Monday, August 31, 2009

footprints in the sand

went to the beach today...saw these footprints: pterodactyl? heron, i hope!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

bird watching

i have been working on my laptop out in the yard all week now: its been hot but pleasant! i can tell summer is winding down because im seeing birds i havent seen in months suddenly super busy. the bald eagles have the nerve to try and get the osprey to drop its fish; the titmice, with chickadees in tow, are back; saw the kingfisher for the first time since may; the hummers are humming, and the summer tanager sits by himself above my bird bath! i saw a black-and-white warbler wrestling a cicada; a yellow-bellied sapsucker sucking sap and an indigo bunting taking a bath. i have never seen one of them before: they look like a blue cardinal! i couldnt snap a photo fast enough, but i think these earrings from one of my etsy shops represents! tweet!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

surfers united against sewage

i was born, raised and surfed in i am well aware of water quality issues. i just saw on current tv a pod re: u.k. surfers united against sewage. why is the government so negligent everywhere? do they want the majority of us ill, or better yet: dead?

Friday, August 28, 2009


woke up this morning and the first thing i did was check on my butterfly babies. the eleven caterpillars ate every bit of green from my fennel plant, stripping it down to a white carcass. today, the beasts were gone, but in the place of four of them were these awesome chrysalis! wow! metamorphosis rocks!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

butterfly babies?

in one of my large containers i am growing fennel: its modern; its sculptural; its delicious! this week i noticed some lumps on it that were moving: black swallow-tail butterfly caterpillars!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

finch seed socks

my mother-in-law turned me on to these seed socks: it attracts goldfinches like crazy! warning: it also attracts squirrels.

how do you make hummingbird nectar?

i am sitting outside writing posts for my various blogs and the ruby throated hummingbirds are buzzing all around me! they seem to alternate guarding my new feeder for themselves: sitting on a branch til another hummer approaches then chasing them off with a chirp. the video above, from tharulla, illustrates perfectly what im seeing and hearing! they share the feeder with much reluctance with the carpenter bees however, giving them as much space and time as they want. my nectar mix is getting low, so i was wondering if i could make it myself. 1-part granulated sugar to 4-parts water boiled and cooled without food coloring seems to be the consensus for maintaining healthy hummers. raw honey or turbinado sugar would have been my guess, but honey promotes the growth of microorganisms that could cause disease in the little birds, and raw sugar has too much iron which can be deadly to a hummingbird. so, into the kitchen to make my tiny woodland friends a delicious energy drink!

mini cactus planter

i saw this crazy cactus planter earlier today in the giddyspinster's shop on etsy and i thought "what a great way to recycle your old ho shoes!".
the stiletto shoe has since sold but the giddyspinster has other surprises in her cute shop of upcycled treasures.

Monday, August 24, 2009

how to dress a cabana

if i ever had a modern cabana in miami, i would put this modular chaise in it. does it rock? that would be cool.

coolest tree house ever!

this is the coolest tree house i have ever seen! well, it actually looks more like a tree-top house, since it stands on it's own legs: whatever, it is fantastic! designed by the creative people at baumraum and seen on the contemporist. so great!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

culinary arts festival at the botanic gardens

the united states botanical garden is celebrating the relationship of plants, food and culture today at their culinary arts festival. no reservations are required to enjoy edible demos, delicious tastings and the beauty of a series of highly stylized garden rooms. the botanic gardens are awesome anyway, so head over there 10-3 today and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


webEcoist is a really cool website that covers "sustainable living, green design and environmental oddities" in a good, not freakish, way. earlier this week they had a gorgeous posting entitled "45 colorful uninhabited places to see before you die": maybe some are near you, or you have already been there so you can cross them off of your bucket list. check it out! on the theme of our lovely colorful world: i shot the photo above on my lame iphone camera last friday night looking up the potomac river on the virginia side of the chesapeake bay.

today's menu includes stuff from the garden!

with all of this year's personal gardening disasters, there has been some success! the square foot garden i planted ten days ago is doing quite well (?). im not sure why: its august, 96° and we haven't had rain in a while, but i'm just going with it! i thinned the arugula and used the micro-greens along side tomatoes grown in sandy loam from my coastal virginia farmer o'bier to top off today's tuna-fish sandwich: super yummy! not sure if i can do anything with the beet greens i also thinned: i will let you know!

Monday, August 17, 2009

garden upcycling tip: rubber hose chair

my garden hose is one-hundred feet in length and constantly gets kinked while trying to water my pots and containers around my little yard. today i tried to rinse the rotten egg from my black lab's back after he rolled in it (?) and had no flow! so, i have to replace it with something shorter and less kinkable. no need to trash the current hose, though: i can make a few pieces of garden furniture! the chair above was featured on the contemporist and instructions to make it appear on i like the idea of running water through it!

ban plastic bags

Today i received my order from peapod grocery delivery service. my $100 worth of groceries arrived in 22 plastic bags! i was so disgusted i had to snap a photo, shoot an email to giant foods (owner of peapod) and then blog about it!
plastic bags were introduced 25 years ago, and are currently consumed at an astounding rate of about 500 billion per year globally, or 1 million per minute. An estimated 5 billion bags end up as windblown litter each year. Single-use plastic grocery bags were the second most common form of litter, right behind cigarette butts at the 2008 International Coastal Cleanup Day sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy, a marine environmental group. These bags that take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade often end up in waterways or the landscape, eventually degrading water and soil as they break down into tiny toxic bits. "Single use plastic bags which choke marine life, should be banned or phased out rapidly everywhere. There is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme. Large amounts of carbon dioxide are released during the manufacture, transportation, and disposal of plastic bags.
In March 2007, San Francisco became the first US city to ban plastic bags from large supermarkets. Under their legislation, large markets and pharmacies will have the option of using biodegradable bags made of cornstarch or bags made of recyclable paper or reusable cloth. Similar legislation has been successful in countries and cities around the world. The Irish government introduced a plastic bag tax (PlasTax) last year that has slashed consumption over 90% and raised $9.6 million for environmental and waste management projects. Washington DC has approved similar legislation. Tanzania, South Africa, Taiwan, Singapore, Bangladesh, Zanzibar, and Rwanda have all banned or are moving towards banning plastic bags. Los Angeles' ban takes effect next year. China's bag ban saved 1.6 million tons of oil.
This is the direction we should all be moving in.

Friday, August 14, 2009


i managed to get some carrots from one of my raised beds. i started seedlings in february and harvested 'chantenay', 'yellowstone' and 'purple haze' today. they all taste good (despite their convoluted appearance) and the 'purple haze' has purple and orange-red rings when sliced: i am impressed!


i grew a singular cabbage in my sad little veggie garden! it looks nice and big in this photo, but is only about 6" long, including the stem: think i will make myself a bowl of coldslaw!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

moon and stars watermelon.

a picked this beautiful watermelon from my ill-fated vegetable garden: sweet! this is an heirloom variety (read: "with seeds") called 'moon and stars'. last week, there were two! im not pointing fingers or anything because the bed does look abandoned:(. no worries: there are babies! here is tip from the locals: sit developing squash, pumpkins, melons, etc. on upside down aluminum pie tins to prevent moisture and/or insect damage. none here, though!

insect invasion

insects,garden,gardening organic,butterflies,moths
these are some of the insects i see in my garden.

living green tip of the day: compost in a can!

compost piles can be so unsightly! i compost all of our fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grinds and non-weed garden waste in a plastic trash can! the idea first came about when the sanitation engineers that pick up are trash on mondays knocked the wheels off of one of our large plastic trash cans. it seemed a waste to throw away such a big container, so i drilled holes all over it, found a bungy cord to secure the top and began to fill it with my debris. a few weeks later, i was making compost tea and side dressing my vegetables! the can i bought to replace the wheel-less one (now the compost bin) was also seperated from its base, so it also has been converted to a composter: now i have one "working" (not accepting more scraps) and one "filling" (accepting scraps). i freeze the compostable additives before putting them in the can: it seems to help break it down faster. after putting a week's worth of stuff into the can, i secure the lid and roll it around the yard, sometimes rotating it upside down a week at a time. it works great and eliminated about 50% of our trash headed to the landfill. give it a try!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

perseid meteor shower is out of this world!

last night's episode of the perseid meteor shower was kind of awesome, but then the clouds moved in. tonight is supposed to give the u.k. the premier view, but i would like another shot at the shower if we get clearer skies tonight-after some thunderstorms pass through. this video was shot by tmophoto.

iris alert

when we bought the place, there was this very small patch of beautiful green and blue mini iris-type leaves near the entry steps: a few weeks later lovely little purple flowers shot up! after four years, the patch has spread to about 2'x3' and its annual blooms are one of spring's highlights around here! i had never seen the plant sold anywhere, so i planned on digging and dividing it this fall. searching sunshine farm & garden's website this afternoon, i see they are selling it! it is called iris verna, and it is a native species wild flower to many east coast and mid atlantic states. i ordered a bunch for the upcoming river bed garden, but i think i will still divide the patch i already have.

Monday, August 10, 2009

heuchera is hot for shade

im in the beginning stages of plant selection for the "river bed" garden that actually is a storm drainage ditch for potomac river overflow: this is part of my overall rain garden project. i have ordered a large quantity of heuchera 'oakington jewel from sunshine farm & gardens in west virginia. i love the heavily veined foilage and think the silvery leaf color will shine in this shaded garden!


euphorbia is one of my favorite plants because they have a modern, sculptural look i really dig. i already have 'martini' growing in my front yard in kensington, but decided i needed 'jessie' while researching the post below. this gorgeous, tall blond has been patented by barry @ sunshine farm & garden and will look fantastic where ever i decide to put it... and it works perfectly with this year's hot color trend!

sunshine farm & gardens

barry, the proprietor of sunshine farm & gardens always has something new to show me: this time, its a phreakin phabulous phlox! Phlox paniculata 'Jeana': what a beauty!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

square foot gardening

inspired by my post below and discouraged by the state of my large vegetable garden, i started a square foot garden last friday with twenty spaces: arugula, beets, some peppers and swiss chard have already popped up! maybe this will work!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

sunflowers galore

never really thought about how sunflowers were grown commercially, though i have volunteers here in kensington. this photo was shot in heathsville, virginia.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

how do you tell the age of a tree?

i really do feel badly about having to cut the large red oak was the last big tree in the yard. now that it is down, i wondered how old it was, how do you tell the age of a tree? tree rings! (thank god for the internet!) apparently, it is over 85 years old. wow! the house was built in 1901, the tree was apparently planted by a flapper! so cool!

Monday, August 3, 2009

gnome knapping

a few months ago i reported on the guerrilla gardener who placed the fantastic 'reading' gnome in a tree hollow. well, just like molly, somebody stole him. today i saw this sign face down.:(

red oak down

anyone need some fire wood? i hated to take this big tree down, but it was so scary every time a storm kicked up: it was too close to my house, leaned toward my neighbors house and dropped large branches every year. the econoclypse made the price right, most importantly: 9 grand was a little over the top! now the way is cleared for the addition: pressures on!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

flower of the month: poppies!

august is my favorite month for a lot of reasons!
horticulturally speaking, poppies are august's flower.
i made this ring from a poppy stem cast in sterling silver.