I've always found fireflies captivating. As a kid, I was sure they were magical, and deep down, I guess I still feel that way. There is something mystical about these tiny creatures as they flit out of the woods into grassy areas at night.
As a child, catching lightning bugs was the highlight of the summer. Maybe it was the privilege of staying up until after dark, or the fact that the adults sat around talking in subdued voices that set the stage, but it was a magical time. If we were lucky, and we often were, our mother would let us take jar with several lightning bugs to bed with us for the night. We would happily drift off to sleep to the rhythmic blinking that created a soft glow in the night. Of course, when one escaped through the holes punched in the lid, as they always did, we got the uncommon delight of watching as the fireflies flitted about the room. I imagined then, as I do today, that they were actually fairies that the grownups were too old and blind to see.
Interesting Facts About Fireflies
If you've never caught lightning bugs in a jar, now is the time. I saw the first lightning bugs of the season last night.
My husband bought me the Earthwise 12-inch Rechargeable Trimmer last summer because the larger gas-powered trimmers were a little more than I could handle. Not only were they too long (I'm only 5'4") they were too heavy too. That meant putting a lot of pressure on my shoulders and arms. Because I have arthritis and have a tendency to develop bursitis and tendonitis, I thought weed whacking was a thing of the past for me. This weed trimmer proved me wrong.
Although it's not perfect, there are a lot of things I love about this trimmer - we'll get to the drawbacks later.
Things I love:
This trimmer is great for anyone who has difficulty maneuvering a large gas powered trimmer. It's easy on the joints, back and arms. It is great for cleaning up around raised beds or around a walkway. While it isn't meant for heavy duty trimming, it can handle tough weeds when needed. If you have a larger yard or large areas to trim regularly, I'd recommend getting a second battery.While many of it's features are ideal for those with arthritis, if you have arthritic hands, you may need assistance changing the battery.
My mother always kept a new chore boy near the kitchen sink during gardening time. She used it to scrub the peelings off new potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables. I did too, for a while, but I didn't like dealing with the messy peelings in my sink. Either I risked clogging the sink or I had to use a bowl and carry the water outside when I was done. This year I discovered another use for the plastic dish scrubbers that blew my mind.
The scrubber is just the right size to slip in the drain of the kitchen sink. (Remove the strainer first.) It catches all the peelings while letting the water drain through the plastic mesh and flow away down the drain. You may need to clean it occasionally, if the flow of water slows down, but that's not a problem because the peelings don't cling to the plastic. Simply remove the peelings with your hands and you are back in business.
I discovered this by accident when my scrubbie fell in the sink while I was cleaning and blanching fiddleheads. Go ahead, give it a try. You will be amazed at how well it works to catch tiny bits of peelings that would otherwise clog up your drain.
I get my dish scrubbers at the dollar store and pay a dollar for a set of six. While the scrubber can be reused, at that price, you can simply toss it when you are through.
I don't know about you, but I was actually fooled by these adorable pine cone zinnias when I first saw them. These whimsical flowers are the brainchild of Vanessa Valencia from A Fanciful Twist. According to her post, she came up with this idea when she was bored and looking for something new to create.
Vanessa has graciously provided step-by-step directions on her site so that people like you and me can create our own pine cone zinnias. I'm not sure what colors of craft paint I have lying around, but I'm heading out to gather up a few cones leftover from last year so I can make a few of my own. I'm thinking this is a great way to add color to the bedroom - or any room for that matter - without having to deal with fresh flowers that need attention and care.
Think pretty baskets or bowls overflowing with these faux zinnias for brightening the home, as table centerpieces or for giving away as gifts.
Check out Vanessa's DIY directions on A Fanciful Twist and let us know how yours turn out.
Until Next Time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!
I spent some time this morning transplanting some forget-me-nots that appear to have sprung from nowhere last year. The tiny little plants peeked through my garden fence and were mown down several times last year. Each time, I promised that I would be back later and dig them up, but as you may have guessed that didn't happen - until now.
I couldn't help but wonder whose hand had planted them there and how many years they had survived unnoticed. I suspect that the seeds or a stray plant came along when I moved here 7 years ago, as I had tons of forget-me-nots at my old home. Somehow (probably because they had not yet come up when I moved) I forgot to dig any up to bring with me. I have thought of them often.
Today, they brought memories of my mother as I tenderly planted them beside the phlox I got from her old garden last summer. There is something magical about gazing at blooms and inhaling the scent from her flowers so many years after she has passed.
Forget-me-nots are forgiving flowers and will survive under nearly any circumstances. You can dig them up any of time of the year to replant them and they will continue to grow for years. If you choose to transplant forget-me-nots to your yard or garden there are a few things you should know.
While some gardeners avoid forget-me-nots because of their tendency to spread to other areas, I'm not one of them. I love the look of these delicate flowers swaying in the summer breeze.
Those of us here in Maine have been speculating on just how late everything will be this year after our long, snowy winter. I'll be honest with you. I expected the hummingbirds to return much later this year, but they actually arrived a day earlier at my house than they did last year.
I don't know how to explain that. According to the 'experts' the Ruby Throated Hummingbird begins its journey north sometime in March and typically arrives in the states by the end of March. They then reportedly follow the progression of blooming native wildflowers up the eastern coast until they find their way back home to Maine. With the late spring, I assumed the flowers would bloom later and the hummingbirds would show up a week or two later than usual - but that doesn't appear to be the case.
I noticed yesterday that the poplar (what we natives call 'Popple') trees leafed out. They are about a week late. I know this because my daughter was born on April 30. When I went into the hospital on the 30th the trees were bare. When I came out on May 1st they were covered in green-gold leaves. I have watched them every year and have discovered they leaf out within a day or two of her birthday every year. If my memory serves me, this is the latest they have leafed out in over 20 years.
So, now I'm wondering if the hummingbirds really do follow the progression of blooms up the coast or if they return according to the day length. At any rate, I am glad to see the glint of scarlet as they venture to my feeders.
There something indescribably delicious about the very first "mess" of fiddleheads in the spring. In case you aren't from these parts of the world, mess has nothing to do with being messy or dirty. It simply means the first 'meal' of fiddleheads. You may also hear it referred to as the first "feed" of fiddleheads. Rumor has it that those on the coast of Maine may even refer to it as "charge" of fiddleheads, but I'm not entirely sure about that. A charge may only refer to seafood - you know, like a "charge of clams."
No matter what you call it, that first taste of delicately steamed fiddleheads drizzled with butter is a long-awaited treat. You may have guessed that I found my first fiddleheads today. I found these while on a walk with the dog and dashed home to get a bag to pick them in.
Yes, I am aware they are tiny - but I don't care. Experience has taught me that these little fiddleheads are brimming with flavor. There is plenty of time yet to scout out the biggest and best fiddleheads of the season, but for now, these miniature fiddleheads are going to be mighty tasty for dinner!
Red Norland and Red Pontiac are two of the most common potatoes grown for new potatoes in Maine gardens. Although they are similar in both appearance and flavor, there are some differences between the two.
I personally love Red Pontiac Potatoes because I enjoy eating new potatoes. Red Norland is my second choice if Red Pontiac isn't available. If you chose to grow Red Norland Potatoes, use care when boiling them as they turn to mush quickly if they are overcooked.
Find out how you can sponsor one blog post or the entire Garden Thyme Blog.