photography:: a little island time

As you may or may not know, my Mom is a plant scientist.  She is also an extreme conservationist. By extreme, I mean she is a save-plants-from-extinction kind of extreme conservationist.  She is pretty awesome.

Ten plus years ago, she received a request from the government of Bermuda to help them save a fern. There were only 3 plants left in the world.  So she traveled there to get samples and brought them back to do her magic. I think she has an enchanted blender & beaker collection in her lab where she mixes and stirs and sprinkles fairy dust. Then in a poof of smoke, hundreds of baby plantlets appear in petri dishes.   After a little growing time, she returns them to the wild. Actually, a lot of growing time because these ferns are finicky.  Pretty awesome, right?

These baby fern plantlets have to be hand carried back to Bermuda to be handed off to their government officials who then give them more growing time before reintroducing them to their native habitat. Lucky for them, I needed to be one of those hand carriers this time.  So, we hopped on a plane with bags of petri dishes filled with baby fern plantlets.


This is Kim opening her haul of about 60,000 baby fern plantlets. She works at the Ministry of the Environment, aka the Ministry of Magic.  (I like to think I was brought along for comic relief. Scientists can be a tad on the serious side.)

We then wandered through Kim’s greenhouse & gardens. Excellent photo ops for someone like me who adores floral photography!  So enjoy these and I will be back in a few days with lots more photos of my amazing trip to Bermuda.

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food:: it’s harvest thyme

just a few snaps of my first go at dehydrating herbs

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Lesson learned:: do not believe the directions

Replace with:: objects in dehydrator may take 6 times the suggested number of hours to dry

food:: my favorite season

fall fires

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

You needed to sing that line in your head.

Ok, try it again.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I love everything about autumn.  The crunchy leaves, the colors, the sounds of birds migrating overhead, the football games, and the chilly nights wrapped up by a bonfire.

Well, let me clarify that, I love everything about autumn except for the pumpkin spice fake flavored everything.  THAT I can do without.  It must be some new phenomenon, and it’s a bandwagon I will not be jumping on any time soon.  It’s kind of like bacon.  I have eaten bacon for oh, 40-ish years and yes it’s good, but why it suddenly gained super-star status a few years ago is beyond me.  It’s food people, not the Holy Grail.

But I digress.

I did some apple picking and some awesomesauce canning recently.

Fresh picked, organic, locally sourced, tree-hugger approved apples.  I’m getting really super good at embracing my inner hippie.


I have in a sense, bottled and preserved autumn for just a little while longer than the actual season lasts.


And I have no doubt when I open a jar of awesomesauce in January I will feel that I have been transported to heaven for a moment.

Maybe that’s what all the bacon hype is about…

Cheers to you lovely friends 🙂

Happy Autumn

food:: frozen or dried herbs?

It’s time to harvest my herbs from the garden and I can’t decide what to do.

Freeze them or dry them?


 We came incredibly close to our first frost this weekend, so I MUST CHOOSE WISELY ASAP.

food:: lisa lisa quite contrary how does your garden grow?

Entirely too quickly is my answer.

Someone, who shall remain nameless (you know who you are and I love you dearly but I gotta mess with you a little), told me I am not posting often enough to keep her informed of the mundanity of my life.  To honor her request, I am going to do a boring old garden and food post because let’s face it, I live in Iowa and I am married to a farmer.  Guess what? Got freakin tons of veggies to waste spend my days cleaning and chopping and canning and freezing.  OK, yeah that was harsh.  It’s not a waste of time, it’s actually cool to grow my own organic stuff, but ohmifreakingosh it takes so much time to make it worth my while.  I sorta love my other hobbies better than gardening.  Like anything with yarn.  Or cats. Or that involves sitting on my ample ass with a cup of tea doing nothing but being zen for awhile.  I’m really focused on finding zen moments lately and gardening just interrupts my flow.

Enough of the bitching already.  You would prefer useful information here, and so would I.  Without further ado, I present to you how to freeze 15 pounds of carrots in less than 3 hours.  I could go back to bitching here that it took 3 hours to save myself $30 but that would be counterproductive.

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Step 1 ~ harvest & clean all those badass organic carrots

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Step 2 ~ cut those babies up, coins/slices are my thing but you may like chunky-finger-sized for stew & pot roast, or maybe stick-ish is your thing ~ make them your own, gurl

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Steps 3 & 4 ~ blanch dem bitches (3 minutes in boiling water), followed by plunging them in an ice water filled sink (which btw was bleached clean first – safety first gurl)

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Steps 5 & 6 ~ flash freeze (which yeah, ain’t as quick as it sounds) by putting a single layer on a parchment covered cookie sheet & ignore them for about 30 minutes while they firm up in the freezer (you can also use waxed paper or silicone baking mat ~ my fav)

At this point you are finally allowed to find your zen moment.

do do do do…do do do do…(that’s supposed to be the Jeopardy theme in your head)

BAM! You have enough frozen organic & beautiful carrots to last you about 12 years

(not really, but maybe)

I mark ziplock freezer bags with the date and pop in the frozen carrot coins.  They store nice and flat, and you don’t have to slam them repeatedly against the kitchen counter to break them up when you are ready to use them.  Unless you wait 12 years to use them, then all bets are off. THAT is the magic of flash freezing.

Oh, and one last thing…if you have friends with horses, save the stuff you might compost or throw away.  I have a Rowdy and a Rudy horse that want to marry me after the treat I gave them today 😉

(I’m not THAT kinda gurl, get your mind outta the gutter)

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Make today ridiculously amazing my friends ~ Mwah!

photography:: a one night stand or a long time love


Mother nature leaves me speechless since she only allows these beautiful blooms to last one night.


And then sometimes, she keeps a geranium alive for decades for many to enjoy it’s beauty.

photography:: this is the wild, wild life!

DSC08283~ Little Dude (or one of his offspring) has resumed residence on my back deck even though his tree house umbrella was destroyed in a storm last year.  What a trooper!!~


~Droves of hummingbirds are making me a regular at the grocery store to buy 10# bags of sugar.  Beautiful but greedy little friends!~


~ Momma snapping turtle from the pond out back made the trek across my yard to lay her eggs across the street as she has every year for 10 in a row now.  I always love to see the babies trek back a few weeks later.~

~Make today ridiculously amazing!~

life:: fairy garden

fairy garden 1

Recently I became enamored with the idea of fairy gardens.

Yeppers, had to make one.

I even used all the special rocks that my son gave me as a little boy.

fairy garden 2

The worst part is that I also used a piece of marble I picked up on a 3rd or 4th grade field trip day at a local lake.  As a fairy guard dog, I also have a Tinosaur that I got in a Happy Meal when I was 18 while harassing the help at a McDonalds with my closest high school friends that shall remain nameless.  The house is a gourd I have had drying in my greenhouse for 14 years.  Good gawd I’m a sentimental junk collector!  And the scary part is that I remember when, where, and why I got them all.

If you are interested, check out my Pinterest board where I got inspiration.

Thanks for stopping by!

photography:: mystery solved!

and the winner is…

the Chipping Sparrow

sparrow nest

Lexi and I were out for a walk, taking some pics of my gardens.  When she wandered back to the house, I hunted for the little nest I found the other day.  We have a total of 4 eggs now, and mama bird was in the nest.  I scared her off of course, so I didn’t stay long but I was happy I finally saw her so I could solve the mystery.

lattice garden

peony 2014

Everything is a little behind schedule, but my flowers are starting to bloom 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

photography:: my view is skewed

What I thought was teeny tiny enough to be a hummingbird nest is apparently not.

not hummingbird eggs

My research data is inconclusive as to the species of these eggs that magically appeared overnight.

And I say magically because I refuse to google bird sex to find out how they get there technically. So we are going with magically appearing bird eggs.  My *ahem* extensive research, which may or may not have been limited to hummingbird nests and hummingbird eggs on google images, resulted in the fact that these are not hummingbird eggs.  Hummingbird eggs are white and their nests are even smaller than this.  Hummingbird nests must be amazingly small because these eggs are only the size of jelly beans.  The island punch blue ones by Jelly Belly…mmmm.  Or the plum. Or the mixed berry smoothie flavor. Bye.

Running to the store for jelly beans.

See ya soon!