31 July 2013

a little bit grey a little bit light

The sky, early this morning, was the perfect image for how I've been feeling this past week.  The headaches have been getting the best of me again and I've not really been trying to move past it.  I feel beaten down by this constant pain and as I sat in the garden, looking up at the cloudy sky, I wondered if I'd ever move on, ever be free from this pain.  

 Then I started to take another look around me.  I wandered the garden looking at all the overgrown weeds in the pumpkin patch, the stray treelings that like to pop up in the wrong places, the general craziness of the garden, amid which I spotted this...

the butterflies seem to love the Joe Pye Weed.  Their bright colors and fluttering wings brought a smile to my face and helped me to remember that I can't give up.  I have to keep trying, no matter what.  So I dug down deep inside and spent about two hours working on pulling weeds from the pumpkin patch (after wandering around and snapping lots of pictures of course.)

I made quite a dent in the pumpkin patch weeds, working on trying to get a new pathway into the garden.  My regular path between the raised beds and pumpkin patch has become blocked by the volunteer from the composter, the zucchini and the cucumbers merging toward each other.

This is the volunteer.  I've been trying for months to figure out what it is, squash, zucchini or pumpkin, but the mystery is solved.


 It's Pumpkin!  I found this baby yesterday and this morning it was already much larger.  There are several babies on it and I'm so excited to see them.  Yet another thing that reminded me to keep going, keep trying.  I can't wait to see how they grow and what kind of pumpkin it turns out to be.

 Tomorrow is full of doctor appointments so I hope to get back to work in the garden on Friday.  Maybe I can have a pumpkin/garden progress post later this weekend. 

I want to take this chance to thank Joane at Ivory Pumpkin for the package that arrived a few days ago.  I won this beautiful skeleton key pendant necklace from her Pre-Halloween Give Away and she included a beautiful fairy pendant as well.  I love them both.  I have a thing for skeleton keys and am always drawn to them so this was an especially wonderful gift.  :-)

If you haven't visited her site, please stop by.  She's counting down to Halloween with lots of neat holiday related posts.  And as evidenced by the beautiful pendants below is a very talented artist.  Thank you, Joane!!

I'm going to say good night now and head on to bed.  I hope to be back here soon!

22 July 2013

got tomato?

Happy Monday!  Or should I say Moonday?  Today is the full moon and it is a "super" one as well.  I've been getting up really early for the past week or so and caught this early morning photo while working in the garden.  I have to get out in the garden early, before it gets too hot.  Even at 6 in the morning it's been in the mid to high 70's and the humidity has been close to 100%.  So, early morning work is best for me. 

The past two days I've been swimming in the morning instead of working in the garden.  I did try to get in a few hours today but I was just too exhausted.  I only spent an hour in the garden and was worn out.  I really need to get my strength built up. 

As I think I mentioned in my last post, I've been giving lots of thought to why I blog and what I blog about.  I think I've gotten away from what it was about...my favorite things.  So, I'm going to try to get back to blogging about my favorite things and today I'm starting with a recipe.

I love to cook and bake.  I learned from my both my grandmothers how to cook and I've always done it for lots of people.  Having just one to cook for has taken a lot of adjustment when I used to cook for my mum and brother and all my brother's friends. 

Since tomatoes are coming in like mad (at the farmer's market if not in my own garden yet), I thought I'd share a recipe from my mum that I tweaked over the weekend.  Let me introduce the lovely Tomato Pie.

No photos of the making of, just the end result.  (sorry)

Here's the recipe:

1 deep dish pastry crust (or make your own)  - I used the refrigerated pie crust and rolled it out into my own pie plate. 

4-5 tomatoes, sliced thick
1/2 cup green or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp basil

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp is best)

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees then bake the pie crust for 5 minutes.
lay the sliced tomatoes on paper towels and cover with paper towels to allow to soak up some of the moisture (this keeps your pie from being too runny when it's done)

after crust is baked, layer the tomatoes in the bottom of the pie crust.  add onion, pepper and mushroom and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and basil.

mix the mayo and cheese together and cover entire pie with cheese mixture.

bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  let sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting.


I'll let you in on a little secret with this tomato pie.  The mushrooms and green pepper were my add-ins.  They weren't in the original recipe and I think they add a lot to it.  The other part of the secret is that when I made this one, I forgot to add the salt and pepper.  (I also used fresh basil from the garden.)  I didn't miss the salt and pepper at all.  I think the bell pepper and mushrooms just added more flavor. 

If you have lots of extra tomatoes or even if you don't, I hope you'll give this a try.  It is a wonderful summer time treat.  I'm thinking of adding eggplant next time.  Doesn't that just sound so yummy? 

If you give it a try, I'd love to know what you thought. 

Hope you have a great rest of your day/evening.

18 July 2013

finding myself...

I've been thinking about this little blog for a while, about why I blog, why I don't blog, what I blog about, do people enjoy reading my blog, am I writing for my readers or for myself, should I be writing for my readers or myself, etc, etc, etc.

This past weekend's tea party post had more reads than probably two years combined.  I've also noticed that I seem to get a lot of reads, but not many comments.  I'm really curious about this.  But I wonder if I should be. 

When I first started blogging, I did it for myself.  I did it as a type of journal writing.  But then I started getting readers and comments and it became fun interacting with people this way.  I know over the past 2-3 years, my posting has really been very minimal.  Mostly it was because of my health situation and how horrible it made me feel.  It hasn't been until recently (well, since last October) that I've learned to adjust to my situation.  When I stopped blogging it was because I felt like all I did was complain and whine and no one wants to read about that, now do they?

I had lost my mojo, lost being able to see the beauty in a sunset, lost being able to relate to and enjoy my favorite things, much less share them here.  So I gave up.  I quit blogging and I quit reading the blogs I love. 

I feel like I'm back now.  I feel like I've been slowly regaining myself and now I'm ready to be here.  I'm ready to take my life back and to share it here.  So, I hope you'll consider coming back too.  I hope to bring some interesting things to this blog in the near future.  Maybe figure out a way to make it more fun for you too.  If you are a follower or regular reader and there is something you'd like me to post about, please let me know.  :-)

I truly appreciate each and every one of you.


17 July 2013


Are you all rested up from the weekend party?  It took me two days to go through all the Tea Party Posts but it was great fun.  Plus, I came across several new blogs to follow and a few old ones that had slipped through the cracks.  I love finding new kindred out there in bloglandia.

Huge Thank You! (s) to everyone that visited for the Mad Tea Party and for all the sweet and lovely comments.  You guys made my day!  And a GINORMOUS Thank you to Vanessa for hosting such a wonderful party every year.  (I'm already making plans for next years party!)  ;-)

 So I've been feeling pretty peach.  (Not physically unfortunately.)  But one of my favorite things about summer is fresh peaches.  Last summer I went out of my comfort zone and made a few jars of  peach jam.  It was such a hit with myself, as well as my family, that this year called for loads of jam.  While at the farmer's market this weekend, I picked up a box of peaches and yesterday made 4 batches of jam.  I still had half the box left so today I cut up the peaches and froze some with a little lemon juice and sugar, put up some in 4 jam jars and covered with vodka and made something called an "Easy Peach Dump Cake".  It was super easy but I haven't tried it yet.  Once I do, if it is any good, I'll make a special post about it.

This morning I woke up before 6am (my goal each day is 5am) and took care of my usual chores (cat feeding, bp and glucose checks, med taking, etc.) before heading out to the garden to water (which I forgot to do yesterday).  It was 76 degrees at 6:30 this morning and the humidity was around 90+%.  It was horrid.  But I got everything watered so it could make it through another 90 degree day.  While I was watering, this little fella jumped out of a section of weeds.  I had to snap a pic as I've never seen a live cicada before.  I hear them singing all night long and some during the day but I only ever find their dessicated bodies when working in the garden.  He's kinda creepy looking but I'm happy to have made his acquaintance.

This is the sunset we had last night.  I was watching TV and happened to glance outside and realized how beautiful the sunset was so I took off with my camera to the back yard where I could get the best view.

 The clouds make me think of cotton candy...

 My cucumbers have escaped and are on a rampage.  I really must get a real trellis situated for them next year.  I'm not even sure how to stick my hand down in there to look for cukes.  But there are tons of blooms and when I was out this morning one of the happiest sights I saw were all the bees going from plant to plant.  They were all over the pumpkins and the cucumbers.

I had to run errands this morning and I arrived home to find a package waiting at my door.  If you aren't familiar with Heather at Audrey Eclectic, you really should go visit her.   She is a fabulous artist.  Her art makes my heart yearn for old fashioned life, back before all the technology took over the world.  (Although without the technology I might never have found her art!) 

About a week ago she showcased a new painting on her blog titled "The Witch's Garden".  Now with a title like that how could I not look!  I fell in love with that painting but didn't really think about buying it.  I figured it would get snapped up pretty quick.  A few days later I saw on Facebook that it was still available in her Etsy shop
Well, my spirit just screamed at me to get right on Etsy, I listened and now this beauty lives with me.  I know where I'm going to hang her but as I told Heather when I emailed her today to thank her, I just want to carry her around with me so I can look at her all the time!  :-)  I highly recommend checking out Heather's shop.  It is so lovely!

That is about all for me tonight.  I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow and then hope to be able to get back out into the garden on Friday.  Lots of weeding still to do to protect all those pumpkin plants. 

I'll be back soon with a real garden update and maybe a recipe.  :-)


ps..I've decided that every day should be full of Madness and Muchness...doesn't it sound grand?

13 July 2013

Do you have time for tea?

Well, Hello there!  What's this?  Looks like you've stumbled onto a Tea Party.  Yes, we are having quite a to-do today.  Did you see my sign from the road as you were passing by?  I'm so glad you've stopped in.  We have quite a treat today or rather quite a lot of treats! 

Where were you on your way to, if you don't mind my asking?  We don't get many visitors this way being so far in the middle of everywhere.  Were you headed to Merthyr Tydfill?  Or perhaps Kalispell?

Or perhaps you were headed to Underland?  Or maybe, maybe you were looking for Wonderland?

Wonderland, you say?  Marvelous!  You've come to the right place.  Just follow that path and you're there in a hop, skip and jump. 

Why, there is that silly rabbit!  I've been looking everywhere for her.  She spends more time looking at her watch than looking where she is going!  Hmm, but she seems to be waiting for someone...

Oh my, it's Alice!  Alice is here!  They'd best hurry along and not dawdle.  I don't think they are running late, but you never know with that rabbit. 

It looks like they are passing through the Red Queen's garden.  I understand she loves roses, particularly red ones.

Here's another marker on the path.  I think you should follow along.

Don't let the White Rabbit get too far ahead.  She's a quick one, that rabbit.

Time for Tea!  And treats galore!  Something for every taste bud can be found. 

Here is the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, but they haven't started the party!  They are patiently waiting for everyone to arrive.  How kind of them not to start without us!

And here is Door Mouse and the White Rabbit.  Alice is going to have to find a spot to sit.  There may not be enough room at the table but there are plenty of other seats to be found.

Alice is being so polite and greeting everyone while the Hatter makes his best Mad face.

Now that we've all been introduced, let's see what goodies we can find to nibble on.  I see pretzels and chips and crackers with a yummy spread.    Those strawberries look so delicious, I think I'll start with fruit.  We have lots of tea to choose from, Earl Grey, Irish Breakfast, Mint (fresh from the garden), and many others.  There is also lemonade, water and fruit punch, since it is a bit of a warm day.

 Lots of sweet little treats, like jelly bellies, lollipops, and cupcakes.  Cookies, veggies treats and little sandwiches.

 Door Mouse and March Hare seem to have found some nibblies. 

This looks like an interesting conversation, although Door Mouse seems a little worried.  She must have heard the rumor that the Red Queen was sighted in the area.  I wonder if she'll stop in for tea.  It is being held in her garden, after all.

 Oh, Alice seems to have partaken of one of those magic cakes that makes her grow so tall!  I wonder which cake it was.  Be sure to ask her if you don't want to be quite so tall.

Perhaps it was one of those club shaped sandwiches, or maybe the heart, or the diamond or the spade?  Oh I'm not sure what to try.  I don't particularly feel like being so tall today.  

 Oh My!  She's here! She's HERE!  The Red Queen has come to the party!  Alice looks very concerned.  March Hare is so brave to get that close to Red Queen.  I hear she has quite the temper when she doesn't get her way.  AND that she doesn't like people to touch her person.  Brave Hare grabbing those keys, hmmm?

 Well, whew, the Red Queen seems to be in a good mood today.  She didn't threaten to beat March Hare.  I wonder if it is because we made her a special cake?  Red velvet, of course, with lots of hearts. 


 Flamingo is taking a rest on the mushroom while the Queen breaks for tea.  Croquet can be quite exhausting, especially if your the mallet! 

 The Queen of the Sky is shining down on us and joining the party as well.  I hear she and the Red Queen are quite close.

 The March Hare is helping Alice fix a cup of tea.  Wait, oh how sweet, it's for the Red Queen.

 Red Queen really enjoys tea and slurps it down quite quickly. 

 Hmmm....what was in that tea?  "Alice?!  Did you put something in my tea," screams the Red Queen.
"How could you!  Here I thought we were all getting along!"

 As the White Rabbit looks on, the Red Queen grabs her croquet mallet and screams, "I knew I couldn't trust you!  OFF WITH HER HEAD!!!"  

 Shame, shame Alice!  Funny how she doesn't look the least bit scared. 

Well, now the party is in full swing, what with all those snacks and the drugged Red Queen. 

 Please have more treats while we try to save Alice's head. 


 Okay, we've settled down the Red Queen with a new cup of non drugged tea and a plate of cake.  Please stay as long as you like and enjoy all the treats and company.  I'm so glad you all could make it to this year's tea party.  

From all of us: Alice, March Hare, White Rabbit, Door Mouse, The Mad Hatter and the Red Queen we thank you for coming and hope to see you again soon. 


PS...Many thanks to Miss Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist for hosting such wonderful parties every year.  This is her 6th year (my 2nd one participating) and I swear they get better each year.

12 July 2013

a little bliss to brighten my week (and maybe yours...)

I just wanted to pop in to say I made it home a day early from hospital.  It was a difficult week with loads of ups and downs but with some possible answers and potential for hope.  I thought I'd share a few photos I took before I left home.  I was allowed my laptop so I played around online some but mostly just slept.  When I was awake I would look through the photos I'd taken so I could have some bright spots to remind me of why I needed to take that step.

My Russian sunflowers started to bloom.  I loved watching this bee searching for pollen.  Go little bee, bring your friends and tell them there is lots to find in my garden.

Cosmos are one of my favorites.  I really have so many favorite flowers it seems unfair to pick one or two out and say they are my favorites.  But I do love cosmos.

Another tiny sunflower, called Moonshadow.  It is such a pale yellow and so pretty.

One of my dahlias (I have two).  I can't remember the name of it, I planted it a few years ago and this year it has three giant blooms on it.  Lovely.

I was so happy to come home last night to find the garden still growing well.  In fact, things are just shooting up.  Practically the first thing I did was go out to check the garden, particularly the pumpkin patch.  I've still got a lot to weed around some of the pumpkins, but am giving myself a few days to recover before trying to get right out there again.  (Today would have been a perfect day, it is mostly overcast with temps in the mid 70's and we had a really good rain last night so it would have been perfect weed pulling time.)   I can't take the chance of overdoing and ruining what little progress was made at hospital. 

I went out a little bit ago and snipped some of my hydrangea blooms to bring in.  They made such a sweet little bouquet.  So, today I'm resting, futzing around the house and getting things finalized for tomorrow's Tea Party.  I do so hope you'll be able to attend.  I'm hoping to go to farmer's market tomorrow morning early (I haven't been in weeks) and then coming home and spending the day party hopping.  It should be grand fun!

I'm off to finish getting it all together.  Have a wonderful weekend!

ps...did i mention?  there are blooms on the pumpkins!  on almost all of the plants!!  yay!!

03 July 2013

the universe has a plan...

One day life seems difficult but do able, the next...not so much. 

I'm coming off a lot of antibiotics and steroid burst prescriptions for various reasons and yesterday seemed to be the culmination of the nightmare reactions.  Yesterday, my body refused to work, I mean really, it was like it sagged in on itself on the sofa and said, nope, nothing doin'.  I was in bed before dark, asleep.

If you've been reading here for any length of time you know that I have a chronic disabling illness.  I also have other health concerns that are affected/effected (I can never get that right) by the main chronic problem.  In addition to all the regular health related mess I have to try to keep up with I received a lovely jolt to my foot from a very nasty pair of pruning shears.  And by 'nasty', I'm not implying they were mean.    (On THE day I was throwing a party - with real actual human guests expected, something I haven't done in 19 years!)  Long story short on the foot, didn't tend it properly right away, was on it until well into the early am hours and ended up in Urgent Care next morning with a rather large foot and infection. 

Foot is better now, still bruised and ugly but no infection, no swelling, good to go.  Yay, Foot! 

One day last week (while still on extra meds) I did a count to see just how many medications (actual pills and or shots) I have to take in a day.  There was 1 shot and 25 pills.  I am 44 years old.  How ridiculous is that?  It might be one thing, if they helped me at all, but at least 90% of them do nothing to help with the intended illness and cause side effects that just exacerbate the illnesses.  But...I will continue to do what my doctors tell me, as best I can. 

I want to get better.  I want to feel better.  I don't want to have any more days like yesterday.  There have been way too many of them in the past and I want to have a good life.  I want to have a life.

Time for a bright spot to bring things around.  Isn't that hydrangea beautiful?  My paternal grandmother always had huge gorgeous hydrangeas in her garden and I've always loved them.  My step mother gave me this one a few years ago.  It is so loaded with blooms right now and just the perfect shade of blue.

Let's see, where shall we go?  Oh yes, last post I mentioned my next couple weeks had turned all topsy turvey and this brings me to the universe.  I should be planning and plotting and gathering to spend next week in the mountains attending an art workshop with one of my all time favorite artists.  Seriously, this woman is a Goddess and I adore her.

After a lovely week learning and creating and breathing in that wonderful mountain air I was to arrive home just in time for a Tea Party.  (I do so hope you can attend!)

And then turn around in one day for a lovely 3-5 day stay at hospital an hour from home (who shall remain nameless for I cannot stand to speak it's very name for several very silly reasons, really).  During this lovely stay I shall be the recipient of countless wonder drugs (IV drips) of magical elixirs that will hopefully break the cycle of chronic pain that I've endured every moment of every day for over seven long, long years.  Oh, and I get to have a hole punched into my spine (because the first time just wasn't fun enough!)  And while I was to be in hospital my family (both mum and dad) were to be out of town.

So, last week I think it was, just as I am sitting down to order my supplies for that art workshop (list and credit card in hand) In steps The Universe to let me know there has been a change in plans.  Workshop canceled (astounding to me I was the only person to sign up) and hospital stay moved up a week. 

It is still crazy, I have no idea what time I go in, how long I'll really be there, etc, etc., etc.  I like details.  If I have something to do I want to know each detail like what to bring, what to leave home, is there wi-fi so I can do something fun like surf the net and keep up with my blog friends, something other than lie there and let this magical elixir drip into my veins for hours and days at a time.  Because if all I can do is lie there and let my brain ramble?  I'll be going from hospital to mental institution and who would tend my pumpkins then?

I think it's time to wrap this up.  I'm still really tired.  But I've been awake since 2am.  Errands need to be run today, phone calls made, info acquired, you know the drill.  But I really just keep thinking that The Universe is giving me a break on this.  It's okay if I vegetate on the couch one day.  It's okay if my body says, No, not today.  Everything will get done eventually and if it doesn't, it didn't really need to be done, right? 

One week of crazy as opposed to two or more.  Thank you Universe.  If I'd had those two weeks work out, it could have been August before I was able to move again. 

So, I'm going to try to get back with at least one more post (hopefully something of a much more fun and cheerful nature) before Monday.  But just in case, would you say a little prayer for me next week - to whoever/whomever works for you.  This whole thing is really a big experiment and I don't like being the guinea pig.  I would really appreciate the kindness.

Oh, and pray that my dad waters the pumpkins not the weeds (and that he leaves the Round-Up at home) - or that it just rains all week.  :-)


ps...i realized during a dish washing session yesterday that I left off a most valuable asset in the garden blog world on the last post.  If you have not visited these lovely people and you are interested in organic gardening/homesteading, etc.  It is a must read.  I've learned so much from them and really enjoy their blog.

01 July 2013

The Garden: July 1

Hello again.

I've been slowly playing catchup in bloglandia again and have noticed some of my favorite bloggers do regular garden updates.  Amanda and Vanessa's are two of my absolute favorites and if you have not been to see them, you must take the time.   They are so different - but so inspirational in lots of good ways.

I thought maybe I could put together my own garden up date today.  The rain is still with us (although right now the sun is trying to peak through.  We've had so much rain that getting into the garden to work is spotty right now.

This is a how my garden looks from the front as of about 10 minutes ago.


 Potential sugar baby watermelon's here.  They are growing well, but I've never grown watermelon and this is just an experiment from some seeds I'd saved from a watermelon from last summer.

 My first harvest - a few days ago.  I was out of onion so I sauteed the squash in butter, salt and pepper and tossed in some green beans.  I was surprised how I ended up liking the sauteed green beans.  

This was the pumpkin patch after it was all cleared and tilled and planted.  You can see the dark small mounds where I planted seeds.

The pumpkin patch last week.  Yes there really are pumpkin plants growing in there.  I've not seen flowers yet, but it I'm hopeful.  This is the next project between the hit and miss rain, running out to weed and mulch the pumpkin patch.  (Note to self - mulch as you plant...much less work!)

 The last view is the garden from the very back corner of my land.  The dark brown box to the left of the photo is my composter which has seemed to sprout something huge growing from the bottom.  I can't tell yet what they are but they look a little like pumpkins, squash, cucumber or zucchini and have started blooming.  I'm going to weed around it and see what happens.

So this is my garden to date.I hope it hasn't been too boring of a post.  The rain seems to have taken a break for now.  Maybe I should through on my grubbies and get out there.  :-)


ps...my plans for the next couple weeks went all wonky and now everything has changed.  i'll try to get back here soonest as soon.  ;-)