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Posts Tagged ‘plants’

Acorns and Potato Flowers Acorns dangle from oak trees to kiss summer flowers goodbye. With the weather still summery warm, it’s hard to believe that in nine days, fall officially begins. My backyard reflects the coming change. Summer vegetable plants look forlorn and have slowed down their production. Bird feeders require almost daily refills. Squirrels scamper back and forth on the branches of my Japanese maple tree, looking for food and breaking branches as they go. The seasons of my life seem to pass by faster and faster. I’m reluctant to let another season in my life go by, but fall approaches and it deserves to be fully appreciated.

#1 – Foiling Squirrels
Snack Bag Squirrel Deterrent If you look closely at this picture you’ll notice two shiny decorations. As mentioned above, the squirrels have been wreaking havoc in my Japanese maple tree. One night while watching television and eating Skinny Pop with my husband, I came up with an idea. Many snacks, like potato chips and popcorn, come in Mylar bags. Instead of throwing the empty bags away, I rinsed them out and cut them open along the sides. Using clothes pins, I fastened the bags in strategic places to my tree. Every couple of days, I try to outwit the squirrels and move the bags around. So far, so good – no new piles of broken branches on the ground. The only downside to this is trying to explain the “decorations” to visitors.

#2 – Ten on One Page
Infographics Infographics make complex or large amounts of information more understandable. Lifehacker’s Top 10 Infographics and Cheat Sheets That Make Life Easier provides information ranging from how to remove stains to what to do when you get pulled over!

#3 – Print Ads
Clever Ads Maybe I like these 24 Clever Print Ads because I know people in the advertising business or maybe it’s because I’m intrigued with the idea of communicating messages via images. Using the power of a single image, see if these ads grab your attention.

#4 – Do You Eat Store-Bought Cereal Every Morning?
enhanced-buzz-16162-1375889707-9 Well, if you do, you may want to think twice before you discard empty cereal boxes. As seen in this BuzzFeed article 31 Things You Can Make Out of Cereal Boxes, a little bit of cardboard goes a long way!

#5 – Take Charge
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
Jim Rohn

Enjoy these last days of summer!

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daffodil

Photo by Linnell Chang

The breeze swirls around the daffodils and makes them nod their heads in unison. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” they seem to say with their up and down movement. For a moment I wonder, if the breeze had come from a different direction, would they have said, “No! No! No!” instead? But then I smile and say to myself, “Silly woman. Have you ever seen a daffodil with a negative attitude?” Nope. Never.

#1 – Garden Tips
Here are two gardening tips I used last weekend while planting flowers and vegetables. They’re not earth-shattering (pun intended), but they make life easier and reuse things that normally go to waste.

The Scoop:
Digging deep into bags of soil with my hand trowel only seemed to bring up small scoops of dirt at a time. Thinking there had to be a better way, I went into the kitchen and brought out a large, empty, plastic container that once held imitation whipped cream. It scooped up substantial amounts of soil well, but it was awkward to hold within the confines of the bag. What I needed was something more like a scoop, something that I could grip better. I had another idea. I went back into the kitchen, grabbed a pair of kitchen shears, and I cut a 3/4-inch wide slit halfway down the side of the plastic tub. It worked perfectly! Now my thumb sticks insides while my remaining fingers support the outside. I have better leverage and control while scooping. Because I wear thick gardening gloves, I’m not worried about cutting my hand on the plastic edges of the tub. DIY garden scoop

Coffee Filters:
Container planting can be messy. As you are pouring dirt into the container, some of it comes out through the bottom hole. I use paper coffee filters to cover the holes in my planters before I add soil. They let water through, but not dirt. Even better, you can place used coffee filters on the bottom of your planters – your acid-loving plants will be most appreciative! using coffee filters in the garden

#2 – Toy Stories
For his collection of photographs titled Toy Stories, photographer Gabriele Galimberti photographed children from around the world with their toys. Galimberti says his project revealed that, “The richest children were more possessive. At the beginning, they wouldn’t want me to touch their toys, and I would need more time before they would let me play with them.” As for poor children, he says, “In poor countries, it was much easier. Even if they only had two or three toys, they didn’t really care. In Africa, the kids would mostly play with their friends outside.” More importantly, Galimberti says, “Doing this, I learnt more about the parents than I did about the kids.” By studying these photos, you’ll recognize how family values affect children’s playtime.

#3 – Something Good
Something good happens when you share your heart with another – in this case, a cute rescue dog! Watch this two-minute video that is “dedicated to all rescues” and encourages the adoption of pets. Even if you don’t love dogs, you’ll love the feel-good spirit of it!

#4 – Art Lessons
This week I told a friend that I’d love to paint, but that my creative bent did not bend in that direction. All my previous attempts to paint have been disasters. She reminded me that there is no right or wrong in art and that I’ve judged myself too harshly. So with renewed spirit and brush in hand, I will try again. Before I start, I’m going to watch painting videos for additional inspiration and motivation. The internet is a wonderful source for “how-to” videos. Here’s a link to 100 Awesome Art Lessons on YouTube that will help the artist in you get going!

#5 – The Gift
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Pablo Picasso

Have a lovely weekend!

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weeping cherry

Photo by Linnell Chang

Tucked away and wrapped around the scars of sawed off limbs, lays an oasis of flush, verdant growth. Young leaves glow brightly as the sun weaves its way through heavy branches and highlights this little piece of heaven. Despite its injury and its scars, this tree found the strength and the resiliency to prove that it’s still alive and beautiful. Alexander Pope said it best, “Hope springs eternal.”

#1 – From the Brink of Extinction
Imagine your excitement if you were an exploratory botanist and you noticed a tiny plant that had been thought to be extinct for the last 60 years growing on the steep slope of a volcano. Read the article about this amazing discovery on Mother Nature Network.

#2 – A Poet Who Knows It  
Whether you have a daughter or not, you will appreciate poet Sarah Kay’s heartfelt, sometimes rambling, but always thought-provoking TED presentation titled “If I Should Have a Daughter . . . “

Here are some examples of her thoughtful prose:

“Getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.”

“Put the star in starting over . . . and over.”

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.”

#3 – Art and Nature

Artwork by Moki

Painting by Moki

German-based artist Moki combines humans with nature in some of her artwork. Learn about this talented artist and see more of her incredible art by clicking here.

#4 – With a String of Lights . . .
With a string of lights you can do a ton of fun and interesting things – well, at least the 46 Awesome String-Lights DIYs For Any Occasion that are shown on BuzzFeed. I really think the doily wedding garland is cute, but there are just too many clever ideas for me to choose a favorite!

#5 – The Negative Is the Positive
“Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.”
– Unknown

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Photo by Linnell Chang

As if on a trampoline, squirrels jump through the canopy of my Japanese Maple tree. Every year they bounce and weave their way around the delicate branches in search of winged-seeds also known as samaras. Literally going out on a limb to get to these seeds, the squirrels break branches as they go, leaving behind branches bent at 90-degree angles and piles of broken branches below. Trying to keep an open mind, I remind myself that squirrels also need to eat. But thanks to a new bird feeder and some messy-eating birds, enough bird seed manages to fall to the ground to feed the squirrels and some ground-feeding birds, too. So far, so good – no new broken branches in sight.

#1 – Be Open

Photo by Linnell Chang

How open to life are you? Is your nose so close to the trees that you can’t see the forest? Leo Babuta wrote a post for Zen Habits titled How to Become Open to Life. Even if you feel you already lead an open life, this article is a good reminder of some of the ways we close ourselves down.

#2 – It’s Not What You Think
Imagine pairs of gummi worm chromosomes or ocean waves constructed on a roll of painter’s tape. Artist and photographer Kevin Van Aelst creates fascinating images and brings new meanings to “mundane and relatable artifacts of our daily lives.” His images force your brain to be open, to ignore the expected, and to focus on the grander idea.

#3 – Dishwashers Aren’t Just For Washing Dishes!
Are you open-minded enough to steam fish fillets in your dishwasher? Check out the versatility of this appliance by reading 6 Unconventional Uses For Your Dishwasher.

#4 – A Meal With Imagination
Even with an open mind, you wouldn’t eat the spaghetti made in this video! The fun food comparisons highlight the creativity of this production and make it enjoyable to watch.

#5 – Do Everything
“Do everything. Love as much as you can. It may hurt, but it helps us grow. Give all you have . . . you may be poor but you will be content. Always forgive . . . your heart can not afford not to. Teach what you know and learn what you don’t. Stay open to all.”
Unknown

Have a great weekend!

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