All posts filed under: Non – Food

Camera Obscura

About 37 years ago my dad and I went on a safari. No, we didn’t see lions…. or wildebeest… or even meerkat (although, truth be told, that would have been epic.)  Frankly, we didn’t even leave Marietta. It was a different kind of safari altogether. We were in search of the vanishing Cobb County. Even then, so very long ago, he knew what we had that made Marietta and the surrounding areas special was disappearing, vaporizing, and being ground into indisquinishable landfill fodder. He had the idea of capturing it all on cellulose,  preserved for all eternity in a little metal can. Now, driving all around town, snapping photos of every old building, house, and tree-lined street  we could find sounded like a laudable exercise. In fact, it sounded, well… fun. And, seeing that my father and I  really never did that much stuff together (just a wholly different set of interests going on) other than yard work… shop work… tree work…. repair work… ( see all those works there?) , I was game…. hell, …

Radio Silence (2017)

“Whack”… “Whack” …”Whack!” Is this thing on? My great-googly crazy, Aunt Dora….. I’ve been gone a long time! And for that, kind readers, I am truly sorry. Life here at Turtle Creek has been … let’s just say …. … .. . . Interesting. The past two years have been rife with the sound of ambulances, frantic midnight calls, sleepless nights.. and days, and a never-ending parade of hospital stays. It’s taken a while, but Jane is finally on the mend. Life is returning to something that has a vague resemblance to normal, and I’ve had a deep heart to heart with my inner 10 year-old self to reconcile the fact that my mother isn’t going to live forever. It’s true…. Life moves on…. And it’s either hop on board, or stand there and get crushed under the weight of it all. So, I am Back. Fair warning…. I’m ever so slightly more cynical this time around… and I’m not suffering fools gladly. Some bat-crap crazy sh*t has been happening in the world of food …

DIY ~ Painting Plastic Wicker

The Backstory Some years ago we purchased a set of “natural” colored plastic wicker furniture for the back deck. It was fine for the purposes we intended. They all lived happily under a gazebo tent-like thing and rarely saw direct sunlight. Unfortunately, over the past several years, snowfall has been tremendous and the gazebo – tent~like thing gave up the ghost under the weight of all that snow. We replaced the tent-like thing twice. After the second full collapse we resigned ourselves to the fact that it was never going to be a permanent kind of structure, and left the plastic wicker stuff to fade and look unsightly under the oppressive summer sun. I considered replacing it. But, the thought of spending upwards of $700.00 for something no one was ever going to spend much time on was inconceivable. (Did tell you I was cheap? I believe I did… numerous times.) So… repainting it seemed like a good option. The Research There are a couple of options for painting plastic-like things. Krylon Maxx (around $4.00 per can) …

A bit of Yum

Okay, time to try something new… I’ve been poking around looking for new ways to get that fodder out there. I recently found Yummly – and I like their vibe. So, I’m excited to announce that we’re now a “maybe…” official publisher on Yummly.  … just as soon as all the boxes get ticked, the T’s get crossed, and all the other things that has to happen in order for this to work. Yummly — a recipe directory that makes it easier for foodies to do what they love – cook, eat, and share! If you already use Yummly, you can use the Yum button to save your recipes to your personal recipe box. If you don’t yet use Yummly or know what it is, you can sign up here. Make you a batch of that Honeycomb Popcorn, kick your shoes off and start scrolling through our delicious recipe box (more recipes to come) — a world of Yummly Fodder delights awaits… as soon as we get a couple up there. “Yum” your favorites to save them for later. …

The Weekly Wildflower ~ American Beauty Berry

Say hello to Callicarpa… otherwise known as American Beauty Berry or French Mulberry. She’s a deciduous woody shrub in the Dead Nettle, or  (Lamiaceae) family.  Blooming in Early summer with rather non-descriptive flowers, the Beauty Berry show begins with – what else – the berries. Beginning in Late September, the berries begin to swell and gradually turn from milky green to violent purple. Although the berries are considered edible, the severe astringent nature of the fruit makes them unappetizing to birds and other animals – so typically you can count on the show continuing well into November. Once the berries turn, the leaves transform to a brilliant yellow just before dropping from the branches – leaving you with stark,smooth dark branches and a riot of purple. Even with the astringent berries, the fruit can be made into wine and jellies (sometimes referred to as “Autumn Berry Jam”), which can be a slightly grainy but flavorful preserve. However tasty the berries may or may not be, the Beauty Berry Shrub is best known as a mosquito …

The Weekly Wildflower ~ MistFlower

Several years ago, I found a single blue tufted flower growing in the fold on the property – just at the point where the dry creek sneaks under the road before continuing on it’s way through the neighborhood. I took it and poked it into the front tiered planting bed to see if it would reseed.   It did… by the hundreds. Say hello to Conoclinium (Eupatorium) coelestinum… or  Wild Ageratum… or Mistflower. Although, my dad always called it “Millions” because of the number of new plants it produces every year. A branching member of the aster family, Mistflower is easily spotted by the profusion of soft blue tufts, crowning a mass of sturdy,  saw-toothed leaves. Here in North Georgia, Mistflower begins blooming in early September and blooms through the first heavy frost; meaning we typically get flowers well into October – up to about the 3rd week. Sun Exposure – Full Shade to Dappled Light Flowers – Bright Blue to Bluish – Purple Blooms – September through October Foliage – Foliage appear in early summer, Deep green – Saw toothed leaves …

The Weekly Wildflower ~ The “Non” Flowers

The obligatory disclaimer: I make no assertions nor assumptions that any of the fungi shown here are edible. I’m not a mycologist. The general rule of thumb when observing any wild flora and fungi is: “When in doubt – consider it poisonous.” While most people wouldn’t consider  Mushrooms and Toadstools flowers, in fact they really are. The parts we see above ground are the “flowers” of a network of fungi filaments coursing through the ground. Found in moister areas of leaf rot or decomposing forest matter, the flowering spore heads are usually triggered by periods of intense –  or slow, soaking rains where the forest floor saturates under the deluge, signaling to the fungi filaments that conditions are right for reproduction. I know a large portion of people would consider any of these blights on their property. But, since I have a relatively large, natural wooded area here at Turtle Creek… … and a considerable amount of decaying woodland as the result of high winds,  harsh Winters, and marauding Woodpeckers, I tend to let nature take …

“Be vewy, vewy, quiet… i’m hunting wabbits.”

There’s been a bit of a vanishing act happening in the garden as of late. Where there was once a beautiful Balloon Flower in this pot… … there’s now this. Where I once had a beaming stand of native Asters along the walkway backdropping the lavender and thyme… The center stand is no longer there… … and they appear to have been “snipped”.. Rabbits have found their way back through the fencing, and are wreaking havoc once again. This time – I’m prepared. This will make the fourth critter I’ve caught with the live trap. And, I have something to tempt them they just can’t resist… So… be vewy, vewy, quiet while I research Wabbit Stew.   UPDATE 10/29/2014 Finally got the bastard. End tally – 1 complete stand of chard, 3 pepper plants, 15 carrots, 1/2 a rose bush, 1 fennel plant, 6 tomatoes, All the basil, 1/2 the parsley, 2 balloon flowers, 4 aster clumps, and most of the perennial saliva. On the plus side – he did clear out a large portion of …

Weekly Wildflower – Euonymous Americana

Say hello to Euonymous americana, or American Strawberry Bush / Burstin Hearts / Wahoo. Although, Jane swears it’s called a Cat’s Paw.  A member of the bittersweet family, the strawberry bush likes to inhabit wetter areas on the edge of wooded groves – or as in my case, the drainage runoff area just off the neighborhood road in the middle of the right-of-way. It’s a wonder I even saw it in the first place. Cultivated and cherished, Euonymous Americana has been an old Southern favorite even though propagating plants from seeds are not always successful. Your best bet is to either purchase a plant from a reputable native plant nursery, or find and transplant one from the wild. It is a deciduous, loose shrub with wildly branching limbs and bright green leaves. Plants that sit closer to the edge of the wood and receive more light, have branches and leaves with a decided purple tint. GROWING CONDITIONS Water Use: High Light Requirement: Part Shade Soil Moisture: Moist Soil Description: Moist to dry soils. Conditions Comments: Although it will tolerate …

The Barrel Hoop Walkway

On the northern side of the cottage, just before the land drops off dangerously sharp, I installed a deadfall garden and stumpery. A “Stumpery” is a collection of natural and unique..well… stumps and other forms of log and tree matter. These I’ve interspersed with perennials, grasses, rocks and birdhouses to create a minute haven for critters. (Trust me, it’s attractive.) Anyway, I’ve never been really happy with the walkway bordering the garden. Back earlier in the year, I came across a stack of rusty barrel hoops that my Dad, for some odd reason, had saved and squirreled away at the shop. Perhaps he once had something in mind for them – I’ll never know. They have just been quietly rusting away into obscurity for the past seven years. I thought it was time to either use them or haul them away. I’ve recessed the hoops about 2″ into the soil and excavated and leveled the interior circle. Each hoop holds 1 – 25# bag of pond pebbles, which I’ve tamped down to pack them into …