Tag Archive | light

How to DIY Evergreen Winter Pots

Start by surrounding yourself with all of your materials. Once you do this, a helper usually shows up 😉 I buy most of my bling from the Dollar Store. Anything I can’t find there, I go to Hobby Lobby. If you haven’t searched out any holiday pot ideas, get on the internet and start looking! Ideas are everywhere. If you’re lucky enough to be flexible with your design, you can come-up with some pretty cool ideas. Using ornaments is my new thang. I hot glue them onto sticks or if you’re luck enough to get styrofoam  balls, the stick pushes right on.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut and strip/trim the stem of needles on ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • Be sure where you want to push the stems into the foam, because the foam will break if you change your mind too often.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of clear spray paint to help them keep their form.
  • If your display becomes covered in snow, be sure to clear it by hitting the branches in an UPWARD motion. If you push too hard on them downward, they may break. A broom does a great job.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.

Instead of me using a liner for this pot,  I used a tall, steel bucket. This time I did not use any soil, so I filled the bottom with a few rocks and cut the foam to fit in the bucket. This serves three purposes, better water collection for the greens at first, then for it to freeze the greens in place with little expansion, and lastly, a heavy base so the design won’t fall over in the wind and snow.

First, place your sticks (birch poles and sticks here) or the largest diameter things first. You’ll know right away if your foam is going to hold, nothing like making your whole design, and then placing your sticks and busting the foam!! Arrrg! >:-O Yes, I have learned the hard way! Big stuff first!

Think about where your pot will be displayed. Will they be on the sides of your door? On top of a pier? On top of your mailbox? Or on just one side of the door, like this one. I set my sticks a bit to one side (the back) of my pot, so more bling can be added to the front and sides. If you’re pot will be able to be viewed from all angles, I’d center them. If you’re having one on either side of your door, I would mirror-image the bling on 3 sides of the pot.

       

I like to get a ring around the bottom next, as you can be sure that there is a sufficient amount of greens around the bottom. Again, think of where your pot will be displayed. This one will be on the ground, so it will be viewed by looking down on it. Some folks have piers or taller areas where their pots are going, these pots will need to have a nice lower row, as this is what you may see when viewing up at it. I’m using Scott’s Pine for my bottom. I love this material, as it already has pine cones attached! Don’t worry if it sticks up a bit, as you add more to the center, it will flatten out.

On this one, I added Nobel Pine in the rear. Since these two pots are only about five feet apart, I wanted them to be similar. Large birch poles don’t make sense to the location, so I added these mini-birch-on-a-stick! They are best for little pops of color, without the weight of a multiple, large birch sticks.

      

Here’s my corner pot with the extent of holiday lighting that I do. It’s only about two feet wide. These three on the corner are just out of the shot below to the left.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Lightning Bugs or Fireflies ~ Lampyridae Species

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Fireflies produce cold light, meaning there is no heat produced as a by-product. Fireflies generate light by mixing a chemical (luciferin) with an enzyme (luciferase) and oxygen. Fireflies produce their light by controlling the oxygen supply to the light organs that contain the chemical reaction.  Fireflies use their light to attract each other, which is rare, as most insects use scent instead of sight.

As I again, feel like these little cuties are known the world round, I will launch into some fun stuff, like some Japanese folklore as to where they came from:

Once upon a time, a woodman and his wife lived on the edge of a beautiful forest beneath Mount Fujiyama in Japan. They had a cozy, little house and a beautiful garden, however they were not happy, because they wished for a child. One moonlit night, the wife slipped out of the house and laid herself down before the great mountain with its shining snowcap. She begged for Fujiyama to send her and her husband a child.
As she prayed, a tiny light appeared high upon the mountain and began to drift down toward the woman. When the light reached the branches of the bamboo, it stopped. The woman was overjoyed when she found it was a Moonchild, sent by the Lady in the Moon herself. She took the child home and her husband was overjoyed as well.
The Moonchild grew into a beautiful young lady, a Moon Princess, and was beloved by all who saw her. When the Emperor’s son saw her, he asked for her hand in marriage. However, she refused, saying that her mother, the Moon Lady, had bidden her to return home when she reached the age of twenty.
When the night came for her to leave, the woodman, his wife and the Emperor’s son were all there to say goodbye, and they were inconsolable. The Lady in the Moon sent down a silver moonbeam for her daughter, and the Princess floated up upon it. As she floated, the Princess cried silver tears for those she left behind. As they fell, they took wing and flew all over the land.
The Moon Princess’ tears can still be seen on moonlit nights. Some call them fireflies, but those who know the legend know that they are the Princess’ tears, searching for those she loved on Earth and had to leave behind.

This is a great video segment about the Fireflies in Tennessee, they are very unique.

 


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Sunrise, Sunset – Why They Are So Colorful!

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Early Sunrise

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Sunrise

The sun produces a wide range of frequencies, with a number of these frequencies falling within the visible light spectrum that humans are able to see. Since sunlight consists of light with a wide range of visible light frequencies, it appears white. The interaction of visible light and matter will result in the absorption of specific frequencies of light. The frequencies of visible light that are not absorbed are either transmitted (by transparent materials) or reflected (by opaque materials). To explain this theory, consider a green leaf on a tree, the atoms of the chlorophyll molecules in the leaf are absorbing most of the frequencies of visible light (except for green) and reflecting the green light to our eyes. The leaf therefore appears green. Another example would be to view the black asphalt street, the atoms of the asphalt are absorbing all the frequencies of visible light and no light is reflected back to our eyes. The asphalt street thus appears black (the absence of color). In this manner, the interaction of sunlight with matter contributes to the color appearance of our surrounding world.
The appearance of the sun changes with the time of day. While it may be yellow during midday, it gradually changes color as it approaches sunset. This is called ‘Light Scattering’. As the sun approaches the horizon line, sunlight must traverse a greater distance through our atmosphere.

sun rays

As the path that sunlight takes through our atmosphere increases in length, visible light (ROYGBIV) shines through more atmospheric particles. This results in the scattering of greater and greater amounts of yellow light. During sunset hours, the light passing through our atmosphere to our eyes tends to be most concentrated with red and orange frequencies of light. For this reason, the sunsets have a reddish-orange hue. The effect of a red sunset becomes prominent if the atmosphere contains more particles. The presence of sulfur aerosols that are produced as an industrial pollutant and by volcanic activity in our atmosphere contributes to some magnificent sunsets. Although it also means we have some very serious environmental problems.

 

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Sunset, that same day.

A fav song of mine:

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
Swiftly go the days
Sunrise, sunset, you wake up then you undress
It always is the same
The sunrise and a sun sets
You are lying while you confess
Keep trying to explain
The sunrise and the sun sets
You realize and then you forget
What you have been trying to retain

But everybody knows it’s all about the things
That get stuck inside of your head
Like the songs your roommate sings
Or a vision of her body as she stretches out on your bed
you raise her hands in the air
Ask her ‘When was the last time you looked in the mirror?
Cause you’ve changed, yeah, you’ve changed

The sunrise, the sunset, you’re hopeful and then you regret
The circle never breaks
With a sunrise and sunset, there’s a change of heart or address
Is there nothing that remains?
For a sunrise or a sunset, you’re manic or you’re depressed
Will you ever feel ok?
For a sunrise or a sunset, your lover is an actress
Did you really think she’d stay?
For a sunrise or a sunset, you’re either coming or you just left
But you’re always on the way
Towards a sunrise or a sunset, a scribble or a sonnet
They are really just the same
To the sunrise or the sunset, the master and his servant
Have exactly the same fate
It’s a sunrise and a sunset, from a cradle to a casket
There is no way to escape
The sunrise or the sunset, hold your sadness like a puppet
Keep putting on the play

But everything you do is leading to the point
Where you just won’t know what to do
And the moment that you’re laughing
There is someone there who will be laughing louder than you
So it’s true, the trick is complete
You’ve become everything you said you never would be
You’re a fool, you’re a fool

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset
The sunrise and the sun sets
Sunrise, sunset, the sunrise, the sun sets
The sunrise, the sun sets

Sunrise, sunset, go home to your apartment
Put the cassette in the tape deck
And let that fever play.

Lyrics by: Bright Eyes

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Dill Cucumber Salad

I love this salad for camping and cookouts. There’s no spoiling risk, although it’s much better when chilled. I will give basic ratios and your own tastes can follow-up from there.

5 Cucumbers

1 Small sweet onion

Slice both of these extremely thin, the thinner the better I think.

1/2 Cup white vinegar

1/2 Cup water

1/2 Cup white sugar

1 Teaspoon of dill

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Yummy!!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plants