Monday, June 27, 2016

Miscellaneous Musings No. 3

I'm back with another edition of my miscellaneous musings. They don't necessarily need to be read sequentially, but if you missed my prior two and want to read why I pen these, you can go here and here. It became apparent that I needed a label for these musings, so I also created another category on my menu bar to quickly navigate these posts of my preoccupations. I'll collect these occasionally and post them, and maybe one or two of you will be able to relate. I hope so.

I saw this annual flower display at my local Lowe's recently - a great combination of petunias (hanging pots) shaped into a flag. So what if the number of stripes aren't quite right, it's still great for summer!
In my one of my recent relapses of vintage shopping, my sister M and I stopped by a local thrift store. Imagine our surprise when we looked at a very cute, handpainted German creamer and sugar for $2.95 each. "Didn't one of us have one like this?" Umm, yea, that's because the ones on the shelf WERE ours! Remember that yard sale we did back in April? We donated lots of things afterward, and they made their way to the shelves for resale once again. We even made the locked case for a few items (below). See that Ginori trinket box write up? I did that on my original ticket, and they updated it with an eBay lookup. :)
One of the things I miss from Debra Oliver's Common Ground blog was her weekly link party of online shop proprietors, which she titled "Monday Marketplace". She featured Etsy and other boutique shop owners. I never linked up, but I sure took interest in those who did, and especially those featured. One of those was Elliott-Heath Designs. Heather is the proprietor who custom designs and prints a wide selection of graphics onto pillow fabric covers she makes. As a person who knows how to sew, I can say her quality is excellent. Just before Memorial Day, she ran a gift with purchase promo on her Facebook page (you can follow her on FB here). The flag pillow cover is the gift (12"), the bee hive cover (18") is what I ordered.
Neither Mr. P. nor I are particularly skilled at handyman type work, but we most certainly appreciate any and ALL trade skills people who are (especially when they show up when called). We have a saying when we're able to fix things around the house ourselves. When one asks the other how they did it, we respond with (and this is with absolutely only highest regard and NO disrespect), "I put some butt crack on it". In this case, it's particularly relevant. I fixed the chrome lever for the flush on our laundry/utility/bathroom. It was literally worn out from so many flushes (washer nut was stripped). I took a photo of the interior model, looked it up online, order the part, and changed it out. Boom. I even bought new flappers and changed those out in two commodes. Easy peasy.
I mentioned in my June post on the garden that we weren't seeing many cicadas in our city neighborhood, but my sister M, for one, was seeing them in swarms. She lives in a wooded, higher elevation nearby. Here's a picture collage of her back yard, the first week they were observed (below).
Gross, right? M says a couple weeks into their appearance, they would hit windshields, windows, and even her as she was mowing the lawn (the vibration?). Here are a few funny stories related to those bugs. See that caladium plant in the collage above? Well, M said it died the day after she saw the cicadas on it, just like two knockout roses she had just planted right before this plant, and the cicadas were to blame. Turns out, her husband fessed up. He had RoundUp in what he thought was the bug sprayer. :) Second story: M's granddaughter (9) and her little friend made a game of throwing balls up into the trees to see how many cicadas would fly out. Lastly, one person on Facebook commented the cicadas only come out every 17 years because it's been that long since Jon Secada had a hit song, hahaha. (I think it's actually been a little longer). Their six week journey should be over now, since the first spotting in our region was the week of May 23.

Shopping at Sam's Club a couple weeks ago, Mr. P. and I were cruising through the seasonal aisles. He commented on these garden orbs for sale (below), "Oh, let's buy some garden orbs. Everybody needs some of those", when I was thinking they looked pretty cool.
Hahaha, I left well enough alone, since I already have two I use in the house and garden now, off and on, at various times. That he obviously hasn't noticed. Ever.
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Remember that DOS-based computer game that taught geography and history?  Well, here's our version:
If you guessed Myrtle Beach's Broadway at the Beach, you were right. These pictures were taken the evening we were waylaid on our last trip via air travel, the first week of May. I have never seen Broadway at Myrtle Beach look so empty as it did this night (below).
Don't you just love a good sign? I snap photos when I'm out and about and they they make me laugh or just give pause for thought. As for those pictured (below): good advice on love and lasting relationships; possible incarceration for feeding the alligator...like you're going to have a sit-down dinner with one. And just $1 for painting or defacing the rocks? Btw, the cool stuff made by local folks is NOT at the Stupid Factory like the sign points in the collage. Shutterup - bet you can't.
This idea below made me look twice. I bet if you use these as window boxes around your house you'll scare your neighbors, pets AND thieves! 
One of my sisters lives in SC, and she posts some hilarious things on Facebook daily. Have you heard of Dead Man's Fingers? When she posted this picture and link (below), it sort of creeped me out.
Then I remembered something I found in my own garden in early May when I was digging and transplanting plants (below):
It's the same thing, and totally creeped me out then, too! I took the photo so I could ask my extension agent what it was/is. It's a fungus, Xylaria Polymorpha, commonly known as Dead Man's Fingers. Apparently, morel (mushroom) hunters encounter it in spring (though it's NOT edible), and it grows on damaged or decayed trunks and roots (as in my 3 or 4 year old decayed birch tree stump's case). If found on a living tree, literature says it won't be for long - it sucks the life out of and creates soft decay to where a tree could fall or shrub die out of the blue. Check out the link on the scientific name and read about it, then Google images of it. It's gross, and looks like something out of the props closet from a zombie apocalypse.

We've all heard about squirrel bandits on birdfeeders and flower bulbs, beavers on trees....well, the other day I caught a sapsucker on one of my hummingbird feeders! At first I thought it was a Downy woodpecker, but was able to determine otherwise by my research. So far, I haven't been able to catch him with my camera in hand. At least I know now why one feeder was depleted faster than the other two. I was thinking my hummers liked the newest location where I had placed that particular feeder, on a support pole for my weeping cedar atlas.
Well, that's all for this edition of miscellaneous musings. I hope there was something in it that made you smile. Our little corners of the world are full of random stuff, it seems.

Rita C. at Panoply