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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

...And Now... Butterflies and a Moth...

It's a really busy time here at The Sticks!  We are working hard to catch up on some outdoor projects that didn't get done in April.  Still getting garden plants into the ground, finishing out our KonMari in the shed, and getting the spring yard clean-up done.  Whew!

But there is always time to grab the camera and photo a few of the beautiful butterflies (and moth) hanging out in our yard.

Zebra Swallowtail

Painted Lady

Royal Walnut Moth 
(the caterpillar is the largest in N. America!)

OK... back to work!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sycamore Glow

Evening sunlight shining through the huge sycamore tree in our back yard.  I didn't realize how fuzzy the leaves are until I saw how the light made them glow.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Our First Week of Whole30 Eating

This has been an interesting week...

We were busy with a lot of away-from-home events so our meals were really simple... meat/eggs, veggies, potatoes.  A big ole pot of beef veggie soup was a life saver!

I have missed cheese mainly for the cooking aspect.  I miss sauces.  Surprisingly I'm not missing milk as much as I thought.  What I am really missing is my morning cup of tea.  Yes, I can have tea but no milk and no sugar.  However I can have nothing added fruit juice so hot apple cider is an option.  I also made a big pot of beef broth soup which I enjoy.

Himself is having a rough time having no cereal.  The man is a cereal addict (lovingly said...).  Seriously, he has 5 or 6 types of cereal open at one time.

Now that I am label reading, I am totally shocked at how much SUGAR is added to everything.  EVERYTHING I'm telling you!  It's starting to tick me off.

My biggest surprise was how TIRED I was.  Days 2 and 3 I was lethargic.  Zero energy.  Naps?  Yes, please!  I didn't feel bad but my batteries weren't charging.  Mentally I was foggy and very unfocused.  Days 4 and 5 were better, still tired but alert.

I am happy to say that the mean/hissy/gritchy moods that people warned of did not happen.  Nor did I have any headaches.

At one week, I'm getting back to 'normal'.

Himself had basically no reactions until day 5, then the TIRED hit him.  He's still dragging around.

A lifesaver for us has been that ghee/clarified butter IS compliant!  I made 4 pounds of ghee using the crock pot method.  That will last us for a while!  We are enjoying it so much that we will continue making it after we are done.

Day 4 we had a lunch out with a group.  Outside of a steak the only compliant thing on a 4 page menu was 2 salads.  Oh yippee.

We had an all day event on day 5 which included a breakfast and lunch.  We ate a big bowl of soup before we left and had no problem ignoring the breakfast of sweet rolls and donuts.  In fact, they didn't even look appealing.  For lunch I made us our own meal - fried chicken nuggets 'breaded' with almond flour (delicious!), raw carrots and celery, raisins, and pickled eggs.  The lunch served had a whole beef hot dog that was compliant and a hamburger so we enjoyed the meat without buns.  Also snagged some fresh sliced tomatoes and deli pickles.

Going into week 2 (with no obligations) I'm going to work on spicing up my cooking and doing some new recipes.  Homemade mayo is on that list.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens this week.  Maybe that extra energy I keep hearing about will show up!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Air-Layering: How To Get a Free Plant

Our last bonsai meeting had a really interesting class... one that was useful for anyone who likes to garden.  We learned how to 'air layer' a plant.  

Short version is that you can make roots grow from a branch of a woody plant.  Once the roots have come in, you cut it away from the original specimen and plant as normal.  Examples of plants that air layer well are rhododendron, azalea, holly, nut trees, fruit trees, citrus trees, roses, forsythia, boxwood, bald cypress, and many types of maple.

This is the demonstration tree.  That long trunk makes it a not good specimen for bonsai.

However...the top and the bottom would make good trees.  Seriously.

To start, get some sphagnum moss (the type for orchids is great) soaking in a bucket.

Now back to the tree.  You find the point where you want roots.  You MUST have leaves growing both above and below where you cut.

You take a sharp blade and cut carefully through the first 3 layers of bark, going all the way around the area.  Then you repeat about an inch below your first cut.

Then you scrape off the bark between those two cuts.  Go all the way down to the white wood part.

Next step is to take a piece of wire and tightly twist it around the middle of your scraped area.

Once done, heavily brush the area with rooting hormone.  Make sure it is the type for woody plants.

Take out a handful of the moss and sprinkle a bit of rooting hormone in the middle.

Then you wrap this wad of moss around the cut area of the tree and then wrap some cling wrap tightly around the moss and branch/trunk.  Make sure the wrap is above and below the moss.  Make a few small slits in the bottom of the cling wrap.

(An extra set of hands is very useful for this part...).  

Once it is wrapped, you then wrap a layer of foil around it for darkness.

Form a little cup at the top of the foil to capture moisture.

In about 8 weeks you should have little roots.  You can take the foil off to have a peek.  

Once you have a nice glob of roots going, cut it away from the parent.  Plant your new tree/bush in a nursery pot and take care of it until next spring. 

In the spring you will need to repot or plant it.  At that time you take off the wire and gently tease the sphagnum moss away from the now sturdy roots before you replant.

Finally... admire your new plant!

I'll be using this method on a lovely Japanese maple we have in the front yard.  It has some branches that need to be pruned.  Instead I will air-layer them and have new trees!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bonsai Eye-Candy

It's May so it is time for the Bonsai Club annual Open House at John W.'s bonsai garden.  That is John up above.

His trees are stunning.  Enjoy this peek into his bonsai nursery...

Amazing stuff, yes?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A 'Funky Monkey' in Madison (Huntsville), AL

Last weekend Himself and I took a little get-away to Madison/Huntsville, AL.  While there we had some time to kill and this little shop seemed just the place to stop!

Funky Monkey ( ) called us in with its crazy outside decor.

The tons of Japanese maples had their own siren song!

Looking for succulents?  They have some of the best I've ever seen.

Inside was fantastic too...

If you visit the Huntsville area and love a treasure hunt, I highly recommend a stop here!

Funky Monkey
7186 Hwy 72 W
Madison, AL

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

More Swaps

I've been having fun with my creative swaps.  Even tho I've not done as many as I hoped, I've done at least one set a month.  This batch I'm going to show you comes in all sorts of sizes.

Back in January I showed you my snowman for a post card (6x4) swap.

Here are the 4 post cards I received back:

Then in February there was the Artist Trading Card (3x2.5) swap with the theme "Sealed With A Kiss" (the creative piece had to feature a set of 'kissy lips').


And the ones I got back...

My last swap to show is from April.  It was a new size for me; an 'inchie'.  Each tiny little creative piece is only one inch square.  The theme was 'one word affirmations'.

This is mine.

Here are the 12 that came to me:

Sturdy -- Joy-Full -- You -- Gentle
This -- Beautiful -- Loved -- Exquisite
Curious -- Important -- Enough -- Good

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring Visitors

Before I even get going here, I apologize for the photo quality.  I'm shooting fast (before they are gone) through a winter dirty window...and sometimes in low evening light.  

But I'm sharing anyway because they make me happy!

Tripod is back, along with her daughter 4-Runner.  Both are fat with this year's fawns.

The indigo buntings have returned.

Mrs. Bunting.

One of our cardinals is busy...

...with two hungry mouths (the egg hatched the next day).

The is an American Tree Sparrow.  They next in the arctic circle!!

And this pretty boy is a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

I wonder what I will see next?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Good Eats at the Fried Pie Shop in Sikeston, MO

On our way home from Missouri in April, we decided a little treat was in order.  We were just hitting the Sikeston, Missouri area (home of the original Lambert's Restaurant) when our munchies hit.  Where would be a good place to stop?

A sign on the highway answered that question.  We'd never been there before but we decided it was certainly worth checking out.

Oh my goodness!

They had:


Chocolate cream
Coconut cream
Lemon cream
Vanilla cream.

And these are little kiddie pies either!  Take a look at that size.

I picked out peach for mine.

And Himself had the blackberry.

We'll be repeat customers...

They also have breakfast fried pies and savory fried pies (also known as pasties, bridies, etc.)

We'll be trying those on our next trip.