Window Garden for a Black Thumb!

January 28, 2012

I read about doing this somewhere and couldn’t resist giving it a try.

After using the top of a bunch of green onions, put the white bulbs in water and grow your next bunch!

This was taken two days after I put them in the water, and you can already see new growth.

And this is two weeks after I started it!

Hmmm.  I’m not sure what to do now.  I have fresh green onions, but I don’t need green onions very often.  I guess I should have thought of that before I started this project.

But I’m still thrilled with my “window garden”.  I actually grew green onions!

Blue View

April 3, 2011

Spring’s coming — Monday in the 60’s.  Finally!

Hi, ‘drangea, you’re lookin’ good!

July 16, 2010

I received a potted hydrangea as a gift last year.  I love them but have heard that they are hard to raise, so I’ve never tried.

But since I had the potted one, after it was done blooming, I stuck it in the ground with the idea that if it was going to die anyway in the house, I might as well give it a fighting chance outside!

Well, it took full advantage of that chance and this year  i.t  i.s  b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l (with absolutely no help from me).

I planted it right outside the living room window — not because of any grand plan, but just because that was where there was a spot for it, and that it is a fairly shady spot.  But now, I’m so glad it’s right there where I can catch a glimpse of it often during the day.  It always gives me a lift.

The two pictures directly above were taken two weeks apart. I was hoping that as the bush filled out, the blooms would become more evenly distributed all over the plant.  But that hasn’t happened.  It’s interesting to note that the blooms continue to be almost entirely on the side of the plant that faces west.  I’m guessing that has something to do with the amount and direction of sun different parts of the plant get.

I first really noticed and became a fan of hydrandea’s like this about 10 years ago when Hubby and I were attending a conference in Columbus, Ohio and I went on a garden walk through the Germantown section.  I saw several of these and was just struck by how beautiful they were.  The way the blossoms turn from pink to blue to lavender fascinated me.

I recently read that hydrangea’s love acidic soil so you should water them with water laced with ammonia.  I’ll have to try that to see if I can actually get mine to stay around (and bloom!) for more than just this year.

Curiosity may have killed the cat . . .

December 22, 2009


but it only slightly wounded me . . . in the pocketbook.

   This is, for you less curious sorts, a horned melon.

“Why on earth would you buy something called a horned melon?”, you would ask.

And I would answer, “I was taken in and dazzled by the slick perveyors of exotic fruit at Christmas-time at the super store!”  I can picture that when the produce manager was making an end-of-day inventory and realized one of these had been sold, he chuckled to himself and thought, “I can’t believe some poor schmuck actually bought one of those!”.

But, in my mind, it must be good, or they wouldn’t sell it, right?  When you look at it, can’t you just picture natives on some tiny, isolated island where this is the main edible vegetation, enjoying roasting these over campfires or simmering them with some native grasses and a few grasshoppers for a hearty stew?  Me too.

So, I took my horned melon home thinking, while I wouldn’t do any roasting or stewing, I would eat some of it in all its freshness with a sandwich for lunch.

A little background:  When I was little and we ate watermelon, there were lots of seeds in it (back then they would have just laughed that someone would even try to grow a seedless watermelon!).  So you learned very young to do some sorting in your mouth — you sorted out the seeds, spit them on your plate and then savored and swallowed the delicious pulp.

So, while I could see the seeds were plentiful in this fruit, I was undeterred.  I would simply apply what I had learned in childhood and do some in-the-mouth sorting and spitting (in a very ladylike manner, of course) in order to enjoy this exotic new fruit.

Unfortunately, as I believe I have mentioned before, my mind tends more toward the creative side and not so much to the analytical/mathmatical side.  So, there is a ratio thing going on here that hadn’t occurred to me.  When I attempted to eat this fruit, it was practically all seeds, with just a bare minimum of melon holding them together.  I only ate one slice.  And ate probably isn’t the appropriate word.  Because by the time I spit the seeds out, there wasn’t anything left to eat!  The horned melon went in the trash.

And now, when I walk past the horned melon display in the produce aisle, I smile a knowing smile and keep on walking!  That slick produce manager has put one over on me for the last time!

“Oh, wait a minute, what’s that ugly brown thing with wrinklely skin over there on the next aisle?  I wonder how that tastes?”

Curiosity may not have killed this “cat” yet, but hopefully she’ll learn her lesson before she uses up all her lives!

Fall Backwards

November 3, 2009







Catching a picture of Fall foliage in a rear view mirror (because I had thought this would be a verrrry clever title for a post, but, obviously, needed a picture to make it work) was much harder than I anticipated. 

After trying unsuccessfully to get the picture in the mirror on my side of the car, I found out that the view/angle was better in the one on Hubby’s side.  But, of course, in order to take one over there, I had to ask him to hold the steering wheel at the bottom in order for me to have a clear shot, while I rested the camera on his shoulder and took the picture.  I think (no, I’m sure!) he got a little tired of the request, because I took many.  Unfortunately, afterwards, when I looked at the pictures, most of them, while colorful, showed how dirty the mirror was … somewhat distracting.  So, I’ve used these because they are the most colorful of those that didn’t show how dirty the mirror was!

Where I saw beauty …

September 17, 2009


… he saw trouble.


When playing golf the other day I noticed this at the base of a tree.  One of my friends told me that the berries are poisonous, but I told her I wasn’t seeing it as pie material, I just loved its colors.

I brought a stem home to take a picture of it.  But, by the time I got it home it was droopy, so I put it in a vase of water to revive it before I took pictures.

When Hubby came home, he looked me up in the bedroom where I was reading in my favorite chair.  And said, “Why in the world is a weed sitting in a vase in the kitchen?”

What he saw was a pesky weed that he had grown up on the farm helping his dad fight to keep from invading the crops.

What I saw was beautiful color and graceful lines in a plant I didn’t remember ever seeing before.

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Flying PB and J

August 4, 2009


For many of the years that Hubby and I flew on airlines, meals were a given.  Then they started being “iffy”.  While they hadn’t yet admitted that they were systematically eliminating meals from flights, it seemed that airlines would “conveniently” schedule flights between meal times so that they could justify just  giving passengers snacks.

Along with all the other flyers we grumbled, but what could you do?  What you did was that you bought your meal in whatever airport you happened to be laying over in at meal time.

But then, one memorable time, our meal time lay-over was in the Atlanta airport, which was in a major renovation.  The time between our flights was fairly short, so we would just grab something quick to eat along the concourses between the gates. 

Ha!  That’s what we thought!  Not one place was open that sold not only meals but not even a candy bar!  We had to get on our next flight without having eaten anything.  Where, of course, we were served just peanuts and soft drinks.

When we got home, I promised myself  I would guard against that happening again if at all possible.

So, from then on, on our way home, I would always make sure I had a couple of candy bars in my purse.  And, when leaving on a trip from home, I always put a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my purse or carry-on.

And, as frequently happens, once I had prepared for it, we were never in a totally-without-food situation again.  Sometimes just being prepared for something seems to ward off the actual occurrence, don’t you think?  So, I like to think of all those wasted PB&J sandwiches as valuable preventative measures.

But, one thing I learned from this strategy is how fragile a PB&J sandwich is!  By the time I would throw it away in the wastepaper basket in our hotel room, it was an ugly brown and purple mass of dough, that I’m sure grossed out any maid who happened to see it when emptying the trash!

I sincerely believe that alot of peace of mind comes from having a Plan B … and, in this case, Plan B was a PB&J sandwich!

Got Rhubarb?

May 19, 2009



I guess you either love rhubarb or hate it.  It was an acquired taste for me as an adult but now I love it, and, to me, it is another “sign of spring”. 

At the farm, we had a row of rhubarb all along one side of the barn, and each spring I would make at least one dessert out of it, and various friends and family would come over and use some of it too.  And, let’s face it, I got so I took it for granted.  But now that we have moved away from it, I have missed the rhubarb.  Yes, I could buy some at the store, but it’s really hard to pay for it when it was free for so many years!

So, I was delighted when, a couple weeks ago, one of Hubby’s golfing buddies gave him some rhubarb.  I immediately remembered the following recipe that I had cut out of the newspaper and decided to try it. 

 I was intrigued by this recipe because you sprinkle the rhubarb with soda to cut the tartness in order to use less sugar.  We liked it, so I thought I would share it here.

Lower-Sugar Rhubarb Cobbler  (6 servings, 4 WW points)


1 ½  lbs. rhubarb, cut in ½ in. pieces

1/8 t. baking soda

1 C. flour

¾ C. sugar, divided

1 T. + 1 t. butter, softened

2 t. baking powder

½ t. salt, divided

½ C. water plus ¼ C. boiling water

 Heat over to 400 degrees.  Place rhubarb in an 8×8 baking dish and sprinkle with baking soda.  Set aside.

 Combine the 1 C. of flour, ¼ C. of the sugar, the 1 T. of butter, the 2 t. baking powder and ¼ t. of the salt in a medium bowl.  Stir in the ½ C. of not-boiling water until the mixture is crumbly.  Set aside.

 Combine the remaining ½ C. sugar, 1/4 t. salt  and1 t. butter in a small bowl.  Mix until crumbly and set aside.

 Pour the ¼ C. of  boiling water over rhubarb.  Top evenly with flour mixture* and then sprinkle with the sugar/butter mixture.

 Bake until bubbly and beginning to brown, 35-45 minutes.

 * Sandra’s Note:  The flour mixture doesn’t expand or spread at all, so put it on just how you want it to look.  I put it on in “glops” which wasn’t as attractive as I would have liked when it was finished.  Next time I do it, I will spread the topping a little more evenly.

We really liked this cobbler.  I hope you do too!

By the way, when we were at the Amish farm buying a couple of tomato plants recently, I saw rhubarb plants for sale. 

P1010772   So, we bought one and Hubby planted it under a sunroom window so that we can easily see it and remember to water it. 

P1010771    Hopefully in a few years, we’ll have a patch of our own rhubarb again!

Spring Memories of Lilacs

May 16, 2009


When we lived at the farm, we had a huge lilac bush (at least 7 ft. tall) in the yard.  And every year at this time, I would cut branches from it and put them in vases in the house.  What wonderful memories I have of our big old farm house in the spring, with windows open, a light breeze blowing through, and the scent of those lilacs permeating the house.

So, a few years ago we put in a miniature lilac bush at this house, but until now it had always been sort of scrawny and only had a few very small blooms on it.  But this year, (maybe because we have had lots of rain) it has finally come into its own!



This year it has produced large enough blooms and enough of them, that I could actually cut some and bring them in the house!

P1010835(2)   I love Spring and I will always associate it with the scent of lilacs.

Ice Can Be Beautiful . . .

December 20, 2008


 . . . but it can be destructive too.

We had an ice storm night before last, making  yesterday  a combination of a winter wonderland, extensive tree damage and power outages.

The power outage started about 6 a.m. involving a large part of the city, including us.  

100_4404  Every home around the lake was dark, except for the Christmas tree in that one.  Do you suppose it is battery powered?  Or are they using a generator to keep their tree on?  For whatever reason, it stood out in the darkness.  (Unfortunately, I had to magnify it so much to show the tree, that it’s blurry.)

100_4336d1  Remember this picture from a few night’s ago of the display in the neighbor’s yard?

100_4419f    Well, now a tree near the display is laying over on it, because of the heavy ice.


100_4475  Fortunately, this little tree of ours is only a couple years old.  Not big enough to have big branches to be weighed down by the ice.  Young enough to still stand up straight and look pretty with it’s icy dressing! (But, I notice the lovely evergreen across the street is leaning a little with the weight of the ice on its boughs!)

 100_4462f1 I like the “abstract-ness” of these photos of a bush taken through the ice on the sun room door.


100_4488t  The ice on the arbor was beautiful in it’s uniformity.



100_4485f  I think it’s interesting that the “ripples” in the ice on the lake give the illusion of open water.


100_4486d  I wonder if it was seeing bushes like this that first gave people the idea of hanging silver icicles on Christmas trees.  That would be my guess.

100_4544tg  Those are water drips just above the little everygreen.  At a friend’s home, water was dripping from the gutter directly onto that little bush, methodically thickening it’s icy coat. 


100_4494df1   100_4495g


The ice from the storm may be new, but the lake has been frozen solid for a few days now.  So, the ice fisherman are doing what they love to do.

100_4382x  You would never get me out there in that cold to fish, but when one of them says, “Come down for a fish fry!”, I’m perfectly happy to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Happy Saturday.  And, remember, if you get lemons make lemonade, but if you get ice, fish!  Right guys?