Friday, September 2, 2016

Ways to Support Garden Birds in Times of Drought

Here at Catnip Cottage, the headquarters for the Earthly Gardener blog, we are all about the birds, bees and other little critters and are always looking for easy things we can do to support wildlife.

Cardinals LOVE black sunflower seeds!

That's why I enjoyed this short article from Horticulture magazine. Take a look; it's a short read with some easy ways to support garden birds in the time of drought.

http://www.hortmag.com/headline/ways-support-garden-birds-times-drought

Since my surgery and subsequent *hospital-acquired* infection, I've been avoiding a lot of the heavy garden work. But I was finally able to plant some fall cukes and squash this week. So some progress was made, although a tiny bit. That's why I love my galvanized tub garden and raised wooden bed; it's so easy to bop outside, poke a few seeds in the ground, then bop back inside without a lot of fuss. :-)

Sometimes that's all you can hope for. :-)

Happy gardening!

bobbi c.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Shiplap Headboard made from Antique Pine

We call ourselves the Shiplap Cottage here since our whole house is encased in it. Literally, both sides of every wall, the outer siding, etc. We were shiplap before #shiplap was cool! LOL

I hoard scraps of the stuff. And I'm especially glad I saved the scraps we removed when we moved the French doors from between the bedroom and living room, to the dining room/kitchen.

Yep, big old antique longleaf pine boards, nine-inches wide.

I've recently been downsizing our furniture, repainting older pieces, moving them around, and even replaced our large bed with a queen-sized. I wanted a simple, wooden headboard to go with the simple Ikea storage base we bought. We already had the dark brown side tables, bought at World Market years ago. The art (to be replaced with an original painting) was a Goodwill Store find. The vintage red pillowcase is a pattern I love, and covers a throw pillow. (Yes, we moved the lamps closer to the bed. LOL)

And this is what we ended up with!


I had to increase the contrast so you can see the individual boards. Unlike a lot of folks, we put the boards vertical instead of horizontal. I'm thinking that eventually I'll do a horizontal wood feature of some kind on the wall behind the bed. If you take a peek at the right corner, you'll see the original antique pine floorboards, too!

Like everything here, it's a work-in-progress!

happy trails,

bobbi c.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Where the heck have I BEEN?

Dear friends,

Some of you have wondered where I've been. Since posting about my flower bouquet back in February, I've had an unfortunate sequence of events, as Lemony Snicket would say.

I went into the hospital in late March for a "routine" surgery. Eleven days later I had a raging infection, was rushed back into emergency surgery to "scrape out the oogie bits," two days in a row I had surgeries. Yes, three surgeries in less than three weeks! I ended back in the hospital for five more days until I was stable enough to go home.

I was sent home with a strange contraption called a WOUND VAC attached to me. In my drugged state, I saw the name of the thing, the Vaculta, as VACULA, and so I started calling it Count Vacula. It literally was a huge sponge thingy crammed into my massive lower abdomen wound, with constant suction provided by a pump I had to wear around my neck or near my person for four months. It was a mess, I was instructed not to let it leak, I was encased in horrible allergenic adhesives and huge pieces of sticky stuff from my belly button to god-knows-where. The pump would ramp up and "purr" when happy, but make horrible noises when not, usually after midnight.

But, Dear Reader, I survived! I've learned much more about wounds, scabs and scars than I ever thought I'd have to, I learned how wonderful home health care nurses can be over their 25+ visits here, three times a week to change the toxic bandages until I was almost healed. I learned how many infections happen in hospitals these days (WAY TOO MANY!), and how many people die from them. Sigh.

Oh yeah, and how many hospitals DO NOT report these like they're supposed to!

I'm just now, almost five months later, able to go outside and water my container garden. I can't pick up things, dig things or stay outside in this Godforsaken Texas heat for more than a few minutes.

Needless to say, it's made me more motivated than ever to downsize the yard maintenance and continue my experiments with growing things in containers closer to the house and water supply.

This plant is happy right now!
So, until fall, or cooler weather (snort), stay inside, drink lots of liquids, eat some watermelon! 'K?

Happy trails,

bobbi c.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Birthday Flower Bouquet

I can stretch a bouquet longer than almost anyone I know. This one started out as a Valentine's bunch, and lasted til my birthday, yesterday. I do use the "stuff" they give you to prolong the life of them, and cut the stems periodically and change the water.

This was a little "doo-dad" I found yesterday. Love it! It's perfect for those single blossoms, and I can use my antique collection of Mason/Ball jars if I want. This one came with the jars.


Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday Texas Cottage Garden Inspiration

Dear peeps!

My post from yesterday stirred up such a flurry that I thought I'd post more garden photos. We had some rain last night, so everything is fresh, smells good and clean. It's a bit cooler, but signs of spring are poppin' out everywhere!

Enjoy!

bobbi c.

Cenizo (Texas sage) attracts a LOT of busy bees when it blooms--every time it rains.

A little visitor to the garden. I named him "Hector."

A little porch-side pocket garden in a previous home. Unfortunately, new owners ripped it ALL out. WHY do people do that? Stoopid, I guess.

Esperanza blooms. LOVE this yellow. Also known as Yellow Bells.

This prickly pear LOVES this iron pot. This was several years ago. It's much larger now.

Little corner grotto garden. Blooming sage in pot, gazing ball, cement bunny. All of which moved to our new home.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Garden Inspiration

Dear friends,

We're warming up here in central Texas, although the annual "Bobbi's Birthday Blizzard Blast" is around the corner. It seems that for more years than I can count, we've had some kind of "weather event" during the week of my birthday. Which, actually, is this week. :-)

So instead of spouting on and on about what you should be doing now in the garden, and how you can keep the grackles away from your seedlings (we're in the middle of a Grackopolypse right now), or how you too can make compost from old kitchen chairs, I decided to just inspire you with some purty photos. How's that? :-)


A somewhat blurry photo of my new plant table I put near the north window in my dining room. It's not bright enough to grow seedlings with just available light, but an OTT light I used for artwork is keeping a small patio tomato blooming and happy. And yes, there are tiny baby toms on it. The bouquet is from Valentine's Day.

Succulents LOVE this terra cotta chicken planter!

My granny's vintage bowl, vintage cat salt and pepper shakers from Mama, and a harvest of Italian peppers.

An antique rose, covered with raindrops.

Cedar raised beds, at a previous home. Surrounded by a seven-foot deer fence. That's the reality of trying to garden in the Texas Hill Country (Leander).

Largest rose hip I've ever seen, on one of the very old roses growing here at Catnip Cottage. I'm not sure of the variety.

And a pot of lemon thyme (right) and a small bay tree. Since deceased. Can't win them all! LOL


Until next time---
Happy trails from my Texas cottage garden,

bobbi c.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Texas winter...

Dear friends,

Our winter here has been very hard on my achy joints and muscles, and all the rain and almost constant grey skies have taken a toll on my mood. That's why, when plants went on clearance around Thanksiving, I splurged on a wild ginger. I've wanted one for years and knew that they might not make it through our winters.

I was gifted with a few blooms soon after buying the plant. Of course, the photo doesn't do them justice. I expected an exotic scent. Not so much.

Photo copyright ©2016 by Bobbi A. Chukran. All Rights Reserved.
 They did well for a while. Actually, they did well until the first cold snap we had. It wasn't quite freezing, only in the 40s. But there's a reason these plants are known as "tender tropicals." Right now the pot of dead leaves is sitting in my makeshift "faux greenhouse" which is a sheet of plastic across my garden shed porch alcove. Will they survive? We shall see.

Indoors, we're starting another phase of our old house remodeling--turning the back laundry/junk room (with seven huge windows) into a dedicated garden/plant room. Hopefully. We have a lot of constraints--no walls to put walls on, those pesky windows, plumbing that has to be moved, etc. etc. I'll share pics as they become available.

Today it's warmer and the sun is shining. And for that, I'm grateful.

Happy trails!

bobbi a. chukran