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Category Archives: Outdoor Life

Why Plants and Not Sewing?

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Two reasons: It’s a special time of the year for plants in TN. Here’s one of my favorites: TN State Tree, the Tulip Tree in bloom:

State Tree: Tulip Tree Blossom

There are more gorgeous TN countryside photos in the Tennessee Beauty set on Flickr from last night’s attempt to understand my easy-shoot camera’s newest failings. The photos, while not the sharpest are still beautiful.

I even found some of my Evening Primrose, Pink Ladies, as they are called around here, growing along the side of the road, Escape Artists from someone’s garden. TN has a number of Onenothera that are considered native
Pink Ladies growing on the roadside

and two: I am not sewing at the moment because I have enough Springtime clothes for my lifestyle already. Most of what I wear is made by me and apparently I’ve been busy for the last number of years.

I also had lost a lot of weight in the past few years and now have gained it all back so I have clothes that fit whatever size I am currently needing. Thank goodness, though, that I have regained the weight. I can finally eat almost everything that I like and I have absolutely NO BUTT when I lose weight. My dear friend Lorna Newman said when she saw a pix of my baggy behind: Wow! I don’t think there’s an alteration that can fix THAT. And another friend suggested the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog type of padded fanny panties. Hehehehehehe. Well, now I don’t have that kind of worry. At the moment, anyway.

But the temperatures are going into the high 80’s today and it’s time to look at cool cotton and linen and easy-care styles. I need to make gowns for lounging in the evenings and sensible, loose dresses for the daytime. Think Muu Muu without the Moo. I don’t want to look early 60’s Florida retiree.

This has been my favorite go-to (reviewed on The Sewing Divas blog) the last few days:


It was made in 2009. Time for some new linen, I’d say.

Patterns? Now that’s the hard part. I just don’t know what patterns I’ll use.

Well, the air conditioning just kicked on and it’s set for 76. I’d better hit the sewing room.


In the Garden: Friends and Foe, Cycles, One and the Same

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I always learn so much with the luxury of having a kitchen garden. This year I tried numerous planting combinations because I felt I had limited space and so many seedling to plant. An ancient Thyme plant was surrounded by Spicy Globe Basil seedlings this summer and has flourished with the friendly company

Ancient Thyme and Spicy Globe Basil

I planted the fast growing patty pan squash under the bean poles and found that the squash liked the beans but the beans did much better after the squash was removed. Bush beans and peas checker boarded along the 3″ high fence, shading the lettuce plants on the morning sun side and everyone seemed happy with the arrangement. Corn replaced these crops and the fence supports the corn stalks when the wind blows. The Sweet Dots Corn is almost ready to pick. I have been vigilant in picking out the katydids and borer worms. I don’t like to use insecticides.

Sweet Dots Corn

Wasps have tended the okra all summer although what they are doing is a mystery to me. They like the flowers. I like the pods so we are friends since I don’t bother them and they don’t bother me.


Today there were 2 different kinds of wasps at work, each on their own flower. Wasps are friend and foe: they dine on the Tomato Hornworm.


Parsley loved being with the tomatoes


I was surprised to learn that bell peppers don’t like catnip for a neighbor. You can see by the yellow leaves that this plant is just going to jump off the train rather than put out new buds like his bed mates

Pepper and Catnip

I asked Mr Stitch if I should pull the catnip and he said “No! Kitty lives here too.” So this one pepper plant will be sacrificed to the cat’s place in our household.


Gaely likes to graze in the garden. She has tasted the onion tops, beets leaves, and especially loves the cucumber leaves. It was a mystery who had been eating the garden greens until I caught her red-pawed with the cucumber leaf in her mouth. Fortunately she doesn’t graze full time, sometimes she likes to sun bathe while I work. She is a friend and a foe.

Gaely In The Sun

We have a lovely Yorkie friend, Sambo, who lives close by. But he has lately learned to steal Gaely’s bones from the yard and the offerings of dog food and sugar water I put out for the ants to keep them out of my kitchen. When the ants have no outside food they invade!

Tiny Ants

We love to visit and play with our friend Sam but we don’t want him in the garden so, using branches from a wind-broken Bradford Pear tree, Mr. Stitch devised a way to keep the wiley Sam from going under the fence. Sam is a Houdini!

Stakes LOL

And Sam rushed to Test . The . Stakes

Sam Inspecting

Then he tried the old Push The Gate Open trick but we knew about that one so we have placed rocks to keep the gate shut and wedged a favorite dog toy, an empty plastic bottle, under a possible crawl space

Testing the Gate

and then the terribly difficult to resist Cute Dog Pleading trick


but soon he tired and went on his way, leaving the me to be distracted by the tomato foe/friend, the Tomato Hornworm, who has become a nursery for our friends the parasitic wasp.

Parasitic Wasps Eggs on Tomato Foe

If you look at the outline of this soon dead host, you can see the tops of the egg casings have been opened and stick out like little balls from the egg sacks. On other casings you can see the dark heads of the baby wasps getting ready to emerge.

Out the front door we watch the mothers of these garden foe caterpillars, the hummingbird moths, as they suck sirup from the butterfly bush

Front Door

and enjoy our neighbor’s Crepe Myrtles as she can enjoy our new landscape.

Crepe Myrtles

It was her idea to put in roses in the first place to echo her new rose bush landscape :).

Out My Front Door

When she first suggested planting roses I thought she might be trying to kill me off, but it just took a few years away from cancer to build up the physical stamina to do the planting. Now we both have lovely flowers to enjoy when we look through our windows.

Mocking Bird Chick Getting Ready to Fly

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Chick getting ready to step out of the nest, originally uploaded by Mary Beth R.

It looks too young to me but when I went back s/he was gone!

Memorial Day 2011, Morning Ramble

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Revolutionary War Soldier

Confederate Soldier

Old Style Grave

Stewart Cemetery

More photos at Flikr set Memorial Day 2011

Then we visited Cane Creek Park. Cane creek winds through the edge of our subdivision, causing some of the homes to be classified by FEMA as in the flood zone (not so good)

Boat Launch Cane Creek Park: No Noisey and dirty gas motors 🙂

Willows at the Fishing Pier

Cane Creek Lake

Swamp Log

You can tell by the smoothness that this log had been in the water a long time

Weed Seeds

Path Through the Morning Woods

Tall Tulip Poplar

Twisted Maple Trunk

Iron Wood Tree

Iron Wood is very strong and dense, used for axe handles and such. It has ripples that feel like a heavily muscled arm under my hand. One of my favorite tree trunks

Gaely chases squirrels into the trees

Such Longing! Such Cuteness!!!

Gaely Taking a Drink in the Lake

All before 9 am. Now back to the hard labor of landscaping, planting and chipping