Hope He Makes It….

Although I didn’t sleep in a Holiday Inn last night or have any previous experience being a tow truck driver…. I have been a past member of Mensa, and think I may be able to comment on this situation without anyone questioning my intelligence. I think anyone with basic common sense will agree with me.

One of our Ford F450 trucks blew a transmission. We put it up on Craig’s List for a quick, cheap sale. The ad read, “You will need to tow the truck away upon purchase.” A potential buyer came out, gave us an offer and we yelled, “SOOOOOOLD!” He scheduled a pick-up the next day.

Does anyone else see any potential problems here? Let’s see if we can just point out a few… I don’t want to start your Monday out too hard now!

  • The front tire is barely on the bed. The heaviest part of the truck, along with a plow, dangles precariously off the edge. What you can’t see is the rusted connections holding the plow on. Oh! No red flag on the plow either.
  • The truck on the bed is a F450… the tow truck is a F250. Hmmm, just a bit of a weight difference. While it was being hoisted up onto the bed, the front end of the tow truck came off the ground. There was a moment when I thought the whole thing would flop backwards, however the operator got lucky as the pivot-point went back forward and the wheels touched ground again.
  • No one thought how smart it would have been to put the plow into the back of the truck, and point the truck forward. Well, except for me, staring out the window watching.
  • Maybe had the destination only been down the street, I would have had move confidence in the safety of this trip… However, this truck was destine for South Chicago, a good 2 hour ride, via highways.

In the end, I didn’t hear of any accidents involving this get-up. Granted, had I rolled up behind this, I would have given it a w i d e berth. 

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Happiness

cryingeyeLightning illuminates the raindrops upon my lashes with the crash of thunder forcing me to open my lids to the grim reality of the vision of you through the glistening orbs as opposed to seeing you through my own eyes as thoughts of you dance upon my mind my skin tingles from the yearning of your touch and my heart drops down to the pit of my stomach where the ache has become unbearable from the painful emotions buried deep inside my soul burning to bring themselves out and envelop the very essence of your being that has taken over my heart that longs so much to have you possess it and bring it back from its despairing hollow state of worthlessness that has encased me for too long but with my own mind’s eye I see the love you send me through only your words and the clouds clear to show the rays though the silver linings of your soul completely filling the empty parts of my body with joy and the nurturing you have so much to offer my heart that to share your soul would mean my ultimate happiness.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Re-potting Houseplants

imageIt had been about 5 years since I took in these two orphans from work. They had been hanging under a pergola for one season and the clients didn’t want them anymore. Their loss is my gain! I re-potted them into these cool cornucopia looking bamboo baskets and they have lived happily in my south window since. 

I started to notice the soil around the outside edge started to feel a bit ‘crunchy’ for lack of a better term. These hang high, and I can’t see into them without removing them from the hooks, so I had to go on other signs they wanted new soil for their feet. Crunchy soil and the fact it took less time for me to hear the water flowing into the drip pan, meaning there were fissures in the soil that allowed the water to flow through the soil without any uptake of water into the soil. I finally decided it was time for a re-pot.

Many plants do actually prefer to be rootbound. My ficus and other philodendron plants have been in the same pots for decades. Other plants need the freedom to spread their roots…. These had gotten a bit thin on top, so along with the re-pot, I was going to transplant many of the runners to the pot to return it to it’s afro past.

  • First, I pruned off all the runners. I wanted the plant to put all of its energy into making new roots and leaves on the existing plant, not want to ‘Seek out new life and civilizations” ;-).
  • Then, I had to remove part of the old pot, as it had grown roots all through the bottom. The new pots weren’t that much larger than the old, however these do like to be root bound and I didn’t want to have them swimming in a ‘too large’ pot. I also had size restrictions on the hangers.
  • I took off about and inch of roots from the bottom. I wanted to encourage them to grow down into the new soil I placed on the bottom of the new pot. I also took off a bit of soil on the sides where there were no roots, so new, nutrient-filled soil will go.

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  • I placed about 2 inches of potting soil in the bottom of the new pot. The pot was only about an inch larger around, but just enough to plant some newbies in there.
  • These are very easy to propagate. Prune them at a node (where there looks to be roots growing) and pop it in the new soil.
  • Be sure to keep these new babies watered. They aren’t getting the supplemental nutrients from Mom anymore, and will need some extra help.

 

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And were back to lookin’ tropical 😉

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Oranges in December

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I just looked in the mirror
And things aren’t looking so good
I’m looking California and feeling Minnesota, oh yeah….

Outshined by Soundgarden

It’s been a long winter, however not as bad as others. Global warming had our average temperature at 32F/0C for most of January. Usually February is pretty cold… Let’s hope not =-)

Have a wonderful Monday!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Alone

manonbeach

Alone

All alone in the moonlight,

I envision your face again tonight.

Images still make me cry.

Feelings consume me, I try to deny.

Day breaks; I try to be free,

but your memory is haunting me.

Oh, there’s nothing I can do,

I only feel emptiness without you.

The last time you made me depart,

you thrust a knife deep inside my heart.

But the pieces will begin to mend,

when someone has another to lend.

Never will you ever find,

someone to treat you so very kind.

Someone to take care of you,

now that you’ve said we’re through.

I hope the emptiness of your frozen heart,

makes you realize you have to make a start,

to sort your feelings out inside,

and get rid of all that false pride.

Think about what I’ve said,

and all my poems you’ve read.

Love is a two way street,

and it doesn’t start with everyone you meet.

 

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Boxed Dinners ~ Activities for Foodie Couples

imageIf you haven’t heard about these blessings in a box, they are called Meal Delivery Services, and they are being shipped to most locations worldwide. I think they are an awesome idea for folks wanting to learn how to cook, learn new meals, save money and time, stuck in a ‘food rut’ (us), along with dieting or even just eating better!  We’ve batted this idea around for a bit… Having fresh ingredients arrive at our door to make meals for a few nights a week. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a savings or an expense. My husband really took a hold of this idea and ran with it. He compared many of the Dinner Box companies that deliver in our area. He decide Blue Apron was the best fit for us. They source the food as local as possible to me. I love supporting my community.

When he told me about the future box coming, he had sparkles in his eyes. He was genuinely excited to cook these meals! He then tells me the most mushy, lovey-dovey thing… “I can’t wait to spend time with you in the kitchen cooking these meals.” Awe! What a Sweety-Pie!!! I love you, honey.

Our first three meals arrived on a Friday. We picked Friday, so we would have more time to cook the meals over the weekend. The part I really like is that the amounts are per-determined, and there is no waste or leftovers. I feel like we waste too much food here. Another huge pro for going with this arrangement.

There are also beautifully done recipe cards with photos for most of the steps in the recipe. If there is something missing on the card, you can always go to their website to learn how to reproduce the technique they are asking you to do. There are many how-to videos, other recipes and comments from other Blue Apron clients.

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Lemon Caper Catfish, Chicken Paillard and Bucatini Pasta Bolognese, were our weeks choices. In plain English: Lemon catfish w/kale, Chicken & potatoes & Spaghetti w/meat sauce. There are generally 3 meat meals and 3 vegetarian meals, for a total of 6 meals to choose from for a week. Blue Apron only offers 3 meals a week, whereas other companies do offer 2 -7 meals a week. As I am a carnivore, the veggie meals are somewhat wasted on me. Yes, roasted cauliflower sounds yummy, but that is a side dish, not the centerpiece of the meal.

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The Chicken Paillard was to die for! I have never roasted a fennel before and I have been missing out! If you’ve never done it, buy one in the next grocery run. They are amazing roasted. We figured even if we didn’t like some part of the meal, it would introduce us to other types of food and how to cook it. A con was the size of the potato. It was smaller than my fist, and we had to split it. I get it. It’s called PORTION CONTROL 😉 Fatty-Fat-Fat!

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Sometimes we had to read the directions 10X to wrap our minds around something. The directions for the Bucatini Pasta Bolognese had us cooking veggies and sauce before we cooked the meat in the veggies. Huh? I’ve generally always cooked the meat first, then added other ingredients. This recipe also had us adding chopped brussels sprouts near the end of the process. In the end, it was a super yummy meal. I still like my spaghetti sauce better (I use pork shoulder), however I will now add carrot, celery and chopped brussels sprouts to mine!

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Here is the Lemon Caper Catfish. The catfish was great. It was on a bed of lentils and kale. I like many veggies, but you lost me at both lentils and kale. Blech! I can say that the lentils were not the same kind my Mom used for soup. These were called the ‘caviar of lentils’ and even resembled it. They were actually pretty good. Not the texture of dirt, like my Ma’s. The kale was kale. There was no helping it. In the end, I would just do this recipe with spinach and call it a day.

My hubby and I are very pleased with our choices, the turnout and the amount of fun we’ve been having in the kitchen. I’d really have to wait for more data, however the total amount of groceries and the Blue Apron box were even last week, thus it is a wash, budget wise. YEAH!! I would highly suggest trying one of these services out! Even if it’s just for a week here and there. I love that we don’t have to argue about ‘what’s for dinner?’ or spend time making a list or being pissed that we forgot something at the store!! I feel like this may take a lot of stress away from us, which makes it worth its weight in gold.
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I can’t wait for our next box and our next foodie adventure!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

My Mom’s Favorite Thing…

imageI’ve been doing a lot of de-cluttering. I have had some stuff since I don’t know when. Time to cut some ties. If I ever intend on becoming a full-time RV-er, the load must be lightened.

I did come across some things I totally forgot I had. Yup. The problems of a hoarder 😉

I did find one of my Mothers favorite things.

This it a ‘Round Tuit’. These are worth their weight in gold, and then some. These can move mountains, end wars or make a child clean their room…

Just in case it was only your first cup of coffee this morning, ‘Round Tuit’ is a play on words, re-interpreting the idiom to get around to it as get a round tuit. First used at the 1964 World’s Fair which was held in Queens (Flushing).

I bet you’ll put it on your Christmas list now, huh?!?

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

A Broken Tree ~ Why Arborist’s Cry

imageWe were camping at one of our local campgrounds last October and this tree was on our site. I normally love to put supporting links to old posts in my blog, however I’m going to be anonymous on this one. For us, this campground is close (under an hour drive) and is on a river we like to kayak on. Sadly though, they don’t care for their campground whatsoever. Almost every tree in the campground is injured in one way or another. Many are ready to fall on campers with a good gust of wind! I cringe when I see these situations, as what am I to do? Tell the family of 6 to move their camper now, before you lose a few of your chitlins from a downed tree? I’d get a “Pffft, we’re fine, you crazy lady!” Yeah, don’t mind the lady with the ‘Risk Assessment Arborist’ badge on her lapel. =-P

I’ve pondered highly about saying something to the owners of such campgrounds. I would think that they would love the free information from a licensed arborist! Of course, I can give constructive criticism without being accusatory. No one wants to be told they don’t know what they’re doing  😉 However, I’ve done this once with nasty repercussions. I was at a campground that had poison ivy everywhere in spades! Some hung into the paths that people walk on. I mentioned this to the owner, who told me, “What am I supposed to do about it?” I said that there are landscapers that care for these types of situations and his reply was that he didn’t have the money to do it and people will just have to avoid it. I told him he could put up a sign that identifies the area and show folks what poison ivy looks like. He said he didn’t want people to be afraid to camp there and campers should know what PI looks like! This campground was charging $67 a night, without sewer. This is an outrageous fee, for you non-campers. Normal rates are about $30-$40, with sewer, at a private campground. The sad part is that this is the campground a close, family friend decided to drop their seasonal trailer on, and gives us grief that we don’t come up there and camp with them.

Sometimes, there’s really no risk involved in the landscape. Many times it’s just a plant health problem or an aesthetic thang.

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Take a look at the photos of this tree… From a layman’s perspective, it may not look like there are any issues at all. However, upon further inspection, do you notice how large the trunk is compared to the canopy of the tree? A few years ago, the top of this tree broke off. Then the tree sent out a bunch of shoots from the broken trunk to compensate for the loss of its food-making leaves. These branches are not attached to the tree very well and can break with little effort. As you can see, many of the branches are dying already.

The last photo is of the root-crown and how it was planted. This tree had little chance from day one of ever surviving. It was buried too deep and has multiple girdling roots, which are roots that circle the trunk and only get tighter as the tree grows, cutting off its circulation, in laymen’s terms.

Can this tree be saved? No. Its structure has been so compromised, there’s really no way to prune it back to a healthy shape.

Just like Prince sang, “This is what is sounds like…. when Arborists cry.”  😉


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl