MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie

http://www.flickspire.com/m/HealthierL433/NaturesInspiration -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Monday, January 8, 2018

An Unusual Vegetable Plant And A Big Thank You

Do you know of an animal that is indestructible? Neither space, nor radiation, atomic blast, high pressure or temperature as low as minus 325 degree Fahrenheit can kill it? If you don't know about it, then learn about such an animal -- Tardigrades -- here. I think I have a similar plant which is nutritious, beneficial and can be thus eaten. It's almost indestructible unless of course one burns it down or put it outside in freezing temperature. It is called Longevity Spinach, Gynura Procumbens.

House Plant: The plant has reddish stem, and big dark-green oval leaves. It can be grown in a small pot (and of course in a big pot or in ground). It can be grown as a tree (with hard-stem), or as a vine (if you let it grow and don't chop it off), and as a shrub (if you trim it and also grow side-shoots). It can also be grown in a hanging-basket. As the leaves mature, the underside of the leaves become rich burgundy in color. Thus, it can be grown as just a house-plant if you don't want to eat it. It can be grown in both sun and real-shade. In fact, the leaves taste better if grown in shade.


Food: It's name give out its real importance -- it is an extremely beneficial plant for our health. The plant is originally from China and South-east Asia. It can also be found in certain regions of Africa. Natural doctors (folk-medicine) in both Asia and Africa have long used this plant as cure against many diseases. It has high anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic properties, and contains many beneficial alkaloid and steroids. Modern medicine has found it to lower blood-pressure, blood-cholesterol, blood-fat and blood-sugar.

How to eat it: It can be eaten both raw and cooked. It has a very nice fragrance but of course one needs to like that fragrance (much like how some people like the fragrance of Cilantro; others hate it and like that of Parsley). I chop off the leaves and tender stems in manageable pieces and saute them with garlic and salt (just like 1-2 minutes on low-medium heat) and eat. One can put fish or meat in the saute; or put the leaves in soup/stew.
Propagate: To prepare the dish, I cut down branches as shown in the picture above. Those stems that are not tender, I put them either in soil directly or in water. And, voila! after about ten days, they start growing roots and leaves. Here I have put them in water (as I am experimenting) but most of them time, I do not put them in water. Just put them in soil; they do not need any rooting hormone or anything. They will just grow and become another tree/vine/plant/shrub, depending on how you are trimming them. That's why I called it AN INDESTRUCTIBLE PLANT.







A BIG THANK YOU to all of you who wished good luck for my fur-baby. He literally gave us a heart-attack with extreme drooling and complete loss of balance. We thought he had a stroke; or brain tumor, which we were not aware of, suddenly ruptured, and we would lose him. But, luckily (may he live for another twenty more years, fingers-crossed, wood touched) it was just vestibular infection or in layman tongue -- middle ear infection. He is on medication and recovering.


I'm joining in the memes hosted by Rambling WoodsSt Germain's .

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year. I woke up to a white Christmas, my favorite. But, my four-legged baby has been having some emergencies since Friday, and thus it has not been a good Christmas for me. Here are some white Christmas scenes and sky from our backyard.

Snow..snow..everywhere


A Cold Morning


Sun is rising on the morning of December 25, 2017


And, it has risen some more


The Minion came to my garden to wish you all Feliz Navidad :-)

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Year of the Bird

National Audobon Society along with National Geographic, Cornell's Lab of Ornithology and others have declared 2018 "The Year of the Bird" to mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. You can find more about the treaty here. You can sign up for the centennial celebration here.



Every year more than 50 billion birds migrate from one place to another all over the world. During this worldwide phenomena, they face many problems -- they are shot dead for food, plumes, feather and trophy hunting; their food and water sources are dwindling due to habitat loss; electrocuted by properly constructed electric lines; collide into skyscrapers or other such taller structures; get affected by EM radiation by TV, Radio and Cellphone towers (as birds depend on the magnetic fields for migration) -- and many other such hazards. However, the biggest threat is loss of food and water. For example, 80% of the US yards (whether home or office) have non-native plants, and such plants cannot provide any food for the migratory birds. You can find the native plants for your yard (based on your zip-code) here.


I tried and found out that there are seventy-three native trees, evergreens, grasses and plants that I can have in my garden. Out of those 73, I already have twenty-eight of them. My garden is small, and thus I will not be able to plant any of the trees :-(. Some of my native plants in my garden, and some of my friends who visit my garden are as shown below:

Joe-Pye Weed (native) along with Hollyhock and Tansy


Rudbeckia (native)


Milkweed (native) with Monarch


Coneflower (native) with  Swallowtail


Native Sunflower


Coneflower (native)


Native Sunflower with Grayfeather (native)


Chipmunk
Finch or Sparrow
Hummingbird!!


Male Cardinal doing peek-a-boo
Female Cardinal
Chickadee
Here is a list of native plants that one can plant in a North-East American garden. This is just a small selection as most of the native trees are excluded. Only plants which one can easily find, and which can be easily grown in a home-garden are included: Allegheny Service-Berry (Amelanchier laevis), Alternate-Leaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), American Hazelnut (Corylus americana), American Mountain-Ash (Sorbus americana), American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), American Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Anise-Scented Goldenrod (Solidago odora), Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis), Black-Eyed-Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Canadian Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), Canadian Lily (Lilium canadense), Canadian Service-Berry (Amelanchier canadensis), Cardinal-Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana), Coastal-Plain Trumpetweed (Eutrochium dubium), Cock-Spur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli), Common Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Common Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Dense Gayfeather (Liatris spicata), Downy Service-Berry (Amelanchier arborea), Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), Eastern Red-Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus), Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus), Farewell-Summer (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum), Frost Grape (Vitis vulpina), Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa), Gray Goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis), Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), Hard-Leaf Flat-Top-Goldenrod (Solidago rigida), Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), King's-Cureall (Oenothera biennis), Late Purple American-Aster (Symphyotrichum patens), Little False Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Nanny-Berry (Viburnum lentago), Narrow-Leaf Fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium), New England American-Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), Northern Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida), Oswego-Tea (Monarda fistulosa), Pink Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides), Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida), Possumhaw (Viburnum nudum), Pussy Willow (Salix discolor), Red Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa), Red Spruce (Picea rubens), Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), Short-Leaf Pine (Pinus echinata), Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa), Smooth Arrow-Wood (Viburnum recognitum), Smooth Blue American-Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve), Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra), Southern Arrow-Wood (Viburnum dentatum), Spotted Crane's-Bill (Geranium maculatum), Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), Trumpet-Creeper (Campsis radicans), Trumpetweed (Eutrochium fistulosum), Virginia Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), Virginia-Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Winged Sumac (Rhus copallinum), Woodland, Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus), Wreath Goldenrod (Solidago caesia), Wrinkle-Leaf Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Eileen,  Rambling WoodsSt Germain's meme.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kabul's Peaceful Garden

I want a garden like this. Do you know many of our common garden flowers and vegetables like Roses, Onion, Garlic, Poppy, various nuts, etc, originally came from Central Asian countries like Afghanistan.

Monday, December 11, 2017

First snow of the year of 2017

It snowed on Saturday, December 9, and it was the first snow of the season. It came heavy, and snowed from around ten-thirty in the morning till about eleven in the night. Nothing is so pretty as the landscape covered by snow; nothing is as quite as a still winter morning; nothing is as enjoyable as seeing the snow fall, sitting with a hot drink and reflecting.

The Whole Backyard -- not a soul to see

One side of the backyard -- everything calm before the storm Benji

Another side of the backyard

Backyard -- trees huddling together for warmth :-)?

Rhododendron ice-cream cone, anyone?

The front-yard. Where is everyone? 
I am linking with St. Germain's All Season meme.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Weekend Journal Page on Art

St.Germain is holding a weekend journal page on Art. I can tell that she is a great artist by looking at her writings, photos, art-work, etc on her blog. I love anything beautiful, artistic, creative be that be a painting, literature, graphic-design, poem, garden-design, culinary-presentation, dress, nature, whatever.

I am an amateur artist, and love painting especially using oil and acrylic. That's why I undertook the project of painting rooms in our house, and enjoyed it thoroughly though it's such a back-breaking job. Being a novice, I am really apprehensive about participating. But, giving it a try since that might force me to visit other artists' blogs and enjoy their work.

Here is a sunflower that I painted using acryclic. I then put it inside a cheap frame bought from Wal-Mart. It now adorns the top of our kitchen cabinets along with some vases and one of my other painting (the left-side one).




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

No Escape

I cannot escape them no matter what sorts of bird-feeders I put up. There are lots of them in my neighborhood. They are cute and adorable but when they hog the feeders, birds cannot come near. According to one statistics, fifty percent of birds die during severe cold in the UK. I do not know about the USA statistics, but birds in our garden do need all the food that they can find to maintain their body temperature and survive. Here are some links -- Bird-Watcher Ireland and How Birds Cope in Winter by Audobon Society. So, I try to provide all sorts of feeders and hung in various parts of the garden. But, these tiny mammals are too clever.

This is what is happening in my garden now:





They come, eat to their content and leave the feeders to the birds. So, that's one good thing that they do not occupy the feeders for a long time. Also, they spread around lots of food as they eat, and that in turn helps all the birds that will feed only from ground, for example doves and juncos. The only feeder that is squirrel-proof is the one that I bought from Audobon. It has a cage outside; the openings are small -- perfect for birds' beaks; it also has a mechanism that the openings close down under weight of squirrels. And, here is a picture of that feeder. The only drawback is that it cannot hold that much seeds. You need to fill it up every two days.



I'm joining in the memes hosted by Eileen,  Rambling WoodsSt Germain's meme.