Share Your World, Weeks 20 & 21

In early March, I followed a link to Cee’s Life Photography where I found the Share Your World project.  I missed participating last week–my oldest son is here for vacation and we’ve been outdoors each day, enjoying all that Florida has to offer!

Documenting the vacation!

Documenting the documentation of TC's vacation! :roll:

In an effort to catch-up, I’m answering 8 questions today :) so let’s get started!

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

If this question is asking, “how old do you feel?” I’d have to say “ageless.” :arrow: In the parade of life,  time marches on yet we’re always “at ease” on the inside!  I feel exactly the same as I did 10,20,30 (or more) years ago.

What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you?

I’ve been ruminating on this question for the entire week, and I’ve chosen to share an ordinary “kindness” that held extraordinary meaning at the time.   During my Junior year in college I was an intern in Sen. Kennedy’s office in Washington, D.C.  I was unable to get home for Easter (Spring) Break and was alone for the week in the apartment I shared with 3 other interns.  In essence, I’d never been more than an hour’s drive away from home and never been “solo” in a big city apartment building!! It was exciting, lonely, exhilarating, scary…my feelings vacillated minute by minute.  When the Senator’s Press Secretary (a woman I knew fairly well from the political campaign) realized I was alone for the holiday, she invited me to Easter Sunday Brunch at her house.  She lived behind Capitol Hill near Union Station; I was clear across the city in Northwest, at Alban Towers.   She offered to have someone pick me up, but I adamantly declined–I wanted to test myself further by arriving on my own via public transportation, which of course I managed, no problem. A zillion years hence, every detail of this event is SO clear in my mind…Getting the invitation in the mail (my first non-family, non-friend invite!); deciding what to wear with no one around to ask how i looked; figuring out the holiday Metro schedule in the pre-google era; walking a good distance from the final bus stop to a house I’d never seen!!!   A co-worker’s simple kindness resulted in one of the biggest days of my life :arrow:  It allowed me to think of myself as an adult. HUGE!!

What was your favorite childhood television program?

Lost in Space!!!!  My love affair with Sci Fi tv and movies continues to this day!  “Danger, Will Robinson!” :eek:

Which cooking utensil (other than the usual pots and pans etc) would you miss the most?

Let me show you what Maggie and I use instead of a colander! We just got this third-hand, old-time utensil last month and LOVE it so much:

Old time mini-strainer!

Perfect strainer when cooking for 1 or 2!

Now that I’ve caught up with the rest of you, let’s answer Week 21′s questions!

If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so?

No, because if I’m having trouble with it, everyone else is most likely flunking! I typically do well with anything school related.

Since adolescence, in what three-year period do you feel you experienced the most personal growth and change?

Definitely the three years I’ve been here in Florida!  Life is very different now!  My bills are manageable, my house is smaller, and the sun is out so frequently it’s hard NOT to feel positive on a daily basis.  Also, my kids are all grown up now, so the daily responsibilities of cooking/laundry/cleaning have lessened.  I can read more, think more, do “whatever” more!  Since I’ve been here I look forward to every single morning, afternoon and evening which sure as h-e- double toothpicks wasn’t the case a few years back!!  :)

If you could change one thing about your home, what would you like to change?

Well, since I just raved about how great life is in a small house, I feel ridiculous saying I need more space! (not for living..for storage!)  I would like the cellar and/or laundry room from my old house to suddenly appear at this address! ;)

If you were given a yacht today, what would you name it?

Now this is a FUN question and quite easy!  I would name it: Estas’Sea! for two reasons: Maggie and I are Esta and Esta..and Estas’Sea! sounds a bit like “ecstasy” which is the state of mind we’d be in upon receiving a yacht!  ;)

Until next time….

Harvesting Bromeliads

There are over 3000 species of Bromeliads, with new ones being discovered and hybridized each year.  I fell in love with these rosette shaped beauties the second I moved here, but had a hard time deciding what to buy given the myriad choices. Eventually, I settled on 4 unique Aechmea varieties, in colors ranging from light green/pink to deep speckled maroon.  But what was 4 is now 12—they’ve multiplied exponentially, spilling over the sides of their first clay homes. ;)

Bromeliads reproduce by a process known as “pupping,” in which 3-5 new plants form along the base of the mother, shortly after she sends up a flower scape. As you can see in the pictures, my original bromeliads were seriously pot bound!

Overcrowded Bromeliads

Moving around the other side of the pot, you can see 3 generations have formed:

3 generations of Bromeliads!

On the left is the original rooted plant. Attached to the roots (via stolon) is the first pup; growing out of the pup’s base you can see the beginnings of another stolon from which an unfurled pup is forming.   Similar overcrowding was taking place in the next container, too:

More overcrowded Bromeliads

Time to Repot!

Separating offsets from mother plants is a simple process,  All you need is a pair of nippers/clippers.

Removing a pup from a bromeliad

Clip anywhere along the connecting stolon!

I suggest snipping in the middle of the stolon to avoid accidentally damaging either plant should your hand slip.  After the offset is seperated, you may trim the stem to within an inch of the base to allow for easier potting.

Not all bromeliad species propagate via stolons—some have offsets emerging on the underside of an outermost leaf along the base of the mother plant. With these, division can be a bit trickier and you should attempt it ONLY when the pup is 2/3 of the mother’s height: :arrow: this larger size allows you to grasp the (new) plant securely at the base and pull quickly out then down until you hear/feel a snap.  If the pup doesn’t fully seperate with a snap, use a paring knife to slice through any remaining tissue.

Bromeliads do best in media that moistens easily but drains quickly: for this reason I repot my offsets in cactus soil. If you prefer something different, try mixing equal parts mulch/pine bark nuggets, perlite and composted peat for a soil-less mix.

Until next time! :)

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

Through all of human history, people have worshipped the sun.  The ancient Greeks revered it; Aztecs and Mayans built entire civilizations around it; even early Christians involved symbolism from sun worship in their burgeoning faith–think halos and stained glass windows.

If ever a photo challenge was tailor made, this one was meant for me:

I, too, am a sun worshipper! :cool:

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2012

For the past 19 years, Epcot/Disney World has hosted the International Flower & Garden Festival. From the first week of March through the end of May, the park is blanketed with 30 million blossoms….yes, I DID say 30 MILLION blossoms!!–dozens of Disney character topiaries, floating mini-gardens and maxi flower-towers!!  Because this year’s event was sponsored by HGTV, the indoor Festival Center was buzzing with showcases and demonstrations given by celebrities from the network, as well as staff from the University of Florida/IFAS who were also responsible for staffing the Ask an Expert booth. As luck would have it, I was one of 4 people selected from my Master Gardener class to work a 2 hour shift in the booth on Saturday, April 21!!!

Master Gardener Booth at Epcot April 21, 2012

Terribly blurry picture, but there I am in the booth!!

Florida Master Gardener Sign at Epcot Festival Booth

The sign next to our booth! (not blurry, go figure!!)

Most of the questions we fielded were much like those at Gardenfest–people curious about organic growing, tree diseases, types of local soils, and the all important, “Where’s the closest restroom) ;)

But the REAL fun were the hours before and after my shift, when I got to explore!   The first thing I did was take a 16 minute ride through time and space on the iconic Spaceship Earth:

Spaceship Earth, Epcot

Then it was off to explore the flowers and gardens:

Amaranth at Showcase Plaza

Click to see full size picture...it's worth it!!

The amaranth at Showcase Plaza were so unbelievably stunning, I had to get a closer look!

Amaranth, close-up

What amazed me next was this HUGE floral arrangement:

Epcot Butterfly Arrangement

and an unusual brown butterfly in the semi-tented area behind it:

Common Crow Butterfly

I’d never seen a common crow (aka euploea core) butterfly before and was fascinated by the white “dots!”  I followed it across a path to a garden sponsored by the National Audubon Society:

Common Crow Butterfly in Audobon Society Garden, Epcot

Audubon Epcot Garden, "For the Birds"

This garden is "For the birds!" ;)

Floating Mini Garden under the Monorail

Floating Garden, Festival Center Entrance

Floating Garden Pic 2, Festival Center Entrance

Donald and Daisy Duck Topiaries, Epcot 2012

I’ve barely touched on all there is to see and do at this annual festival, but you can see more by watching the video below….(and remember, click on the pictures to see full size versions!)

Until next time……

Related articles

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects

Last week we went to the Hibiscus Festival where we randomly snapped photos of the various goings-on.  At one point Maggie took a random shot of Jack walking toward her, and it appeared he was being followed!! :shock:  But was he, really?!? :shock:

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:) I’ll leave it to you, to decide! :)

Until next time…….

A Map, an App and a Wrap-up!

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has dedicated the month of April to sharing information about invasive plants and insects, and not a moment too soon :arrow: the warmest winter on record has brought many bugs to the surface ahead of schedule, some of them nasty with hostile intent! :roll:

But how can you tell the good from the bad…or the bad from the downright disastrous?  In short, how do you know what to look for, and when?  Quite simply, there’s a map for that!

Located at Hungrypests.com, the Pest Tracker “map” is an incredible resource, available in both English and Spanish. Visitors can select individual states to see what pests are threatening, and learn how to report suspected invasives in the counties where they live.

Curious about broader threats on a national level?  The Pest Tracker can be used that way too, to identify what areas of the U.S. are at greatest risk, where invasive species have been identified, and what quarantines have been enforced to stop their spread. The public can also communicate with the USDA about the invasive pest issue via Facebook and Twitter; HungryPests.com is also optimized for mobile devices.

Moving now from maps to apps….

Remember when I first spoke of iBoPlanet, the plant identification app that was seeking funding via kickstarter.com?

What I’m about to tell you is worthy of a drumroll…(please click the drum below, and then look beneath it to read further!)

.

Four days ago, I heard from Steve Bowen–the app’s creator–who had some VERY good news!!  With 2 hours and 1 minute remaining ’til deadline, the Quest for iBoPlanet was SUCCESSFULLY AND 100% FUNDED.

Let me repeat: iBoPlanet has been 100% funded, by 120 backers (I’m one of the 120! :) ) who pledged a total of 6018.00!!   Congrats to Steve!!!   If you’ve forgotten what the app can do, refresh your memory by clicking here: iBoPlanet page on Kickstarter.

And since no post would be complete without an update on the Ranchero, let me share what’s been happening!

Just before Easter, I planted some freesia bulbs I forgot I had! :eek:  I found them while looking for a hammer, shoved to the rear of a cabinet on my screened porch.

Freesia Bulbs

"She forgot about us...and now she expects us to grow? ha!"

Around the same time, I noticed a lone cosmos (non-super variety) blooming in a color that might indicate a cross pollination between my yellow and orange varieties. Of  the hundreds of cosmos (literally!) I’ve grown in the past 2.5 years, this one is unique, and pretty!

Unusual Cosmos color

A few days ago, I noticed a neoreglia bromeliad with little purple flowers beginning to open atop the inflorescence. Because this is a fleeting event, I took a picture:

Neoreglia in Bloom

I saved the prettiest photo for the end.   Sparaxis (aka harlequin flowers) have long been favorites of mine, but I haven’t had much success growing them…odd, too, considering they start as bulbs, not seeds!  Perhaps they get eaten by rabbits or moles?  Here is the first (of two) that I planted in a container alongside garland flowers and mirabilis; because I like this picture so much, I’m inserting it full-size:

Sparaxis

And with that you have the Ranchero wrap-up, but I’d be remiss without a reminder that Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22.  If you can plant something special, do….if not, take a look at the USDA/APHIS video below for 7 things you can easily do to help the planet!  :)

:) :)

Until next time…..

Share Your World Weeks 18 &19 plus a bit of family fun!

This past week has been so much fun! :) Jack (second son)  arrived after Easter for a 6 day mini-vacation, and we’ve been alternately at the beach or binging on word games. :)   A few years ago we discovered Bananagrams–and shortly after that,  Appletters–so whenever we’re together it’s game ON!   However even hardcore “gamers” need a break, so on Saturday we joined several thousand other people for the Hibiscus Festival!

Do you play video/computer games?  Which one(s) or most recent?

No, I don’t play any video games and neither does my daughter…but my boys do! However, I do play Words with Friends (on Facebook) with Jack. :)

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

Pencil! But since I only have a rinky-dink, dollar store, half-a$$ed sharpener, I typically end up with a pen in my hand, instead! :roll:

What has surprised you about blogging?

I knew I’d enjoy documenting the day to day minutiae of my life, but I didn’t think anyone else would :arrow:  I’ve been most surprised by “followers” and readers leaving comments!

If you had a shelf for your three most special possessions (not including people or animals), what would you put on it?

This one is very difficult, but three things I’d hate to lose are (in no particular order): a Police Tour T-shirt purchased for me by my kids in 2007 at  Bonnaroo; a tray Maggie made for me featuring her High School Senior Portrait; my C. Crane am/fm shortwave pocket radio on which I’ve listened to Coast to Coast AM (my all time, favorite, overnight radio show) for the past ten years. In fact, one night Jack called the show and got on!!! If you click this link :arrow:  Jack calls Coast to Coast radio, you’ll not only see the radio, you’ll hear the VERY cool on-air conversation!

Moving on to the next set of questions: Week 19, Share Your World!

Do you believe in ghosts?

Bigtime!!!! When we lived up north in our 1898 Queen Anne Victorian we DEFINITELY had a ghost living with us!  The old Queen Annes have double width staircases and broad landings that allow for people to pass each other, climbing up and down.  Many a time we (and our friends/guests) would feel a presence in this area, or catch a glimpse of fleeting shadows on the stairs…..Eerie!!!   As I said in a previous blog post about “Hatman”  we may not know where, but the “truth is out there,” and I firmly believe in shadow people and ghosts!

What is your best recipe?

My chicken salad with fresh blueberries, chopped onions, chopped celery and feta cheese!   There’s no actual recipe, though.   Based on how many I’m feeding, I poach an appropriate quantity of chicken breast to cube after cooling.  Then I throw the chicken cubes in a mixing bowl with the celery and onion I’ve pre-chopped as the chicken boiled; stir in the fresh blueberries, followed by 3/4 of the feta.  The dressing is a mix of sour cream and mayonnaise in a one-to-one ratio that I’ve stirred REALLY well in a seperate mixing bowl.   I scoop the dressing into the chicken/ingredient bowl, mixing thoroughly as I add.  When it “looks right”  I’m done!  Then I sprinkle the remaining feta on top and chill it until either serving as is, or using as a sandwich filling.   If I have leftover “dressing,” I scoop the remainder into a bowl to use later as a base for crudite/chip dip.  (It stays “good” for approx 5 days, if refrigerated)

What is your most favorite smell/scent?

Origins Ginger Essence!  I’ve been wearing it exclusively since learning about it on Oprah’s talk show in 2006!

What subject was your favorite in all of your schooling? Why?

Don’t laugh….6th grade world history, the chapter on the Greeks and their architecture!  I remember the EXACT page numbers (72-73) and the details of the pictures showing the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns.  I’ve done numerous web searches over the years to track down the name of the textbook, but have come up empty.  I’d love to see the entire book again and will buy it–regardless of price–when I locate the right edition!

Well that’s it for now, and as always, huge thanks go out to Cee, of Cee’s Life Photography for bringing us all together via Share Your World!

As a final note,  Jack flies back home tomorrow but my other son arrives for a 10 day stay on Saturday!!!  Typically they travel here together, but their work schedules didn’t allow it this time around!

Until next time……