Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Start of Something Big

You have to be as old as me or older to remember that song from the late 50's,
"This Could Be the Start of Something Big".
In fact, when I titled this post I couldn't actually place the song, itself,
but remembered it as a jingle on an old TV commercial
....something else I can't remember!
When I saw these sunflowers coming up in my planter box,
that crazy song came rushing into my brain for some odd reason...
...can't even tell you long it had been since I'd thought of it, let alone heard it!
(Click on the video for a blast from the past)
In an earlier post I shared how the sunflowers had evidently been planted by the backyard critters...
...birds or squirrels...I'm thinking squirrels.
Those ornery squirrels had dug up and devoured every single seed I had planted in my pots.
I'd say they must have been putting a few away for a rainy (or snowy) day.
You see, I was conducting an experiment...
...trying to grow sunflowers in pots since there was not enough sun in the yard.
So when I saw these popping up among my other flowers,
I dug them up and transplanted them in the pots the squirrels had gotten into.
These are the few that survived the attack of the squirrels.
And they grew...and they grew...
...and they grew some more...although they were mighty spindly!

And when I started seeing these appear,
surely you must know how excited that made me!
They are just so beautiful...

...and hairy :)

The buds are nearly as gorgeous as the opened flowers.

Well, maybe not.
I loved how this one decided to open up.
 It stayed in this winking pose for a whole day.
The tallest one is well over six feet, although the blooms are only about 4-6" in diameter.
The seed packet said these were the Mammoth variety although I doubt it. 
And I realize that growing them in pots surely will stunt their growth...
...and no doubt the Dollar Store seeds were not the best quality...
...hmmm...I wonder... could also be the same reason one of the packets was completely empty!
Note to self:
 They are still beautiful, regardless how big they get or where the seeds came from. 
If they grow any larger the pots will tip over anyway, right?

I could just look at them all day.
So I have come to the conclusion that my experiment was a just so-so success.
As you see, growing sunflowers in pots can be done, if you like skinny, spindly ones. 
Will I do it again next year?
That remains to be seen :)
"If I were a flower... I would be a sunflower.
To always follow the sun, turn my back to darkness,
Stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds."
~ Pam Stewart
I hope the rest of your week and weekend is awesome...
...I'm off to Nashville!

Sharing with:
Roses of Inspiration 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Daddy's Hands...the Softer Side of Sandpaper

It has been thirteen years since he passed away.
It just doesn't seem possible.
Several times I have shared some things about my mom who passed in 2010,
but I have not posted anything about my dad on this blog.
So in honor of Father's Day, I would like to share a link from my other blog,
Memories from my Childhood...and other blessings.

My dad, Joe Billheimer
August 7, 1911 - May 14, 2002

Daddy's Hands...
The Softer Side of Sandpaper

Have a blessed day celebrating all of the great men in your lives!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Home Improvement and a Bloggiversary


Did you ever watch Home Improvement?
 I used to really enjoy that sit-com from the 90's.
Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor was always getting into trouble of some kind...
...trying to master projects that seemed to be way over his head!
I hope that will not be the case with us.

 It looks as though we are finally about to take the plunge!
This house was built in 1985 and although we have done some needed updates,
over the years there were many things that just got put off...for one reason or another.
Oh I remember one!

So there will be some exterior and interior repairs/updates.
The list seems long but some of the items are really quite minor.

 We have re-hired a talented fellow that did some work for us about five years ago.
He does it all...pretty much everything...and he does it all well.
The best part is, he's cheap!
And I use that term in the kindest way :)
Yes, will be seeing a lot of Kerby in the days to come.

To say I'm excited would be an understatement! I ready for my house to be in complete disarray for the next few months?
Isn't it always in some state of disarray?
Can't I just go on a long vacation and it will all be done?

Just for fun, I thought I'd throw these in.

A while back, I created these fun little "planets" of our neck of the woods.
I used a free program called Gimp to make them.
The one above is the front view...

...and this is from the back.
Aren't they fun?
There are times when these images sort of represent my life...

And on another subject altogether, My Favorite Things is two years old today!
Look...I even made a digital cake for the occasion!
(with a little help from Paint and Picmonkey)

Yes, on June 18, 2013, I hit the publish button for the first time on this little blog.
Sometimes it seems like I've been blogging much longer...
...and other times I still feel like such a newbie.
In fact, I thought it was my third year.
I actually had to go back and check my dashboard!

In all sincerity, I must tell you all how much I appreciate you.
Everyone of you adds a special blessing to my life.
I feel as though I know many of you well.
How can that be so when we've never met face to face?
We are sort of kindred spirits in way, aren't we?
I looked it up so I was sure I knew what I was talking about:

kin·dred spir·it
plural noun: kindred spirits
  A person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one's own.
Have a good one!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lemon Soda Pop Cake

Several of you have already commented on my post from this past Saturday.
Just to let you know, the cake was very moist and delicious!
Today I'm sharing it on Stephanie's Roses of Inspiration link-up.

It is nearly 98 degrees in the shade here today.
Not the ideal weather for a church picnic.
Actually, it's not at the church...
...we are all getting together at my neighbor/friend/fellow church goer's house!
You see, they have a pool...
...although you won't find this chick getting in...
...not a pretty sight, especially around folks I know!
I think I'll grab my food, run into the house and eat where it's cool.
So I made this really easy Lemon Soda Pop cake to take...
...along with my famous baked beans :)
It is also referred to as Mountain Dew Cake.
I got the recipe from the site Allrecipes on the web.

As you can see, the ingredients are pretty simple.
I used Diet Mountain Dew and I suppose you could use sugar free pudding.
I couldn't find any in lemon so I thought, hey...what's a few extra calories??
This is a church picnic after all...who's dieting?
The directions are as follows:

*add cake mix and dry pudding mix together 
*beat in 3/4 cup oil
*add and mix each egg (4) individually 
(I used my hand mixer because I don't have one of those fancy KitchenAid ones.)
*finally, add in 1 cup Mountain Dew

Mix together thoroughly and pour into a greased and floured bundt pan.

I still have my cute little vintage bundt pan in Harvest Gold...
...a wedding present from nearly 39 years ago :)
Bake it at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
It really puffed up and baked very nicely!

After it cooled off and I turned it out of the pan, it was ready for the glaze.
This was not a part of the original recipe so I did this on my own...
...thought it needed a little sumpin'-sumpin' on top.

I took about 1/2 cup of that frosting, added about 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice,
whipped it up and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
You can use a real lemon of course, but I used the next best thing, Realemon :)
Drizzle over the top and let the yummy, sweet goodness run down into all of those crevices. 

I can't wait to taste it!

I'll let you know later how it good it was...or wasn't...
...if I survive the heat!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Milk Thistles in June

 "Cut thistles in May, they'll grow in a day; cut them in June, that is too soon;
cut them in July, then they will die."

~Mother Goose rhyme

I love milk thistles....I just can't help myself.
I'm absolutely struck by the beautiful prickliness of them!
And it seems to be peak season for them here in my neck of the woods.
Is there something wrong with me...
...that something random would delight me so??

I do realize that everyone may not share my views.
I am not a farmer and I don't know if farmers like them much.
I understand there are many health benefits and many parts of them are edible,
although I also read that they can be somewhat toxic to cattle and sheep.

It's amazing what you learn about something that you basically knew nothing about...
...just because you think it's beautiful and do a little research.
I didn't realize that milk thistle is in the sunflower family either...interesting...

So here are basics....straight from Google:
Milk thistle, or Silybum marianum, is a member of the Asteraceae (Daisy Family),
( seems the daisy and the sunflower must be related too!) and is also known by several other names, including Blessed Milk thistle,
Spotted thistle, St. Mary's thistle, Marian thistle, Holy thistle and Variegated thistle.
 It should not be confused with Blessed thistle, Cnicus benedictus.

And here is a link, in case you just have to know more about them...

~Richard Wilbur

This upstart thistle
Is young and touchy; it is
All barb and bristle,

Threatening to wield
Its green, jagged armament
Against the whole field.

Butterflies will dare
Nonetheless to lay their eggs
In that angle where

The leaf meets the stem,
So that ants or browsing cows
Cannot trouble them.

Summer will grow old
As will the thistle, letting
A clenched bloom unfold

To which the small hum
Of bee wings and the flash of
Goldfinch wings will come,

Till its purple crown
Blanches, and the breezes strew
The whole field with down.

"Do not blame the thistle that you see no beauty."
~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie

When I was little girl, I was taught to say a little tongue-twister,
right after I had lost that first tooth...
..."Sister Susie sat on a thistle" ...
...except it came out "Thister Thusie that on a thistle".
Remember that??!

Here's another cute tongue-twister I found...

~by Ken Nesbitt
My sister kisses thistles
she's a thistle kissing sis,
thus a thistle's itchy bristles
never miss my sister's kiss.

My sister wishes thistles
weren't as itchy to the kiss,
as the thistle's bristles itches
make my prissy sister hiss.

My sister's hisses whistle
as she kisses with a swish,
so my sister kisses thistles
with a thistle whistle wish.

And here's a few more shots before I go...

“He that has a good harvest must be content with a few thistles”
~Spanish Proverb
Hmmm...there's a lot of truth there, I'd say...
...sometimes I feel like I got more thistles than produce!
But...God is GOOD...ALL the time!

Enjoy your week :)

Sharing at:
Mosaic Monday
Roses of Inspiration
Pink Saturday
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