Prompted By Humming Bird

I put out a humming bird feeder this past Spring but I think I have put it later than usual because I noticed that no humming bird ever used it. I felt sad and determined to hang the nectar early next year. I usually use the mix sold by Walmart and I never have problem of having no hummingbird using it. I finally gave up and took the feeder down this summer. But a few days ago while I was watching all the local wild birds flying back and fort to my feeders enjoying the seeds at the trays I set out for them, one tiny female humming bird came and hover around the red petunias in my hanging basket chirping then flew away. I thought that the sound of her chirping was pitiful and seems to be saying, “you are giving food to all the other birds, but none for me…”. Right then I decided to make my own mixture of humming bird nectar, 1 part white pure cane granulated sugar/4 part of bottled water.

I made sure that I cleaned the feeder using vinegar and water, letting it soak for several hours before scrubbing and rinsing it thoroughly before filling it with the homemade nectar.

I also moved the shepherd hook that holds the feeder further away from the house next to the wooded area. I can still see the feeder through a glass door from my living room and screened porch. I hung a red ribbon on the pole where the nectar hangs so the humming birds can see the nectar from a distance.

I did not wait very long before a humming bird came and drank from it. I don’t know if it’s the same one that prompted me to hang the nectar or it’s a different one. I hope it is anyway, because one of these birds are permanently guarding the feeder now and chases the other females away. There are 3-4 humming birds chasing each other now.

From now on I will always make my own homemade nectar to give them and always be prompt, timely and consistent in supplying them with nectar.

Hummingbird Feeder

Wake Up!!!

I am retired so most of the times there is no strong motivation to wake up early and prepare for the day but one reason that encourages me to get up early is gardening, specially these days when it gets so hot by 10 am. Thanks for the rain last night, it’s a bit cooler this morning but I can already feel the humidity.

My small garden is thriving well! The birds are singing, serenading me while I sit on our back porch drinking coffee. They sing louder when I put their morning seeds in their feeder, so it seems. I noticed that there are actually Chipmonks that share with the birds. I saw the other one coming from our neighbor’s yard run toward the feeder while the other one that lives in our backyard was already feeding.

One of these days I will buy a bird Cam so that I can get a good photograph of birds/Chipmonks that come to our yard. I can’t take good photos of them up close because they are wild and skittish. As long as I sit still they continue to feed but any slight movement will cause them to go away.

I have harvested fruits twice already from my Roma and Red Beefsteak tomatoes. The Roma tomatoes are doing excellent despite the fact that they are planted in a flower pot and only getting 4-5 hours of direct sunlight.

Roma Tomato
Two Roma tomatoes planted next to the wall.

How Time has Change

Actually, I am the one that has changed a lot this past few years. As an example, I used to garden all around our 2000 square ft + home. Now, I just have a few feet of gardening space and it’s just enough space for me to manage.

Although we live in the city, we are lucky enough to have wooded surroundings and with store bought seeds I’m able to attract wild birds to my yard and even Chipmonks, I never know if I have more than one of them coming to our bird feeder since I cannot tell one from another.

I enjoy watching the birds come and feed while sipping my morning coffee. Yes lots of things has changed for me but my love of nature, trees, birds and other creatures will never change.

SUMMER DRESSES

I have been looking for a specific style summer dress that is very simple and comfortable to wear but to no success so I decided to make my own. Luckily Walmart is selling 2-yard bundles of precut fabric for $4.00 per bundle. Some of these bundles were made out of stretchy cotton shirting fabric so they are perfect for the summer dress that I have been looking for.

I wanted a specific style so that the neckline and armholes matches my sport bra which I prefer wearing to regular bras. The bra strap will not show when I wear the summer dress. Below is the photo of how I laid the pattern over a striped fabric so that it creates a “V” effect on the front and back center of the dress.

As you can see in the photo that I only used the torso of the front and back pattern. I used my yardstick to shape and determine the length of skirt.

This summer dress is also comfortable to use as a sleepwear.

From Doily To Table Cloth

I decided to keep on crocheting and turn this doily into a table cloth using a pineapple crochet design.

One completed pineapple motif completed and another is starting.

I continue to work on this pineapple table cloth. I’ll have to order another cone of this blue cotton crochet thread size 3. Can’t wait to get this done.

Exploring Graphics Apps

 

 

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So, I was looking for a design program that will help me in designing crochet chart patterns.  I have not been sucessful!  There are all kinds of Apps but none available for manipulating crochet stitches.  But this one app called “Concepts” got me interested in working with.  I see possibility of my being able to use this app to produce a crochet chart pattern.  So far,  I am able to arrange things anywhere I want to on a canvas without difficulty, as you can see on the photo above.  I really like this app.  This app is more suited for architectural and interior designs, but maybe it can be used for other creative pursuit as well!

Another  artsy App that I found interesting is called “Assembly”.  I love it for its capability of letting you insert text in the style of your choice on any photo you select.  It comes with pre-made stickers that you can use.

How To Start Lemon Grass Indoor

Winter is a good time to start lemon grass plant indoor.  First, you must select a lemon grass from a grocery store that has main bulb or root bulb intact like the ones shown on photo below.

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Fill a clean flower vase with tap water halfway and put the bulbs in.  Put the vase with the lemon grass in a well lighted area preferably under a bright fluorescent light.  It will take almost all winter months for the roots to grow.  Change the water in the flower vase every week.  Rooting solution is not necessary for the roots to grow, just make sure there is sufficient water in the flower vase until the weather is warm enough to transplant it in a flower pot and put outside.  After the roots grow, some leaves will follow.  The leaves might be pale and wispy due to absence of sunlight but it does not take long for lemon grass to grow thick leaves once it is planted outside when the weather is good and warm.

I immensely enjoyed my lemon grass that I started indoor and I had abundant harvest and plenty to give away to friends!  See how the bulbs turned green on photos below?

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One thing I would not do related to lemon grass is – I would not plant it in the ground.  It is a very tough plant to dig out!  It is best to plant it in small to medium size flower pot that can be easily taken inside during Winter.  It cannot be left outside because it cannot survive cold weather.

This is a very easy plant to grow but watch out for those razor sharp leaves!

Harvesting Lemon Grass

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Now that the weather is cooler and I know that the temperature will drop at any time to where tropical plants will not tolerate,  I have made a decision to harvest my Lemon Grass and keep them in my fridge to use in my cooking this winter.

Before starting this task, I put on denim pants, long sleeved shirt and gardening gloves to protect my skin from the sharp leaves of these plants.

I would say that harvesting Lemon Grass is labor intensive, at least for me.  I need the physical exertion so I did not mind this rigorous activity.  I planted all my lemon grasses  in big pots this year due to having learned through my friends experience that planting lemon grass in an open field is not such a good idea.  It was almost impossible to dig the whole clump because of the dense sturdy roots it sends down through the soil underneath it.  The photo below shows just how dense the roots are!F1132580-A78F-4C09-860F-ED01FD5A5BE7.jpeg

The technique of getting the root ball out of the pot depends on what kind of pot the Lemon Grass is planted on.  The photo above shows that I used a black nursery pot to plant the Lemon Grass in and it was easy enough to get the whole root ball out.  All I have to do is tap the sides and botton of the pot then shake the plant loose and it came out easy.  If the plant is planted in a pot that has a water reservoir at the bottom of the pot, the water reservoir tray has to be removed first and the roots that extend to the water reservoir tray has to be clipped before I can successfully remove the clump out of the pot.  See photo below.

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Once I cut the roots that extend to the water reservoir tray,  I can tap the sides and bottom of the pot and shake and pull the clump out of the pot just like I did for the one planted in the black flower pot.

Once the clump is out of the pot, I used a shovel to remove the dirt surrounding the plant and at the bottom of the plant.  See photos below.F1132580-A78F-4C09-860F-ED01FD5A5BE7

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Then I separate each plant by pulling each plant apart from the clump until all are separated from each other.  See photo below.

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The next step is to cut the leaves off each plant with the use of sharp scissors and also clip the roots with the use of sharp limb clipper.  Then remove the dead or dried leaves.

Wash the individual plants thoroughly using rubber gloves or disposable gloves to protect hands from cuts as the edge of the leaves and stalks of the plants are sharp.  Spread the cleaned plants on a dry towel.  See photo below.A2DC321E-BA6F-431F-95CA-ED46D8C0796C.jpeg

Once the plants are free of excess water from washing,  put them in a big plastic bag and place inside the fridge.  See photos below.

 

The photo on the left shows young plants which I will use as seedling for next year.  The photo on the right shows mature plants which I will use for cooking and give away to friends.

How To Clean Bitter Melon Seeds

The Video shows how to remove the gelatinous coating of Bitter Melon 
seeds.  

Part of Fall season gardening activities is gathering seeds for next planting 
season.  Some seeds are easier to collect than others as they come out dry but most
of them are coated with some gooey substance that has to be removed from the seeds.  One
of these seeds is the Bitter Melon seed.  Each seed is coated with a brightly red 
gelatinous substance.  I surmise that this substance attracts ants which eat the sweet,
mushy substance but leave the seeds alone and usually some of the seeds will sprout in the 
the coming year but very late in the season so it is best to collect the seeds instead of 
leaving them in the ground.  The seeds need to be cleaned and air dried at room temperature so
so that mildew or fungus will not harm it.  When they are very dry they can be wrapped 
in dry paper towel then placed in a plastic bag.