Camellia Rustling

I borrowed “rustling” from rose rustlers.  They’re people who get cuttings from mostly old variety roses found at old home sites, out in the country, cemeteries, etc.  I had told you that I rustled a few camellia cuttings while on my way to the last Master Gardener’s meeting.

I failed to take pictures while the blossoms were fresh so Don and I stopped the other day in order for me to take pictures.  No, I didn’t rustle any more cuttings but I did get some nice photo’s.  Hope you enjoy these.

Drama Girl1

This is Drama Girl

This is a sport bloom on Drama Girl.

This is a sport bloom on Drama Girl.

Purple Dawn.  The older the blossom gets, the more purple tone on the petal edges.

Purple Dawn. The older the blossom gets, the more purple tone on the petal edges.

This white camellia is just beautiful!

I don't know the name of this white camellia.

I don’t know it’s name.

Unknown

Unknown

And here are my cuttings already stuck in the potting soil and labeled.  You can see my bottle of rooting hormone.  It’s my best friend when it comes to success with propagation.

Camellia Cuttings

Camellia Cuttings

These leaves have been severely cut back to preserve energy for new roots.  The reason I don’t want to totally strip them is that they need the ability for photosynthesis (or at least that’s what I think).

SherylSigRedFinal2

 

Ready For a Tear Jerker?

This is so incredibly heart warming.  It’s the wedding vows of Nascar driver Brian Scott and his new wife.

SherylSigRedFinal2

Updated “Cheap Entertainment”

I’ve updated “Cheap Entertainment” so that the video’s are embedded directly in the post.

SherylSigRedFinal2

Pine Needle Baskets

Some of you were interested in the pine needle baskets.  I must have been wrong about the length of the needles.  The longest ones I have are 18″.  Most of them are 14″-16″.  Some are around 10″.

pine needles

You don’t want to work with real short needles because you would be constantly working in new needles.  The longer, the better.

You can find many examples of pine needle baskets with a Google search here.  Here’s a link for Pinterest that not only has pictures but instructions.  You can find books at Amazon about making them.  This is the book I have.  I got mine for about $20.

I haven’t worked on my basket for a while.  It won’t be too much larger.  I’m using artificial sinew for the stitching.

The center of the basket was purchased.

The center of the basket was purchased.

Let me know if you decide to give this a try.

SherylSigRedFinal2

Treasures

I love things that remind me of my childhood.  My Granny Dorsey was the central key to so many memories.  I’ve had her dining table in storage for several years but I didn’t have anywhere to use it until now.  Since Don built a new studio for me on the back of our house, my dining table has been moved to the studio.  Granny’s table is also in the studio but it’s in the process of being refinished.

This table was made by hand.  I’m going to see if Mother remembers who might have made it.  I want to attach a letter of provenance to the bottom side of the table top as it will be passed down in the family.

The top is plywood which Don says would have come from the west coast as that was the only place in the states that was making plywood during that time period.  Granny & Papaw Dorsey lived in Mississippi.  It is just a basic table.  The sides are really interesting as you can easily see the marks made where the wood was sawn into planks.  I have no idea what kind of wood the sides and legs were made of.

The top has been sanded

The top  has been sanded clean and the sides/legs lightly sanded

I don’t know if you can tell by looking at it, but this table is wide.  It’s much wider than dining tables we have today.  You can easily put a big spread of food on the table and still have plenty of room for eating.

I did most of the sanding myself with a little sander by Skil.  It’s a great little sander!  When I would get tired, Don would take over.  Here’s a picture of him starting the staining process.  We’re using a Walnut Danish oil stain by Watco. 

Table2

It’s easy to apply but I’m kind of getting tired of all the coats this table top needs.  It is absolutely just drinking the finish!  But it’s starting to look good.  The soft grain areas are finally starting to fill in so I’m hoping just a few more coats will be needed.  After that, I’ll apply a few coats of satin polyurethane, wet sand it and then put a few more coats to finish off.

Table3

Can you see the soft areas? They’re the darkest and are the slowest to fill. The lighter color already has a nice sheen to it.

It’s not a fancy table by any means.  It has a few character dings in it, but it’s very special to me.  I can’t begin to tell you how many Sunday lunches after church I’ve eaten at this table surrounded by family.  Precious, precious memories.

SherylSigRedFinal2

 

Seeds Seeds Seeds…..and More Seeds

I can’t resist them.  Ordering them that is.  I love seed catalogs, especially the organic ones.  I’m really getting into this organic, non-GMO gardening/eating stuff.  Can you tell?  ;-)

Right now in the big garden, Don has English peas, onions, and cabbage planted.  It’s time in our part of the state to get potatoes planted.  This is our first year to plant them.  I bought my seed potatoes a few weeks ago and I’ve got them laying in a box in my studio so the eyes can sprout.  Then I’ll cut them into pieces with 2 eyes and give them a couple days to dry out good.  Then we’ll get them planted.

There’s nothing like fresh, newly dug potatoes grown at home.  I hope we’ll get a good crop from them.

I think the next thing going in the ground will be peanuts but that will be later in April so they don’t get too cold.  Down here everyone loves the giant peanuts for boiling but I love smaller peanuts so I ordered 2 varieties:

Tennessee Red Valencia and Carwiles Virginia peanuts.  They must be sold out of the Carwiles Virginia peanuts as they’re no longer listed in the online catalog.  The peanut seeds came from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

I also got most of my seeds from them this year although I did buy some from a couple other companies.

I don’t want to make you think I’ve totally gone down the bend so I won’t tell you all the seeds I ordered but I did get:

Watermelons…..several different kinds

Cantaloupe

Eggplant

Lettuces….several different kinds

Black southern peas…they make the most delicious pot likker….yum….dip your cornbread in it and say yummmmm

Tomatoes….several different kinds

Squash….yellow and zucchini

Onions….White Bunching Onions and Deep Purple bunching onions.  From what I read, it looks like I can grow both year round here.

There’s a few other things I got from them but I’ll stop there.

From High Mowing Organic Seeds, I got:

Baby Doll Watermelon

Orange Summer Squash

Dwarf Curled Kale

Green Finger Cucumber

Natural Delight Corn

I got just a few  things from Seeds of Change.

All the companies shipped promptly but I’m glad I didn’t buy more from Seeds of Change because they didn’t send me an email acknowledgement of my order nor when they were shipping.  Both Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and High Mowing Organic Seeds sent emails both acknowledging receipt of the orders and shipment.  That’s important to me.

Catalogs????  They all have nice catalogs but Southern Exposure is by far my favorite catalog.  It is an absolute work of art.  Their seed packaging is as well.  High Mowing has nice packaging too.  Both companies give explicit instructions on the back of the package about planting and harvesting.  That is much appreciated.

Seeds of Change packages are nice.  They’re waterproof but they look pretty much like the everyday seed packs that you can buy at any retail store.  I like the in-depth instructions on the other packs better.  That said, it’s not enough to prevent me from buying their seeds in the future if they have something I want to try.

Do you have a favorite catalog for ordering seeds?

SherylSigRedFinal2

It’s Cold Out There

And I can’t seem to get warm inside.  I don’t think I’m coming down with anything.  It’s just that after I venture outside, it takes a while for me to warm up again.

It didn’t get out of the 40’s today which for us is seriously cold weather.  It had rained yesterday so that made it seem even colder.  Don stayed inside as long as he could stand it today and then went out to play on his tractor and start putting up the portable garage for Faith’s birthday party Friday night.  We had planned a camping party but I’m afraid it’s going to be too darned cold for that.   Now, if this was boy scouts getting together for a campout, they would love it because there’s a possibility they could earn their Polar Bear badge.

I stayed inside longer than he did, but I could no longer stand it either so I double layered clothes and headed out.  I planted rows of radish seeds in 3 of my Rain Gutter Garden buckets and I thought my fingers would freeze off even though I was wearing gardening gloves.

Then I gathered up the Camellia cuttings I had taken last week and “stuck” them into pots.  I always use a rooting hormone to help my cuttings get started.  These cuttings came from a “rustling” I did on my way to the Master Gardener meeting last week.  The bushes are on a lot where a house had been moved from years ago.

I got 4 different varieties. A fellow Master Gardener is a Camellia expert and I had the good fortune to sit next to him at the meeting.  He identified 2 of the cuttings for me.

I’m going to stop by there tomorrow to take some pics so you see what they look like.  Camellia’s aren’t my favorite because they make such a mess on the ground when the blooms drop.  I’ve got a few that need to be planted though so I’ve decided to put them over by the dairy barn.

SherylSigRedFinal2

 

Rain Gutter Garden Revisited

I think I showed you my rain gutter garden last year but don’t really remember.  Old age again.

Anyway, I think I have a few pictures that better tell how it’s done.  And it really works.  I had gorgeous tomato plants with gorgeous tomatoes on them when our early freeze got them in the fall.

Larry Hall has great instructions for doing this on his youtube channel so I won’t duplicate his work but I’ll show you in a series of pictures how we did it.

Treated 4x4" timbers on each side of the rain gutter.  We forgot to secure the gutters to the insides of the timbers but we'll do that this year.

Treated 4×4″ timbers on each side of the rain gutter. We forgot to secure the gutters to the insides of the timbers but we’ll do that this year.

Each gutter has it’s own float valve (like in a toilet tank) and a water line connected to it.  When the plants drink water, the valve opens and fills to a pre-set level.  Neat, huh???

We mostly used 5 gallon buckets and Don drilled a hole in the bottom of each one with a circular saw.

The mesh pot goes into the hole and sticks out the bottom.

The mesh pot goes into the hole and sticks out the bottom.

Like this

Like this

You turn that over and sit it over the gutter with the mesh pot extending down into the water.  Fill the pot with your potting medium and start planting your seeds/transplants.

This is what the garden looks like with the buckets in place.

Buckets on Rain Gutter SystemWe have a plastic weed barrier down to keep it clean and easy to walk down the rows.  I planted some older broccoli seeds we had saved  a few years ago from the garden and now I’m waiting to see if I get any little plants from them.  I think there are a few coming up but since they’re so old, they may not germinate.

I got tired of waiting on the broccoli to come up so I commandeered some of the space for onions.

Newly planted onions

Newly planted onions

Let’s hope I have good luck with these.  It will be fun watching them grow.

SherylSigRedFinal2

Medicare Advice Please

We’ve been trying to decide what to do about Don’s Medicare.  He got part A automatically but we need to decide whether or not we should get regular Medicare Part B and a Medigap plan or if we should get one of the Medicare Advantage Plans.  We know we need drug coverage.  I’m so confused with the options!

Please tell me what you think and if you have a plan you’re pleased with.  All advice is welcome.  We have a few more days to make a decision.

Thanks bunches!

SherylSigRedFinal2

Long Leaf Pines

Last year Tootie started teaching me how to make pine needle baskets.  It’s fun and relaxing.  It’s something you can do with a small group and just enjoy the day together.  The short needle pine needles aren’t good to try to work with.  Long Leaf pines are wonderful!  But the problem is that years ago, the forest industry started replacing them with faster growing and producing trees that have short needles.  What that means is that there are not nearly as many long leaf trees to be found as there used to be.

We found some places last year near where Chris lives that we were able to get needles off the ground and I have those saved to use in baskets.  They are 16″-24″ long.  We also found quite a few in the 12″ range which will work up nicely also.

The last time we visited Chris we took a ride out to a restaurant on a lake near Alexandria and had a delicious lunch.  After lunch we decided to do some riding around to find potential camp spots and in the process we found ourselves in the middle of the Kisatchie National Forest.  It’s the only National Forest in our state and is quite lovely.

On our way out, I noticed a large planting of long leaf pines.  Don says it’s between 3 and 5 acres and it looks like they may relocate pines from elsewhere to this plot as the trees are all different sizes.  Talk about a long-leaf craving crafter’s idea of heaven!!!  No, I didn’t swipe any needles from the ground or trees, but it sure was tempting.  All it took to persuade me not to do that was Don’s reminder that I would go to federal prison.  Oops.  Not my idea of fun.

Long Leaf Forest 2

Isn’t it interesting how they grow?  They look like bottle brushes for the first several years of their life and then finally branch out.  I wish I knew the ages of these trees Don is standing between.Long Leaf ForestSherylSigRedFinal2

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