Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hope Everyone is OK after tornadoes yesterday

These tornadoes are so horrifying. I do hope our blogging friends from these states will check in. My heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones, homes and property.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A New Blog to share - Goodbye House, Hello Home

I just found a lovely blog this morning that has already inspired and been a blessing to me.

Here is a post I will start you out on called 'Ungrateful'.

I love how we can be inspired by so many different types of blogs from all over the world.

Every day is a gift, what we do with it is our choice.

Have a wonderful day.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thank You

I want to say thank you to all of you for your kind, encouraging and uplifting comments today. They have been a blessing all day long.

Some of you told your own stories that touch my heart. We all go through different happenings in our lives and hopefully we grow through them into better people. We were not promised a perfect life.

I received a wonderful reminder of truth today that touched both DH and myself. It is so easy to forget truths when you are under fire.

Here is the wonderful verse sent from Sherry.


For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;

but of power,

and of love,

and of a sound mind.

2Ti 1:7


I just found the following quote and will close with this.

Wishing you all a good night or good day wherever you are.


"Life is huge!

Rejoice about the sun, moon, flowers, and sky.

Rejoice about the food you have to eat.

Rejoice about the body that houses your spirit.

Rejoice about the fact that you can be

a positive force in the world around you.

Rejoice about the love that is around you.

If you want to be happy
commit to making your life one of rejoicing."

Author Unknown


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Plum Cottage Blooms, Easter dinner, etc.

Good morning all, It's a new week, and I hope it's a good one. This was an early morning sky shot yesterday. We had had a little rain and the clouds were a welcome sight. I love the light of the sun shining in the sky and hitting the clouds.

We had a lovely Easter dinner. Roasted lamb, with gray poupon mustard, mint jelly, LeSuer Peas, mashed potatoes and a glass of merlot. For dessert, I tried a new recipe, Chocolate Ricotta dessert, which was different and good.

Lamb was dang expensive this year, but we decided to get it anyway, as it is what we like and look forward to have for our Easter celebratory dinner .

I slice off the excess fat, usually cut slits in the meat and insert garlic slivers, but this year didn't have fresh garlic, so I just sprinkled on some dried garlic bits, after spreading on some Gray Poupon mustard all over the top of meat. Then I sprinkled on some Italian bread crumbs, and some fresh rosemary.

Roast it at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then roast at 350 for 10-15 minutes per lb.

Our dinner.

Chocolate Ricotta Dessert - different and delicious. I doubled the recipe so that we could have 4 servings, two for another meal.

I found the recipe here

Chocolate Ricotta dessert

Ingredients: (2 servings)

* 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
* 2 tbsp light agave nectar (I used sugar)
* 2 tbsp cocoa powder
* 1/2 tsp vanilla (I added orange extract also)
* 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie (I used 5 spice blend)

* Put all the ingredients in a small 3-cup food processor starting with the ricotta.
* Press the process button and let the machine do its thing until the ricotta is smooth to your liking.
* Your done!

I just mixed this really well by hand. Oh yea, on top I spooned a bit of Duck Sauce.

Now for some blooms from our Plum Cottage gardens.

Kathleen a hybrid musk, in the next two pictures, with some unknown critter sipping nectar.


Grand Duke jasmine ~ I LOVE the scent of this jasmine.

Don Juan

I believe this is a blanket flower.

Now for a couple of things that were not pleasant last week. First of all, DH was bitten by our neighbor's pit bull. I was at work when it happened and wanted to race home to take care of him. This neighbor lives on the street west of us, but his property goes across the back of ours. This dumb, mean dog, races up and down our privacy fencing, slamming his body into the fence and growls and snarls and barks, whenever we are back there. He scares the you know what out of me, and DH isn't comfortable about this dog either. He loves dogs and always makes friends with them. Well, there is construction going on on this street, across the street from the neighbor, and DH has been talking with the contractor and the crew while building is going on. The neighbor was sitting on his porch with the dog sleeping there, and DH decided to go over to talk a bit with neighbor, and maybe make friends with the dog. There is a chainlink fence in part of the front, and metal post fencing too, the back is privacy fencing. DH and the guy were talking and the dog jumps up and races to where DH is about a foot away from the chainlink fencing, the guy did not call his dog back, and the dog slams into the fence, which gave way because of not being secured to top rail, and sagged out toward DH and the dog lunged and bit DH's right hand while having a bit of the fence in his mouth too. It's a good thing the fence was there to stop the dog from ripping a bite out of DH's hand, because the dog was pulling. DH couldn't believe it because it all happened so fast, and he told the neighbor, hey, your dog just bit me. The guy jumped up, chased the dog with his shoe, then got some hydrogen peroxide and poured it on DH's hand.

The neighbor said the dog has had his shots. DH came home, called me, asking if we had any iodine. I wasn't sure. He said he was going to walk to the grocery pharmacy to see what they recommended and I said I'd look up essential oils online too. The pharmacist told him to get neo-sporin because it had three antibiotics in it, so he got that. I read that tea tree oil, lavender, and helichrysum are all good for fighting infection, pain, swelling, etc. and we have all three in our essential oil collection. DH even talked with a canine cop who happened to be at the 7/11 across the street from grocery, and the guy told him to leave it open to the air so that the healing could go from inside out. He said he's been bit many times by their dogs.

Of course, I was a semi-wreck until I got home, then seeing DH's hand was almost too much. It was bloody and bruised and swollen. But, it is healing nicely. We are thankful it wasn't any worse. I won't show pictures.

Next event in the neighborhood with transient apartment complex to the east of us. Kids have been shooting bb's into our property for quite some time, plus, other stuff, then they want to come over the privacy fencing into our space to retrieve whatever it is they threw over. Anyway, this latest bb incident I was out back just starting to putter in new garden area, when I hear cock-ping, cock-ping several times, so I head for cover under my sheds awning, and the next thing I know the shed is hit. That did it. I went inside and told DH I had just been freaked out by the dang pit bull when I went back to my potting area, and now bb's were flying. That did it for him too. He went outside and could hear the cock-ping ( ping meaning bushes, fencing or whatever being hit). He yelled over the fencing and trees for them to please stop shooting into our property. A teen voice comes back saying we're only shooting into the trees, and he yelled back ...... They shot off a few more times and DH asked me to come in to call the non-emergency sheriff number and I did, and told them what had happened. She told me to stay indoors until someone got there. Someone did come and we talked to them, and they went next door. The sheriff told us eyes could be put out if hit, so this is serious. Hopefully, there will be no repercussions. These people also have a pit bull. Our neighborhood has changed so much from when we first moved in here in 1973. It used to be quiet, filled with elderly Finnish people, but they have all gone away, more construction has gone on to pack people in, there are more transients, here today gone tomorrow and it's why we'd move if the opportunity arose. This is our home though, our little haven we're continually working on. It just gets to us to have our peace imposed on by others who could care less. We just try to mind our own business, doing our own thing.

Yesterday when we were out doing errands we looked for and found one of those ultrasonic devices to use on dogs. Maybe this will keep him from slamming into our back fence. We'll see.

On a positive note, DH went to the construction site while I was writing this post, and came back with a cantaloupe from one of the workers. So I cut it up along with some banana, dried cranberries, and dried figs, topped with some plain yogurt, and a drizzle of honey. Delicious breakfast this morning.

I do feel somewhat depressed this morning and told DH. I'm usually a happy, positive person, but these events have piled up and I woke up in a blah/bluesy state of mind. I need to get up, do some homecaring, baking, etc. take a walk around my gardens, and go/grow from there. Unfortunately, crap does come our way, we can either fall under, or rise above. I choose to rise above, one step at a time.

There are a lot of buds on my passion vine, my Easter lily has a nice bud ( I was hoping for an Easter opening, but alas), our Queen crepe has buds. Roses are doing well. Pesto Basil seeds have sprouted.

Thanks for reading my post, if you made it this far. It was rather long.

Hope your day whatever you are doing or going through is a growing day, in your mind, spirit, your body, in your business, your crafts, your gardens, with your family. May we all be blessed with peace, strength and love.


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Have a Wonderful Easter

Easter ~ The Christian holiday that reminds us of what Jesus, as God in the flesh, did after dying a horrible death for the sins of all of us. He arose from the dead, as he said he was going to do, so that we'd be Free for ever more.

This is my favorite holiday. I am a sinner saved by God's grace. Each day is a gift, and I am looking forward to the day I meet Jesus, the Saviour of the whole world, face to face.

This is a joyous holiday, one filled with grace and truth. One filled with energy and Love, the love of God for His creation.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful Easter filled with the joy of living the lives we have been blessed with, and thankfulness to the One who made it all happen. His name is Jesus, and He is called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


Twas Easter-Sunday.
The full-blossomed trees Filled all the air
with fragrance and with joy.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Let the resurrection joy
lift us from loneliness
and weakness
and despair
to strength
and beauty and happiness.
Floyd W. Tomkins


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bread made in bread machine & stuff

Good afternoon Folks ~ Hope your week is going well in spite of the weather wherever you are. It is very warm and humid here. Summer is here early and we just have to work outside as early as possible. It's not bad in the shade, but pretty soon even that won't feel good. DH is working on a restoration project that I'll tell about later.

This morning I got another load of laundry washed and hung out to dry. Did two loads yesterday and
worked outside in the gardens both mornings. I got a loaf of Old Fashioned Oatmeal bread going in the bread machine before I headed outdoors this morning and it was done by 10:15 or so. This is one of my favorite recipes.

My bread machine is made by Oster. I've had it for 12 years now. If I ever have to get another one, it will be one that the pan is like a regular loaf, not this upright loaf. Although, that will probably be a bigger machine, and space is valuable here in our little Plum Cottage. One thing to look for when you buy a bread machine is to make sure the paddle comes out for easy cleaning.

One reason why I like the bread machine is that I don't have to worry about it rising, and another reason, is it does not heat up the kitchen like the oven would.

My bread machine.


Water, molasses, butter in pan.

Dry ingredients added and yeast into an indentation.

Ta Da ~ A wonderful, healthy loaf of bread.


1 c. water
1/4 c. molasses
2 T. butter softened
3 c. bread flour
1/2 c. quick-cooking or regular oatmeal
2 T. powdered milk
1 tsp. powdered sage
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. yeast

1 ~ Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan. 2 ~ Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan. 3 ~ Use your finger to form a well (hole) in the flour where you will pour the yeast. Yeast must NEVER come into contact with a liquid when you are adding ingredients. Measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the well. Bake according to your bread machine, on sweet setting.


Thank you all for you kind comments about my little crocheted birdies. Each one takes time, but so worth the results.

I haven't found a lavender that likes our heat and humidity so I can't grow it. I bought the organic dried lavender bulk from online where I order other bulk herbs.

I will be working at my job the next three days, so have tried to get things done around here. It's now time to think about making up a meatloaf to in the oven for supper.


All the art of living

lies in a fine mingling of

letting go and holding on.

Havelock Ellis


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crocheted Birdie 2

This makes me feel happy just looking at it. Click on picture to enlarge. This birdie is also stuffed with lavender.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home made bread, crocheted birdie, blooms in fog

Here it is a very warm and humid afternoon in partly sunny s.e. FL. It's almost 3 p.m. is 84 and it feels like it is 93, humidity is 56%. Even when we went out in the foggy morning, it was like being in a sauna, and as soon as the fog burned off it was miserable out. We went out to do some trimming in the fog, of a schefflera in the front hedge row so that it will bush out more. Once that sun was beating down on us, I could hardly stand being out there. I finished up what I was doing, put tools away, came inside for water and the air-conditioning. We 'may' get some rain, but I don't want to bet on it. It seems to go around us a lot these days.

I got Parmesan-Pepper bread going in my bread machine before heading outdoors and it was so nice to come in to that wonderful aroma. I didn't get a picture. It was great for ham and cheese with zesty dill pickle slices for lunch.

When I came in I decided to work on a sweet little crocheted birdie I found a pattern for yesterday on Attic 24. She has wonderful patterns for free. Her work is colorful, happy and oh so sweet.

I used a neutral colored crochet thread for this first one,
beads for eyes and feet,
and it is stuffed with dried lavender flowers.
I will be having these for sale.

Now we have a foggy morning view.

Borderer Rose.

Don Juan against a foggy background.

I'm not sure what canna this is. I grew it from seed. Guess I'll know when it blooms. I've not grown them before. Got these from a sweet Florida gardener who lives about an hour away from us. We met through a FL gardening forum, and traded seeds via snail mail.

In the terra cotta colored pot next to the fence cardinal vine is growing. I love it's funky leaves and bright red flowers. I hope to collect seeds from this. Below that is African Foxgloves, I think they are called. Got these from my same friend. The plant below that is Firespike which I got in a trade with Darla, another FL gardener, but she lives farther north and west of here. I can hardly wait to see the blooms on this as they are attractive to butterflies and hummers.

Here is a Ruby Red Papaya from my friend who lives an hour away. I have two of these growing from seed. This is the largest.

Here's the picket fence garden. In the flat I have plum tomato seeds, bell pepper seeds, kiwi, and a few other things I can't remember at the moment. I'm hoping for success. There are three roses growing in large pots, Cocktail, Kathleen, and Chrysler Imperial. There is also a Texas Sage in one of the hugs terra cotta pots.


The diameter of each day

is measured by the stretch of thought -

not by the rising and setting of the sun.

Henry Ward Beecher


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Thank you Sharon Lovejoy and Renee

What a treat to see my little envelope from Sharon and Renee sitting in my chair when I came home from work yesterday. It is for becoming one of the first 100 members of the "Grimy Hands Girls' Club". I so look forward to going out this morning to get my hands dirty planting the pesto basil seeds. I love the smell of fresh basil. Sharon's note cards are really sweet and filled with neat looking garden tools. DH asked me how I'd like to go up that ladder with only a stick holding it up. No thanks. I have a hard enough time going up ladders as it is. :-)

I have enjoyed Sharon's writings and artwork
since I first found her in the premier issue of
Country Living Gardener in 1999.

From Renee's Gardens I am planning to order a bonus pack of 'Cat Treats, Mixed Gourmet Greens' for our four feline girls.

Gardening is a big part of my life. It is wonderful therapy, when you are well or ailing, whether it's in your body, mind or spirit. I look forward to going out in the mornings to see what's happening. This morning we have fog.

Have a wonderful Palm Sunday.


"I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become,

I will always plant a large garden in the spring.

Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy

that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth?"

Edward Giobbi


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Monterey Chicken

A day or so ago I saw this recipe on Sandra's blog, Full Bellies Happy Kids. The recipe can be found on this page.

I used chicken tenders as that's what I had, a 4-cheese blend in place of cheddar, and garlic chives, which I forgot to put on before taking the picture.

DH and I both thought this was delicious and I will certainly make it again.

Sandra has so many wonderful recipes that she posts here and I love her other blog as well, Diary of a Stay At Home Mom. She's a military wife, and has recently started home schooling.

Hope you will check out both of her blogs. She's a delightful Lady with a lovely family.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Report on Fish-It Fertilizer

Good morning Friends ~ Here it is another weekend and I hope yours is a good one whatever you do, wherever you are.

I first did my post on this organic fertilizer on Feb. 27th. You can read it here.

I've been thinking about making my report the last few days, and was asked about it from someone this morning. I had wanted to make sure I gave the plants enough time to see a difference. So after going out and staging plants as they were, and taking pictures of the plants individually, I would have to say that this Fish-it organic fertilizer works well and I would recommend it to others for sure.

For information on this organic product go here to Fish-It Fertilizer. They now have it in two sizes 5 lbs. and 15 lbs.

Below are pictures before and after.

Before - gardenia on the right is the one that I started feeding with Fish-It.
After - the plant on the right is bigger and healthier looking.
Impatiens has more flowers and is healthier looking.
The Mexican sunflower has really done well.
My Maman Cochet rose cutting has grown too.

All in all, I think it's a great product and wonderful that it so organic in that it is 'fish-it'.

Thank you again Arthur for the opportunity to try your product.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An April Wednesday Morning

Good morning everyone ~ Hope you all had a nice weekend and that the week is going smoothly. If things aren't going so hot, then may you have grace, peace, love, and healing surrounding you.

I'm working a 5 day work week this week, so not much will be going on here. After errands on Monday morning I did mow, then made some lemon poppy seed muffins later. This morning I did a quick soak of black eyed peas, and will get them going in the crockpot along with some browned Italian sausage, celery, onion, carrots, garlic and maybe some herbs and spices.

I love the new counter space, with freezer underneath. I can't believe how much nicer it is having that extra counter space.

DH is still tweaking the inventory spreadsheet as we're not sure exactly what all we want to do with it. Mainly it will be for the bulk items we buy, not the every week stuff.

Gardens are doing well in spite of drought conditions as I try to keep up with hand watering. The sky was black with rain filled clouds this morning but we got nothing as it kept to the south of us and moved east. :-(

I hope to be doing up a little series on the 86 plants that I have that I found listed in a great book "Landscape Plants for South Florida ~ edited by Dr. George K. Rogers. I was really surprised I have that many listed and shown in this book.

Here are some blooms taken the other day. Click on images for a larger view.

The next few pictures are of the unknown orchid that is blooming right now.

Lowly periwinkles or vinca. I have 3 or 4 colors of this growing. They are so easy. DH calls them weeds. :-)

Blue Sage blooms, one of my favorite blues in the garden.

Cocktail rose.

Next we have Golden Dewdrop. I just love how these blooms looked against the dead section of tree that we've turned into a sculpture in the secret garden.


"It's spring fever.
That is what the name of it is.
And when you've got it,
you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is
you do want,
but it just fairly makes your heart ache,
you want it so!"
Mark Twain


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL