Saturday, December 29, 2007


This little rosemary plant stayed in the 3" pot I bought it in. I don't know if it will make it thru the winter, but so far, so good. It is a nice surprise to have it bloom! When we lived in CA, we had some type of trailing rosemary that always bloomed, but I haven't had a rosemary bloom (or live) here in Utah before.
This is the view from our driveway, east towards the mountains. We have had snow fall almost every day since Christmas Eve, so there is quite a bit more, now. We are at 5, 000 feet on the 'bench', so if the valley gets 3 inches and the mountains get 2 feet, we get somewhere in between those two numbers. It is lovely. Maybe we'll go sledding today (I don't ski, unfortunately).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday - 'white' poinsettia

I don't really grow these, of course, but I do love poinsettias. This year I have a lovely white one. We all know they are more of a yellow-y cream color, but still, it is something beautiful and blooming at Christmastime. I like the red ones, the pink ones, and the striped ones are starting to grow on me, but who can deal with those crazy purple-and-glitter-sprayed ones at Wal-mart??? not me! bah humbug to them, I say!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas hoopla, Show and Tell

Edge tagged me for this. I've decided blogging is good for my family, because I can reminisce and tell stories to my heart's content, without boring them to death. I am also double tasking today, and have my first Show and Tell. You can see Anita's Show and Tell at There's No Place Like Home.
Here's the rules: List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas Please refer to it as a 'hoopla' and not the dreaded 'm'-word You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.

1. Having a ‘white’ Christmas is important to me. I really hate winter (I think it is the duration, changing winter to just one month would be fine with me), but snow on the ground makes it feel like Christmas.
2. I ‘believed’ in Santa (and the Easter Bunny) long past the time most kids give that up. It added a lot of magic to the holiday for me.
3. I got up one Christmas and slept under the Christmas tree (Santa had come by then), but my brother and sis and I were old enough (teenagers!) that I knew they’d all be mad if I came and woke them up, so I waited under the tree.
4. One of our family traditions has been to negotiate a wake-up time for Christmas (and I’ll get in the first proposal: 9:00 a.m.!! ) with the children. After that is agreed to, the children have to come wake us up by singing Christmas carols (hey, maybe they should be bringing us breakfast in bed!!). DH and I are usually awake, and snuggling and anticipating the day before the kids come in (don’t tell them) and we make quite a protest about getting up, and tell them to go back to bed. One year, we reset their alarm clocks. That didn’t work, though.

5. Another tradition is to head to the grocery store on Christmas Eve, so the children can pick out a sugary ‘Christmas cereal’. This started when we only bought the ‘healthy’ cold cereals, with less sugar in them, so anything at all was a big treat. They had to agree on one box, so they had to work that out between them. One year I videotaped them: I remember the oldest (Edge!) doing a bit of eye rolling (she was too sophisticated for this), and little alliances being made amongst the four of them (the youngest hadn’t been born yet). Now it is something that everyone has pretty much outgrown (everyone is an adult except for the youngest, who is 12), but she thinks this tradition is really fun, so whoever is around goes with her, and pretty much just lets her have her way. (No wonder she likes it).

6. A more traditional tradition we observe is to sing Silent Night in German on Christmas Eve. (It’s not all about cereal, y’know!) We act out the Christmas story from Luke 2, with Dad reading the story. We use simple costumes, and I love this part of the holidays, and then finish with Silent Night. My husband’s family is mostly from Germany, as is mine.

7. I was in 4-H as a child, and my grandmother was our club’s leader. She helped teach me to sew, and one year for Christmas (she made something for each of her 13 grandchildren every Christmas), she gave me a few yards of fabric, because she hadn’t finished sewing for all of us yet. I was ok with the gift, and flattered that she thought I could sew well enough to make something, but mom thought it was a pretty bad gift.

8. The 12 year old has major ‘gimmie-gimme’ syndrome this year, apparently. She says she doesn’t get enough gifts. All right, everyone; all together-Roll Eyes!

9. Baking is usually a fun part of the holidays for me. This year I found out my baking powder died. I guess I don’t bake much anymore. I’ll try and post a fave recipe later. So far this year we’ve made ginger cookies (when I discovered the baking powder problem), and 7 layer cookies, with a chocolate-crusted with red and white chips variation, chocolate dipped pretzels, and a super easy, yummy toffee I got from MsGreenThumbJean.

10. Twelve hooplas?????? Couldn’t we have gone with a shorter hoopla??? Oh, well, one of my favorite Christmas songs is Oh, Holy Night.
11. This ornament belonged to my great-grandparents, Charles and Josie Bruner. They had a large family of 11 children, and I loved going to their home for Christmas, and getting together with all my 'Bruner' cousins. I'm glad to have this little keepsake to remember them.

12. One great Christmas memory was the Christmas of 1995. My oldest was home from her first semester of college; the baby was two months old. Our youngest fell asleep mid-morning, through the hoopla of opening gifts.

Merry Christmas to all! I am tagging the 12 year old, Hailey, Jean at MsGreen"thumb"Jean, Kylee at MyLittleAcre, my old friend Jean. Maybe some others. Oh, and if you haven't had a chance to "Elf Yourself" yet, go do it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My 5 least favorite Christmas Songs

I know this is not an original idea, but I have been listening to Christmas music since the day after Halloween. (Insanity!!!!! I know … it is a combination of my 12 year old’s taste in music combined with a local radio station’s odd insistence on starting Christmas music on November 1st. I always react with a mixture of panic (oh no! it’s time to start gearing up for Christmas) and dismay (I’m putting away Halloween stuff, scrubbing face paint off my daughter’s face, and they are playing Christmas music on the radio, for heaven’s sake?). Of course, the fact that the retail stores are putting Christmas stuff out in September is freakish enough.

That makes 43 days of Christmas music listening, mostly from the ‘golden oldies’ station. I really like music, and I really like Christmas music, but there are a few that I could live quite happily without ever hearing again. And so, in no particular order, here are my five most despised, entirely insufferable, utterly loathe-able tunes:

A Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney. This is one of those ‘Beatles light’ songs that Sir Paul put out after the Beatles broke up. Too saccharine for even me.

Grown-Up Christmas List, which is sung by Amy Grant, probably other people, too. And I usually like Amy Grant, but this is just too contrived.

Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas – yeah, I know, everybody loves Elvis. Me, not so much. But this song is especially irksome because of the back up singers, who sound like they are on some kind of vocal sedative.

Jingle Bells by Barbra Streisand. Ok, this one is too Barbra: it always sounds too driven, too manic, too much Barbra.

Last and least, is
John Lennon’s And So This Is Christmas. More proof (if you needed any more) that when the Beatles broke up, their best days were behind them). We already knew John was One Cynical Guy, he doesn’t need to remind us with this off the scale bitter-fest of a song. And yes, if you were wondering, I also thoroughly dislike ‘Imagine’.

So, my top (or bottom) 5 Christmas songs. What holiday songs are you sick to death of? Any faves?

Saturday, December 08, 2007


I don't remember my violets blooming in December, before. I am glad I have this on line record so that next year I can start seeing if there is a pattern. I remember thinking African violets were an 'old lady' plant. Now that I am fast headed to that stage of life, I can appreciate the fact that, when there is snow on the ground outside, I have something to tend and enjoy inside.
I killed a great many of these little beauties in years past, then became friends with Dona, who knew how to raise them, and had glorious A. violets that bloomed all the time!
I haven't reached her level, yet, but I do enjoy my voilets. She taught me to water from the bottom, and only every ten days. (I mark my calendar to help me remember, and water all my indoor plants at that interval.) It's important to fertilize with a good A. violet fertilizer (she swore by Peter's African Violet Plant Food), and to let the water sit a few days to reach room temperature before you use it on your plants. My mother says doing that also gives the chlorine in the water time to dissipate, but I don't know about that.
How do you take care of your African violets?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday- a gift to enjoy

I have been wondering if Iwould have anything to post for GTS, and then thought I'd share the flowers my daughter and son-in-law gave me for Thanksgiving. I have enjoyed them every day. I love gerbera daisies, and the whole bunch makes me smile everytime I look at them. We'll see what next week brings. For now, I am loving the reds, whites and greens of this lovely gift.

Garden Blogger's Muse Day - December

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls picked them, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
by Pete Seeger

Everyone knows this song, sung by Peter, Paul and Mary, and it matches my sadness as the snow is flying and I know it is a 'long time' until I am back in my garden. It is a good thing Christmas is coming.

It is hard to believe that I have a few roses still hanging around on December first. They obviously need to be thrown on the compost pile, but I am hanging on to them as long as I can.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving Review

My Sassy daughter (like I only have one of those :) put up some fun pics from our Thanksgiving day get together, so I thought I'd add a few more.
One of the highlights of the day was H's Famous Fruit Salad, complete with decorative flag.
E started a new tradition; since he finished eating first, he crawled under the table (hopefully not looking for fallen crumbs).
T is ready for dessert; pumpkin and razzleberry pie, and although not shown, some wonderful homemade cream puffs and a pumpkin cheesecake. Yummy.
What was the best part of your Thanksgiving holiday?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday -Favorites

I enjoyed Jodi's entry at bloomingwriter ( at, for some reason my link insert is not working for me today)about her favorite perennials,and thought I'd share a few of my favorites. Really, there are very few flowers I don't like. I enjoy the shapes, colors, scent, and variety of the many plants we have on the earth, of which I only know a few. Today I'll just mention two of my favorites. The first is lilacs, because they hold so many memories for me. I love the smell! They always bloom for my birthday in May, and as a child, I enjoyed two giant lilac bushes at my grandmother's home, one the old-fashioned lavendar color, the other white. My mother took starts from these plants and started bushes in our yard as I was growing up. When I married and moved away, I did the same. My 'heritage' lilac that I have planted in Utah has been planted for about 4 years, and I am still waiting for it to bloom. I think it has needed some time to adapt to the dry, hot conditions of Utah after being an Ohio lilac for so long. Maybe this spring it will bloom.

Another fave of mine are Irises. Last winter I spent far too much time on line, looking thru all the catalogs (Schreiner's, Cooley's, BlueJIris) at the variety of bearded iris. I really love them, and keep adding to my collection in the yard.

What are your favorites?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ok, so who can I tag? 8 things meme

1- Like Gail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago , who tagged me, I am a middle child too, and the bossiest of the three of us, and got into the most trouble as a small child, just ask my little sis!

2-I am a leftie, and have 3 of my 5 children who are also lefties. And my sis. And my uncle, but no one else in the family is a leftie.

3-I love to sew, and I’ve sewn for myself through high school and my married life. I was in 4-H as a child, and really do enjoy the creativity of sewing. The sad thing is, I’m not that good at it, for the amount of experience that I have.

4-Because I love gardening, I took the master gardener class last year. I learned a lot, mostly about what I don’t know, and how much more I have to learn.

5-I love genealogy and old pictures. Here is a wonderful picture of the Horner family, the father(James McGordon Horner)is a Civil War veteran. My great-grandmother is the young woman on the far left.

6-I collect recipes – in a pile. I have some unreasonable hope that I will use them all, or organize them or something. Hard to let go of this particular pile o’clutter.

7-I didn’t go to kindergarten. Our family lived on a farm, and our school district charge for kindergarten, so my older brother nor I went.

8-I am the founding member of a defunct rock band called ‘the Renegade Moms of Funk’ –actually, we’ve never had a rehearsal..
This is how ‘the band’ came about – I was tired of listening to the loud music my son had on the car radio, so I decided to tease him about the music, and a group called the Renegade Band (I think) of Funk were yelling away at the time, so I told him I was starting my own group. He is a good sport, and is our manager, still today.

A nod to Gail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago, who tagged me!
I am tagging
Edge at Mothering on the Edge
Sassy at The Sassy Lime
Chigiy at Gardener's Anonymous Zoey at
Perennial Passion

Sara at Farming Friends
Kim at A Study in Contrasts
When tagged, you must list the person who tagged you, post the rules and list 8 or so people at the end of the post.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday - Carrot Harvest

I am harvesting my carrots as we need them. You can see from the photo that I should have done a better job of thinning in the spring! I planted two varieties, one was a red variety (I don't seem to have written down the variety in my gardening notebook). The red ones seem to have done better than the regular carrots in spite of being crowded. Oddly enough, the red color is only on the surface of the carrots, and can be scrubbed off if you clean too vigorously. The taste is the same. The only thing I noticed is that when I cooked the red carrots, they turned the water a bit pink.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What year do you belong ? Yeah, I'm old!

You Belong in 1951

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Well, this was a fun surprise that I forgot to put on my bloom list, some of the spring violets decided this long, mild fall = time to bloom. A fun little bonus.


Not much is left in the yard, just a few odds and ends:
This monch Aster has bloomed all summer and is hanging in there 'til the bitter end.
This little snapdragon was a volunteer that I didn't even notice until the end of October.

I couldn't get a good picture of my Anemone Hupehensis ( Prinz Heinrich),
so I found this photo on line. I just bought it and threw it in my 'spring garden' late in September.
Not technically a flower, but I do love our ubiquitous cotoneaster.

This is one of several roses that are still putting out a bloom or two.
What's blooming in your yard today? Happy Bloom Day!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY I'm feelin' the love!

One of my favorite plants is (are?) irises. My DH knows this, and also knows how much I like spring bulbs.
And we both loove a good bargain.
So I was not totally surprised when he brought home some half price bulbs (the box is full, don't'cha know)
However, he outdid himself when he called from work on Friday to say he'd seen an offer for free Iris on Craig's List.
I thought he'd bring me home four or five tubers, but, no! He filled his car's trunk with these freebies, two colors, light purple and dark purple, and now they are all mine.
I'm a lucky woman, I think. I'll probably pot most of these up (until I run out of pots, that is).
Happy GTS!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Leaf 'print' project finished

I finally got this project done and ready to hang, before fall is over. I am pleased with my project, just wish I got things done faster (having started this before Halloween). What do you think?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

this and that

I finally got my dining room chairs re-covered. My DH had helped me cover them a few years ago, and we Scotch-guarded the fabric, thinking they would be easier to clean. That was a futile effort. They didn't clean up well at all, and were a solid color. Things were pretty ugly, and efforts to clean them just resulted in bigger, splotchier looking stains.
I put this lovely fruit-and-floral fabric on last week, again, with help from DH. Didn't bother with the protective Scotch -guarding. I have hopes this will look better, longer.
I was wandering around in blog-o-space, and found a fun website; A Time for Everything.
This blogger has a great web-site, and recommended going to Wal-mart's website with free samples -

Monday, November 05, 2007

So maybe you've already seen this, but...

I don't spend much time on Craig's list, and 'best of' is funny, but often too profane for my taste. However, my DH showed me this post about M&M's and it is one of the funniest things I've read in a while:

At any rate, that was a good 'best of craig's list for me.

I am especially pleased that the dark chocolate M&M's (Peanut!) are available, they are a step up from the original brand, to say the least. ('cause heaven knows, I need to be eating more chocolate!)

At any rate, hope it is a day brightener for you, as it was for me!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY more fall beauty

My dogwood has looked a little shabby all year, but I was out in the morning as the sun came over the mountains.
It is looking its best in the morning light, don't you think?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Garden Blogger's Muse Day - November

November Night
by Adelaide Crapsey
Listen. .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd,
break from the trees
And fall.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

This gave me a chuckle, hope your Halloween is fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

GREEN THUMB SUNDAY ripening tomatoes - indoors?

Has anyone had the experience of ripening green tomatoes indoors and gotten tomatoes that looked like they were getting ready to go as mummies for Halloween? This is what happens to me, whether I use paper to wrap them or not. These tomatoes
ripened outside on the NW facing back porch. When we pulled the tomatoes (six weeks ago!), my DH left this pile of green tomatoes on the back porch. I decided to ignore them for a while,

and was surprised to see a few of them ripen up very nicely. We have had a very mild fall so far, but still, it is a pleasant surprise.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Footwear Friday - the Gangsta Gardener

Footwear Friday was started by Sassylime,
go see her fancy footwork, and feel free to join in and show us your favorites. I am not as much of a shoe-hound as she is, but wanted to show you my gardening shoes, and my usual gardening outfit -
Now, don't be jealous, I know you all wish you could be as stylin' as I am. The hat is for sun protection, of course, but is so horrible looking on me that I try not to look in the mirror on my way out to the garden. The dark blue sweatshirt has stains and rips you can't see, but it fits 'just right' and is soft. The shoes are some old sturdy gym shoes, and you can see my wonderful jeans have taken the hit with mud stains.
One of the great benefits of gardening is weight loss, as many of you know. I lost 15+ pounds this spring and summer, with some moderate exercise, regular gardening, and, yes, that unglamorous 'watching what I eat' strategy. I lost weight last summer, too, and then when fall hit and I decided to 'take a break' from my diet, all the weight came back. Probably because I wasn't out there slinging things around in the yard every day. So- this fall, my goal is to maintain that 15 lb. loss, and work on that last 5 pounds in the spring.
That said, you may have noticed the stylish elastic waistband on my jeans. As I lost weight, I started having problems with keeping my pants up! At one point, I had my cell phone in one pocket, the portable house phone in the other, and ws carrying pots across the yard. My pants were slipping down to teenage boy levels. Not a pretty sight! I did think that maybe I could try and intimidate some of my problem plants with a 'garden rap' to go with the outfit, but I am pretty sure they would laugh, if they could, before they would be afraid of their 'gangsta' gardener.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New banner for me!

Thanks to my daughter, Edge, for my new, fall banner. She put it together from a photo of my Japanese maple, and her technical wizardry. Thanks, dear!

In a related matter, I saw a fun and easy idea in my October issue of Sunset magazine- press fall leaves, then take photos of them on a color copier and frame them. Yesterday I headed off to my local copy center with my pressed leaves.

They were having a color copy sale, 35 cents each. I got ten prints made. Here are a few of the copies. I'll post when I get them matted and framed. I think I'll try this next spring with pressed flowers, too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pickled beets and pickled eggs

My last post reminded me of something I haven't made in a long time, pickled beets with hardboiled eggs. This was something I grew up with, it is simple, just put equal amounts of vinegar and sugar together, and add peeled beets and cook, then add peeled, hardboiled eggs and refrigerate for a day or two. The egg whites turn pink, and take on some of the 'pickled' flavor. I was surprised when my DH, who generally eats just about anything, said, 'what's that?' when I served him some, but he had not had them before. I guesss it is a bit odd, when you think of pink eggs and all. Tasty, though. I've heard of recipes with spices in them, too. Anyone else grow up with pickled eggs and beets? (how about fried mush w/ syrup??! yum!)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday beet harvest

I harvested my mini crop of beets a few weeks ago, I planted golden beets and regular red ones. This pic shows the 'golden' ones, they are definitely lighter in color, and still tasty. Here are both kinds, the regular red beets are on the right. I have to be tougher about thinning my rows next year. Everything was tiny because I was too soft-hearted to thin out the beets or carrots. The carrots and parsnips are still in the garden. It's nice to have something that will 'stay' out there until I get a minute to get them in!

Happy GTS!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, it's hard to believe the month is half over. We have had a few frosts, and even two days of snow, but overall, lovely and moderate temperatures so far this fall.

Blooming in my yard today:
bachelor buttons, petunias, and zinnias in my flowering pots (yep, I really need to pull these, but, they're blooming!),


two stella d'oro day lily blooms,
blue queen sage,
some type of Helichrysum,

volunteer sunflowers, and a scattering of roses.
This yellow one (name? don't know, it was here when we moved in)
is one of my favorites.