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.