"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tomato Hornworm

             All I could say was "YUUUUCCCKKK!" when I was strolling thru the garden this morning, still in my p.j.'s. I found these two on one of my Early Girl tomatoes. I at first noticed a couple of tomatoes with areas kinda skinned. So I started looking closer for the varmint. Then I found the first. They are HHUUGGEE!.

I wasnt about to touch them. I wasnt sure what it was at first, since I have never seen them before. But the first thing that came to mind was a Tomato Hornworm. So I took these guys away for their moment in front of the camera, and then came inside to my "see all know all" computer. I found out my supposition was right.

According to this website: http://organicgardensite.com/bugs-harmful/tomato-horn-worms/
"Tomato Hornworms are the larva of a huge moth called five-spotted hawkmoth. Approximate size of the moth is around the size of a hummingbird so you can’t miss them. The hawkmoth is gray-brown with yellow spots on the sides of their body.
The hornworm caterpillars are pretty small at first and hard to see because of their pale green color, but they become huge – 3 1/2 to 4 inches (7-10cm) in 3-4 weeks. You can’t miss them then! They are green-brown colour with v-shaped markings on the body and unmistakable ‘horns’. Hornworm eggs are green and are laid on the underside of leaves."
Here is the google pic of the MOTH.

According to THIS site, solanaceous plants, mostly tomato.but larvae can also attack pepper, potato, and eggplant. The eggs of this worm grow into the adult moth often referred to as "Hummingbird Moth". It is a large heavy bodied moth with a wingspan of 4-5 inches. It is not uncommon for some people to mistake them for deformed hummingbirds.According too THIS site, it is in its last instar of development since it has the cream colored "V" shaped markings.It could soon be pupating and then the large moth emerge in about 2 weeks. 
The larvae are the damaging stage.They are capable of destroying several leaves and fruit, and leave behind large black droppings.
Handpicking off small crops works the best (eeewwww). Early instars are often preyed upon by ladybeetles and green lacewings. Later Cotesia congregatus, a small wasp will lay her eggs on the hornworm, which then form cocoons in her body.  These white coccoons stick up on the worms back. If you see this , leave the worm. When the wasps hatch they will destroy the worm, and seek out others to kill. 
So observe your gardens from early July into August for their eggs and small caterpillar.  Well Time to dress and head back into the garden, armed with a bucket of water, prepared to do battle. 

PS: While I was inside loading pictures onto the computer and starting this post, I had left the little (and I use that loosely) worm's  sitting outside on my deck. When I came back to take care of them, I found a few of these little droppings:

These are approximately 1/4" in width. The worms themselves are pretty hard to locate, since their coloring blends in with the tomato plants so well. The best times to look for them is early morning or late evening since they dont like the heat so much. You may also look around the base of your plants for these green to black droppings. Finding these would be a postitive sign you plants have unwanted company.
Note: As always, you can click on the image to bring it to a much larger size for close-up viewing.
Also, someone on the gardenweb forum said to plant Borage near by. This is supposed to deter the moth from laying her eggs, and "gently" re-seeds so you wont have to replant them again. I think I will try and remember to plant a few next year.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July's Flowers

          I finally have some blooms on my new Japanese Morning Glories. They are beauties. i cant wait till they get fuller.
Chocolate Silk 

And Morning Glory Cameo Elegance

Friends visited the other day, and as they were leaving and looking out over my large raised bed, he commented about me having so many Hummingbirds. I also have loads of butterflies too. Thank You Winter Sowing.

Cosmos Rose Bon Bon. I have noticed some of these are more a single form with just slightly extra center petals, and some are what I was expecting with a real full look like this one:

                                                           Heliopsis Summer Sunshine:

                                                                        Seed grown Marigold
                Zinnia Fruit Smoothies. I love the multiple colors of these. I plant to grow them again next year.

Red Gladiola
Scabiosa ,Summer  Berries I love these cute little flowers. These are getting re-sown  again next year too.

And last but not least...California Poppies

Making Napkins

          I have been reading online tips about how others are saving money on their grocery bills, running their home etc. That, plus the admiring Yvonne at StoneGable's beautiful place settings. So I decided to try my hand at making a few napkins. I have a link to her instructions for making their mitered corners in my sidebar. You cant improve on perfection, so I didnt try doing my own tutorial.
I made four of these napkins from some scrap that I already had.

Then as usual, I got on a roll, and made 4 new placemats. The fabric I used was from a new tablecloth I had bought from Gabriels Brothers real cheap, but it was too long, so I cut about a foot and 1/2 off one end. Then I already had the binding made (although I would have preferred a wider binding, but I wasnt in the mood to make more).

Then this morning, I was so proud of myself for how well these turned out, and that they looked so fantastic on my table. So I made 4 more napkins. While looking for info on making napkin rings, I run across this youtube video on folding your napkin into a rose. Yep.....I had to try that too. So I took one of the last napkins I made (that incidently was the same fabric I had used some time back to make my kitchen curtains). I played with it some, re-watched the video another time, and voila! It worked. They are soo cute!

You can watch the youtube video HERE. These were lots of fun. But this morning my husband still reached for a paper napkin, because he didnt want to get the new napkin dirty. Awwww how considerate of him. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Day Of Excesses

       Today was really a bad day for me to have taken on so much. The fibromyalgia has been acting up for the past 4 days. I have been feeling exhausted most of the day. On top of that I havent been sleeping again. Last night I got about 4 hours. This morning started out fair. I did some cleaning, had my kitchen cleaned and scrubbed in the bathrooms some. Then I decided I wanted to do some baking. I have been jotting down some recipes from allrecipes.com/ . I love this place. You get reviews, and can adjust your recipes according to servings.I started out this morning with making ten 8 oz jars of Strawberry & White Peach Jam. My first jam in a long time. It was going to be just strawberry, then I thought, "What the Heck!, I have some white peaches I just bought, so I will add a couple of them". Aside from a few screw ups in steps, everything was going pretty well. That is until my daughter called wanting me to make a phone call for her while the strawberries were boiling. Let me tell you, It doesnt take long for this stuff (in a too full pot) to violently boil over. All over my nice clean electric stove. Plus the burner is hot , and it gets cooked on, actually burnt on in some spots. The SMOKE is a flying! One thing in my favor, is that it is a smooth top. Took me OVER an hour to get that nonsense scrubbed, and scraped off with a blade. Aside from that, the jam turned out wonderful!

  When I am feeling so fatigued, I dont think clearly, and frequently screw things up. get sidetracked etc...you know the drill. I should have quit there, I knew better, but I wanted a nice supper for my husband. I then burnt the green beans I had picked from the garden.....again. Then   I decided to concoct and make a couple of loaves of white bread. I read that by reducing the sugar, you can get a lighter, fluffier bread. So I put together a recipe that should have been fantastic. YEAAA, I said "should have been". It raised beautifully. Dough felt fantastic. But I baked it too long. Crust got a little too brown, and too thick. It still tasted great tho, especially with that fresh jam :)
        Then I decided to make a meatloaf to go with the bread.....Wait a minute...Didnt I just say "I should have stopped" a little ways back? I guess I missed that. here we go again, back to allrecipes.com. Did a little research on favorite recipes, and came up with THIS one. But I changed several things, and came up with my own recipe which I will post below. This was hands down, the  MOST best tasting meatloaf I have ever had, including Cracker Barrel's.
Well, maybe my luck was turning. After all, this  worked out well. Then i fixed Mashed Potatoes. Another well made dish. Kind of hard to screw up mashed potatoes. But believe me I have done it. I burn a LOT of things by forgetting they are on the stove cooking, or falling asleep on the couch.
By this time, I was too tired to make the salad I had planned. I had even picked the lettuce from the garden too. So I just sliced up my first Early Girl to eat plain. What a SPECIAL treat that was!

While I was working on these things, my daughter and her daughter decided to make cookies. They made sugar cookies, and chocolate chip.

Now my nice clean kitchen is destroyed! More work to do..........

3/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
2.25 Ib Hamburger
1/2 cup of milk
3 eggs
2 and 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 medium onion chopped fine
1/2 green pepper chopped fine
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 and 3/4 cup cracker crumbs

1 cup ketchup
1 TB vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar ( my husband liked it this sweet, but I think I would have preffered a little less)

Combine loaf ingredients in a bowl. Dont overwork. Place into loaf pan or other dish and form into a loaf.
Combine your sauce ingredients and pour over loaf. Bake at 350° for about an hour and 10 minutes.Depending on your oven, you might want to check it in an hour.

                                                                White Bread
1 cup of warm water
1/3 cup of sugar
2 packs of yeast
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of warm milk
1/3 cup butter or vegetable oil
1 egg lightly beaten
6 cups flour ( I used unbleached King Arthur)

Mix together first 4 ingredients and set aside to allow yeast to activate. Then add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Measure in the flour, reserving the last cup to add in increments . Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, or about 5 minutes by electric mixer with dough hook, then finish by hand. (just my preference). Could be all done on machine. Pour small amount of oil in bowl, and grease bowl, then turn dough into bowl, greasing all of dough. Cover with towel, and let rise in warm area for about an hour or until doubled. then pan out into 2 loaves and allow to raise again till doubled. About 45 minutes. bake at 350° for about 25 minutes or until sounds hollow when tapped.

                                          Strawberry & White Peach Jam
4 cups mashed strawberries ( also put mine thru a blender so there were no large chunks)
1 cup mashed white peaches (blended with strawberries)
4 TB lemon juice
1 box sure jell pectin
7 cups of sugar
I just followed the directions that come in your Sure Jell box for cooking. Pour into jars, and seal by hot water bath.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Preserving Lemons

    Recently I decided I like lemons in my ice water, and lemons in my ice tea. Its not something I do real often, and I hated that my lemons were going bad before I used them. No one else uses them, its just me. So yesterday I washed my lemons and sliced them into slices and placed them on a tray, then stuck them in the freezer to flash freeze. Once frozen, they were easy to pop off the tray and stick in a ziplock baggy to go back into my freezer.  This freezes the individual slices so I can take out just the number I need at one time. No fuss, No waste,No trouble. I tried one this morning in my glass of ice water. Worked like a charm. I got to enjoy the zesty hint of lemon, and none of the problems.
I almost forgot to mention that i also do the same thing with green pepper slices. Then I can just take out what i need for cooking. They soften in minutes.

Free Useful Computer Programs

am all about free. I always look for a free program when I need something. Recently, when I started setting up my machine embroidery design site again, I needed a program to zip files and another to store files for easy downloads. After looking for a bit, I found 7-Zip. It is a wonderful free program that works like a breeze. Just mouse over the file you want zipped, right click, then right click on 7 zip, then "add to (filename.zip)". And the zipped file appears in that folder. Thats it. Simple as can be. You find find 7 zip HERE. CNET gave it high marks too.

Another program I needed was one to store files so I could allow downloads with a link. Mediafire fit the bill. One program I looked at limited the number of downloads. I don't think this one does. and it works very easy. Just upload your file, then click on "UPLOAD TO THIS FOLDER" and then select your file, and then "BEGIN UPLOADING FILES". Once file is uploaded to site, then after the file name click on "SHARE", then click on "COPY LINK". This gives you the code to send to someone or post on your blog, or in a forum to allow someone else to click on it and be able to download. Also a very simple program. You can access Mediafire.com HERE.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


          I know most of you probably thought this post would be about flies, or insects since this is mostly my gardening blog. But I had to tell you about Flylady. This is a fantastic free site to help you get your home organized AND clean. I am usually an OK homemaker. Everything was usually clean, sometimes a little messy, but for the past year or so it has really gotten out of hand since my grand daughter is up and running. Not to mention several young "adult" kids who live with me. I tend to think they are worse than the baby about destroying a household. I dont know what happened, it was never this bad when my own kids were little, but here lately my home was looking like a war zone. LITERALLY! I tried this site once before many years ago, with a quick loss of interest. I think at that time I tried to get too much accomplished all at once. Not paying any attention to their main motto....." BABY STEPS" ! This time I have been doing what I could get done comfortably. If it didnt get done, no big deal. last night I didnt get to the evening routine, and things were looking a little rough again. But what really took me by surprise was that I was able to get things back to presentable in a very short time, and had plenty of play time on the computer. If you are feeling overwhelmed with a messy house, need to get into a routine (which has helped me the most)...check out flylady.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Chicken Teriyaki

      I am not one to eat meat. I was vegetarian in high school for a couple of years. Now, when I eat meat, its usually only 2-3 bites. If its something I didnt have to cook, I can eat it ( sometimes), such as a hamburger or chicken sandwich from a fastfood restaurant. Tonight was totally different for a change. I made my first oriental dish...Chicken Teriyaki. I found  THIS recipe on  http://allrecipes.com/ that sounded pretty good. But I made a few changes. This chicken turned out fantastic. Everyone loved it including my picky, plain  meat & potatoes husband. I even went back for seconds. Below is the recipe I came up with using the above one. If you try it, let me know what you think.
I think this would also be good with some stir fried veggies. You can serve this over your favorite rice, but I included how I fix mine.

Chicken Teriyaki
2 to 3 pounds of  Chicken ( I used boneless,skinless chicken breast cut into chunks)
                   3/4 cup brown sugar
                   1/2 cup Soy Sauce
                   1 Tablespoon grated fresh ground ginger ( I didnt have fresh, so used 1 tsp dried)
                   2 cloves minced garlic 
                   1/2 to 3/4 cup pineapple juice ( I had some canned in its own juice left from supper last night)

1. Place chicken in a 9x13 baking dish
2. Mix all remaining ingredients and pour over chicken
3. Place in the refridgerator for 3 hours to marinate.( since I cut mine into chunks, and didnt have the time to wait 3 hours, I marinated for an hour and that seemed to be enough for the chunks)
4. Preheat oven to 375°, and then bake for 1 hour uncovered.
serve over your favorite rice. 
My favorite Rice
I poured about  2 and 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan, and add 2 chicken flavored Bouillon Cubes. Place in one baggy of Minute Rice, and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered about 9 minutes and drain, add salt to taste. I also like to add steamed carrots to this sometimes as well. Simple and quick.

Seed Grow Project July Update

          I am supposed to post an update the first Sunday of every month. July was a big OOPS for me. We didnt get back from vacation until the 30th, and I forgot. Anyway, I am going to catch up today. My nasturtium "Spitfire" is planted at the corner of the potager, in full sun. It is only partially shaded by the plants in the border in front of it.  We have in the middle of a heat wave and a very dry spell. I dug into my flower bed to try and find where I planted garlic bulbs, and found absolutely nothing. Almost like they dried up and withered away. Those two weeks that I was gone was hard on things without water. I dug down about 6" inches and found nothing but bone dry hard dirt. Since I have been back, I have been watering things as best I can, but the flower garden is only getting a light watering since we have a limited amount of well water, and the potager is getting water about every other day this week. Most of the extra I am reserving for the veggie garden. I have only grown Nasturtiums one other time in my life, and that was a very long time ago. I know I have seen pics of beautiful, full blooming nasturtiums so I figure its something with my growing conditions. Mine look healthy, nice bright green, but I have very few blooms at once. Usually only 1 or 2 at a time. I love the bright, vibrant orange color, and the white veining in the leaves though. As you may remember from my potager post, it is growing in several inches of composted horse manure.

"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project, thanks to Renee's Garden for the seeds."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

BEE......N Busy

   While outside with my camera this morning, I decided to take a pic of  one of my clumps of Purple Coneflower:
While admiring the color of these blooms, I happened to notice this guy:

He is soooo loaded with pollen, he looks hilarious. This guy has been one busy bee. I have never seen anything like it.

He looks almost too fluffy to fly.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Ten Days Of veggie Growth

   We were only gone for 11 days, but I couldnt believe the growth that had happened in the potager in that time. The Half Runner pole beans were HUGE! I last photographed them on June 15 ( we left on the 19th). This is what they looked like:
This is what I came home to on the 30th, just 15 days after the above photo was taken:
The tomatoes were determined they weren't going to be out done:
At most, some were about 3 feet tall. The Early Girl's only had 5-6 small green tomatoes on them. Now 15 days later, they are about 6' tall, and lots of Sungold Cherry tomatoes, and Brandywine have set on:
Now the tomatoes are staked, and everything weeded. I will take an updated pick today of the tomatoes, because they are now within a foot of the top of the 8' stakes that were pounded into the ground about a foot or so (which was as far as my husband could get them in the hard clay soil under the horse manure..