Featured post

Hello February!

Pink clouds for February!

Pink clouds for February!

February is a great month. No spring in sight (I love winter haha!) so plenty of time yet for seed and plant (and dirt! I’m wanting a dirt delivery this year!) buying. And maybe some more snow for us?! We’ve had some nice warm days (in the 60’s!) which is great but I wouldn’t mind another few rounds of the white stuff. I think Valentine’s Day might be the world’s easiest holiday. Squares of cardstock with a pun and some candy…and call it good! The Spy has come up with his pun for the year and it’s one of my favorites! You’ll have to wait and see the final valentines. And maybe Baby will come up with her own valentines this year too!

Blackberries of yore (yore being 2015!)

Blackberries of yore (yore being 2015!)

We are going to let the blackberries go wild next year and have plans to add more trellising to support them. I’m imagining a tunnel-arbor of sorts with the blackberries on the outer part of the trellis so you can walk through and pick berries from inside.

Even after days of freezing temps (0 degrees Farenheit) the strawberry leaves are still green!

Even after days of freezing temps (0 degrees Farenheit) the strawberry leaves are still green!

I am also thinking of building (rather, having Smoochie build!) some sort of vertical growing thing for strawberry plants.

Celery; a purple variety;also quite hardy

Celery; a purple variety;also quite hardy when it comes to cold. But not deer-proof!

Deer have been hanging around in the garden (some large areas of fencing are down) so we also have plans to move (enlarge, obviously hahaha) the deer fence.

Pretty moss

Pretty moss

Yet another picture of the living room, I know! But note the plant set-up now has legs! And the little square of succulents is on the wall (above the taller lamp)!

Yet another picture of the living room, I know! But note the plant set-up now has legs! And the little square of succulents is on the wall (above the taller lamp)! And note the garlic hanging outside; needing to be planted ASAP!

Isn't this apron gorgeous?! It is Seminole Indian (from FL); so many tiny shapes of fabric (all hand-sewn together)

Isn’t this apron gorgeous?! It is Seminole Indian (from FL); so many tiny shapes of fabric (all hand-sewn together)

 

A painterly sky

A painterly sky

A Rothko painting (source)

A Rothko painting (source)

And in other neon-orange art; haha! The Spy made this last year for a school project about things you like. Yay for baseball and Led Zeppelin! haha

And in other neon-orange art; haha! The Spy made this last year for a school project about things you like. Yay for baseball and Led Zeppelin!

Seedlings

Seedlings

Watching the boys play catch

Watching the boys play catch

I like snapping shots of the Spy's desk; the composition is always changing!

I like snapping shots of the Spy’s desk; the composition is always changing!

Here's Baby at her first gymnastics class! (free at our fitness club! And no commitment, just show up the days/times it is offered: that is my kind of "organized" sport for a 4 year old!!

Here’s Baby at her first gymnastics class! (free at our fitness club! And no commitment, just show up the days/times it is offered: that is my kind of “organized” sport for a 4 year old!!)

Beautiful winter sky (sunrise)

Beautiful winter sky (sunrise)

Happy February to you all!

Featured post

January in Spy Garden

Turkey tails

Turkey tails

Wood ear mushrooms on a log...that reminds me of the head of an alligator

Wood ear mushrooms on a log that reminds me of the head of an alligator; see the eye?

Golden hour, golden retriever

Golden hour, golden retriever

Golden woods

Golden woods

Dexie, nearly abducted! haha

Dexie, nearly abducted! haha

Taking in the view

Taking in the view

Dexie loves the woods

Dexie loves the woods

 

Sunset

Sunset

Happy to sled! Even if on barely an inch of snow!

Happy to sled! Even if on barely an inch of snow!

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

Weeee!

Weeee!

Walking back up the hill

Walking back up the hill

Dexie helping them to stop at the bottom haha

Dexie helping them to stop at the bottom haha

Setting off on a winter hike

Setting off on a winter hike

A two hour hike! Baby is a hiking pro!

A two hour hike! Baby is a hiking pro!

Baby's hat matches these! haha

Baby’s hat matches these! haha

Note the golden boots, hat and walking stick; coordinated accessories! hahaha

Note the golden boots, hat and walking stick; coordinated accessories! hahaha

Lovely pale gold

Lovely pale gold

Tracks

Tracks

Bunny tracks

Bunny tracks

Checking out some ice on a rock

Checking out some ice on a rock

Turkey tail mushrooms...though if I named them I would call them seashell mushrooms

Turkey tail mushrooms…though if I named them I would call them seashell mushrooms

Stopping for a snack break!

Stopping for a snack break!

One with the woods

One with the forest

A large old tree

A large old tree

Dexie getting a leaf and snow bath (naturally she rolled in some rancid thing)

Dexie enjoying a leaf and snow bath (naturally she rolled in some rancid thing)

Lightning damage is always so interesting to see!

Lightning damage is always so interesting to see! This whole tree was snapped and twisted.

Frozen ice like this is a rare sight around here; I am guessing this happened because we got all that rain a few weeks ago

Frozen ice like this is a rare sight around here; I am guessing this happened because we got all that rain a few weeks ago

Checking out the seed stash

Checking out the seed stash

Baby picking some seeds to start growing

Baby picking some seeds to start growing

Moving the garden start set-up into place

Moving the garden start set-up into place

Garden futures!

Garden futures!

This spot is not ideal for seedlings because it is right next to the heat vents so they could dry out quickly. But Babyzilla is on top of it. She planted all the seedlings and has been doing all the watering! We’ve only planted seeds we already have. I still need to place a seed order (probably will order from Baker Creek but might try another place if anyone has any good seed/plant source suggestions!)

Sketch by the Spy

Sketch by the Spy

Looks like a Gnome condo. Hahah

Looks like a Gnome condo. Hahah

This is from Baby's project at her school. It has a laminated picture of her "boat" that she made as part of a creek project. The paper is a copy of a Shel Silverstein poem

This is from Baby’s project at her school. It has a laminated picture of her “boat” that she made as part of a project her class did floating things down the Forest school creek. The paper tied to it is a copy of a Shel Silverstein poem (about a homemade boat!)

Detail of her "boat" haha

Detail of her “boat” haha

Orchid

Orchid

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

 

Featured post

Happy New Year 2016

Woooo 2016!

Woooo 2016! (Note the unicorn sculpture; made by Babyzilla)

WOooo!!! 2016!!! Happy New Year!!!

Since this is the first post of the year, I figure I had better enthusiastically set the tone! haha

January mushrooms

January mushrooms

January colors

January colors

Lion's tail

Lion’s tail

Pumpkin (from the grocery stote; going to see if pumpkin plants will grow from this)

Pumpkin (from the grocery stote; going to see if pumpkin plants will grow from this)

Woooo first snow of winter/2016

Woooo first snow of winter/2016

Dexie struggling to keep her eyes open on New Year's Eve

Dexie struggling to keep her eyes open on New Year’s Eve

'Zilla also struggled to keep her eyes open till midnight (but awoke after this photo was taken to celebrate east coast New Year's at 11PM; gotta love central time!)

‘Zilla also struggled to keep her eyes open till midnight (but awoke after this photo was taken to celebrate east coast New Year’s at 11PM ahha)

Disco Nap haha

Disco Nap haha

New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve

Sitting outside by the fire on New Year's Eve

Sitting outside by the fire on New Year’s Eve

Embers

Embers

Making a torch

Making a torch

Fire

Fire

Making a torch seems like a good new year's tradition, doesn't it?!

Making a torch seems like a good new year’s tradition, doesn’t it?!

When it comes to gardening goals for 2016…

I’ve always been really focused on edibles. Radishes were the first thing I ever grew. As I dug in each tiny seedling into dry, clay soil I remember thinking, “This is a lot of work for a bunch of radishes!” Hahaha but there was obviously some allure; and I was hooked! I think I took about 20 pictures of those radishes I grew Hhahaa.

But this past year edibles just didn’t seem like my forte (aside from a prolific garlic harvest); and so in 2016 I am going to focus on flowers (edible flowers mostly!) and probably will try pumpkins (since they are my absolute favorite!). Also, houseplants. I was so inspired by a post Eliza Waters wrote entitled “Breathe Easy” citing a NASA study about how important plants are for cleaning indoor air.

Very Wizard of Oz. It is good to open all the windows in your home and let the fresh outdoor air circulate through at least 5 minutes per day.

Very Wizard of Oz. It is good to open all the windows in your home and let the fresh outdoor air circulate throughout at least 5 minutes per day.

Inside/Outside

Inside/Outside

Train painting

Train painting

Outside/Inside

Outside/Inside

Gluing

Gluing

Living room looking into dining room

Living room looking into dining room

Playing with filters

Playing with filters

We still have the Gingerbread Empire State Building. It is such a nice smelling decoration and I bet more graham crackers and ginger snaps (etc.) have sat for months in dingy storage warehouses…so when you think about it a few weeks (going on 3) for a fresh-baked good isn’t that old! If you’ll notice, some pieces are missing and tasted quite fresh; crispy and spicy, not stale at all! Though I didn’t eat the icing. Eventually we have to take it down. I have a friend who is setting firecrackers off in her tall gingerbread house to say goodbye to it!

IMG_5565

 

Hahahah.

But setting fire to the Empire State Building would seem really terrorist-y so we’ll not do that. For now I will just keep eating it; maybe let Babyzilla go to town on it.

Rrrraaaghhhh

Rrrraaaghhhh hahah

She’s really not all that destructive, I jest. Check out how clean her kitchen is!

Two kitchens

Two kitchens

I spy a white-tailed deer

I spy a white-tailed deer

Doe a deer ('Zilla loves the movie The Sound of Music)

Doe a deer (we loves the movie The Sound of Music)

Little roses

Little roses

Living Room

Living Room

Headless Dexie

Headless Dexie

Haha

Haha

Orchid

Orchid

So I’m [insert branching out pun] from growing tomatoes/vegetables and want to explore other healthful uses of plants in 2016. Definitely want to make it to the MOBOT herb show and Shaw Wildflower market in 2016!

Love-in-a-mist seedlings popping up everywhere; they are quite hardy.

Love-in-a-mist seedlings popping up everywhere; they are quite hardy.

January sky over Forest school

January sky over Forest school

Violets

Violets

Mushroom

Mushroom

Vertical garden panel (needs to root for 2-3 weeks)

Vertical garden panel (needs to root for 2-3 weeks)

See the dog picture on the rock?

See the dog picture on the rock?

Snowy white kalanchoe blooms

Snowy white kalanchoe blooms

I’ve been prodding the kids for things they would like to do and accomplish in the coming year and mostly I have gotten some pretty mundane answers.

“Go to City Party!” (She means Party City, a party supply store like 7 miles from our house that we went to around Halloween just to browse for random spooky decorations). She also wants to visit the children’s garden at MOBOT again, which of course I am all for!

The Spy wants more baseball cards (“10 thousand more”) hahah and he is continually working on a list of players he wants to get cards for.

He has baseball cards on the brain 24/7. Hahha

He has baseball cards on the brain 24/7. Hahha

Mushroom

Mushroom

Mushroom

Mushroom

Stump...kinda looks like a bear face

Stump…kinda looks like a bear face

Mushrooms/Fungus/Lichen

Mushrooms/Fungus/Lichen

Winter is my favorite season!

Winter is my favorite season!

Winter greens; kohlrabi

Winter greens; kohlrabi

Painting in progress

Painting in progress

Playing with filters

Playing with filters

January garden

January garden

Snow!

Snow!

At Forest School

At Forest School

Living room

Living room

Driveway

Driveway

A blessed and healthy 2016 to you all! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

I started a new goal of writing in a journal. The journal is one I got for Christmas and only has a short space to write, with a Bible verse (365 of them). So it’s no pressure; just jot a few notes down. I haven’t kept a journal ever (maybe sporadically in 5th grade?), so it is fun to try a new hobby. In response to,

“He fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.” Psalm 103:5

I wrote,

Honey, tea, water, lemon, legumes, rest, stretching, hiking, running, juggling, gardening, dancing, wash face 2x day, swimming, eat tons of vegetables, grains, oils, protein, facials, good posture, taking deep breaths, painting/sculpture/art, walking. Prayer. Paint nails/toes, clean bathroom, organize closets, vacuum, dust, slackline, arabesque;

Plus I wrote a list of places/parks in my area I would like to visit and included some other things; 10 glasses of water each day, tons of vegetables, lots of hot tea, write in journal daily, “Sophomore Year” of DNP Program, watch more TV, learn to unicycle, play outside often. And try out the canoe, of course!

Starting off the new year very under the weather I interpreted as a reminder to rest more (hence the “lots of hot tea” goal haha). Snuggling on the couch watching the X-files (sooo 90s it is great), movies (Jurassic World, The Sound of Music, etc.), is something I’m doing more often; no matter how much writing or reading time I need to put in for school. In order to be productive, creative and spiritual one needs to be well-rested!

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

Happy 2016!!!

Featured post

Best of Spy Garden 2015

I am officially one year into getting my doctorate in nursing, woo!! Likely because I started the program I have little recollection of what actually occurred in 2015, Haha! I read hundreds of articles and wrote pages and pages (and pages) of APA formatted research papers. Thank goodness for the Spy Garden blog to jog my memory. I enjoyed scrolling through all the posts of the year; realizing I did more than work and school. It all actually looked quite fun and relaxing! Haha!

2015 certainly wasn’t the best year for vegetables in Spy Garden. Sikkim cucumbers are the only thing that really stand out in my mind as prolific when it comes to produce.

Sikkim Cucumbers

Sikkim Cucumbers

The ground cherries also did well. The flowers in the garden were pretty great this year.

Celosia/Cockscomb (also called wool flowers)

Celosia/Cockscomb (also called wool flowers)

Celosia amazed with vibrant colors and unusual shapes and I saw more monarch butterflies than ever in the garden this year.

Celosia

Celosia

Orach was another favorite

Orach was another favorite

We went on lots of outings; several trips to the St. Louis Art Museum, Forest Park, Grant’s Farm,

Meramec Caverns

Meramec Caverns,

the AB brewery, and got to see the beautiful…

Chinese lanterns at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT)

Chinese lanterns at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT)

and the kids explored the awesome children’s garden at MOBOT.

ROA (a world-famous artist) coming to Forest School was very exciting:

ROA painting a mural at Forest School

ROA painting a mural at Forest School

Baby watching ROA paint another mural

Baby watching ROA paint another mural at Forest School

Baby and the Spy got to ride horses a couple of times this year.

Babyzilla on horseback

Babyzilla on horseback

We painted a lot; and doing a collaborative painting (still in progress) with a friend was a highlight.

Painting in the garden

Painting in the garden

IMG_1919

I started some new hobbies; running on trails and ballet. Well, when I say “ballet” I use that term loosely. What I mean is that Baby and I put on classical music and dance around; inspired by the ballerina project. We continue to work on our arabesques and grand jetes daily. Haha

Another huge highlight was the Spy attending summer camp (the same one I went to!)

The Greatest Place!

The Greatest Place!

Fencing at camp

Fencing at camp

Kayaking at camp

Kayaking at camp

We spotted numerous varieties of mushrooms this year.

Beautiful Mushrooms

Beautiful Mushroom

Sulfur-colored Chicken of the Woods

Sulfur-colored Chicken of the Woods

Smoochie cut down some big dead trees in the yard…

dsc_6875-700x446

and built an awesome new shed.

The Spy started pitching in little league and their team won their league championship.

Winners!

Winners!

Nana and Pop were in St. Louis the whole month of July which was really great.

The kids with Nana and Pop

The kids with Nana and Pop

We went all out with the Christmas decorations; our best yet!

IMG_0447

A big standout of the year were the snakes living in a tree just feet from our front door. Getting to watch them (quite frequently!) this summer was a treat and I think this is the best photo I’ve ever taken:

DSC_8263 (700x611)

And a close second

And a close second

And though scary (I almost stepped on it); seeing a copperhead was quite exciting and dramatic!

RRrrraaaaaghhhh!!!

RRrrraaaaaghhhh!!!

It seems the snakes may still be calling the tree home, so maybe we will catch them in 2016…

Snake excrement icicles?! Ewww! (Picture taken 12.31.15)

Snake excrement icicles?! Ewww! (Picture taken 12.31.15)

Eucalyptus in Spy Garden February 2015

Eucalyptus in Spy Garden February 2015

Happy New Year to all and thank you so much for visiting Spy Garden; see you in 2016!

Featured post

Spy Garden Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is still in full swing around here as we abide by the rule of:

Thou shalt keep thine Christmas decorations up through New Year’s Day

hahahahaha

This kohlrabi looks like the grinch's head!

Doesn’t this kohlrabi looks like the grinch’s head!?

We've been doing lots of painting, gluing, collaging, crocheting, etc., etc. around here: Christmas always makes me want to create!

We’ve been doing lots of painting, gluing, collaging, crocheting, etc., etc. around here: Christmas always makes me want to create!

Here is Babyzilla protesting the very un-wintery (nearly 70 degree) weather in the days prior to Christmas

Here is Babyzilla protesting the very un-wintery (nearly 70 degree) weather in the days prior to Christmas

Chalk tree

Chalk tree

December weather

December weather

See the paper airplane hanging

See the paper airplane hanging

Paper airplane (made by the Spy)

Paper airplane (made by the Spy)

Smoochie painting

Smoochie painting

Decorating...

Decorating…

Tree of toys!

Tree of toys!

I will miss these lights and may need to pick up a few lamps once we take them down!

I will miss these lights and may need to pick up a few lamps once we take them down!

In the front yard

In the front yard

Dexie's chair haha

Dexie’s chair haha

Getting a hair cut (to even out her handiwork)

Getting a hair cut (to even out her handiwork)

Star light

Star light

Gingerbread time!

Gingerbread time!

First I made the base and allowed it to dry completely before adding the tall pieces

First I made the base and allowed it to dry completely before adding the tall pieces

Click here to see last year’s gingerbread (Eiffel Tower) and here for my basic recipe. This year’s version included garam masala and ground flax in the dough and fresh Meyer lemon juice in the icing; mmm!

Leftover building materials! Spicy and delicious!

Leftover building materials! Spicy and delicious!

Here it is drying (hence the chair holding it up). It is hollow and has spots to put in little battery operated lights

Here it is drying (hence the chair holding it up). It is hollow and has spots to put in little battery operated lights

It still dried a bit crooked like the leaning tower of Pisa; it is leaning back so its not too noticeable from the front

It still dried a bit crooked like the leaning tower of Pisa; it is leaning back so its not too noticeable from the front

Fini!

Fini!

This is me after finishing the gingerbread hahaha

This is me after finishing the gingerbread hahaha

Yawning, pre-service (7PM Christmas Eve service)

Yawning, pre-service (7PM Christmas Eve service)

The kids all did a great job!

The kids all did a great job!

After the service

After the service

And then it was…

Christmas

Christmas!

How did Santa get this 16' canoe in here?!

How did Santa get this 16′ canoe in here?!

Woo hoo! Canoe!

Woo hoo! Canoe!

Dexie enjoying her present

Dexie enjoying her present

Babyzilla

Babyzilla

Juggling scarves

Juggling scarves

Choo Choo!

Choo Choo!

The most Christmas-y train station!

The most Christmas-y train station! (Lionel train from 1953!)

Christmas Dexie

Christmas Dexie

Driving the train

Driving the train

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Trying out the unicycle!

Trying out the unicycle!

Watching A Christmas Story

Watching A Christmas Story

Cozy

Cozy

Choo choo

Choo choo

Christmas kids

Christmas kids

Christmas dogs

Christmas dogs

Christmas in the garden

Christmas in the garden

Smoochie set right to building a canoe rack on Christmas

Smoochie set right to building a canoe rack on Christmas

Christmas Canoe!

Christmas Canoe!

New clothes

New clothes

Leopard is a neutral

Baby says leopard is a neutral haha

Sunset

Sunset

Playing...

Playing…

Jenga!

Jenga!

Christmas boy

Christmas boy

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

 

Featured post

Curating Christmas

St. Louis Art Museum

St. Louis Art Museum

It was so nice to visit the St. Louis Art Museum at this time of year; pretty much had the whole place to myself! No hustling or bustling here; but plenty of red, green and sparkly things to share!

Shoe (Andy Warhol)

Shoe (Andy Warhol)

Magnolia

Magnolia

For Spy Sister; whose dog is named Magnolia (and we're from Florida!)

For Spy Sister; whose dog is named Magnolia (and we’re from Florida!)

Steven and William Ladd (two brothers from St. Louis!) Cardinal Nation, 2015 Shredded paper, glue, wheat starch, metal beads, metal trinkets, glass beads, crystal beads, pins, screws, dye, mesh, staples, wood

Steven and William Ladd (two brothers from St. Louis!) Cardinal Nation, 2015
Shredded paper, glue, wheat starch, metal beads, metal trinkets, glass beads, crystal beads, pins, screws, dye, mesh, staples, wood

Steven and William Ladd. Tower Tee, 2015 Shredded paper, glue, wheat starch, metal beads, metal trinkets, glass beads, crystal beads, pins, screws, dye, mesh, staples, wood

Steven and William Ladd. Tower Tee, 2015
Shredded paper, glue, wheat starch, metal beads, metal trinkets, glass beads, crystal beads, pins, screws, dye, mesh, staples, wood

Enforcer. Larry Poons. 1962

Enforcer. Larry Poons. 1962

IMG_2112

Detail

Detail

Like Christmas lights! Sort of!

Like Christmas lights! Sort of!

Staircase

Staircase

Gold and sparkly (if more evocative of an episode of Dexter than Christmas)

Gold and sparkly (if more evocative of an episode of Dexter than Christmas)

Man's Leggings (probably Nimíipuu (Nez Percé)

Man’s Leggings (probably Nimíipuu (Nez Percé)

Such detailed beadwork on this cradleboard!

Such detailed beadwork on this cradleboard!

I’ve shared pictures of some of these Native American pieces before; they are some of my favorites!

Red and green

Red and green

E. Oscar Thalinger. River Landscape with House. 1928

E. Oscar Thalinger. River Landscape with House. 1928

This bucolic scene of the Missouri countryside features high hills, full trees, and rocky banks. These features are executed in blocky prismatic forms influenced by the work of early European modernists such as Paul Cézanne. E. Oscar Thalinger belonged to the major professional associations for artists in St. Louis, including the modern artists’ group New Hats. In addition to his position as a prominent local artist, Thalinger served as the registrar of the City Art Museum (now the Saint Louis Art Museum) from 1913–1952. (Source: St. Louis Museum of Art) 

John Rogers Cox. Cloud Trails. 1944

John Rogers Cox. Cloud Trails. 1944

A large Norman Rockwell painting. (Thanksgiving, 1943)

A large Norman Rockwell painting. (Thanksgiving, 1943)

Outside the museum

Outside the museum

Donald Judd. Untitled (Progression). 1965.

Donald Judd. Untitled (Progression). 1965.

IMG_2145

A Christmas-y sheen

A Christmas-y sheen

Window

Window

Small and ancient gold shiny things!

Small, ancient, gold and shiny things!

Dome

Dome

A striking portrait...

A striking portrait…

IMG_2207

Wintery...

Wintery…

IMG_2192

Pretty galleries

Pretty galleries

Lorenzo di Niccolò (di Martino) Madonna and Child Enthroned with Sts. Christopher, Blaise, Sebastian, and Francis. 1410-12

Lorenzo di Niccolò (di Martino)
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Sts. Christopher, Blaise, Sebastian, and Francis. 1410-12

Still Life...

Still Life…

IMG_1942

Marble hair

Marble hair

Curves

Curves

Red and gold vessel

Red and gold vessel

And now for a tour around Spy Garden…

Here's a festive little mushroom

Here’s a festive little mushroom

Little dome

Little dome

Dexie

Dexie climbing a tree arch

New tool shed made by Smoochie!

New tool shed made by Smoochie!

In the shed

In the shed

Project in process (going to stain the wood and then mount this painting to it with these fabric tacks)

Project in process (going to stain the wood and then mount this painting to it with these fabric tacks)

In our backyard

In our backyard

Ornament made by the Spy at his classroom's Christmas party

Ornament made by the Spy at his classroom’s Christmas party

Hanging out under the Christmas tree

Hanging out under the Christmas tree

Hope you all have a wonderful week; and a very Merry Christmas!

Featured post

12.13.15

Winter is sort of like having your own private collection of Rothko paintings, don’t you think?

IMG_1299

 

Too much of a stretch?

IMG_1371

I just like the simple color palattes (even if a lot of grays and browns)…But, assuming you do not want to see a series of swaths of grey trees and blue skies, I aimed for as much festive green as possible…

Christmas-green moss

Christmas-green moss

Fern; quite hardy

Fern; quite hardy

More moss

More moss

Buried treasure!

Buried treasure!

An old jar

An old jar

Dexie in her element

Dexie in her element

Acorn top on moss

Acorn top on moss

Arch

Arch

Leaping

Leaping

Rock

Rock

Leaping

Leaping

Mossy log

Mossy log

Mushroom

Mushroom

On the trail

On the trail

Snack time at Forest School

Snack time outside at Forest School

Woohoo! Great seed catalogue (and free!) Go to www.rareseeds.com to get on their mailing list

Woohoo! Great seed catalogue (and free!) Go to http://www.rareseeds.com to get on their mailing list

Sunrise

Sunrise

Looking out at the garden; the only thing growing out there now is kohlrabi

Looking out at the garden; the only thing growing out there now is kohlrabi

Practicing reading for the service

Practicing reading for Christmas Eve service at our church

Babyzilla and her friend sitting nicely in the pew

Babyzilla and her friend sitting nicely in the pew

Practicing bells

Practicing bells

At home, Smoochie and Baby playing with the train under the tree in the man cave Christmas Cove

At home, Smoochie and Baby playing with the train under the tree in the man cave Christmas Cove

Tracing

Tracing

Working on Christmas cards

Working on Christmas cards

Alphabet

Alphabet

Removing a large part of this tree stump

Removing a large part of this tree stump

Much better

Much better

And maybe we can make something cool out of the huge 3-part piece of wood

And maybe we can make something cool out of the huge 3-part piece of wood

Safety first! haha

Safety first! haha

Dexie met this really beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog; over 100 lbs!

Dexie met this really beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog; over 100 lbs!

We've enjoyed driving around looking at lights; this house has a great display

We’ve enjoyed driving around looking at lights; this house has a great display

Dining room snowflake chandelier

Dining room snowflake chandelier

Ornament

Ornament

Ornament

Ornament

And the best shot for last…

Dexie leaping

Dexie leaping; she’s like a metaphor for Christmas coming at us; only 11 days till Christmas!

Click here for a most Christmas-y, beautiful song! (King’s College Sussex Carol “On Christmas Night All Christians Sing”)

Hope you all are enjoying this most wonderful time of the year!

 

Featured post

Christmas Lights

Garden lights

Garden lights

Lights in the garden

Lights in the garden

Making snowflakes

Making snowflakes

All made by the Spy!!

All made by the Spy!!

Christmas in every corner!

Christmas in every corner!

Abstract lights looking very 80s

Abstract lights looking very 80s

House and garden lights

House and garden lights

Hahaha

Hahaha

Christmas kids

Christmas kids

 

Living Room

Living Room

Entrance to the man cave Christmas Cove

Entrance to the man cave Christmas Cove

Setting up the lights

Setting up the lights

Lights

Lights

Rain drops and lights

Rain drops and lights

Christmas header

Christmas header

After school. With red fleece pants; forest school uniform shirts are so Christmas-y

After school. With red fleece pants; forest school uniform shirts are so Christmas-y

Little sprightly elf ahahah

Little sprightly elf ahahah

DIY Haircut (brought to you by safety scissors) hahaha

DIY Haircut (brought to you by safety scissors) hahaha

Ornament

Ornament

She actually did a really great job on the haircut. When I told her to please ask the next time she wants a haircut she said "Well I already know how to cut my hair." haha

She actually did a really great job on the haircut. When I told her to please ask the next time she wants a haircut she said “Well I already know how to cut my hair.” haha

Gluing Christmas cheer

Gluing Christmas cheer

Ornament

Ornament

 

Ornament

Ornament

Another view

Another view

Lights

Lights

Cinderella's coach (from Home Depot!) in the pumpkin patch

Cinderella’s coach (from Home Depot!) in the pumpkin patch

Featured post

Thanksgiving 2015

In the woods

In the woods

Dexie

Dexie

Red leaf

Red leaf

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Fall arrangement; lion's tail and blackberry branches from the garden

Fall arrangement; lion’s tail and blackberry branches from the garden

Very tall thanksgiving arrangement

Very tall thanksgiving arrangement

Garlic seed head and winter squash (Baby and I were trying to take some artistic pictures at night; she's holding the flashlight)

Garlic seed head and winter squash (Baby and I were trying to take some artistic pictures at night; she’s holding the flashlight)

Squash skin detail

Squash skin detail

Playing cards after thanksgiving dinner

Playing cards after thanksgiving dinner

Playing cards

Playing cards

Side table

Side table

Droopy loofah vine gourd after a hard frost

Droopy loofah vine gourd after a hard frost

Little mushrooms

Little mushrooms

Knockout rose

Knockout rose

Wood Ear (Tree Ear)

Wood Ear (Tree Ear)

Considered an edible and medicinal mushroom. A closely related species is cultivated in Asia and can be found in the United States in Asian markets. In Chinese, its name is “Hei mu-er.” You may have eaten it in Chinese hot and sour soup. The wood ear has been reported to positively affect blood coagulation and decrease blood cholesterol levels. Since it is a popular edible mushroom in China, it may contribute to the low incidence of heart disease there. (source: Missouri Department of Conservation)

Different lighting

Different lighting

 

DIY juggling balls: rice into plastic sandwich bags, into a balloon with the neck of the balloon cut off, then another balloon over that (to cover the opening)

DIY juggling balls: rice into plastic sandwich bags, into a balloon with the neck of the balloon cut off, then another balloon over that (to cover the opening) Click here for more detailed instructions.

Backyard

Backyard

A lot of fur still on this deer skull (found by Dexie well over a year ago)

A lot of fur still on this deer skull (found by Dexie well over a year ago)

Turkey tails

Turkey tails

After we celebrated thanksgiving we spent the weekend decorating…

Garden lights!

Garden lights!

Smoochie pausing to contemplate our lighting scheme haha

Pausing to contemplate our lighting scheme haha

Spy Garden looking quite magical!

Spy Garden looking quite magical!

Festive buck! haha

Festive buck! haha

And on to Christmas it is!

The Spy takes Christmas very seriously ahhaha

The Spy takes Christmas very seriously ahhaha

 

Featured post

November 2015

Firepit

Firepit

November Sky

November Sky

Searching for treasure in the yard

Searching for treasure in the yard

They mostly just found old nails haha

They mostly just found old nails haha

Metal Detector

Metal Detector

Seed pod

Seed pod

Babyzilla

Babyzilla

Sticks

Sticks

Leaf

Leaf

Wood piles

Wood piles

A large acorn top

A large acorn top

Turkeys at sunrise

Turkeys at sunrise

Knockout roses at sunrise

Knockout roses at sunrise

These little yellow strawberries continue to produce!

These little yellow strawberries continue to produce!

Swinging in the Eno hammock

Swinging in the Eno hammock

Egg sack (not sure what kind of bug)

Egg sack (not sure what kind of bug)

Dexie stretching and enjoying a nice stick

Dexie stretching and enjoying a nice stick

Match box

Match box

A pretty matchstick holder

A pretty, old box of matches; we’ve had this box forever (maybe got it at a thrift store in Connecticut?) but I was just admiring it the other day and thought I would snap a few pics of it)

The garden

The garden

Maggie in the garden

Maggie in the garden

Blackberries

Blackberries

At school

At school

After school

After school

Siam basil

Siam basil

IMG_9716

Painting in progress

IMG_9747

Paintings in progress

IMG_9759

Jewelry made with stones, leather and a shell (beads and leather cord from Michael’s craft store)

Collaborative painting in progress

Collaborative painting in progress

Collaging

Collaging

The sun going down earlier means less time outdoors, but a lot more art indoors!

Cooking

Cooking

Fire

Fire

We finally got our first real cold weather today (even some snow, though it didn’t stick) so of course I am already thinking about next year’s garden. One plant I really want to grow is Lunaria (Silver Dollar Plant). Thanks to Eliza for the inspiration for that one! I missed having Eucalyptus (another Silver Dollar, haha!) this year, so would like to grow that again in 2016. And so the “to-grow” list begins.

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

Featured post

Early November in Spy Garden

Large mushroom (some type of hen of the woods?)

Large mushroom (white hen of the woods?)

Vertebra

Deer vertebra

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Bulletin Board

Bulletin Board

Mum

Mum

Roselle (the ingredient in

Roselle (the ingredient in “zinger” tea); has a zesty cranberry flavor

Celosia

Celosia; left out in the rain and sun and turning brown…(if kept in a cool, dark place they will keep their color)

The other side (whoops, didn't mean to leave it out in the rain but oh well we can still save the seeds)

The other side (whoops, didn’t mean to leave it out in the rain but oh well we can still save the seeds)

Lion's Tail/Wild Dagga

Lion’s Tail/Wild Dagga

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi leaf

Celosia

Celosia

In the loofah vine gourd flowers

In the loofah vine gourd flowers

Banana trees

Banana trees

Dexie checking out the big mushroom: it's the size of a bird bath!

Dexie checking out the big mushroom: it’s the size of a bird bath!

Close-up

Close-up

Mushroom in the woods

Mushroom in the woods

So cool!

So cool!

Sunset

Sunset

Hair selfie

Hair selfie

Woods at dusk

Woods at dusk

Lots of little turkey tail mushrooms

Lots of little turkey tail mushrooms

Love the woods!

Love the woods!

One more photo of the big mushroom!

One more photo of the big mushroom!

And it is hard to resist taking a bunch of pictures of this photogenic plant!

And it is hard to resist taking a bunch of pictures of this photogenic plant!

This will be ripening on the countertop tomorrow: first frost of Spy Garden expected tonight!

This will be ripening on the countertop tomorrow: first frost of Spy Garden expected tonight!

Very spiky

Very spiky

See the bee?

See the bee?

Yellow butterfly

Yellow butterfly

Dexie looking in the window

Dexie looking in

Fallen branch off the snake tree

Fallen branch off the snake tree

Ssssss (haven't seen the snakes in awhile; they are probably already hibernating)

Ssssss (haven’t seen the snakes in awhile; they are probably already hibernating)

Blue Sky

Blue Sky

Fall forest

Fall forest

A quick still life painting tempera on copy paper (filter applied to a photo of it)

A quick still life painting tempera on copy paper (filter applied to a photo of it)

And a few fall pics of yore…

Kale (2012)

Kale (2012)

Little white moth/butterfly

Little white moth/butterfly

Leaves

Leaves

Hedgeapples

Hedgeapples

Artichoke Plant (2012)

Artichoke Plant (2012)

Fall is the best!

Featured post

Spy Garden Halloween 2015

Cowboy and Skeleton

Cowboy and Skeleton

Bark

Bark

Paper Mache

Paper Mache

Mask (used a plastic milk jug as a mold)

Mask (used a plastic milk jug as a mold)

Woolflower

Woolflower

Pumpkin...

Pumpkin…

Prep

Prep

Dexie in the woods

Dexie in the woods

Leaf

Leaf

Carving

Carving

Spy Sister carving

Spy Sister carving

Carved!

Carved!

Halloween here was perfectly drizzly, gray and spooky!

Halloween here was perfectly drizzly, gray and spooky!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Spiky

Spiky

More spikes

More spikes

Ready...

Ready…

...for candy!

…for candy!

This house went all out; that is Scooby Doo playing in the garage!

This house went all out; that is Scooby Doo playing in the garage!

AGHhhh!!! Really scary!

AGHhhh!!! Really scary!

Spooky

Spooky

Inventory; hahah

Inventory; hahah

Hope you all had a very happy Halloween!!

Hope you all had a very happy Halloween!!

Featured post

Late October in Spy Garden 2015

Blackberries

Blackberries

Leaf

Leaf

Tomato blooms (but too late for tomatoes!)

Tomato blooms (but too late for tomatoes!)

Dexie

Dexie

Leaf pile

Leaf pile

I see you!

I see you!

Mushroom (just looking, not eating!) not sure what kind.

Mushroom (just looking, not eating!) not sure what kind.

Fire pit

Fire pit

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Another

Another

Harlequin Marigold (or Court Jester)

Harlequin Marigold (or Court Jester)

Thanks Spy Sister for these awesome rings!

Thanks Spy Sister for these awesome rings; great for juggling!

May I present...

May I present… (hahaha)

Drying celosia

Drying celosia

Sunset

Sunset

From top: celosia, blazing star, marigolds

From top: celosia, blazing star, marigolds

Swing

Swing

Weeeee

Weeeee

Eeeeeee!

Eeeeeee!

Bumblebee

Bumblebee

Lots of leaves

Lots of leaves

Leaves

Leaves

Firepit

Firepit

Smoochie (click for concrete ball DIY ahha)

Smoochie (click for concrete ball DIY ahha) celebrated a birthday this month! Happy Birthday ‘Moocha!

Field (near Spy Garden)

Field (near Spy Garden)

Getting spooky around here!

Getting spooky around here!

Kitchen window

Kitchen window

Thanks Spy Sister for these delicious treats!

Thanks Spy Sister for these delicious treats! I also celebrated a birthday this month; 33!!!

Swing

Swing

Spy Garden

Spy Garden

Dexie

Dexie

Dexie looking at the garden

Dexie in the garden

Timber!

Timber!

Clean-up

Clean-up

Stacking wood

Stacking wood

 A little loofah gourd

A little loofah gourd

Dexie, dill, mums

Dexie, dill, mums

In the Eno hammock (they are the best!!)

In the Eno hammock (they are the best!!)

Echinacea with funnel web spider

Echinacea with funnel web

Leaves caught (in another funnel web)

Leaves caught (in another funnel web)

Ghost Dog!

Ghost Dog!

Happy Fall!

Happy Fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday! And hope you all have a very Happy Halloween!!

 

 

Featured post

Mid-October in Spy Garden 2015

I heart fall

I heart fall

Lion's Tail

Lion’s Tail

Persimmon

Persimmon

Yum!

Yum!

A violet woolflower

A violet woolflower

Different types of celosia

Different types of celosia

Bumblebee on (what looks like) brain coral!

Bumblebee on (what looks like) brain coral!

Dexie (watching a turkey vulture)

Dexie (watching a turkey vulture)

Red leaves

Red leaves

Dexie

Dexie in the woods

Turkey Tails
Turkey Tails
Woods

Woods

Yellow

Yellow

Looks like legs walking

Looks like legs walking

Red leaf

Red leaf

Stone Bridge

Stone Bridge

Long fall shadows

Long fall shadows

Homes (for Woodpeckers?)

Homes (for woodpeckers?)

Little cedar tree

Little cedar tree

"Kitty Pizza" (the cat at Baby's school)

“Kitty Pizza” (the cat at Baby’s school)

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Tomato

Tomato

Copperhead Skin

Copperhead Skin

Fall Echinacea (facing north)

Fall Echinacea (facing north)

Facing south

Facing south

Fall in Spy Garden

Fall in Spy Garden

Tall dead tree

Tall dead tree

Celosia Bouquet

Celosia Bouquet

Dexie cleaning up the sunflower stalks

Dexie cleaning up the sunflower stalks

Dill, mums, celosia

Dill, mums, celosia: jewel tones!

Featured post

Early October 2015

Three point deer skull found by Baby in the woods!

Three point deer skull found by Baby in the woods!

How dainty!

How dainty!

Found (in this condition!) in the woods across the street from our house. Babyzilla ran right into it when going down a hill!

Found (in this condition!) in the woods across the street from our house. Babyzilla ran right into it when going down a hill!

A little burgundy "woolflower" also known as "brain celosia" cockscomb is in the amaranth family.

A little burgundy “woolflower” also known as “brain celosia” cockscomb is in the amaranth family.

Bearded Tooth Mushroom

Bearded Tooth Mushroom

Also called Lion's Mane

Also called Lion’s Mane

...or Hedgehog Mushroom

…or Hedgehog Mushroom

Knobby head

Knobby head

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer

Watching the deer

Watching the deer

Resinous Polypores

Resinous Polypores

Spiky Lion's Tail (also called Wild Dagga)

Spiky Lion’s Tail (also called Wild Dagga)

Leonotis leonurus; in the mint family

Leonotis leonurus; in the mint family

Quintessential plant for October!

Quintessential plant for October!

Banana tree: if you did them up and bring them in for the winter they will grow fruit in the third year

Banana tree: if you dig them up and bring them in for the winter they will grow fruit in the third year

Three small banana plants heading in for the winter!

Three small banana plants heading in for the winter!

Red celery, very slow growing

Red celery, very slow growing

Another view of the red celery

Another view of the red celery

Where we get our mail! Thought that would be exciting for readers who send us mail:)

Where we get our mail! Thought that would be exciting for readers who send us mail:)

Cardinals Cake! Woo! The cards are in the playoffs!

Cardinals Cake! Woo! The cards are in the playoffs!

Painting

Painting

In...

In…

Progress

Progress

Heart Painting

Heart Painting

Teepee in fall

Teepee in fall

Celosia

Celosia

Spent Echinacea are perfect for October! Spooky black spikes!

Spent Echinacea are perfect for October! Spooky black spikes!

Featured post

Ten!

Festive Marigolds

Festive Marigolds for a…

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

10 candles! (on a cake, signed by Babe Ruth!)

10 candles! (on a cake signed by Babe Ruth! haahah)

He was happy with his presents: LOTS of baseball cards! (and gift $ for buying more baseball cards!!)

He was happy with his presents: LOTS of baseball cards! (and gift $ for buying even more baseball cards!!)

Helping build a new shed

Helping build a new shed; a low key birthday (per his request!)

And some more shots from early October…

Fall Garden

Fall Garden

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Playing cello

Playing cello

So saturated!

So saturated!

Dried Dragon Tongue Beans

Dried Dragon Tongue Beans

Celosia

Celosia

Spider web on echninacea

Spider web on echinacea

Tunnel web

Tunnel web

Despite the lack of weeding

This photo is entitled “Despite the lack of weeding” haha

Dexie enjoying early October

Dexie enjoying early October

Knockout Rose petals

Knockout Rose petals

Composition with Baby, Dexie and Maggie

Composition with Baby, Dexie and Maggie haha

Marigolds for days!

Marigolds for days!

Featured post

Lost Valley Lake Resort

A little weekend getaway...

A little weekend getaway…

to Lost Valley Lake Resort; its one of those time share places so we went to just check it out (spoiler alert: we did not get a membership)

to Lost Valley Lake Resort; its one of those time share places so we went to just check it out (spoiler alert: we did not get a membership)

In the

In the “villa” (kind of like a tiny house): while I do love camping in a tent, having a kitchen and bathroom sure is convenient!

And a coffee maker!

And a coffee maker!

Pretty...

Pretty…

Asters

Asters

Boat Launch?

Boat Launch?

Or...

Or…

Dexie Launch?!

Dexie Launch?!

Lake Riata; one of two little lakes on the property

Lake Riata; one of two little lakes on the property

Of course Dexie didn't mind the chilly water!

Of course Dexie didn’t mind the chilly water!

The first small hints of fall color

The first small hints of fall color

Shake!

Shake!

Pretty grasses and blooms

Pretty grasses and blooms

Beautiful clear, crisp fall weather!

Beautiful clear, crisp fall weather!

On the other lake…

Dexie's first canoe ride; she jumped in and out several times...

Dexie’s first canoe ride; she jumped in and out several times…

Until she got the hang of it!

Until she got the hang of it!

Little (well really he'd getting big!) canoer

Little (well really he’s getting big!) canoer

Littler canoer

Littler canoer

I love canoes!

I love canoes!

Geese

Geese

Our best Zoolander/duck faces Hahaha

Our best Zoolander/duck faces Hahaha

And then it was off to...

And then it was off to…

the Stables!

the stables!

Striking a pose

Striking a pose hahahah

Saddling up for his first trail ride!

Saddling up for his first trail ride!

Smoochie and the Spy hitting the trail

Smoochie and the Spy hitting the trail

“I probably don’t need to hold on with both hands. But if that’s the rule I’ll follow it” hahah
Little rider

Little rider

A natural (naturally)

A natural (naturally)

Future equestrian

Future equestrian

Weeeee

Weeeee

A little waterfall

A little waterfall

On Sunday...

On Sunday…

Another ride!

Another ride!

I got to go on a trail ride too!

I got to go on a trail ride too!

Horsey Close-up

Horsey Close-up

Chatting that woman's ear off!

Chatting that woman’s ear off!

And that's all folks! It was a very fun weekend trip!

And that’s all folks! It was a very fun weekend trip!

Featured post

Mid-September in Spy Garden

Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly

Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly

The celosia and cockscomb attracts many pollinators

The celosia and cockscomb attract many pollinators

Like a magenta brain! (cockscomb)

Like a magenta brain! (cockscomb)

Cockscomb is such a cool plant; reminds me of coral!

Cockscomb is such a cool plant; reminds me of coral!

Here (on a less vibrant yellow celosia) you can see how the seeds form. The seeds form similarly on cockscomb.

Here (on a less vibrant yellow celosia) you can see how the seeds form. The seeds form similarly on cockscomb.

The plants that are this color are so vibrant and saturated a deep, deep magenta; hard to capture the saturation in a photo!

The plants that are this color are so vibrant and saturated a deep, deep magenta; hard to capture the saturation in a photo!

Maggie and Dexie

Maggie and Dexie

Tall Corn

Tall Corn

Dried out blazing star blooms

Dried out blazing star blooms

Like party favors!

Like party favors!

Picking off the little sumac pieces (sumac tastes like lemon/vinegar)

Picking off the little sumac pieces (sumac tastes like lemon/vinegar)

The last Sikkim cucumber

The last Sikkim cucumber

Tall Lion's Tail

Tall Lion’s Tail

Banana trees (and a lot of weeds!)

Banana trees (and a lot of weeds!)

A Delice de la Table melon; it has gotten chilly so not sure if this melon will make it to maturity.

A Delice de la Table melon; it has gotten chilly so not sure if this melon will make it to maturity.

Blackberries are blooming/fruiting for a second time this year; this one branch has reached far over the deer fence.

Blackberries are blooming/fruiting for a second time this year; this one branch has reached far over the deer fence.

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee finally blooming

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee finally blooming

More loofah gourd blooms

More loofah gourd blooms

A feather (turkey?)

A feather (turkey?)

A little cave

A little cave

The cave has a small spring with very cold water flowing out

The cave has a small spring with very cold water flowing out

A tree (at the park with the little cave)

A tree (at the park with the little cave)

And who's this?!

And who’s this?!

It's "Cat You Can Pet"; a new addition to Forest school!

It’s “Cat You Can Pet”; a new addition to Forest school!

Seen in my university's library gallery at a faculty show

Seen in my university’s library gallery at a faculty show

And art at home (collaging by Babyzilla)

And art at home (collaging by Babyzilla)

Fog rising off the Missouri River

Fog rising off the Missouri River

Spy Garden 9.14.15

Spy Garden 9.14.15

Happy Monday! Hope your week is off to a good start!

Featured post

Late Summer/Early Fall

Bumblebee on Celosia

Bumblebee on Celosia

Amaranth stalk

Amaranth stalk

Overalls to match the plants haha

Overalls to match the plants haha

So vibrant!

So vibrant!

Celosia

Celosia

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Neon!

Neon!

Hartman's Giant Amaranth

Hartman’s Giant Amaranth

Spiderweb

Spiderweb

Malabar Spinach

Malabar Spinach

“Aunt Molly’s” Ground Cherry

Separating the berries from the thin paper-like husks

Separating the berries from the thin paper-like husks

Ground cherry

Ground cherry

A very little white eggplant and an eggplant bloom

A very little white eggplant and an eggplant bloom

Buds on the Loofah gourd vines

Buds on the Loofah gourd vines

Spy Garden Bouquet

Spy Garden Bouquet

A few corn stalks

A few corn stalks

Missouri River sunrise

Missouri River sunrise

Watching ducks

Watching ducks

Herding ducks

Herding ducks at a park

Swimming ducks

Swimming ducks

Sycamore

Sycamore

Sycamore bark

Sycamore bark

In Squirrely Garden at her school

In Squirrely Garden at her school

Our street

Our street

Slow Please

Slow Please

Dexie cruisin'

Dexie cruisin’

Sulfur-Colored Chicken of the Woods; also called Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom

Sulfur-Colored Chicken of the Woods; also called Sulfur Shelf or Chicken Mushroom

Considered a choice edible. As chicken mushrooms age, they get tough—cut off the tender outer edges and leave the rest on the tree. Recipes abound for this and the closely related pale chicken of the woods (L. cincinnatus). They have the texture of chicken, and with a little imagination can taste like chicken. Although both species are safe and delicious mushrooms, some people get a bit of stomach upset or swollen lips after eating them. Try just a small amount the first time.
This fungus can be used as a chicken substitute in casseroles, enchiladas, and more. As with all wild mushrooms, be absolutely sure of your identification, cook it well, and only eat a small amount the first time you try it, since some people have bad reactions to otherwise edible mushrooms. (from the Missouri Department of Conservation website)
For now, just going to photograph it!

For now, just going to photograph it!

Missouri has dozens of edible wild mushrooms. Missouri also has dozens of poisonous mushrooms; some with names like Deadly Galerina and Destroying Angel. Thus, I am not too eager to start harvesting mushrooms and cooking them up! I would want to be much more of a mushroom-expert first. I couldn’t identify many of the varieties pictured below.

Tree pants

Tree pants haha: note all the little white mushrooms

ID?

ID?

Bigger than a dinner plate!

Bigger than a dinner plate!

Very celestial!

Very celestial!

Like a 3/4 moon

Like a 3/4 moon

Turtle

Turtle

Turkey Tails

Turkey Tails?

I'd never seen a turkey tail mushroom so green

I’d never seen a turkey tail mushroom so green

Little feather

Little feather

Red cap

Red cap

These look like an everything bagel (or bialy!)

These look like an everything bagel (or bialy!)

Dexie helping to hunt for mushrooms!

Dexie helping to hunt for mushrooms!

So many different types!

So many different types!

Gills

Gills

Leaves starting to change

Leaves starting to change

This one was beautiful; had a totally iridescent quality to it.

This one was beautiful; had a totally iridescent quality to it. Very striking in person.

I believe this variety of mushroom was the root of the entire style aesthetic of the 1970's haha

I believe this variety of mushroom is the original source of the entire style aesthetic of the 1970’s haha

Tall tree

Tall tree

Wow!

Wow!

Looks like someone dropped a cut watermelon in the woods!

Looks like someone dropped a cut watermelon in the woods!

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Featured post

The Last of Summer in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

Late August in Spy Garden

It feels like fall here; a nice, crisp chill in the air. Rain, thunder, wind. The garden will still be growing and changing until the first frost but here’s the low-down, re-cap of Spy Garden summer of 2015: A robust garlic harvest, lots of cucumbers (Sikkim and dragon’s eggs), plenty of blackberries, ground cherries and loads of fresh herbs. What to do with all the cucumbers?

Sikkim Cucumber

Sikkim Cucumber

Aside from eating them raw, I make super easy “pickles” like so: Buy a jar of Kosher Dill Claussen pickles (the best!) and eat. Then fill up the jar with your own washed and cut cukes and put it back in the fridge; 2 or 3 jars of Claussens for the price of 1! Or, how about roasting cucumbers? Why not?! I have been roasting the Sikkim cukes along with whatever other veggies I have on hand and they are great that way.

The pumpkins were sadly killed by squash vine borers but the Loofah gourds have climbed the teepee and so hopefully we will get a bunch of those! Not exactly winter squash, but maybe a close second? Also, the Hartman’s Giant Amaranth never disappoints and we have several very large, tall specimens this year.

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman's Giant Amaranth plant

Showing off a beautifully vibrant Hartman’s Giant Amaranth plant

This time last year St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles Magazine did a photoshoot of Spy Garden (click here to see the article)! The garden is definitely not in photo-shoot-ready mode (yet?! Maybe we’ll do some more serious weeding before the first frost?!) this year but that’s ok. Every year (and season) of gardening is always different. That is one of the best things about gardening!

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Baby demonstrating how easy it is to pick the shiny, black Amaranth seeds

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

Very few tomatoes so far this year; just these little yellow/orange cherries. We do have quite a few plants still growing they have just been very slow to fruit!

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Wild Dagga (also called Lion's Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Wild Dagga (also called Lion’s Tail) just starting to bloom. A great ornamental fall plant.

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Some fallen corn (it has been rainy and windy so some of the taller things have flopped over)

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not "perfectly" in bloom

Sunflowers are so pretty even when not “perfectly” in bloom

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Painting in the garden; a perfect morning!

Dexie thinks so too!

Dexie thinks so too!

Seed pod stamp painting

Seed pod stamp painting

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Inspirational lighting and colors!

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Collaborative painting-in-progress. Now to pass it back to my friend who will work on it for a week or so before returning it.

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

Babyzilla-made thank you cards

A wreath made by Baby's friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

A wreath made by Baby’s friends at Forest School, given to her for her birthday

And now, here are some really random recommendations (in no particular order)…

  • Falafel-stuffed peppers. Instead of meat or beans, add falafel mix (which is basically spices and dehydrated chickpeas), some water and tomatoes to spiced brown rice (I like a tiny pinch of garam masala plus a heaping amount of Ras el Hanout, turmeric and paprika) and some sautéed onions then stuff into peppers (I usually halve or quarter the peppers instead of stuffing whole peppers); just dollop the stuffing into each little pepper portion and bake.
  • Mendota plan-unflavored-sparkling water. Something about it is so indulgent and ridiculous (yes, and wasteful, but come on, I do live in America!) I mean, it is canned water, there is just something funny about that. I get on a kick every once in awhile and buy the stuff. I think I drank like 24 cans this week. So sparkly and delicious. One day I really should just buy my own carbonator. But carbonated tap water just might not be as fun as the blue, cold, sparkling cans of Mendota. Pelligrino and Perrier and bottled club soda are good too, but still the whole canned water thing is just the best.
  • Hail Merry Miracle Tarts. Persian Lime and Meyer Lemon are my two faves. Two servings of delectable dessert (half of one is a perfect portion) for only $3. They are super delicious and nutritious. I get them at Dierbergs but it looks like you can order direct from their website (though it looks like they’re much more costly that way).
  • Hormone Horoscope: having nothing to do with astrology, this free app you can download for your phone tells you what your hormones are up to each day; how they are affecting your mood, appetite and other things. This thing is genius.
  • Pantoprazole is better than ranitidine in the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Ok that one is way out of left field, right?! I thought this was a GARDENING website! But I am working on my doctorate of nursing practice and feel compelled to share this little finding. What good is learning if I don’t share with the Spy Garden masses?! I did a partial literature review comparing randomized controlled trials of these two medications. So before you reach for the antacids or Zantac if you have frequent heartburn you should probably ask your doctor (or nurse practitioner!) for a script for Protonix (pantoprazole). Nurse practitioner education covers all body systems and fields (how wonderful it is to have the option to go into any specialty) so stay tuned for more random recommendations! Right now my real passion is psychiatry and psychoneuroimmunology; who knows, maybe a capstone project fusing gardening AND nursing is in the cards?

Below are some random pictures to continue with the non-sequitur theme of this post!

Missouri River Sunrise

Missouri River Sunrise

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Watching the dog show at Purina farms a few weeks ago

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Nice catch! Purina farms is a fun (and free!) spot for an outing near St. Louis

Another good catch!

Another good catch!

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Cow-milking demo at Purina Farms

Checking out the pump

Checking out the pump

Milking a cow!

Milking a cow!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn't it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Saw this totally cool spiral tree at a local nursery; isn’t it cool?! It was quite pricy, so I just admired it, but would love to add one of these to my plant collection!

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Waiting for the Spy to catch the bus to school

Haybales and movie theater

Haybales and movie theater

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Paper plates and duct tape haha

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

Checking out some of the sculptures in the library

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

I love libraries! So peaceful and quiet!

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

 

Featured post

Four!

Four!

Four!…ba dum pssshhhh…

Four years old! Babyzilla’s fourth birthday with some garden pictures mixed in…since they’re so festive…

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Cake

Cake

Nasturtium

Nasturtium (as seen on the cake!)

Hawk

Hawk

Birthday Crown (made by Baby's Forest School teachers)

Birthday Crown (made by Baby’s Forest School teachers)

Fringe (corn)

Fringe (corn)

Monarch on Echinacea

Monarch on Echinacea

A quick little still life of a vase and fruit

A quick little still life of a vase and fruit

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Corn fringe II

Corn fringe II

Being...

Being…

Very...

Very…

Silly!

Silly!

Black Hungarian Peppers

Black Hungarian Peppers

Sunflower

Sunflower

Corn stalk

Corn stalk

A little of the garden inside!

A little of the garden inside!

All picked from Spy Garden!

All picked from Spy Garden!

Pre-picked

Pre-picked

With our friends; Mary...

With our friends; Mary…

And Shelly!

And Shelly!

Opening...

Opening…

Presents! (totally cool shirt Nana & Pop!)

Presents! (totally cool shirt Nana & Pop!)

Birthday Fun

Birthday Fun

Homegrown...

Homegrown…

Curling ribbon! (Loofah gourd vines)

Curling ribbon! (Loofah gourd vines)

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee

Loofah Gourd vines on the teepee

And what do we have here?!

And what do we have here?!

Baby's first bike!

Baby’s first bike!

She'll get loads of instruction I'm sure!

She’ll get loads of instruction I’m sure!

The vines of this Malabar Spinach match the bike!

The vines of this Malabar Spinach match the bike!

Monarch on Marigold

Monarch on Marigold

Little yellow moth on Harlequin marigold

Little yellow moth on Harlequin marigold

Nasturtium

Nasturtium

Spider

Spider

Blazing Star wildflower

Blazing Star wildflower

Festive Garden

Festive Garden

Happy...

Happy…

Birthday!

Birthday!

4...

4…

Years Old!

Years Old!

Featured post

Meramec Caverns

Stalagtites in Meramec Caverns

Stalagtites in Meramec Caverns

Cool cave! (58 degrees, 365 days a year!)

Cool cave! (58 degrees, 365 days a year!)

Meramec Caverns was used in the civil war; one of the minerals found in the cave is called saltpeter (or potassium nitrate) and was mined to make gunpowder

Meramec Caverns was used in the civil war; one of the minerals found in the cave is called saltpeter (or potassium nitrate) and was mined to make gunpowder

The cave was also a hideout for Jesse James.

The cave was also a hideout for Jesse James.

In the summer of 1941, Missouri was in the midst of a rather severe drought. A drought so intense, it not only dropped the rivers and streams above ground, but the water table itself also depleted. At that time, the main level of Meramec Caverns seemed to ‘dead end’ at a wall with a small pool of water spilling out below. With the drop of the water table, the pool of water below the wall receded nearly six inches and allowed a cool, breeze to push into the cave between the wall’s bottom and top of the water. Les Dill was alerted of this change by his cave guides, and, being the adventurous man he was, Dill elected to go under the wall, through the water, and see what was on the other side. Once past the wall, Les was opened to yet another large area of branching networks…even more cave. It was here, too, Les found the artifacts traceable to the infamous Jesse James and the cave was dubbed ‘Jesse James Hideout’. (from Meramec Caverns website)

When you first walk in you enter the ballroom; where many parties and concerts have taken place (and continue to be held)

When you first walk in you enter the ballroom; where many parties and concerts have taken place (and continue to be held)

Disco ball in the ballroom

Disco ball in the ballroom

The 1890’s brought a new era of human interaction to the cave. During that time, locals from Stanton, MO would hold ‘cave parties’ during summer months to avoid the extreme heat. Meramec Caverns was especially popular for these types of events, as a very large room lie just 300 feet inside the cave entrance. The room was large enough to accommodate big crowds, as well as a 50 foot by 50 foot dance floor in the center. This earned the room the nickname of the ‘Ballroom’. Meramec Caverns, then known as Saltpeter Cave, was purchased in 1898 by Charles Ruepple, and he headed a dance committee along with other local men from Stanton. Dancing continued through the 1890’s and spilled over into 1900, but it would be another 33 years before the most significant event in the cave’s history. (from Meramec Caverns website)

“Onyx Mountain” one of the largest stalagmites in the world (the other 2 largest are in China and New Zealand) You can see people’s heads in the bottom of the photo to get an idea of scale.

The

The “living side” of Onyx Mountain touching the “ceiling”; the other side is cut off from a water supply so is no longer “growing”

Not the greatest picture but this part of

Not the greatest picture but this part of “Onyx Mountain” has one large section that is all calcium deposits and was very white.

This reflection pool and the lighting makes it look like there is a canyon below.

This reflection pool and the lighting makes it look like there is a canyon below.

Very hard to take pictures in a cave! As we progressed on the tour the lights behind us were shut off so we had to keep up with the “good lighting” to get pictures!. Its hard to even tell what color some of the rocks actually were because of the warmth of the light.

In the

In the “wine room”

The

The “wine room” (because these formations look like grapes)

Lots of grape-like clusters

Lots of grape-like clusters

Tall ceiling

Tall ceiling

Columns, posts and pillars

Columns, posts and pillars

Stalagmites and stalagtites

Stalagmites and stalagtites

Lester Benton Dill, born in 1898, spent the majority of his youth exploring caves in the Meramec River Valley. Les began his cave promotion days with a small cave in Meramec State Park, known as Fisher’s Cave. Though Fisher’s Cave was exciting to work with, Les wanted more and in 1933 he approached Charles Ruepple about the prospect of purchasing his cave. Mr. Dill’s sole interest in the cave was to develop it into a show cave and allow it to be entertainment for the public. Charles was reluctant at first, but soon agreed to sell the cave to Les. Les changed the name from Saltpeter Cave to Meramec Caverns and quickly began promoting and offering cave tours to the public. (from Meramec Caverns website)

Meramec Caverns is still owned by descendants of the Dill family and it definitely has a unique “throw-back” feel to it.

Meramec Caverns entrance; Stanton, MO

Meramec Caverns entrance; Stanton, MO

They also offer boat rides on the Meramec River (looking very muddy on this particular day)

They also offer boat rides on the Meramec River (looking very muddy on this particular day)

Panning for gold! (not really)

Panning for gold! (not really)

They also had a few shops and a zip line activity, but we were most interested in the cave…

This weird formation (

This weird formation (“the biggest of it’s type in the world” (don’t you just love an obscure claim to fame?!) it looked like an animal.

Mysterious crevices

Mysterious crevices

This part of the cave is where an episode of Lassie was filmed. Hahha

This part of the cave is where an episode of Lassie was filmed. Hahha

Spiky

Spiky (and slimy!)

After the discovery of 1941 and the addition of an opened lower level room in 1947, uncovering miles of new passages and spectacular views, Meramec Caverns was complete. Meramec Caverns soon became known far and wide through signs plastered along the roads to attract tourist to the Caverns. Advertisements for the Caverns were also painted on barns in 14 states. Dill also pioneered the use of bumper stickers, then called bumper signs because the vinyl and adhesive used to attach stickers to cars had not yet been developed. While visitors toured the cave, Dill would have “bumper sign boys” tie the Meramec Caverns bumper signs on their cars giving him free advertising and visitors a free souvenir.  (from Meramec Caverns website)

Like frozen waterfalls

Like frozen waterfalls

Another reflective pool

Another reflective pool

Walking down towards the theater room.

Walking down towards the theater room.

Drumroll…

Wowza! The

Wowza! The “theater room”; this huge wall of white formations (called “the curtain”) stands nearly 70 feet high!

Leaving the theater room; more large white formations.

Leaving the theater room; more large white formations.

Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the St. Louis area!

Featured post

Early August in the Garden and Grant’s Farm

Cockscomb

Cockscomb

Melons growing up a trellis (and this trellis also has kiwi plants growing up it!)

Melons growing up a trellis (and this trellis also has kiwi plants growing up it!)

Monarch; my favorite!

Monarch; my favorite!

Peppers, little onions and Sikkim and dragon's egg cucumbers

Peppers, little onions and Sikkim and dragon’s egg cucumbers

A large Hartman's Giant amaranth plant (these self-sow in our garden every year) and you can see the loofah gourds climbing up the teepee in the background

A large Hartman’s Giant amaranth plant (these self-sow in our garden every year) and you can see the loofah gourds climbing up the teepee in the background

Another monarch

Another monarch

Dill, eggplants, celosia, cockscomb, hibiscus, and a few cucumber and melon plants all in this row!

Dill, eggplants, celosia, cockscomb, hibiscus, and a few cucumber and melon plants all in this row! (and asparagus is in the far end of this patch)

Seeds on the Orach (will definitely be saving these!)

Seeds on the orach (will definitely be saving these!)

Sunny sunflower

Sunny sunflower

Malabar Spinach climbing up the teepee

Malabar Spinach climbing up the teepee

Dexie and just a few marigolds! I like how in this picture you can really tell the garden is on a slope.

Dexie and just a few marigolds! I like how in this picture you can really tell the garden is on a slope.

Unfurling

Unfurling

A nice grey-blue-purple variety of sedum.

A nice grey-blue-purple variety of sedum.

Celosia and Dill

Celosia and Dill

Blazing star bloom (a native Missouri wildflower)

Blazing star bloom (a native Missouri wildflower)

One plot weeded!

One plot weeded!

Monarch on milkweed. Normally I take a lighter and burn off all those little yellow bugs off the milkweed but I didn't get to that this year.

Monarch on milkweed. Normally I take a lighter and burn off all those little yellow bugs off the milkweed but I didn’t get to that this year.

Heavy seed head hanging over

Heavy seed head hanging over

View through the trellis: the two tall stake-trellis (made by just weaving some twine around 3 garden stakes) have kiwis and melons growing up them; I hope they grow up to the tops!)

View through the trellis: the two tall stake-trellis (made by just weaving some twine around 3 garden stakes) have kiwis and melons growing up them; I hope they grow up to the tops!)

And Grant’s Farm…

To the goats!

To the goats!

Different types of longhorn cattle

Different types of longhorn cattle

Feeding the goats!

Feeding the goats!

So cute!

So cute!

And brushing them!

And brushing them!

And petting them.

And petting them.

I always feel kind of bad for elephants since they are supposedly wicked smart. Maybe only the dumber animals should be in captivity?

I always feel bad for elephants. Maybe only the dumber animals should be in captivity?

Like camels! hahaHaa

Like camels! hahaHaa

Camel ride!

Camel ride!

Weeee!

Weeee!

Peacocks are one of my favorites

Peacocks are one of my favorites

More beautiful feathers

More beautiful feathers

Parrots people-watching

Parrots people-watching

What a good big brother

What a good big brother

For the record I didn't dress them in matching shirts!

For the record I didn’t dress them in matching shirts!

Entrance of the Bauernhof (German for

Entrance of the Bauernhof (German for “farmstead”)

Ice cream in the shade

Ice cream in the shade

Pretty, ornate carts

Pretty, ornate carts

Another

Another

This rooster looked pretty cool when it walked it looked like it had baggy feathered pants.

This rooster looked pretty cool like it was wearing baggy feathered pants.

On the carousel

On the carousel

Going to check out the Clydesdales

Going to check out the Clydesdales

Neiiighhhh

Neiiighhhh

About Grant's Farm and the Budweiser Clydesdale stables

About Grant’s Farm and the Budweiser Clydesdale stables

Click here to learn more about Grant’s Farm (yet another free St. Louis attraction!)

And just a few more random photos…

Daniel Boone Bridge (soon to be torn down) over the Missouri River

Daniel Boone Bridge (soon to be torn down) over the Missouri River

Painting by Baby

Painting by Baby

Featured post

Jam-Packed July

Pretty yellow butterfly

Pretty yellow butterfly

Sikkim Cucumbers

Sikkim Cucumbers (and my awesome pants! haha)

Mimosa Blossoms

Mimosa Blossoms

Little yellow wildflower (a perk of not weeding the garden!)

Little yellow wildflower (a perk of not weeding the garden!)

A quick little one-point perspective painting

A quick little one-point perspective painting

My friend/coworker (who is a brilliant painter!) and I are doing a little collaborate painting. I started it, now she will add to it, and we'll pass it back and forth until we deem it finished!

My friend/coworker (who is a brilliant painter!) and I are doing a little collaborate painting. I started it, now she will add to it, and we’ll pass it back and forth until we deem it finished!

Bumblebee and sunflower

Bumblebee and sunflower

A turkey strutting in the playground at Forest School

A turkey strutting in the playground at Forest School

In snake-tree news; Smoochie hosed out the snake-toilet (eww!!)

In snake-tree news; Smoochie hosed out the snake-toilet (eww!!) Not sure if this disturbed them or not but we really couldn’t help it, it looked gross!

Farther up in the tree...I spy shedded...

Farther up in the tree…I spy shed…

Snake skins!

Snake skins! Wish I could’ve photographed this process as it happened!

The same tree...another day...another reptile!

The same tree…another day…another reptile!

A skink; and a fat one!

A skink; and a fat one!

It scampered off into the snake hole!

It scampered off into the snake hole!

I was diligently picking off all these squash bug eggs, but the squash vine borers eluded me and we lost most of the pumpkin plants. But there areare lots of loofah gourd squash plants doing quite well. There's always a bright side to gardening!

I was diligently picking off all these squash bug eggs, but the squash vine borers eluded me and we lost most of the pumpkin plants. But there are lots of loofah gourd squash plants doing quite well. There’s always a bright side to gardening!

Missouri River valley

Missouri River valley

Here's a shot of my organized and meticulous method of curing/saving garlic. Hahaha

Here’s a shot of my organized and meticulous method of curing/saving garlic. Hahaha

A tattered butterfly resting on the deer fence

A tattered butterfly resting on the deer fence

Floral on floral on floral!

Floral on floral on floral!

A dragon's egg cucumber

A dragon’s egg cucumber

My study buddy at the library

My study buddy at the library

A few weeks ago we had Vacation Bible School at our church. There were about 25-30 kids there which was a great turnout!

The theme was "Camp Discovery" and the teachers did a great job decorating the classrooms.

The theme was “Camp Discovery” and the teachers did a great job decorating the classrooms.

I was in charge of the arts and crafts! VBS was Monday-Friday 6-8PM; a very busy week!

I was in charge of the arts and crafts! VBS was Monday-Friday 6-8PM; a very busy week!

A simple one-point perspective lesson

A simple one-point perspective lesson

Following directions (as usual)

Following directions (as usual)

Doing whatever she wants (as usual) hahaha!

Doing whatever she wants (as usual) hahaha!

I love painting with kids, they are so creative and don't second-guess the process of painting!

I love painting with kids, they are so creative and don’t second-guess the process of painting!

This was a great abstract piece by a 4 year old.

This was a great abstract piece by a 4 year old.

Recess!

Recess!

Snack time! (and representing Auburn; Aunt Spy's alma mater)

Snack time! (and representing Auburn; Aunt Spy’s alma mater)

The end of VBS ended with a water balloon fight; a long-standing tradition!

The end of VBS ended with a water balloon fight; a long-standing tradition!

The teenagers filled water balloons all week; 1500 of them!

The teenagers filled water balloons all week; 1500 of them!

In baseball news…

The Knights are league champions!

The Knights are league champions!

Knights fans

Knights fans

Nana and my sister (visiting from FL!) at one of the games

Nana and my sister (visiting from FL!) at one of the games

Climbing in the playground at the ballfield

Climbing in the playground at the ballfield

Watching warm-up in the shade (it was near 100 degrees at several of the games, whew!)

Watching warm-up in the shade (it was near 100 degrees at several of the games, whew!)

Hitting the trail

Hitting the trail

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Paw-Paw trees. I have yet to sample a paw-paw (I've heard it tastes kind of like a banana).

Paw-Paw trees. I have yet to sample a paw-paw (I’ve heard it tastes kind of like a banana).

Tiny bright red mushrooms

Tiny bright red mushrooms

Pretty blue-purple wildflowers

Pretty blue-purple wildflowers

Leaf

Leaf

A feather

A feather

Little mushroom

Little mushroom

The Spy golfing

Four!

The kids with Nana & Pop, who we enjoyed having in St. Louis the whole month of July!

The kids with Nana & Pop, who we enjoyed having in St. Louis the whole month of July! Golfing, tennis, swimming, movies, etc., etc….thanks for all the fun and good memories!

On to August!

But first a good night's rest under a blue moon!

But first,a good night’s rest under a blue moon!

Featured post

Missouri Botanical Garden 7.27.15

Lanterns

Lanterns

The Lantern Festival is going on now (through August 23rd) at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The lanterns are best enjoyed at night when they are all lit up but it was cool to see them in daylight too!

Many of the lantern displays are huge!

Many of the lantern displays are huge!

The lanterns are made of silk, steel and porcelain

The lanterns are made of silk, steel and porcelain

The Spy liked this elephant fountain

The Spy liked this elephant fountain

Galloping horses in front of the Climatron

Galloping horses in front of the Climatron

These lizard lanterns fit perfectly in front of the Linnean house (the oldest operating greenhouse west of the Mississippi)

These lizard lanterns fit perfectly in front of the Linnean house (the oldest operating greenhouse west of the Mississippi)

At the children’s garden…

We cooled off in the fountains (I did too!)

We cooled off in the fountains (I did too!)

The kids in the maze...

The kids in the maze…Hmmm where are they?

Hi!

Hi!

And there's the Spy!

And there’s the Spy!

These "pincushion" gardens were very cool.

These “pincushion” gardens were very cool.

Definitely something to consider if you have a lot of succulents/other little plants!

Definitely something to consider if you have a lot of succulents/other little plants!

This nearly black elephant ear plant is like a sculpture

This dark elephant ear plant is like a sculpture

The children's garden is set up like an old west town. I saw so many beautiful hanging baskets!

The children’s garden is set up like an old western town. So many beautiful hanging baskets!

Through the foliage, looks like a forbidden city! (A large porcelain lantern)

Through the foliage, looks like a forbidden city! (A large porcelain lantern)

That huge tree is an...

That huge tree is an…

Osage orange!

Osage orange!

Duck

Duck

Peacock

Peacock

Rope...

Rope…

walk

walk

Staying soaked was the key today! It was hot!

Staying soaked was the key today! It was hot!

Showing off a big tortoise shell!

Showing off a big tortoise shell!

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

The lanterns were very detailed; and amazing that all that silk and porcelain holds up in the elements!

The lanterns were very detailed; and amazing that all that silk and porcelain holds up in the elements!

Beautiful hand-painted silk! I bet this one looks really cool at night!

Beautiful hand-painted silk! I bet this one looks really cool at night!

Lily pads

Lily pads

Detail

Detail

Haha

Haha

Reflection

Reflection

Fuzzy stalk

Fuzzy stalk

Huge koi

Huge koi

This one had some weird eyelash-like things

This one had some weird eyelash-like things

A tiny glimpse of fall! But DEFINITELY did not feel like fall today!

A tiny glimpse of fall! But DEFINITELY did not feel like fall today!

Of course, we had to get a few...

Of course, we had to get a few…

Souvenirs! The coolest one being...

Souvenirs! The coolest one being…

A Venus fly-trap!

A Venus fly-trap!

Watch out flies!

Watch out flies!

Happy Monday friends!

Featured post

Harvests, Art

Celosia (related to amaranth the leaves are edible and can be used like any green)

Celosia (related to amaranth the leaves are edible and can be used like any green)

The blackberries are nearly as big as baby's palm!

The blackberries are nearly as big as baby’s palm!

Missouri River sunrise (taken from the Daniel Boone Bridge)

Missouri River sunrise (taken from the Daniel Boone Bridge)

Plum! (the first of this tree; we only got 3 of them, but it was still exciting to finally get fruit!)

Plum! (the first of this tree; we only got 3 of them, but it was still exciting to finally get fruit!)

Corn (Kulli Black Incan)

Corn (Kulli Black Incan)

Check out these corn "feet"

Check out these corn “feet”

So cool!

So cool!

Busy bumblebees in the milkweed

Busy bumblebees in the milkweed

Sikkim cucumber (wet with rainwater) has a cool orange color and a crackle finish! (tastes the same as regular cucumbers)

Sikkim cucumber (wet with rainwater) has a cool orange color and a crackle finish! (tastes the same as regular cucumbers)

Our awesome new eno hammock! (thanks Nana & Pop!)

Our awesome new eno hammock! (thanks Nana & Pop!)

Lemon Bee Balm

Lemon Bee Balm

(part of) the garlic harvest!

(part of) the garlic harvest!

Dragon Tongue Bean blossoms

Dragon Tongue Bean blossoms

Baby showing a dragon tongue bean. These are my favorite beans to grow: crunchy, fresh and very pretty too!

Baby showing a dragon tongue bean. These are my favorite beans to grow: crunchy, fresh and very pretty too!

Seed saving (Nigella)

Seed saving (Nigella)

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

The rose of Sharon flowers turn this pretty blue-purple after they're done blooming. Tons of the spent blooms fall to the ground...

The rose of Sharon flowers turn this pretty blue-purple after they’re done blooming. Tons of the spent blooms fall to the ground…

Enough to make designs with!

Enough to make designs with!

Coneflowers

Coneflowers

And a few shots from the St. Louis Art Museum…

Torso with Smoochie (I tried to get him to take off his shirt and pose next to this, maybe next time) Hahajahah

Torso with Smoochie (I tried to get him to take off his shirt and pose next to this, maybe next time) Hahajahah

Ancient...

Ancient…

Flip flops!

Flip flops!

Look! It's just like being at our house!

Look! It’s just like being at our house!

See Tonguey at the very top of the picture and Tonguey II peeking out of the hole?

See Tonguey at the very top of the picture and Tonguey II peeking out of the hole?

Tonguey II as it turns out is the female (she is bigger and way more protective of the nest). I figured the larger one was the male but I don't think that is actually the case.

Tonguey II as it turns out is the female (she is bigger and way more protective of the nest). I figured the larger one was the male but I don’t think that is actually the case.

Who needs TV?

Who needs TV?

and this is really gross but I want to share…

Snake Toilet. Seriously gross. But at least it doesn't smell.

Snake Toilet. Seriously gross. But at least it doesn’t smell.

Tonguey II looking quite small with just her head peeking out

Tonguey II looking quite small with just her head peeking out

Tonguey II going under the deck probably to hunt for mice

Tonguey II going under the deck probably to hunt for mice

I’ll leave you with a more pleasant image (not that snakes aren’t cool and all)…

This large painting was my favorite of our latest visit. So dreamy and peaceful. Interesting how every time you go to the art museum you may be drawn to different pieces.

This large painting was my favorite of our latest visit. So dreamy and peaceful. Interesting how every time you go to the art museum you may be drawn to different pieces.

Hope you all had a nice weekend!

Featured post

July 4, 2015

Red, white & blue!(nasturtiums, carrot blossoms & nigella)

Red, white & blue! (nasturtiums, carrot blossoms & nigella)

What's more American than fireworks and flags made in China!?

What’s more American than fireworks and flags made in China!?

Patriotic Babyzilla

Patriotic Babyzilla

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

The Spy (home from camp woo!), Smoochie and Dexie setting off fireworks

The Spy (home from camp, woooo!), Smoochie and Dexie setting off fireworks

My favorite are the gold/silver fireworks

My favorite are the gold/silver fireworks

And green (for gardening!)

And green (for gardening!)

Fireworks

Fireworks

Sparkly

Sparkly (photo cred to Spy Sister!)

Love this shot!

Happy Independence Day!

Hope you all had a great fourth of July weekend!

Featured post

June 2015

Bee balm, rue, asters, wild strawberry and milkweed in this patch

Bee balm, rue, asters, wild strawberry and milkweed in this patch

Milkweed buds (taken a few weeks ago: its blooming now!)

Milkweed buds (taken a few weeks ago: its blooming now!)

Plein air...

Plein air…

Painting!

Painting!

Little bug with black and white striped antennae on orach

Little bug with black and white striped antennae on orach

Love-in-a-mist...

Love-in-a-mist…

seed pods. Fun to pick and fun to pop; they're like little balloons. Love-in-a-mist is also called Nigella.

seed pods. Fun to pick and fun to pop; they’re like little balloons. Love-in-a-mist is also called Nigella.

Check out this huge earthworm!

Check out this huge earthworm!

Babyzilla...

Babyzilla…

Worm Whisperer

Worm Whisperer

Buds peeking out

Buds peeking out (onion)

Cool wings on this bug

Cool wings on this bug

Teepee view facing south/southwest (this was taken a few weeks ago, now pumpkins are starting to creep up the teepee!)

Teepee view facing south/southwest (this was taken a few weeks ago, now pumpkins are starting to creep up the teepee!)

A ladybug in the mist

A ladybug in the mist

Weeeee...love our swings!

Weeeee…love our swings!

A plum!

A plum!

Tree ID anyone? We were given two of these and the person said they were plum, but they haven't fruited yet.

Tree ID anyone? We were given two of these and the person said they were plum, but they haven’t fruited yet.

Foliage of our mystery tree.

Foliage of our mystery tree.

Loads of garlic seeds (we ate a lot of scapes but also let many go to seed because I love how they look!)

Loads of garlic seeds (we ate a lot of scapes but also let many go to seed because I love how they look!)

I like to think of this as Grant's garlic; because our friends' the Grants gave us a small handful of these garlic seeds years ago. Now we have probably 50lbs of garlic! The garlic is nearly ready to harvest.

I like to think of this as Grant’s garlic; because our friends’ the Grants gave us a small handful of these garlic seeds years ago. Now we have probably 50lbs of garlic! The garlic is nearly ready to harvest. Garlic grows underground but these seedheads grow up.

Pretty orach with dew drops

Pretty orach with dew drops

Marigolds and onions

Marigolds and onions

Onion seed head

Onion seed head

Who needs fireworks?!

Who needs fireworks?!

This was the ONLY time we have watered the garden this year (taken 3 weeks ago). It has rained sooo much which is unusual for summer here in St. Louis.

This was the ONLY time we have watered the garden this year (taken 3 weeks ago). It has rained sooo much which is unusual for summer here in St. Louis.

Lemon Bee Balm

Lemon Bee Balm

Baby is a great running buddy!

Baby is a great running buddy!

See Tonguey?

See Tonguey?

At the pool (the Spy is still at camp; we miss him!!)

At the pool a few weeks ago (the Spy is still at camp; we miss him!!)

Baby especially misses her brother!

Baby especially misses her brother! He returns from camp this weekend!

Highlights and Stripes

Highlights and Stripes

Baby (on the left) at Forest School in Squirrely Garden

Baby (on the left) at Forest School in Squirrely Garden

Thyme at this angle reminds me of one of those Magic Eye pictures

Thyme at this angle reminds me of one of those Magic Eye pictures

Garden panorama (taken from the garden "living room")

Garden panorama (taken from the garden “living room”)

Dexie prancing through the garden (picture taken June 28th, 2015)

Dexie prancing through the garden (picture taken June 28th, 2015)

And on to July! Hope you all are having a nice summer!

Featured post

Camp!

This past weekend we traveled to…

the beautiful blue ridge mountains!

the beautiful blue ridge mountains!

At about the ninth hour of driving...Dexie, is that a wink or an eye twitch?!

At about the ninth hour of driving…Dexie, is that a wink or an eye twitch?!

Baby, only three more hours to go! haha

Baby, only three more hours to go! haha

Look at all those onions.

Look at all those onions.

Finally! Into the smoky mountains we go!

Finally! Into the smoky mountains we go!

Black Mountain, NC...home of...

Black Mountain, NC…home of…

The Greatest Place on Earth (or at least right up there with Spy Garden ;)

The Greatest Place on Earth (or at least right up there with Spy Garden ;)

Camp Merri-Mac has been a major influence in my life. I was a camper there from age 11-16 and I was a CIT (counselor in training) at 17. It is very fun for me to think of all of the things I do in my adult life that somehow relate to my days as a camper. Art, crocheting, gardening, swimming, exploring the woods: all of my hobbies and interests have some sort of roots in Camp Merri-Mac. There are wooden swings in our backyard. We spend lots of quality time in creeks. We even live on a one lane dirt/gravel road (just like camp!) Pretty much on any given afternoon, I might as well be at summer camp…enjoying our low ropes course (zip line, slack line and again, those joyous wooden swings!), singing camp songs to the kids (since they were babies!) and just generally spending loads of time outdoors learning new things.

Though there was no gardening at camp, gardening is very much a camp-type pursuit (again, outdoors: learning new things!). The excitement of tribal competition (Go Seminoles!) I now find at little league games (Go Knights!). Chapel is now church and the alarm clock is Reveille. Well maybe that last one’s a stretch;)! My sister always tells me our laundry smells like the laundry at camp. This is probably because we always have at least a couple of articles of clothing that have gotten thoroughly filthy and wet (another important tenet of summer camp!).

A major reason I’ve never gotten my kids any video games or let them play on a phone and limited TV time is because camp was (and still is) always totally technology-free. True to form, even on the (looong! 11+ hours!) drive to North Carolina, the kids stared out the window and sketched on scrap paper; no ipads or video games on our road trips just like “in my day” (I can say that now! Hahaha)!

In my professional life as a psychiatric nurse I guide and encourage others to find joy, meaning and purpose in life: something I began to learn at camp. Exploring the deeper value of leisure pursuits and conveying the importance of exploring spirituality are passions born at camp.

And of course there’s the creek and mud and friendship of Baby’s Forest School: much like camp (year round!)

Even though Camp Merri-Mac and Timberlake are on the same campus, they keep the two camps quite separate. Until now I didn’t know too much about Timberlake but I figured it is probably the greatest place on earth for a boy in the summer; since that’s true about Merri-Mac for girls!

So off we sent our first-born, our precocious progeny, into the blue ridge mountains for the next two weeks!

But first we checked out the sights of...

But first we checked out the sights of…

Montreat

Montreat

Lake Susan in Montreat

Lake Susan in Montreat

Snapping turtle laying eggs next to Lake Susan

Snapping turtle laying eggs next to Lake Susan

Baby's first time in a canoe! (canoeing was always my favorite camp activity and I took trips to the many rivers in the area)

Baby’s first time in a canoe! (canoeing was always my favorite camp activity and I took trips to the many rivers in the area)

Ready to...

Ready to…

Hit the trail!

Hit the trail!

Centipede

Centipede

Skilled hiker!

Skilled little hiker!

Cute little red mushroom

Cute little red mushroom

We hiked for four hours (much of which was uphill!) Whew!

The woods are loaded with magnolias

The woods are loaded with magnolias

Magnolia buds

Magnolia buds

Magnolia blooms

Magnolia blooms

Dexie enjoyed many dips in the cold clear mountain streams.

Dexie enjoyed many dips in the cold clear mountain streams.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Snail

Snail

Wildflower

Wildflower

Little Feather

Little Feather

Flat Creek

Flat Creek

We also explored Black Mountain, NC with easy walking access from this cheap and convenient hotel

We also explored Black Mountain, NC with easy walking access from this cheap and convenient hotel

My Father's Pizza (a Black Mountain tradition!)

My Father’s Pizza (a Black Mountain tradition!)

Father and son at My Father's Pizza

Father and son at My Father’s Pizza

At Dairy King (a Black Mountain tradition!)

At Dairy King (a Black Mountain tradition!)

Iconic Dairy King sign (iconic to me anyways;)

Iconic Dairy King sign (iconic to me anyways;)

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

This area is a beautiful place for a nice drive…

Ahhhhh cool mountain air!

Ahhhhh cool mountain air!

Chimney Rock drive-by

Chimney Rock drive-by

Feel free to make a joke about what else this rock looks like.

Feel free to make a joke about what else this rock looks like. lol

Many pretty vistas

Many pretty vistas

Finally it was time for drop-off!

Home forour little (big!) camper for the next two weeks!

Home for our little (big!) camper for the next two weeks!

Outside the cabin (these hammocks must be all the rage! We saw them all over the place!)

Outside the cabin (these hammocks must be all the rage! We saw them all over the place!)

Blue Heaven; the first cabin I was ever in (age 11)!

Blue Heaven; the first cabin I was ever in (age 11)!

The counselors snap shots of the kids and post them to a parents’ site so fortunately we have a little window into what he is up to…

Initiated into the Seminoles!

Initiated into the Seminoles! So far, so good!

In 2012, a great camp friend of mine invited me to be a raft guide, the summer after my freshman year of college, which is where I met Smoochie. So no camp? No Smoochie, no little spies, no Spy Garden! Thank God for camp!

DSC_0200

Featured post

Mid-June in Spy Garden

Fluffy summer clouds (bringing us loads of rain!)

Fluffy summer clouds (bringing us loads of rain!)

Blue Flax

Blue Flax

Blue Flax: (Linum perenne) This perennial flower was discovered on the Lewis & Clark Expedition, and hence the species was named “lewisii”. Lovely blue flowers on 24” plants, beautiful and easy to grow. (seeds/description from http://www.rareseeds.com)

Pepper already! This one is a black Hungarian (mild to medium spicy)

A pepper already! This one is a black Hungarian (mild to medium spicy)

Feverfew

Feverfew

Echinacea

Echinacea

Carrot Blossom

Carrot Blossom

Orach

Orach

We are growing two types of cucumber: Sikkam (a tan oblong variety) and Dragon's egg (a white egg shaped type)

We are growing two types of cucumber: Sikkam (a tan oblong variety) and Dragon’s egg (a white egg shaped type) and notice all the purslane growing wild around the cucumber plants. Purslane makes great ground cover and it is edible (lemony and crunchy!)

Marigolds, Loofah gourds, onions and love-in-a-mist flowers

Marigolds, Loofah gourds, onions and love-in-a-mist flowers

Celosia

Celosia

These are storebought (planted last year) but there are many native varieties of coneflowers in the parks in our area.

These are storebought (planted last year) but there are many native varieties of coneflowers in the parks in our area.

Prickly centers

Prickly centers

Little onion seed heads

Little onion seed heads

Facing east

Facing east

Love when the mimosa blossoms fall!

Love when the mimosa blossoms fall!

Makeshift garden gate for an area of the deer fence in need or repair.

Makeshift garden gate for an area of the deer fence in need or repair.

Hey, where are you going with the garden gate?! haha

Hey, where are you going with the garden gate?! haha

Mmm good stick

Mmm good stick

Yum! Spinach always seems to do so well in pots; very easy to harvest

Yum! Spinach always seems to do so well in pots; very easy to harvest

Pretty Lettuce

Pretty Lettuce

Very vibrant coneflower

Very vibrant coneflower

Blue Dragonfly

Blue Dragonfly

Love-in-a-mist seed pods

Love-in-a-mist seed pods

It's Tongue-y! Baby named her. The male (who we haven't seen lately is Tongue-y II) haha

It’s Tongue-y! Baby named her. The male (who we haven’t seen lately is Tongue-y II) haha

Great climber!

Great climber! (and great camoflauge)

Found a good spot to nap

Found a good spot to nap

Pitching

Pitching

Hitting

Hitting

Spectating (and pedicure-ing!) at the ballpark!

Spectating (and pedicure-ing!) at the ballpark!

Sparkly shoes!

Sparkly shoes!

Baby-

Baby-

zilla!

zilla!

Hope you all are having a nice summer (or winter for my southern hemisphere friends!) and have a great weekend!

Featured post

Spy Garden Summer Begins

Summer Thyme!

Summer Thyme!

Showing how tall the great burdock is! The roots are edible and are popular in Asian cuisine. And you can also see the need for edging the borders in this photo!

Showing how tall the great burdock is! The roots are edible and are popular in Asian cuisine. And you can also see the need for edging the borders in this photo!

Shelly 25 Black Quinoa

Shelly 25 Black Quinoa

Close-up

Close-up (of love-in-a-mist/Nigella)

Picking a dandelion (from left are purple asters, wild strawberries and rue)

Picking a dandelion (from left are purple asters, wild strawberries and rue)

Garlic Scape

Garlic Scape

Iridescent wings

Iridescent wings

Rue

Rue

The yellow wasp matches the "Herb of Grace" (Rue)

The yellow wasp matches the “Herb of Grace” (Rue)

Kulli Black Incan Corn

Kulli Black Incan Corn

Kulli Black Incan Corn foliage close-up

Kulli Black Incan Corn foliage close-up

Another close-up

Another close-up

Bambi!

Bambi!

Spy Garden Sky

Spy Garden Sky

Baby in the garden

Baby in the garden

Ready to...

Ready to…

Swing!

Swing!

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

Floridian Fish (in Missouri!)

Floridian Fish (in Missouri!)

Orach

Orach

Playing "Family Fish"

Playing “Family Fish”

Fish head

Fish head

Face...

Face…

Paint

Paint

Painted shirt haha

Painted shirt haha

Insect ID anyone? (on milkweed)

Insect ID anyone? (on milkweed)

Marigold (there are many varieties in the garden)

Marigold (there are many varieties in the garden)

Firepit

Firepit

Heading off for a hike across the street

Heading off for a hike across the street

And over here we have...

And over here we have…

this swing!

this swing!

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

Summer Brunch

Summer Brunch

Crayons

Crayons

Catwalk

Catwalk

1/2 Pint

1/2 Pint

Fred...

Fred…

Bird

Bird

Lewis & Clark...

Lewis & Clark…

& Seaman the dog, the only animal to complete the whole trip from the Atlantic to Pacific coast and back)

& Seaman the dog, the only animal to complete the whole trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast and back with Lewis & Clark)

Another...

Another…

Sculpture (these are in St. Charles, MO)

Statue (these are in St. Charles, MO)

Caboose

Caboose

Happy Summer!

Oh! I have a favor to ask. Would you please send an email to support our friends who own some llamas and alpacas (as seen here on Spy Garden)? Shoot an email to twoerther@cityofwildwood.com and ask him (impeccable manners, please!) for the Wier’s llamas (and alpacas) to be allowed to stay in Wildwood.

If you would like you can also call 636.458.0440 to share your support of these gentle creatures being allowed to stay at their current abode. You can also sign a petition here:

Change. org: Allow Julie Wier to keep her llamas and alpaca’s on her property in Wildwood, MO

Here’s more info about these llamas (and alpacas!)…

Wier World Llamas & Alpacas

Llama Drama in Wildwood (Fox 2 News)

Wier’s Llamas in the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Thanks for your support! Hope you all had a nice weekend!

Featured post

May Days

Love-in-a-mist flowers

Love-in-a-mist flowers

Spring Thyme!

Spring Thyme!

Some type of succulent?

Some type of succulent?

Smoochie, Dexie, Baby

Smoochie, Dexie, Baby

Celosia (looks like a poinsetta!)

Celosia (looks like a poinsetta!)

Lots of...

Lots of…

blackberries growing!

blackberries growing!

Baby in the garden

Baby in the garden

Knockout roses

Knockout roses

Watching...

Watching…

Baseball (see who's pitching?)

Baseball (see who’s pitching?)

#7

#7

Pitching

Pitching

Pitching

Pitching

Coaching

Coaching

Pitching

Pitching

Baseball Panorama Field #7

Baseball Panorama Field #7

Our street

Our street

Orach

Orach

Orach leaves are so deeply pigmented!

Orach leaves are so deeply pigmented!

Celosia

Celosia

Stump spiral

Stump spiral

Yellow wonder strawberry

Yellow wonder strawberry

These have a great tropical flavor

These have a great tropical flavor

Entitled: A Great Day for Statistics

Entitled: “A Great Day for Statistics”

Wide Mouth

“Wide Mouth” haha

Copperhead belt?

Copperhead belt?

Snakeskin

Snakeskin

Even beheaded, the face is quite animated

Even beheaded, the face is quite animated

Copperhead Totem

Copperhead Totem

Final Project was a movie about animals that live in the forest at Baby's school (that's Baby on screen pointing out deer tracks)

Baby’s final school project was a movie about animals that live in the forest at Baby’s school (that’s Baby on screen pointing out deer tracks)

Schools Out!

Schools Out!

At the creek

At the creek

So relaxing!

So relaxing!

Swimming

Swimming

Bank

Bank

Splash

Splash

Dexie

Dexie

Rocks

Rocks

Catching tadpoles

Catching tadpoles

Jumping

Jumping

Creek

Creek

Creek

Creek

Dexie

Dexie

Large rocks on a bluff above

Large rocks on a bluff above

Spring fed creek

Spring fed creek

Missouri River

Missouri River

Bridge

Bridge

A note…

Last day of school...

Last day of school…

lol

lol

Stylin

Stylin

First day of...

First day of…

summer break!

summer break!

At brunch

At brunch

Shopping

Shopping

DIY...

DIY…

Basketball...

Basketball…

Hoop

Hoop

Hahhaha

Hahhaha

Playing...

Playing…

"Family fish"

“Family fish”

Garden fish

Garden fish

Tarwi Q'Ollo (similar to a white bean)

Tarwi Q’Ollo (similar to a white bean)

Hope you all have a great memorial day weekend!

Featured post

Happy Friday!

Cardinal on a little arch-shaped branch. So St. Louis!

Cardinal on a little arch-shaped branch. So St. Louis!

Meyer Lemon

Meyer Lemon

Orach (like magenta spinach)

Orach (like magenta spinach)

Toad (released soon after this picture;)

Toad (released soon after this picture;)

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

Blackberry Blossoms

Blackberry Blossoms

Snake Tree on the left and Spy Garden on the right

Snake Tree on the left and Spy Garden on the right

Spy Garden panorama

Spy Garden panorama

Elephant Ear

Elephant Ear

From left: asparagus, great burdock and garlic

From left: asparagus, great burdock and garlic

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe

Inchworm

Inchworm

Garden Desk/Garden Corner Office!

Garden Desk/Garden Corner Office!

Spring in Spy Garden means baseball season!

Ahhhh, baseball!

Ahhhh, baseball!

Warming up

Warming up

Fields

Fields

Dugout

Dugout

View of the game from the playground

View of the game from the playground

Pitching

Pitching

#7

#7

Featured post

Snakes!

Hello again!

Hello again!

Snake-watch continues. My new hobby is staring at this tree:

Which as you can see, can be viewed from many vantage points at our house!

Which as you can see, can be viewed from many vantage points at our house!

The snakes' tree seen from the living room

The snakes’ tree seen from the living room

From the front porch...

From the front porch…

Can you spot the snakes WAY up there? (top of the picture just to the left of the middle)

Can you spot the snakes WAY up there? (top of the picture just to the left of the middle)

Pretty sure this one is a female

Pretty sure this one is a female

And that this one is a male

And that this one is a male

Baby says "they are good climbers!"

Baby says “they are good climbers!”

Honey...

Honey…

I'm home!

I’m home!

Home, sweet home!

Home, sweet home!

I asked Babyzilla what they should be named and she said “Tongue-y” and “Tongue-y II” Hhahahahaha

Don't fall on us!!!

Don’t fall on us!!!

Amorous...

Amorous…

Snakes!

Snakes!

The snakes are at it again!

The snakes are at it again!

They are about 30-40 feet high here!

They are about 30-40 feet high here!

This picture amazes me!!!

This picture amazes me!!!

Snakes in love

Snakes in love

From the Missouri Department of Conservation Website:

Overcome the Fear of Snakes

Some people have such a dread of snakes that they actually avoid going outdoors to fish, hunt, hike, or picnic. Others kill every snake they see. This is too bad, both for the people who let the fear of snakes keep them from enjoying nature, and for nature itself. It’s relatively easy to avoid direct encounters with snakes, and all snakes — even venomous ones — help control populations of rodents and other pests. Getting to know the kinds, natural history, and distribution of Missouri’s snakes can help you overcome your fear of them and appreciate their role in nature.

Missouri’s Wildlife Code Protects Snakes

Few Missourians realize that all snakes native to our state are protected. The Wildlife Code of Missouri treats snakes, lizards, and most turtles as nongame. This means that there is no open season on these animals, and it is technically unlawful to kill them. There is a realistic exception, however: when a venomous snake is in close association with people, which could result in someone being bitten. We hope that more people realize that snakes are interesting, valuable, and, for the most part, harmless.

Snakebites are Rare

Contrary to popular belief, snakes do not go looking for people to bite. In fact, snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them. As Jim Low says in his Snakebytes blog post, “Snakebite ranks just above falling space debris as a threat to human life.” Read his post to learn more about who gets bitten by snakes, when, and why.

***

Last night walking out the front door I almost stepped on…

AGGGHHHhhhh! Copperhead!

AGGGHHHhhhh! Copperhead!

Hasta la Vista

Hasta la Vista

RaaaAAAAAgggghhhhH!

RaaaAAAAAgggghhhhH!

From the Smithsonian National Zoo website:

Copperheads are social snakes. They may hibernate in a communal den with other copperheads or other species of snakes including timber rattlesnakes and black rat snakes. They tend to return to the same den year after year. Copperheads can be found close to one another near denning, sunning, courting, mating, eating, and drinking sites. They are believed to migrate late in the spring to reach summer feeding territories and reverse this migration in early autumn.

***

Needless to say, I am not pleased with the idea of a communal copperhead/black rat snake den under our front porch!!! AGGGhhhhhhh!!! Baby named the copperhead “Teeth-y”!

***

Males are aggressive during the spring and autumn mating seasons. They try to overpower each other and even pin the other’s body to the ground. This behavior is exhibited most often in front of females but this is not always the case. These interactions may include elevating their bodies, swaying side to side, hooking necks, and eventually intertwining their entire body lengths. Copperheads have been reported to climb into low bushes or trees after prey or to bask in the sun. They have also been seen voluntarily entering water and swimming on numerous occasions. (source)

Camouflage

Camouflage

From the Missouri Department of Conservation Website:

All venomous snakes native to Missouri are members of the pit viper family. Pit vipers have a characteristic pit located between the eye and nostril on each side of the head. They also have a pair of well-developed fangs

Note the shape of the pupil. The pupils of venomous snakes appear as vertical slits within the iris. Our venomous species all have a single row of scales along the underside of the tail.

Looks like something from Game of Thrones!

Looks like something from Game of Thrones!

Missouri’s venomous snakes include the copperhead, cottonmouth, western pygmy rattlesnake, massasauga rattlesnake, and timber rattlesnake. The western diamond-backed rattlesnake and coralsnake are not found in Missouri. The most common venomous snake in Missouri is the copperhead.

Forces of Nature

Featured post

Snakes in a Tree

Male skink with a red head and a female black rat snake

Male skink with a red head and a female black rat snake

Male skinks have red heads in spring

Male skinks have red heads in spring

Emerging after a long, cold winter

Emerging after a long, cold winter

Green caterpillar hat

Green caterpillar hat

See the tiny caterpillar??

See the tiny caterpillar??

Climbing up the tree, this female is spreading her scent...

Climbing up the tree, this female is spreading her scent…

Climbing...

Climbing…

Ssssss

Ssssss

Aaaannd back in the hole

Aaaannd back in the hole

And who's this?

And who’s this?

A gentleman caller?

A gentleman caller?

Into the nest...(and check out a third snake up higher in the branch in the background!)

Into the nest…(and check out a third snake up higher in the branch in the background!)

Slithering...

Slithering…

Heyyy!

Heyyy!

Snake yawn?

Snake yawn?

Snake smile?

Snake smile?

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

Scandelous snakes!

Scandelous snakes!

Check out their lighter colored bellies

Check out their lighter colored bellies

Wrapped

Wrapped

Snake acrobats

Snake acrobats

Snake...

Snake…

Cirque de soleil

Cirque du soleil

Hanging snakes

Hanging snakes

Twisted snakes

Twisted snakes

Baby watching from the window of our house!

Baby watching from the window of our house!

Like ropes!

Like ropes!

See you around snakes! Hopefully well before I step on you!!! AGGHH!

See you around snakes! Hopefully well before I step on you!!! AGGHH!

The female went back into her nest in the tree and the male slithered off under our deck/house. These antics went on for hours today. It was so crazy to watch! They are nonpoisonous black rat snakes. We spotted them once in 2009 and once in 2012. We have never seen any babies hatch (maybe this year?!) Are we hosting a colony of these? AGgggghhhh! Cool and amazing, but pretty freaky too!

Featured post

Early May in Spy Garden

Spy Garden 5.1.15

Spy Garden 5.1.15

Love-in-a-mist will be blooming soon!

Love-in-a-mist will be blooming soon!

Haha

Haha

Meyer Lemon

Meyer Lemon

Carrot, Kale and Mushroom soup in broth Mmmm!

Carrot, Kale and Mushroom soup in broth Mmmm!

Weeeee

Weeeee

Asparagus (we've harvested several bundles from our patch over the past few weeks)

Asparagus (we’ve harvested several bundles from our patch over the past few weeks)

Floridian fish

Floridian fish

Spring Skull haha

Spring Skull haha

Spent Tulip

Spent Tulip

Hootie

Hootie

Dexie watching...

Dexie watching…

Chalk

Chalk

Yellow Wonder strawberry plants

Yellow Wonder strawberry plants

Pumpkin brownies made with coconut oil (vegan!)

Pumpkin brownies made with coconut oil (vegan!)

Dogwood

Dogwood

Like pointillism

Like pointillism

Profile

Profile

Orach

Orach

Orach is basically magenta spinach!

Orach is basically magenta spinach!

Great Burdock

Great Burdock

Stylin' whilst gardening

Stylin’ whilst gardening

Babyzilla

Babyzilla

Seeds please, ready to plant!

Seeds please, ready to plant!

Pastel corn (each kernal is a seed!)

Pastel corn (each kernal is a seed!)

Blackberry blossoms

Blackberry blossoms

Moving the mint

Moving the mint

The spearmint and citrus mint were threatening to take over a large part of the garden. We’re moving most of it to an area behind the house. Mint is very invasive but smells so wonderful. It repels pests, attracts beneficial insects and when it starts to take over and you dig it up it all those roots have totally aerated the soil! So I think its a good kind of invasive! The Spy and Baby say “We have so much mint we could make our own gum!”

Black Hungarian Pepper leaf

Black Hungarian Pepper leaf

Crocheted basket waiting for a pumpkin (or maybe a melon?)

Crocheted basket waiting for a pumpkin (or maybe a melon?)

Bulletin Board

Bulletin Board

Spring Confetti

Spring Confetti

Coloring a unicorn...

Coloring a unicorn…

The Spy rocking Smoochie's old raft guide helmet. Unicorn Expeditions is the rafting company where Smoochie and I met!

The Spy rocking Smoochie’s old raft guide helmet. Unicorn Expeditions is the rafting company where Smoochie and I met!

They went on a 10 mile bike ride yesterday!

They went on a 10 mile bike ride yesterday!

My corner office

My corner office

Waiting patiently for strawberries

Waiting patiently for strawberries

Celosia seedlings; so colorful!

Celosia seedlings; so colorful!

Happy May!

Featured post

ROA at Raintree

As part of the kindergartener’s “Bone Robot Project” at Forest Preschool, a Belgium artist who goes by the pseudonym Roa, came to paint!

Wait, I thought Roa had an art show in NYC at the Jonathan Levine Gallery going on right now?

He does! (Click here to check it out).

But while in the States he also visited Forest School!

Welcome ROA!

Welcome ROA!

The kindergarten class came upon Roa’s work when doing research for their “Bone Robot” project. The kids choose the themes for their semester-long projects. And this one was a doozy!

A student's sculpture (looks like a Bone Robot to me!)

A student’s sculpture (looks like a bone robot to me!)

Robots

Robots

Here is a short essay by the kindergarten teacher/owner of the school:

Who is That Masked Belgian Man?

Roa at Raintree

Roa at Raintree

Cultivating Relationships to Further Inquiry

To make a robot, it’s best to understand how bodies move. Bones, joints, muscles, tendons, cartilage are all good things to know for robot making. How are bodies put together? What components allow movement? What would happen if something were left out? What does the mechanics of animal locomotion mean for robots?

To answer these questions, the kindergarteners first studied the human body.

And from humans they moved on to local animals. Their goal: CREATE BONE ROBOTS THAT MOVE.

As Bone Robot Project evolved, the children became enthralled in the work of a graffiti artist also interested in the bodies and workings of animals bones–ROA.

“Wow. That’s just, I mean, that’s just pretty cool,” remarked a kindergartener.

And it is pretty cool. Roa examines the local fauna of an area–the common, the native, the endangered. He considers the role animals play in a particular place and with the human inhabitants. Then, he finds a prominent location to give it form. Using spray paint, Roa creates huge art pieces depicting the flesh and bone of a town.

Kindergarteners have a lot to say about his pieces. The often viscid nature of his graffiti seems to match the juxtaposition of the children’s project of bone and metal.

How will the children integrate their encounters with Roa’s art?

ROA painting

ROA painting

He used foam brushes, rollers and spray paint

He used foam brushes, rollers and spray paint

Mural Materials

Mural Materials

The kids observed him and sketched and wrote while he worked.

The kids observed him and sketched and wrote while he worked.

Baby and friends watching ROA

Baby and friends watching Roa

On day three…

He painted a...

He painted a…

Groundhog

Groundhog

Mural Materials II

Mural Materials II

I spy ROA painting in the studio (as seen from the kindergarten classroom)

I spy Roa painting in the studio (as seen from the kindergarten classroom)

Parent...

Parent…

Performance...

Performance…

Art!

Art!

My nine year old son (who used to attend this preschool) hasn’t gotten a chance to see the murals in person yet but he did look through all the pictures and jot down his thoughts…

One needn't be a gallery-goer to have an opinion of art...

One needn’t be a gallery-goer to have an opinion of art…

On the Raccoon skeleton, he wrote:

I realized that it was missing part of it’s rib cage. Why did you put it in skeleton form? Why didn’t you just paint a real raccoon? Couldn’t you have made it a bit smaller? I mean, it’s squished up in a little corner, well big corner but HUGE painting. The last thing is that wouldn’t it suck being that raccoon? Squished up in a corner of a room, missing part of your rib cage?

And on the Groundhog, he wrote:

Is that a squirrel or a groundhog? Because it looks a lot like a squirrel well, the head anyway. Why is it’s tail so stubby?

Roa has certainly taken some liberties with animal anatomy, exaggerating the size of the bones in the Raccoon’s tail and in his big-headed, skinny-necked groundhog. The kids noticed while he painted, that he worked quickly (each mural took approximately 3-5 hours each), did not have an eraser and he did not “fix” drips.

“I thought he was supposed to be professional?” one of the kindergarteners remarked as a drip of black paint left a trail down the wall. (hahahaha)

“This is art. If I wanted it to be perfect I would take a picture.” Roa answered.

Indeed!

It was fun to discover an artist with a secret identity as Spy Garden loves a little mystery. It is exciting to see how these murals have inspired conversation. How will they inform the next generation of artists?…

Fleeting graffiti

Fleeting graffiti

Dexie appreciating street art haha

Dexie appreciating street art haha

Roa’s recent works showing now at the Jonathan Levine Gallery are neatly contained in squares and rectangles you can hang on a wall:

Roa, Composition III: Alligatoridae, Testudinidae, Gastropoda (DETAIL) (source of image: Jonathan Levine Gallery)

Roa, Composition III: Alligatoridae, Testudinidae, Gastropoda (DETAIL) (source of image: Jonathan Levine Gallery)

Which is really just so much more civilized than street art. But civility, restraint, subtlety? Perhaps not the stuff to suit the wild preschoolers of the forest!

Featured post

Spy Garden Spring

Tulip (my favorite!)

Tulip (my favorite!)

Our street

Our street

Root

Root

Yellow tulip

Yellow tulip

Beautiful redbuds and dogwood

Beautiful redbuds and dogwood

Strawberry blossom

Strawberry blossom

Spring blooms

Spring blooms

Baby with may apples

Baby with may apples

Or podophyllum if you prefer.

Love these little umbrellas

Love these little umbrellas

We were searching for morels in the woods this afternoon. We didn’t find any yet but we did spot another…

False Morel

False Morel

I read that false morels (which are poisonous) pop up a few weeks before the real thing, so we will have to keep hunting! While I was hunting for morels, Baby was hunting for coyotes. And rocks…

Rock bed in a little valley in the woods in front of our house

Rock bed in a little valley in the woods in front of our house

Rock

Rock

Doesn't this rock look like a whale?

Doesn’t this rock look like a whale?

Rock

Rock

Ahhhh, the joys of rocks.

Lip-smacking good puddle

Lip-smacking good puddle

Little Violets

Little Violets

Tulips

Tulips

And…

An unruly mess of seedlings

An unruly mess of seedlings

The date of our last frost is usually around April 21st, but I was getting impatient (and it has been quite warm) so I have already planted lots of things; including peppers and eggplants; which I will cover if it gets cold. There is zero rhyme or reason to this year’s planting. Things are going in the ground, that’s about all I can say about it! Spring is a wild time. The weeds are growing like crazy and little seedlings popping up everywhere (and for a time I’m not always sure which is which!). The tiny, fragile seedlings are hammered by wind and hail and pelting torrential rain. It’s a wonder any little plants survive spring in St. Louis!

Missouri River sunrise

Missouri River sunrise

Featured post

AB Tour (& More!)

A tour of…

Anheuser Busch Brewery

Anheuser Busch Brewery

I wore my red pants.

I wore my red pants.

Budweiser B

Budweiser B

Stained glass in the Clydesdale stables

Stained glass in the Clydesdale stables

Budweiser Clydesdale

Budweiser Clydesdale

Neigghhh

Neigghhh

Beautiful spring light

Beautiful spring light

Logo

Logo

On the campus of the brewery

On the campus of the brewery

Tower

Tower

Brew House

Brew House

Nana and Pop inside the brew house

Nana and Pop inside the brew house

It smells delicious in here!

It smells delicious in here!

Pretty architecture and lots of light

Pretty architecture and lots of light

The brewery tour is definitely worth checking out if you are ever in St. Louis. It’s free! Including free beer! After the tour we went to lunch in…

Lafayette Square (a neighborhood in St. Louis)

Lafayette Square (a neighborhood in St. Louis)

At Square One Brewery

Where they were also brewing beer!

Where they were also brewing beer!

We enjoyed eating outside next to this cool fountain (Spy Garden needs a fountain like this!)

We enjoyed eating outside next to this cool fountain (Spy Garden needs a fountain like this!)

Ahhh! Spring!

Ahhh! Spring!

Look! The Arch!

Look! The Arch!

Look! They're building an Ikea!

Look! They’re building an Ikea!

It’s always fun to go into the city for inspiration. Back home in Spy Garden…

The seedlings are waiting to be planted

The seedlings are waiting to be planted

A blank canvas of dirt

A blank canvas of dirt

Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

Dogwood

And check out this guy!

And check out this guy!

A false morel (poisonous)

A false morel (poisonous)

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

 

Featured post

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Hunting...

Hunting…

for...

for…

Easter eggs!

Easter eggs!

Pop, Nana, Aunt Spy, Baby

Pop, Nana, Aunt Spy, Baby

A little violet

A little violet

Maggie & Spy Sister

Maggie & Spy Sister

Spy Garden Fam

Spy Garden Fam

A metal egg

A metal egg

Someone brought these to our church's potluck breakfast: too cute!

Someone brought these to our church’s potluck breakfast: too cute!

Aunt Spy and Babyzilla

Aunt Spy and Babyzilla

Asparagus Spear (and I spy a row in need of some edging!)

Asparagus Spear (and I spy a row in need of some edging!)

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Featured post

Tree Pants

A giant passed out in our driveway!!

A giant passed out in our driveway!!

Oh wait, its just some tree pants!

Oh wait, its just some tree pants!

Unicorn Barn

Unicorn Barn

Building blocks, au natural

Building blocks, au natural

Photogenic Dexie

Photogenic Dexie

Successful Bear Hunt

Successful Bear Hunt

Fun with a fallen tree

Fun with a fallen tree

This big dead tree has been looming over our cars for months. Relieved that Smoochie took it down before spring storm season!

This big dead tree has been looming over our cars for months. Relieved that Smoochie took it down before spring storm season!

Hanging out

Hanging out

These look so much like maps!

These look so much like maps!

View of the garden from the front deck

View of the garden from the front deck

All that dirt: full of possibilities!

All that dirt: full of possibilities!

Lemon Balm and Sorrel

Lemon Balm and Sorrel

Spy Garden 3.28.15

Spy Garden 3.28.15

A row of yellow wonder strawberries; I'm thinking of planting cukes among these.

A row of yellow wonder strawberries; I’m thinking of planting cukes among these.

Asparagus harvest coming soon!

Asparagus harvest coming soon!

I love our garden living room furniture (made by Smoochie)

I love our garden living room furniture (made by Smoochie)

Springy green grass!

Springy green grass!

Log Balance Beam

Log Balance Beam

Another view of the tree pants

Another view of the tree pants

Pants become shorts!

Pants become shorts!

And a few unrelated photos of the Missouri River at sunrise…

SO vibrant!

SO vibrant!

Pastel Sky

Pastel Sky

Happy Spring!

Featured post

Spy Garden Slackline

Stretched between two trees

Stretched between two trees

Gibbon Slackline

Gibbon Slackline

It's very hard to do!

Its very hard to do!

Baby giving it a try...

Baby giving it a try…

Ready for tricks!

Ready for tricks!

This shot of me is completely serendipitous; I can't do this on demand!

This shot of me is completely serendipitous; I can’t do this on demand!

We love circus-y things in Spy Garden (click here to see us showing off more of our circus tricks). St. Louis has a wonderful circus arts school that offers many classes, including flying trapeze lessons (click here to check them out)! I am a proficient juggler, so naturally, juggling clubs while walking the slackline is coming soon. Ha! But for now, I’m happy to enjoy the tricks of the spring garden…

Buds on a plum tree

Buds on a plum tree

Voila! A lavender asparagus spear peaks through the dirt.

Voila! A lavender asparagus spear peaks through the dirt.

Lots of new growth on the blackberry bush

Lots of new growth on the blackberry bush

Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck Garlic

The teeniest of flowers popping up in the lawn

The teeniest of flowers popping up in the lawn

I planted this Great Burdock from seed last spring and it grew very slowly all season but popped up this spring and is growing like crazy!

I planted this Great Burdock from seed last spring and it grew very slowly all season but popped up this spring and is growing like crazy! Here are some ideas for cooking burdock roots.

Dexie Close-Up

Dexie Close-Up

Chalk

Chalk

Green Thumbs Up!

Green Thumbs Up!

Featured post

Springing in Spy Garden

Hasta la Vista Eucalyptus (and old leaves)

Hasta la Vista Eucalyptus (and old leaves)

Wow! Now it looks like spring!

Wow! Now it looks like spring!

The two large shrubby plants at either end of this row are thyme; they've gotten so huge! I may move them as they are taking up a lot of prime real estate.

The two large shrubby plants at either end of this row are thyme; they’ve gotten so huge! I may move them as they are taking up a lot of prime real estate.

Burning the last of the leaves

Burning the last of the leaves

I think I will be growing pumpkins in this patch in a few months. For now it has: tulips, onions, love-in-a-mist flowers, red romaine and Monstreux de Viroflay spinach

I think I will be growing pumpkins in this patch in a few months. For now it has: tulips, onions, love-in-a-mist flowers, red romaine and Monstreux de Viroflay spinach

Tulips (soon!)

Tulips (soon!)

Spring light on an old tool, looking very bird-like to me

Spring light on an old tool, looking very bird-like to me

Thai red roselle seedling

Thai red roselle seedling

Fort (and see the seedlings in the window!)

Fort (and see the seedlings in the window!?)

Pretty Sorrel

Pretty Sorrel

New walking stick (made by Smoochie)

New walking stick (made by Smoochie)

In Squirrely Garden…

The blank canvas of soil...

The blank canvas of soil…

Is ready for planting!

Is ready for planting!

My kind of fun!

My kind of fun!

On the bulletin board in the dining hall

On the bulletin board in the dining hall

Baby checking out the seeds

Baby checking out the seeds

And springing around St. Louis…

Smoochie took the kids on a SIX mile hike last Sunday; SIX miles!

From their long hike in Babler State Park; posing next to an old gravestone in the woods

From their long hike in Babler State Park; posing next to an old gravestone in the woods

Aunt Alison (and Maggie) and Baby and I enjoyed a shorter hike in Castlewood this week

Aunt Alison (and Maggie) and Baby and I enjoyed a shorter hike in Castlewood this week

The view at Castlewood State Park

The view at Castlewood State Park

Kiefer Creek in Castlewood

Kiefer Creek in Castlewood

Baby next to a cool tree

Baby next to a cool tree

Look at that branch!

Look at that branch!

Love these...

Love these…

Horseshoe Tracks

Horseshoe Tracks

Ozark Ridge Riders

Ozark Ridge Riders

The other day Smoochie saw this sign/a bunch of riders with their horses and pulled over for the kids to get a closer look.

One woman was very friendly and let the kids hop on her horse for a few minutes!

One woman was very friendly and let the kids hop on her horse for a few minutes!

Baby loves horses (and so do I!)

Baby loves horses (and so do I!)

"Spladel" hahah see the Spy? This is from a free wrestling clinic at a local university.

“Spladel” hahah see the Spy? This is from a free wrestling clinic at a local university.

Baby, in green, in the garden on St. Patrick's Day

Baby, in green, in the garden on St. Patrick’s Day

Ahhh spring!

Ahhh spring!

Featured post

The Gem of the 90’s

I was born in 1982 which means that probably at no time in the 1980’s was I thoughtfully considering fashion choices. This means I was never fully responsible for wearing neon. So really, I’m more like a child of the 90’s. The glorious 90’s. The renaissance of nail polish. Over-the-knee stockings with pleated skirts from Contempo. Melrose Place. Clueless. Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.
Recently, I noticed something weirdly familiar in my rare sporadic shopping escapades: The 90’s are back! While not all of it is wearable for a second go-round (i.e. anything I ever owned from Contempo)…

Dark floral prints...

The dark floral prints…

The nails…Vamp? Very Vamp? Totally doable!
Teva’s also had a 90’s moment.

Here, Baby, unprompted, treads the waters of socks and sandals very carefully.

Here, Baby, unprompted, treads the waters of socks and sandals very carefully.

Fashion is generally an extracurricular pursuit in the land of Spy Garden.
I rarely pick out Baby’s outfits as she is quite capable of dressing herself. And at Forest School there’s little room for fashion. They get really, really dirty. And have to stay really, really warm in the winter months.

Not Fashion. Warmth.

Not Fashion. Warmth.

(and really waterproof, bugproof, etc. in other seasons). They wear a green uniform t-shirt everyday too. So there’s not really much fashion going on there, its mostly all about utility. But they do learn to sew, make costumes for performances and so forth. And they dress up for picture day. And the dress code allows for NO characters of any sort. Which actually is a great victory for fashion when you think about it. So amid the framework of utility there is fashion, right?

And there's always church!

And there’s always church!

Hair clips are so 90's

Hair clips are so 90’s

But enough about Baby…

I am a nurse and believe nurses should look like this:

Doesn't this just make you want to get a vaccination like right now?!

Doesn’t this just make you want to get a vaccination like right now?!

What ever happened to those hats? And white pencil skirts, how did those go by the wayside? I mean how on earth did we go from…

To scrubs? Is there anything less fashionable than scrubs? I think not.

AGGGGHHHHH My eyes!

AGGGGHHHHH My eyes!

I think the scrub infiltration might have actually started in the 90’s now that I think about it. Fortunately I don’t have to wear scrubs in my nursing position. But I digress.
Fashion before function is great in theory. But what is great for feet are Birkenstocks. It is so hard to wear shoes other than Birkenstocks once you know how glorious they are.
In order to fully express my affection for these shoes and the excitement of rediscovering them via my consideration of 90’s fashion I have written a Shakespearean sonnet.
Enjoy…

Ode’ to Birkenstocks*

In sumptuous suede or gold burnished leather
At your stamped bronze buckle a few may baulk
But on cloud-like cork I’m light’s a feather
Dearest beloved, easy, Birkenstock
If Choo, Weitzman, Blahnik or Louboutin
Are height, narrow toes; lithe ballet for feet
Chic and hip, happiness to see, to don
But is comfort luxe? Or modest, discreet?
Bunions, blisters, heels stuck in sidewalk cracks
Are sometimes worth the pain. But must one trade
Pretty shoes for pretty feet? With socks*, slacks,
Birkenstocks, in your favor I’ll crusade.
Plush pedal succor; if a bit ugly
Down with fashion; I shall wear them smugly!

So there you have it; Birkenstocks, the Gem of the 90’s ( I do realize they’ve been around a lot longer than that, but that’s when I discovered them). What’s your pick for Gem of the 90’s (fashion or otherwise)? Leave it in the comments!

*Yes, the clogs, with socks. So sue me.
**My Birkenstocks were unable to be visually represented in this post because they are too ugly.

Hahahahhaha

Featured post

Early March in Three Gardens

From the Orchid Show at the Missouri Botanical Garden:

This was my favorite; love the loooong tendrils

This was my favorite; love the loooong tendrils

Purple and white

Purple and white

Peachy

Peachy

Spy Sister taking a pic with her iphone; taking WAY clearer shots than I got with my Nikon. (indoor-photography is NOT my forte)

Spy Sister taking a pic with her iphone; taking way clearer shots than I got with my Nikon. (indoor-photography is not my forte)

This weird orchid (not currently blooming) was quite large; those bulbous things were soft-ball size

This weird orchid (not currently blooming) was quite large; those bulbous things were soft-ball size

Tulip-like

Tulip-like blooms

And outside at the Missouri Botanical Garden…

Reflection pools reflecting mostly gray

Reflection pools reflecting mostly gray

But it's not all gray...

But it’s not all gray…

Baaaaaaa

Baaaaaaa

MBG; my happy place!

MBG; my happy place!

Flower...

Flower…

Power (the sculpture matches the print of Spy Sister's purse, see? ;)

Power (the sculpture matches the print of Spy Sister’s purse, see? ;)

Cool tree (forgot what variety)

Cool tree (forgot what variety)

Beautiful bark; a Chinese elm

Beautiful bark; a Chinese elm

And back in the land of Spy Garden…

Little jaune paille de vertus onions (from last year!) going to replant as onion sets

Little jaune paille de vertus onions (from last year!) going to replant as onion sets

Baby sledding

Baby sledding

Who needs tv or video games when there's books?

Who needs tv or video games when there’s books?

Glorious books

Glorious books

Dexie in Spy Garden

Dexie in Spy Garden

Very cool WWI helmet on display at the library; I think it is Prussian

Very cool WWI helmet on display at the library; I think it is Prussian

Delicious vegan peanut butter cup at Frida's

Delicious vegan peanut butter cup at Frida’s

And in Squirrely Garden…

Last Saturday they began installing the deer fence. They were able to mount most of the fence to the existing fence.

Last Saturday they began installing the deer fence. They were able to mount most of the fence to the existing fence.

By “they” I mean Smoochie and a few other parents and staff. I only have these few photos as I was not in attendance for this fence-install (thankfully; it was freezing!)

Teamwork!

Teamwork!

Now that you’ve seen how fun it is to share how gardens grow, check out…

A photo challenge from Sweet Domesticity!

A photo challenge from Sweet Domesticity!

March 1, "Start"

March 1, “Start”

March 2, "Potential"

March 2, “Potential”

March 3; "To Do": Renew membership at the Missouri Botanical Garden; done!

March 3; “To Do”: Renew membership at the Missouri Botanical Garden; done!

Happy March/Happy Spring!

Featured post

Seed Starting 2015!

Baby helping to plant seeds

Baby helping to plant seeds

We’ve started peppers and eggplants (three varieties of each), Thai Red Roselle, ground cherries, red celery, blue hyssop, red cabbage and an herb called wild dagga (which we’ve grown before for ornamental value; it’s a great Halloween plant).

Also, Tarwi Q'Ollo

Also, Tarwi Q’Ollo…

(Lupinus mutabilis) The Tarwi Lupine is another one of the “lost”foods of the Incas. Originally cultivated only in the high andes, Tarwi is a plant supremely adapted to the stress of high altitudes-it can take drought, cold and wind and still be very productive. Nowadays agronomists and gardeners are taking a look at Tarwi for growing in other places other than the high mountains. In Denmark and Northern Europe it is being trialed as a new pulse crop. The beautiful white seeds are choc full of fats and proteins. Tarwi has been cultivated/domesticated for probably close to 2000 years. The seeds themselves cannot just be eaten without a little simple preparation. The seeds contain alkaloids that are bitter, fortunately they are quite easy to remove just by soaking and rinsing them over a few days period. In the past this noble crop of the Andes was known only by the poor indigenous peoples, today thanks to modern systems for rinsing large quantities of seeds it is now a “chic” food of the Urban wealthy. Our own friend john Glavis is raising Tarwi with great success on the California coast north of San Francisco. The seeds offered here are from select Peruvian strains tracked down by Joe. They need a long growing season but really like cool weather too, so the Pacific Northwest coast is a great place to try them, everyone else could just give them a shot and save any seeds produced to select them to adapt to new climates. (from the Baker Creek website)

Mud: so fun!

Mud: so fun!

I’m largely showing these pictures to prove how simple it is to start a garden. Dirt in containers of your choosing (that long clear thing is a box that a poster came in!) and a few seed packets is all you need. Then put the cups in a windowsill that gets some sun, keep them moist and in a few days you will have little plants! We’ve advanced a bit from just a windowsill and now have a wooden box that can sit atop a dresser or desk and two grow lights clip onto it.

If you look out the window you can see the deer fence and the garden living room

If you look out the window you can see the deer fence and the garden living room

Our windows are pretty drafty so the extra heat from the grow lights is important when it is still pretty cold out.

Brrr! We've had some cold days around here!

Brrr! We’ve had some cold days around here!

Nice weather for curling up to read, write...

Nice weather for curling up to read, write…

Draw...Baby is getting quite proficient at sketching...

Draw…Baby is getting quite proficient at sketching…

This one is entitled, Sharpie on Couch

This one is entitled, Sharpie on Couch ;)

Babyzilla

Babyzilla

A hill of snow beyond the trees (not quite enough for proper sledding yet! Still a few weeks of winter yet...)

A hill of snow beyond the trees (not quite enough for proper sledding yet! Still a few weeks of winter yet…)

For way more details and information about seed starting check out my glogging friend Maria at Sweet Domesticity for some Seed Starting Q & A!

Featured post

Greensfelder Park

A hike in Greensfelder Park

On the trail

On the trail

Mossy Rock

Mossy Rock

Winter Colors

Winter Colors

Little Hiker

Little Hiker

Exploring

Exploring

Valley

Valley

Little buds

Little buds

Beautiful day!

Beautiful day!

A horse!

A horse!

Rock

Rock

Hollow Trunk

Hollow Trunk

Rock

Rock

Creek

Creek

Crocodile Rock

Crocodile Rock

Mossy

Mossy

Walking

Walking

Grass

Grass

It was 11 degrees just this past week, but it’s been in the 60’s all weekend!

Baby at school last week with a special visitor: a real cowboy!!

Baby at school last week with a special visitor: a real cowboy!!

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

Featured post

January Retrospective

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus in January

Nasturtium Vines of Yore

Nasturtium Vines of Yore

Anyone know what type of plant this is?

Anyone know what type of plant this is?

Marigold seeds waiting for spring

Marigold seeds waiting for spring

Bald Eagle Sculpture made from an old tree (with a chainsaw!) near Spy Garden

Bald Eagle Sculpture made from an old tree (with a chainsaw!) near Spy Garden

Russian Red/Ragged Jack Kale

Russian Red/Ragged Jack Kale

And the rest of the plant...looking like some sort of sea creature

And the rest of the plant…looking like some sort of sea creature

Silvery dried tree marigolds

Silvery dried tree marigolds

Eucalptus

Eucalptus

Even if this eucalyptus doesn't survive our cold winter, it was worth sacrificing for all the photo ops!

Even if this eucalyptus doesn’t survive our cold winter, it was worth sacrificing for all the photo ops!

Front Yard/Driveway

Front Yard/Driveway

Moon

Moon

Ready for spring baseball season!

Ready for spring baseball season!

Detail of "Setting Sun Descending Night" bronze sculpture by Adolph Weinman (in the library whence I study)

Detail of “Setting Sun Descending Night” bronze sculpture by Adolph Weinman (in the library whence I study)

1960-70's Books (by Martha Rogers, a nursing theorist)

1960-70’s Books (by Martha Rogers, a nursing theorist)

Photograph of a detail of a painting (in the libary) called "For the Love of Books" acrylic on canvas, by Rodney Winfield

Photograph of a detail of a painting (in the library whence I study) called “For the Love of Books” acrylic on canvas, by Rodney Winfield

January was been Jan-packed with exciting new things. Graduate school (reading…and writing, writing, writing…lots of new things!). Squirrely Garden (the garden at Babyzilla’s school) had a big beginning-of-the-season planning meeting. I gave myself a new title; Honorary CEO. As I just can’t commit to my Squirrely Garden CEO duties of yore. But they are using the Spy Garden deer fence plans as inspiration for a new deer fence and I still plan to photograph the garden as it grows. There will also be an orchard planted at Baby’s school this year; and a whole load of berry-bushes! In other news, Babyzilla has learned the art of photorealist portraiture:

Our family; the resemblance is uncanny!

Our family; the resemblance is uncanny!

And the Spy has been slaying it in school and reading lots of good books (including the Hardy Boys; I loved Nancy Drew at his age!). Frigid cold in Spy Garden, and dry, not much snow this year (so far!). At this time in winter all the cold has sucked the color from withered vines and only the hardiest of plants show bits of green. The landscape is all blues and greys and tans; very nice and unfettered, methinks.