Wicked Wednesday……… {No. 4}

Each time I type that title I break out into the song from Wicked….you know, the last line…

“I’m feeling wicked!”

If you have not seen the show…by all means…..see it! On Broadway preferably.

Superb!

When the settlers arrived in Jamestown there was a beautiful weed that seemed to flourish. Since other food was scarce…they thought they would add it to their diets.

They died horrible deaths….complete with convulsions and seizures.

The plant? Datura.

Commonly called Moonflower.

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All parts of the plant contains the toxic alkaloids…but the seeds are where they are most concentrated. A woman in Canada used the seeds in a dish she was cooking because she thought they were a type of seasoning….she went into a coma for 24 hours and was hospitalized for 3 days.

In the past many unwise individuals {teenagers} goofed around and made a tea with the leaves….it caused dangerous hallucinations for days, fevers high enough to kill brain cells, and failure of the nervous system….leading to coma and death.

Not only do I grow moonflowers in our garden each year….I give seedlings as gifts. Maybe I should put a warning label on them:

Warning: Do not chew on seeds, use in food, or make tea with any part of this lovely plant. Just look at it.

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Who knew that grass could kill you. There are actually many types of dangerous grasses.

A big one is Johnson Grass…..it grows throughout the U.S.

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It contains enough cyanide to kill a horse. Death is usually very quick….preceded by hours of anxiety, convulsions, and staggering. Oh joy.

Just read a caption on Pinterest that said…’Did you know you can juice Johnson Grass just like wheat grass?’ Yeah. Right.

No, thanks.

Watch what you munch on~

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Wicked Wednesday…..{No. 2}

I hope you are having a Wonderful Wednesday…not a wicked one! But I have some more fun, wicked plant facts to share……

Did you know that the Greeks used hellebore in one of the earliest known instances of chemical warfare?

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Or that here in the American South kudzu has literally eaten buildings and cars? {I know if you live here….you already knew that one!}

Kudzu Eating a Building

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Kudzu Eating a Car

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Or that a killer algae escaped from Jacque Cousteau’s aquarium and continues today to smother the ocean floor all over the world?

Cousteau's Killer Algae

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Encountered any of these???? =)

Have a Wonderful Wednesday~

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Heart Rocks…….

Many years ago Handsome started giving me rocks that he would find in the shape of hearts.  Not ones that had been cut or shaped into a heart…but natural ones. My heart rock collection has grown ….. and continues!

It’s like a little Godwink when you look down and find a piece of nature that has been shaped into a heart.  {My pastor’s wife dropped by one day and left me a potato that was shaped like a heart. It was fun to find it in the mailbox, and then display it in the kitchen. It lasted several months! ha!}

heart rock collection

They have come from all over the nation….and some from other lands.

It’s like Valentine’s year-round! =)

Do you collect anything from nature?  Or is there one thing in particular that you have always collected, and probably always will?

There are some things that I collect for a season….and then move on; but heart rocks, vintage shave brushes, and ‘P’s’ are something that I always have and probably always will collect.

You can see my post about Collecting P here

and Collecting Vintage Shave Brushes here

Happy Beginning of Valentine Week!

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Wicked Wednesday…..{No. 1}

Since I love to garden I have always enjoyed learning about plants, their habits, their uses through history, etc. I find it fascinating.  Over the  years I have learned so many fun facts…ones I had never heard before.  So many plants are wicked! 😉

I thought it would be fun to scour through my garden journal and share some of the fun Wicked Plants that I’ve learned about over the years….since spring is around the corner and those of us that like to garden are beginning to think about the plants we want to add to our yards.

Did you know that “Mary Wanna”…… I’m not gong to use the real name because I will get some crazy, goofy hits on my site!  Several months ago I was writing about painting a large _________-of-drawers…..and the word ‘large’ paired with the word ‘chest’ landed so many hits on our blog it almost shut down….I got some crazy followers….but they quickly unfollowed because they were definitely disappointed. ha! So, back to my story…..

Did you know that “Mary Wanna” was sold as candy on the streets of NYC from the mid-1800’s-around 1900? It was called ‘Arabian Gunje of Enchantment’.  Candy. On the street. To kids. ha!

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Did you know that Monkshood/wolfsbane/leopard’s bane {Aconite} is commonly mistaken for an edible herb? In the 1800’s a cook went outside to get horseradish, accidentally picked monkshood, and killed 2 of the dinner guests by putting it in the food.  All parts of this plant are toxic. Nazis used it to make poison bullets. The poison attacks the nerves and eventually stops the heart. Even a brief skin contact with this plant can lead to tingling, numbness, and cardiac symptons. A Canadian actor died after encountering monkshood on a hiking trip in 2004. ugh! Look at that picture up there….it’s gorgeous! It would be just like me to pick this, come home, put it in vases all over the house and then keel over dead. ha! A big sacrifice just to want lovely fresh flowers in the house.

Do you have any wicked facts about plants that you were surprised to find out about?

Trying not to get poisoned~

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Winter Scenes and Ponderings…….

I wanted to share these beautiful winter images with you…just for your weekend. We don’t get a lot of snow here in Eastern NC….and we are expected to get some today! Woohoo! Even if it is only slush….I will have fun enjoying the view. Snow is such a great insulator….you feel like you are in another world and there is so much peace and quiet. Everything slows down and it seems your senses are heightened.

Eye beauty……

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Something to ponder for your weekend, too. When Handsome and I were praying about the new year approaching and making decisions about directions we desired to go with businesses, etc. …..the hardest thing to figure out is:

When do you persevere and continue to strive and hang on…..

and when do you know it’s time to let go, regroup, and move on?

How do YOU know?

Sometimes that still, small voice is SO still and small…..it’s more like a squeak. So, how do you KNOW?  =) We finally got it….but it was hard.

Something to ponder for a cozy, winter weekend……

Stay warm~

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Couldn’t leave you without a fun chuckle….this is SO me:

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Bwahahahahahahahaha!

Autumn Inspiration……

This is my favorite time of the year! I want to hold onto every second and not miss it.

Even as things seems to speed up and get so busy and full….autumn still says, “Slow down and cuddle up. Savor. Enjoy. Breathe. Prepare.”

I love that.

{I think it also says, ‘Eat’….but if you read yesterday’s post…you know, I’m just not going there….}

I love signs….and have always loved a good hayride. I think it would be fun to have an autumn party for just adults and have a couple’s hayride.  Wouldn’t that be great!?

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We went on a picnic this past weekend in a spot that resembles this picture….I love fall picnics. The crisp air, the fabrics, the smells, the colors…….

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I get so excited when I get to get my favorite boot socks out. They almost make me giddy.

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And putting leaves on everything…….

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I think large groups of pumpkins and cornstalks are so fun…and speak of the season at hand.  You just need a cup of hot cider……

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Bonfires! The smell of woodsmoke is intoxicating to me. It’s one of my favorite smells.  There is something mesmerizing about a fire outside….and so relaxing. We use our fire pit as often as possible!

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Living in Oak Cottage……we are surrounded by oaks. We do a lot of raking. ha! It’s a ‘every weekend activity’ beginning mid to late October and lasting into January.

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I love the upholstery tacks used to decorate these pumpkins…..

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So glad October is here…….

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Hope wherever you are that you are having a wonderful autumn….

Fun Autumn Find ::: Green Acorns

Last year when we had the disaster…..the 150 foot oak tree that fell onto our cottage during a hurricane……we started finding the neatest things all over our yard.

I guess I always knew that acorns were green while they were still growing…and not yet “ripe”. {Do acorns get ‘ripe’?} Well, you know…….

oak acorn

But usually when they started falling all over the yard and hitting us on the head {we are completely convinced that the squirrels actually are THROWING them at our heads!}…they are usually a lovely brown or, like this year, almost black. And, of course, we use them to decorate for autumn and for all kinds of other neat things.

oak acorn

But last year, all over our garden and yard, we had these fun little green acorns. We gathered them up and put them in containers. They were a fun bright spot to look at during all the arduous cleanup and repairs.

oak acorn

Aren’t they fun!?  Brown little caps and bright lime green bodies. {Do acorns have bodies?} I’m obviously NOT well-versed in acorns. Seeing as how this IS Cottage in the Oaks…and our home is named Oak Cottage…..I better get with it!

oak acorn

Even though I don’t have tons of acorn knowledge…..every time I see them they remind me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.”

Living in a home surrounded by huge oak trees….and seeing their strength and stamina….and then looking at these tiny acorns and realizing that this is how they started is encouraging. God has put in this little acorn everything it needs to become a mighty oak….even though it doesn’t look like it…..it has all it needs to turn into a towering tree. One of the strongest.

Big things start with small ideas. Small steps. Bits of intention. A little thought. A small gesture. One little step forward…….

Today that is what these little green acorns are reminding me…….

God has put everything I need within me, all I need to do is act on the small ideas and take a small step forward……

You, too.

What small little ideas are you feeling a nudge to act upon?

Blessings~

Bird Feeding……

I hope you all had a super weekend. We are having some lovely autumn weather roll in here…..how about you? Has autumn arrived where you live or is it still feeling like summer?

Feeding birds is something that we have always done….year round. We enjoy hearing their lovely songs throughout the day and watching them at the feeders.

In our garden we usually use safflower seed because squirrels do not like it and will not have anything to do with it.  We do offer another seed blend in one squirrel-proof feeder.

We also have several suet feeders all around the yard and garden. Some are hanging and some of nailed to trees.  All the birds love this! We purchase the suet that is called Hot Pepper Suet….because, once again, the squirrels will not come near it. {Score!}

In the spring during nesting season we hang balls of thread, dryer lint, etc. out and enjoy watching the birds use it to make their nests.

Songbirds LOVE fruit….especially apples and oranges. We try to keep these out year round….and in the summer and fall the butterflies will enjoy these, too.

I thought these were some fun bird feeding ideas…..

Three containers of fruit and dryer lint/thread/nesting material….

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Love this chandelier turned bird feeder……

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These are very easy to make with peanut butter and birdseed……

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This is, too! Just string peanuts on a wire and hang……

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If you don’t have a squirrel problem…..it’s great to offer shelled nuts……

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I shared last year about our Squirrels here…….it’s a constant battle!

Do you enjoy feeding birds in your yard/garden?

Happy Monday~

Saying Good-Bye to Summer…..

Today is the last day of summer.

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To me September 1st is the official first day of autumn….and I am so happy!  I love autumn and I am ready to welcome it in.  We’ve had a wonderful summer…..filled with fun and great memories and mile markers.  I’m ready to move into the next season.

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Tonight is the full Blue Moon….I hope that wherever you live it will not be cloudy and you can go outside to check it out. I have a habit of going outside each night before turning in to walk down our garden paths and check on the moon and the stars. It puts things in perspective to me….whatever might be weighing on my mind or heart….the One who made the moon and stars has already got it covered. I can lay down and rest.

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We are headed to some friends’ house for dinner and then to Busch Gardens this weekend…what are you doing fun this weekend?  Relaxing at home? Having a barbecue? Taking a quick trip? Visiting family or friends? It all sounds fun to me!

Whatever you do this weekend….I hope it nourishes your soul and refreshes your body.

Happy Weekend~

One Year Ago Today…..

Today is our first day of school. I’m a bit more ready this year than last.  We are starting under much different circumstances than last year.  One year ago today Hurricane Irene came through our city and felled a 150 foot oak tree onto our cottage. It was quite a day. We were very blessed…none of us were hurt, and the cottage could be repaired. Nevertheless, it was very stressful. I shared this story last year about what I learned from

Irene and Billy Joe Bob……

August 27, 2011:

Well.  We made it through Hurricane Irene.  Our city looks like a war zone.  The damage is horrendous.  Had no idea.  The university here has shut down. {Universities usually don’t shut down–unless the chancellor can’t walk across the street from his house to his office.}

For us, personally:

a 150+ foot {I originally thought it was only 75!} oak tree fell onto our cottage

we lost numerous parts of our English cottage garden

various other damage throughout the yard and exterior

BUT, we are OK.  That’s what is most important.

We all worked like horses all day and into the evening trying to get things to where we could function and cleaned up.

{Best Boot Camp workout out there!  I was tired of my daily workout routine, anyway!}

BUT, before that……I sat in a corner of the dining room and cried.

And ate Pumpkin Cheesecake.

thought it helped.  Because, once I had finished it—I stood up, pulled my boot straps tied-together tie-dyed jumpsuit straps, with the big hole on my backside up……I was ready to get on with it. {At least I thought.}

Not long into our work….it appeared.

I was stressed.  I was worn out.  I was sad.  I was disappointed.

No one could do anything correctly.

I opened my mouth and acid spewed all over my family.

I cried again.

A bit later I confessed. I apologized. I hugged.

But I thought…..did I leave any scars?  Maybe if I had cried in the corner and chewed on God’s word and promises instead of Pumpkin Cheesecake–just maybe the acid would have been a bit more neutralized.

Flash forward many hours…..and Billy-Joe-Bob arrived to work on getting the tree off the house.

I’m not sure—but I think he had one tooth.

From the time he arrived acid spewed from his mouth in all directions.  In fact, acid spewed from his being—even when he didn’t even open his mouth.

He was the most angry/hateful/bitter-actng person I think I have ever been around.

He didn’t like me.

And, I didn’t really like him.

I offered to get him something to drink.  He cursed at me.

I offered to get him a cold rag when he knocked a hole in the top of his head.

He cursed at me.

I said ‘Thank you’.  He cursed at me.

As he worked—I watched and observed.

What in the world would make someone so full of acidic stench??

How does he live like that?

I kept observing…he already didn’t like me, so I flat out stared at times.  Intently.

I learned something from Billy-Joe-Bob yesterday.

I learned that I don’t want to be like that. But I was earlier in the day.

And I realized that a life filled with acid comes from running to Pumpkin Cheesecake, alcohol, tobacco, people, talents, gifts, shopping……. ANYTHING other than the God waiting to restore and fill us up with what we need to get through.

Yep.  I watched Billy-Joe-Bob. And I don’t want to be him.

{And I’m not just referring to the one tooth!?}

Next time I head for the corner of the dining room it won’t be with Pumpkin Cheesecake.

{I’ll save that for when I come out!}

Today….I’m very thankful for:

safety

help with all our needs

my family—-with me

Billy-Joe-Bob

the new vast amount of sunshine coming into my garden

large holes in the ground….maybe for a pond?

a fresh start

a fresh outlook

a new day

Blessings to your Monday~