Monthly Archives: May 2009

A Beautiful Sunny Day – “Only The Good” Friday

It’s a beautiful sunny day on this “Good” Friday and I’m trying to get finished up with my planting.  It’s been over a week of great weather, which is nice since we had such a cool wet spring.  (The wet spring  brought on an abundance of Slugs which are making a feast of my Hostas and Marigolds…. which is not good.)  However, other than that, I’ve enjoyed being out in the sunshine planting my flowers, tomato containers and herb garden.

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I love to peek over and see what my neighbors are planting because everyone’s tastes are so different.  Gardening is truly a reflection of the heart.   My garden is filled with “old fashion” flowers like Marigolds, Geraniums, and a few Petunias.  I have a new variety of Petunias this year that look like tiny Gardenias.  Of course,  English Lavender is special and  several plants adorn  my garden, which is harvested in the fall for sachets.

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I do enjoy finding new plant verities at the nursery that are placed  in the flower garden.  This year I found this fun flower called Pink Mulla Mulla and it’s going into this container this morning.                Unfortunately, it’s an annual and won’t be back next year… but the enjoyment it offers this year will be enough.

I’m off to enjoy this “Good” Friday in my garden.   I hope your weather is sunny and bright and your Friday will be a “Good” one.

Till Later

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Don’t forget to pass on your “Good” Friday news.  When you do… check with  Shelly at This Eclectic Life.  She’s the host of this “Positive Movement.

P.P.S.  Sorry I’ve been so neglectful in posting on this blog… but I’ll be back… as soon as I get the last tomato planted.

Home Gardening – “Only The Good” Friday

On this “Good  Friday I want to share my passion for home gardening.  As long as I can remember,  strolling through a nursery, checking out the flowers and shrubs puts a smile on my face.    Apparently,  I’m not the only one who gets a “big bang” out of meandering through the  begonias, petunias, and foxglove.   Last week, I over heard a man, who was inspecting tomatoes, exclaim to his wife, “This is going to  be fun.”

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Gardening gives my mind an opportunity to wander from subject to subject without much focus and sometimes I can be found humming a tune.   I even enjoy adding the turkey mulch to amend my soil.  There is something nice about submerging  your planting shovel into soil that is soft and rich.

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Finding new plant varieties is exciting and this year is no exception.

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Just take a look at this new petunia.  It’s a spreading variety and the bloom is double, which makes it look like a small Gardenia.

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Summer cooking wouldn’t be complete without using fresh basil.  This new Lettuce Basil is a fun change from the traditional variety.

Yes… this is a “Good Friday” because my 60 foot porch has hanging baskets and planters filled with… Yep… my all time favorite… Begonias.  My side yard is complete with roses, marigolds, geraniums, petunias, Victoria Blue and the Lemonade Honeysuckle is in bloom.

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Have a “good Friday”  I will… for I’m on to the next project… the front flower beds.  Hmmmmm…. just where to I want to plant those daisies.

Till Later,

Kathy
Insightful Nana

P.S.  Gardening, like home decorating, is a personal matter.  My motto is, “Plant what you love… no matter what the neighbors think.”

P.P.S.  Go see what Shelly, at  This Eclectic Life, has to say… and get on her “OtGF” blog roll.  My sis, Sheila celebrates OtGF too.

Begonias – The Queens Of My Garden

Begonias are the queens of the garden at my house.  I love the intensity of their rich viberent colors… pink, red, orange and yellow.  There are different varieties of begoinas.  Upright and Nonstop are the most commonly known.  There is a  little less known type called Illumniation.  The Illumniation begoinia seeds are imported from England.  It is a “hanging” variety and by that I mean… the flowers and foliage droop over the edges of the planter or hanging basket.

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Every year, my favorite nursery has plenty Illumniation Begonias to choose from but because of a fertilization mishap, all of thier begonias died.  No problem… I’ll just get them from another nursery.   No way!   Every nursery I called did not have them.  In fact, most nurseries were not familiar with the variety.  I quickly printed off a few photos I had taken of my baskets last year and ran to to a new nursery… who promised to plant them next year.  (You see, I want to protect myself from disappointment.)

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After many phone calls, I finally found a nursery  50 miles away that were having a few Illumniation begonias coming in on a truck.  Boy… was I on the road in a hurry.  Would you believe, only 15 Illumination plants were among 100 begonia plants.   Such luck!

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So… when you’re begonia shopping, ask your nursery about Illumniation Begonias  If you’re fortunate enough to locate any… grab them up and give ’em a try.  I assure you… you’ll not be disappointed.

Off to plant my hanging baskets.

Till Later,

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Remember, begonias don’t care for the sun… they are strictly a shade plant and they love rich soil.  They’re great for porches that face the north or the east.

P.P.S  Make sure and view the video on the home page of the blog for “must know” gardening tips.

Robin Red Breast – But Not In My House

Robin Red Breast came a calling today.  In fact two of them dropped by.   I wasn’t aware they came for a visit until my daughter, Katie, called out, “Hey Mom, did you know you have two birds in your house?”  “Say what?”  I came running.  Sure enough, two Robins entered the family room via an open patio door.

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There they were, flapping their wings and dashing their bodies against the window, on the opposite side of the room.   The movie,”The Birds,” by Alfred Hitchcock. flashed through my mind.  I assure you I was not about to get close to those critters and have them flap their wings around my head.  Oh No!

I grabbed a broom and handed to Katie.  She approached the birds cautiously and opened the window with the handle.  One fellow caught the vision immediately and flew out.  The other bird was still confused… running up and down the window sill.  Katie encouraged it along until it found the open side of the window and flew away to freedom.

Oh shoot…. where was the camera.  No one will believe it.   As I inspected the window and the window sill… the birds left evidence that they had been there.   Not a pretty site…so  I declined the photo opportunity to prove the crisis had taken place.

What is the point?  Warning!  Don’t leave your doors open so robins won’t drop by unannounced.   However, if you ever happen to repeat my experience… I pray you have a brave daughter around to save you from excited, frightened birds.

Keep safe now.

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.  I have my disinfectant gear and I’m on my way to clean up the evidence.  To tell you the truth… I would probably react the same way if I found myself trapped in a strange house with looming figures approaching me.

Ranch Dressing – Homemade With Herbs From Your Garden.

Ranch Dressing is the leading dressing for salads.   This Homemade Ranch Dressing recipe is easy to make and is made using fresh herbs from your garden. So while your planting poseys in your flower beds… leave a little room for growing the popular herbs,  chives and parsley.  They are a wonderful perennials and they are the main herbs used in Ranch Dressing.

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Both herbs, parsley and chives, like to be planted in rich soil and they like the sun.  However, my mom had a beautiful bed of parsley that grew under some bushes… and it did very well.   Parsley and Chives winter over very well, even in cold temperatures. They are up and ready to begin harvesting by the middle of May.

A bit of advise about harvesting your herbs.  Parsley should be harvested frequently so it keeps coming back.  Harvest it while the shoots are relatively young.   If you are going to be using chives for eating, prevent them from flowering by cutting out all the flower buds as they appear.  Allowing them to bloom restricts the growth of new leaves.  Harvest your chives from the outside edges cutting them 2″ above ground.  They will continue to grow and you can harvest them frequently during the entire summer.

Cut parsley stems close to the ground and it will continue to reproduce.   Wash it.   I know… I’ve heard that your not suppose to wash herbs… but the thought of eating  tiny gnats doesn’t appeal to me, so, I wash it well and hold it by the stems and shake all the water out.  (Yep.. I was right.. there are those little bitty gnats.)  Dry the parsley carefully with a towel.  I cut the parsley fine with a small pair of scissors I keep in the kitchen.

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Wash and dry the chives too.  Using the scissors, snip the chives in 1/4″ lengths.

Any extra herbs left… just leave them in the bowls and both herbs will dry in about 2 days.  If you get a bit nervous… cover the bowl lightly with a paper towel.  Shake the bowl now and again so the herbs will dry evenly.

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I pick up a few small jars at Ikea.  Each time I harvest the herbs and dry them they are added to the bottles.   Soon, several bottles will be filled and ready for winter use.  (Great Christmas gifts.)

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This homemade Ranch Dressing was such a hit with my family that I’m going to keep an ample supply in my fridge all summer long.

They ingredients are very simple:  1 Cup Sour Cream,  1 Cup Mayonnaise,  1 Cup Buttermilk.  1 heaping T.B. Chopped Chives,  1 heaping T.B. Chopped Parsley,  1 Large Garlic Clove Crushed (About the side of a quarter… and some times I use a bit extra… Mmmmmm garlic!)  2 Tesp. of Fresh Lime.  (Yield 3 Cups and it keeps for several weeks.)

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In a mixing bowl, combined the Sour Cream, Mayonnaise, and Buttermilk.

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Add the cut Chives.  Yes… it’s okay if you sneak in a bit extra.

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Add the cut Parsley.  Smell the aroma!

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I love my garlic press because it saves so much time.  Press your garlic and add it to the mixture.  Yea for garlic!

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If you put your limes in the microwave for about 15 seconds… it will warm them… then roll the lime with the heal of your palm until the lime is soft.  Wow! lots of juice.

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Add the lime juice.

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Mix all  together with a wire whip.  Place it  in fridge for a few hours so the flavors blend well.

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Heap this Fresh Ranch Dressing on your crisp green salad.

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If you want something delicious.. try this Fresh Homemade Ranch Dressing on potatoes.

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And fish is to die for with this Ranch dressing on it.

So… get busy and plant yourself a little herb garden and enjoy this Fresh Homemade Ranch Dressing recipe all summer long.

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S.  During the winter months, use the Ranch Dressing recipe I posted earlier this year. You can use your own dried parsley.

P.P.S.  Click on the related posts below and learn more about herbs.

P.P.S.  I think I’ll head for the kitchen.  A green salad sounds really good!

Charitable Giving Heros – “Only The Good” Friday

Charitable giving is nothing new to Nick Giordano,  a teen hero who has contributed thousands of dollars to the “Make A Wish Foundation”…  using his unique talent.

We all have unique talents we can share… and it does not need to have a monetary value attached to it.  Most often, a helping hand, and  a listening ear can often be of more value than cash.  My brother-in-law, Dew, mows my lawn once a week.  Oh how I appreciate the help.  He whips around my yard in his commercial riding mower in no time at all and it save me hours of time… not counting the fact he trims around the edges to boot. He’s my hero!

My friend, Linda, who has retired from teaching Art in high school willing shares her talent.  She is skilled at poster and sign designer and paints them by hand.. no less.  When our church or a neighbor needs a welcome banner…who do they call?  Linda is away waiting and willing to give.  She’s a charitable giving hero to many people.

I belong to a business forum on the Internet called the Milagroworld Forum. I have received help for my business from folks from all over the globe.  From Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, Denmark, Tennessee, Texas, California, Canada, Australia…Gulf Of Mexico (the fellow lives on a sails boat.)… a finer group of folks cannot be found… and all willing to share their “know how.”
These are virtual heros… because I have never met them face to face.

On this “Only The Good” Friday, I want to share Nick’s  “goodness” and his unique talent with you.

Way to go Nick!  We are blessed to be a part of the most charitable nation in the world.  We all have something to share and contribute… and we probably do more than we think.  Yeah, good for us!

If you want to be a part of the OtGF movement… log on to This Eclectic Life, and Shelly (our host) will add you to our growing blog roll.

Have a “Good” Friday.

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  My sister Sheila is my hero.  She comes to my rescue frequently and is so willing to give and share.  She what she’s up to on this “Good” Friday.

Our Own Virus Pandemic – “Only The Good” Friday

Let’s start our own Virus Pandemic!

Opps… I guess we should define a few words.   Pandemic:  “A disease that moves world wide, and is not contain in one region or country.”   Virus:  “A piece of code or an agent  that is capable of copying itself.”   Viral: “The rapid spreading of a disease or information.”   For example, the past two weeks, these words have been on the lips of many folks…  as the fear of “Swine Flu” spread quickly from one country to another.  I am amazed at how rapidly fear can spread with the aid of T.V. Newspapers and the Internet.  From Twitter to the Blogs… people were talking about the “Swine Flu.”

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Just a week before… another  type virus spread through out the world.  The name of Susan Boyle spread like wild fire through the blogs of the World.  Just one You Tube video had over 20 million views in less than a week.  Support, cheers, and happiness were prevalent on the web for a couple of weeks.  How refreshing!  Now, that’s the kind of virus I’m happy to pass on.

“Only The Good” Friday, gives met the opportunity to pass on a “good, happy and positive virus.  At he present time, it’s only an epidemic because it hasn’t spread world wide… but it’s my hope and the hope of Shelly, the OtGF host…. that it will.  If you want to join us… just let her know.

On this “Good Friday”… I want to share two videos with you.  The first one is Susan Boyle singing “Killing Me Softly.”  This was recorded 10 years ago as a demo.   Wow! what a voice… what a woman.  I think one of the reasons the Susan Boyle virus spread so fast… besides having a great voice…was the fact that she’s  just “One of Us.”  And…I want her to stay that way.

This next short video is a “Good Friday”  surprise.  If this type of virus could spread to become a pandemic,  the world would be a better place… Not only on Friday… but every day of the week. I just loved this.

Enjoy… and may your Friday be filled with  “Only The Good.?

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  My sis, Sheila… is spreading the “Only The Good” Friday virus too. She’s hoping for a viral pandemic also.

May Day Traditions – “Only The Good” Friday

May Day traditions began before Christ was born.  Celebrating the first day of May has been popular in many countries.  The meaning and celebration seems to vary from country to country.  In some countries, it is considered a day to honor the working class… much like our “Labor Day” in September.

It was also celebrated by some early European settlers of the American continent. In some parts of the United States, May Baskets are made. These baskets are small and usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someones doorstep.  The basket giver would ring the bell and run away. The person receiving the basket would try to catch the fleeing giver. If they caught the person, a kiss was to be exchanged.

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On this “Only The Good” Friday, I’m leaving a May Day flower basket at your internet door.  And since you’ve  caught me… I will accept your kisses by way of comments or e-mail.  lol

Some of you may recognize this paper cone basket because I presented the instructions on how to make it in a January post  and video called “Paper Crafts For Valentines Gifts. Pssst.  The secret of turning it into a flower basket rather than a candy basket  is simple.

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Follow the instructions in the “Paper Crafts For Valentines Gifts” post except you don’t close the back of the cone tightly.  You want to leave room for a 10 oz. plastic cup that you  insert in the top of the cone.  I just put a bit of floral  foam in the cup and arranged the flowers.    Waaaa Laaaa.  Now you have a May Day basket that you can leave on someones door knob.  Run fast or they will catch you!

Have a great May Day on this “Only The Good” Friday.

Till Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana.

P.S.  I got this fun May Day flower basket idea from a sweet friend last May Day.  I didn’t catch her so I couldn’t give her a kiss. But this year… I caught her and we exchanged kisses.  This is a happy May Day.

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P.P.S.  Follow our host Shelly at This  Eclectic Life.  You will find many more friends there who are sharing the “Good” on Fridays.   My sister Sheila is a  OtGF  contributor too.