy and hay fever
shrinking enlarged prostate
increased breast milk production
skin complaints including eczema
Which part to use for stinging nettle herbal tea
The young shoots are used for making the brew.
Making herbal tea
The standard way to make an infusion, unless otherwise specified, is to pour a cup of boiling water over the material to be infused, let it stand for 5 minutes, strain it, and drink it.
Fresh plant material
When the recipe refers to fresh plant material to be used, a 1/4 cup fresh material is used, following the method above.
Dried material
When the recipe refers to using dried material, use 2 teaspoons of material when making it.
Bark or seeds
Should the recipe call for bark or seeds to be used, use 2 teaspoons of seeds or 1 tablespoon of bark.
Sweetening your infusion
You could sweeten your health drink with honey, should you so require, and a dash of fresh lemon juice may also enhance the taste.
General warning when using herbal infusions
Only use the herbal material if you are 100% sure that it really the herb in question.
If you are ill or have any health concerns, consult your health practitioner.
Do not continuously drink the same infusion. At maximum use for 10 days and then skip 5 days.
Only have one cup of herbal infusion per day, except during acute periods - such as when you have a cold or flu, you can then have it three times a day, but for a maximum of 4 days.
When you use herbal remedies, be aware that they can be extremely powerful, and should you have any side effects when taking these infusions, immediately stop using the herb and consult your health practitioner right away.

This link here contains further info I want to use for reference. I will add a portion of this info below:

Nettle infusion:
Probably the most effective method of receiving the nourishing, medicinal properties of nettles year round is in an infusion. Harvest the nettles in late May through June, when they are tall and vigorous, down to one to two feet off the ground. Bunch the nettles in groups of three and dry by hanging, or in your oven using only the pilot light.

When the plant snaps easily at the thickest part of the stem, it is fully dry. Immerse one cup of dried nettle in a quart of boiling water and allow the infusion to sit for at least four hours. Strain the liquid and store in the refrigerator for several days. A standard dose is 2 cups of nettle infusion per day. If it’s been in the fridge for a few days, a quick sniff will let you know if the infusion has turned sour. If it has soured, it makes an excellent fertilizer for your plants, or a hair rinse that adds shine and texture.

A cup of this rich, green, velvety nettle infusion per day is deeply nourishing for women at any stage of life, for men, for the young and for the old. Yes, nettles are good for just about everyone.

Who would have thought that a lady with such a rough exterior could be such a sweetheart underneath?

Stinging Nettle Soup

This is considered a macrobiotic delicacy. Prepare this buttery soup as your next potluck dish—your friends will be very impressed!

½ medium onion
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
6 cups water or broth
3 cups nettles tops
sweet white miso, to taste

Sautee the onions and garlic in a little olive oil. Stir in your carrots and potatoes. After a few minutes, cover them with the water or broth (vegetable or chicken broth work beautifully).

If your nettle tops are small, you can put them in whole. If they’re larger than you would want to have on your spoon chop them coarsely before adding to the soup. Bring to a boil and let it all simmer for 35 to 45 minutes.

Dilute several spoonfuls of sweet white miso in some of the broth, and then add it to the soup bowls at the table (so the beneficial microorganisms don’t get cooked by the boiling temperatures). Makes a hearty meal with just some brown rice or bread and butter.


Legend in her own time. . . .

This is an old post card of Annie Oakley. It piqued my interest so I looked her up online. She joined the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show in 1886 and traveled with the show for 17 years. She performed in the United States, England, and Europe often with her husband Frank E. Butler. In 1926, after 50 happy years of marriage, the Butlers died. Annie Oakley died on November 3 and Frank Butler died November 21 - within three weeks of each other - both died of natural causes after a long and adventuresome life. Highlights of her life from the website http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/oakl-ann.htm

NAME: Phoebe Ann Oakley Mozee. She was named Phoebe Ann by her mother, but called Annie by her sisters. Annie promoted the Mozee spelling of the family name. While it has been variously recorded as Mauzy and Moses, Mosey is the version most commonly found in family sources. She took the stage name Oakley, reportedly after Oakley, Ohio.
BIRTH DATE: Aug. 13, 1860.
BIRTHPLACE: Patterson Township, Darke County, Ohio.
EDUCATION: Annie did not attend school.
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Quaker parents Jacob and Susan were originally from Pennsylvania. After a tavern fire ended their livelihood as innkeepers, they moved to a rented farm in Ohio. Father, who had fought in the War of 1812, died in 1866 from pneumonia and overexposure in freezing weather. Annie was the fifth of seven children. Her mother remarried, had another child and was widowed a second time. During this time Annie was put in the care of the superintendent of the county poor farm, where she learned to embroider and sew. She spent some time in near servitude for a local family where she met with mental and physical abuse. When she reunited with her family, her mother had married a third time.
DESCRIPTION OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Whether it be a pistol, rifle, or shotgun, the legendary markswoman Annie Oakley was masterful with them all. Dubbed "Little Sure Shot" by Chief Sitting Bull (she was 5 feet tall), her sharp shooting in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show won her many awards and captivated audiences far and wide. Her name remains synonymous with firearms and entertainment.
Born in a log cabin on the Ohio frontier, Annie Oakley began shooting game at age nine to support her widowed mother and siblings. She quickly proved to be a dead shot and word spread so much that at age sixteen, Annie went to Cincinnati to enter a shooting contest with Frank E. Butler (1850-1926), an accomplished marksman who performed in vaudeville. Annie won the match by one point and she won Frank Butler's heart as well. Some time later they were married and she became his assistant in his traveling shooting act. Frank recognized that Annie was far more talented and relinquished the limelight to her, becoming her assistant and personal manager. In 1885 they joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, run by the legendary frontiersman and showman Buffalo Bill Cody.
For seventeen years Annie Oakley was the Wild West Show's star attraction with her marvelous shooting feats. At 90 feet Annie could shoot a dime tossed in midair. In one day with a .22 rifle she shot 4,472 of 5,000 glass balls tossed in midair. With the thin edge of a playing card facing her at 90 feet, Annie could hit the card and puncture it with with five or six more shots as it settled to the ground. It was from this that free tickets with holes punched in them came to be called "Annie Oakleys." Shooting the ashes off a cigarette held in Frank's mouth was part of the Butler and Oakley act. In a celebrated event while touring in Europe, Wilhelm, Crown Prince of Germany, invited Annie to shoot a cigarette held in his own lips. Annie had Wilhelm hold the cigarette in his hand and not his mouth; she accomplished this challenge, as always effortlessly. In this period Annie Oakley was easily recognizable by the numerous shooting medals that adorned her chest.
In a train wreck in 1901, Annie suffered a spinal injury that required five operations and even left her partially paralyzed for a while. Although she recovered very well, Annie toured less frequently during the latter part of her career. Nonetheless, her shooting expertise did not wane and she continued to set records. In a shooting contest in Pinehurst, N.C. in 1922, sixty-two-year-old Annie hit 100 clay targets straight from the 16 yard mark.
Annie Oakley died of pernicious anemia on Nov. 3, 1926, in Greenville, Ohio, at the age of sixty-six. A legend in her own time, the remarkable life of Annie Oakley would be celebrated in the 1946 Herbert and Dorothy Fields musical Annie Get Your Gun.
In her life, Annie overcame poverty, mistreatment and physical injury with her determination and strength of character. She played a role in breaking barriers for women with her talent and accomplishments in her sport. She showed great compassion and generosity to orphans, widows and other young women.
DATE OF DEATH: Nov. 3, 1926, age 66.
PLACE OF DEATH: Greenville, Ohio.


No excuses. . .

I managed to put the bush hog on the tractor all by myself. Now, I have no excuses for not mowing the weeds in the bottom fields. Except maybe, it won't quit raining.

The sun is making balls of light all around this picture. I prefer to say it is my gaurdian angel helping and protecting me while I do my "farm thing".


I need to make a sign. . . . .No Cats!

I put this birdbath near the back kitchen door so I could see the birds up close when they came for a dip. That worked for only a short time. Now, that's where the cat hangs out!


Frog in a Flower. . . .

My friend, Millie, had promised to send a picture of her Chocolate Iris. When she went out to take the photo, she found a little tree frog nestled inside. I stopped over later in the day and this little guy was still there. Isn't this the neatest picture?


Toadstools, too cute. . . .

Outside the welcome center at Mounds State Park they have the neatest little garden for children. Areas for smelling, tasting, listening, and touching. Part of the garden includes Toadstool Alley. I'll have to find a couple old pots at a yard sale, but I think I need to make a couple of these for my garden.


Flower printing. . . . .

Well, here it is. My piece of work from the Flower Printing session at Mounds Park. It was kind of fun but as you can see, I need a lot more practice. It was an opportunity to see what flowers made nice prints. The dark green leaf was from clover.....guess it has a lot of juice. Actually, the class was given by a guy park person. I think it was more of an educational "how plants can be used for dyes" thing rather than an art lesson. We just laid down some flowers on a white cotton cloth, between 2 sheets of wax paper and pounded them with a hammer. Guess I got my dollar's worth.

Sieze the day!


Double-Duty Birdhouse. . . .

More crafting. . . . this birdhouse is made from a gourd. I wrapped the outside with vines then stuffed in the spaces with grass and other natural fibers. Hopefully some little bird will easily be able to build a nest with the materials so close at hand. I also put out the obligatory hummingbird feeder today.


Finally, I crafted something. . . .

I bought the smaller windchime for $1 at a flea market years ago. I really liked the soft tinkling sound the spoons made and keep this one in my herb garden. Yesterday I made the windchime on the right with a cream pitcher/gravy boat found at the Great State Road 38 Yard Sale. I don't know if they hold those events in your area, but the Great State Road 38 Yard sale is a weekend designated for everyone who lives on US State Road 38 - all across the state - to have a rummage, barn, garage, flea market sale. There is lots of advertising, lots of participation.