Friday, 26 June 2015

LIFE: A Day of Wolves and Warthogs

Detroit Zoo Detroit Zoo Detroit Zoo Detroit Zoo Detroit Zoo Detroit ZooDetroit Zoo Detroit Zoo

In recent weeks the Detroit Zoo opened their new wolf two acre enclosure. The two grey wolves - Waziyata and Kaskapahtew have been making themselves at home, but of course on our visit they were busy napping and keeping cool in the bushes. Luckily though we managed to spot the fives baby Warthogs - all of which are named after Games of Thrones characters, Daenerys, Sansa, Cersei, Tyrion and Hodor. A little over two months old they were delightfully rooting around in the soil and being terribly cute when we visited at the weekend. 

Visiting the summer months, the zoo at this time of year is filled with all the baby animals making an appearance and everyone else trying to cool off. Whether it was the adorable Prairie Dog families to the Grizzly Bears cooling themselves in the pool. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the wolves a bit better next time!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

GREEN FINGERS: And In The Veg Patch

Veg Patch

What a month June turned out to be in the veg patch. From another cold snap, so-much-rain, some rodent visitors to lots and lots of things bursting into life, it was high time I got around to sharing it all (and for myself for next year). 

The first things have been picked from the veg patch that's the super exciting thing! Cilantro and basil have been growing wonderfully. Plan is to use them as and when I need them especially in my curry making and seal the rest up in the freezer.

#30DaysWild Basil

We would have had lettuce a lot sooner if it had not been for a visitor of the rodent variety. Story goes me noticing about two weeks ago how my lettuce had been practically all eaten, a strawberry plant ripped up, the same with two cucumbers. Now we always blamed the squirrels and it was kinda gutting for it to happen again. Later the same day out in the garden was one huge fat Groundhog, a veggie eating rodent. He'd gone on to murder my sweet potato plant and had started nibbling the cilantro. 

The end result?! Turning the veg patch into Fort Knox with some wire fencing. If the Groundhog is still around (he was last seen charging under our deck) he's been kept out of the veg patch that's for sure. And I offer all my apologize to the overlord of squirrels for constantly blaming them for everything vanishing previously.


But onto more positive experiences - lots and lots of veg (tomatoes, courgettes/zucchinis whatever you want to call them) have flowers, our raspberries are starting to form berries, our cucumbers are growing like there's no tomorrow (and have a couple of flowers) and we have some bushy carrot tops. 

What's even more fun and entertaining while pottering about in the veg patch is seeing all the insects, all the bees and butterflies buzzing around.

Monday, 22 June 2015

LIFE: 30 Days Wild #2

The #30DaysWild social media challenge is now over two thirds complete so it was high time I got around to sharing the next ten days in my series of joining in on Instagram (you can find the first and more information about the challenge in my first post here). I have to admit I'm finding it hard to keep trying to find something new to photograph each day somewhat the result of being stuck in suburbia and not having lots of say nature reserves etc on the doorstep, so my garden again, is my main source of inspiration.


Day 11 // picking cilantro leaves - the first thing out of the veg patch


Day 12 // catching a sight of a huge worm between rain showers


Day 13 // mushroom spotting in the garden [note to self: learn names of mushrooms]


Day 14 // always have some squirrel eyes on you in my garden


Day 15 // taking lunch outside


Day 16 // playing with helicopters


Day 17 // getting up close and personal with some wild flowers

Day 18 // pigeon watch - it's like The Birds movie around mine ...


Day 19 // Some people smell roses, I smell tomato plants ...


Day 20 // turtle watching while at the zoo

How have you been getting in touch with nature lately?

Friday, 19 June 2015

CREATIVE: There's a Cat In the Garden Shed

There's never really much rhyme or reason for which cross stitch projects I get around to doing. Sometimes there's a need for a certain thing in a certain room, or it's a fitting idea for a birthday card. Or because there's a cat in it, it's brightly coloured and involves a garden. #Winning!


This is one of three garden shed designs from Shannon Wasilieff (who has a fabulous etsy store btw) that appeared in the #228 issue of the World of Cross Stitching earlier this year. It ended up being one of those quick small projects that you don't want to end because it's such a cheerful thing to be working on.

The other two designs are just has wonder in their style and colour. I really doubt my sewing skills so I didn't even try and attempt to turn them into the suggested shed design. But I think it looks more than okay in it's little frame.


Granted I'm yet to buy myself a wonderfully bright bench or have a flower box, but there's more often then not one of my fur balls sitting on their kitty tower watching me through the window if I'm out working in the garden. Well it's more likely the birds, but ya know ...


Small projects like this are handy for being able to pick up and set aside. They eat away into my stash of spare cottons and with stitching that huge stitch along, it breaks up the concentration. Hopefully I'll get around to stitching the other two after I get through some of my other cross stitchy plans. I'm also on the hunt for another huge project because i'm getting through stitching projects rather fast these days ... oops.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

GREEN FINGERS: On Growing Something From a Cutting


They in the know, say one of the easiest things you can attempt to take, and grow a cutting from is a Sedum plant. Easy for the lass who has killed a couple of cacti in her time (yes really). Well established in our garden was such a plant, but I can never have enough plants and plants for free, that's even better.

Growing a plant from a cutting actually ended up on my 30 before 30 list which I can happily tick off as completed. But the story started back in late autumn when I basically took one of the stalks of my Carl Sedum (they have pretty pink flowers throughout summer), popped them in water till about March and then planted them into some soil. It's that foolproof.


I think it took about a month, maybe less for the roots to start showing and they don't seem to have an issue with staying for a while in their watery bath. But it was high time they got their feet in some soil so being the green fingered recycler that I am, their new home became old baked bean cans (although I wasn't hipster enough to spray paint them pastel shades, but I did remember to take the label off so that's something).


Now we're in June, all three are now happily planted out, and more importantly surviving around the garden. The picture below shows the first one after it was just planted out a couple of months ago, it's probably quadrupedal in size already, it's pretty awesome watching them grow so quickly. The Carl variety of Sedums are well loved by butterflies too which is an added bonus with my attempt at creating and butterfly loving garden. Once autumn rolls around again I'm certainly going to be taking a lot more cuttings.


I have to be honest, I'm a little pleased with myself that I haven't kill them ... yet.

Monday, 15 June 2015

SNAPSHOTS: Belle Isle & The Snake Goddess

Belle Isle Belle Isle Belle Isle Belle Isle Belle Isle

Detroit's Belle Isle is filled Native American legends, prior to it's current name the island was called Rattlesnake Island a name coming from all the water snakes once found around it's shores. A shore home to the Snake Goddess. Legend suggest the daughter of Ottawa Chief Sleeping Bear was so pretty he that hid her - putting her on a canoe to Belle Isle (an island in the Detroit River) for her safety. Furthermore he asked the Great Spirits to protect his daughter, the spirits in turn surrounding the island with snakes (hence Rattlesnake Island) and the Snake Goddess she became. Legend also notes she gained the ability to transform into a white doe, a creature many claim to have spotted. Or of urban legends, parking along Tanglewood Drive, offering three car honks into the night to summon up a Lady in White. 

Truth be told, I could think of a lot worse places to haunt. 

Friday, 12 June 2015

LIFE: 30 Days Wild

If you follow me on Instragam then you might have noticed me following along with the #30DaysWild challenge being run by Wildlife Trust. Being in Michigan these days it hasn't stopped me from lending my support and hopefully raising awareness about making time for nature throughout June (and beyond).

So here are the first ten images capturing me trying to get a little more nature into my days;


Day 1 // putting up a new bird feeder pole up in the garden - crazy bird lady over here


Day 2 // thunderstorm puddles leaving reflections of my old Maple tree


Day 3 // lettuces growing in the veg patch


Day 4 // clearing my head in a city park, falling in love with all the greenery


Day 5 // more pretty poppies starting to bloom


Day 6 // admiring other people's gardens while poking estate sales - serious Iris envy


Day 7 // starting Sunday right with a good book and a cuppa tea outside


Day 8 // storm clouds to start a Monday


Day 9 // watching the critters really starting to enjoy my wild patch

Day 10 //catching some fresh air between thunderstorms, capturing the raindrops on the giant poppies

Not too shabby.

Living in the suburbs it's not too easy to get lost in the countryside on a daily basis, (I actually dread to think how many miles away a field is but hey ho) nevertheless with the help of my garden, local parks and a good deal of friendly wildlife, it's not so hard to enjoy the outside, it's actually inspired me to get educated on being able to identify wild-flowers. 

I'd love to hear how you make room for nature in your daily life and if you're too taking part in the #30DaysWild challenge, leave me your link!