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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Facets Mandala to color

Facets mandala- blank version available to color
I got a really bad cold this month. So the first part of the month was gardening and having fun with my family, then the second part was curling up with books and a box of tissue. Sorry! There wasn't much drawing this month.

I hope you enjoy this facets mandala. Click the images below for larger versions to print and color.

Small jpg version:
Facets mandala to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png formats. Click through! #coloringpage

Large transparent png version:
Facets mandala to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png formats. Click through! #coloringpage


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Potting new strawberries from runners



The photo above is some Tristans that I potted off runners from my original pot of Tristan strawberries. I actually had 2 runners, but gave my brother one when I realized the pot of French strawberries I was going to give him had several runners coming off of it. Since he's planning to plant a lot more strawberries for his granddaughter, I told him I'd write up a tutorial on how to handle the runners.


So first things first- a plant that is sending out a lot of runners is putting energy into that, and won't set as many flowers or berries. So if you want a plant bearing a lot of fruit, you want to cut off the runners as soon as you see them. But strawberries need to be replaced every few years, so the best method to keep them going is to have mother plants to make babies, and have some of those babies be next year's mother plants. Nature does this all on it's own with wild strawberries, but since it's your garden, container or otherwise, you probably want a little more control over the process. Also in cases like my precious Tristans- they do better in pots, and with pots I can overwinter them under my porch so they don't get as cold.

So, this is the plant that had a bunch of runners-

The runners are the long bare stem like things coming out of the pot. A couple inches from the end of each of these is a node, like a little elbow in the stem, that will have a couple leaves on it.

That's what you want to plant. Sometimes they will have roots starting when you catch them, sometimes they won't. This pot is full of organic soil, compost, and a bit of perlite to keep the soil mix light and easier to lift and to help drainage. I use perlite or vermiculite in all my pots to make them lighter, and as I switch out pots, dump that soil mix into my raised beds to make up for erosion and also to help keep the soil in my beds from getting too compacted.


This is a node with some roots starting.


Now what you want to do is anchor that node in the pot. In my beds, I've used small pebbles to do in the past, but for pots, I usually go with a hair pin. Easy, cheap and I always have a lot of them on hand. So if the node has roots, I'll dig a small hole and put it in then sweep some of the soil over them. Otherwise, I just pin the node in place.

This is what it looks like when it's done-



In a week, I'll check to see how they are doing. The one that had roots already should be ready to cut the runner at that point. The rest may or may not be. If it looks like there is a fair amount of growth- and they do grow fairly fast once they are rooted, I'll cut all the runners. 

In the spring, feed the pots, or pot up to a bigger pot if you think the soil is exhausted and watch your strawberries grow! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Infinity mandala to color

Infinity mandala to color


One of the canonical tenets of Vulcan philosophy in the original Star Trek series is IDIC- Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations. In the series, this represented by a medallion designed by Gene Roddenberry that his company offered for sale. Read more here- Memory Alpha- IDIC

I used that basic concept as the inspiration for this mandala of two interlinked infinity symbols framed by twists which reinforce that, a star, and the rays design. I like the idea that no two colorists are going to use the exact same colors, that there are so many ways to color this in and so many different visions and ideas for the best colors to use on any coloring page. That there is no one right way, but rather, as many right ways as there are colorists. It appeals to the hippie in me, that there are so many things that are right for individuals and that it doesn't have to be done the same way for everyone.

So click the images below to for large versions of this infinity mandala to color! I hope you enjoy it.

Small jpg version:
Double infinity mandala to color- available in jpg and transparent png formats

Large transparent png version:
Double infinity mandala to color- available in jpg and transparent png formats


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

International Can-It Forward Day 2016!!!!

Ball Brand Can-It Forward Day 2016
It's that time of the year again! When our gardens and the U-Pick-Its are starting to really produce. When it's time to start canning! When Ball® brand has there International Can-It Forward Event with lots of opportunities to learn and win  Ball® products!

So a little personal history before I start reviewing and talking about the AMAZING jam my daughter made...

I canned as a kid with my mom, and when I was invited to be a part of International Can-It-Forward, used the opportunity to teach my daughter to can. Since then, we have not bought any jams or jellies. That's one way I canned it forward- by learning from my mother and teaching my daughter.

This year, my garden had enough excess from my perennials that I was able to give plants to my friends to grow their own berries and rhubarb. That's another way to Can-It Forward- by sharing plants that you know are good producers with friends who like to can.

My daughter and I can a lot of jams and jellies and give them to friends and local charities. That's another way to Can-It Forward. Friends from hotter states see my raspberries and get excited knowing they will get some of the amazing jam made from it.

You can also teach people to can, give them a basic supply kit to start in small scale canning. That's another great way to Can-It Forward.

You can take the pledge here to learn about canning and share the love of canning and learn what Ball® brand is doing for charities in the spirit of Can-It Forward. You will also get a 5.00 off coupon for the Fresh Preserving Store for taking the pledge!

#canitforward Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

This year, the fine people at  Ball® brand sent me their new cookbook, The All New Book of Canning and Preserving, a case of those gorgeous blue wide mouth jars you see in the background of this photo and a $5.00 off coupon for the Fresh Preserving Store and will give the same thing to one of my lucky readers in the U.S.A.!!  Leave a comment to enter and we will pick a name at random to win on the 24th! Shipping will be directly from the prize supplier, and I'll need a way to contact the winner to get the information- email, FB page or Twitter account. 

So the book? We went through the recipes and there are a lot we are planning to try. My son is particularly enthused about the Fiery Fermented Hot Sauce recipe that uses habanero peppers. I like the idea of making my own Worcestershire sauce because we use it a lot. But it's the jellies and jams that we always look at first. We made the Strawberry-Rhubarb jam on page 30. There are soup recipes, instructions for making kombucha and other fermented goodness, sauces, seasoning mixes and all sorts of other yumminess that makes fantastic gifts or ways to save money and provide good food for your family and friends. 

Just as an aside, a couple weeks I commented on a photo on Ball Canning on Facebook  that I can never grow enough strawberries to can my own. A lot of people liked the comment so apparently I'm not the only one! We bought strawberries, but rhubarb, that amazing plant, we have plenty of that. So we chose between this and a rhubarb-orange marmalade. 

The jam is fantastic!! If you like Strawberry-rhubarb pie, you'll love this jam. It's like having dessert for breakfast. As soon as the photo above was taken, my daughter grabbed the English muffin. I think her face says it all. 
#canitforward - Eating a muffin with strawberry-rhubarb jam

The book is full of great recipes that are clearly written with the steps written out very well for beginners. Like any of the Ball® publications, it has photo step by steps for canning methods.

If your a more visual learner, be sure to tune in on the Ball Canning Facebook page on Friday July 22nd for videos from 10:00AM – 3:30PM ET. Each hour, viewers will have the chance to win a giveaway prize!

During those hours, there will also be experts answering questions on their Twitter page- @BallCanning  #canitforward

You can also post things on Pinterest and Instagram using #canitforward and check out their Pinterest page here- Ball® Canning on Pinterest, BallCanning on Instagram.

Ooh..  I just opened this book at random and found a recipe for Summer Bounty Zucchini Relish that looks fantastic. I need to check my garden and see how my zucchini is doing.

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