MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- 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.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

End of the Year 2018

It has been since ten months that I am away from this blog. It is because I now have a baby, well she has already grown to an eighteen month old toddler. It was easier to do some blogging when she was really young but I am finding that babies really become much more demanding as they grow up :-). My blogging and other free time flew out of the window as soon as she crossed one year of age.

Here she is busy inspecting the porch Christmas tree

Here she, with her father, is accepting gift from Santa 
It has been a disastrous year in terms of gardening. I did not get any time to go out to the garden as I was busy with my full-time work, household work and motherhood work. Also, it was one of the wettest year in the history of NJ. Until September, the state received 32 percent above normal rain.

So, our garden grew so wild that in October we needed to call out landscaping company and shell out twenty-five hundred dollar to just clear out all the overgrown plants, weeds and mowing the knee-high grass.

But, I have lots of plans for the year 2019. She will be a two year old lady in June, and I am hoping that she will develop interest in nature and gardening, and that will help me in gardening What do you think? What does your experience say -- will I be able to devote lots of time in gardening with a toddler and at the same time have my full time and other jobs?

Some of the plans are already under way. Our garden is very uneven and slopy, with ups and downs. So, we already built a leveled patio. We also built a beautiful raised bed.

This is what the area looked before 
This is how the area looks now with a brand-new patio

This is how the side area looked like
A portion of the side area now has this beautiful raised bed

Still lots of work left -- more raised beds on other sides, arbor for grapes, cleaning of leaves and pruning. I have some trees by the side and front of the new patio. Since the patio is made of bricks, I am thinking of creating some kind of structure around the base of the tree, a brick circle with stones as mulch, as shown in the picture below:

Much of our lawn got stripped off in the process of building all these structures. So, instead of laying down a lawn, I am going to plant in creeping thyme, sage and oregano and lay down a path in between.

A big play area for the toddler was also created. On it will go tree-house and swings and playing sets for the toddler. By its side will be grown kid's flower garden and kid's vegetable garden.

We truly have an ever-evolving garden. Since we moved into this house in 2009, our garden has gone from bare green lawn to wilderness area, from tiny raised bed and vegetable garden to big raised beds and fruits, herbs, flowers and vegetable garden, from really used and nice self-built greenhouse (which even produced during winter but got destroyed during hurricane Sandy) to a broken greenhouse. Now, it is slowly turning into a matured, family-friendly but also at the same wilderness-friendly garden.

So, to all of my garden friends, I wish all of you Happy Gardening in 2019 and to all of us, many, many years of good health and happy gardening. May the New Year of 2019 brings lots of good vibes and harmony and peace in both your life and your garden. A Very Happy New Year to all of you.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

An epic battle has started; the battle between spring and winter. As spring peeks from around the corner, winter jumps back into the arena with mighty force.

A bright blue spring sky with temperature in fifties. 

On such spring days, I see the squirrels clambering up and down the trees, licking, sucking and tugging at the bark. Do they eat bark? Or are they eating something that's there on the bark? Anyone knows? 

Strong gusty wind and blankets of white snows are the weapons she employs first, followed by icy rain and sleets.

A Caroline Wren (or just a wren) enjoying the winter. It is a gorgeous bird with a upright, pointy tail, round body and sharp beak. It loves suet, and prefers it over black sunflower seed. 

What Mother Earth takes thousands of years to create, feisty Winter creates the Stalactites by the sides of houses, on tree trunks in a matter of minute.

The sparkling diamonds are actually smaller sized stalactites on the branches. 
More Stalactites by the side of the house. 

Spring loses; winter wins, and the birds gather around feeders to survive the winter.

European Sterlings on the suet-feeder. Many people are opposed to feeding these birds as they are not native. I cannot control who comes to my feeders, and I do not mind these birds. It was not their fault that they got introduced into this country. They also need to eat and survive. But, when this flock comes to a feeder, they finish everything within a matter of minutes. 

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Rambling WoodsSt Germain's , and My Views of NZ.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Is Spring Around The Corner?

The weather has become mellow, in the past one week, with temperature rising above 40 or 50 degree Fahrenheit in the morning. All the snows have melted, and green grasses peeking out from here and there. Squirrels are chasing across each other up and down the trees. I see them do that every spring. I guess that is how they find their mates. Birds are singing out loudly. And, I have started planting in seeds or ordering out plants. That's what happening in the nook of my world.

Here is a red-bellied woodpecker pecking out food that I leave around:

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Rambling WoodsSt Germain's , and My Views of NZ.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Weekend Journal

I am participating in Weekend Journal of Art hosted by St. Germain's.

This was a picture drawn and painted by me when I was very young. Thus, you see what I call "youngish" or "childish" theme -- village, church, school, house, etc. I think children/younger people start by drawing such familiar things/concepts, and thus I call them such.

Sorry about the reflection of our book-shelf into the picture. Though lights were off but still the reflection came. Now, I could have taken down the picture, and take it somewhere to photograph. But, I have injured my wrist and thus avoiding any extra work as much as possible.

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 .