November 21, 2008

November- Peanut Butter Lovers Month

Along with Thanksgiving, food lovers get to recognize another food that can be as filling and delicious as turkey. 

Peanut Butter is a household favorite of many American families and fills the lunch box of kids all around the world.  So to enjoy some of this familiar product why not bake some cookies.

Sweets are always on the menu for the holiday meal, but peanut butter cookies can be a great everyday snack.

Find a unbelievably easy Peanut Butter cookie recipe here.

October 6, 2008

Wild Mushrooms

We have had an abundance of mushrooms growing all around our yard. This is just one example of nature's wonder. I have searched, but have been unable to identify this mushroom. It's pretty knarly looking, kind of like a minature hut!
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July 22, 2008

Sunflowers in bloom

Sharing new photos of sunflowers in my earthbox. I love the brilliant yellow color of this tall sunflower with the red from the hummingbird feeder.

I have enjoyed this box so far. This is not a prize planting but the flowers are living and blooming so that's a big plus. The corn turned out not to do as well. I had dreams of having this huge growth of beautiful, lush green plants. The thought was to move the planter over near the kitchen window when it was most healthy and full. Well, as you can see....I can only dream on and take this into my experience file. Stiil it was fun planting and the busy hummingbirds make it even better!

Yes, there is life outside of Wii!

June 2, 2008

Wii is so much fun!

I have been busy playing my new Wii and I haven't posted anything new since getting it.

The games are great fun! Everyone wants to play, so I've been busy with a little competition. Well, blog I promise to post something new soon!

May 20, 2008

Is that a huge bee? Or what?

While having that first cup of morning Joe today, I saw what I thought to be the biggest bumble bee I've ever seen! I admit I was not fully awake; it takes more than a sip or smell of coffee to get me going in the a.m.

I looked out of the kitchen window and there it was a big, black insect type butt hovering over the white carnation grass that grows so beautifully below the back deck. Or, what I thought was an insect butt.

The entirety of my morning visitor was hidden beyond the deck boards, except it's back side. Oh, and I have to say the eyes are older than they used to be, not to mention the size of the cobs webs wrapped around my brain early in the morning.
Well, it only took a second and the huge bee like "insect" became clearer! Yes, it was the first humming bird I've seen this season. I was so excited!

I have been eagerly awaiting their arrival, as I'm sure many people have. The colors, flight and personalities of these feathered jewels are amazing!
I filled the feeder and I'm waiting for the birds to decide that they like it maybe as much as the bright flowers growing around our home.

This is a colored pencil drawing of a hummingbird in purple by me. I like to draw in graphite and now am experimenting with colored pencil. Here is Flower with butterfly that I've done in graphite; this is an early piece.

May 17, 2008

JJ's Treasures: A new shop

We have a new shop with products made from our original art and photographs.
Come visit my store on CafePress!

Stock and quantities are limited at this time as we have just opened and are adding products.

May 13, 2008

My EarthBox garden log

This is a picture of my Earthbox. The Earthbox (brand name) is a contained growing system. Go here to find out more.
This is the second year using this box and no I do not follow the kit to specifics, I fit it in my way. Last year I grew an amazing Blue Potato Bush and red okra in it and had the best results I've had gardening. This year (photo above) I have planted corn and sunflowers. So here goes another season of growth!

May 5, 2008

This beautiful yellow rose was open and greeting me this morning! A great view with the first cup of coffee.
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May 3, 2008

Purple Leaf Plum tree

From the landscape....

We have four Purple Leaf plum trees as part of our landscape. Here are a few pics which show 3 of these trees, which are all in different stages of growth. The potted tree, or container plant, is an experiment in growth and is in the 3rd year of growth. It was transplanted to this container last year.

A container plant on the back deck.

This purple leaf plum was grown in a container and planted last year. This is at the 4th year of growth.

All photos by J J Fields

This is the "momma tree" which we originally purchased from a garden shop. This tree is approximately 8 years old. This tree has given us many "babies" that are transplanted in the spring to small garden pots or containers. They make great pass along plants to my family.

For more information on the Purple Leaf Plum tree try this source:

wikipedia - purple leaf or cherry plum

Garden: Spiderwort flower

From the garden....

Spiderwort is a hardy plant in the garden. The blooms are blue in the case of our plants but, there are many species. The flowers open early in the morning and are a nice sight with that morning cup of coffee.

The pro- Plants can be cut down and within a week or so they are up again and blooming. The spiderwort is known as a cut and come again type of plant.

The con- Spiderwort plants spread. A cluster may grow in a nice tended flower bed and then a stray will pop up 10-15ft away. So be specific when placing these wild growers in the garden.

We came to have Spiderwort flowers by pass along plants. Pass along plants are usually well established growers and will do well in a new garden. The best part of getting pass along plants is that with each plant or flower come memories of the person who gave it to you.

A dear friend gave me these plants when we moved to our new home more than 15 years ago. I will always remember her and the lovely garden she grew.

Find more on spiderwort flowers here.

April 30, 2008

Blackberries are blooming

A few weeks ago when the wild blackberries, along the roadside, were beginning to fill out, with thick green leaves and tiny buds, it was getting hot here in Camden. From lessons learned along the way in childhood I found this growth to be an early sign that we are in for a very hot summer.

This is a blackberry plant from our back garden. Ours are young plants that have somehow managed to survive a novice gardener. There are only 4 plants total and this is the 3rd year, for these plants, growing in poor soil. We have added peat moss and other organic enhancements to the garden but we have fought a battle with dry, sandy, clay soil. These efforts may payoff this year with our first home grown fruit on these blackberry bushes.

Photo copyright © 2008 J J Fields

Today with the wee morning hours came "Blackberry Winter", Now I'm really excited to see what the wild roadside crop will produce this year and hoping to get a handful from the back garden.

Read, How-to Grow Blackberries , to easily add this plant to the garden.

I found the definition of blackberry winter here.

April 15, 2008

Summer Vacations and Festivals

Now is the time some people plan summer vacations or get-aways. Well ,we are some of those people. Always wanting to plan way in advance and never actually doing it. I like hokey little town festivals and craft fairs. The can be a lot of fun and not so hard on the purse. Maybe I'll include one or both of those with this years vacation.

April 11, 2008

Beautiful flowers on a sunny Day

It was beautiful out yesterday so, I couldn't resist the call of the wild and spent a good bit of time wondering around shooting pictures of nature and the landscape. The landscape around me is an ever on-going project. Check out this Azalea.

A gift I received for Valentine's Day one year. It has been a colorful addition in the yard since.

April 7, 2008

Family Day Trip

A day trip to Goodale State Park, Camden SC brings great family fun. What we found was plenty of sunshine, even though the ground was a little wet from the heavy rains we've had the last few days, and a perfect place to picnic, fish and just hang-out with the family.

One of the nature trails provided a beautiful and peaceful journey around part of this 140 acre lake, which was a civil-war era mill pond according to the information posted upon entry.

The cypress trees stand tall while their feet are sunk deep into this amazing lake. One treat was finding a large quantity of tadpoles. Tadpoles are a kid magnet because they are little, black and squirmy.

Of course my interest is photography and I was able to get some great shots including this lovely photo of the lake.

After a round of boccie ball it was time to head home until our next outing at this fine park.

photo © 2008 JJ Fields

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April 5, 2008

One Red House of Birds

A well used bird house is a lovely thing. As seen around the entry hole of this house there are nicks and scratches. The occupants apparently widened the hole over time. This bird house is located out in the back woods of our home. We check on it when we're out hiking or roaming, otherwise it remains undisturbed.

This beauty was made by my parents and given to use many years ago. It has held up well even the paint job. I love to attract birds to my yard. So now that spring has arrived it's time for the feeders and houses to get a spring cleaning, too. I'm also looking forward to having hummingbirds in the yard again!

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April 2, 2008

Vinca Blooming Now!

Photo © JJ Fields 2008

A little purple vinca has shown up for spring in the garden. Another sign of the earth renewing itself.
How beautiful.
Read more about Vinca plants here.
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March 30, 2008

My best dog-Scruffy

One more reason Scruffy was my best dog.

He wore a small, red, plastic purse around his neck, and not always willingly.

March 28, 2008

Childhood Memories

We made mud pies as kids, maybe it was just a southern thing. Entertainment had to be cheap back then and nothing beat playing outdoors.

Mom would give us items from the kitchen she didn't need any longer and we had fun!

Read my article about making mud pies and maybe you'll be inspired.

March 20, 2008

Spring has come to the Carolinas

photo: Kissing daffodils by J.J. Fields

After the cold and sometimes icy days of winter, dry skin, chopping and hauling wood, spring is a welcome sight. The daffodils, raise their pretty little heads, and announce the arrival of spring.
Spring is when the earth warms and becomes fruitful with new grow. The air begins to stir with activity. Butterflies begin to flutter about, spreading sparks of color. Humming bird feeders are taken out, cleaned and prepared for a new season of speedy visitors. And serious spring cleaning begins.

Some of the Carolina's early blooming flowers are irises, crocuses, and azaleas. Azaleas are a native plant which is hardy and easy to grow. This evergreen plant provides texture and color to the landscape year round with some varieties bursting with new blooms early spring.

A sure sign of spring in this area is pollen and a lot of it. The major contributing party here is the pine tree. With about 12 varieties there is no shortage of pollen producers. The distinct yellow dusting of yard, porch, and vehicles becomes common place. Pollen sticks to clothing and hair and triggers many allergies. Pollen may deter some but the true southerners still throw up the windows to air the house out.

Then there are other signs, the kind we may appreciate even less. The fire ants, busy builders and determined warriors, are on the move. The great nemesis they are, they scamper ever ready to invade and irritate. Oh, they never really go away, but burst out with renewed energy come spring. The fight is on!

March 18, 2008

Apple Jiffy Muffins

This is a recipe that I stirred up a few days ago. It turned out wonderfully. I like to experiment in the kitchen.

1 small apple
1 tbsp honey
t tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 box Jiffy Corn Bread mix

This recipe is made with layers and all ingredients should be divided evenly among muffin cups.

Slice apples thinly and place into bottom of cupcake liners, apples will need to be cut to fit. Drizzle honey over apple slices, divided into each cup. Add butter, divided into each cup. Sprinkle with cinnamon again divide among each cup. Add brown sugar the same way. Finally, mix Jiffy Corn mix according to instructions and add to each cup on top of the apple layer. Muffin tin or paper should be filled to edge of paper and spread evenly. Bake in pre-heated over following baking temp and time on the mix box.

This recipe makes 5 muffins. Muffins can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated.

March 14, 2008

Tasty Snacks

Try making these nice little treats when looking for something a little different.

Cheese Crisps


Shredded sharp chedder cheese

non-stick spray or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease cookie sheet ( pan wide sides works best) with vegetable oil or non-stick spray. Place small haystacks of cheese, about 1 tbsp, on cookie sheet. Space 2 inches apart. Bake in hot oven, 425 degrees, for 1-2 minutes or until edges start to brown slightly. Immediately remove crisps from pan to cooling rack. Serve with sandwiches or these are great with grits.

Note: Crisp will be fragile so be careful when removing from pan. Using a very thin metal spatula or parchment paper makes this recipe easier.

March 9, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day...

Early wishes!

Isn't this the most beautiful picture.?

I love green. The greens of our natural Earth.

I don't really care for celebrating St. Patricks day, however. I recall as a school-aged child other children could be cruel, with all the pinching that went on, all day, if you were unlucky and didn't wear green.

One year a sweet old teacher would not have this nonsense in her classroom. She set about with tape and a sheet of green construction paper and by the end of her rounds every one in class had his/her chest adorned with "green". End of pinching!

The worst was when Mom dressed me head to toe in green, that awful green striped top. Going off to school looking like a piece of green pepperment candy was not good. Oh My!

On the look out here for spring, for sure!

March 1, 2008

My Best Dog

I have crossed the paths of many a dog in my day. None other than Scruffy came close to being on the top of the pile. He was a Chihuahua full of life. A tiny little stranger who stole his way into my heart and has never left. Here are a few reasons he was my best dog and why I loved him so.

1. For twelve years Scruffy was my best friend.

2. He brought me peace.

3. He chewed gum.

4. He drank beer.

February 26, 2008

Not the brightess blog on the web

Boring as it my be I do have some varying interests. Whether it be art, reading, sewing, crafting, writing, cooking or learning new things I will write about it here. Finding my niche has always been difficult. Maybe in a previous life I was an octopus. Instead of eight tentacles I think there were eight brains and not a one helped at all.

Warning: You may experience confusion, and if you lean your head to the left, while reading this blog, you just may hear rattling noises. These may be some symptoms of reading a stupid blog when you should be cooking dinner, taking a bath, chasing rainbows or generally getting on with life. I call it web-lash.