Posted in nature, Plant Life

Ten Minutes of Peace

Top of the morning to ya! What’s ten minutes of peace, you ask? Watch my video below! It was actually a whole HOUR of peace, sanse bebe because Aurora decided to skip science class yesterday to stay home. I was not going to argue about having some alone time where I didn’t have to be in mom mode, being that I am with Aurora 24/7, 365 days a year! Do I feel guilty? NOPE! I deserve an hour of peace to collect my thoughts and do what I like most-being out in the calm of Nature, chasing butterflies and taking pics.

My main objective over the past week has been to find some monarch caterpillars. They will ONLY be found on milkweed, as that is the only place a monarch will lay her eggs and the only plant that the larvae can eat. The adults, however, will feed on a variety of different flowers. You can read more about the life cycle of the monarch here.

I was ecstatic to have found a caterpillar that appears to me to be in the 2nd or 3rd instar of the larva stage. Isn’t it a beaute?


While I was a bit disappointed to find only one monarch caterpillar and see maybe four or five adults, (who were clever at not coming anywhere near me so I couldn’t shoot them) I was delighted to document several hummingbird hawk moths who were not bothered by my presence one bit. In fact, they flew right in front of my phone like they were checking it out. 


I was able to get a few still shots of these marvelous creatures feeding away. Once upon a time I only seen them a couple of times over several years, and now I have seen several at once. 


In the midst of chasing butterflies, I was surrounded by a conundrum of other insects: house flies, horse flies, deer flies, (surprisingly they were leaving me alone, some appeared to be sleeping) bees and what I think might have been wasps of some sort. I’m not a bee expert but I do know that for the most part, if you leave them alone, they leave you alone. I had a close encounter with a yellow jacket in the video which you can’t see, but that was the only time I got worried. 

I never thought I would say that I was thankful for any of my kids skipping class (they better not!) but being that Aurora and I home school , she has that freedom to skip if she wants. I appreciate the hour that I got to spend among the field of milkweed (which was a field of Lupine Love not too long ago) chasing butterflies and smelling the sweet aroma of the blooming flowers. I felt refreshed after that hour, to be able to have been free to chase the wildlife for some pictures and videos with my undivided attention.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed making it. Nature is my therapy, and it can be yours too, if you only open your eyes to see it. Do you like to be out in nature? What is your favorite thing to do while being outdoors?

Posted in Homeschooling, nature, Plant Life

Homeschool Observation

Top of the Saturday morning to you all! I hope that today finds you alive and well and if you are not well, I wish you to get better. We woke up to a mild 35 degrees this morning and at the moment, it’s 43 with 100% humidity and a real feel of 52. I’ll take it, at least it’s not 90 like the beginning of the week. My heart skipped a beat though when I woke up and saw how dangerously low to freezing that it was. I wouldn’t want my jungle to freeze before it had its chance to shine! 

After I write this post, Aurora and I are going to go do some “sciencing”, a word I made up a while back. I home school her, at least for now, and we do our science stuff out in the field to learn about the world around us. At breakfast this morning, I mentioned to her that we should get a couple of field notebooks, as scientists take notes on what they observe. When I told her that the notebook would be to write notes in, she lamented that she doesn’t write (yet! that’s for us to start in a couple of months) but then she perked right up and said she can draw. That is certainly true that she can draw her observations, for that is part of a field notebook. I can’t draw worth a crap but I can illustrate with words, so we will make a good science team in the future. 

Our first year of homeschooling has been lax since September, and by lax, I mean that I have no clue what I am doing and we are winging it! I must be doing something ok because she knows her alphabet by sight, sound and sign (she learned to spell and sign her name the very 1st day!) and I was told by my eldest daughter’s old Head Start teacher that I am doing excellent and that she was impressed that Aurora could spell and sign her name so quickly. We are homeschooling year round, which leaves us the freedom to do what we want, when we want to learn, without any pressure. I feel that children can learn better in a freer environment, to learn at their own pace. For example, I had tried back in September to teach Aurora to start writing her letters, but she was not very interested in it. I put it on the back burner to start for this September. I am finding that she is more of a visual learner, so we’re going to go with that. Part of the reason why I chose to teach her year round is because of the flexibility. During winter, we did more of the general concept learning letters, numbers, etc. and I have been waiting for spring and summer for us to learn some science hands on.

Our main science mission to observe this summer is the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. They are dwindling in numbers and I think it is important to teach Aurora to try to help conserve them. Monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed and when people cut them down, it hurts their population. We are blessed to have a bunch of milkweed near us to observe monarchs and their life cycle, in a place where they will not be disturbed.

The past couple of days we have seen a few monarchs, but they haven’t sat still long enough for us to observe them. We have, however, been finding hummingbird hawk moths that have been a bit more cooperative with our observations. I saw my first hummingbird hawk moth several years ago, and only a few times since before moving here last year. They may seem elusive but you just need to know where to look. Being that we have all the time on our hands, Aurora and I have learned where and when we can find them, which also helps teach her about life cycles. 

Here’s a clip of our adventure yesterday. We did see a couple of monarchs for a few fleeting moments, but we got good footage of a hummingbird hawk moth. We embrace any learning opportunity we get! I am a firm believer in being self-taught, but that is a post to be written for another day. Right now, we have some sciencing to go do! I bid you all to have a wonderful day, and to go out and observe something!

Posted in Photography, Plant Life

Ginger Mint and Freelance Fortitude



Ginger Mint_074

This morning when I woke and checked my email, I opened an email that will forever change my life: I got my first pay as a freelance writer for the online company, Zemandi! It has been slow going, getting going, but now that the ball is rolling, I’m well enough on my way to earn some bill money while I stay at home to take care of Baby Girl.

I was leary to try Zemandi at first, as there are a LOT of scammers out there! I took to Craigslist for some of my job search and there was a LOT of nonsense and spam to sift through. One site for writers sounded very promising, until I clicked on the “sign up” tab and they wanted $68 for membership! That wasn’t even for writing gigs, that was just a reference to sites that you could apply do, not even guaranteed work!

Since it was free, I decided to give Zemandi a try. What would I have to lose except the time that I might have gotten scammed out of for my writing? I couldn’t really find many reviews out there about it, except for disgruntled people looking to make a quick buck. If you are looking for a quick buck, writing is NOT the way to go!

Once you do the initial trial pieces (you get paid for them), Zemandi evaluates your performance, and if they like your work, they keep you on! You request and do assignments at your own convenience, which is why it is ideal for a stay at home parent like myself. Not only do I get to stay at home to work, I am less the stressed over worrying about daycare and transportation to get back and forth to work. I can literally wake up in the morning, make my coffee, and sit down for a little while and write. When Baby Girl naps, I take advantage of the quiet, and I write. When she goes to bed at night and I have the quiet time for the evening, I write. The pay is meager at first, but to have the convenience to be my own boss, and make some money doing what I love is a trade I am willing to make.

Oh ya, and, I got a new plant, the beautiful Ginger Mint above. I picked it out for a Mother’s Day present and I love it! I love how it smells and the variegated leaves make it such an attractive plant to have indoors. Best part is, I can make tea from the leaves. I haven’t yet, but when I do, I shall write about it!

Posted in Diary of a Calla Lily, Photography, Plant Life

Growing Like a Weed

Happy Friday all! I’m just killing some time with a blog post until I get more writing assignments (more on my freelancing efforts to be discussed in a future post!) and thought I’d write a little update on my Calla Lilies.

The first pic was taken this morning, just two short weeks after sprouting (shown in the second pic) and I just cannot believe how quickly they are growing. The stalks are already five inches tall, and there are a couple more little sproutlings growing  as well. I read that Calla Lilies are slow to grow and bloom, taking up to two years to mature and bloom. At the rate these Callas are going, I couldn’t imagine them taking that long to bloom, but we shall see.

A year ago, if you had told me that I would have 15 plants in my living room, I would have thought that a crazy notion, being that I’ve never had a green thumb. To be frank, I never really TRIED to be a green thumb. Sure, I loved plants, but I was happier watching others grow them.

Then last September while visiting my parents in Connecticut, my mom gave me a clipping that she had grown from her Ivy plant. I was so excited to have just that one plant, because it meant a lot to me that my mom thought of me enough to start me a plant.

My mom warned me that gardening is addictive and I laughed. I though, “ha ha, not ME, not THIS girl who has barely ever had a plant in her life!” Then winter happened, and I got caught up in the excitement of watching my Ivy grow, and I needed more. The more I was trapped inside and suffering cabin fever, the more I wanted plants to liven up my  living room to ease the winter blues, if even for a little.

Fast forward to now, and my fifteen plants. With each plant that I have brought home, I have researched to learn how to care for them. Plants are like people, that each have different needs. Some plants need more light and water than others. Some grow a lot faster than others, (speaking of which, I have also learned that jade trees take a long time to grow. While I can understand this, I am happy to report that Jade has been thriving being in the direct sunlight in the windows, and she has many new leaves that have been growing for the past few weeks) and some plants are just somewhere in the middle. All in all, no matter what plants need what care, I am very happy to have them all in my care! 🙂


Posted in Diary of a Coleus, Plant Life


Happy Thursday to all! I have been busy this week working on some freelancing work and have not had much time to blog. I planned to blog today and was not sure what about…and then, I woke this morning and saw these cute little sproutlings!

Last week at Aldi’s I picked up a couple of these Crayola Coleus grow kits, on sale for only $1.99! There were only two left, and, being the thrifty plant addict that I’ve become over the winter, I snagged them! I thought it would be a fun little project to help pass the time, and better yet, decorate my living room with!

Coleus is a colorful foliage that generally is treated as an annual, though pinching off the flowers to prevent seeds will prolong it’s growing cycle. Since I have two, I am going to let one grow it’s cycle naturally and attempt to harvest the seeds to grow more, and the other, I am going to prevent from seeding, to see how that grows. Coleus can also be propagated from a soft wood cutting, which I plan to do with my plant that I am going to just let grow.

The coleus is not only part of the nettle family (minus the stinging nettles), it is also a mint. It comes in a variety of colors and is easy to care for (which is right up my alley!)

These were very easy for me to start, requiring little care. All you need to be careful of when sowing, is to keep the seedlings moist and keep the pot covered with saran wrap or something clear of the like, (I used an empty glass jar to cover the top) and keep them in bright light, but not direct sun. We’ve got sproutlings already, about a week and a half after sowing the seeds. If you have a little one, I would recommend finding them a little kit like this that they can sow their own seeds, and watch the beauty and miracle of plant life as they grow!

Posted in Diary of a Calla Lily, Plant Life

Calla Lily: Week Two

Calla Lily wk 2_064
Purple Sensation Calla Lily: Two Weeks after Planting

Exactly two weeks ago, I planted my Calla Lily bulb that I got for Easter. I was nervous and apprehensive about them growing, as I have never planted any type of flowers like this before. Within nine short days it sprouted, just in time for Earth Day! The instructions had said that the bulb should sprout within two weeks, so they seem to be a little ahead of schedule.

See the recap of the first two weeks of my Purple Sensation Calla Lily and let me know what you think of the new Sway app from Office. I like it so far and thought my Callas would be a perfect test subject for my first Sway project.

Fun little fact about Calla Lilies: They are neither a Calla, OR a Lily, and they are native to South Africa. They make excellent houseplants and beautiful decoration for an outside garden, though considered to be a very invasive species. See more details about the Calla Lily here.

Posted in Plant Life, Vegan Blog

Enter: The Pink Gerberas

426 blog_060
“Mother Nature Got JOKES”

Greetings from the Adirondacks! I thought I’d share this little flashback  winter pic of snow for those of you who miss winter already. NAH! Just kiddin, took this pic earlier today. Mother Nature got jokes for us on this, the 26th day of April. We waited all winter for winter to show, and NOW it is trying to make an appearance.

daisy 2_061
“Pink Gerbera Daisy”

I have been keeping busy in my little “jungle” to help me combat this cabin fever. These beauties came home with us from the grocery store last night. They were so pink and spring-looking and wanted me to take them home to brighten up our world a little bit while we patiently wait for spring to be a permanent fixture in our weather. If things go right, I will have more of these daisies to have year round!

I said my final good-bye to Lily the other day. She was still here sitting in her pot, withering away after the last few flowers failed. I planted the little bulblets into four little pots, with much hope and anticipation to help Lily live on. While I am realistic that they may not take, I am optimistic and I know that I will be elated if and when I notice any sproutlings.

On a side not for my vegan portion of my blog, I am a proud Mama today that has had a little bit of her worry removed. Since becoming vegan, I have worried about Baby Girl not getting enough nutrition that she needs to grow so I had her iron level checked at her appointment this morning. Her iron level was not only EXCELLENT at 14.1, but it was higher than we last checked before becoming vegan. Baby Girl’s doctor had told me back in January that oftentimes, the first thing that shows up when nutrients go awry is the iron level drops. I am elated to know that hers went UP since January! I can worry a little less know, knowing that she is a very happy and healthy, spry little two year old!

Posted in Diary of a Rose, Photography, Plant Life

Nature Photo Challenge Day 5:

Rori 8x10_051
“My Little Apprentice Gardener”

What would nature be, without teaching our little ones about it? Nature is all around us, and it is so therapeutic for adults and kids alike.

With that being said, allow me to introduce my youngest little nature lover, Aurora, a.k.a. “Baby Girl”, pictured here with my Kordana rosebush. I had taken it down a few days ago to make room to shoot my Jade, and turned around, and there was Aurora admiring it. Luckily, she didn’t tear the stems out like the last time she was near the roses. I should like to think, that Aurora is learning to be a bit more gentle to our plants. Aurora likes to help me when I water and dust the plants, and she helps me hug and love the plants while we do so. I’m hoping to instill a love of plants in Aurora, so that she too, may enjoy plants, as much as I do. I am regretful that I am only getting into having plants within the last year, being that I never had anyone get me interested in them. At least Aurora will be exposed to the joy of plants from such an early age.

Here it is, my photo challenge for today. Yes, I know, I need to get out and get some new pics with my camera of some outside nature. In the meantime, we shall be enjoying the nature that we have to admire in our own living room!

Posted in Photography, Plant Life

Nature PhotoChal Day 2:Enter the Drakes

Enter the Drakes

I got nominated for the 7 Day Nature Photo Challenge again today by my friend Kim Decker, so I chose my plants I got the other day.

Once again, if spring doesn’t get here soon, I’m gonna be lost in a jungle up in here! I picked up these two beauties a few days ago at Hannaford’s (can’t seem to grocery shop there and not come home with a plant!) which were both stuck in a much smaller pot together. I repotted them into separate pots when I got home, and now they take up all the room on top of my bookshelf.

Dracaenas are slow to grow, but they can get pretty tall. So far, mine are about a foot tall. From what I have been researching, they are fairly easy to care for, which is right up my alley! I’m not an expert enough with plants to mess with the fussy ones. I am happy with my easy to care for plants, and happy they liven up our living room so much!



Posted in Diary of a Jade, Photography, Plant Life

Nature Photo Challenge Day 1:

doaj phochal 1_052

My dear friend, Yvonna Fast, nominated me to do a 7 Day Nature Photo Challenge, so I accept! I am going to do a little differently and feature it on my blog which will be shared to The Thought Gallery’s Facebook page.

Arbor Day is coming up on April 29th, and yesterday, I was thinking that I would like to get some sort of tree to get in honor of Arbor day to have in my little jungle. Much to my surprise and amazement, I already HAVE a tree! During my research for indoor trees, the jade plant came up. My little plant is only 4″ tall right now at its tallest spot, but given some years and lots of care, it will end up to be FEET tall! When I had gotten Jade, I had no idea that she was a tree, because if I had known, I would have scooped her up even faster! I look forward to watching my Jade grow, and eventually, propagate her. I’m thinking that would make great future gifts for loved ones!