Plant Curtain Fail

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Dining area and window

I’m not a big fan of metal blinds. They are not pretty, they are hard to clean and they are…well…hard, not soft like curtains.

I like the view from this window, up in the canopy of the tree and there is not a strong need for privacy. The only folks who can look into this window from outside are the next door neighbors, if they are standing on their stair landing during the months that the leaves are gone.

So, I thought I would experiment with a plant curtain-using plants to obscure the outside view to the inside.

I took down the venetian blinds. I bought some new pots and plants- Sansevieria Trifasciata and Sansevieria. I moved some chairs out of the way and pushed the table up to the window.

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Meh.

I didn’t like it. So I moved everything back. I switched up the plant on the table and gifted two plants to my son who lives nearby (one of the new Sansevieria Trifasciata and an elephant ear plant that was just struggling.)

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A morning’s work for naught.

The left over plants got moved to the elephant ears former site.

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I like this little vignette.

Sometimes you just can’t see it until you see it.

Vacation Manifestations

I’m taking a brief vacation in Wisconsin to visit my daughter. We are doing typical vacation things: a visit to the art museum, renting a canoe and paddling around Lake Yahara, buying fruit, pastries and gifts at the local farmers’ market.

Yesterday, there were two manifestations from the vision board:

Staring at me from a greeting card in the art museum gift shop-the bunny in the center of my vision board.

The second manifestation was on Lake Yahara. It was a reflection of light and clouds on the waves. You will just have to trust me on this one as I did not take my camera on the boat.

Fun!!

Countertop for the Fridge

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Apologies for the blurry photo. My camera was not working the week we moved in.

Some of you may remember that this side of the kitchen, when we moved in, had this claustrophobic arrangement of pantry-stove-refrigerator. I had the building manager remove the refrigerator and I replaced it with a small one, and topped it with our microwave.

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Still small, but at least there is room to swing a skillet.

I wanted to add a wood counter on top of the fridge for the following reasons: fewer food bits on the floor between the two appliances, expanded work surface and the kitchen could use the warmth of a natural element. Plus, I had an idea to do it inexpensively.

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I used this piece of wood, this saw and glue and some sand paper that was hanging about from previous projects.
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This wood was sourced from sustainable European forests, and measured 1″ x 24″ x 36″ before I got my hands on it. It was about $20 USD from a big box store.

I live in an apartment, so my wood shop is my dining area.

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Here you can see that I used dining chairs protected by my son’s towels as sawhorses.

I cut the board to 28″ in length. Then I used the leftover piece to create a base, as the fridge door hinge projects up a bit from the top of the fridge and I didn’t want the microwave to wobble or the counter to slope.

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I glued the scrap-base on in this particular configuration because the microwave sits toward the back of the counter. [Also, you can see that the edge I cut is not straight. What can I say? That perfection is the enemy of “good enough?”]
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Then, since I did not have any C clamps to hold the glued bits together, I set it where I wanted it to go and weighted it with the microwave.

Then, as the glue was drying, I vacuumed up all the sawdust I had left in the dining area and went off to the gym and the library.

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Ta-Da!

When I came home from errands, I finished the wood with a coat of olive oil. After the first coat soaks in, I may need to add more.

And yes, I did get a new water kettle.

 

Quaker Landscape Plan

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My hand-rendering of the Meeting house landscape plan

The local Quaker church has an ambitious plan to convert the landscaping from invasive species and alien ornamental species to native plants in order to support the local fauna that depend on them.

We are fortunate that a local foundation, Brightside, provides us with free plants and a lot of information to make our landscape plan successful.

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This bed was planted last year, but needs a little infill to replace the plants that did not survive the winter.

Each summer they put on a symposium with speakers who teach us how to be better native species gardeners. I have learned so much these past two years.

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This 2 foot x 90 foot space will become a grass fence between neighboring parking lots.

Then they allow not-for-profit organizations to apply for grants of native species plants. Last summer we received a grant of about 140 plants and a hose and sprinkler. This year we are requesting about 130 plants.

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Can you tell I have fun making these drawings?

This year, we hope to double the size of our butterfly garden.

 

Summer Squash Casserole

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Never lasts long at my house!

Long-time reader Linda requested this recipe. Thanks Linda!

1 tablespoon butter

3 medium yellow squash (or zucchini,) cut in half length-wise and sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 eggs, beaten

2 sliced bread, crumbled

4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sauté butter, onion, garlic and squash until soft. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. When squash mixture is slightly cooled, mix into the bowl. Pour into greased 1.5 quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Fourth Box of Vegetables

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At top and moving clockwise: lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, beets, dill, potatoes, yellow squash, green beans, cherry tomatoes, onions, eggplant, cucumber.

Photo of the bounty and variety of my fourth box of the growing season. And here is what I made with it:

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Bacon [vegan version], lettuce and tomato sandwich. The fixings are so big you can hardly see the bread underneath!
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Cucumber soup, with dill.

Son, Mike, loves this soup. If I want any, I have to sip it before he knows it is ready to eat. He can down a quart of soup in about 30 minutes.

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Here are the various beets that went into the salad…..

….that I apparently deleted the photo of. But the salad was made of red potatoes, green beans, beets, eggs and an Italian type dressing. And it was delicious.

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Summer squash casserole. This is a comfort food in my household. If we get squash and I do not make this dish, I am asked where it is…

….and that makes sense, as in addition to the squash, this dish has cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, and some typical seasonings [salt, pepper, oregano, marjoram, thyme.] For a vegetarian, this is a complete meal.

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Eggplant parmesan: with the CSA eggplant and marinara sauce made from the tomatoes. And cheese is Not parmesan, but shredded cheddar.

Because that is what I had in the house….and that is how we cook around here.

Just a head’s up to new readers–the reason that QuakerStylist bogs about community supported agriculture is because the food is grown locally and organically [a win for the environment] and is therefore more nutritious [a win for those eating the food prepared from these vegetables and eggs.]

These foods were eaten by that Stylish Quaker herself, her resident son and members of the Quaker Church that they attend.

First Sighting from Vision Board

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Tri-colored roundish solo cloud with waves of white sand beneath, from the vision board.

On the Fourth of July, son Mike and I rode the Metro down to the arch to watch the big fireworks display that the city puts on for the holiday.

There was an air show, several music concerts and lots of fair food so we went early to check out the spectacle.

We waited on the steps to the levee that are just beneath the arch for the sun to set. Ahead and to the right appeared a solo, roundish, red, white and blue cloud. While there were no waves of white sand to be seen, just below the cloud were brown waves of the flooding Mississippi river.

I’m really liking this new game.