28 September 2010

the miss kim lilac makes an appearance at a funeral.

although the lilac is well beyond its blooming period, i had a call that made it well worth noting on these interwebs because of the sentimental intentions stringed with wanting to purchase a sampling of the shrub.

a woman phoned, leaving a message asking for a dark purple lilac to take to a funeral. her goal was to buy the favorite flowering shrub of the woman who died and to give it to her family at the funeral-- instead of cut flowers. although always gifted with care and the expression of compassion, to me, cut flowers seem like a vain and emptier representation for what could be possible through plants and their final scenes. with a view based in symbolism, cut flowers  reinforce the idea that a beautiful life happened and was abruptly ended.

i've always found the idea of having cut flowers given to you as indicative of a superficial relation that shows withering in the relationship, lacking a serious background, like the cut flowers which lack roots and can only be appreciated for their beauty, then to be spent and tossed, if not dried and hung up somewhere.

and to get a bit soapbox-like, so many instances in television and film depict a man buying cut flowers as a gift for the woman he fought with just before that, and the woman usually coos over them, accepting them gratefully. but in most instances, the actual problem the fighting was over is not fixed or resolved, so to feel like flowers solve anything, especially when they are such a typical purchase for apologies, again feels a bit soulless to me.

but my views are often far from what the masses are, so if you disagree, then you are in line with many before me who see the situation on the majority level and will keep supporting the idea of buying cut flowers. in this free but down and out country, we all do our own thing anyway.

but to me, it always felt more meaningful to receive a plant that has roots, is in a pot, and can either stay in a pot and thrive, or be put into the ground. that is the significance-- to grow and continue pushing onward--not dying post-bloom, lacking a foundation or what keeps a plant alive.

what is more honorable than to keep someone's spirit alive than by gifting an actual plant that can continue to exist in that person's memory ? transference ! plus, it's a positive for the earth. it's space being taken up the good way.

and in my rant-made ways, this all then stems back to a woman asking for a dark purple-blooming lilac. unfortunately, all of ours are in the ground, rooted, and would probably go into shock if we dug them out at this point. plus, i doubt ours were in the color scheme this person wanted. so i suggested she check elsewhere, but she said she already had and that most nurseries were out of a lilac supply.

so i called our main grower, and luckily, he had some miss kim lilac available.  miss kim is a dwarf korean lilac, staying much smaller than the common lilac.


i asked the woman to look at the miss kim lilac online to make sure she definitely wanted it because it's not quite a dark purple but more of a light lavender, with some dark spots early in the blossoming process.

she called back to say she wanted the shrub and prepaid for it. terry picked it up, and all was well.

i really just love the idea of someone going out of her way to think as thoughtfully as possible with something so emotionally complex and trying on those close to the person who recently died. plants have so much to say, to speak, and i think they do any even better job at it when they have the opportunity to continue growing well beyond the lifespan of the person who is being bereaved.

27 September 2010

raw can roll café spills out a luxury of a saturday lunch.

being pegged daily at my full-time job means i don't often have an opportunity to do lunch, as they say-- at least not out with friends in public places away from this barn. but i've had off a few saturdays over the past few months, including this weekend which i used for a venture to raw can roll café in douglassville with the ever-mentionable foodie blogger extraordinaire, amy strauss of apples and cheese, please.

i've never had a specifically all-raw meal before this one, and with me slowly stomping out  my former picky-eater ways, this served as a big chomp in the right direction.

 ( all photos are by ms. amy strauss )

my main double delicious dish, the middle eastern combination, involved a whopping pile of hummus and tabouli with addictive slices of flat bread. also included were a side salad with japanese carrot ginger dressing and cucumber dill marinate.

my beverage of choice for quick cold sips was a chantilly lace smoothie made of almon milk, vanilla, and banana. amy tested it out and ordered one too. with several other smoothie medleys on the menu, i am enthusiastic to try out another on my next visit.

amy favored the special of the day, mexican tostadas with a curiously crafted faux-meat that didn't leave us feeling weighted or sluggish as the real thing often does. we both  responded in feeling good, energetic, and all things opposite of exhaustion after eating. this is often noted of raw food diets and consumption.

a few shops down, pure body wellness offered free cucumber facials and massages for the afternoon. raw can roll café proprietor sheryll chavarria owns both locations and performed my facial, which left my often angry skin reacting a bit more kindly to me while the sun was still perched up in the sky for the next few hours.

and a throw of thai spring rolls along with hummus, a red pepper hummus,  and more flat bread pieces kindly sat out on this 1950s mint and pink door-turned-tabletop for guests. getting your nom nom on for the better is quite doable in such scenarios.

harpist betsy scott chapman played for visitors to the holistic wellness center in a sweeping contrast to all of our busy, rushed days full of cars buzzing past and so much other noise pollution to rack our brains, with this as a perfect balance of better sound for the proverbial noggin.

25 September 2010

flowers and sushi.

last week, before running inside to down some specialty rolls at fujiyama japanese steak house and sushi bar in pottstown, i noticed some orange cosmos, a zinnia parade, and some annual spring aster kids popping along the parking lot still in a september timeline.

here were the rolls, blurrily so.

( triple lady's roll and yo-yo roll )

( halfway house roll, bobby roll, and eel )

i love sushi, note at life.

24 September 2010

a praying mantis preferred my porch.

this praying mantis preferred my porch as a hangout spot yesterday morning.

the creatures are so lengthy; no wonder she's female.

23 September 2010

wild purple phlox from early june.

these blooms are long gone by now, but i finally found an old folder on my laptop with wild purple phlox photographs in it. they date back to the first week of june.

terry remembered at the time that i'd been talking about these flowers a lot because i love them. so he saw some along route 663 after a delivery and picked some for me, noting their variation in color despite all being from the same place. 

i don't normally want anything to do with pulling flowers from the ground or having them purchased / cut. but these are quite in the weed family, and i feel like it's at least a better justice having photographed them because there's something to be studied here with the different pigmentation across blooms from flowers all rooted in the same vicinity. i wondered if maybe the soil varied in its contents, or something like that. any ideas ? i'm not so swell at science, but i'd love to know the reasoning.


i have two fat heaps of these growing in my garden, with some burrowing to my neighbor's side of the yard. i dug them up two years ago from the back of the barn area. anything purple always wins out with me for nature and the momma.

22 September 2010

hoax-hoot ?

several years ago, one of my brothers propped this fake owl facing downward from some beams in the upper floor of the barn so that from the bottom, it could easily spook you as real, briefly, and scare the you know what out of you.

that's sunlight poking through the beams with the cobwebs adorning the hoax-hooting type.

boo. (b-hoot ?)

21 September 2010

pandas eat bamboo ?

i am guessing that some pandas eat beyond just bamboo in their diets, but that old snickers commercial (would you like to eat lunch with me ?) and its dialogue still rings through my ears once in a while.

fortunately, while many known bamboo types are invasive and incredibly difficult to uproot from soil once the thick, white, and wiry tendrils have made friends with the ground-- there are some domesticated ornamental varieties which are safe and beautiful for home landscapes.

dwarf heavenly bamboo, or nandina domestica, comes in several tiny-sized varieties. this one below is fire power. i love its papery feel.

i don't know the exact name of this one, but it's one of the taller varieties that stays narrow, non-invasive, and gets maybe about six to eight feet tall. like most bamboo, it is semi-evergreen. they're all mostly green throughout the year but are churning out their fall color.

and then not far behind the barn is one of the in fact invasive types, sprouting shoots like madly mentored stalks.

in the woods way back behind the garden center, bamboo reaching probably twenty feet or more in the air is what i used to call bamboo jail, when my cousin laura and i discovered it. i wish i had photographs of it, but traveling back there is jungle-like.

16 September 2010

a no 'poo update.

and now for an update on my no 'poo regiment. the last time i used store-purchased shampoo (proctor & gamble owned pantene, i confess) dates back to the 4th of september, a saturday evening. the next night, i skipped shampooing. the following monday, i performed the baking soda rinse and ended it with the apple cider vinegar rinse.

my original experiments began in this no 'poo post.

a respectable and well-rounded summary of this whole process is written by simple mom.

i've read that it can take two weeks to several months until your hair transitions back to its natural way of taking care of itself away from over-oil producing habit of commercialized shampoos and conditioners. but so far, i haven't really experienced anything too frustrating. in fact, the days i don't wash have been less grease-induced than when i would skip a day of no shampoo, when i shampooed. that says a lot, i'd say.

my washery-do days are mondays and thursdays. i admit, i love these days, or evenings rather, as i miss getting extra clean. i love shower power time, especially in the past year.

rosemary essential oil or other scents of essential oil of your particular preference are suggested as something to mix in with your washing time to help give hair a bit of a nasal-plus boost for the better.

so i stopped at a new shop in town, earth reflections @ 12 south reading avenue, to check out the essential oil supply. owner isabel cachiguango helped me to sift through the bottles till i found one i liked. i finally chose what was labeled as verbena, which i believe after some research is probably properly titled lemon verbena.

native to chile and extracted from a deciduous shrub, lemon verbena of course smells lemony but with an additional zip of the sweets.

in terms of therapeutic properties, it is antispasmodic, an aphrodisiac, a digestive aid, as well as an emollient, insecticide, and sedative, according to the south african run esoteric oils.

it is apparently a nudge upward and away from depression, which i could deduce just by smelling it.

i'm also going to test out lemon juice in the future in the place of apple cider vinegar, and possibly honey as well, if i don't spoon the jar's sticky love out myself to devour via the mouth. it happens !


in recent weeks, i've revised my plan with using the baking soda paste-form effort instead of just a very diluted rinse. this seems to help more thoroughly clean my roots, which may be trickier with my original scheme due to my lengthy hair.

at the suggestion of many other no 'poo types out there, i've also resorted to purchasing a spray bottle which i have filled with water and very modest drips of olive oil and my lemon verbena essential oil to help with furious tangles.

and i switched weeks ago to diluted lemon juice as conditioner instead of apple cider vinegar. i vote for this direction !

12 September 2010

purpled nature-speak.

some kind deeds take shape in rounded glue-stuck boxes planted top-wise with seashells. yesterday, my buca and sushi date friend formerly of mohnton and now a birdsboro resident, gifted me this quaint little container boasting of beach-found cuts of purple.

she remembered a creative nonfiction essay i wrote in college called purpled aches, in which i referenced all things purple to be observed in nature. this inspired her to craft a seashell-tucked box for me, propelled by her last visit to the ocean for summer.

she even wrapped the beige-tanned wood in light purple ribbon, glued well to the sides.

i suggested we give some fresh air to craft night again, also a thing of college days. it's worth some of our energy, i figure.

with me not sure quite what to store inside the box, the ever-glorious gloria sands recommended that i use it to house my modest collection of firebug beads. no idea could be more worthy, as i've had my ut oh beads and freddie the firebug bead in little plastic bags sitting on a shelf by my teevee for months. so that idea wins out. 

here are some of my ut oh beads, otherwise known as craptastic beads not wanted by their maker. but i hand-picked each one, so i am bound to love them all. a few i've given away while introducing the beads to newbies, so my collection has dwindled slightly.

here is a lady-penguin bead i gifted to one of my nieces, so unfortunately, her adorably tiny self is no longer in my possession to join the purple persuaded box.

and here is my freddie darling !
and is he ever a darling. (rhetorically or not, yes !)

i am always calling them mood perking, the beads, because that's absolutely what they are when you eye-gulp them. to see more, visit the firebug beads etsy page or facebook.

i may post the purple-speak essay next spring when it's more seasonally relevant, once the redbud trees are in bloom along the roads to match my sweep of text from years ago.

09 September 2010

math is confused with this tomato / these tomatoes.

and lillee grace said behold, the almighty mutated tomato of two becoming one, that amalgamation. well, she didn't say that, being two-years-old and all. but she might have if her vocabulary were a pinch further along.

she at least oohed and ahhed at the sight of it. the oohing is evident by her facial expression above with how her lips curled into that sound.

my garden is the womb of all sorts of red bite-worthy creations, and sometimes mutations. but that's almost giving too much credibility to what's normal. i like my malformed tomato set.

a few days later, her cousin lilly jay ripped the masses apart and threw them onto my grass. and that was the end of the gawk-worthy vegetable.

and then, it's only fair to show lillee grace's sweet lady shoes of tomato times. i have a feeling these just wouldn't cut it on adult feet, as seeming so cute and all. they work best on little toes and feet.

this is probably where obsessions with shoes start for many women.

08 September 2010

a gifted watermelon and some lanky tales.

a knock at the door is often something you dread, or something you really look forward to. and sometimes there's a medium feel to it. but the positives burst air-wise when your neighbor is standing on your porch holding a whopping melon to gift you.

i especially admired the thinly white stretch of a star tracing out from the middle of the watermelon once i cut it quasi-crookedly down the middle. and it was not huge, but still monumental in its own way.

when i was little, my one older brother told me my other brother swallowed a watermelon seed, and it started to grow in his stomach, so they had to take him to the hospital to have it surgically removed.

you can guess that my family loved telling me tall tales in my more gullible days. of course they found it amusing when i believed the stories.

that same brother also once told me that while playing hide and go seek, he found my sister first and threatened to beat her up if she didn't tell him where our remaining brother was. this was all before i was born, mind you. so since our remaining brother was hiding quaintly in the dryer, they turned it on, with him rumbling around inside. they said he shrunk, and that's why today, he's the shorter brother.

i don't think i could tell a tale like that if i tried. i'm stuck to the truth like  it's some kind of gloppy glue. but tales have their place, and so do melons.

07 September 2010

abandoning shampoo ?

foodie blogger extraordinaire amy strauss of apples and cheese, please showed me this blog post about abandoning the act of shampooing our hair.

with the goal in mind to always question everything, while appreciating life all the while, i stopped to consider this idea. i knew that hundreds of years ago, or even a century ago, people washed their hair less. but i hadn't thought about the commercialization of shampoo leading to our more american, everyday shampooing routine.

most people i know shampoo their hair everyday. i usually do too, but sometimes i skip a day.

and i don't handle greasy hair well. but overproduction of oils to keep up with the stripping of them by shampoo's efforts makes some sense. i'd thought about that in the past, but again, i never imagined that hair could do its own work if i just let it.

plus, the harsh, unnatural chemicals leaking into your scalp before rinsing, well-- sadly, i hadn't pondered much on that front either.

this article had some additional eye-opening tidbits to absorb beyond what was mentioned in the links in the blog post referenced above.

last night, i skipped washing my hair. that's no big change of pace, as i do it once a week or maybe every two weeks. although i'm always grateful to wash my hair again the next time then, like ahh, how refreshing it is to be clean-clean-clean.

i figured i might test this out eventually. but for once, i had all the needed ingredients already in my house, so i'm doing it up. 

i used just 1 tablespoon baking soda with 16 ounces of water, scrubbed finger-wise at my scalp and throughout my tresses that reach just a few inches shy of my elbows. afterward, i mixed 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 16 ounces of water and applied it to my hair. i did soak the ends of my hair into the golden-hued liquid of the measuring cup, as i have devastatingly knotty habits per strand sometimes. i read to let the vinegar sit for a minute or two, so i rinsed it out as well as i could afterward.

most people note that the stench of vinegar won't stay in your hair if you rinse it out well. i really tried to rinse it out thoroughly, but i still detect a hint of it at my shoulders every now and then. it's noted to use apple cider vinegar, as white vinegar is a bit too harsh for this purpose.

i was surprised to discover that my hair didn't feel clumpy, knotty, and dirty after i used the baking soda. and in fact, i was a bit caught off guard by it almost feeling smooth post-apple cider vinegar.

the ultimate test came when i brushed my hair. if i don't use intensive conditioner (leaving it on for 5 minutes) after using shampoo, the bristles of my brush fight very hard with my proverbial locks. but a pleasant shock resulted instead; the brush ran smoothly through almost all of my hair except for a few wads of knotty layers. that is not bad at all compared to when i don't condition at all post-shampooing, which is rare.

and now i'm noticing that my hair doesn't feel heavy but instead refreshingly light and clean. and an hour or two following the regiment, i stepped into the bathroom and realized that my hair looked more dry at the roots, but the good way (as in, not greasy or oily) but also fluffier, of more air, like volume ?

but the scalp and hair's time needed to adjust healthily to non-shampooing can range from several weeks to months. so the actual differences to be seen haven't had a chance to happen yet. 

the word balance, in the natural sense, which seems to be the only sense i can imagine or picture, is something i'm appreciating more lately. maybe my scalp will as well.

we'll see if i can keep this up, and hopefully i won't run back to shampoo and conditioner. no promises, but i will try my best at this one !

06 September 2010

lilly jay meets the newer sheron faye & other escapades.

this weekend, my niece lilly jay and i visited the sweet young cow named sheron faye at wholesome dairy farms. when not spying on the young crew of cows, lilly was attempting to pick yellow wildflowers growing tall and lanky out in the meadow.


after leaving the cows behind for the day, we ventured to fisher's farm fresh produce and scooped up three oversized vanilla sugar, sprinkled-happily cookies care of the black buggy baking company

almost looking like a cookie thief running off with her supply of disc-shaped desserts, one was for her, one was for her cousin lillee grace, and the final sweet was for me.

back at my house, lilly managed to eat all my sweet, miniature tomatoes that were ripe on the vine in my garden. it was probably about half a dozen though, so not too many.

she admits to being a fan of my glider chair and spent some time in porch rail jail too.

we also trotted our way down to a playground on franklin street where lilly could not go on one of the three blue slides because somebody had pooped on it. who poops on a slide ? the nearby teenagers have vengeance for that place ever since parents and neighbors started complaining about the hoodlum ways of older kids loitering and smoking around the playground. it's a shame. so i suspect the fecal joke might be a result of their efforts.

but we had a jolly old time despite the one out-of-service slide. and lilly jay worked on her fear of the see-saw so that she could appreciate how darn fun those things are.

that is a sly face, i know.