Categories
Featured Gardening Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂ Travel Stories

Bugs of Malawi: A Mob of Ants in My Garden

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The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, or the Malawi Government.

Mountain Sunrise Over Lake Malawi | Erica Robbin

Nauka Makola! Good morning!

Welcome to the series about my volunteer experience serving overseas with the United States Peace Corps.

I departed for Malawi, Africa about a year and a half ago. Unfortunately we were evacuated out of our countries due to the COVID-19 situation, resulting in a departure from my site earlier than expected. However, I had an amazing time and will be sharing a bit about my journey.

Malawi is a small, beautiful, landlocked country with a rather large population relative to land size. Geographically defined by the Great Rift Valley and enormous Lake Malawi, it’s located in southeastern Africa. Known as the “Warm Heart of Africa,” people are warm, friendly, and very welcoming, striking up a conversation with enthusiasm and genuine interest.

Starting with just one small segment of a larger part of my life there, I’ll post a series of insects I came across, which I mentioned I wanted to do in my post Happy New Year! What I’m Looking Forward to in 2021.

Eventually I will write about other topics related to my experience living in Malawi. A bit more personal while reserving other aspects. Likely more in present tense as I didn’t have access to consistent electricity much less internet at the time I drafted most of my posts.

I hope you enjoy the series!

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My happy, peaceful garden

Being out in the garden is a place of solace for me. It’s satisfying to wake up and see on how much the vegetables have grown, getting my hands in the soil at each stage of the process, the earthen smell after a night’s rain.

I find it relaxing even on days when the water and electricity goes out and I have to ride my bike to the well, hauling about 3-4 jugs of water to ration out a little sustenance in anticipation of a hot, sunny day.

Rainy season in Malawi is an incredible blessing.

Onions, like this little sprouted seedling, need a lot of water.

Malawi Garden | Erica Robbin
Malawi Onion Sprout | Erica Robbin

As far as volume, rainy season is often similar to the desert monsoons of Arizona, releasing several inches over a very short period of time.

Massive flooding occurs in areas where the ground cannot absorb water fast enough.

Difference is, rainy season can also come as a steady pour most of the day, every day from November to April.

Woodchips Around Sweet Basil Plant | Erica Robbin
Basil seedling

As rains stop midmorning and the sun rays beam intensely over the country’s coordinates, about 933 miles south of the equator, the sandy soil turns fast draining. Drying up quickly like it never even rained that day. A hard crust forms. Cracks appear.

With intermittent access to water I had to take full advantage of the rain, collect it, and find ways to retain much needed moisture for the soil. Otherwise soil becomes like brick, smothering vitality from my plants as it prevents oxygen from reaching the roots.

Wood chips sprinkled over top of a good early morning water seems to be the best technique with the resources I have.

Unfortunately… wood attracts insects like termites.

All those brown piles, breakdown from the termites.

They do seem to aerate the ground though, so not too much of a problem, plus they don’t eat any of my plants.

Termite Mound in Garden | Erica Robbin

After taking up gardening a few years ago, I’ve always pictured myself like Snow White.

Friends with all the woodland creatures.

A mutual symbiotic relationship.

Everything good and dandy.

Except termites attract insects like ants.

All kinds of ants. Definitely not the cute, tiny sugar ants that parade around if you leave something sweet on the kitchen counter.

No, most of the ones I saw look like ginormous carpenter ants, others known as siafu, driver ants, or Dorylus, are quite powerful and can take down small livestock.

I found these three wandering around my garden. Some subtle differences, all registering as ants on my Picture Insect identifier app.

Termite VS Flying Ant Orkin | Erica Robbin
Orkin bug comparison chart

One day my site mate had just come over, was quietly reading a book on the porch, us enjoying the tranquility of the day.

Completely immersed in gardening tasks, I was on my hands and knees pulling weeds, which I find rather calming, when a swarm of what looked like ants came filing in. Lines and lines. A mob of ants from every direction, completely out of nowhere.

Suddenly I was thrashing around violently, trying to brush them off, screaming, “Oh my gosh! Ouch! OUCH!”

It was frightening! I’m usually not too disturbed by bugs in the garden, but what bothered me is that these ants are stealthy.

Before I knew it, thousands were surrounding me. They crawled in my shoes, socks, pants. Pinching my skin with their mandibles and wouldn’t shake off. They clung on angrily with all their might. I was the one that invaded their territory and they didn’t want me to forget it. I couldn’t get away fast enough and I still had so much work to do.

Stirred up by my presence, they made this buzzing sound.

After about 20 minutes of their purposeful mission, weaving in and out of the termite holes. They marched off. Leaving as promptly as they came, not one to be found. I was shaken up a bit, but it was peaceful in my garden once again.

Did You Know? Ant Facts for Kids | Erica Robbin
Did You Know? Ant facts for kids article from a Malawi newspaper clipping

Are you itching yet?

Malawi Village Landscape | Erica Robbin

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy 

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Gardening posts

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Book Blog Books Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Books I Want to Read in 2021

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Here’s what I’m most looking forward to reading this year. Be sure to let me know what you plan to read in the comments below!

Book Nook | Erica Robbin

First, what do I typically read?

I like to read all kinds of books, especially historical-nonfiction, sci-fi, outlandish adventure, and satire.

I also like to surprise myself once in a while, hence the unexpected and welcomed love for cozy mysteries.

Joy in Reading the Whole Year Through

I keep a physical, digital, and audiobook on hand at all times.

I find rotating between different subject matter/genre among formats helps me be able to switch back and forth without getting plots confused.

If I get tired of reading one for a while, I can easily get into the mode of a renewed reading experience by easily making a switch.

When I can’t read a physical book for whatever reason, like not being able to take all my physical books with me on a plane, digital and audio save the time and space.

I’m able to read more throughout the year because accessibility is key.

If you’re a mood reader like me, give this method a try. You might find it useful when you get stuck in a rut or reading slump.

Physical Copies

2021 Book Shelf | Erica Robbin

My physical TBR bookshelf is looking quite varietal at the moment.

I won’t list each book out but I feel like I have quite a bit of diversity of genres, topics, new, and backlisted books. I have a lot of catching up to do from the last year or so as you can tell.

I enjoy rereading classics each year.

Next up on my list for classics is Treasure Island from The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. I found my this copy at an antique shop. It’s super brittle, undated, 1920s most likely, I’m going to have to be so careful with it.

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First Book of 2021

I’m starting off with The Progress of Love by Alice Munro. It’s been on my current read for about a year, having added it from SunBeamsJess Book Club. I’m a year behind on this one, but that’s okay, I will still make the most of it!

Seasonal Reads

The little stash on the bottom is my seasonal ones I’m looking forward to. Spring, summer, autumn. These were released in 2020.

Season Reads of 2021 | Erica Robbin

Digital Reads

I currently have 584 books on just my Books app alone. My brother gave me several which I’m quite excited about.

Most are hard-science fiction and fantasy books. Old-school, classic ones from the genres.

I have everything ranging from authors like Brandon Sanderson, Dean Koontz, Carolyn Keene, Jeff Vandermeer, Veronica Roth, Kat Richardson, Simon R. Green, and of course a few cozy mysteries from authors like Cleo Coyle, author of the Coffeehouse Mysteries series which I adore.

SciFi Digital Display 1 | Erica Robbin
SciFi Digital Display 2 | Erica Robbin
SciFi Digital Display 3 | Erica Robbin
SciFi Digital Display 4| Erica Robbin

My Current Sci-fi Reads

The Wandering Inn: Volume 1 (The Wandering Inn #1) by Pirateaba

A couple thousand pages long, I’m still working my way through it. I kind of don’t want it to end though! It’s one I’m savoring, take my time with.

The Wandering Inn: Volume 1 (The Wandering Inn #1) by Pirateaba

Earth by David Brin

I started this during a read-a-thon in 2018. I started reading it in digital but I keep waiting for an audiobook to come along.

Earth by David Brin | Erica Robbin

Audiobooks

I love the Agatha Raisin series from M.C. Beaton. Clever, fun, short, uplifting little stories! They are relevant yet lighthearted and the perfect in-between book, especially after reading something on the heavier side.

Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death by M.C. Beaton | Erica Robbin
Agatha Raisin Series | Erica Robbin

Piranesi 
by Susanna Clarke

Just new, in 2020, long-anticipated from Susanna Clarke. I loved Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I’m sure I will love this one too!

Upcoming Releases

Anticipated reads to be published this year!

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Books Inspired by My Travels

I always make a point to check out the local author section of bookstores and airports when traveling through.

These shots were taken from O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa back in March of 2020.

Johannesburg International Airport Book Display 3 | Erica Robbin
Johannesburg International Airport Book Display 1 | Erica Robbin
Johannesburg International Airport Book Display 2 | Erica Robbin

Have you read any of these?

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Magazines

Taste of Home is one of my favorite food magazines. Amazing recipes! This Dec/Jan 2021 issue has a Portuguese Shrimp recipe that looks incredibly satisfying.

Book Club Picks

I belong to a few book clubs.

Life’s Library Book Club 

SunBeamsJess Book Club

Peter Likes Books 

BookswithEmilyFox

Literally Dead Book Club

The Poisoned Pen SciFi & Fantasy Book-of-the-Month Club

This month for Life’s Library Book Club we’re reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. This will be my 3rd time reading it but that’s actually fine by me as I’m kind of curious to see what my thoughts will be after having now lived in Malawi, Africa this past year.

I’m looking forward to reading The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, the Poisoned Pen Bookstore Sci-fi Book Club March book. Debut novel, published in 2019.

It’s a historical time piece of the early 1900s with mysterious fantasy elements.

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

I’ve been craving a book like this.

“A gorgeous, aching love letter to stories, storytellers and the doors they lead us through…absolutely enchanting.”–Christina Henry, bestselling author of Alice and Lost Boys. LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER! Finalist for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards.

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My Current Reads

A Cup of Coffee | Erica Robbin

I love reading and cuddling up with a cup of hot coffee or chai. What’s your reading beverage of choice?

Oh there’s so many good books out there that I want to check out that were published in the past 1-2 years.

There are many more releases to come that look very enticing. I have to restrain myself a bit as I want to finish the books I already own, but I can tell already, that my 2021 new release book list is going to grow exponentially and quite I’m excited about that!

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Erica’s bookshelf: currently-reading

Earth
tagged: currently-reading
The Wandering Inn: Volume 1
tagged: currently-reading
The Progress of Love
tagged: currently-reading
The Secret Seaside Escape
tagged: currently-reading
When Bunnies Go Bad
tagged: currently-reading
Fear on Four Paws
tagged: currently-reading
A Caller's Game
tagged: currently-reading
Lost Property
tagged: currently-reading
Their Eyes Were Watching God
tagged: currently-reading

goodreads.com

How You Can Support Local, Independent Bookstores During the Shutdown

I love wandering around a good, old-fashioned bookstore. I would be torn to see them become something of the past like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. It has been tragic to see local businesses shutting down, but good news is, we can keep them alive with our book purchases.

Let’s preserve the joy in reading and future visits to local, independent bookstores and not forget about supporting them.

My all-time favorite is the Poisoned Pen Bookstore. 30 years, still going strong. Be sure to subscribe to their e-newsletter for latest releases and events. Check out their YouTube channel, Facebook, and podcast for author interviews.

You can help support your favorite bookstore by purchasing audiobooks from Libro.fm, where a portion of your purchase will go to your bookstore of choice.

Libro.fm | Erica Robbin

I hope you have an amazing start to reading in 2021! What books are you planning to read this year?

Let me know what your reading goals are for this year, as well as any books we may have in common that you are wanting to check out, and any book recommendations in the comments below!

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Categories
Featured Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Happy New Year! What I’m Looking Forward to in 2021

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Aside from wanting to participate in the usual social aspects of life, dining out as a big group, not having to wear a mask, shopping in public spaces with a coffee in hand and sipping at my leisure, I have been lamenting over creative activities that I’ve been missing out on for the past year. Whether as a contributor or consumer.

Without as much indulgence and excitement of creative expression as in previous years, I feel like there has been a big sense of void. Much like the fog in these photos I took last year, swallowing up every happy thing around it.

Happiness is to come though. And these crazy times aren’t going to last forever.

I guess I’m sort of one of those people that has to have some sort of creative outlet. It balances out stress. Otherwise I feel like my world is falling apart.

This year as really put a damper on a lot of my creativity for several reasons. My hope is that the creative desire and productivity really comes to life this year.

I don’t typically set New Year resolutions or goal dates to accomplishing anything. I prefer to pick up and go as I please. Time pressure demotivates me. The less pressure I put on myself, the better. The way I go about goal-setting is to jot some thoughts down and go from there.

Here are some specific things I am looking forward to, mostly of the creative realm, in hopes that life will begin to return back to normal soon in the most positive way.

Watch a Movie at the Theater

Oh it’s so sad to see companies go! I read an article listing 30 companies that went under last year with AMC predicted to run out of cash, needing $750 million to keep afloat. I haven’t heard so much about Harkins and how they’re doing.

Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic, but I have some gift cards and I’m ready to spend them! I could go for a rerun of a classic. The Matrix or John Wick.

Get Dolled Up and Go Out

Such a small thing, but I really want to get dressed up, put on some lipstick, and go out to dinner and a movie.

I must say wearing masks all day hasn’t completely stopped me from wearing lipstick. Lipstick is one of those secret treasures that brightens your face and makes you feel instantly better about yourself.

But I miss that mainstay part of my get-ready routine so I’m really looking forward to wearing my entire range of lovely shades on a more regular basis once all this mask-wearing madness is over.

I’ve been on a makeup-no-buy since 2017, that said, however, I really want to get a set of Lisa Eldridge’s stunning reds to wear.

How gorgeous is this Velvet Ribbon red shade?

Creative expression. That’s what I want more of in 2021.

Piercings

On that same note, I’ve been wanting to get all kinds of piercings for quite some time now. Almost 2 decades actually. This will be the year. I’m looking at getting some similar cartilage piercings like SunBeamsJess. Rooke, helix, tragus. I want to get just a few more. Dainty and cute, yet elegant.

Piercing update at: 13:29.

Improve My Cursive Penmanship

Both as graceful technique and how to write much neater with some fancy calligraphy pens using various whimsical styles.

My day-to-day, casual penmanship is a mess, but when it comes to special notes, the nicer side of my handwriting comes out.

Sketch Book
Calligraphy Practice | Erica Robbin
Calligraphy Alphabet Letters | Erica Robbin

Is cursive becoming a lost art?

I read an article a while back about cursive not being an essential part of primary school curriculum anymore. It was a reality check at the post office recently when I mailed a letter and the girl at the checkout told me she didn’t know how to read cursive.

My heart actually sank a little bit!

I truly hope it comes back. Cursive is so beautiful. I remember in my first 1st grade classroom, there was a poster of the alphabet stretching across the width of the room near the ceiling. All in cursive. Each letter looked so ornate. I wanted my writing to look like so.

I’m going to work on developing a more mature writing style this year.

I’m still not sure how I want to consistently write out my capital G, L, Q, S, and lowercase v. A couple choices.

How do you write out your cursive letters?

Writing Expression

Writing exercises are what I’m going to focus on.

Maybe it’s age and I’m forgetting, maybe it’s something I have to come to accept as I learn additional languages, maybe it’s a COVID-19 phenomenon, but I’ve been really struggling to find my words.

When I can’t think of what I want to say in English right off the cuff, I always revert back to Spanish, asking myself ¿Cómo se dice? How do you say?

Over the past 3 years I’ve learned French, Chichewa, and Tumbuka. Since then, my words have started to run together, getting mixed up.

Even though Romance languages often have the same root words, I have to pause and think about what I’m going to say, a lot.

I’m realizing that there are unique expressions in certain languages that really get the heart of certain sayings that I find myself getting stuck on.

So one goal is to learn how to be more concise and descriptive at the same time. Articulate my thoughts better. In the correct language.

Arriving to my house in mid-January is a book I ordered, How To Write It: Work With Words by Anthony Anaxagorou.

I think it will be a great asset to my writing skills.

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I also want to participate in some writing prompts.

Last month, our Life’s Library package contained a little booklet perk which will be a great source of inspiration for me.

Life's Library Prompt Book | Erica Robbin

32 writing prompts in total.

Life's Library Where are you right now_ _ Erica Robbin

Books

I read so many amazing books in 2020!

2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge Banner | Erica Robbin

Here is a snapshot of what I read on Goodreads.

81 in total, which is just above the Goodreads user average of 61 that was pledged, with over 5 million readers participating.

I’m excited that I had the opportunity to read quite a variety of genres and subject matter in 2021. From Butchering Chickens to Harry Potter, which was the longest standing one on my shelf. Half read for over 20 years at that.

Butchering Chickens: A Guide to Humane, Small-Scale Processing by Adam Danforth | Erica Robbin
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling | Erica Robbin

I always set my yearly reading goal to 24 books. 2 books a month feels achievable and allows me to reserve wiggle room for tomes. Plus I’d rather take satisfaction in hitting the challenge earlier than later.

I find that I don’t much care for pressure reading throughout the year probably because I’m a mood reader. I read whenever and whatever I feel like at the moment. I prefer to submerge myself into the experience of reading over the end point of a numerical equation.

What are your current reading goals? Numerically, perhaps content, or genre?

My Shelves

There are so many books I’m looking forward to this year.

For my TBR, I’m going to focus a lot on backlisted books, choosing from both my physical and digital shelves.

The Progress of Love by Alice Munrow | Erica Robbin

I’ll be starting this year with the pick from SunBeamsJess June 2019 Bookclub.

The Progress of Love by Alice Munro.

I’m super behind on the book club. But that’s ok. It’s one I’ve been looking forward to reading since last year and I just started it.

Here are my book notes so far:

I love the writing in this one. It just flows, hitting the highlights of human emotion.

Straightaway, so immersive, whether happenstance or bigger life preponderances.

It takes a unifying theme into different directions, different perspectives, making for lovely short stories of sorted relationships.

Hits the ground running and maintains sustenance with every sentence and paragraph. Nothing is without place and purpose.

It carries on with strong direction, not needing any explanations or reckoning but the stories exist on their own, without moral judgement leaves reader to make their own conclusion about what constitutes the progress of love.

Book Clubs

I’m also looking forward to this year’s book club picks. I belong to several. Here is a list, if you’re interested in joining us, I invite you and hope you enjoy reading along together!

Life’s Library Book Club 

SunBeamsJess Book Club

Peter Likes Books 

BookswithEmilyFox

Literally Dead Book Club

The Poisoned Pen SciFi & Fantasy Book-of-the-Month Club

Earth by David Brin | Erica Robbin

What year would be complete without having this one on my shelf?: Earth by David Brin.

As for audiobooks, I’m working my way through M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series and I want to listen to Piranesi by Susanna Clarke next.

ARCs I’m reading at the moment.

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Getting a Little More Crafty

I really enjoy making these adorable cards.

From purse/handbags to adorable dress shapes, teapots and coffee cups, and regular open at the fold-type cards, they’re really fun to make!

This year I want to draw printable PNG templates and vector images for Cricut so they will be available for download. I have to learn how to create vectors, which is another project on its own that I’m looking forward to trying out.

If you enjoy paper crafts or just want to give a simple-to-make, yet fancy card to a special someone, you will have such a fun time making these cute cards. All you need is paper, glue, and scissors, any type of decorative strands of beads, ribbon, or twice, then grab some wine, snacks, a little music, it’s a paper party!

Drape the handle around a bottle of wine for an adorable touch to your gift.

Animal Print Purse Card | Erica Robbin
Animal Print Card Inside | Erica Robbin

Write a simple message inside or score four corners to hold a gift card.

Cards and Purses | Erica Robbin

Baking Inspiration

Here’s a sneak peak of a recipe I’ve been working on.

Dark Chocolate Pudding Oreo Cookies | Erica Robbin

More to come from my kitchen!

Bug Series

Oh Mama | Erica Robbin

I was living in Malawi, Africa over the past year. I hope to post some topic-based posts related to my service endeavors.

I haven’t quite decided how I’ll go about it posting the content, but I’m thinking of starting with a series about some rather interesting bugs I encountered.

It’s only one small aspect of a larger part of my life there, but we’ll see where it takes us.

I can’t believe the size of this bug. A ginormous moth, nesting her future on my bicycle tire. Bigger than my thumb, all head with gigantic whale eyes.

Nesting the Future on My Tire| Erica Robbin
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What are you looking forward to this year?

Do you have any thoughts, dreams, challenges, personal goals, resolutions, planned activities, or opportunities you just can’t wait to get started on or go back to? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about them!

Categories
Featured Photography Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Goodbye 2020!

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Potamic River, D.C. | Erica Robbin

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.”

~Unknown

Like so many of you, I’m definitely not going to miss 2020. Ready for this year to be over.

Stressful, lack of concentration, uncertainty, isolating, frustrating, dispiriting, maddening, and absolutely exhausting.

Do I dare say the word unprecedented?

Like a whirlwind storm and pretty disorientating. The familiarity and security of basic routines and promises, the anticipation of favorite holiday festivities, hobbies, pastimes, traditions, all disrupted. Many times I asked myself, “What day is it? What month are we in? What about that meteor coming? Aliens?”

It feels so good to get texts from other time zones, celebrating and wishing me so much for the New Year!

I took these photos in Washington D.C. An annual legislative trip. The landscape is a picture of the Potomac River. It had been freezing and snowy. A bit disappointing for plans to go around touring the city at the time. But that storm left. Clearing overnight. The early hours of sun warmed up the ground, melting the snow into what actually became a rather beautiful, site-seeing morning.

Storms that pass remind me that I have a lot to be thankful for. A greater appreciation for things to come.

Hopeful.

In spite of the circumstances, though my upcoming winter trip to D.C., like all other events and leisureliness, will be postponed, digital in avenue, a pause in the path we’re in, abandoned plans replaced by newer ones.

I’m excited for brighter days.

Much to look forward to.

Here’s to brighter, happier adventures. A different outlook on life.

A grateful one.

Happy New Year, 2021!

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Featured Inspiration Photography Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Welcome Autumn! What to Look Forward to This Season

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Chicago in the Fall

Hello Fall!

The weather is turning, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte came out yesterday, decorations on my shelves, and I’m in the mood to bake. We’re coming upon my favorite season.

Technically the first day of Autumn doesn’t start until Tuesday, September 22, but I like to start celebrating the day the pumpkin spice latte comes out. I tried the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew yesterday and it was so good!

I feel so blessed to have been able to experience 3 seasons of autumn this past year between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

As we embark again on the beautiful season, here’s some incredible things to anticipate in the next few months.

Change in Landscape

I love the autumn landscape.

Desert grasses and tree foliage of sage brush, mesquites, palo verdes, or broad leaf deciduous maple, oaks, and aspen. Deeper greens, yellows, reds, and oranges.

I embraced the contrast of this shot where warm meets cool.

Arizona Desert
Cornfields of Nebraska
Autumn Leaves in Arizona
Mushrooms of North Carolina
Mushrooms of Malawi, Africa

Creatures Calling a New Home

Pollinators such as bees start to huddle in their hives, while butterflies migrate south.

Bee of the Midwest
Butterly of the Midwest
Butterfly Dance

Baked Goods

Fall baking is the best. Cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg. Incorporating seasonal fruits as they ripen, varieties like peaches followed apples, cranberry, and orange.

A Crumb Topped Muffin I Made (recipe coming soon)
Delicious Breads of Jordan

Scents of Autumn

Though the following scent of has notes of a bright and tangy summer, the sweet and sour of the classic drink, I’m still using it for the tail of summer as we transition into colder temperatures and for those days when gloomy weather becomes too much.

Philosophy’s Señorita Margarita Shampoo, Shower Gel, and Bubble Bath

Opening my candle drawer and seeing all the goodies to choose from brings me so much joy.

The glow through the glass, the scent of sugar cookies, juniper, berries, apples, and sandalwood.

Perfumes go from light, crisp, floral scents to deep notes of amber that still have a mild citrusy characteristic.

One of my favorites below (from a lifetime collection of samples) has key notes of Italian bergamot, orange flower, lavender.

Collection of Perfume Samples

Other Edible Treats

Layering plain yogurt, honey, seasonal fruits, topped with crunchy oats and shredded coconut makes for a delicious breakfast or a quick snack. I used grapefruit and huckleberries most recently.

It’s pineapple season on the islands and if you don’t have access to a fresh one, right now Maui Gold Pineapple is shipping throughout the U.S. (except Alaska).

2-day delivery straight from the gorgeous pineapple plantation.

Huckleberry and Grapefruit Yogurt Parfait
Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation

Sounds of Autumn

Imagine relaxing, ASMR, sounds of rain as you sip coffee in a coffee shop, nature sounds, and rustling leaves.

Check out the YouTube Channel Autumn Cozy for a serene, happy, and rich experience while watching an animated fall scene.

Upcoming Book Releases

There are so many exciting publications coming out.

I like to read mysteries, thrillers, and a bit of horror during this time of year.

One I’m really looking forward to is called The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen. Such a beautiful cover!

The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen

Movie Releases

I can’t wait to see Bill & Ted Face the Music. It’s available on demand and showing in theatres this Friday, August 28.

Bill & Ted Face the Music (promo website photo)

What are you looking forward to this season?

I hope you enjoyed my photos along with the visual of amazing things that appeal to all the senses.

Let me know about your favorites and if you participate in the Jibber Jabber with Sue word prompt challenge “picture” by tagging me or linking your posts in the comments below!

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Categories
Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Switching to the New WP Block Editor: Late Adaptor to Gutenberg 2.0

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Welcome to Gutenberg

I’m not sure what the official name of the newest version of Gutenberg is or how WP ambassadors are distinguishing the two “block” editors. All I know is that I was one of those very reluctant, old school WP users who was using Classic up until today.

The initial version of the block editor had many glitches, it was bulky and cumbersome to use. It didn’t feel ready for prime time to me and it was time consuming for me, so I had a delay in switching over.

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And I Really Liked Classic

I actually liked typing my posts out in one large paragraph with bits of code in it. It was fast, easy, no-fuss.

I didn’t mind having to switch between the two interfaces, the main and the admin dashboards.

I could accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. There were limitations of course and I didn’t really know the full extent of what the new editor could offer.

I didn’t know what the advantages of the new block editor were. It seemed to be a round-about way of doing something I was already used to doing and I could do it with less clicks, in less amount of time.

My First Post

On January 28, 2918, my first post, Road Trip to Beautiful Taos, New Mexico, was the first post I ever created. It took me a little while to get it down, to learn a bit of code, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, using Classic all the way long.

So far I have published 286 posts.

I hadn’t given the new editor a second thought though for a while.

A New Era in Website Building

However after an opportunity to participate in a bit of beta testing with the newest block editor recently, it appeared that most of my troubles with the first version had been fixed. So I decided to give it another try and have since switched over.

I have also changed themes, cleaned up a few posts.

It’s actually not half as bad as what I thought it would be now that the main bugs have been worked out. The discovery of some pretty neat features and shortcuts have also been a treasure.

It’s a learning curve for sure and has created a totally different workflow for me. A few minor buggy things and quirks still have to be worked out but they’re not a deal breaker for me any longer.

The two interfaces haven’t gone away but the tasks have been solidified in their assigned allottment, with admin view being the dominant, post builder, which is ok, I’m getting used to it.

Navigation is much more intuitive and user friendly this second time around. I’m getting faster at building these blocks.

Still Learning

I have a ways to go before I feel completely comfortable and up to speed compared to my usual process.

After perusing a few posts from the WP Reader where some members mentioned bailing on the platform, I was a little bummed to hear that because I really enjoy our WP community. It is unique to the website building world out there.

I hope you, like me, are able to revisit the latest version of the editor and find a little joy in this.

I just finished a cute book called Beach Read by Emily Henry, so when I saw the option to create a clickable button, Amazon embed, I thought, ok this is pretty awesome.

Overall Thoughts

It took me a couple of hours to convert my site content to the new theme I picked out, Twenty Twenty. About 2 hours to create this post, but it worked!

Take a moment to look around my new style of website, I hope you can appreciate the blocks I used for a more simplified, clean, modern look.

I like how my newly accommodating site uses the full width of the screen, expanded covers as seen on my Photography page, and perfect side-by-side posts like I built on my Recipes page.

There are quite a few options you can make and modifications within those options that allow a lot of visual creativity at first glance.

To know and understand code is an amazing skill and the possibility to use it is still there. The CSS modifier is still there. Both the Visual and HTML Code editors remain. I definitely don’t want to forget what I’ve learned.

I’m still testing it all out. Making tweaks here and there. Deciding if I even need to add any CSS.

I think the amazing thing is, is that I actually have no code in my CSS box at the moment. Below are the codes I embedded to better customize my site before I switched over from Classic. I was using the Rosalie theme at the time.

CSS


/*
Welcome to Custom CSS!
 
To learn how this works, see http://wp.me/PEmnE-Bt
*/
.site-content a:link {
                                    color: #53808a;
}
 
.site-content a:visited {
                                    color: #53808a;
}
 
.site-content a:active {
                                    color: #3364FF;
}
 
.site-content a:hover {
                                    color: #6D6A59;
}
/*Change color of certain text inside recipes #10600201-hc*/
 
div.jetpack-recipe-notes {
                                    color: black;
}
 
div.hrecipe.jetpack-recipe > h3 {
                                    color: black;
}
 
div.hrecipe.jetpack-recipe > ul {
                                    color: black;
}
 
/* hide header image everywhere except home page | 11968709-hc */
.page-id-4938 .image-header-flexible.container img {
                                    display: inherit !important
}
 
/* Hide the site logo / #12026071-HC JB */
 
.site-logo {
                                    display: none;
}
 
.image-header-flexible.container img {
                                    display: none;
}
/* Adjust the color of the diamond element throughout the main content font */
p {
  color: black;
}
 
.site-title a {
color: black !important;
border: none;
font-size: 25px !important;
font-family: Montserrat !important;
}
 
.site-description {
color: black !important;
border: none;
font-weight: lighter !important;
font-size: 25px !important;
font-family: Montserrat !important;
}
 
/* Adjust the color of the diamond element throughout the Rosalie theme | 10453438-hc */
.site-description:before, .entry-title:before {
  background-color: #53808a;
}
.site-description:after, .entry-title:after {
  border: 1px solid #53808a;
}
 
/*Hide all meta except date*/
.entry-meta .reading-time {
                                    display: none;
}
 
.single-post .entry-meta {
                                    display: none;
}
 
/* Change Slider Max Height to 500px */
.flexslider .slides>li {
                                    max-height: 500px;
}
 
.flexslider .slides > li .hentry.has-post-thumbnail h1 {
color: white !important;
font-size: 20px;
font-family: Arimo!important;
}
 
.flexslider .slides .entry-meta span.posted-on time {
color: white !important;
font-family: Arimo
!important;
font-size: 18px !important;
}
/* Reduce additional margin/padding space at the top of website — 20049005-hc */
.site {
                                    padding-top: unset !important;
}
.image-header {
                                    margin-top: unset;
}
/* remove gray background of menu | SKO #10440350-hc */
 
.navbar {
  background: #EDE7E3;
}
 
/* widget background white | SKO  #10440350-hc */
 
wf-active .widget-title {
    font-weight: 400;
    font-style: Arimo;
    background: black;
}
 
/*— removes opacity from the related posts / #10440350-HC-PK —*/
#jp-relatedposts .jp-relatedposts-items-visual .jp-relatedposts-post {
    filter: alpha(opacity=100);
    -moz-opacity: 1;
    opacity: 1;
}
 
.site-header {
                                    background-color: #cc0000;
}
 
.widget-title::after {
                                    border-color: #53808a transparent;
}
 
.widget-title {
                                    background-color: #53808a;
}
 
/* Adjust the font and box colors of the read more box */
.entry-summary a.more-link {
background: black !important;
color: white !important;
}
 
/* Adjust the color of the arrow element on the read more box */
.entry-summary a.more-link:after {
color: white !important;
font-size: 35px !important;
}
 
/* Adjust the font of the front page post’s dates */
span.posted-on time {
color: black !important;
font-size: 16px !important;
font-family: Arimo;
}
 
/* Change color of the font of the footer */
.site-footer a {
  color: #688D93;
}
 
footer#colophon {
background: black;
}
.site-info {
background-color: black;
}
 
/*Center Bottom Footer Links*/
/* Center text on 3rd footer widget area | 10542998-hc EH */
#footerthird {
    text-align: center;
}
/* Remove period from date of posting and centering date*/
.entry-meta span.posted-on {
    margin: 0 !important;
    position: relative;
    display: inline-block;
}
    .image-header-flexible {
        padding-left: 0;
        padding-right: 0;
        width: 100%;
}
.image-header-flexible {
    padding-left: 0;
    padding-right: 0;
    width: 100%;
}
 
.image-header-flexible.container img {
    min-width: 100%;
}
.entry-meta span.posted-on {
    margin: 0 !important;
    position: relative;
    display: inline-block;
}
.jetpack-social-navigation-genericons a[href*=”goodreads.”]:before {
    content: “\g”;
}
.jetpack-social-navigation-genericons a[href*=”redbubble.”]:before {
    content: “\RB”;
}
/* — enhanced widget title / 13537906-HC (MI) — */
 
.enhanced-text-widget h2.widget-title a {
                                    color:#000;
}

Let Me Know About Your Thoughts

Have you made the switch yet?

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Featured Inspiration Photography Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Summer is that You? 9 Things I’m Looking Forward To

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It’s so hard to believe it’s almost June!

Yet it also feels like it took forever to get here at the same time. Things are opening back up again and it’s such a good feeling. It really felt like summer out today.

1. Yard sales

I don’t really shop a whole lot, nor do I need anything. However yard sales mark the beginning of summer and I visited a really good estate sale this morning and boy was it packed! It was nice to look around, nice to get out. I ended up buying 2 concho belts and some silver turquoise rings.

I came across these antique dishes, aren’t they gorgeous?

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2. Caterpillars in the garden

Posing for my camera, what a cutie!

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3. Flowers

My mother always has the most beautiful roses growing in her yard.

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4. Summer lipsticks

Underneath my mask, you’ll find me wearing Lisa Eldridge’s Summer Pinks Collection. You can read more about these lipsticks on my post here.

Such a soft, fun, summery color range. Pictured below is Go Lightly Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour, one of my most favorite go-to colors for the season, it really brightens my day.

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pinks Collection © 2019 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

5. Ice cream

My favorite summer treat! The recipe to my Rose Petal Syrup can be found here.

Rose Petal Syrup | Erica Robbin

And it’s awesome to know that there are parts of the world that still celebrate summer with ice cream trucks going through the neighborhood.

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6. The ocean

Oh my goodness, my summer will not be complete without it.

What places are you wanting to visit this summer?

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7. Summer scents

My favorite summer scent. Bobbi Brown Beach Body Oil. It’s glorious. Totally sold out, I don’t think they are making it anymore, so I’ll be savoring my last little bit. #bringbackbobbibrownbeachbodyoil

What’s your favorite summer scent?'beach' Body Oil by Bobbi Brown © 2019 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

8. Summer reads

I just received this one in the mail and I’m so looking forward to reading it.

The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain.

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The Secret Seaside Escape  is the perfect read this summer, promising sandy beaches, stunning rockpools and breath-taking romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Sarah Morgan.

***THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR***

Escape to the seaside with the brand new novel from Heidi Swain, the Sunday Times bestselling author of feel-good women’s fiction!

Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all.

With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her . . .

Check it out on: Goodreads, Amazon, Libro.com audiobook

9. Ice cream

I think this one is worth mentioning again.

Cotton Candy Dipped Cone from Dairy Queen! Oh my, sounds so yummy! Not my photo on this one, but hopefully you’ll see one in my hand soon with an update as to how it tastes. I usually get the butterscotch one. I’m so curious. Have you tried it yet?

Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 11.25.51 AM

I hope you enjoyed this post, all the things I’m looking forward to this summer, in response to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, with the theme being “delicate colors.”

Let me know what you are most looking forward to and if you participated in this challenge in the comments below!

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Categories
Featured Gardening Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Creating a Happy, Peaceful Garden Sanctuary

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Gardening. It’s so calming, therapeutic, satisfying, rewarding.

A garden is a wonderful place to relax and get energies out, it’s a tangible spot of the expression of you, a creative outlet in itself, a place of solitude as well as a place to share.

DSC06509

And it’s actually a lot easier to get started and be successful at maintaining than you might think it is. It’s one of those activities and hobbies that you just have to get up and do. Let go of the fear of defeat, intimidation, too much work, too much time, or any negative thoughts of “But I can’t keep a houseplant alive to save my life” or “Everything I touch dies.”

Once you see a little bud form or trim a little herb for your latest recipe, watch regrowth, appreciate your garden becoming a comfortable haven for yourself and for pollinators like butterflies and bees, you’ll find yourself becoming even more compelled to keep on gardening.

3F64D266-BA6F-403A-B8CC-12E507E0CB7E

Falling in love with gardening.

Oh my goodness do I love it! I would have never thought I’d ever be that person, but here I am, obsessed with gardening. I love talking shop with other gardeners. I love getting my hands in the soil, watering to a plant’s heart of content, gathering the harvests, taking photos of insects, and just being outside, taking in the fresh air and observing the surrounding beauty.

My first year gardening, I thought, ok, where do I begin to make it a productive place of comfort?

I had images of garden landscapes from Pinterest on my mind. I wanted to grow oodles of French and English lavender and bright blue hydrangeas. I wanted to eat an abundance of organically grown crisp cucumbers and tasty cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine. I wanted to be friends with all the critters like Snow White and wander freely among the foliage, not burdened with any gardening chore.

Well, dreams do come true.

My first garden, a real success!

IMG_9951
DSC04384

Of course gardening does take some work, mostly work directed toward establishing your gardening skills in the first year. The internal and external rewards are so worth it though. Even during times of the most demanding physical labor, it becomes a time of reducing tension and anxiety, in fact, it’s often energizing.

Here are 8 tips to creating the ambience of a hopeful, tranquil, joyous garden.

1. First, get a head start on making homemade compost.

Making your own homemade compost allows you to be resourceful, less wasteful as you save on the amount of rubbish you throw out, becoming more environmentally conscience, and save money.

If you’re even thinking of having a garden this year, I’d recommend starting your compost today.

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 10.34.12 AM

I like to use a large wood crate, unfinished, untreated, 18 in. x 12.5 in. x 9.5 in. which can be found at your local hardware store like Home Depot or Walmart.

I line it with either a recyclable, compostable bag or fine mesh chicken wire. I have the local hardware store cut an untreated piece of wood to fit over top.

It is perfect for composting small amounts of raw kitchen scraps such as tops, skins, cores, along with paper scraps, leaves, and coffee grounds. I add Red Wiggler worms. And it will not emit obnoxious odors if you balance out the nitrogen and carbon ratio and stir it once a day.

I prefer keep a little trowel inside for convenient stirring and a plant on top to disguise it.

You’ll have greater control over what goes into your soil. Sometimes the incidentals that grow amongst your plantables can be just as gratifying as an intentional plant.

IMG_4877

Here (above) a mango grew from one of the seeds I had in some of the compost I buried.

2. Then simply start with choosing what you want to plant.

Choose what you want to grow before deciding on a design, all the rest will fall into place.

Take your time strolling around your local hardware, nursery, or grocery store. Take in the landscape of your home and surrounding neighborhood. Thumb through magazines, social media, and online forums to garner some ideas.

Don’t be discouraged by the type or size of space, small or large, structural obstacles, HOA ordinances, the amount of sun, climate, weather, or hearing/reading about gardening woes related to the plants you prefer.

Ask yourself, “What do I want to grow?”

Flowers, herbs, vegetables, trees, a combination? Is there a top choice or a must have in your garden?

Fresh or sweet aromas? Are there certain colors or color schemes you are drawn to? Native plants or ones that are more out of the ordinary?

Are there certain herbs and vegetables in your most commonly made dishes or ones you wish you could grow fresh, offering you less trips to the grocery store? Is there something in particular that you can’t regularly find at your local grocer? Perhaps your interest is piqued in this year of COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, job loss, or food security.

IMG_4965

My top must have as far as herbs are concerned is basil. This type (above) is lime basil which adds a unique, zippy flavor to homemade pestos.

You may find out specifics to the plants you choose as you start your gardening journey. One option is picking a few plants that may be more tried and true to your area and a few that would be considered more risky. The results of risky may surprise you.

The initial success of plant growth will be your cheerleader. As you become a more established gardener, you’ll learn how to creatively arrange, manage, and care for plants that some might deem as either difficult or easy.

IMG_3183

You’ll also find yourself having a lot more flexibility within the confines of your space as you try out different plants and alternative methods of growing.

Whether a private plot of land, a deck, or community garden, today’s accessibility to soil methodology, planters, structures, and furniture can allow you to easily fulfill your vision in creating your ideal garden.

IMG_5935
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3. Garden design.

One of the most exciting aspects of gardening is putting your garden together.

Once you pick out the seeds and starters you want, there are many factors you may want to consider. Go around positioning seed packets and seedlings on the ground where you desire to plant them before digging in the dirt.

This way of planning helps to better visualize which plants you want where. Some plants make better companions than others, some need lots of space, some have more height to them, some need more hours of direct sun. You can then organize them according to pH, likeness, size, proportion, shape, convenience, color, season, succession, and overall planting and space fulfilling goals.

I love Secret Garden style havens, with lush green, full foliage, layered and staggered high and and low to provide privacy with pops of color and varietals. Serene, English cottage pathways and Spanish courtyard-esque manicured plots.

IMG_8257

I like an almost crowded look. For certain plants I like layouts of rows, others, quite staggered, always an abundance of things that bring me joy. I’m less of a fan of boxy, bare, coffin-shaped garden beds.

4. Making it easy on yourself.

Gardening should be leisurely and delightful, not drudgery.

Having tools and a watering can readily available will help you make spur of the moment decisions in weeding, sprinkling, pruning, and harvesting. This will decrease any procrastination and apprehension that may creep up during gardening season.

This is especially important if you have just planted seeds or baby plants. You’ll want to identify newly sprouted plants against weeds and newbies require gentle, more frequent watering.

5. Decorating to your heart’s content.

Your garden space is a reflection of you and the things that you like.

Wood barrel planters are a nice touch. Classic terra cotta pots can be left bare or painted with safe paints, adding interest and contrast to whatever you decide to plant in them. Ornamentals, an entertaining accessory.

Start with a few things to your personal style and taste. Believe me, the more that people know about you and your love for gardening, the more you’ll be gifted fun, whimsical garden decor.

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6. Turning you garden into a place of retreat. 

A garden is a wonderful place for you to relax, read, and snack.

Add a bench, a swing, or simply a chair. Some place to sit, rest, and take in your surroundings and rest in between labor. Think about the position of the sun and the time of day you’ll most likely spend the most time there.

Do you like to get up early or stay up late? When do you prefer to weed and water? You might want to choose a place under some shade or go for the best overall view. Rearrange as often as you please.

Surround yourself with items that make you happy. Chimes, figurines, bird baths. Build it up to a place you’ll see yourself spending time in.

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Making your own side table.

And you can easily make a little side table of your own, whether you want to use it for setting down your morning coffee or gardening tools as you work, or for adding heigth to planters.

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Just flip over ceramic pot and top it off with a decorative paver, voila! A cute and inexpensive, decorative table!

7. Finding your refuge of inspiration.

Adding little bits of your personality to your garden may happen all at once or over a period of time.

If you want to learn more about creating a personal refuge or are looking for garden inspiration, check out these magazines.

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Mary Jane’s Farm

Origin

Mother Earth News

Here are some excellent books on gardening.

Gardening 1000
Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small Spaces

Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small Spaces by Tara Nolan

garden 500
Garden Alchemy: 80 Recipes and concoctions for organic fertilizers, plant elixirs, potting mixes, pest deterrents, and more

Garden Alchemy: 80 Recipes and concoctions for organic fertilizers, plant elixirs, potting mixes, pest deterrents, and more by Stephanie Rose

Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build to Enhance Your Yard or Neighborhood by Philip Schmidt
Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build to Enhance Your Yard or Neighborhood

Little Free Libraries and Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build to Enhance Your Yard or Neighborhood by Philip Schmidt

Creating a sanctuary for animals.

Birds are such a joy. Some are quite chatty, some leave a mess so choose your bird house placement wisely. It either case, it’s always so entertaining to watch them nest, feed their little babies, and hear them singing songs first thing in the morning.

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Don’t forget, even insects serve a purpose and need a home.

8. Gardening resources.

Phone apps.

Identify and learn flowers and bugs using phone apps. Take a photo right on the spot or import an existing photo to the app and within seconds you’ll get the name of the species and some background information.

Picture This (left) allows you to identify flowers and trees you may see in passing and even help you sort out displaced seeds or scout out weeds in order to differentiate them from your early growth of treasures. With Picture Insect (right), you can identify pests and beautiful, interesting species of bugs.

These apps been pretty accurate in my experience so far, in fact, I am forever grateful for them. From this tree I saw at the market (left) where everything is toxic but the fruits to this Orb weaver (right), walking tight rope, web strung across the cucumber trellis in my backyard.

YouTube Channels I subscribe to.

Babylonstoren Farm

Betsy Begonia

Gardening Forever

Garden Style nw

Jeff Bernhard

Learn To Grow

李子柒 Liziqi

MIgardener

Midwest Gardener

OYR Frugal & Sustainable Organic Gardening

PLANTERINA

RHS – Royal Horticultural Society

Rob Bob’s Aquaponics & Backyard Farm

I hope you enjoyed these 8 tips on creating a happy, peaceful garden sanctuary.

Garden Santuary

Let me know how your garden fares!

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Categories
Featured Gardening Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Starting a Vegetable Garden

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Have you been wanting to start a garden and don’t know where to begin?

Well you’ve come to the right place and it’s not too late!

Yes we are in the middle of summer, but you can actually start planning for a garden next year or even start one for this year for what is called a fall garden, meaning you can plant now and the vegetables will be ready to harvest in the fall.

All you need is a seed, soil, water, and sun.

Gardening © 2019 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Also be sure to check out my new video: Summer Vegetable Garden Tour.

Seeds and Starters

You can start your garden using seeds straight from a seed packet, dried from a vegetable plant, or as a little seedling or baby plant.

Plant “starters” are infant plants. Some plants do really well when planted from a seed straight into the ground. Others may do better when the seed is planted into soil and given a chance to begin growing indoors before planting into the ground. Starters allow a little more TLC to be given and protection from the elements when they are just beginning to sprout. They then can be transplanted into the ground when they are hardy enough to tolerate being outdoors.

Plant what you want, not what’s in stock

By planting something you enjoy eating, it will be more rewarding than picking whatever is just available at your local big box store or nursery.

I like to grow basic, essential herbs and vegetables as well as ones that are a bit exotic, challenging, and adventurous for the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones that my gardens are growing in. I choose herbs and vegetables I tend to use a lot in recipes, ones I run to the store more often for, or ones that go bad easily because when you grow them in the garden you can pick fresh as you go and not be wasteful.

Note the characteristics of each plant

Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and beets have edible leaves. Some plants are a harvest one and done, others continue to produce all summer long, some produce early, some produce late. These characteristics may be something to consider when choosing your plants.

Plants that grow fast will be more rewarding

Growing a few herbs and vegetables that yield an early harvest will be encouraging and rewarding. It also may allow you to plant an additional something in its place if the first plant’s growing season is done, it may allow your remaining plants to use up some of that now freed up space, or you can use that space for in-ground composting.

Add pollinator attracting flowers and plants

Bees and butterflies help to pollinate your plants, meaning that they transfer pollen from the males flowers to the female flowers that produce the fruit. Flowers can also help to ward off predators and pests, and they also add beauty and charm. I like lavender, mums, morning glory, snapdragons, echinacea, and sunflowers.

And of course, roses are always a good choice.

Gardening © 2019 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Labels

Don’t forget to label your plants! This is especially important if you are a first time gardener and do not know what the foliage of each plant should look like early on and as it matures. Weeds and other edible plant-life may come up and it c