My food journey

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Aging throws many curve balls.

During the past year, I never worked harder. Keeping up with doubled online baking orders, last September my body baulked. My hip sockets froze. Some days I could hardly walk! For a very active senior, gardener AND baker, this was not the scenario I planned.

Last November, I began my fact-finding journey by seeing spine and hip specialists, had injections and x-rays, ablations, months of deep tissue massage, topicals, CBD, and of late, and an MRI, yet to date no medical intervention helped.
Living with chronic pain is exhausting and frustrating, especially when the medical profession is of no help…”all the King’s horses…” Pain Management prescribed a muscle relaxer RX that rendered me stupid. Acupuncture was short lived, as Medicare does not cover such treatments. I felt like I had run out of options!

Still the gardens required weeding, weekly mowing, and with a summer drought/heat/humidity from hell, dragging the hose around to new plant material was frequently required.

As a frequent YouTube follower, I discovered only last week, a crazy/passionate guy named Wim Hof. Since traditional docs kept mentioning inflammation, I did further research on Hof. I took his free mini course and began daily deep breathing exercises when I woke, then braved the cold shower. YES, A COLD SHOWER!!!!

See his link here: https://www.wimhofmethod.com/free-mini-class

I admit I found the deep breathing a snap, but the thought of the cold shower was daunting. As Nike says, “just to it.” After merely three days, I no longer take hot showers! Only two minutes in the cold, while lathering up, I find my body warming up! And when I step out of the shower, NO pain! Yes, crazy Hof may have ended my suffering.

As I continue my research on pain management, I found yet another topic on YouTube describing leaky gut. At my ripe old age, I presume that I have it. Stubborn belly fat and weight gain convince me, despite an active lifestyle.
I checked out three library books on the topic, and have begun a new way of eating. I printed out the free list of lectin free foods (https://gundrymd.com/wp-content/pdf/Plant-Paradox-Shopping-LIst.pdf), gave away all gluten/lectin containing foods, and will let you know what happens. I also began intermittent fasting three months ago and eat at 8 AM and 2 PM. I dont miss the snacks or three meals. Of course the new diet permits chocolate…72%, and Trader Joe’s has the perfect bar…organic, Fair Trade, and 72%.
SIDEBAR: I find Gundry’s podcasts oh-so-slow and too much like an infomercial. His books cause me to glaze over, so skimming is the way to glean the info I am looking for. I will continue to look for lectin-free recipes online.

The following photos show a few of my new food finds at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Kroger. Quorn Meatless Grounds are also sold at Kroger. * See note below.

Quorn…who would have guessed? From the UK, found at WF and Kroger, and a great substitute for meat made from mushrooms and egg whites. BEWARE: not all the Quorn products are clean… all others I checked contain SUGAR and other non-desirable additives. Always READ LABELS! I also found decent almond tortillas at Trader Joe’s. Just blister them in a carbon steel pan on low heat. Great substitute for traditional “toast.”
Organic hemp seeds from Trader Joe’s…lightly toasted, yummy on just about anything. The new coconut aminos in BBQ flavor add good flavor to some bland foods.
Lazy moi, WF sells organic coleslaw, raw or steamed…good fast gut food.
Modest first gut healthy meal…sliced green banana, organic radish, almond tortilla, Quorn Meatless Grounds sauteed with good quality, organic olive oil, a splash of Imagine organic veggie broth, and WF slaw is a one pan meal (cover the pan for three minutes and slaw will steam, and grated fresh ginger… topped with goat cheese, coconut aminos, another splash of olive oil, and toasted hemp seed. Voila!

So readers, let me know what you think of my food revelation?
I will keep you updated on my progress. Please share in the comments section and kindly share any links.

Please stay safe, get vaccinated, and wear a mask.

PS: as always, I am never compensated for mentioning items or links. Just want to share knowledge.

Copyright 2021 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

Brownies, Keto Style

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Quick and easy recipe made at home in minutes.


Tender. Moist. Yummy.

Here is what you will need:

1 1/2 cups almond flour (I use Blue Diamond Brand)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (Trader Joe’s Fair Trade, raw)
2 eggs (organic/free range)
1 teaspoon organic vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips (your choice)
One stick unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (raw)
Pinch of Himalayan salt
Medium steel mixing bowl
One whisk and one rubber spatula
8X8 baking pan lined with parchment across and up sides (attach paper on rims with metal clips)
Cooling rack

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F, rack in the middle.
Line baking pan with parchment strips both ways across bottom and up sides (clips hold in place).
In mixing bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla, salt, and sugar until sugar is mostly dissolved.
Melt butter and chocolate in a small pan over low heat. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
Add almond flour and chocolate/butter to egg mixture and whisk briskly until well incorporated.

Note: Almond flour contains no gluten so strong mixing will not toughen the finished brownie.

Scrape the batter from the whisk and using the spatula, add nuts and combine.
Pour batter into pan.
Batter will be thick, so nudge the batter into the pan’s corners and level out.
Bake 30 minutes.
Cool completely on cooling rack, then lift brownies out of pan using the parchment handles.
I like to refrigerate them overnight, stored in a metal tin, then using a long chef’s knife slice into as many as 64 pieces.
Store in fridge.
Enjoy with a cold glass of milk or milk substitute.

This is really a quick, simple recipe.

After the first time, you will whip them up in no time again and again whenever a treat is required.

I began intermittent fasting one month ago and slid right into the program, eating at 8 AM and again at 5 PM.
Whenever I feel the need for a treat (which is not too often), this is my go to recipe.
Sure, not sugar free but heck, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and any sugar substitutes make me gag.

Last year I finally ordered a true square 8X8 metal baking pan (AMZN)

Parrish Magic Line 8 x 8 x 3 Square Pan

Brand: Parrish Magic Line

and adore it. Will never go back to brownies in a Pyrex glass pan. Pyrex is great for my market cornbread, but not brownies. If you like perfect corners, treat yourself to a truly square baking pan. It is also great for fudge or any recipe where perfect, square corners are the bomb.

Let me know how you like this recipe.

Please continue to be safe, and for all of us and those you love, get vaccinated.

PS. I do not receive compensation for mentioning brands in this blog. I just want to share quality finds.

Cheers!

Copyright 2021 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved


Keto almond crackers

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A tasty cracker made at home in minutes…

Recipe: Oven 350F YIELD: 50 + crackers
In a medium mixing bowl
Beat one organic egg together with
1/2 t. pink Himalayan salt
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. New Mexico red chile
1 T. melted butter
Whisk these well.
Add 2 C. Almond Flour (I like Blue Diamond brand)
Stir all together and press with a rubber spatula until a dough forms, pressing as you go.
Place a piece of parchment on the counter the size of the large sheet pan.
Place dough on the paper and shape into a rectangle.
Place a second piece of parchment over the dough and begin to flatten/roll with a rolling pin.
(Don’t worry about the jagged edges, they bake/taste just fine)
Keep rolling and turning the paper until dough is about 1/4″ thick.
Remove top piece of parchment.
Gently cut the dough into squares using a chef’s knife or pizza wheel.
Poke each cracker with a fork to allow steam out and crisping.
Slide the paper with dough onto a sheet pan and bake 18-20 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and cool crackers on rack 10 minutes.
Crackers will have separated while baking.
Slide the paper onto the cooling rack and cool completely.
Store crackers in a biscuit tin or airtight container at room temperature.
What could be easier?
Gluten free, Keto friendly. Great with soups, salads, omelets, and cheeses.

These crackers are crisp and tasty.
Change up the spices as you desire.
Options: Press sesame seeds into dough as you roll; the variations are endless.

Copyright 2021 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved



If you are climbing the walls…

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vacuum them.

Spending so much time indoors this winter, I began noticing billions of dust particles flying around when I made the bed, dressed, or ran the blow dryer. Streaming morning sunlight highlighted these particles and I thought, if I am seeing all this, what am I breathing? On one particular sunny afternoon, as sunlight washed a wall, I noticed dust clinging to the paint! OMG!

Therefore, I have an new appreciation for dust. Or rather a highly developed loathing of dust.

Yes, I use high-count cotton sheets, but I frequently vacuum the fitted sheet while the bed is airing following a night’s sleep…but not every day. Heavy velvet draperies hang at both windows too, you know the “puddle-type” so popular in the ’90’s? Those I consider “self cleaning” just by drawing them open and closed every day…but where does that dust go? Answer, somewhere else in the room. Ok, I have three wool blankets on the bed too, that I often shake outdoors. But still, dust particles dance like fairies.

Years ago I added a whole-house electronic UV air filter to the HVAC attic air handler. The only time it was chocked full was the year I baked twenty loaves of market bread per week. When that experiment ended, I swore the particles came from R35 cellulose attic insulation. That stuff may be a great insulator, but I cringe every time the AC tech goes up for bi-annual inspections. Could those cellulose particles be trickling down the returns? I considered pricey room air filters, but decided I did not want to own another appliance nor wanted the noise/lights associated with it. So it goes.

Since my current HVAC unit is twelve years old, I bit the bullet and have a SEER 14 unit arriving on March 6th, with all the bells and whistles. Parts of the old attic air handler date back to 1995, so it is time. Pain-in-the-wallet time. But when all is done, will my resident air particles vanish? Will they be sucked into the new electronic air filter? The technician assures me that the updated unit “will make a big difference.” He also plans to address a few other issues created by the original company, like poorly placed flex lines. If I have dust now, how much will I have after having three techs wallowing in my attic’s cellulose for eight hours? Geeze!

Meanwhile, spring is attempting to arrive in Virginia. The ice and snow are nearly melted in the gardens. Temps reached 70F this week for one day. I pulled a few pernicious weeds/grasses yesterday, and discovered what little stamina I have. Is this an age thing, or has the past year subtly taken a toll on my body, mind, spirit?? Gosh, the new Pegan Diet is tempting. Will it fix all my aliments? Will it restore my energy of youth? With every new year, I have plans for the garden…updates, edits, new plantings and all this takes strength, agility, and determination. I have plenty of the latter.

If any of you have thoughts on any of these topics, do share in the comments section. After all, “we are in this life together.”

A question for readers: Do any of you own a robotic lawn mower? The thought of not walking behind my old Toro in summer heat/humidity is really attractive. I looked at what Home Depot is selling, and one can be had for $900. Laying the guideline is the biggest hurdle. Any advice?

Well readers, I am off perhaps to run the vacuum, which by the way has a HEPA filter. 😉

Take care and stay safe. We are not out of the woods yet.


Copyright 2021 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

Three hours of sun

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I discovered that this dreary weather has taken a toll and kicked me when I am already down. Keeping a happy face despite the stress of this pandemic, I finally met my match. For the last two days I just wanted to roll over in bed and forget. Forget the day, forget the suffering, forget the routines, and forget the fact that I have not had my first jab.

calm sky

On August 6th, 2020 a violent hail storm came through and beat my three roofs to bits. The insurance company called them a total loss. I never liked the typical three-tab shingles, so I priced metal. Angels were looking out for me, and I was referred to an Amish family who specializes in metal roofing. After my appointment in October, I signed on. There was a long wait list.

A week ago my phone rang and they were ready…they gave me a ONE DAY notice…I hung onto my hat and three days later, with five men on my roofs, I had my transformation.

Below you can see snippets of my old/new roofs…house, carport and garden shed.

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The former shingled roof.

Old cedar shakes

Old cedar shakes on the garden shed. I did like the shakes but how fragile they are…

lovely. just lovely

lovely. just lovely

precise workmanship!

precise workmanship!

Finally more handsome abode

Finally a more handsome abode. For nearly twenty years, I have worked, worked, worked on this 1970’s ranch…

The great part of metal roofing is that the old asphalt shingles remain on the building…that translates to no waste going to a landfill. A good thing. And the metal has an Energy Star rating and a 40 year warranty!

Ok, no wonder I am exhausted. But, wait! On March 6th, my HVAC system is being replaced! Yes, I am a masochist! This translates to workmen being inside my attic space (filled with R35 cellulose), tramping down my narrow attic stairs with the old air handler, walking through the living/dining room, and out the front door. They must dismantle/assemble what goes out and what comes in, THEN  new lines must be run the full length of the attic, out the soffit, and down the outside of the house to the new unit. OMG!!!

This time the $$$ comes out of my pocket. Yippee!

This is why at my ripe old age, I continue to produce income. I wonder what I would do if I did not own this money pit.

That is why I call home…MY NEEDY BOX.

Do you have one? Do share in the comments section.

The forecast says more sleet in two days. I’d best get myself outdoors this 50-ish F sunny afternoon, as soon I will be hold up in my kitchen baking orders or under a pile of mohair blankets binging on YouTube.

Copyright © 2021 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

“this too shall pass”

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Or will it?
Recent events in America left at least half of her citizens stunned, horrified, and traumatized.

Not only have we dealt with a narcissistic lunatic in the White House for the past four years, a pandemic of epic proportions since 2020, senseless murders, and the desecration of historic monuments, we are now forced to deal with hatred, riots, and rampant disregard for truth and democracy.

I no longer recognize my own country!

Years ago I worked two blocks from the United States Capitol building. On pretty days, I would take my lunch and sit at a fountain in front of the Supreme Court, then stroll across the street to the handsome gardens and grounds of the Capitol, politely nodding to Capitol police. I also photographed the beautiful iron work in the lamps, stair rails, and bus stops that embellished those grounds. Often I would gaze up at the fabulous Capitol building in awe, knowing that within those walls housed the elected officials of our nation. How small I felt realizing how behemoth the significance was.

Gone are those days.

Before recent events, I surmise that pedestrians or even employees on a lunch break on the Capitol Grounds, without proper credentials, would be suspect. Perhaps even disallowed. By 1999, I departed Northern Virginia, and returned to the place of my roots, where I spent my dreamy childhood on the back of a horse.

Since 2000, I embedded myself in the blissful countryside outside Charlottesville, bought my first house, developed a successful small business, and all the while the nation changed. While living in a small town, it is easy to miss the subtlety of toxic government. One can vote for change, yet there is an undercurrent of hate that festered. The boil burst on January 6, 2021.

As I eagerly await the new Washington administration come January 20th, I fear too often, despite my fragile hope and optimism. The cancer in Washington has had four years to metastasize. I dread many vital organs of government are malignant. I wonder if the diagnosis will be fatal.

As the great nation we once represented to the planet, this country is at a precipice, toes on the edge…teetering while the earth falls away. Can we draw back from this? Can this nation be healed? Will national terrorists tire and learn that intimidation never wins? Or have they drunk the Kool-Aid never to yield?

Time will tell. Eventually most people on the planet will be vaccinated. While big pharma is cooking up Covid vaccines, perhaps they could create a vaccination that would cure hate.

How are you coping with the recent events? Why not share a comment?

Copyright 2021 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

there is no place like home…

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Since March of this year, all life as before changed. Home became more of a sanctuary than ever before.

Typically, I sparsely listen national news, and I continued my usual routine sans mask or gloves. Then, as I prepared for another year of our farmer’s market, I quickly noticed that store shelves were bare…supplies were naught. Flour was no where to be found. WHAT??

By April, the drama unfolded as our market morphed into an online pre-order, pre-pay, drive through venue. I froze and let two weeks of market commence before I snapped to and opened the required accounts to participate.

Then the bizarre happened. Small production turned into huge…the community discovered my products and ordered in mass. I nearly had a stroke the first week, as orders poured in. I must produce and keep up! I must scramble for common supplies! Yes, MOI. Little old MOI!! A One-Woman operation since 2000! Click, Click, Click…people love shopping online.

Apparently, my foods/flowers became a source of comfort for hundreds. Revenue doubled. When I was able to find canning jars, I produced numerous batches of jams and chutneys. What became a rage in the fall was my Hot Fudge Sauce…women reported that they were simply opening the jar and eating straight away with a spoon. Forget warming it. At least stress eating is healthier at the farmer’s market.

One would not think that buttermilk biscuits, pimento cheese, and blueberry scones would be in high demand week after week. Nor would seasonal jams and preserves vanish immediately upon offer. Pestos sold through the seasons, as did the peonies during May. I could go on, but alas, this is a short blog this first day of winter.

There was a grand hunger.

Families loaded the kids and dogs (and one cat) into their automobiles and through the Saturday market they drove, trunks open, ready to receive local wares. I quickly surmised that this was an excuse for a family outing from the safety of their cars. Everyone was on their best behavior.

I entertained myself by counting the number of whisper-quiet Teslas that drove through. Affluent residents abound in this town, and we local producers are grateful. Oh, so grateful. This mutual support kept us all sane.

Then the summer wore on into fall.

Needless to say, I was so busy keeping up, I did not photograph any of these weekly happenings.

“Make hay while the sun shines” became my mantra. Normally I stop market the end of October, but this year sales revenue never slowed, so I rode the wave until December 19th.

As I blog today for the first time in months, I sit exhausted at the keyboard. Yesterday, I spent another five hours in the kitchen preparing the last orders before Christmas. I see that WordPress has changed its blogging format and I haven’t a clue how to insert photographs. So this will be an image-less blog, except for my descriptions.

And it may be my last blog if I cannot figure out the madness of WordPress’ engineers. Don’t fix things if they are not broken! Guess they have too much time on their hands. Meanwhile…

The best thoughts I can muster now are:

“There is a fine line between order and chaos”
and
all life is temporary.

I choose to think this too shall pass and we will emerge as the butterfly, more beautiful than the caterpillar and able to fly.

So readers, how have you spent the last few months of 2020?
Do share in the comments section.

Copyright 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

the perfect Tiny House

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As I cleaned out the three bird boxes last week, I could not resist photographing the nest of the Black Cap Chickadee.

Black cap chickadee

The adorable, tiny black cap chickadee. 

Constructed during the unusually cold spring, this bird insulated her eggs/chicks with divine plushness. Notice the moss base topped with what appeared to be wool or dog hair. I am astonished how creative these birds are when Mother Nature throws a curve ball.

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Keep in mind as you view these images the fact that this small bird erects her nest without help from a mate, only using her mandible, feet, and flight. The entire interior of the box was filled with this material…picked bit by bit and carefully constructed. Are you impressed?

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End view. If you were a chickadee, would you be glad to enter this world snugged in by this nest?

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Custom made, mouthful by mouthful, this beautiful nest is used only for one brood per year. I encourage moss in my gardens solely for this purpose.

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Carolina Wren and Eastern Bluebird nests are totally trashed by the time the brood fledges, often found with many mites and fecal matter. This nest was pristine, tidy with no mess. I hated to take it to the burn barrel, but alas. Before doing so, I had to capture and share photos with followers.

Also happy to report that the resident Eastern Bluebirds have so far this spring successfully fledged two broods of three chicks each. Within days of the last fledge, the adults are back and the female is constructing her third nest. This is a first for my garden’s box, as summer is usually too steamy for a third go. Yet I am confident that this “professional” pair of birds will make do. I gave the box’s interior a good scrub and added Diatomaceous earth to the bottom of the box to ward off blow fly and other blood sucking parasites so common to these birds.

nestling bluebirds day nine

Nestling bluebirds day nine ~ Swallowtail Cottage

As another steamy Virginia summer heats up, I am delighted each day by the wild bird activity in my gardens, observed from my air-conditioned home. Eastern Bluebirds, Black-Cap Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, and Carolina Wrens are by far my favorite birds and they are spoiled by hand-chopped sunflower seeds I deliver throughout the day to my rear terrace. Despite challenges from the plethora of invasive 2020 squirrels, I am slowing winning the battle.

Observation of wild birds, their distinct behavioral patterns, intelligence, beauty, and ability to adapt is truly remarkable. I am so envious of their innate ability to just simply fly.

What birds do you love best? What have you learned from your observations?

Keep safe.

Copyright © 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

Miracles everywhere

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In the words of a local butterfly mentor, Linda best described the wonder of these images I captured earlier this spring:

From a side view, the chrysalis of the magnificent Pipevine Swallowtail  butterfly resembles a miniature prehistoric dragon head. The chrysalis can be a vivid shade of lime green or a mottled grayish brown, suspended on a twig or stick by a monofilament of silk to hold it securely in place until the butterfly is ready to emerge. It then begins to turn dark, revealing the wing pattern and body of the soon to be butterfly. Once freed of its enclosure, it will pump fluid into its wings, making them strong enough to carry the butterfly on the wind or beat a hasty retreat, to nectar plants for sustenance, to begin the life cycle again. The four life stages of a butterfly are truly a remarkable manifestation of Mother Nature’s handiwork.”

Linda Marchman
Author of “Gone Astray”, “Silent Meow”  and NEWLY PUBLISHED “Lost and Found Cats”  www.felinefiction.com

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Early this year, I collected five Pipevine swallowtail eggs from the host plant, a vine (Pipevine) trellised in my garden just for this purpose. Raised indoors due to freakish late killing frosts in March/April, three eggs would fit on the the head of a pin. Tiny. When fed fresh host plant leaves indoors, they grew rapidly in a lettuce container placed in the bay window. The small dots you see in this photo is frass, or butterfly poop. I emptied the frass many times per day and kept leaves fresh. Caterpillars cannot see nor hear. They just eat and poop.  If left in the wild, merely three out of one-hundred would survive to maturity. Predation is rampant. Therefore I do my part to help these beauties survive. About two weeks later, they climbed on the skewers I supplied, and formed their chrysalises. Despite the cold swings outdoors, they rested comfortably indoors.

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This is one Pipevine chrysalis, formed last fall. I stored it in the unheated garden shed over winter, and brought it inside with five of its mates this spring, where they all emerged as butterflies. See what emerged a few minutes later below…

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Notice the different shapes created by the same kind of swallowtail. This one is especially spectacular. The color and shape happened before my eyes. Have you ever seen this transformation? These photos were taken in natural light and the camera was hand-held. If you sew or paint, I am sure you will appreciate this image.

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Amazing, yes? Notice the wee silk thread created by the caterpillar before it transformed into a chrysalis. This is one fine form of engineering!

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This pair is from the same group, yet completely different in color. This I cannot explain. They all emerged successfully two weeks later and I hope that they all live a complete cycle…another two short weeks. In fact this morning, one Pipevine was back at the vine laying eggs. Who knows if it was one of mine. The circle continues. 

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Voila! The overwintered Pipevine emerges! After a while its wings engorge with fluid, and within a short time, it is ready to fly.

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Another view of  spent chrysalis with emerged butterfly resting outside. Over the years, I have raised hundreds of Monarchs and various Swallowtails. They each have a particular life cycle. Learning their ways, caring for them, and seeing them at first flight is a hobby that never fails to delight. When all things come together in perfect harmony, Mother Nature rewards us with miracles.

To these special moments, I cling, while the rest of the planet is currently crazed.

See more of my many butterfly photos and posts by typing Monarch into the search bar on this blog. Butterflies are quite magical, fragile, and fleeting. Similar to life itself.

Let me hear from you in the comments section!

Copyright © 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved

And so it goes…

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Spring in central Virginia continues, despite the human condition. Mother Nature always wins. She has run wild since late March delivering freezing 29F temperatures one night then 80F the next week. Wow! My poor peony crop has never seen such dramatic swings. Yet, for the past two weeks, I managed to harvest enough flowers for bouquets to sell at market. Happy customers are unaware of my road of angst traveled to get there.

2015 Peony city market May

slowly a peony harvest in 2020

The O’Neal blueberries are another story. The bumblebees did a splendid job of pollinating the flowers early on. P1040209Fruit swelled on the stems, yet they too experienced the dramatic temperature swings. My three shrubs are now ten years old. How time flies. Over the years, I experimented in numerous ways on how to deter birds and one nocturnal four-legger from my cash crop.

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A few years back I began experimenting with tulle, yes the stuff wedding veils are made of. Standard bird netting is evil and can snag, injure, or kill a wild bird, therefore I NEVER use it. Tulle on the other hand is soft like an angel’s kiss. Notice in this photo the Mylar strips, whirligigs, and even a fake snake on the ground. None really discouraged wildlife.

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Last year I applied more tulle, the widest I could find at Joann’s. This was more effective, but made my harvesting job much more difficult, although every time I lifted the tulle, I felt like a bride. 😉 One curious raccoon would get tied up in the edges, and there would be strips of tulle around the ground next morning. NOT good.

Soon blueberry harvest...new tulle guard in place. Peonies are chin high.

2020 Improvements…Since blueberries are part of my landscape, I do not want to build a permanent structure around them. Therefore, I purchased eight eight-foot garden stakes to form a minimal frame to hold the tulle higher and wider than the shrubs. On the tops of the stakes I placed inverted, one-quart PETE containers to protect the tulle. Yesterday, I only spent about an hour installing the stakes and applying the tulle. Tentatively held in place with clothes pins, the tulle remained in place overnight and, fingers crossed, throughout the harvest weeks ahead. Notice the black-ish line on the ground along the tulle’s perimeter…that is spent coffee grounds, collected from one local coffee shop. Last year I discovered that raccoons despise the scent/texture of coffee grounds. The space left under the tulle will hopefully prevent critters from tearing it. Since I spent the part of three March days hand sewing this 11 yards of double-wide tulle, I want to see it last a few season. Yes?  

What do you think of my recent solution?
Gardening is all about evolution.
And patience, and resilience.

Only the cleverest catbird or cardinal will find their way under the tulle to the berries. I don’t mind sharing a few, but since I harvested thirty pounds of berries from these three shrubs in 2019, I will not share many with wildlife.

Regular market customers are already lined up for their share of this blue superfood come June.

Now back to the peony harvest. Overcast skies this week threaten rain on partially opened buds, not quite ready for harvest. Peonies and rain are not the ideal combination for floral bouquets. A giant circus tent would be ideal for protection, but alas that will not happen. And so it goes…

I hope you and yours are well and safe. I enjoy hearing from you, so please take a moment to drop a comment.

Copyright © 2020 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved