Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Annual New Year's Eve Post

I thought I would recap my hopes and dreams for 2008 as published in last year's New Year's Eve post. It is a time for me to reassess and look forward to the new year. The sunsets have been outstanding of late. I captured this one off my back deck recently, it is symbolic of the sun setting on 2008. I guess it would make sense that I then post a picture of the sun rising tomorrow we shall see.....

Things I had hoped for this year that did not fully happen: I had hoped for world peace (hasn't happened), the Jimster to find high school cool (he did) and to get all As (he hasn't), a new job (not yet but I am not looking either), and that it would rain between 1-2" each week this year (heck no! can you say drought?).

Some things I had hoped for that came to pass: My family and friends have continued good health, the voles have pretty much left my garden alone (probably owing to one orange tabby cat in the garden), my children are continuing to grow and prosper, (they have seen many changes this year and have all fared well), the adjacent property owner sold his house and I now have super terrific neighbors, my husband's workweek has slowed down remarkably, and lastly this blog has continued and I have met some really wonderful folks. Thanks all for the good things in 2008; which was a pretty good year.

Now on to 2009 and wishes:

1) World Peace.

2) Mr. Fix-it's job of recruiting finally ends.

3) My children will continue to grow and prosper.

4) Friends and family will continue to have good health.

5) It WILL rain between 1-2" per week and no droughts!

6) The garden will be the best it has ever been!

7) I will continue this blog to the best of my ability and have a great time meeting new friends.

My best to you all and I hope all your dreams come true next year!

in the garden....

Thank you all who voted on the Christmas light preferences. For the record, 47 voted, 23 for white (49%), 13 for multi lights (28%), and 11 for a combination of colors(23%). We'll for sure do it again next year.

I really liked hearing everyone's views on the lights. Honestly blogging is about getting views-different ones from our own. All of the comments (views) have made me think I might need a really big grant and some heavy thinkers on how to put together the north/south and white/multi-colored lights correlation for next year. Or maybe it is just all for fun and to get those different views and perspectives on different aspects of everyday life.

in the garden....again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fiddlehead Flavor

My sister has been patient with my post this month, I emailed her a few weeks ago letting her know my next post will be an update to my first fiddlehead post, Fiddle heads: New England's Okra. Well, between the holidays, snow, and kids with school I've only just gotten to preparing my post yesterday.

Really, I've put off tasting my canned fiddleheads! See, when I wrote my first post on this delicacy, I had not tasted them. I've always wanted to....*wink*..I think.

I've looked at my jar several times within the past month; it was a gift from one of our patrons. (People are so nice!) Having done research on these young ferns and knowing they are safe.....Do I dare try them? I had so much fun doing the first post on fiddle heads, I thought I'd keep true to my comment and taste them.

My husband, Jack of All Trades, was supposed to try them with me, bbbbut....he did not. I'm not sure of what that means, but it sounded good that he'd have to share in this experience. He's hunted for the little curled ostrich feathers before but has never tasted the pickled ones, as the "P" on the lid indicates.

Do ya think! I want you to read my first posting? Yep, it makes a nice reference to our grandmother who was a avid gardener.

Okay, I've ruled out tasting the stems, not too crazy about that with beans, I'm even less tempted with my fiddleheads.

Amazingly enough, I did not hold my breath. These are actually good, they have a sweet/tart taste that is so strong it reminds me of strawberry Kool-aid power hydrated with a small amount of lemon juice, surely it will make ya smile way back behind your jawline! But once the robust pickled flavor (I'm sure is the recipe) was experienced, these little fellas have a flavor of a peanut buttery hint. They would be delish with bread and butter. Not too bad......

Not everyday though! In the Garden

Monday, December 29, 2008

Whimsy and Helpers

As I walked around the yard the other day looking at all the gardens I have {yes, I have named each one} I began to notice all the critters and helpers. In my New Back Yard Garden there sat these cuties. Then this guy caught my eye as he sat overlooking my Asparagus Garden. Even Mr. Oak is helping.

As I ventured toward the front of the house I ran into Mr Rooster guarding the mums sitting
beneath the Persimmon Tree. I turned to my right and there was this gnome with his rake in hand cleaning up my Canna Garden.

I began to wonder what else I might find. Looking further I saw petunias and saliva still blooming in a pot sitting in my new Front Door Garden. Oh my, this little gnome, hoe in hand, was ready to do some weeding till he noticed the ravens that had stopped by to see what was going on.

As I turned to check on Kermit and Uncle Martin I notice this little door. Why, it looks as if someone has been going and coming. Oh my goodness, I looked up and behold I saw her. This little fairy was sitting there on a limb of the Purple Leaf Plum Tree. As I walked around looking at other flowers and shrubs I noticed her in other places. Seems as though she was following me to see what I was up to.

So I guess I have plenty of help------

In The Garden

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cedar Tree

My dad has real luck with saplings popping up in his Tennessee yard. One such sapling was the Cypress tree I showed you a few weeks ago. It is now too tall to measure. Another tree that he gave us from his yard is a Cedar. The red clay colored pot is that sapling. The other cedar is one I took out of the woods behind our house here in Georgia. The Holly is another tree I dug from the woods but the holly did not survive being moved. Sorry Holly... sniff sniff...

*note, I am showing you the vent that the Saint replaced since that first picture. What an ugly eyesore the old crawl space vents were. Always a home renovation going on around here!
Here is the little cedar I took from the woods growing strong today. It was difficult to get a good picture so I am going to show you two angles.
I am a "learn as you go" kind of gardener and one thing I have learned from this little cedar is, they sure do grow slow!
Here is the cedar my dad gave us. The mother plant to this cedar was not wild but a nursery purchase. This one seems to grow faster and with a prettier shape as well.
I keep pine straw as a mulch under the cedar and give it a drink during really dry times. This little CEDAR TREE is a great gift from my dad, In the Garden...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holly Tree

When I think of Holly, I think of Christmas and Red Berries. I know Christmas has passed for some, but in our house the trees and decorations remain in place to welcome in the New Year! As you know I have cats in the house so I don't use real materials when decorating but I would have been real upset if I could use real things such as red holly berries. Why you ask? Well, my two Holly Trees have yet to produce bright red berries in my Georgia Garden!
I don't know if these trees are wild or were planted by the previous homeowners. They were here when we purchased the house 7 years ago. The trees look healthy and have bright green leaves so what could be the problem? Maybe, a male female thing? Maybe, not enough sun shine? They are at the edge of the woods. Maybe, not the correct soil type? Hum, does anyone know why my at least 8 year old HOLLY TREES are not giving me berries, In the Garden...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Reporting A Spammer

Many of you might have been victims of spam, or are victims as we speak. Sitemeter has a wonderful little feature that can track location, IP address, and so on. A certain little spammer spent over 95 minutes on my blog this past evening. He accessed 12 pages and left several messages advertising an unnamed drug.

Tracing the IP address through Sitemeter shows an IP Address in India. Seems simple enough right? Nope, using a simple little website found here, I was able to not only find the originating IP Address, but the address WITH a telephone number AND name of the person who is very likely committing the offense of spamming this blog. The person is not in India where the initial IP Address pointed us to, he is most likely the person I traced to Minnesota in the good old United States.

The person(s) who I found listed at the Minnesota address received a call from me yesterday afternoon, and I am waiting to see if he has the nerve to return my call as a message was left for "John" the Spammer. He hasn't as of yet. This certainly tells me something. It is probably the same person who has been a constant spammer of blogs, not just mine.

There are of course many, many spammers, but to be able to trace just one was somewhat a victory for me. While spam seems harmless, it is very irritating and time consuming to me. I am quite perturbed (to put it mildly) about it all, and since I ALWAYS report the spam and promptly delete it as well, the time the spammer
spent to send out his ads was wasted on him as well as me.

I am very against spam not only for what it is, but the fact it takes away a choice from me. It is my choice not to post advertisements on this blog. Why then does someone feel the need to post ads on this blog or any blog whether they have ads or not? It should always be the blogger's choice to post ads AND the type of ads they wish to post, not a commenter's choice. As long as I am able to prevent ads and spam, ads will NOT be placed on this blog either by me or by commenters such as this "John" person. While I believe I do know his name, without irrefutable proof of the fact, I will have to leave his name as "John". I mean after all that is what name he "commented" under. So this is a short note to "John" the Spammer:

"John" kindly leave any advertising for this blog totally up to me by refraining from placing your ads on my blog in the form of comments. Comments are just that, not advertisements. And, if at such time you wish to advertise on my blog via comments, do it openly so I can correspond with you personally regarding this matter. Don't be afraid and hide behind a profile "Not Available".

You have my telephone number, feel free to either contact me that way, or by email. Thank you.

My goal in publishing this information is twofold. One I'd like to let other bloggers know who are bothered by spam to please report it immediately to the appropriate authorities. Blogger has an easy to report system and all you have to do is copy the applicable information and send it in here. I sent in both the Sitemeter information and the comment. In this case this person hit 12 pages of mine.

Additionally, since I am fairly confident I found the correct person and his IP Address, I took the time to not only report the spam to local law enforcement (no law against spam here in Tennessee but the officer was quite nice and sympathetic), but also to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. I included all IP Addresses found in the trace process, as well as addresses.

I do realize when we post we are in a public domain that allows for anyone to come onto our blogs. Anyone, including these spammers, but not taking action and just accepting the spam is not a solution to the fact that what these folks do is just plain wrong, annoying, irritating, and illegal. Some say just delete it and move on but that is not going to stop the problem. I am sure some poor person out there gets paid for the number of spam hits he can leave on websites. The more websites he hits, the more money he gets, but his pay is NOT my concern! This website and readers is my concern and the spammer should seek more reputable work in order to pay his bills. What a pathetic life the spammer must lead to go around in the middle of the night and spam people.

One more note for you bloggers, on the Sitemeter comment information page there is a "Referring URL" listed. This would be the URL the spammer would have to use to access your blog. In the case of this "John" spammer, he accessed this website. If you click on the referring url, you will see all of the blogs that were most likely targets of this unscrupulous spammer. Do take the time to report him. If enough of us report these acts, then perhaps, just perhaps, something will be done to stop this person and others like him.

in the garden....

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from all of us here at In the Garden.

in the garden....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Caravan for You

It is not quite the whole farmyard full of animals as that long ago Christmas eve, but the cows will have to do for us here in Tennessee this Christmas evening.

Have a good one all. We'll be watching "It's a Wonderful Life" and thinking good thoughts wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

in the garden....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

White vs Multi-Colored (Lights that is!)

I have a theory about white lights versus multi-colored lights at Christmastime. If you watch HGTV, you will find it seems there is a big debate concerning white vs multi-colored and I think I need to add my two cents into the debate.

You see this is a very serious issue here. Which is best? White or multi-colored? If you decide the answer lies in which type of Christmas lights is sold the most, then I think white lights would win hands down-in the south. But still there are die hard fans of multi-colored lights-even in the south.

I am going to settle the debate right here and now and hopefully make everyone happy. Now keep in mind, I am not a statistician and will not endeavor to prove my theory about white versus colored lights. Once I lay out my theory though, it will be a hands down contender for a large grant from some government entity as part of a pork barrel spending bill. You mark my words. I just need the funding to perform the research in order to prove my theory-just wait and see.

My theory is that since northerners usually have lots of white snow for Christmas, snow that comes and stays for three or four months, they long for color-bright and strong colors. They don't want anymore white since they have so much snow, so they definitely don't want white lights!

Southerners, oh yes, those dear southerners, they almost never have a white Christmas so they try to compensate for not having snow by dressing up their houses with white lights. I guess the white lights are supposed to give the illusion of snow in the winter. Make sense? Yes, of course it does.

What do you all think about white versus multi-colored lights? I bet there are some very strong opinions out there. In fact, I KNOW there are some very strong opinions out there on decorating one's home for Christmas, the color of lights is an important consideration in the whole matter.

For the record, I think any house decorated for Christmas is a nice thing. If the house is lighted at night-all the better. Me being a northerner and hubby being a southerner, I will let you guess as to whether colored or white lights decorate our home. I'm not telling.

in the garden....

This is one of my favorite posts since I am a transplanted northerner now living in the south. Trust me when I tell you some folks REALLY, REALLY take their Christmas light decorating seriously.
I already posted this subject last December, and I think this post will become a yearly tradition here.

This post also ties in with the survey concerning the color of Christmas lights on the sidebar. Do make a vote if you haven't already. The votes are all ANONYMOUS. It is just for fun and as I said in my post, it is not like I am a statistician or anything so you can draw your own conclusions with no trouble.

And one more note, I know white goes with anything and perhaps, just perhaps that is why it is so popular. I'm not giving up on my theory yet though:) Feel free to voice your opinions-they all count in the study!

in the garden....again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Trees and Garland

When I think of Christmas trees, I think of many different types of trees. Pretty much any evergreen tree can be considered a Christmas tree. Some people go into the woods and cut a fresh tree while some may select one from a tree farm or roadside stand. I prefer to use a less traditional tree in my Georgia home to celebrate the Christmas season. My trees are artificial trees. I know some of you are cringing now, but I just cannot make myself be responsible for killing a tree. I know they were grown to be cut and used this time of year but I still cannot do it. Many other things factor into my decision like cats in the house, fire hazard, dropping needle, etc.

I have many trees set up throughout the house this year. In the hallway as you enter the front door, you will find my Snowman tree. This tree is filled with all types of snowmen and women from hand crafted to store bought. See the blue Titans Snowman in the center? Go Titans!

As you look left from the hallway into the living room, you will find the Magnolia tree with Magnolia Blooms, Blue Glass Ornaments, Gold State Ornaments, Gold Beads, Holly and Feathers. Being a Garden lover, I like to use Flowers, Berries and some fun things such as Feathers and other natural things one would find in the outdoors. Mine, being mostly artificial due to the cats.

On down the hallway and into the sun room you will find a fun tree being my Fox Hunt tree. This tree is full of French Horns, Berries, Pine Cones, Feathers, Twigs, Pods, Glass Balls, Apples and Candy Canes along with Red Candles.
The inspiration for the Fox Hunt were these beautiful Foxes that the Saints mom passed on to us. Thanks again Mom B. I love these foxes and find a spot for them in the house decor year round. But during Christmas, they jump on the German antique sled and under the tree for a picture opportunity.

In the center of the house, you will find the Dining room tree. This tree is full of Berries of many colors, Fruit, Velvet Poinsettia's in colors of Mauve and Burgundy along with the White House Ornaments that we started to collect since we were given one as a wedding gift on Dec. 16, 1989. The Saint's sister has been carrying on the gift giving tradition giving us the new ornament each year for many years now. Thanks go out to the Saint's sister for this wonderful gift!
The tree also has mauve beads as well as mauve candles but the candles cannot be seen in this picture. Sorry...

Now we shall move upstairs to see the guest bedroom. This is a new addition to my tree collection this year. We have had guests stay over night several times with us this holiday season, so I decided they needed a tree in their room. This tree is filled with Burgundy Magnolia and other small Flowers along with Green Berries, Gold Beads, Pewter and Wooden Ornaments.

The Office holds my collection of Animal Ornaments on this small tree. Just about any type animal you can think of is on this tree from Zebras.....
to cute Rattlesnakes! Yep, I said cute, who cannot resist a rattlesnake wearing a red Santa hat? I get to enjoy this tree a lot since I spend so much time on the computer, although, not as much time lately. Who do you think has been busy putting all of this stuff in place???

One of my favorite creations about this tree is the two hand crafted wood cats playing in the lights. Just luckily, my two black beauties do not wreak such havoc with my trees. Sheba and Cheetah prefer to take a nap all snuggled up beside the tree as mommy types on the computer! Like Garfield, they know Santa is watching. Good Girls.
I also have garlands hanging all over the house as well as trees. After visiting Williamsburg, VA one Christmas season, I was inspired to create garlands with fruit. So in the dining room I have Foiled Fruit, Berries, Flowers and Ribbon.
I made a snow garland for the hallway as my Snow Village sits below. You will see that another time.

The sun-room has natural looking Fruit and Raffia as I think that goes well in a Nature setting such as the woods view we get while in the sun-room. I made the French Horn centerpiece keeping with the Fox Hunt theme.

The living room mantel has Fruit and lots of homemade ornaments from Germany.
The archway from the Living room to the Hallway has more Fruit and Berries along with Gold Holly leaves. On the opposite side of this arch is a snowman garland and I will show you that another time as well. We must save something to talk about during the winter ya know.
The Kitchen even gets a Garland at Christmas. Who else has a garland in their kitchen? Am I the only one? The Saint thinks so. I had fun creating something to tie in with my chili pepper themed kitchen! Bright Red Cardinals, Berries and Chili Pepper, Gold beads and Gold Holly make a perfect match to my many Chili Pepper items within the kitchen.
I would prefer to use real Fruit, Berries and Flowers but with my cats, that is just not possible. The back door to the sun-room has a garland filled with handmade wooden ornaments and Magnolia Leaves. Cheetah is looking out the back door and I wonder is she looking for Santa or CHRISTMAS TREES AND GARLAND, In the Garden...

I hope everyone in Blog Land has a wonderful Christmas!