Archive for December, 2011


January 2012 Events

December 29, 2011

January events are posted. Remember, I am happy to include most club or community events. All you have to do is email the details to by the third week of each month.

I love reading the comments and the friendly interaction between my readers. If I seem slow to join in, it takes a great deal of time to login and open the backdoor of my blog. Therefore, I try to reply on the days that I post. Lately, though, it’s so difficult to open the backdoor I have to close my internet browser and try several times until I get in. When I’m finally done posting, I’ve tied up the landline so long there’s no time to reply to your comments.

I’m praying for a miracle.

I don’t know if it’s the dial-up connection or my OLD computer. Probably both. This morning my computer froze, not a good sign. I’ll be spending the latter part of 2011 backing up files. If my posts are hit and miss after New Years, it’s because the OLD computer is . . . well OLD!

I’m praying for a miracle and a million dollars.

Thank you everybody for your heartfelt Christmas wishes.


The Christmas Spirit

December 24, 2011 Registered & Protected

The Christmas Spirit comes through all sorts of missions.

Loved ones gathering round illuminated lights,

For a read of the first Christmas night.

Gingerbread houses decorated with delight,

Gifts for Mom and Dad, youngsters, and pets in sight.

Wishes granted of snowflakes and sheets of white,

Making the season festive and chilly but fully adorned.

Through all sorts of missions,

Loved ones gathering to rejoice in the birth of Christ.


Copyright © 2011 Dianne Marie Andre


Honey of a Gift Idea

December 19, 2011

If you’re still scrambling around to finish your Christmas shopping but dreading the crowds, Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area is a great gift idea. If ordered today on Amazon, it should arrive in time, or treat yourself for the moment when after the busy holidays you can put your feet up and sit by a crackling fire with a good book. Here’s what you can expect from this insightful read:

Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area, by Judith Adamson and Lisa Adamson, is a timely and thoughtful look at the current state of the honeybee and the urban apiculture movement. Not only does it give a glimpse into the dazzling world of the honeybee, it is also a compelling and inspiring portrait of a cultural urban movement by backyard and rooftop beekeepers to protect the honeybee. In its finest moments, the book brims with near-poetic reverence for both the honeybee and her geographical setting, making it a captivating and delightful read. The heart of the book is based on numerous interviews conducted with beekeepers, ranging from novices to life-long professionals, and provides an intimate look at the beekeepers’ scientific, philosophical and spiritual approaches to this ancient art. The book gives options for getting involved in supporting the local honeybee movement, including suggestions for planting bee-friendly gardens and resources for those wishing to begin their own bee colonies. Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area is an urgent call-to-arms, which manages to convey the seriousness of the plight of the honeybee while keeping the tone of the book light and positive, inspiring readers to action rather than frightening them to do so. Beautifully illustrated by the author’s sister. 

Visit Judith Adamson on the web at:

There is creative reading as well as creative writing. — Ralph Waldo Emerson


Tips Hints and Cool Things

December 12, 2011

Beginning in January 2012, I am replacing Friday’s Soulful Plotting with Tips Hints and Cool Things, addressing anything related to gardening, country living, and nature.

Join in the fun and get published at by submitting your unique tips to I will be accepting these beginning now through mid-December 2012. If chosen, you will be notified via email.

Here’s a hint of what’s to come:

Stone fruit-tree leaves are poisonous to animals. The University of Delaware Extension warns that wilted leaves of stone fruit trees such as cherries, peaches, and plums can be deadly. A chemical change takes place in green leaves wilted by frost, storm damage, or by cutting. This process makes the leaves sweet and more attractive than normal to animals. A few handfuls of leaves may be enough to kill a horse or cow. The limp, green, or partly yellowed leaves are the most dangerous. These leaves lose the poison after dried or composted.

PS:  To help prevent pests and disease from developing, it’s best to remove leaves from under all trees and shrubs.


100 Christmas Gift Ideas

December 7, 2011

I know what I’m getting for Christmasand no, I didn’t peek—an autographed copy of More Lives than One, The Remarkable Wilde Family through the Generations, ‘by award-winning Irish Poet Gerry Hanberry. The book doesn’t have anything to do with gardening or country lifestyle, but winning is fun and I just had to share.

The book is a contest prize from a challenge held on blog site Wise Words by Mona Wise who signs her emails “Writer, Mother, Wife, Dishbitch.” Her lighthearted words and photography, along with yummy, garden-fresh recipes by husband Chef Ron Wise, come from Ireland where she lives with her family and a puppy name Pearl.

Mona seems to be somewhat of a superwoman. In addition to blogging, this busy gal is writing a book, attending college and raising four children. How does she do it? Lucky Mona, her husband is a chef! However, I understand Mona is a good cook herself.

If you’re wearing the superwoman (or man) apron like Mona and need a little help with gift ideas for friends and family gardeners, check out last year’s post, 100 Gift Ideas for Gardeners.  The recipients of your gifts may not know until Christmas what they are getting but they’re sure to feel like a winner!


Homemade Popcorn Garlands for Your Christmas Tree

December 5, 2011 Registered & Protected

By Guest Writer Bernadine Chapman-Cruz

Enhance your Christmas décor by trimming your tree with old-fashioned popcorn garlands. This wholesome holiday activity will bring grins and giggles to the entire family, as well as create lasting memories for years to come.


1.  Plain popcorn – no salt or butter added (stale air-popped popcorn works best).

2. Thin waxed dental floss.

3. An embroidery needle.


1. Unwind two arm lengths of dental floss.

2. Thread needle and make a large double knot at end.

3. Insert threaded needle through popcorn and slide down to one inch from the knotted end.

4. Loop knotted end of floss around the first piece of popcorn to establish beginning of chain and tie off to secure.

5. Continue process, sliding each piece of popcorn to the end until one inch of floss remains, then tie off as in #4.

6. When desired number of garlands (estimated calculation at nine to ten feet for each foot of Christmas tree) are complete, it’s time to decorate.

7. Arrange garlands horizontally in circular or swag-like pattern across limbs after affixing lights to tree.

8. Once garlands are in place, decorate tree with other ornamentation.

9. The same process can be used to string fresh cranberries or combine cranberries and popcorn for multi-colored garlands.

10. Discard garlands after one season. Toss into trees, bushes or shrubbery for wildlife to enjoy the labors of your Christmas creativity.

Copyright 2011 © Bernadine Chapman-Cruz

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