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My Blog

February 2014

Saving Greens$$

Well, good morning to all.  I am sitting in my chair looking out as the sun is rising and contemplating the day.  It is still frigid and snow is expected to fall.  REALLY?  Spring where are you?  As I turn my head away from the window, I see my Holiday tree that I have decorated with shamrocks, miniature beer steins, leprechaun hats and coins.  That certainly makes me think I need to go over my Irish stories and lore's for up and coming tellings. 
Today's blog baffled me a bit, trying to decide on today's topic was a bit perplexing.  But after a bit of deliberation I decided to continue on with yesterday's topic with a twist.  The green shamrocks on my tree made me think of the color and something new I had learned about and though that I would share. On my kitchen window sill I have a make  shift feeder that I keep filled each day.  I actually read that you can put egg shells out for them to feast on.  they actually get calcium from the cleaned shells.  Well, on the sill by the window...I of course have several statues of birds, a small sugar bowl shaped like a bird house with a sparrow perched on it, a St Francis ornament with a bird on his hand and also a sweet ornament of a birdhouse with a bird that was painted by my friend Phyllis.  I love when I receive something from someone.  Each day, as I go to the window...it makes me think about my friend and just makes me smile.  Now also on that window is a small jelly jar with green onions growing out of it.  The green has been growing there through the whole winter.  It was a bright spot amongst all the snow piled up out doors.  I recently found out that if you cut the green onions for cooking..if you are like me...have thrown the rooted ends in the garbage.  Well, one day I read that you can place them in water and regrow the onions.  I thought well, what have I got to lose?  So I cut my onions up for a chicken salad I was making and placed the roots into the glass of water.  Lo and behold they began growing.  They really do suck up quite a bit of water...so I add a little each day to the glass.  They grow rather quickly and before long...I have a new set of onions.  Now, as they grow...so do the roots.  It was amazing how long and tangled they become.  I thought...well, I'll try cutting the roots down to about an eighth of an inch and see what happens.  Worse comes to worse, I will just chop up the greens and add them to a meal.  Well, it turns out that they continued to grow!  Now green onions are not the only thing you can regrow.  You can also regrow celery.  I have not only regrown the celery, but when I cut off the stalks, I tie a heavy rubber band around the bottom, slap on some paint and stamp it onto fabric.  I have used both a
shirt or pillow case...it creates a rose.  I then use paint from a bottle to squiggles some outlines and viola...a 3D rose.  I use Deco Art Americana So-Soft Fabric paints for fabrics. 
Now I know I was on the Green thing...but you can also do the same with  garlic, leeks, bok choy, romaine lettuce, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, scallions, fennel, lemongrass, ginger and pineapple.  That a fun way to recycle and reuse!  It is also a great project to do with you children and grandchildren.  It is like a 2 for one sale.  Not only that you can reuse and reuse again and again.  Now not all of the items that I have listed get grown on the window sill, they must get replanted in the ground...but isn't that a cool way to get the most of of your money.  Talk about saving GREEN$$$!

Egg-citingly Preparing for Spring

Good morning to everyone.  It has been quite sometime since I have had the opportunity to write down some thoughts and missed so many wonderful days and opportunities and topics.  I think that the time I missed the most was during the holiday season.  Well, we all learn that you cannot cry over spilt milk and that we all must deal with whatever falls in our way.  So I will now step down off my soap box and move on. 
I know that living in the Midwest this year has been a totally brutal experience, but as I have watched the maps and listened and watched the news...it has been a really crazy winter all across our country.  I am very tired of the cold and the snow.  I really want to thing spring at the moment and how I can prepare for it. 
One of the things that I have decided to do was to begin some seeds for planting.  I was recently reading an article on eggs...I know...where is she going with this?  Well, I know that I have copied my grandmothers habits through the years and crumbled up egg shells and thrown them into my dirt.  I never gave it a great deal of thought...if Grandma did it...there must be something to it.  Turns out, I was right...Grandma did know everything.  The eggs in the dirt gives your tomato plants a calcium boost....and  if you sprinkle it around your plants...slugs and snails don't want to cross over the sharpened edges. 
I remember Grandma used to take out her giant Coffee pot every morning and make this huge pot of coffee on the stove.  I remember she always puts egg shells in the grounds...but I never knew why...it was just a natural thing in our house. I now find out that the egg shells in the coffee grounds reduces bitterness. 
Now, I never thought much more about the eggshells except to toss them in the compost or dirt...but I now discovered that you can use your egg shells to start your seeds in.  A little dirt in the shell with you seed and cover it lightly...set it right into your egg carton and viola...you have your decomposable seed starter that didn't cost you anything...plus, once it is in the ground later...it only adds more nutrients to the earth.

Now if that wasn't enough, you can use  them as a first aid treatment.  Fresh egg membranes applied, then allowed to dry, will draw minor infections: splinters, pimples, boils, etc.
My Grandmother kept eggshells covered with water in a mason jar which she used to water her African violets.  She kept them on the window sill in the pantry off of the kitchen.  They were always something wonderful to look at.  Those of you have followed my blog know I collect teapots and I have on display right now all the teapots with violets on a special shelf this month with a matching liner made for me by a dear friend.  I cannot help to remember Grandmas shelf of violets each time I gaze over at it.  My favorite candy is also the violet candies...which are so difficult to find these days.  The other day I made a trip into the gift shop at the hospital while my friend was in surgery just to see whether they carried them.  I have found that for some reason, some hospitals do carry them...but alas, I left disappointed.  I will have to keep my eyes open.  I love to pick them up not only for me, but also for my granddaughters who are now also addicted to them.  A great little treat to send them in the mail. 
Well, now that I have shared some egg-citing new ways to use egg shells and get prepared for spring...it is onto the task at hand.  I have ordered seeds that have no GMO and am ready to begin.  I just hope Mother nature and Father Frost think so as well. 

The Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Good Morning...it seemed to me that it has been forever since I was able to blog due to technical difficulties with my web host. I was pleasantly surprised...after a discussion with one of their staff yesterday....after many conversations with other staff members...that this morning as I went to transfer each and every past blog onto a new page which we had decided would be the simplest way to fix the problem...to find that my blog has reappeared.  It is like Christmas day.
I hope that after all these months of being unable to blog and be part of your life, that I have still captured many of you as my blogger friends to stick this out with me. 
Why such an unusual title?  I felt it very fitting for many reason.  With my blog returned, I felt that I have finally reached the other side.  In my life over the past few months, the same has happened.  As I sit here and contemplate how grateful I am to have been able to cross that bridge. 
I have had some really crazy events that have seemed to take over these last few months...with illness hitting some very dear friends. 
That bridge between life and death is a long bridge sometimes.  I have seem many cross it, some have begun the journey and others hold their breath waiting to see if their journey will begin.  We will all cross that bridge at one point and time in our lives...but for me today, the question is./..just how troubled do the waters have to get? 
This has been the toughest few weeks for me to look at.  Not that I am walking the bridge, but with a few friends having medical difficulties, I am pressed to look at the possibilities. 
I sat yesterday in a hospital with a friend while her mother and my dear friend underwent surgery.  Now, this was for a shattered shoulder that was the outcome from a fall on some black ice.  As I sat, I contemplated the possibility of that 82 year olds journey.  She is feisty,  vibrant, energetic, and full of life...but in those moments vulnerable to the possibility of not making it through the surgery. It is a certainty that each time we undergo a surgical procedure that something might go wrong. But in those hours, I realized just how fragile life can be.  that it is held by such a simple string.  Life is like the helium balloon that simple is held down by it's string.  One mall snip and it is off and flying away.  Now my friend made it through with flying colors and by the time I left the hospital had loads of color back in her face and was eating and drinking and doing well.  Might not seem to the average person like an overwhelming feat....but after the past month, having another friend diagnosed with cancer in the lungs, Then to only hear that it had mastasized over the the stem between the lungs and had a few other questionable shadings, yesterday was a piece of cake.  Now the other friend was out of town and had to return home to see doctors and specialists.  In the midst of traveling to a specialist one morning, she was called back to the office of another specialist to be told that the additional films showed cancer in the brain.  A very large tumor in the brain and more all around.  She underwent surgery on last Monday as we all say and prayed and held our breath.  She came through the surgery and is doing well, with the next steps to follow.  Her journey will be long and hard.  Her waters are rough and choppy under her bridge.  I sat and considered just how fortunate I am.  With all the aches and pains in life, my journey is what God has choosen to make it.  It is not only that, but also how well I am able to handle it.  As I have sat through watching my friends, I thought about how strong we all are.  How blessed we all are.  I was comforted by countless numbers of people who joined in prayers for their recoveries.  That might not seem like much to some, but for me...it was like armor.  I was surrounded by STEEL.  It wook a long time to get the meaning of STEEL MAGNOLIA'S.  We may seem like just weak women.and even men.  Delicate in our lives, yet when faced with adversity..we are armored with the strength and faith of family, friends and strangers. That bridge over troubled waters comes to us all at one point in time...today I am thankful that there is a bridge to cross over instead of just the troubled waters.  I am grateful that we all have a bridge.  For each of us who have watched someone we love go through difficult times, become despaired and suffer, I hope that you are as fortunate as I am.  To be surrounded by faith.  I hope that you too will take the time to realized how fortunate you are to have a bridge to get you trough those rough days. 

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