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I never know what I am going to find in the yard when I open the door. This week it was wildlife.

I’m calling these egrets but, truthfully, I don’t know what they are. Their beaks are not like egret beaks. This photograph is from Monday but I noticed them again the next day when I opened my door during a monsoon. There must have been at least 30 of them standing around in the rain seemingly unphased that they had no umbrellas. If you can identify them, please let me know in the comments.

egrets-0287

Wendy tells me these are White Ibis and Google Images agree.
Photographed 7/25/16

 

Wild turkeys

Five wild turkeys right outside my front door.
Naturally, some of them didn’t want their photo taken.
Photographed 7/29/16

My friend Cee, who I’ve known for about a dozen years, has some interesting yard art.

wine bottle border of flower garden

She and her husband built this super cool bottle garden.
Mulched inside the bottles, river rocks and landscape edging outside.

Cee’s husband also acquired a hand plow, and not having a compulsion to play in the dirt like some of us, turned it into a focal point in one of their garden beds. I’d like to give that plow a wild ride through some dirt to compare it to my plow. Alas, Mr. and Mrs. Cee don’t do dirt; they cover it with grass and flowers.

Hand plow as yard art

Hand plow as yard art – notice the two copper pipes holding it up

crockpots

These are my crockpots

 

How many of you are afraid to turn on a slowcooker or crockpot and leave the house? I was always afraid the crockpot might burn my house to the ground while I was at work because stuff happens to me. I don’t volunteer for stuff; it jumps on me with glee.

Once I left the 9-to-5 life, I had time to monitor bad crockpot behavior and searched the back of my pantry for a one-quart crockpot I had purchased many years before. It must have been many, many years ago because the metal body had rotted away to nothing while I wasn’t looking. On the bad crockpot behavior list, such action should be right behind torching my house. A crockpot sitting on a dry pantry shelf should not rot away. Even if it sits there for 30 years. I was going to use it someday!

This freak rust incident prompted the purchase of a 3-quart, oval-shaped crockpot by Hamilton Beach. I have cooked all manner of meals in this crockpot although I can’t recommend Crockpot Lasagna.

After a while, I was overcome with the desire for a larger crockpot. I purchased a 6-quart, shiny black, round and programmable crockpot by Crockpot. I can’t remember using it more than once or twice but I’ve got it if I need to feed the village.

Several years passed before temptation placed a third crockpot before me. It was a 2-quart crockpot for less than nine dollars. A bargain! I envisioned using it for side dishes. I could see black-eyed peas in my future.

The 2-quart crockpot went home with me. Rather than open the box, I went to my computer to look for recipes specific to a 2-quart crockpot. I was amazed. There were several websites but Pinterest had the most recipes.

The next day, problems with the new crockpot came to mind.

  1.   I had nowhere to store it.

     2.   I had a realization buzzing in my brain that there might be something wrong with me. Three crockpots? How was I ever going to explain this to Miss Priss on our weekly telephone chat? From time to time, her end of the telephone line goes silent after I have spoken. What if a third crockpot brought on the silent treatment? What if Priss began to think I was making too many Crooked Moon orbits (this is defined at Chicken News)?

In the end, I lost the courage to keep the 2-quart crockpot and returned it to the store. Do any of you have more than two crockpots? It’s time for you to confess.

Buying a used car is tricky business. We worry about the previous owner’s maintenance of the vehicle. We worry it was banged up in a wreck. We worry the car might be a lemon.

Seldom do we worry that a car was an accessory to crime (see Myrtle It’s A Haint) because it doesn’t occur to us that a car would do such a thing. Even if we select a car without suspicious stains or obvious bullet holes, it could have learned bad habits from the previous owner.

Like donuts.  I don’t have a problem with donuts. Honest. My car, though, harbors a serious addiction to them. I learned this when Krispy Kreme moved into a neighborhood shopping center.

Krispy Kreme-0276
The first time I pulled into the opposite side of the parking lot, the car went bonkers. It was bouncing on its chassis like all four shocks had simultaneously exploded as it lunged in the direction of the Krispy Kreme.  You should try driving a  car  that is rising up on its back tires hollering “YEEHAWWW!”  It’s an experience. I promise.

As addictions go, this one doesn’t cost a whole lot. Two donuts at Krispy Kreme run about $2.18. The problem, as I see it, is the car’s insistence that I eat the two donuts. This is doing nothing for my middle-aged figure. If I could lift the hood and throw donuts at the engine, then the car, instead of me, could figure out how to slip into that little black dress.

I recently mentioned this problem to a friend of mine. She confessed that her last used car had done the same thing whenever she tried to drive past Krispy Kreme. It got so that the Krispy Kreme clerks knew her order by heart. At the point when the car tires were starting to bulge, she made the decision to cut back on her donut order. It didn’t go well. The clerk looked out the window, recognized her, and said, “Ooops, I’ve got your order wrong. Let me get your usual dozen.” When she yelled “Nooooooo, my car is on a diet,” the clerk ignored her. She got her usual dozen donuts. Free.

I offer this to you as a gentle warning. Yes, a new car loses a pile of money the minute you wheel it off the lot but the used car? You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.

Note: I had to make an emergency trip to the vacuum cleaner store on July 23rd. With a death grip on the steering wheel, I managed to drive past the Krispy Kreme two doors down from the vacuum cleaner store. The car threw a fit when I tried to drive past the second Krispy Kreme. I was given a senior citizen discount I did not know about and did not request. Worse yet, the clerk managed to ascertain my old age from behind the building and around a corner. I should have purchased a dozen donuts and stuffed that car’s mouth with them!

I promise this is a field trip you don’t want to miss.

Part 1:  Head over to Deb’s Garden here to visit the Jim Scott Garden. Her wonderful photos will whet your gardening appetite for more.

Part 2:  Now head over to YouTube to see Absolutely Alabama’s visit and interview with Jim Scott:

 

This video has a lot of overhead shots but no interview with Mr. Scott:

 

 

Before I left for Atlanta, I was eating bush beans out of my garden. I like the taste of bush beans better than pole beans. I instructed my brother Bubba to pick beans while I was gone. I assumed this would be a simple task since both he and my sister are smarter than me. I was wrong. I returned to string beans that would have qualified for The Guinness World Record in giant beans.

A day or so later, when both Bubba and his wife were on the property, I casually asked if they remembered to pick beans. “Yes, we got a small handful.”

“Oh, a handful? Well, you could have picked 4 handfuls. I threw a mixing bowl of beans in the compost bin because they were too big. Big beans are tough beans.”

Bubba’s wife, who is a really great cook, confessed to not knowing much about picking beans. Bubba sat there mute.

For the benefit of those who think string beans come from a can at the grocery store, this is how you pick beans.

  1. Bush bean seeds are generally planted 3 inches apart. This means the plants, at maturity, will be a mass of leaves when viewed from the top. You won’t see very many beans waving their little hands at you above this canopy. If you pick only the beans you can see, you will leave behind a LOT of beans.
Canopy of bush beans with white blooms peeking out

Canopy of bush beans with white blooms peeking out

2.   Bush beans grow about 2 feet tall before forming the canopy of leaves. Bush beans also have a tendency to vine. These vines start at the bottom of the plant and grow outwards. Some of the vines lie on the dirt. You need to separate the canopy of leaves from every direction – north, south, east and west and look for beans. There is no central bean stalk despite the fairy tales you heard in kindergarten. For learning purposes, pretend there is a stalk. Look up and down this imaginary central stalk. You will see beans.

3.   Pick any bean that looks like a pencil — 4 to 7 inches in length and the width of a pencil although some varieties of bush beans are flatter than a pencil. I have about 4 varieties on hand right now. I pick up the seed packets at dollar stores, usually for less than a dollar.

4.   Try to pinch the bean from the vine to avoid breaking the vines. You can pinch it with your thumb and forefinger or you can use both hands.

Oh yeah. Southern peas do the same thing – make a canopy of leaves and vine.

The American Hemerocallis Society (AHS) is the national organization of daylily enthusiasts. As a member, I had been wanting to visit a local display garden. Seeing that my own daylily blooms were on the wane, I knew it was “now or next year” so I contacted the display garden nearest me, Martha’s Madness. Martha exuded that Southern charm you’ve always heard about. I love Southern charm. You just can’t beat it for warmth and hospitality. She told me to mark my calendar for June 4th and attend an “open house” at two of the local display gardens.

Display Garden: Lilies By The Pond

I should have taken more photos at this display garden but the heat fried my brain the minute I got out of the car. Let me tell you about it instead.

I was amazed at the sheer number of daylilies this couple had managed to cram onto your average sized subdivision lot. They had a respectable collection in the front yard with that beautiful but expensive concrete curbing around it.

Wensell front yard-205

When you entered the backyard from the left side, the side yard was filled with rows of raised beds (might have been 2 feet off the ground). An in-ground daylily bed ran the length of the privacy fence.  This flowed into another large concrete-curbed bed at the patio. There was no privacy fence running across the back of the property because the houses were situated on a large lake with ducks paddling around. It was very picturesque and I’m sure their lakeside neighbors enjoyed looking at all their daylily blooms from their own back yards.

Backyard

Backyard

 

Daylily - 'Airy Delight'It caught my eye but I have a lot of daylilies in this color.

Daylily – ‘Airy Delight’ – caught my eye but I have a lot of daylilies in this color.

Display Garden: Martha’s Madness

Martha probably had the same number of daylilies as Lilies By The Pond but she limited her collection to the right and left side yards.

View of right-hand side yard from the street

View of right-hand side yard from the street

 

On the mulch path of right-hand side yard

On the mulch path of right-hand side yard

 

Making the curve towards backyard

Making the curve towards backyard

 

Entrance to backyard

Entrance to backyard

 

Deck on right-hand side of woodland garden

Deck on right-hand side of woodland garden

 

Woodland garden

Woodland garden

 

Woodland garden - Bless This Garden marker

Woodland garden – Bless This Garden marker

 

Deck on left hand side of woodland garden

Deck on left hand side of woodland garden

 

Colorful area of woodland garden

Colorful area of woodland garden

 

Peacock yard art

Peacock yard art

Both of the wooden deck paths led to a secluded picnic area. I did not photograph the picnic table, the two-seater swing, or the left side yard.

Martha told a hilarious story on her husband, Duke, and I do hope I didn’t guffaw too loudly. It seems that she really wanted him to see a particularly stunning daylily and rather than walk out to see it (I think they had about a half acre), he got in the car, backed it out of the garage, and drove it around the corner to the street that runs beside their corner lot. He then looked at the daylily from the car! She didn’t mention the use of binoculars but he would have needed them!

Daylily Information

You can learn about The American Hemerocallis Society at daylilies.org. The AHS has a wonderful database of thousands of “named” daylilies with all the pertinent information on each daylily at daylilydatabase.org). Membership is $25.00/year for an individual; $30.00 for dual membership.

The North Florida Daylily Society (nfdaylily.com) meets the second Sunday of the month between January and April at 2:15 pm in the public library at 2054 Plainfield Avenue, Orange Park, FL. Your first year of membership is free. Thereafter, it’s a bargain $8.00/year.

The Club President, Bob Reese, gave me an idea of the upcoming topics and speakers they will have in 2017:

  • January  — daylily culture
  • February — a hybridizer will speak
  • March — possibly a second hybridizer
  • April — the club’s daylily guru, Keith, will tell members what to do to get their flowers ready for the show
  • May 13 — Annual Show & Plant Sale, Courtyard Marriott, 610 Wells Road, Orange Park, FL. This show is open to the public and I was told the daylily prices range from $5 up to $25 for two fans which is very reasonable for named daylilies. Mark your calendars !
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