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Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 20, 09 at 14:15

First, feel free to comment on what I'm about to post, or take the conversation in any direction you want to go. As noted, it's winter and there's not a whole lot going on outside here, so I've been musing.

I am, like a fair number of people who take the time to ponder life, more than a little disenchanted with the commercialization of Christmas. I know - THAT was a 'duh' moment, huh? It's just that Christmas has become all about commitments to the gods of acquisition, instead of commitment to nurturing relationships with the most important in your life. It's become more about 'things', and making sure the right people get enough to keep them from thinking you're cheap. Sigh.

I'm sorry. I'm really here to tell you a story about two familial glimpses of the real Christmas spirit that made indelible impressions on my heart. They both occurred at our extended family gatherings, one about 5 years ago, the other last night.

Gathered at our home were my three children and their families, my brother and 3 sisters and their families, and my mom. Prolly about 25 people. The grandkids open their gifts first, and they open them one at a time so everyone can see what they are receiving and enjoy their excitement. After a couple of rounds of gift-opening, it was my oldest grandson's turn. Seven years old at the time, he was 3/4 of the way across the family room and sort of in the middle of the gathering. He had a long, fairly large package; I don't even remember what was in it, but he was standing and turned sideways to me, tearing the paper off as he held the package clenched between his knees. Suddenly he just stopped opening the gift. Still holding the wrapping paper in his hands, he squeezed it in his little hands and brought his fists to his chest in a display of excitement. Clutching the paper to his chest and slightly bent forward from the waist, you could easily see the little shudder that went through him as he turned his head toward me and said, "Grampa, my feelings are all filled up!"

I thought, "From the mouths of babes ....." and my eyes suddenly filled with tears as I realized a grandfather had been blessed with a glimpse directly into his grandson's heart. I'll never forget that moment (waxing nostalgic now, in fact) and as soon as I regained enough of my composure, I charged my daughter with the responsibility of never forgetting it either.

*

Last night, the family gathering was at my brother's home. I have a sister that is sort of the black sheep of the family for a variety of reasons, and she normally doesn't attend family gatherings. She and her husband have a special needs daughter, her stepdaughter, who has learning and emotional disorders that are noticeable, but not debilitating, and I can't help but feel in my heart that they are not patient enough with her. She was abused by a member of her father's family as a small child, and undoubtedly bears the scars of that, along with her other crosses. The family has very little income and they just manage to get by, so she is not used to things that aren't essential to daily living. She is the sweetest child, and you can't help but immediately want to wrap her in your arms and squeeze her tight.

Upon arriving at my brothers and realizing that my sister and family were there, we were heartsick that we hadn't come prepared with a gift for the daughter. Since we have a granddaughter slightly younger, my quick-thinking wife changed a name tag on one of many gifts that were intended for our granddaughter. A couple of others employed some similar strategy so she would have gifts to open.

As it worked out, our gift was the first she opened. It was something that most of us would consider a 'filler' gift - just 'something' the child could open ....... but not to little Skyler. The gift was nothing more than a small and inexpensive assortment of bath amenities that had been packaged for children - bubble bath and the like.

When she opened that first gift, emotions too many to count played across her face. It was like you handed her the most precious gift that anyone had ever seen. She clutched it to her chest in the same way my grandson had clutched the wrapping paper. She sniffed the fragrance coming from the package, looked at it again, and then hugged it, repeating that sequence over and over; then she offered it to everyone near for a sniff, so they could also appreciate the fragrance. She even asked her mom if she could take a bath .... now.

I looked at my wife, sitting at my side to see if she saw what I did. I was already teared up, but when I looked at her, she was crying, which moved me even more to know that I wasn't the only one that was affected by what we had just witnessed.

To behold such pure joy and excitement was, to me, another blessing I'll count among those I could never forget. As I sat there thinking about what I'd just seen, the realization that what seemed like an insignificant gift that had been destined to be just another of many given to a child who had been blessed with a mother and father able to provide her with every advantage, had somehow been transformed into something very, very special - something that brought Christmas to a precious child ...... isn't that a Christmas miracle?

Al


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Tears here!

WoW!!

What a wonderful story Al! Thanks for sharing that! Yes, a miracle indeed!


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Now THAT is the meaning of family at Christmas (with tears in my eyes). Thank you for sharing those stories with us. Let's hope there are more of those to come from others.
Merry Christmas, Al, you are a blessing to all of us here.
Bev


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter./ birthday

Bev,
If there are any more I will need to run out and get tissue!

Seriously Al, so touching! Thank you!

here's a birthday one...

My birthday is today, and as I was growing up my mom always made sure I had birthday paper on my presents. I had friends whos moms would just grab christmas paper, it was handy. I always felt sorry for them.

and despite how busy everyone was, we always had a party at grandmas house with the family, cake and ice cream.

That always meant alot to me.

Jojo


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Al, what a heartwarming story...I agree get out the Kleenex!
True meaning of Christmas, kids always seem to be at the top of that list! Thanks for sharing that wonderful and heartfelt story with us.

Jojo, Happy Birthday!!


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 20, 09 at 18:57

I'm glad you let us know it was your birthday, Jojo! Happy birthday! and many happy returns of the day! ... glad you guys enjoyed the stories, too. I was shooting for something a little more on the uplifting side - even though I suspected it might elicit a tear or two from the softies. ;o)

Al


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Happy birthday, JoJo. Both of my sons are December birthdays-18th and 29th. It was difficult sometimes while they were growing up but we managed.
Happy Holidays to everyone.
Bev


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 20, 09 at 19:41

First and foremost... Happy Birthday, JoJo! I hope your day is filled with everything that makes your heart sing and your face light up with joy!

Second... maybe it's due to menopause, or maybe it's your writing style... I don't know... but, Al, you sure know how to touch a person's heart! Tears here, too! In the midst of all the Season has become, it's extremely nice to know that the true meanings are alive and well, and some are living in Michigan! :-)

I say those same things every year... especially since it seems earlier every year that the commercialism begins! We barely say goodbye to one Holiday, and another replaces it in every retail venue around! It's sickening, really.

The greed in mankind's heart... it's everywhere you look. It's impossibly pitiful. I was just saying in another thread that we've become such a capitalistic, materialistic, shallow, disposable, consumer driven society... where is our love and compassion, where are our priorities?

My family has always lived a rather poor lifestyle... poor, as in very little income... but we've always been so rich in family, true friends, real love, and sharing. We're really very fortunate... and we always try to share what we have.

Very good post, Al... sincerely, thank you.

In today's stress filled, fast paced world, I hope everyone here finds a moment to reflect on what this Season really means... and I hope everyone experiences the real joy of the Holidays. From my family to all of yours, the Best of the Season... and many, many Blessings.

I may be a toughie in some respects, but Al just found my soft side... ;-)


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Hello Everyone!

First of all... Thank you all for the warm wishes!!!

So sweet of you all and makes me feel so welcome here!

Bev~ Happy birthday to your boys! Nice to hear of other Dec. babies. :)

Puglvr~ So good to see you over here too! :) Mike sent me to this forum and so glad he did.! How are the sedums? Good I hope!! :)

Al~ it is a very uplifting story inbetween the tears..;)

Jodik~ I hear you on the comercial nonsense!!

One thing I do to sort of rebel is not buy Holiday items until we are actually in the month of the Holiday!! like you it drives me nuts to see it out so early!!!

One thing my family has always done and we still do, is recycle old christmas cards.. save scraps of paper.. and have a crafting party to make gift tags and cards!

The kids, (big ;) and small) love it!
They learn the importance of homemade and to respect mother earth at the same time!

We also make ornaments, and goodies for people on our list we think are special, like the girls at the bank, our hair dresser and such!

I have a whole room dedicated to crafting.
Well, did, its being remodeled right now and when its done the crafts will have to share with my succulents! LOL!!

I've had a great day and you all made it so much more special!

Thank you!!!

JoJo


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I too am a softie.....I was up to only reading one thread tonight, and this one my friend was a special one..

Thankyou Al and a merry night to all of you!

Mike..:-)


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My husband and son could learn a thing or two from my mom when it comes to birthday wraping paper! lol!

guess what I just got wraped in christmas paper! lol

JoJo


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Al, I have read many of your threads in the past few months since I joined this forum and I confess that I had you pegged as a sort of cold fish but I see that I missjudged you. You're just an old softie and thus more likeable than my first impression. I admit to being one too. As I have aged I find my emotions coming closer to the surface and tears flow more freely than ever they did in my youth. Your story was very appropriate for this season or any season for that matter.

I am reminded of Thanksgiving last year, I took my two children, both grown up to Portland OR, to visit my sister and her seven children also all grown. They had never seen some of their cousins. The house was filled with all the cousins and their own children and I just sat in the middle of it and grinned. My feelings were filled up. It is the love of family and friends that is most important in our lives. Best to all out there. Jack


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 21, 09 at 9:41

Thanks, Mike. Thanks, Jack - for the second chance. I appreciate it. I might seem hard on some people at certain times, but if you get to know me, you'll at least come to see that I'm generous with my time and my affection for my friends (and of course family) Oh - (and of course the pets). ;o)

Al


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Jojo, so far so good. Have them planted in Al's mix,lol...its pretty! BTW, love your pics of your doggies and kitties on the other thread!


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 21, 09 at 23:21

...... there WAS that 'other' sorta personal issue I posted about last year that never really got resolved. I'm not sure if I should lay myself bare and risk being redundant (like THAT's an issue, huh?) if I post it again, or just live with it. What do you think? - enough new blood around here that I might get some suggestions from them?

Al


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You should definitely get their opinion, Al.
It's a personal issue, sure, but we're a close community...

Josh


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Go for it!! I am with Josh on this...

Mike


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 22, 09 at 9:05

OK - so here goes.

A few of you might have read this before, or on another forum. For those who might have - I hope you'll forgive the repeat, but I still haven't received any advice I think I can use. I'm at my wit's end & really need your help. I'll give you a little background first.

Sigh! I need to get this off my chest:
Lately, my wife has been working more than a few extra evening shifts, and for the past couple months has been car pooling with one of her male co-workers. At first I didn't mind at all, I would rather have someone for her to ride with - in case she has car trouble or something like that, but it seems that they have become a little bit more than just casual friends. You can probably guess the scenario, the phone calls that hang up when I answer, suddenly starting to wear extra-nice clothes and make-up that's 'just so' when she goes to work, talking about 'him' all the time, etc.

I didn't know what to think. If I was out in the garage when she got home (usually after midnight - I'm something of a night owl), he would just drop her off and leave, but if the lights were off in the garage and I was in the house (they thought I was sleeping, I bet) they would sit out in the car, often for twenty minutes or more. I asked her once what they were doing out there, and she said "just talking, you know .... whatever." What does THAT mean, for crying out loud?

So! Last night I decide that I'm going to see what really goes on out there when she gets home. I leave the garage door open, but turn out all the lights. Just before the time she usually gets home, I go out and hide in the garage and wait. I have some plant racks on wheels that I move in and out of the garage every night at this time of year, so I hid next to those. In a few minutes, his car pulls into my driveway. When his headlights shine into the garage it illuminates almost everything but me. When that happens, I'm forced to look at something I never thought I'd see, something I'd never have imagined would happen to me, something so bad it's really hard to talk about (another sigh). It looks like the little Ficus bonsai I've been nurturing for years has scale. Which do you think I should use - horticultural oil or a good systemic insecticide?

Al


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 22, 09 at 9:59

Dear Al, my heart goes out to you... I can only imagine what you must be going through... what a heartbreaking thing to discover... if it were me, I'd use both in an attempt to eradicate the pests as quickly as possible. ;-)


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 22, 09 at 10:13

Thank you soo much, Jodi. I've just been soooo torn!

Al


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Use both.........!


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RE: You could use both.

You could use both......!


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Hmmm, Al. You have given me helpful advice in the past and have been a huge resource of information for many of us. I won't claim to be an expert but this certainly sounds like a difficult and painful situation.

Seems to me one needs to look at the basics of this particular ficus, just as one does with any living organism. It sounds as though the problem is not just the pest, there is an underlying need that this bonsai has that you aren't meeting despite all the nurturing you do. What does the support or soil or medium consist of? This may seem unscientific but have you tried communicating with this special tree?

I think one needs to be exceedingly careful when utilizing pest eradication methods- sometimes they have unintended side effects. How long have you been nurturing this ficus,and are you willing to chance losing it if the systemic/oil combo is too harsh? Are the methods you have been using to sustain this bonsai actually working? Did you make too deep a cut at some point? (put a wire where it shouldn't have gone?) Have you unknowingly been neglecting the interests of the tree and only focusing on your own?

Anyway, I appreciated the sweetness of your Christmas stories. It sounds as though your wife was crying at the gift giving the other night. She must be a compassionate, caring and complex person. I think you need to determine what you want from this relationship and talk to her to find out what SHE wants. These things are rarely simple or one-sided. Try to deal with this organically before pulling out the "big guns".

All the best to you Al- you are a good man.
Sally


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 23, 09 at 9:39

Thanks, Sally - for the advice that helps alot, and for your kindness. ;o)

Al


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Al, you actually had me going for a few minutes. I probably read too many advice columns.

Here is a Christmas story about what happens when we raise little children to be as serious as we are....

I have a beautiful little two year old niece, Madeleine. My brother, her father, is a Boston police officer, and is super serious about everything being in its place and nice things being for special occasions, etc.

For Christmas, I bought Madeleine a cherry red wool coat. It is one of those full-skirted wool coats with black velvet cuffs and collars, and little black bows down the front, that you expect to see in Miracle on 34th Street. I cried when I saw it. I bought it on the spot, like a good nostalgic auntie.

My mother suggested that I present it to her the other day, so it would stick in her mind as a present from Auntie, and not get lost in the shuffle on Christmas morning.

I told her I got her a special red princess coat. I unwrapped it, everyone oohed, her eyes got huge; 'AUNTIE, I WANT it!!!' We asked her if she wanted to try it on... 'No, no, no,' she cried, grabbing for the hanger. 'I have to put it on the doorknob!' She took the coat, holding it high up to keep it off the ground, to every doorknob in the house, most of which had big red Christmas bows on them, crying 'I can't! I need help! I want a doorknob!' We finally found her an empty doorknob, and she hung the coat up and looked at me, all smiles.

I asked her 'Wow, who does that beautiful red princess coat belong to?'

She answered 'The doorknob, Auntie!'

Let this be a lesson to let children be children! Let them wear their nice things, so they don't think their good clothes belong to the doorknobs.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 23, 09 at 16:10

Lol - almost gotcha, hmm?

Your story was really cute, but sad at the same time.

I'm wondering if I should tell the true story of how my brother got his Indian name?

Al


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Oh NOOOO!

As long as it isn't Two Dogs Fighting...


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 23, 09 at 21:34

This story has traveled the world, and it is better told in person or on the phone, but if you promise to put your imagination to work in places, I'll do my best to do it justice in its writing. I swear on my life that it is true.

First, I don't have a politically correct bone in my body, and I think that 'Indian name' is better for the yarn than 'native American' name, so that's what I'm using.

A group of about 5 guys that hunted and fished together regularly, somehow came up with Indian names for each other that came into being as a result of some occurrence or combination of occurrences that happened while afield. For example, my son's Indian name was 'Two Deer Spook Me'. He got his Indian name because he fell backwards off the ladder he used to get into his deer stand when two small bucks appeared as he ascended - and subsequently rapidly descended.

I was saddled with my Indian name one day on a wild river while fishing for steelhead trout. About 2 miles downstream from camp. I began to experience some pretty severe abdominal distress. I found myself in sudden need of getting the waders that were nearly up to my neck, lower than another important body part that is a major player in times of this type of distress. I probably don't need to explain any further. Just knowing that my Indian name will forever be '_hits His Boots' probably allows you to fill in all the blanks and picture that awful day.

Ok - those were cute, but now to the story. I think 4 of the 5 of us were together, hunting on some vacant acreage I keep for that purpose near the Lake Huron shore the day my brother got his Indian name. I think it was opening day of the MI deer season, and as is our custom, all the guys had exited the woods after dark and were gathered at the front of the property. We were probably relating the day's experience and telling lies about how big the deer were, but I remember the hiss of the Coleman lantern and the shadows it cast.

There were two guests that day, so 6 people. One of the guests, Jim, the BIL of one of the regulars, had a severe stuttering problem, and the more excited he would become, the worse the stuttering. Now I said you had to help me out by using your imagination, so as I spin this story, you have to imagine the look on Jim's face and the escalation in his stuttering. I'll do my best here.

Everyone had told their story at least twice, and were prolly starting on the third go 'round as new embellishments were made up and added. My brother, nickname Fitz, Indian name 'Glove Finder' had noticed that Jim was only wearing one glove. FWIW, it was a cheapo brown jersey glove. My brother casually reached into his pocket and came up with an exact match to Jim's solo glove. He grinned a big grin and held it between his thumb and index finger, swinging it side to side like a hypnotist's watch as he asked, "Hey Jim, did you lose something!? I found it by the trail in (to the woods) this morning"

Jim fell completely apart. He laughed and coughed and wheezed as he tried to speak. He got "Oh my God" out ok, but the rest went something like this:

"I-I-I-I was ou-ou-ou-out in the wo-wo-wo-wo woods th-this m-m-mornin' an-an-and I ha-had-had to t-t-t-t-t-take a sh-sh-shi-_hit, and and and I di-didn't h-have a-anyth-th-thing t-to w-w-wipe my a-a-a$$ w-with, s-s-s-so-so I u-u-u-u-used my g-g-glove."

I don't know why, but he gets soooooo ticked at me if I tell that story when he's around. Oh - I actually abbreviated Jim's stuttering. It took him much longer to say it than it took to type even the condensed version.

Al


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OK BRAT
You sure got me!


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OH NOOO!!! EUW!!! Hahaha, oh that is awful!


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ROFLMBO!!!!!

Al,
Thank you for the wonderful stories! Too much fun!!!

Very much needed inbetween wraping gifts and taking breaks. :)

Blessings to you and your loved ones this season! And to all here!

JoJo


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 24, 09 at 12:25

I'm having Christmas dinner at Glove Finders house tomorrow. There'll be fresh meat there - i.e. his wife's extended family, who, I'm guessing have never heard the story before. With this thread so fresh in my mind, I'm sure it will be no big trick to remember to work the story into the after-dinner conversation. Evil, I know. So much for the Christmas Spirit, eh? ;o) .... hope he doesn't toss me out. Oh well - it'll be AFTER dinner anyway. Heh heh.

Al


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Oh My!

Al, you are too funny!! You remind me of my dad! LOL! He's used the term "fresh meat" when us girls were dating! Too funny!!

Go easy on them, and yes, just be sure to wait till after dinner and gifts in case you get booted out! LOL!

Have fun and be safe!

JoJo


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 25, 09 at 11:55

Oh YEAH! Well ....... how old is your dad? - THEN I'll tell you if I remind you of him!! Humpfh! ;o)

Thanks for the "Have fun & be safe". Have a Merry Christmas Day!

Al


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Um... Well Al, Daddy is in his mid 60's...:)

wasnt saying thought you were old... (well 60's isnt old. ;) ) just that your ornry like my dad. :)

I myself have used the phrase when there's a new person working the desk at the bowling ally..lol! were regulars and like to give them a little bit of a bad time. ;)

Well we had a wonderful day and now i'm tired.. LOL! Went to the inlaws.. 2 hr. drive, and saw patches of snow along the highway. That was enough to last me the next of winter.

Now hubby is trying to figure out Wii.. LOL...

I hope everyone had a wonderful day.

JoJo


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 28, 10 at 12:54

I thought of this thread from last year when I'd finished looking at and listening to the video a friend sent, and that you can view if you copy/paste the link at the end of my post. I know I'm, getting softer of heart as I get older, but I was literally moved to tears as I watched. It wasn't a tear that welled at the corner of my eye, and I wasn't wracked with sobs, but as I watched, a steady flow of eye dew had to be wiped away to keep it from ending up on the front of my sweat shirt. Even then, a few drops out-persisted my vigilance.

I suppose I can blame it on the combination of it being not only beautiful in its own right, but also restorative of the 'good in man' paradigm. In any case, I found it refreshing and moving - especially so, as we come into the Christmas season. I hope you enjoy the beauty of this classical piece and the unique setting as much as I.

Copy/paste to your browser window:

A Wonderful Moment in Life, is the title

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE

Al


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 30, 10 at 10:35

I wish I had the bandwidth to watch videos, but... four computers share this connection, so videos and clips are out of the question.

I just wanted to say that in our world, seemingly gone awry, there is still a lot of good left in humankind. Some can be witnessed right here, on GW...


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Okay, sorry for the late reply...Al redirected us here since his original thread(What better way to say...HI) has reached the Maximum of 150 posts(Al,something about your threads)are always doing that,lol..its because they are always so entertaining, attention grabber and loaded with useful and helpful information! Plus all the great photos that seems to just come naturally from so many people that post too.

Thanks for the nice comments on Max...Jojo, love your picture of your bloom!

Al, that is just simply amazing how you can get those birds to eat off your hand...truly a sight to see. Thanks for the amazing pictures.

Truly enjoyed everyone photos on this thread...such wonderful photographers and plants/flowers from our members.

Well, our winter has started early...almost a month sooner than last year. I was covering my Mango trees all day, but it may have been futile. It was 27 degreesthis morning and the the lawn and roofs are covered with frost **sigh** I feel like I live up North,lol...Time to grow Mango in pots exclusively!


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Good Morning!
HI Nancy! I'll trade you the flower for Max! LOL! Gosh, what a cuttie!
I hope your plants are O.K.!
We had a hard freeze around Thanksgiving. The 3rd coldest in the history of Tucson! got down to 19.
2 or 3 plants took a hit, but are starting to grow again, were back up into the 80's now and 40's for a low. Were all confused. lol.

Josh, so is your friends pug! I love the little guys. Huge hearts and personailty! Had one for a bit, but it was on the wild side and kept getting out and running streets, so found it a home with a fence. lol..

Jodi~
I like what you say about some of the good can be found here. :)
There's a handful of people here I consider dear.

Al~
That was a great video.. Thanks for sharring. :) Yes, tissues in order. lol..I too think i'm getting softer as I age. :) Most do.

I hope you all have a great day!
I'll try and be back later with a few pics. :)

JoJo


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 7, 10 at 13:19

It's not that I'm a pessimist, it's just that the world is so filled with greed and unnecessary war, and people who treat each other without care, without compassion... so much is in such turmoil... I think we have to look for the good in people if we're to keep our sanity! :-)

I know the news likes to sensationalize everything, and it's all for ratings and whatnot, but there seems to be two or more bad stories for every good one. You rarely hear about the good Samaritan, the everyday hero, the people who toil endlessly trying to help the world. It just seems so... so futile... so depressing at times.

And then I come here... and I know, without a doubt, that there are people with good hearts, people who care. A few that belie that thought, perhaps... but for the most part, good people. And it's a ray of hope, of sunshine, in an otherwise bleak looking world.

Maybe I should stop reading the news for a while! ;-)

But seriously, folks...

I wish I had some new pictures to share... but I'd be embarrassed to show my disheveled and dusty indoor gardens at the moment! I neglected them all summer, and now I'm trying to clean and re-pot everything, get it all organized. It's a real mess right now!

On a good note, I have some things growing new leaves that I thought were actually on their way out... a pot of tiny Habranthes bulbs that I wasn't sure would make it, for one. I see tiny, thin grass-like leaves coming up... a good sign! And my beautiful Hippeastrum "Mrs. Garfield", with her unique variegation, is pushing up new leaves.

Once I get a bit more organized, I'll try to snap a few photos... anything to share some green during the cold and otherwise dormant winter!

Y'all have a nice day! :-)


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In Addition...

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 7, 10 at 14:02

I completely forgot to note the photos I missed on the other thread! So, here goes...

I was completely blown away by the picture of the Christmas Cactus in the ferocious cat pot! Wow! It's a striking contrast that really makes both plant and pot absolutely pop! Fantastic combination!

And the doggie photos... awww! I love them all! You guys and gals have such cute little pals! :-)

And then there are the bird in hand pictures... most awesome, Al!

Thank you to everyone who shared... and if I'm forgetting anything or anyone... I'm truly sorry! My memory is so poor it doesn't hold from one thread to the next! ;-)

That was a great thread... I'm only sorry that it's filled to capacity, and that it takes so long to load. It's really one for the history books, though. I know I'll have to return to it to see all those beauteous pictures again... and again... and again...

Well... lots to do... Happy Indoor Gardening?! :-)


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 10, 10 at 17:15

I'll leave a link to the thread Jodi was talking about at the end of my post, in case anyone comes along later and wants to go see it.

For now, here's a few more new pics:

Chickadees are only sometimes patient. They usually wait their turn to come to the hand, which is why you only see one bird at a time. Often, though, if the bird on the hand seems to be taking too long, another bird will fly directly at it to frighten it off the seeds so the interloper can take it's place. What you DON'T see, are the dozens of birds perched on my shoulders, hat, even on the camera straps while I'm taking pictures of other birds. I have an interesting theme involving a prop I want to try to capture this weekend. We'll see how that goes - hopefully the weather will cooperate.

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Al


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

They're just beautiful!
Thanks so much for sharing these with us Al! I just love the birds. The 4th pic is my faviorite. ;-)
This spring my home and aviaries will have birds again, I can hardly wait!

And below is the link JodiK and Al refered to.
Some wonderful Pictures to enjoy on a cold day with a hot dirnk!
Stay warm everyone!

JoJo

Here is a link that might be useful: What better way to say


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Jojo, its a DEAL...the flower for Max,lol...I'll send him UPS next day air,lol...

Awesome pictures Al...its just SO amazing, those birds are sooo beautiful!


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Great shots, Al, and quite a talent you have there!

I've gotta try this with some of my local birds. I think I'll sit beneath the bird feeder
with some seed in hand (and hat), and see if it works.

Not so lovable, but Winter means turkeys 'round these parts. They come through in gangs of 20 to 40,
and they kick all the neat and tidy mulch piles apart. They're wary, too...

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Josh


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hello Everyone!
Nancy!
Make sure you bundle Max up good for the trip! LOL!
I'll get the flower boxed up. ;-)

Josh~
So the Turkeys were smart enough to wait till after Thanksgiving. ;-) That's alot of them! I could just imagine the fun they'd have in a mulch pile. I used to have chickens, and oh the fun they'd have when I pulled weeds and such, digging for bugs. :)

I would love to see if I can tame my little finches around here.
See what you started Al! ;-)

My son loves to grow sun flowers, we'll save you the seeds this summer. :-)
Here's one he grew.

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And here are a few of my birds I used to have...

Splash and Sissy...
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Sissy with her new baby.. only a few hours old..
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And same baby a few days old...
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And here's one more winged beauty.. A silk moth..
It litterly filled my hands!
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Al~
Can't wait to see what you come up with next! Looking forward to more pics!

Take care everyone, and stay warm!
JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Oh, JoJo, let me tell you how tempted I was to take a Thanksgiving bird! ;)
A couple years back, a buddy and I were out in the woods and we almost got a turkey
with out slings (David and Goliath style). So close!

Did the baby bird survive?

Josh


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

David and Goliath style! ROFL!!
I bet you were tempted. lol..

That must be quite the sight to have them roam through your yard!

The only wild Turkey around here is a several hour drive.

Yes, The baby did survive! :-)
I used to hand feed them! That's why it's in Mike's hand, it just ate. :-)

My home had to go through a major remodel almost 2 yrs. ago. Leaky roof and such.. So I sold everyone to make it easier on us all. Paint fumes are not good for the birds or the noise of saws and such.

So come spring, I'm going bird shopping. Their new room will be ready by then.

Their dad talked and his favorite pharse was "Whatcah doin?"
And if I asked him where Sissy was, he'd run to the nest box , look in and wolf wistle at her! lol..

He would also look in while she was on eggs and ask "Whatcha doin?" we waited for her to just slap him one day, lol!

JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Josh, nice picture! I don't think I can catch my own Thanksgiving Turkey... that's what Costco and Safeway are for,lol...

Jojo, Cute birds...I too used to have Cockaties and raised the babies, hand fed them with syringe as well. Lol...that's a cute story about him going in the nest box while sitting on her eggs and asking 'whatcha doing'...I certainly would have slapped him too if I was Sissy :o)...Too funny!


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 12, 10 at 9:00

Great photos, everyone!

Josh, those turkeys look delicious! ;-) But seriously... we've often hunted wild turkey in the past, and our favorite way to prepare them is in one of those large propane oil fryers. Crispy outside... deliciously moist and tender inside! We've always been hunters and wild game enthusiasts.

Al, it must take the patience of a gardener to have those little guys come in and feel comfortable enough to eat out of your hand while you're taking pictures. They're so cute!

JoJo, I'm a bird lover from way back... but I had to sell my collection when we bought our first new semi and hit the road for weeks at a time. That was long ago. I had an African Grey, a Cocketiel, a Peach-faced Lovebird, and a pair of little Finches that reproduced surprisingly well! The larger birds talked up a storm!

Birds are notoriously messy and noisy, and we ended up making an extra bedroom into "The Bird Room"... so we could close the door on the occasional noise-fests, and maintain our sanity! As I recall, the carpet was shag... a nightmare for vacuuming bird seed!

As we get older, just having the two dogs is more than enough! And Maia, the female, runs me ragged as it is! She has so much energy and never seems to tire! We're hoping she calms a little with maturity. Her mother, Emma, was so calm and relaxed... but Maia, apparently, took after her father, who never sits still!

Anyway... excellent photos... and a very nice continuation of the other thread!

Happy Holidays, everyone! :-)


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

I must say, between all this nice reading and pictures, now I want to restart my bird hobby and take a walk in the wood once the nice weather starts again!

I can't beleive that you can actually get not just your odinary birds such as pigeons to land on you like that.They are so beautiful and to think they even land on your hat and shoulders? Wow.

Do they have a pretty sound? Or do they sound like a bunch of sparrows heading south...They look like some kind of my finches that made beautiful song..
Al, your fingers look frozen...Ouch

Great photo's everyone..I sure look forward to seeing more since there really isn't much to do these days on the puter except for shop...Not good..This thread will be agreat deterence to occupy my time..lol

Jojo. You almost got away without a BIRTHDAY wish..lol..You are a year younger again..:-))))

Mike


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 12, 10 at 14:35

Hi, guys. The birds are lotsa fun, but I won't make them contend with me in the storm we're having ..... prolly decidedly bad for the camera, too. ;o) Other than running out on a regular basis to clear another 2-3" of snow off the drive, I'm holed up for the day. The first shoveling was 3" of slush off a driveway about the size of a tennis court. THAT was a chore! It was too heavy/wet to use a snow blower on. At least now that that's cleared, the remaining snow that falls seems light enough that I CAN use a snow blower if I want to. ;o) Good timing though. I needed to water the stuff over-wintering in the garage, but the snow I tossed in the containers took care of that nicely.

I hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday.

Al


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Warm and sunny here, Al! ;)

Hey, Mike, I'm glad you're able to enjoy the pics!
It's such a bummer when I know you can read but can't see the images in these Threads.
JoJo!?! It's your birthday?! Well, Happy Birthday! I hope we didn't miss it!

The cats are sleeping in the yard....one on the woodpile, and another out beneath the bird-feeder....
dreaming, no doubt, of delicious feathered things ;)

I re-potted a Christmas Cactus and a large green Jade obliqua this morning,
then I cruised into town to pick up a big bag of Orchid Bark, a container for my Mom,
and a gardening gift certificate for my dear ol' Dad.

Clam Chowder and a grilled swiss sandwich for lunch - gotta keep my energy levels up!
Headin' back out into the yard in a few...

Josh


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Josh: Actually it's the 20th but I didn't want to forget to let her know I was thinking of it in case this thread drops off the page..Somehow I never saw it last year!

I love those little chicks by the way Jojo, and Josh, I don't know what it is, but the trees and everything in your yards looks so peaceful and different than here..I love it.Looks like moss loves growing where you are..So beautiful.

Mike..:-)


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RE: OOff Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Oh and one more thing!

Guess what I saw my neighbor doing today? I don't believe it..

He was putting bark into a plastic bag and banging the heck out of it with a hammer to make the sizes perfect for the gritty mix..
I guess I finally convinced him to use it since he asked me for some turface..He already had a bag of granite..Wow

I guess there are people we don't even realize that benefit from what we share outside of this thread, forum..:-)

Mike


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

I do believe you're right, Mike!

The moss is really enjoying the weather, too....everything is moist and green.
I see some new growth on the sweet Woodruff that I planted beneath one of my Holly bushes ;)

I just dragged some lichen-covered rocks out to one of my conifers...then I added pine needles
for mulch. As usual, I have more leaf-raking to do in the back yard.


Josh


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

I've been walking a lot lately, trying to stay in shape and exercise my heart in a smart way.
Anyhow, my walks are rather vigorous - I head to the tallest hill in this rural Lake community.
Up a steep road called Wanderer...and then even higher to Wayfarer Ct.

At the top of the hill, I always take a brief moment to admire this Gray Pine (Pinus sabiniana).
It's my favorite, and never fails to remind me of a wild-armed Octopus reaching for the Sun.

Two pics for you to enjoy. First, the Pine as I crest the hill; second, overlooking the Lake:

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Josh


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Hi Everyone!
I hope all is well and your keeping warm!

From the sounds of things, we all have birds in common. :-). not surprised, they just seem to go with gardens. :)
I have what used to be a spare bathroom, that we gutted and filled with bird cages. The sink came in real handy. :) Also knocked out part of a wall to make the room a little bigger. (while hubby was out of town. he he)
Boy was he surprised when he got back. ROFL!

Al, How are your little friends doing?

Nancy,
Sissy was a very patient bird. Lucky for Splash! LOL! They were alot of fun.

Josh,
Those tree's with the moss are awsome, and instead of Turkeys, I see Unicorns. ;-)
I love your most recent pics too! What a view, that lake is beautiful.
I really need to get out and walk more, haven't in awhile.
I always tell my family, if they run out of gift ideas, a garden Gift Certificate is the way to go..;-)

Oh, and thank you for the early Birthday wishes. ;-)
And you too Mike!

Mike~
It sounds like your neighbor is going about it the hard way, but great all the same! ;-)
My mom and friend (Carol)are going to give the mixes a try come spring. I'll be putting it together for them. I'm glad they finally decided to, I know they will be so much happier with their plants!

Jodi~ I just realized you mentioned having "Mrs. Garfield" I just love her.. and was recently telling a friend, she's too pretty for a name like that. Can't help but think of a fat orange cat. he he...
Please post a picture of her when she does bloom!

O.K.

A few pictures to share. :)

This is a tree topper I made, and all the pine cones were gathered by my grandfather and parents on their various camping trips. (This piece holds alot of sentiment!)

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Everyone enjoyed Christmas! ;-)

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JoJo


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Jojo!! That is such a nice piece you made out of them cones..Wow...

I think you would pay a hefty price at the store for something like that..My Mom loves it!
Of course she loves your dogs too..lol..
She has asked me to ask you to ship one up and she will give it a good home..
They are certainly spolied getting gifts from Santa although they have misbehaved...lol
Look at the one trying to get into the stocking..Way funny.

Jodi: I am looking forward to your pics no matter how long we have to wait..It gives me something to look forward to at the end of winter, or should I say then tunnel..

Josh: Absolutely amazing pictures man..You should start a National Geographic Book based on just your area..It is so different and full of character..Love it even if I don't see Palm tress..


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Hi Mike!
Thank you and Mom for the compliments. :) Alot of fond memories in those pine cones.

I love crafts of all kinds. I actually used to do craft fairs all the time. At the moment, we are putting together a new craft/plant room. :-)

Sorry, but I just don't have the heart to ship the pups. ;-).

The one with her head in the stocking (Bitsy/mamma dog) well, that's her stocking! They each get their own, and open their own gifts. :) No, their not spoiled. lol!

You guys have a great day and stay warm!
JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 17, 10 at 16:43

Great pictures, Josh!

That's quite a crew, JJ. I've been ignoring the birds due to the uncooperative weather and the busyness of the season, but I'll be back out in the yard playing with them soon.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend. We're hosting the extended family gathering here tomo night, so I'll be cooking most of the day. That's (the family gathering) where this thread's opening post came from. ;o) I wonder what pearls this year's will yield?

With Christmas so near, I'll offer my hope for all, that the count of your blessings outnumbers the lights on your tree.

Al


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Hi Everyone!

Al~ You should see what the crew does to all the paper after they open gifts! lol!

And they love cat nip, so we have to get exttas or the poor cat doesn't see his toys again. ;-)

Behave yourself tonight, at least till after the gifts. ;-)

"" the count of your blessings outnumbers the lights on your tree""
What a nice thing to say. :-) I've never heard this before.
I belive my blessings do outnumber the lights. :-)
And I hope the same for everyone!

Have a great weekend!
JoJo


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Cheers, friends!

Thank you, Al! And JoJo, what a happy household you have!
Those pups are very cute.

Josh


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Good evening, everyone!

Got the Christmas tree today, and I'm ready to hang the ornaments.
It's been raining like mad for two days now...but I went for my hill-walk once I had the chance.
Here's a glimpse from the top. Only drizzling at the time.

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And for Mike...here are a few palms for you to see! ;)
They grow here, but most folks don't care for their look in the landscape.
There are many more planted around the Lake, which I can photograph if you'd like ;)
When young and relatively tender, we put a wire cylinder around them and fill the cage
with loose straw for cold protection. Once the trunks are about a foot in diameter, they're
on their own.

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Josh


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Hi Josh!
Thanks, :-)
The pups are spoiled rotten! LOL!

Those pictures are beautiful!
We will get our tree up soon. Got the lights done today. ;-)

No rain here. Just the little bit the other day.

Take care everyone!
JoJo


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 20, 10 at 23:07

More good shots, Josh - very nice.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JoJo!!


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;-)
Thanks again Al~ :-)
I won't forget this. lol... ;-)

And a huge thanks for all your help over the past year. From me and my plants.

O.K...
Back to my tree, and decorating. :-)
JJ


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 22, 10 at 7:33

Wow, JoJo! I love that tree topper! You're quite the "craft artiste"!

I'm continually amazed at the things we have in common, girlfriend... crafting, wreath making, working with dried flora, flower arranging... these are all things I highly enjoy! One look at that tree topper, and I just know you like the same things! I think we are twins separated at birth, or something! ;-)

Your doggie photos are so sweet... I wish I could get Maia to hold still for a few seconds... I'd like to share pictures, too. She's not sure what to make of the camera, though, and every time I get it ready, she goes berserk! So much for nice pet photos!

Josh, those are lovely pictures... the lake and the general area you're in... just beautiful! And I know there are a couple of hardy palm varieties... very cool to see them growing in a colder region!

I also like that "octopus pine"... a perfect description, actually... that's what I see when I look at it!

I really need to walk the yard with the camera... get some winter shots to share. It's interesting to see green leaves with snow cover, rose buds that didn't get a chance to open before the cold hit, the lovely snow on the ground... if I remember, I'll take a walk tomorrow.

This is turning into another great thread! I can't wait for future additions!

Happy Holidays, Everyone!


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Josh: THANK YOU for thinking of me! You know I love your area and those palms..Always beautiful pics with you!

It feels good to spend this time with you guys considering I have been away for a while stuck in deep snow last night and not myself..Been very sick. Thought I was going to freeze to death last night in my stuck car!
Winds were blowing at 70 miles an hour with snow fall at a rate of 3 inches an hours..Horrible.
Been up since 330 am shoveling and cleaning and hauling all my plants in from the popup incase the roof collasped. This am I had to stick them all back inside since there was no way leaving them in my kitchen all over the place for another day.
Saw a lot of amazing growth on many plants and flowers on ones I didn't think had any.
My back is sore and my brain is dead. Ready for bed again, but just now stuck here at work.

Jojo and Jodik: Happy Holidays to you and I have something coming to you from mom. I will e-mail you later. It may take a bit since I haven't been able to catch on any of my e-mails since being sick.

Much love from all of us here and be safe.

Mike


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 27, 10 at 14:23

That's quite a story, Mike. I'm glad to see that you're ok, and hopefully none the worse for the wear. Mother Nature can really be a ......... ummm, a hag, when she wants to be, eh?

Take Care.

Al


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hey Al,

Love this post...love the stories, love the pictures!!!

Since This post is "off topic" I thought that I would share some of the recent christmas pics...we received 14 inches here at the beach!! We normally don't see stormslight this, so this was a very crazy blizzard for here in Va, Beach!!! Hope you like them..

Hi Mike..hope you are feeling better!!

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As you can tell...I love icicles!!

Stay warm everyone!!!

Laura in VB


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Glorious icicle pics, Laura!
Thank you!

Josh


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 29, 10 at 9:38

The palm trees covered in snow, with snow falling... the first photo... would make a wonderful Christmas card! How beautiful!

Thank you for sharing those pictures, Laura! Glorious is right!


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Really neat pics!!!

I was a country boy growing up. I went to a little red brick, one-room school that housed students K-8th. I think that's 9 grades in one room! I'll digress for a sec .... when I was 12 years old, I would carry my shotgun to school. I would hand it to the teacher, and she would put it in an unlocked closet until after school. The shells (ammo) would go in her unlocked desk drawer. When the last bell rang, I would grab my gun and the teacher would hand me the shells. I would exit the school, then hop the fence before I loaded up to start hunting on my mile walk home through the fields. Waiting to cross the fence really didn't have much to do with 'not loading the gun on school property'; it was just a common sense thing because crossing a fence with a loaded gun is dangerous. ;o) Times have changed, huh?

Anyway - I had started describing the school ...... it had a slate roof, and the way it was constructed, no heat could get to the eves, so the icicles would grow unbelievably fat and long, hanging off the slate. The eves were probably about 20 feet high, and those icicles would grow all the way to the ground, some of them HAD to have weighed more than 300 lbs. I have no idea why none of us were killed playing under them, because we were always breaking them off to watch them shatter on the ground. Today, I'm sure they would close the school .... and probably a few neighboring schools - just for good measure, until some sort of team or other came in and swatted them off before issuing the 'all-clear to return' edict in front of a raft of TV cameras and crew. Anyone else ever long for the simpler life?

Al


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Al: I sure do! I have an e-mail for you if I can find it.

Laura: UNBELEIVABLE! You do know I ahve a weakness for Palms, right?! lol
I can't beleive that you got that much snow. Wow.
What nice pictures and I will be asking you to grab me a baby one of those palms,lol. I would love to try one.
I LOVE the ice pictures too. What great shots. Some of your pictures belong on post cards..I still love your poolside pictures better though.lol

Good to see you again and the rest of my friends here! Happy almost New Year.

Anyone have any resolutuons yet> Promised to your selves?

My friend has been stocking up on the gritty mix ingredients to change all his new plants over by his birthdate...lol
Mine is to gain my six pack back and put up a greenhouse by May first and make a spot for all my Hoya's to hang from the roof of it.
Also to bribe Laura into getting me a baby palm like the ones pictured above.lol

Mike


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 29, 10 at 20:12

I've been very good! About 20 years ago, I made a resolution never to bother with New Year's resolutions, and I've stuck with it ever since.

Some humor from a very funny guy, Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens:

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~Mark Twain

Another:

New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive. ~Jay Leno

Al


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Hello Everyone...

Great quotes Al..LOL...Thanks for the great stories!!!

I do wonder when we all will return to the simpler things in life...with the electronics age, which can be a great thing for some and then terrible for others...I wonder what will happen to our grandchildren...

My kids are 24 and 21..I love them both dearly, and I am very proud of them. They are great kids, but this generation has lost out on some things that we have been taught long ago. Example...they don't even know how to write in cursive...that blows my mine...How do they write thank you notes after receiving a gift from someone? They print...Writing letters is a lost art, which makes me sad but times have changed so I have to keep up with the changes.

Do I wish for the simpler things in life? Absolutely!!!

I went out side to see how long my icicles were...They measured 4 feet one inch!!!

Mike..You are to funny!!! Glad you are feeling better!!!
We will see about some of the palm "babies" this summer!!!

Thank you Josh for the nice comments!!!

Jodik..Thank you very much as well...I did send out cards this year of my palms during the storm that we had this past Feb. I will show you this pic...but I am going to send this new pic of the snow falling on the trees next Christmas!!!
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Mike is this the pic that you like?

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Take care everyone...

Laura in VB


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 30, 10 at 4:31

Great story/memories, Al!

It's not that I long for a return to a simpler time... I long for a return of logical, cognitive thought and common sense! I long for a return of guts instead of constant fear. I long for a return of common skills, decent education and thought processes that reach logical conclusion. And I long for a return to "us" and "we", instead of "I" and "me".

We raised our kids out in the country... where it's still very common to keep loaded shotguns around, where we're close to our food source, and where every little thing doesn't bring about an attack of fear and paranoia!

But... it is wisely said that stupidity cannot be adequately legislated. In other words, we cannot be completely protected from our own lack of common sense and fear.

Our technologically advancing world has some very positive aspects... medical advances, for instance. Faster travel, better communication, etc. There are downfalls to our advancing world, as well... pollution, over-population, crime, and the number one bad aspect that seems to drive it all, greed. That's how I see it, anyway.

We cannot turn back the hands of time... but we can each work toward a better tomorrow, starting right in our own communities. Do something good... volunteer, donate to a food pantry, do something nice for a neighbor, be a concerned and caring citizen.

It seems that many people have forgotten that we're all in this together... we all share this planet, and we have so much to gain from helping and caring and working for a better future.

Beautiful pictures, Laura! Oh, to have a pool like yours, and such lovely palm trees! How wonderfully refreshing that would be in hot, humid weather... such a nice tropical environment! It seems strange seeing it with icicles!


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Hello Everyone!!!

Jodik..."WELL SAID" You hit the nail right on the head...

Thanks for the nice comments...yes It is very unusual for us to get huge amounts of snow here at the beach...that's why everyone starts to panic!!! LOL...they even shut down the schools here when we get less than an inch!!

To have a snowfall amount of 14 inches here is very uncommon...That's why I enjoy the pics of the palms during the snowstorm...Here is a pic that is "behind the scenes" since my hubby and I have to go outside every so often and knock the snow off of the fronds so they will not break.

Happy New year!!

Laura in VB
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Take care everyone...

Laura in VB


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 30, 10 at 12:10

Oh, Laura... how lovely! It just looks so serene and peaceful, warming yet cold. It's an amazing contrast... the winter weather swirling through a tropical scene... almost surreal.

I don't really know how to put it into words... it's definitely artful! Again, it's the last picture that catches my attention... the snow covered diving board, the warmer temperature of the pool water trying to resist the snow cover... it's a winter feast for the eyes, to be sure!


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hello Everyone!!!

Jodik...Many thanks to you!!! Isn't mother nature "Wonderful?"...I understand you completely!!!

Laura in VB


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 31, 10 at 4:14

She sure is, Laura! She's also very temperamental! We just went through massive snowstorms on Christmas Eve... and today, the suddenly warmer temperatures melted almost all the snow cover we just got!

I'm actually a bit worried that the lack of snow as insulation might harm my newly planted roses if we get a sudden freeze! Seeing how it's only December/January, it's a good bet we're in for more frigid weather and cold winds before winter is over.

The beds are mulched well, though, and autumn leaves and other debris are left as cover... so I guess I have to trust that I've prepared well enough, and that Mother Nature knows what she's doing. :-)

Now that I think on it, I have to say that your final photo would make the best Christmas card from a southern beach dweller! What says southern Christmas better than palm trees, pools, and snow?!


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Hello Jodik...

Our temps are doing the same as yours!!! Today they are forecasting temps into the low 50's and tomorrow maybe 60*!!

Mother nature is one lady that always has her way!!! LOL...
She always demands "respect"...and we all give it to her!!LOL...

Sounds like you have prepared your beds...I'm sure your roses will be fine..I have seen some of your pictures here before and they are beautiful...You really have some beautiful flowers!!!

Thanks for the advice on the Christmas cards...I will try them both...This year,I took my disk to Kinkos and they have a great machine that prints out cards pretty fast!!! I remember when we had to send them off to be printed!! We had to allow 2 weeks to receive them...Now it's instant!!!

Here we go again with modern Technology!!! This is a positive change!!

Take care and stay warm!!!

I did find a pic of the icicles at night...it doesn't really capture the real beauty...but it's a start!!!

Take care Jodik!!!

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Jodi: Very well said;-))))))

I am so glad your ground is starting to show to at least give the feeling that spring is in the air when the temps rise above the freezing mark.
Isn't it decieving when it's so warm and the snow is gone? lol
You are right about the snow being an insulator. It is kind of a blessing in diguise.

Laura: My Goodness! You should be a professional photographer by trade!
I am using the last picture in your post with the, YES, almost frozen pool with the snow capped palm trees with your permission of course! Just beautiful Laura..

Jodi, you certainly have a way of describing those pictures.Very nice description Jodi!! :-)
Hoping all my friends here are well and have a safe New Year's!

Mike


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 31, 10 at 13:46

Big rain storm, including thunder & lightning on the wane here. It took almost all our snow cover with it. I'll be cooking today for a crowd tomorrow. Mexican is on the menu. Mexican pulled beef wet burritos smothered in the meat gravy (thickened with corn meal), enchiladas in same gravy (dipped in the gravy THEN fried in the traditional way - in lard), frijoles, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, homemade salsas & chips, & jalapeno relish.

The beans have been simmering for several hrs, and I'll get after the meat as soon as I'm done running through the forums. ;o)

I hope everyone has a really great day & a safe and happy eve. I've really enjoyed all the pics and the general feeling of good will and warmth these long threads have generated. Thanks to all for creating a bright spot - I hope more will join in. ;o)

Later - YPA


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Al: That sounds so delicious! The beans simmering for several hours is just to much for me to think about without feeling like I am missing out. Hum!

You have a great day too and have a good time.

Mike


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Sounds yummy to me!!! What time is dinner? LOL...

I was watching the news Al, the weather that past through your area looked like very strong winds, gusts ranging in the strenght of Hurricane force winds...Hope all is well with you and your property...Is this a sign that this winter is going to be a cold, stormy winter?

Take care everyone..be careful tonight...

Happy New Year!!!

Laura in VB


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Hi Everyone!
I love all the pictures! The icicles are so pretty! I love the one taken at night!

Jodi~ Thank you! Yes, crafts are just one more to add to the list. ;-) I have a few more pics of gourds I did, but can't seem to find them at the moment. lol.. If I do i'll post. I love crafts of all kinds! Pressing flowers right now for a few things.

Al~
Thank you for sharing the story.. A simpler time indeed! We are making sure our son learns of all the things we grew up with and doesn't take things now for granted. We even go out of our way to get the older game boards.

You should have seen the shock on the poor kids face when we told him our t.v had a turn knob! LOL!

Well,
I have a few pics to post.. Like many here, I have really enjoyed this thread and hope it continues. :-)

Here's the pups enjoying this Christmas~

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And here's one with my Son..

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Here's Goober and our last pup. She got a home the day after Christmas. Her name is now Hannah. :-) Please don't tell Goober I caught him napping with a "dog"..lol...

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And these little beauties braved last nights freeze and are happy as can be today..
My favorites. :-)

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I want to wish everyone a very Happy and Safe New year!
Full of good things!
JoJo


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Hi JoJo...

I love the pictures of the dogs opening presents!!! We do the same with out little "weiner dog"...He waits for us to tell him on christmas morning that it's time to open presents...we say Ok Pepper,,,go look...he then runs over to the tree and sniffs through all of the presents to finally find the "right" one for him!! They really get a kick from this...I think he gets excited even when the tree gets put up...only to wonder when it will be "his turn" to open...LOL...I think that this is one of our high lights come Christmas morning...we all wait to gather around the tree to watch our dog "pepper" find and tear open his present...Love it!!!

The pic with your pup and Goober is precious!!!

I also love the colors of your pansies!! Very Vibrant colors!!!

Happy Belated Birthday to you!!!

Laura in VB


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HI Laura...
I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. :-) And thank you for sharing your story of your pets. Christmas is for the kids, even the furry ones. ;-)

WE just love letting them open gifts! They know as soon as we hang the stockings, they are for them.

I've never put them under the tree for the dogs, with my luck they would open the wrong one. LOL!

Gabby is still a pup,(will be a year, mid. Jan) it was his first Christmas, and he dove right in! He's the one up front in the first pic.

Even my son enjoys watching them so much he waits to open his.

When we were kids, even the parakeet got a present! Brand new bird seed bell with a bow. He loved playing with the ribbon.

Goober is a very special cat! We've had him bout 9 yrs now and he's always been around a dog. They're all best friends! Even with a litter of 6 pups, all wanting to play, he was very tolerant!

You should see him and my 3 dogs play tag! We just get out of their way! LOL!

Those little pansies are sure tough! :-) I was pleased to see they made it through the freeze. They're my favorite flower!

It's now 2011! And I celebrate by starting my seeds tomorrow in flats! Planning on at least 100 pansies for around the yard. :-)

Thank you for the late birthday wishes too! :-)

I hope everyone is warm and safe!

A Very Happy New Year to you!
Wishing you the best for 2011!
JoJo


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  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 4, 11 at 17:32

Thanks to my friend Viv from the Fig Forum for sharing this. I thought you might like it. Copy/paste to your browser.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vC8Hffm9BE

Al


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Hello Everyone!!!

Al, Love it!!! BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO.....

If it can get any better than that...please let me know!!!

I was touched to my very soul...thank you for the New Year;s Gift!!!

Everyone should view this...it says it all....

With much inspiration in my heart,

Laura in VB


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  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 4, 11 at 22:15

You're more than kind to say so, Laura, but all I can take credit for is forwarding it, thinking others might enjoy it as much as I did. I'm going right now, to thank Viv for sending it and share a link to this thread so she can see she got proper credit for sending it. ;o)

Thanks again,

Al


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  • Posted by noss Zone 9 Lafayette (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 4, 11 at 23:59

Hi Al!

Hi Everyone!

Al gave me the link to this thread so I could see it. I read everything and saw all the photos and cried at your first story, Al, then laughed til I cried at the others.

Beautiful pictures. As a born-and-raised-in-NJ-girl, I loved the pics of the snow.

What a great bunch of people you are and I wish you all blessings in the coming year beyond your wildest dreams.

Viv

PS--I get the biggest kick out of Al and love him to pieces. I'm so glad we got to be friends. He's funny and serious and a good cook, knows his plant stuff and is willing to help people with plant problems. He helped me to save all my young fig trees this past season when I was killing them with ignorance. I can't look at my fig trees without thinking of him and once again being thankful for him. :)))))))))))))))))))))))


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  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 5, 11 at 0:29

I really don't know what to say to that, Viv, except thanks. Lol - I can tell you your comments made my cheeks go pink. ;o) You should make a habit of looking in on us more often. I'm absolutely sure everyone would make you feel welcome, and you'd fit right in. I'm not in the habit of sending out hugs over the forums, but ((((Viv)))), you get them for your kindness ((((Laura)))) too, (((((JJ, Jodi, Nance, Xuan, Mike, Josh))))) all dear friends, and so many more I didn't mention by name, but I'm blessed to know just the same - and all the rest of the wonderful people who contributed to the fun and spirit of good will on this thread ..... and the last one that went so long (What Better Way to Say 'HI' ...) that was really about nothing in particular either, other than good people enjoying each other's company.

Time for me to close up shop for the night & wish everyone a peaceful rest. TTYT.

Al


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  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 5, 11 at 16:18

I loved all the pic
s. Here is a Pic of my new place. filix.

Here is a link that might be useful: my new place


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  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 5, 11 at 16:22

;o) I can almost hear the wheels turning as you make plans for your gardens & beds ....... and containers! Good luck, Filix!

Al


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  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 5, 11 at 19:44

The wheels are turning. Finaly 6 acres of privacy. One huge privacy fence, it's called the woods! :) Now where can I put that giant E. Ear? mmm. Thanks Buddy. filix.


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 6, 11 at 8:52

Keep the photos coming... they're all wonderful!

I can't do anything related to container gardening without thinking of Al! Whether I'm mixing medium, potting or re-potting... or just admiring all the green my little indoor jungle has to offer, it's Al that has made it all possible.

He opened my mind and steered me back toward the basics, using simple science and logic. He cleared away the noise of commercialism and lore. He made me think about what I was doing and what I was using in my quest to grow potted plants. He made me really aware of what goes on under the soil surface, and how it all relates.

The knowledge was there, but it was all jumbled and clouded... Al helped me to sort it all out and put it in order. He made it easy and fun! And the best part is that I've gained a very special friendship... many special friendships, actually... as we all come together to learn and share and grow. :-)

A very happy, healthy and green 2011 to everyone!


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  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 6, 11 at 13:19

Very nicely put Jodik. I feel the same way. And I have asked some pretty dumb questions. At least I thought they were, but he never felt they were. A happy and green 2011 right back at you and all. Filix.


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  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 6, 11 at 15:05

Scheesch - more blushing here - and I'm not kidding. Everyone who really takes the time to know me, knows I have all the patience in the world for people who really want to learn, and who have an open mind. I find others' enthusiasm very catching, and negativism a turn-off. I'll spend as much time as it takes to guide anyone through a problem, or a method I might think will help them, whenever it's within the limits of my ability, though sometimes it's just not possible to keep up with my email, so don't be offended if you've ever been overlooked. A dozen off forum questions from GW members alone (not counting the regular mail I get from friends I've made here who're just saying 'hey') is a normal day.

I might not be quite so patient though, with the people who post absolutes on topics they don't understand, or operate at well beyond the limits of their knowledge and then hide behind their right to express an opinion, but that's how it goes sometimes. If you listen to the people who can tell you WHY they feel a particular course is best or WHY this or that should work best, you won't go far wrong. People with consistently negative input usually have an ax to grind, and often post information they know is wrong just to start a fray. If you press someone for clarification about what they said, and all you get is double-talk & obfuscation, it's a pretty sure bet there are others who can provide you with more reliable help and information.

As far as 'dumb questions' go. There ARE dumb questions; don't let anyone tell you there aren't, but they are very rare on the forums, at least on THIS forum. No matter how embarrassed you might be to ask a question you might consider too obtuse, you shouldn't be. I can almost guarantee that someone somewhere is wondering the same thing you are, and will be glad you asked it. If that isn't enough reason, consider that someone might feel the same way you do at a later date and do a search, coming up with the answer they needed because you had the guts to ask.

6 acres? Filix - I'm jealous.

I sure hope you're feeling better, Jodi.

Al


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The dumb questions are rare around here because I haven't asked them in a long long time, I think.lol

If anyone know the patience of you Al, I will be the frist to agree since I sure was a tough nut to crack, asking the same questions over and over, and well, the rest is history. I can't believe some of the older post's I use to post. I would rather not.lol
The phrases" lay off on the watering can", and "growers convienence", and "operator error", I will not ever forget!
Pwt, turface, FP, pumice, strained fir bark", gypsum, screening, gritty mix, and many other terms I have never heard before.

Then too, everytime I see how happy and vibrant my plants are, I think of my dear friends here and all I have been helped with and not the hundreds of dead lost ones before I came hear! Thank God

Felix: You are so lucky to live there! I love Maine and all that land! You could hear a bumble bee a mile away in the quietness up there.

Jodik: I am so hoping you are much better:-)I will have some photos coming soon..I love pictures too! Wait until you see my bulbs I thought I would try.

" What better way to say Hi" was awsome, and I get that this thread has the same tone to it. I love it. I must say that love this thread and I too am very BLESSED to know you too !

I will be back with more pics, and by the way! What a video that was. Thank ViV and Al for that. Wowowowow

Mike


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  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 6, 11 at 19:12

;-) You've come a long way in the last few years, Mike. You should be proud of your diligence & where you are now. It's a joy to see how willing you are to help others. Strong work!

Al


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  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 7, 11 at 7:32

Thanks Al and Mike. I do feel lucky. Don't get me wrong I love good neighbor's, just not right on top of me. Mike love your pictures and your tropicals. I hope I can hear those bumble bees. I will need those little bugger's for my blueberries! Filix.


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Al: It took a while, but I think I have improved..

Do you rememeber a part of this thread?lol

Posted by meyermike_1micha 5 (My Page) on Mon, Feb 23, 09 at 17:16
----------------------------
"Ok Al...
Thanks for helping. Here we go.

It is in the 5.1.1 mix I made. I used a little gypsum in the mix."
------------------------------------
I can't belive that I put gypsum in my mix instead of lime and couln't even comprehend why my plants were turning yellow after all the times you tried to explain..:-)
Since that day, I have been managing to keep them nice and green. I will take some pics tomorrow and show you how green they are still:-)

Thank you and to all my friends here.

Felix:

I must say that you have come a long way too! Thanks for the comments. Congrats on your new place. Wait until the summer comes and you get to go the beautiful coast. I staye in Maine last year, way up north. I woke up early one morning and I could here all the bugs flying around in the silence of the air. Just beautiful!
I heard the bees are declining rapidly. I hope you can hear them too.

Mike



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Looking up thread even further, I noticed an unfamiliar name and a few I know!

Noss: Welcome here and thank you for your kind words. Please, stay on the same ride with us. It can be pretty darn fun and exciting at the same time.

Jojo:

You know how we here in my home feel about your pooches! They are so cute, just like little kids in a candy store.
Funny, my friend does the same thing for his, and his dog knows just what packages are his..
He even has a stocking with his dogs name on it full of trscuits and biscuits! I'll bet his dog loves that time of the year..

I love those pansies! They have such unique coloring and to think they braved your frost then endured the hot sun. Marvelous Jojo. By the way, my FIG tree is still in seclusion with temps in the 40's. I can't wait to put it back outside and see how it reacts to such a good sleep.

Laura: How are you? I still have the icicle picture as my backround on the comp. and everyone here loves it. I use to have a tropical paradise one, but this picture is an exception..lol

Hope you are doing ok..

Jodik:

How are you and your pooches too? I bet you are just getting a bit ancy to see that sun start getting to work to open all those buds on your roses! We are almost there Jodi. Almost, well at least in mind. That is how I feel everytime the ground is bare and the sun starts getting higher and higher in the sky.

I bet your jade is reacting quite nicely. Have a great day Jodi and I pray you are feeling much better. I know winter can be very tough on you..

Mike:-)


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Hello Everyone!!

Thanks Mike..I'm glad that you like the icicles...they were quite beautiful hanging outside at night!!!

The weather forecasters are saying that we might have another snowstorm brewing for early next week...Ugggg!!!

I certainly hope they are wrong!!! LOL...I have already had enough!!!

Hello to everyone!!!

AL...You are way to funny...LOL...Score a huge point for you!!! I am still laughing...my sides even hurt!!!
Paybacks....my friend!!! LOL.. : )

Hope all is well with everyone...

I am going to make my list of items for my 5-1-1 "Al's Mix"
A nursery that was listed on another post gave me the name of a local nursery close to me in Richmond Va. Thank you to the person who posted the info for us here in Virginia!!

I hope that I can get all the ingredients in one trip!!!!

Wish me luck!! LOL...

Laura in VB


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Well Al and friends! Here are some pics of my plants still green after all I learned here form you all! I just took these today!

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THE HARDEST PLANT TO KEEP GREEN AND HEALTHY for this time of year: The infamous Gardenia

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Laura: Very beautiful INDEED your pictures! Let me know how it works out for your ingredients. If you can not find them, just let me know and I can send you much through mail, we know that is never a problem...:-)

Goodnight All. I hope everyone is ok..


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  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-M (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 7, 11 at 22:09

Look at that wild man GO!!!!!!!

(Words from a very old song "Alley Oop" ~ The Hollywood Argyles)

Al


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Mike and the Magic Gardenia...!

Those green leaves just blow me away!


Josh


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 15, 11 at 11:03

Lovely pictures, Mike! And, yes... I'm so beyond tired of winter, already! Spring cannot come soon enough for me!

I've got nothing in bloom to photograph at the moment... just a bunch of green, as my plants try valiantly to survive the adverse conditions I'm forced to grow in. They're all doing good, considering the overly dry air. It will be nice to open windows in spring, and let in some of that fresh, naturally humid air!

I still have quite a few pots to go in my re-potting process... other things have taken precedence, so that's on the back burner for now.

I, too, just keep marveling at that Gardenia! It's so pretty... and so healthy looking! Great growing, Mike!


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 15, 11 at 14:00

Just took 4" off the drive, sidewalks & decks this AM. ;o) The birds are feasting though. My repotting chores won't start for about 6-7 weeks, then I'll REALLY be busy until mid-Jun. I enjoy the winter 'off'.

Braised pork tenderloin in caramelized onion gravy/sauce on the menu for later. Ask if you want the recipe - it's easy and a keeper. Hopefully the rest of the day will be a lazy one, other than the chefly duties. Later, guys.

Happy Birthday again, Josh!

Al


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Thanks, Al ;0
Hoist of hank o' tenderloin for me!
I have a love hate relationship with the pig.
They're dangerous opponents and they ravage our lands....
but oh how delicious when sizzling in the pan!
Gravy goes with everything.


Josh


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WHAT A REAL WOMAN DOES

A real woman is a man's best friend. She will never stand him up and never let him down. She will reassure him when he feels insecure and comfort him after a bad day.

She will inspire him to do things he never thought he could do; to live without fear and forget regret. She will enable him to express his deepest emotions and give in to his most intimate desires.

She will make sure he always feels as though he's the most handsome man in the room and will enable him to be the most confident, sexy, seductive, and invincible. . .

*

*

*

*

*

*

*


No wait... Sorry... I'm thinking of beer.
That's what beer does...
Never mind.

Al


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Josh, i have a love relationship with pigs. Therefore this is the reason I never eat pig.

Pigs are playful.
Pigs are pink.
Pigs are smarter
than you think.

Pigs are pudgy.
Pigs are plump.
Pigs can run
but never jump.

Pigs are loyal.
Pigs are true.
Pigs don't care
for barbecue.

Lol...I do have a love hate relationship with dear though, since they are cute and ravage our lands too! But boy do they taste great on a barbecue, especially when they are skinned right with no hair left behind.:-)

Jodik: Thanks so much for your kind words and notice of my plants. It means a lot from you, especially since we are growing in the same medium thanks to your encouragement and good friend Al! I was just thinking what you said today! About being able to open the windows again for that fresh natural humid air outside. Have you ever noticed the smell of the air and how clean it is when it fills the house the first time you open the windows? I LOVE it.

Al: I love that song " Alley Oop"...lol(Oop-oop, oop, oop-oop)
(Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)....You have a great night:-0)))

Josh: it is only by way of magic having gardenias this green this time of the year up in this state.lol
Thanks buddy!

Ok, now shower time, sheesh...I can't remember one day lately that I have not posted anything on these forums everyone, can you? lol

Mike


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Al, that was terrific!

Mike, what a great poem!
Have you ever had venison medallions, wrapped around the outside with bacon and seared over a fire?
That's a rare meal, indeed.

Remind you to share The Rules of the Pig with you sometime....
it might just change your tune ;)


Josh


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  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 16, 11 at 10:07

I highly enjoy pork, but wild boar is even tastier! And who can resist bacon?!

Cooking has never been my forte, however... I make a breaded pork tenderloin that consistently gets rave reviews! It's nothing particularly special, just a recipe passed from Grandma to Mom, and on to me. It's labor intensive to prepare, but oh, so delicious!

Wild boar and domestic crosses make for fuller flavored meat, but they're mean and nasty while alive! They overpopulate some areas, and are a nuisance. They actually need to be hunted more.

Good grain fed venison is so much better than any mass produced beef you can buy at a grocery store! I've heard some folks claim it tastes gamey, or requires cooking with tons of garlic and onions to hide the taste... or, they grind the whole thing up into sausage or jerky... what a waste! Illinois deer is fantastic... we butcher and cook it just like beef... steaks, tenderloins, roasts, stew, etc.

Nothing like a big bowl of venison chili when the weather is cold!

Mike, one of my favorite things to do in spring is to start hanging laundry outside to dry, instead of using the dryer. There's nothing quite like climbing in between fresh sun dried sheets that smell like spring air! You can't get that in a dryer sheet or fabric softener... even though they've tried to emulate it. It's not quite the same!

We actually sleep with a window slightly cracked open during winter... I like the fresh air, and I sleep better when it's a bit cooler.

We must be bored... talking about pork and venison! :-)


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hi Everyone!
I've been reading all the wonderful posts! And it seems every time I decide to post, something comes up. lol..
How is everyone!?

Al~ My son gets the biggest kick out of you taming the little wild birds. He's anxious to get his sunflowers planted and give it a try. Wants to grow the seeds. ;-) He gets that from me, I used to grow bird seed for our birds.
We'll send you some come summer. ;-)

Noss! So good to see you over here! I hope you stop in more often! I need to get back over to figs and see whats been going on. ;-) My trees are being stinkers, that's for sure. I hope yours are well!

All the talk of pigs cracks me up! lol..
My parents used to have 2 pot bellied pigs. Oh they made the nicest pets! They were wonderful and so smart! They had to lock the fridge, because one learned how to open it.

Filix, your new place is wonderful! Looking forward to pics of it planted as far as you can see. ;-)

Our weather has been spring like, and i've got tons to do in the yard, in ground garden, not to mention containers.

I did some tree trimming the other day.. and look what I found..
:-)

Anyone know what this is? Im hoping its a praying mantis egg case!

Photobucket

And this little beauty!
Josh, still can't get them to sit still for a pic! LOL!
But she was a little mad and shook up from the saw shaking the tree. ;-)

Photobucket

Hoping spring finds you all soon!
JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 21, 11 at 13:51

JoJo, yes, that's a praying mantis egg case! We have them everywhere! I don't dare do fall cleanup in any of the garden areas for fear of harming the many egg cases attached to everything!

We began with a very small number of praying mantises. They seemed to remain in only one garden bed for about a year or so... then, they began to spread... the population grew... and now, they're all over the place! I love watching them, and they're wonderful predators! They work hard removing the bad bugs from our garden plants!

We don't have many real ladybugs... but we do have millions of those nasty lookalikes... those Japanese Lady Beetles that live between the vinyl siding pieces on our house! They bite, they're everywhere, and I hate them! And they smell bad when you crush them! I don't know if they harm anything... or if they're just a huge nuisance.

Nice pics, JoJo!


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hello Everyone...

I have a few in my garden as well...here is a picture of a cutie that visited my Plumeria this summer!!!

Enjoy...

Laura in VB

praying mantis on my inflo (baby)


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 22, 11 at 9:59

If I had an idea of about where to look in my album, I'd dig out the closeups I took a couple of years ago... I had no idea these helpful creatures came in such a lovely assortment of colors! We took pictures of praying mantises with copper colored abdomens, some bronze, and every shade of green imaginable! There were even some that looked quite fluorescent chartreuse!

And talk about big bugs! Some of the females get really large!

Nice budding on the Plumeria, Laura! Nice bug, too! :-)


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Good evening, gardening friends!

I'm enjoying the insect pics, as I'm a friend to the Ladybug and the Mantis myself!

Today was absolutely beautiful in northern California, with the temperatures near 70F!
A warm wind has been blowing, too. Shorts, t-shirt, and sandals....can you believe it?!

Anyhow, I crossed a few more tasks off my list...I planted an Osage way out in the backyard,
and I planted an Alaskan Fern in a Maple bed that I've been developing in the front yard.
Now I have two less containers to take care of. It's always rewarding to release a plant
to the yard. With that in mind, here are a couple pics of the site....

The Alaskan Fern on the left was planted last January, and the Alaskan Fern on the right today:

Photobucket


Photobucket



Josh


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

You're just lucky ....... to live where it's warm enough that you can get out into the fresh air w/o a half dozen layers on. ;o) Brisk here now @ 10* with another night of something subzero as the predicted low.

Everything looking good, guys!

Al


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

I am with Al on that!!!!

Only I got you beat Al. It is 7 and heading for -5 tonight! You know, when the west in unusually warm, that always means the east is unusually cold. Lucky us, right?

Josh: I don't think I will be wearing sandals at this point until this ice age melts or wear the ones I use to wear after a shower at the gym..lol. Man, as much as I am jealous of your weather, I still love the pictures and the fact that someone is next in line for our weather once we warm up..ha..:-)
What a warm and inviting set of picks buddy.
Know exactly what your saying about setting a plant free. That is exactly how I feel when I can let all mine go outdoors after a long winter. Relief I tell you.

Have you ever had venison medallions, wrapped around the outside with bacon and seared over a fire? NO. Are you inviting me for some?
When ever your ready, you can share the piggy rules with me.lol

Laura: How in the world did you even see that cute little creature? What's up with all you guys? You all have the most nicest bugs I have seen. I haven't seen a mantis since I was a kid 10 years ago!
Laura the fact that you saw that mantis, and that small, the same color as your plant, tells me how in tune you are with your plants and nature. No wonder we all like you!
Thank you for sharing that cut with us. What I would do to get my plumeria to do what that one is doing! lol Any of my 18 of them.

Jojo: Now that you are getting very use to that camera, you should apply for a job at National Geographic! Your pictures are absolutely amazing and all the prior ones too. You get such good closeups of everything.
I wonder what your weather is like? Have you had to shovel snow yet.
By the way, my figs are still resting soundly in my shed, with a shovel load of snow on them once in a while, Al's idea..lol
I bet you would just love our weather. Would you like me to send some your way?:-)
Lucky you with the mantis egg. I think I will buy some come spring just for fun.
A pig that knows how to open a refrigerator? lol I have a cat that knows how to open the bathroom door,,,,by the handle!

Jodi: You make eating pig sound so, delicious! I forgot beacon comes from pig..lol. I guess I like pigs more than I thought..
Please, find that album. I would love to see the closeups!
Do you realize that I have someone else do my laundry. Eveytime they do, I pay extra just to have them put extra softener for that fresh smell..lol
I just might hang a line outside and try what you said. It must be very refreshing. You know what else I love about the first few warm days of spring? The sound of tree frogs all over my brother and sisters yards since they live in the woods near some big swaps! I just love this.

Al, I just thought of something? How in the world do those beautiful brids even eat if there is no one for a handout? You are a good man for caring for those little creatures. Just beautiful

Excuse the spelling guys. To tired to go back and correct..lol

Nite everyone:-)

Mike


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 22, 11 at 21:29

If I hold the sunflower seed tightly so the chickadee can't snatch it and fly off to a branch and clench it in its claws while it works the hull off to get at the kernel, which is their habit, they will remain perched on the hand and keep pecking at the hull until it is removed & they CAN get at the kernel .... and then wait patiently for the next handout.

Photobucket

Unfortunately, we have a resident goshawk (or two). The bird is an amazing hunter, and I've figured his strategy. He sits atop the neighbor's tennis court fence, which is south and west of the bird feeder by about 200 yards. When the bird feeder is full of birds, he doesn't fly toward the birds. Instead, he flies away from them. They always notice and stop to watch, but are immediately reassured because the hawk is flying AWAY from them. After the hawk flies south a short distance of 100 yards or so, it makes a lazy east turn, which puts it in front of the house, blocked from the bird's view entirely. It then turns north, straight for the bird feeder, but flying low and still behind the house. As it reaches the roof in front, it flies just above the shingles so that when it crests the peak it is at full speed and directionally dead on the feeder and only yards from the perched birds. A goshawk is astoundingly nimble and amazingly agile. I have seen them fly through tangles a rabbit couldn't manage, so a rapid turn at speed is all in a days work for this predator. Today, I caught the blur of the hawk as it captured a dove. It flew to the fence you can barely make out in the photo above, because the fence is so out of focus in the close-up shot. There, it plucked & ate the dove.

It's sad, but it's also something we have to accept if we are going to set the table for the hawks. Animals are very focused on conserving energy, especially in the winter when times are so difficult for them, and if we make it easy for them, they WILL take advantage.

Al


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 23, 11 at 4:25

Al, you are so right. Nature is both cruel and wonderful, ugly and beautiful, and very good at balancing itself as needed. Everything is born, grows and dies, and nothing is wasted in the great ecological cycle of life. We are a part of that great cycle... a bit more so as gardeners, I think.

Josh, your garden expansion is lovely. The rocks are very eye catching, and exactly what I would do! I'm totally jealous of your nice weather... we're still frozen and covered in snow, layering clothing to work outside! Even inside the horse barn, water buckets freeze solid overnight. Spring can't arrive soon enough to suit me!

Mike, there's not only bacon on a pig, but also ham, sausage, pork tenderloin, chops, ribs, roasts, and I'm sure more cuts that I'm forgetting... I tend to separate pork from pig in my thought process. I enjoy meats, and I'd make a very poor vegetarian!

The scent of fresh air and sunshine on laundry cannot be duplicated. It doesn't come in a bottle or on a dryer sheet, no matter what the advertisements tell you! Line drying laundry outside allows a certain stiffness to materials, but a quick shake before folding takes it right out. Even just hanging your blankets over a clothesline for an afternoon will give you a taste of that fresh scent!

Well... it took me some searching, but I managed to locate the praying mantises... these were taken a couple of years ago, but their progeny lives on...

Mantis 2

Mantis 3

Mantis 5

Mantis 6

Mantis 7

Mantis

Every spring, as I work to clean debris and rake the gardens before growth begins in earnest, I must take special care to notice the mantis egg cases attached to the previous year's growth. As I encounter them, I break that part of stem and lay the egg cases up against the building or fence of that garden bed.

As the warm days of spring wear on, I notice tiny green baby mantises crawling around on the plants. They resemble very small grasshoppers. They're too small at this point to make much of a dent in hunting anything, and I often wonder what it is they subsist on while so young. By midsummer, they're large enough to act the predators they are, and they're quite interesting to watch. By early autumn, they're mating and looking for appropriate places to build their egg cases, enclosing next season's population within. Somehow, they manage to survive the winter, dormant inside the odd shaped egg sacs. And as spring approaches, another life cycle begins anew. Fascinating!

These beauties are perched among the Rudbeckia, Agastache, and Russian Sage growing on the south side of a large garage building, next to the driveway. As of last growing season, they had spread to include the Front Bed, the Shade Garden, the Miniature Rose Garden, and if memory serves, I even found a few roaming around the North Sidewalk Beds. Soon, they'll be quite widespread, and I'll be forced to limit any spraying or use of systemics only to those Roses that I absolutely can't lose to aphids! We rarely use chemicals in our growing, and we try to do everything outdoors organically, but every once in a while, Mother Nature requires a helping hand.

I hope you enjoyed the photos... and the narrative following! Insomnia strikes once again, so forgive me for getting carried away! :-)


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 23, 11 at 11:05

Love the pics of the chickadees Al. Here's a few from my old place


Photobucket


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more pics

  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 23, 11 at 11:11

One more.

Photobucket


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a flock of chickadees

  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 23, 11 at 11:16

A whole bunch. filix

Photobucket


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my new pergola

  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 23, 11 at 11:23

here's a picture of my pergola

at my new house. filix


Photobucket


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Great pix, guys. The caption on yours was pretty funny, Filix. I never could figure out what they're looking for when they select that single seed & fly away to open it, but (unless pressed for time by other anxious birds) they scrutinize them sooo carefully before they choose that 1 special seed. Lol

Al.


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Jodi, awesome assortment of colored Mantis.
I've never seen one so blue! I've seen pink, grey, and pure white before....

Filix, that Wisteria covered pergola is outstanding. I like everything about it.


Josh


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rare albino chickadee

  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 24, 11 at 7:46

Thanks Al and Josh. But that pergola isn't mine. Its a 130 year old specimen that is in a well known garden in mass. I was just messing around. It is great though isn't it? To have that in my backyard would be a dream! But here's a rare albino chickadee. filix

Photobucket


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Is that pergola in the area of Westfield State College ?


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Is it just me or does the little white guy look a little stiff? lol..

JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 24, 11 at 22:14

As stiff as wood! lol. The wisteria is in danvers mass at endicott estate. filix.


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

ROFL!
Funny Filix!
Wood was my first guess. ;-)
Cute!
JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 25, 11 at 5:00

It's not just you, JoJo... that stare looks a little artificial, too! ;-)

Nice photos, everyone! I can't wait until my Wysteria finally blooms. It's grown in a container, though... so I don't know if that will make a difference.

What I wouldn't give for a pergola like that! Nice columns, nice large pathways, mature plantings...


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by filix z5 maine (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 25, 11 at 7:04

Your right Jodik. One thing about those albino chickadees they freeze when they see a camera! Thats why that stare is so phony! :) filix


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 25, 11 at 12:26

I've seen them before somewhere... oh yeah, at the craft store! ;-)


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hello Everyone!

Jodi~ I love all the mantis pictures! Such neat colors! I grew something this past summer similar to your beautiful purple flowers. I belive it's in the sage family too. i'll have to find the label. The flowers are like velvet.

Mike~
Not even close to National Geographic, but thanks. ;-)
And i'll pass on the cold stuff! LOL!
Shovel snow here?
Gosh no! It's never stayed on the ground more than a few hours. I doubt any one in Tucson shovels snow here. ;-) Not to mention we only see it about once every 7-10 yrs.

O.K.!
I have some cuties to share and their not quite as stiff as filix's birds. LOL!

Look what arrived today!
Photobucket

It is so nice to have birds chirping in the house again! Dogs are a little confused though. ;-)
English Budgies. The green is the male, and the other is female. Names are Taco and Sunshine and no I did not name them. LOL!

JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 28, 11 at 21:25

Cool - more critters. ;o) A handsome pair!

Al


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by jodik 5 Central IL (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 29, 11 at 9:46

Nice, JoJo! Budgies are one type of bird I've never had, but I've always found them to be so cute, and their colors so pretty! Awesome pair! Will you breed them? :-)

Quite a few different perennials resemble the blue/purple flowers of Sage... this happens to be Russian Sage, Perovskia, with finely cut silver/gray leaves. A large plant when left to grow on its own! The family of sages is quite large and varied, too.


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hey, JoJo!
My sister had Budgies once!
Nice addition to the family ;-)

Josh


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hi Everyone!
Al~Jodi~Josh, Thank you!

Al~ never can have too many critters. ;-) At least not here. lol!
Turtles on my wish list, and lots more birds.
It has been so wonderful the past 2 days hearing them chirp! I really missed having them, more than I realized.

Jodi~ I will set them up to breed in a few days. The babies are so cute and so much fun! They are just little clowns! And the colors, well it's rare a clutch will look like either parent, so it's always fun to see what shows up!

Jace is excited to have them again too!

The dogs aren't sure what to think. They run around looking for the chirp.

And poor Bitsy, She was pretty out of it yesterday after the surgery and I think she's still convinced she was hearing things. LOL!

Well Jodi it turns out my plant is in the salvia family.
'Salvia leucantha'.

Photobucket

Photobucket

I've had a long day out at Old Tucson Movie Studio's and now i'm gonna go kick back for a few. I'll post some pictures later.

Take care all!
JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hi JoJo,

Beautiful Birds...will you post some pics of the babies once they arrive? Love to see them.

Loved the Salvia too!!

Take care everyone!!!

Laura in VB


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RE: love the birds!!!

Hi JoJo,

Beautiful Birds...will you post some pics of the babies once they arrive? Love to see them.

Loved the Salvia too!!

Take care everyone!!!

Laura in VB


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Ok, ok..I am givning in!

I am on the prowl for either those birds or a couple of green singing finches. Jojo, you just made me realize how much I miss hearing the singing of birds in my home.lol
It made winetr go by so much better than the dead silience in my home.
I think I know who named those birds..lol. Such cute names that only a kid or two can come up with.
I would love for you to raise them along side of us, all the way to the brood, hatchlings, and babies. I would love that Jojo since I have a thing for birds. Just love them and you have yourself such a beauty of a pair!

Hi Al, Jodi, Josh, Jodik, and Laura! I missed all while I was sick.;-)

Laura. I have been sooooooo sick and now that I have got better nergy, it's time to catch up onmy e-mail.
I am sorry about the delay bust just know that I appreciate you and the rest of the bunch here. I am SO BLESSED to have such great friends as you all.
Love you all!

Mom, says to send a group hug to you all!

Mike


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

Hi Everyone!

Mike, Laura,~
Thank you. ;-) Yes, I will post pictures when they have little ones. :-)

Mike~

So you want birds again now. lol...
Good luck hunting. I've been searching day and night, and just found some i'm absolutely in love with, but $450 a pair is a little steep right now.
I'll post a link at the bottom. They are called Lineolated Parakeet.

No one here named the two I posted. Those are the names they came with and to be honest , I don't like either name. lol.. But will keep them with those names, it's what they are used to.

Laura~ The humming birds really enjoyed that salvia! It grew like crazy too! from a 6" pot to a 3' bush in one season!

Well,
Cold, windy and rainy today! Josh, it's here! lol! Hail even today! Expecting a hard freeze tonight.

I moved mt plants hopefully for the last time this season!

Mike~ Sorry to hear you've been sick. I hope your doing better!

Tell mom thanks for the hugs and hugs right back!

JoJo


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter./ link

OOPS! Forgot the link. lol..

Here is a link that might be useful: Lineolated Parakeets


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RE: Off Topic - But Hey ..... It's Winter.

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 31, 11 at 21:23

What a great thread it's been! ;o) Thanks to all for the fun!

Al


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