Birds, Butterflies & Gardens *Weekend Open Thread*

by

 

Kiss of the sun for pardon.
Song of the birds for mirth.
You’re closer to God’s heart in a garden
Than any place on earth. 

Dorothy Frances Gurney

We Americans love to garden. If you don’t think so try going to your local garden center on a sunny weekend in May and risk getting run over by a cart full of petunias. There is some serious plant purchasing going on.

Once I had a frightening encounter with a wayward juniper. The lady had a very large juniper on a very large cart and couldn’t see where she was going. She nearly ran over me. She couldn’t see where she was going but she was going there very fast. I don’t know if she thought the sale would end before she got to the checkouts or what. But if they ever hold Juniper in a cart races, my money’s on her. She was little and old but she was fast and determined.

I’ve gardened all my life. From an acre of vegetables when I was in my prime to the herbs I now grow in large pots, I have always had a “garden” of some kind.

We started our kids off and mostly they grew to love gardening as much as we do. Thus gardening becomes a multi-generational pastime. Anything that holds a family together is a good thing IMO.

I’ve had to scale back my gardening plans year by year but I can’t image ever stopping. If I get down to nothing more than a pot of chives on my kitchen window sill I will at least be content to be growing something. I might also wonder if that is a prelude to pushing up daisies but I won’t go there. Oh crap, I already did.

There is something so satisfying about gardening. From the feel of the soil between your fingers to the sight of a tiny bit of green that tells you life is beginning and we are a part of it.  Gardening is making something grow – making something live and to me that’s wonderful and spiritual.

God provides the sun and rain and Stein’s provides the Miracle Grow. We provide the wonderful compost we make from all those kitchen scraps we didn’t throw in the trash. Good clean healthy compost and free of charge. Lou, who is a Scot, really likes that part. Come to think of it, so do I.

Lou and I used to have a chaotic approach to buying plants in the spring. We would head for the garden center with a vague idea of what we wanted and emerge with whatever took our eye. And there were a lot of things that took out eye. One summer we had so many hanging baskets on Shepard’s hooks it looked like some kind of a strange forest had been transplanted in our backyard.

We also hang Humming Bird feeders on Shepard’s hooks as well as a few solar lanterns here and there. Mowing the grass that year was a challenge.

Lou claimed to see a humming bird  get lost in the forest of hanging baskets and have to resort to a compass to find his way out. There was no need for sarcasm, he put as much stuff in the cart as I did. Well almost.

Speaking of Hummingbirds:

Isn’t that something? To think that we’re overjoyed if a few show up.

Instead of our usual chaos this year we were organized. Much to our surprise. We walked the yard, decided what we wanted to plant and where we wanted to plant it and made a list. We vowed to stick to the list and we kept each other honest.

We also prepared the pots before we went to the garden center so that all we had to do was come home and plunk them in. Piece of cake. Why didn’t we think of this before?

The only thing that’s allowed to grow wild and free are the sunflowers along the south side of the house. The birds drop seeds along there and the squirrels also “hide” them there so every year we have a large crop of sunflowers. Which means we have a summer long show of Goldfinches. And that is a joy.

The butterfly bush attracts butterflies, the sunflowers bring  Goldfinches and we have three Hummingbird feeders that bring the tiny little jewels to our yard. Blue Jays and Cardinals and Crows all come to our feeders and our birdbaths. We love our flowers and our birds and consider ourselves blessed that they are a part of our lives.

I haven’t even mentioned the tomatoes we grow in large pots on the patio. A joy of the summer is home grown tomatoes. We plant one medium size for slicing and one cherry tomato plant for mouth popping goodness we call tomato candy. What ever tasted better than a just picked tomato still warm from the sun? Nothing I can think of.

We also grow some basil, thyme and lemon balm. Lou grows a curly parsley that has to be seen to be believed. It is tasty but it is more than that, it is huge and dark green and beautiful. He like to plant red salvia in with the parsley for color. It’s gorgeous. Then in the fall he dries it and I have homegrown parsley all winter long.

The roses, the petunias, the marigolds, the geraniums and the lantana are all growing, thriving and beautiful. I am grateful each day that I can still garden. On nice summer days I sit in a lawn chair with a glass of ice tea and a book and look at all the beauty we created. And politics and the ugliness of it is a million miles away. At least for the moment.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

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67 Responses to “Birds, Butterflies & Gardens *Weekend Open Thread*”

  1. piper Says:

    Amusing thread after my long day yesterday cleaning a large flower area that I had let overgrow with weeds and grass. Today as I look out my windows, I see the beauty of the cleared space seeing new potential plants growing there. But I’ll wait till I come back from my week’s vacation up North. Oh, my aching body.

    • piper Says:

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      I can relate to the “oh my aching body” thing. I have fought weeds all my life – and I think I’m losing. I know I am for darn sure outnumbered!

    • cynic Says:

      Hi Piper! Missing you over at TCH, but I understand the Trump thing. So glad to find you here! The topic of birds, butterflies and gardening drew me in.

      I’m an avid gardener and birder, and I make sure that I plant lots of things that draw the ‘good’ caterpillars, as well as the birds and bees.

      Rabble, I absolutely love growing sunflowers for the finches. They love the seed heads of the purple coneflowers as well.

      I start triple curled parsley from seed (and the Italian flat leaf, for cooking) so that I have plenty of plants to line my sidewalk. They’re attractive, smell good, and the swallowtail caterpillars love feeding on them.

      Oh, and the basils are a favorite of mine in lining one side of my veggie garden. I grow 11 varieties and the honey bees (a beekeeper lives nearby) just love them.

      I enjoyed your post, and happy gardening!

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        Glad you stopped in.

        I grow basil too – love it just for the smell when I get it on my finger when topping it. Like many herbs it’s also very decorative. So it’s a two fold blessing.

        Years ago we used to buy Basil honey from a beekeeper/farmer that lived near us – It was fantastic!

        • cynic Says:

          It’s been a warm summer here, in Northern IL, and the basils are growing like crazy. I’ve pinched the plants to keep them from blooming so soon, and to make them bushier. Next month, I’ll let many of them flower, for the bees.

          Did you ever infuse basil in your vinegar? The reds are wonderful in using for that purpose. They turn the vinegar a lovely shade of deep pink, and the flavor is wonderful. Last year, I made spiced blueberry jam, and decided to make a salad dressing using the basil vinegar and a couple of spoonfuls of the jam. Just add oil, and maybe a bit of Dijon mustard.

          Check out Tulsi holy basil. It’s wonderful in tea, and it’s good for your health. (Tulsi Gabbard was named after it.)

          • kenoshamarge Says:

            I do infuse cider vinegar with basil and then add olive oil a touch of lemon juice and it makes a great salad dressing. I especially like it on a salad when serving with spaghetti or ravioli. Never tried adding jam but adding that with some Dijon would make a wonderful vinaigrette. Thanks for the tip.

            I will check out the Tulsi holy basil. Always love to add to my herbs. Thanks for the tip.

            • cynic Says:

              Hi Marge, I’ve always used white wine vinegar in my infusions. I’m going to try a batch using the cider vinegar. I love apple cider vinegar, and in the cold months, I make a drink using that, a piece of lemon, turmeric, cinnamon, and a small bit of honey, and hot water. It’s healthy, and an appetite suppressant!

              I love experimenting when making salad dressings. They’re so easy, and you can add whatever herbs/seasonings you want. Tasha Tudor’s Italian salad dressing has been one of my favorites, especially when I saw bottles of dressing costing over $4! All it is is oil, vinegar, and spices that you usually have in your spice cabinet. Easy peasy.

            • mcnorman Says:

              Wow, thanks for that tip. I’ve used jam in the dressing. It’s tough in the desert to grow anything, but I am succeeding with an African Keyhole garden. I’m also trying out the straw bale garden. We have such little water and our temps barely dropped from 108 to 100 yesterday.

            • cynic Says:

              Hi Mcnorman, I can’t imagine trying to grow anything in the desert besides cactus. It must be quite challenging! I’m currently following someone in CA doing the straw bale gardening, and he’s been very successful. He’s growing melons, tomatoes, squash. I guess we gardeners will always find a way to adapt, and if there’s a bare spot in the garden, somethings getting planted there. This year, I’m up to 24 tomato plants (15 varieties).

              I add a small amt. of jam to my salad dressing when I have a salad that contain fruit, blue cheese, candied nuts.

        • amarissa Says:

          Hi! just curious, what is “TCH”? is it a blog?

      • piper Says:

        Hi Cynic,
        Miss you and several others from TCH – always enjoyed your comments about life and candidates. We’re all entitled to our opinions and sadly some people refused to openly discuss our options without resorting to name calling and derision. After a while the rancor got to me and I knew that I had to stop reading and posting there. Politics really is a blood sport.

        Glad to see you posting here and trust that everything and everyone is doing well in your life. Is Grandma all set for the little bundle of joy soon to be?

        • cynic Says:

          Our granddaughter, Lillian, was born on 5/11, and my son’s and his gf are due toward the end of Sept. (another granddaughter). Life is good, and I’m loving it. I’ll start babysitting full-time next month.

          Thanks for asking.

          Leslie & I miss you! Did you know that she had back surgery recently? She’s like me, we’re concentrating on pleasant things. I had to quit facebook because of politics! I want to stay friends with my relatives!

  2. piper Says:

    Interesting take from Tony Blair on Brexit

    ‘If the people — usually a repository of common sense and practicality — do something that appears neither sensible nor practical, then it forces a period of long and hard reflection. My own politics is waking to this new political landscape. The same dangerous impulses are visible, too, in American politics, but the challenges of globalization cannot be met by isolationism or shutting borders.

    The center must regain its political traction, rediscover its capacity to analyze the problems we all face and find solutions that rise above the populist anger. If we do not succeed in beating back the far left and far right before they take the nations of Europe on this reckless experiment, it will end the way such rash action always does in history: at best, in disillusion; at worst, in rancorous division. The center must hold.’

    Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/opinion/tony-blair-brexits-stunning-coup.html?partner=IFTTT&_r=0

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Perhaps it is Blair that needs to rediscover his capacity to analyze the problems we all face. The people don’t’ want open borders and unfettered immigration. The people don’t want their hard earned money sent to countries where the people want to retire at 50 and have someone else support them for the rest of their life. They welcome people who come and “integrate” into their society not those who wish to destroy it.

      Seems to me that the people showed common sense and practicality. Now can their will be enforced or will the corrupt politicians find a way to undermine the will of the people? God knows the politicians in the USA do it on a daily basis.

  3. helenk3 Says:

  4. helenk3 Says:

    some of the most beautiful and overlooked things on earth

  5. helenk3 Says:

    I have a small collection on a table as you walk in my front door.
    it is crystals, shells, barnacles and a vase of flowers.They are all in shades of purple. the best of the land and the sea. they make me feel good to look at them

  6. helenk3 Says:

    http://blog.english-heritage.org.uk/belsay-hall-secret-gardens-northumberland/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=Belsay_gardens&utm_campaign=General_DMT

    in honor of Brexit

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      The English do love their gardens. And this one is something special! Thanks for sharing.

      Those giant “gunnera leaves” are something! I never saw the like or knew they existed. Thanks for expanding my knowledge. I like that.

  7. helenk3 Says:

    I love rainbows

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      My father was 2nd generation Irish Immigrant and rainbows were his special love. His mother died giving birth to his little sister and so the only mothering he got was from his Grandmother Milligan.

      She would tell him stories of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and of the little people. He in turn told me and my little brother.

      We were always overjoyed to see a rainbow both for it’s beauty and for the wonderful Irish stories.

  8. helenk3 Says:

    the beauty that many will never see

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      All the magnificent colors are just a feast for the eyes. Are those orange and white fish called Clown Fish? Like in finding Nemo? And those yellow angel fish looking ones are gorgeous!

  9. helenk3 Says:

    there is so much beauty in the world if we would only take the time to look and see. Land, Sea, Air it is all there. just look around and see

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      I think most of us are so busy living our lives at 90 MPH that we miss a lot. After we slow down and take time we see so much that we missed.

  10. helenk3 Says:

    how could you not stop and look at these in real life?

    https://scontent.fden3-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/p480x480/13501673_1386320528050127_7674878957704098699_n.jpg?oh=0d2ab8b985a5d856a3df9c0b51009b0b&oe=57FA1D8B

  11. kenoshamarge Says:

  12. helenk3 Says:

    one of my favorite things

  13. helenk3 Says:

    Marge
    here is some information on the gettv I was telling you about

    http://www.get.tv/

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      get.tv is channel 996 on Time Warner out of Milwaukee. Right now something called “Utah Blaine” is on. I don’t remember it but Lou says he does. Thanks for the information.

  14. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    What a DELIGHTFUL post, Marge! I love this!! I love the photos of your yard and hearing of all the gardening adventures you and Lou share. What fun!

    We have hummingbird feeders too, and I immediately halt in place when I hear their wings then see them on the feeders. What a JOY it is! And of course, we have tons of birds here, all kinds, along with the deer, raccoons, feral cats (spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and released), and squirrels in the yard daily. What a treat that is.

    WONDERFUL post! Thank you!

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      So glad you like it. The joys of the garden and our birds, squirrels, bunnies and even a stray ground hog or two keep us occupied and entertained. Even the skunk that makes an infrequent appearance is welcome but not greeted except at a distance.

      Nice to “see” you. Did you have a good time?

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Yes, it was fantastic! We were on False River Lake, and it was just beautiful. We went fishing jut abt every day (I watched more often actually fished), it was peaceful. and the time spent with our friends was just fantastic. Perfect getaway before surgery on Weds.!

        Btw, today we close on our house, and tomorrow we have our pre-construction meeting to build the new house. Busy!!

  15. helenk3 Says:

    Some history I did not know

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Thank you for sharing this little known bit of history Helen. A great man and a great founding father that I for one didn’t know about.

      To think that this great man once represented Connecticut and now they have two idiots like Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy.

      Murphy is the one who filibustered for gun “control” recently. Connecticut once had a founder who fought for the rights of citizens and now has a fool who would take them away. Sad.

  16. kenoshamarge Says:

    House Republicans Aim to Reform Tax Code to Fit on a Postcard

    House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), have introduced their tax reform plan, which would simplify the tax code so it could fit on a postcard.

    The plan would lower taxes for Americans at every income level and would limit the number of tax brackets to three. It would lower the corporate tax rate from the highest in the world to 20 percent, and would lower the top individual tax rate to 33 percent.

    http://freebeacon.com/issues/house-republicans-aim-reform-tax-code-fit-postcard/

    While House Republicans are doing this the House Democrats have decided to return to the 60s and hold a sit-in. Although I don’t know if sit-ins back then had catered food.

    This plan does sound suspiciously like Senator Ted Cruz’s plan doesn’t it?

  17. kenoshamarge Says:

    Hillary’s Expensive Jacket

    Making Sense by Michael Reagan

    Hillary Clinton may have been better off wearing the Emperor’s New Clothes during her victory speech after the New York primary, rather than what she chose to wear and her aides managed to overlook.

    Clinton, who has decried income “inequality” throughout the nation during her campaign, stood before the assembled– and carefully screened – crowd wearing a $12,495 Giorgio Armani jacket.

    What she paid for the coat– assuming it wasn’t a party favor from her Goldman Sachs speech– is just a bit less than the amount the average first time home buyer is required to post as a down payment for his dream home, or as The Washington Free Beacon calculates, “roughly 40 percent of what the average American worker makes in a year.”

    http://www.cagle.com/michael-reagan/2016/06/hillarys-expensive-jacket

    Remember when the left and their media flunkies made such a big deal about Ann Romney’s expensive blouse? The blouse that cost $990. A far cry from the $12,000.00 Armani jacket. At least Ann Romney looked good in her blouse. $12,000.00 jackets are wasted on the dumpy Hillary.

    The hypocrisy is stunning. The jacket? Not so much. Talk about overpriced. Putting the Armani name on this thing doesn’t make it worth the price except to the elites who value something by how much it costs.

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Here’s the jacket. Tell me honestly isn’t it ugly? Or am I letting my dislike of her, and my dislike of putting an obscene price tag on something just because of the name on the label prejudice my opinion?

      • helenk3 Says:

        I think since 2007 “designers” have a special catagory. How ugly can me make clothes for political people.
        look at some of the horrors that meeechele wears.
        I was not a bush fan but Laura Bush always managed to look good and like a lady.

  18. helenk3 Says:

    http://www.mrconservative.com/2014/01/30605-obama-lists-his-daughters-as-senior-staff-on-424000-african-vacation/

    the backtracks and creative bookkeeping

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      How repulsive is it that a POTUS, who is worth millions, would resort to using his own daughters in this way? Have these people no moral compass at all?

  19. helenk3 Says:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/brucebialosky/2016/06/26/the-worst-part-of-the-email-scandal-n2182784

    he makes a good point

  20. helenk3 Says:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/06/unleash_the_producers_not_the_parasites.html

    do not think this will happen anytime soon.
    the parasites are so entrenched in the government it will take years to get rid of them

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Never get rid of all of them I think. But we’ll never get rid of any of them if we don’t start.

      You win none of the battles you don’t fight.

  21. helenk3 Says:

    http://nypost.com/2016/06/25/clinton-white-house-was-a-den-of-cocaine-and-mistresses-ex-secret-service-officer/

    the book comes out this week. I have preordered it

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      The Clinton surrogates are already attacking the book and the author. She is not well regarded although Bill, for some reason that eludes me still is popular.

      He’s a scum bag through and through. They make a good couple IMO and I am ashamed that they had me fooled for so long.

      I loathe the idea of the pair of them back in the nation’s house. But then I imagine Trump and company there with his foul mouth and the idea of his adding gold toilet seats come to mind. No good choice.

  22. helenk3 Says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2016/06/24/another-conflict-of-interest-for-cnns-corey-lewandowski/

    interesting

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Cannot for the life of me understand why CNN would hire someone like Lewandowski. He has a bad reputation and is a known thug. Why would they want to put someone like that on their payroll? It boggles!

      • amarissa Says:

        Besides, this guy is cannot speak about anything he did or saw at Trump’s campaign because he signed an agreement so what’s his use to CNN?

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        I don’t know why in the hell they would hire such a volatile, abusive man as Corey either. It just ensures I won’t be watching CNN.

  23. kenoshamarge Says:

    Read that Rupert Murdock and Trump had lunch in Scotland. Isn’t that cozy? 😝

  24. helenk3 Says:

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/06/25/obama-invites-18-7-million-immigrants-avoid-oath-allegiance-pledge-defend-america/

    so if they do not have to pledge to defend this country, do they have to pledge not to harm this country?

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      And if they do pledge does it mean anything?

      After all Obama swore, twice, to defend and uphold the Constitution and has done his level best to destroy it ever since.

  25. helenk3 Says:

    as the weekend draws to a close. enjoy

  26. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Yep, Trump is going to be JUST like Obama. Just like we have been saying over and over, though he is worse since he is insane: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-06-27/trump-eyes-executive-orders-to-sidestep-congressional-gridlock

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      And that is my most cogent argument to the Trumpanzees with their “but, but Hillary”

      Yes Hillary is bad. Yes she is corrupt. Yes I honestly think she will be a bad president and bad for the country. On the other hand, I think she’s as sane as any greedy politician ever is.

      Trump on the other hand, IMO, is nuts. Just plain nuts!

      Therefore I can’t possible vote for either of them.

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