About Me

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South Carolina, United States
Vetsy is my nickname that my family have fondly called me since my childhood. My blog reflects my personal views about the world around me. My topics may be anything that interest me but the majority of it is about my favorite past times...nature and gardening. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment or becoming a follower.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy New Year! to All here on blogger

Here's Wishing You more happiness than all my words can tell, not just alone for New Years Eve, but for all the years as Well.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Garden Bloom Day 2009

 It's time to post for our host Carol of Garden Bloom Day. A day that the garden blogging community share with viewers on the 15th of every month what's blooming in their gardens.

Here in the Northeast zone 5b, plants are all sleeping awaiting springs arrival so no blooms to show, but here are a few pictures of my beautiful Barberry. ( Berberis thunbergii) "It's a thorny devil," and I once thought about removing it.

Thanks to it's thorniness my desire to remove it was put off until I forgot to remove it all together.. I'm now thankful that I forgot, because its gorgeous Red berries add color and texture to what is now a colorless winter scene. Winter snow would have made a striking back ground and photo for this shrub but it has not snowed here in Michigan yet.

Here's a little History about the Barberry shrub I thought I would share with you.  The Barberry is associated with the Berbers, who cultivated it on the African cost of Barbary.

The Moonshine Designs Nursery located in Milan, Illinoisdiscovered that Hummingbirds, like to nest in their barberry shrubs for they have found small walnut size nest in their nursery plants from time to time.

 It makes an excellent protective hedge..I can attest to that, and deers will not touch it.

There are fifty spices of Barberry grown in the US.

They are often used to hold slopes and banks.

They are used in making candles because of their scent. 

The ripe fruits are used to make jelly, uumm ..now that's very interesting and something that I must investigate.

In India they are dried and eaten like raisins.

 It's Medicinal...it has a high concentration of berberine a hormonal substance that fights diseases and infections and is used by naturopaths to treat dysentery.

Wow! and I once thought that this was just a pretty bush of thorns that I found annoying, I have certainly change my views about it.

If some of you crafty bloggers out there have made scented Candles or Jelly  from this shrub, please write me about it.  I would love to hear from you and thanks for stopping by my blog.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Day We Broke Tradition

Since my childhood it has been my families Tradition to purchase a natural Christmas tree.  It's pine fresh scent filled the house putting us in the mood for Holiday cheer and since our Mother's home was the place for family gatherings it was customary to sat up a tree in her home.

A couple of winters ago we were hit by an unexpected storm the very week we needed to shop for a tree.

 Frigid bone chilling winds blew Icy flurries across our faces and through our bodies as we Shook, Shivered and Shake our way from one tree vendor to another.

We were astonished by the quality of trees that were offered. They were in poor shape and every vendor we approached seemed to have them.

There were trees that were so dry if you Sneezed the vibration would sat them on fire!
Hundreds of trees with missing pine needles were sprayed with blue green paint and scores of knotty crooked trees so knotty and so crooked a squirrel would risk injury if it attempted to climb one.

This was not the norm..we never had trouble purchasing a natural tree in the past.

Chilled to the bone and close to frostbite, one of my sister's suggested that we do something we had  never done before.. Purchase an artificial tree!

So off we went to find our artificial tree, agreeing to stop at the first retailer we came across.
Back at moms we pulled the tree from the box that came with three dissected pieces that we had to put together.

when we were done ... It looked nothing like the fabulous tree on the box, but after a little more tweaking and decorating we had a tree we could be proud of.

I have a new appreciation for the artificial tree.. They are crafted to look like the ones found in nature and unlike the natural tree they save you time, money and clean up.

I have not abandoned my tradition and love for the real thing..but it is nice to know that I have an alternative when I need one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Got gnats?

 Got gnats?.. last year I had plenty ..This year I have None!   Thanks to some simple tips that saved my plants and my sanity.   Fungus gnats are a specie of gnat that are commonly found indoors.  I saw these gnats everywhere. They occupied my home, taking up residents in my houseplants and my basement.  At my local garden centers I spotted them flying around the latest arrival of  plants.

 I found them annoying but my lack of knowledge concerning their existence didn't give rise to any specific concerns or red flags! In my inexperienced  mind..  these insects were just a part of life, bugs came with the territory..

You got plants..You Got dirt..You Got gnats and other critters that like your plants as much as you do.  This concept almost caused me to lose my Chinese evergreen a plant I purchased for it's noted ease of care and beauty.   I purchased it from  my local home and garden store it was dense and beautiful.  It's unique contrast of dark and light green patterns on broad pointy leaves,  make it a stunning specimen and  I was thrilled to own it.  

After about a week or two, it suddenly became limp and turned yellow. I was mortified!, What have I done!  did I over water it?   I stared at it in total anguish and disbelief.... Maybe I have it placed in to much light?.. Maybe the room is to drafty?   If  it's sick why?  it was fabulous a week or so ago!  What happened!  
Oh my God please don't tell me that I just killed this beautiful plant!

                          Chinese Evergreen -Aglaonema

I decided to get to the bottom of this literally...I grabbed some news paper, purchased new soil and got out my planting equipment. As I prepared my table for dissecting my evergreen..I surveyed and studied my other collection of  houseplants which are Golden and Marble queen pothos, English Ivy, a Jade, Ponytails, and a few Cactus.  Gnats were flying around and sitting on most of my houseplants and they appeared fine but I wasn't taking any chances they too were getting a check up.

I grabbed my evergreen and begin moving some of the top soil around to check for crawling nemesis..as I did so a couple of gnats emerged out of the soil followed but a dozen others!  I began to dig a little deeper and every inch reviled more gnats!   I had a gnat infestation  and I feared the same fate for all the other plants.  My first step was to search the net for some info on this matter and the solution I found was surprisingly simple.

Neem oil was my choice for an insecticide simply because it's organic and non-toxic to me and my environment.

                                  Jade- crassula ovata

 I removed all the soil from my evergreen completely, sprayed it's roots with Neem oil and placed it in new soil. This step was repeated with all my other houseplants.  For I read that by the time you have discovered a gnat flying around your plants there maybe a nursery of baby gnats already present in your soil.

Days passed and all of my plants rebounded with-out incident except my Jade and Chinese evergreen.  They continued to falter, leaves shriveled up and fell from my jade and the evergreen continued to yellow and go limp and a third of it rotted and died.

Desperate I returned to the internet for some answers and learned that certain plants are very sensitive to some pesticides, even those that are derived from botanical sources, so please take care to learn your plants sensitivities and  read the care instructions before applying any insecticide/pesticide.

 I  soaked the roots of both the jade and evergreen in a shallow pan of water hoping to remove traces of the Neem.  In the mean time I search the internet again and found an answer and solution that was So simple, and So darn easy I felt stupid when I finished reading it.

I was instructed to allow the soil in my houseplants to dry out completely between watering and to add a little sand to help improve drainage.

 Fungus gnats love and thrive on moist soil, moist organic matter and dampness, which are perfect mediums for them to lay eggs.   Dry and well drained soil prevents this problem.. gnat eggs won't survive and will die in dry soil. This solution worked so well for me I no longer needed any insecticide to deter them!  I only watered them when they were almost bone dry!  a risky undertaking but one that work for me.

 It has been a year since this incident and this winter my Chinese evergreen is green once again although not bushy and full  like it was when I first purchased it and my Jade is putting out new leaves.  Yippy!

So here are a few simple tips to help you keep gnats out or cut down their populations if they are already present  in your home.

When possible purchase the lightest soils you can find because Some houseplant soils that are frequently sold at our garden centers are too heavy and hang on to water and if gnats are already dancing around plants in the store..duh! pass them by!

Watch for leaking facets and other sources wear water tends to leak. keep an eye on places like your attic and basement for creatures such as dead birds and vermin.
Mops, kitty litter pans and garbage cans attract these tiny critters as well so keep them clean and dry!

 Thank you for stopping by my blog do leave a quick hello I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Avenue trees in mists and sun

The Avenue trees in mists and sun

  The Avenue trees in mists and sun originally uploaded by algo.

  "Yesterday's the past and tomorrow's the future. 
Today is a gift which is why they call it the present"

    source unkown..

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving to all who blog here at blogger.com

First and foremost, I'm Thankful that my family and friends near and far are here to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday with me once again.

 I'm Thankful for the unusual warm winter weather that we have had this November. It's a November that I won't forget. I have never walked out side in a jacket in the month of November here in Michigan,  nor have I ever witnessed flowers still happily blooming in the ground and in my containers.

  I enjoyed the pictures and blogs submitted for Carol's blog and host of Bloom Day, for many gardener's especially for those of us who live in the harsher winter climates were also in awe of the weather. The photo's and blogs that were submitted were entertaining, witty and artistic.

P.S  Thank you  Monica, Carolyn, Carrie, Carol and Sue for welcoming me with your friendly responses and tips you all left on my blogs and email...If I've forgotten anyone, I thank you too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What's Bloomimg in my Garden

                               White Geraniums 

                  White Alyssum  in strawberry pot

I'm new to blogger and today I just  learned about the Garden Bloggers Bloom day that begins on the 15th of every month hosted by Carol who is passionate about plants.  It's a place were garden Blogger's  summit  photos and blogs of their gardens in bloom. So here's my blog about what's blooming in my garden.

I live in the state of Michigan where winter's are long, mean and brutal to all that reside here..people, pets and plants alike.   A month ago I made my usual  fall and winter preparations, cleaning my yard of debris, trimming, pruning plants and putting my garden tools away in their proper places.

   A lovely pink annual that I forgot the name of

 This ritual never fails to make me melancholy,  I hate to see the Summer go, for I have  to wait so long for it's return.  The entire month of October, I continued my ritual while waiting for winter's icy breath.  A sharp chilly breeze  blew across my face, signaling to me, that winter is not far away.

              Cobbweb hens and chicks.

It's now November 15th,  just 10 days away from Thanksgivings and I'm still waiting, but not looking forward to winter's return. 40, 50, and 60 degree temperatures are unusual and uncharacteristic for Michigan weather this time of year.   Mother nature has prolonged my joy and  my time in the garden allowing me to walk outdoors in my spring jacket in place of a heavy coat, flip flops instead of boots, and the best prize of all a  garden still in bloom!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm a Chocoholic

I'm a Chocoholic and have loved chocolate since I was a little girl.  It is one of my favorite desserts, treat, or snack.

During the Holidays such as Easter and Christmas, I loved to bite off the ears of hallow milk chocolate bunnies and  the heads of solid chocolate Santas.  At six I had a grown-ups palate and while my siblings all vied for the hard stuff that stuck to your teeth like ..Candy canes, Lollipop and Jellybeans..

I'd pass them up for my Aunt Lillian's Home made German chocolate cake or beg my mother out of her favorite chocolate pecan turtles.                                                  
  Another favorite was Mom's Hot chocolate made the good old fashioned way with cocoa powder and milk, than topped off with marshmallows. ..mmm"

 I can always find an occasion but don't need a reason to indulge in my favorite treat, whether I'm feeling blue" stressed"  bored" or just happy as a lark" there's a chocolate treat to fit my mood...So with this in mind, I will be  starting a chocolate blog soon with all the chocoholics like myself  in mind. http://vetsyluvschocolate.blogspot.com

 So ..what is your favorite chocolate fix? ... Here are a few of mine..Chocolate Almonds, Peacans, Cookies, Pretzels, Milk chocolate, Chocolate cherries, German Chocolate cake, and  Double chocolate anything!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Novice plant and garden lover.


I'm a novice gardener and houseplant lover that is not a green thumb, though I try very hard to be.  Gardening and growing plants is one of my favorite hobbies because it relaxes me and helps me meditate. it's a family trait and I'll never foresake it no matter how many plants I kill!

I'm very proud of my current house plants because they try to die on me every winter. The reason is due to I assume .. is my lack of knowledge, lack of sunshine, and  long dark cold ugly gray Michigan winter months.   Last winter I finally learned to stop over watering my plants during this time no matter how dry, ruff and ugly my plants appeared .
During the summer months I like to be spontaneous and just grow what I like. I have tried to make plans during the dormant season, but soon forget them or change them altogether once me and the plants thaw out in the spring.

1. Solar dog and flower pots. 


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How we became Cat people

My family and I became Cat people unintentionally.  Cats have a way of adopting people and we seem to be a highly regarded choice on their adoption list.  Stray cats and neighbor's cats alike would find their way into our home and hearts whether we wanted them there or not.

Some were just visitors, dropping in just to say hello, or to get a free handout or a  pat on the head and off they would go.. back to their homes or some other unknown destination.

Then there were the rolling stones. They were the cats that pretended they never had owner's.. Never had a caring helpful human soul to love, pamper and feed them... therefore we had to do it.

Then there came the Feral,  aka.. Alley cats.  Some found us.. while others were found and given to us by friends and other family members such as my kid brother who always brought them home but managed to mysteriously disappear when it was his turn to change the cat litter.

 Oh" the adventures we had with the feral's....there were the Wild..The Fearful.. The Shy.. The Moody.. the Slicer, the Mad, the Talker, the Stalker..The list of these characters and the stories behind these cats that became our pets goes on and on ...and one thing for sure, we learned a lot about cats along the way and we  never  had a dull moment.

I visited the Cats And Dogs blog at  (catsanddogsp.blogspot.com.) because I'm currently a cat owner seeking some info on dog breeds.  Next  year I hope to own a small dog as well.

I love this site/blog.. it is very educational, informative, funny and fun. The  photos of the sweetest most adorable looking cats and dogs will leave you spellbound. You will be entertained and educated at the same time. I would encourage anyone seeking to learn more about pets, pet problems, pets for children or pets  in general to take a look at this blog.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Simple things in life are the most fun!

   I was looking for something different that I could purchase to entertain my extremely energetic and easily board nephews.  Video games, computers, and television are all the things they have already and these things that they have.. No longer keep them entertained.. Not at their homes Nor at mine.

This makes it a real challenge for me when they visit or I have to baby sit for long periods.  Back and fourth they roam, from room to room, looking like confused aimless Zombies.
So.. I send them outside and they'll play for maybe an half hour or less, than there' back inside talking me to death until I want to scream! or...they'll  get  into a fight, because there's nothing better to do.

On one of their visits I took them to the park where I walked up on some sort of children's day event. There were clowns, balloons, and games, and   one game in particular caught their attention.

I had seen this game before at places I could not recall at the moment, but had no idea what it was called or how it is played... but soon found out.

 A line of young boys and girls waited patiently for their turn to toss bags of corn into a raised platform with a hole in the top.  If you get a bag in the hole you score 3 points, if it lands on the board or platform, you score 1 point. This continues until someone scores 21 points. thus the name"Corn hole or Corn toss."

 To my surprise my high tech nephews loved this simple game..  Eureka!  This is something I was certainly interested in purchasing to entertain them and other guest who would visit my home. I searched the net and found a website called  ( Woodgamz.com )  They sale the game sets. Yahoo! and hip- hip Hurray!

  Prices range from 24.99 for a table top ( small platforms you can use indoors)  or   99.00 to 179.00  for Tournament size games.  Yes"  Sometimes the simple, uncomplicated things in life can be the most fun!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

"X orange and X black makes my kitty a Calico cat"

My little brother found Panini in a garage last year. She was the cutest  little tricolored ball of fluff i had ever seen. I later found out through a blogging friend that these tricolored markings or patches make her something called a Calico cat.

 Calico Cats are mostly female. This is due to the genes for the orange or black color being on the X chromosome.  Female cats have two X chromosomes, while  male cats have an X and Y. Therefore, the mother cat passes the X chromosomes, on to her kittens, while the dad passes either the X or Y, thus determining the kitten's sex.

To be a calico cat, the kitten must have an X chromosome that has the orange color and an X chromosome that has the black color. Male calico cats are genetic anomalies, with XXY chromosomes and are sterile and extremely rare.

Here's more.... A Calico cat has sections of different colors in it's fur. Usually the calico with more white fur also have a larger and more distinct patches of color.  If  the orange and black fur is mixed, the cat is called a tortoiseshell.   Tortosieshells cats, or torties, have little or no white fur.

A variation on the usual calico color pattern  is the " dilute or pastel" calico cat. This type of calico cat gets its name from the fact that its color pattern is " diluted" or pastel" version of the typical colors.  A dilute or pastel calico has a pattern of buff or cream instead of orange and "blue", a slate gray color, instead of black.


Thanksgiving Turkey
Thanksgiving Turkey,
originally uploaded by Natali@.

Hello! My Blogging friends I'm new here. I hope that everyone had a safe and Happy Halloween.

So let me introduce myself by asking. ... what are you having for Thanksgiving? Do you like to stick to the Traditional, or are you going to change things up a little? I think I may just stick to what I know for now, and that's the Traditional meals and fan fare. I had many Grand ideas about a different menu for Thanksgiving.....

a rack of Lamb, Golden potatoes, green beans and some other stuff I can't recall at the moment.
Sometimes I grow tired of the same old thing every Holiday, and although I had the desire
to create something different, I ran out of steam before I could say gobble, gobble".