Monday, August 4, 2014

Weeding



 I am getting tougher, stronger, like a weed.
  Hope I'm a good weed as useful as clover, sweet as honeysuckle.
Here's some weeds I've been encountering this summer.



 In May and early June, honeysuckle vine grows along our woods.
 They're  very fragrant, and I take cuttings for my flower arrangements.
As children we liked to bite off the ends and suck the nectar.
 But I've seen it take over and strangle shrubs and vinca in gardens.
 Is it a good weed or a bad weed?


Chicory
 

Notice this pretty blue flowered weed growing along roadsides?
It is chicory.   Also called Italian dandelion.
The young leaves are edible in salads and the roots are dug up,
washed and roasted, ground, then brewed as a coffee substitute.



 Queen Anne's Lace grows in fields at my warehouse,
and I like to cut it for adding to flower arrangements.
 It is the host plant for Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars
Wild Carrot, is another name for this plant,
 and it has medicinal uses and you can  even make a jelly with it,
 but you must be very careful!  Because it closely resembles Poison Hemlock,
 once used in ancient Greece to execute criminals, which Socrates was killed with.

 Always make sure you don't eat plants that you are not absolutely certain are safe.





 I planted  Bishop's Weed in my yard too.
  It's a lovely  variegated groundcover 
that also is very invasive, but my friend has a circle garden full of it,
 and it stays contained in the edged, mulched area.    
Also called snow-on-the-mountain, and goutweed,
 I saw some at the Longwood Gardens.





I now  love this pretty trailing plant in my backyard,
 around the paving stones
 But I pulled it for three years, thinking it was a weed,
because it spreads and gets out of control.
  Creeping Jenny is a pretty yellow flowering groundcover.
 I also saw this plant spilling out of a pot of flowers at Longwood Gardens.

.
                                                      The edible weed- Dandelion  Taraxacum Officinale
Actually, I eat these nutritious weeds, in salads,
 and cooked as a green vegetable, but they do have a bitter taste.
   Vineland, N.J. is the Dandelion Capitol of  the World . 
They have annual Dandelion Festivals celebrating it's culinary uses, 
Dandelion flower fritters,  a tea made from its dried roots, 
and they make delicious dandelion wine too!
 They were brought to America by the colonists as a garden vegetable. 


Trifoleum  replens is the true Shamrock


White Clover,  may be considered a weed in your lawn,
 because it attracts bees who could sting your bare feet. 
But it is persistent and hardy and has many benefits.
It serves well  as a cover crop, a living mulch between rows, 
 is a  nitrogen-producing soil builder, and an important pollen
 and nectar source for bees and butterflies.
It is also a valuable survival food, high in protein,
 and grows abundantly almost everywhere. 
It can be added to salads, or steeped into an herbal tea. 
Infused dried red clover blossoms are supposed to be good
 for lactation, Julie, and help the lymphatic system! 





Milkweeds are prevalent in our gardens, but I let some grow,
 because they are important food for the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
It is the host plant for the Monarch butterflies, the only plant the
caterpillars can eat. .


Asclepias   or Common Milkweed


But when a weed grows where you don't want it's a pesky nuisance.
Many an hour I've spent pulling weeds!  Good exercise, right?
  Here's a popular weed-killer that's going around on Facebook,
 and I tried it on the patio and it works!
  I'll try to find the origin to give credit due.




But  here's a stubborn weed that you'll probably need help with! 
 I never heard anything good about this  noxious weed!


My worst nightmare! Poison Ivy grows everywhere and is hard to destroy.
  I've had several very bad cases of  itchy-oozy  poison ivy rashes through the years.
 I am extremely allergic. There are lots of people using organic weedkillers,
 but this plant is hard to kill and the roots must be killed.
 The toxic oils from the plant can get on your garden tools and pets too.
I've even heard of people getting allergic dermatitis from the wind blowing
the  plant's oils on them.
 I always wash well with strong detergent, when I think I've come in contact with it.
  Old timers swear by Fels Naptha Soap.
  To kill poison ivy, I use a glyphosate herbicide
 like Ortho brush-B-Gone Poison Ivy Killer Concentrate.
 Dig roots out only with extreme caution and protection, and never burn it!
 Tommy told me about a villian that Batman knows named Poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy, Batman's foe

Lego Batman character

On our daily walks, I try not to eat the wild mushrooms, berries, and dandelions
 in front of the kids, afraid they will think it's okay to eat any wild plants they see.
 If I pick something, Tommy cautions me, " be careful, that's poison ivy!"



 My sister Beverly was doing some playful trick  photography
 with a huge toadstool she found in her yard yesterday!




In my life, I need to be
"weeding out- Separating and getting rid of the unwanted."
 It makes more room and time for the good stuff.
Hmm.......
I hope I can tell the difference, between what I should get rid of, and what I should keep!



  Happy Weeding!  Linda

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Birthday America!



Miss Emilie is all smiles in her red,white and blue!


She is 2 months old now! 

Mommy tries to eat health  (and quickly)and Jersey blueberries were beautiful and bountiful!
 Brunch.  I really wanna make a fancy flag cake, or fruit kabobs like I've seen on other's blogs,
 but with the new baby and toddler we are just lucky to be able to  even get out shopping for fruit
and have time to fix the simplest of meals.   Maybe I'll make these:

Yummy treats I saw on facebook.

  Recently Julie made some delicious lactation cookies. These are so good, you had better make a batch of regular cookies too, so the rest of the family will keep their hands off of Mommy's cookies!    The two special ingredients that help increase milk production are brewers yeast and flaxseed meal.
  I found them at Whole Foods, but most health food stores, and many grocery stores carry them too.




Lactation Cookies
2 tbsp. flaxseed meal and 4 tbsp. water
1 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cup  brown sugar or half brown /half white
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla 
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3-4 tbsp. brewer's yeast powder
3 cups whole oats
1 cup chocolate chips



First, measure 2 tbsp. flaxseed meal into a small dish and add 4 tbsp. water,
and let soak, about 5 minutes.


Mix butter and sugar together, add eggs and beat till nice and fluffy.


Then add flaxseed and vanilla, and mix.


 Next add combined dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and brewer's yeast..  Mix thoroughly.




Add oats, and chips and mix. 


Drop onto non-stick cookie sheets by rounded tablespoonfuls. and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.





Julie enjoyed a cup of Mother's Milk Tea with her treats. It has galactagogues,
herbs that help nursing  mothers breastfeed.   Fennel and anise give the tea a licorice
 taste and fennugreek, coriander and blessed thistle help with milk production too.


She's got a great supply stored already for when she returns to work.


      We've had a few outings with the babies, and I've gone off  to some of my jobs,
       resuming my work with regular customers and  Selective Residential Services projects.
       I love seeing all the flags flying!  Especially now, in these troubled times,
       I think it shows respect and appreciation, affirms that we are still a great nation!

   I went to work at a friend's home the other day. Her flag has a solar light to illuminate it.
   I was delighted to see her front porch, and her pretty porch rail boxes and planters.
   I love her winning combination of  yellow begonias, asparagas fern, lamium,
   sweet potato vine, and coleus.



 I help some of my clients with landscaping and weeding. I've been hearing that we shouldn't
destroy milkweed, because it's a major food source for monarch butterflies.
 So I am trying to leave some growing at my daughter's.


Here's a healthy  Milkweed specimen thriving at my friend's.
Actually it's kinda pretty, don'tcha think?





Tommy is growing like a weed too!  Today he modeled a vintage Big Bird Lovie, blanket toy for me.
To get him to pose, I had to bribe him with the promise of a Batman movie and some M&Ms, (don't judge).
 I have listed Big Bird on my Etsy, along with some other nifty things.  See!   I'm still able to do a little work, even though it seems like I am just playing with the grandbabies all the time, but could you blame me?



 Fireworks Celebration at Art Museum   Philadelphia, PA 


I hope your 4th of July is blessed!
 I think while we are celebrating all weekend, with various family cookouts, and friend's parties, 
we must remember to be thankful for being able to live in America, land of the free, 
because of all those brave ones who have sacrificed so much to keep us free.   

Love, Linda

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Grandma's cookin'!

 Miss Emilie is 1 month old today!
 Since I am the chief cook and baby rocker,
 I just prepared dinner and while it's in the oven,
  I am seated at the computer wearing her in a sling.

Emilie  Grace,  1 month old today!
 Big brother Tommy picked out this outfit!

Yes, I'm wearing my grandbaby in a Seven Sling! ,makes Grandma's life easier!
Looking down at her, she seems very comfortable,and my hands are free.  
I even ran the vacuum cleaner this way.  How else can we get anything done?
Hoping  her mama can get in a quick nap before she wants to eat again.

I made Parmesan Encrusted Pork Chops for dinner.

6 boneless pork chops
3 tblsps olive oil,
3 tblsps. prepared dijon mustard
1 tsp. Italian seasoning,
2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

Mix dijon, seasoning and oil  in small bowl



Generously brush mixture on top of chops

Spread cheese on paper plate, then dip chops in cheese.
Return to tray, coat other side of each chop with mustard oil  and then cheese

Place in baking dish sprayed with non-stick coating, like PAM
Bake 45 minutes at 375
I will make some whipped potatoes and green beans to go with it. 
Sauteed green beans with minced garlic
Scrumptious!


The other day we went to my sister's and had a tasty  guilt-free treat
It tastes like a Wendy's Frosty! 
 here's a tip:  if you have more bananas than you can eat before they over-ripen,instead of wasting them, simply peel them and throw them in the freezer  to use for smoothies anytime.  

 Aunt Beverly's Frozen Chocolate Delight    serves 3-4
 3-4 frozen bananas
1/2 cup cocoa powder
A couple tsps. agave nectar
1/2 cup  lo-fat milk, almond milk or yogurt
 2 cups ice cubes
 Whirl in Vitamix blender or other good food processor until creamy and smooth.
Add more milk or other liquid for a slushy drink.
Tastes like chocolate ice cream or milkshake , and was really healthy!










Uh-oh, Baby is waking and fussing.  Now it's time for Emilie to eat again, Gotta go find Mama!


Love, Linda


I went to the party!