Lake Living: Gardening on Lake Tuscaloosa


I like to focus on lake topics, bringing ideas of nature to your mailbox in Druid City Living Newspaper in the Lake Living Column each month. This month, I’m writing about a challenge that applies to many of us: how to have a beautiful garden.

Rule one: Sun is required. I have discovered that the raised garden at our new home is in the shade most of the day. I wish I had realized that last year when…

I planted seeds that yielded tiny, Barbie-sized squash and melons, dangling from nearly brown stems.

Another issue is water. We have irrigation, but last year I watered in the late afternoon because, well, I am not a morning person. Keep disease at bay by watering in morning.

I am not yet a gardener, but I am a newly adopted member of the Ceres Garden Club. This week, I received two Knock Out Rose bushes from Peggy Babbs, after a meeting in her magical rose garden. The month before, Renee Holloman with Holloman Farms shared her expertise on Daylily plants. Later, a sweet neighbor gave me more “divisions” from her yard. This week, Wayne Ford, a former County Extension agent cheered us on with helpful hints.

I have been told that the largest hurdle, besides the rock that lies less than four inches below my “grassy looking stuff,” is the deer. I discovered there are some pretty plants the deer are not fond of, including burgundy blanket flower, verbena, butterfly weed, globe thistle, Jacob Cline bee balm, butterfly bush, purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, thyme and crepe myrtle. If deer concern you, fence in the plants, or use bone tar oil.

While trying to “keep up with the Ceres,” I’ve been reading The Impatient Gardener by Jerry Baker. It has some amazing tricks for those of us who are “horticulturally challenged.” Who knew plants love beer and dishwater? (They help to keep flowers disease-free). I didn’t clarify how much left over beer is too much. Proceed with caution.

All of this new information inspired me. I rushed to Lowe’s, bought two green planters, soil, fertilizer, two rose “topiary style” trees with mixed color, grabbed a multi-mix basket of flowing verbena and petunias and began planting (after a stop to get the important part, beer). After planting two Knock Out Rose bushes, daylilies, and putting seeds in pots that I had started last month after the first Ceres meeting (it’s how I roll), I sat hunkered under a fluffy blanket, serenaded by the waterfalls as they deliver the overflow from recent storms to the lake. Lightening bugs flickered. A red bird swooped into a tree. A bat hovered as I dodged mosquitos. One by one, I noticed more stars. I was overcome with the stillness.

Genesis 1:29-30: “Then God said, ‘Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as good for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground – everything that has life.’”

Nature is for all of us. May we all come to find our little slice of Heaven. For now, I am starting with the slice I can possibly conquer: The deck!

Disclaimer: if you burn up your plants with beer and soap, don’t blame me, I’ll be right there with you. But if it works, tell the neighbors I told you so!

Photo: Allison Adams

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happYmess Entertaining Recipe Appetizer With “What’s in the Fridge”


 

Mix ingredients together with olive oil or coconut oil adding salt, pepper and spices of choice to items such as peppers, onion, mushrooms or whatever you have in the fridge. Shrimp or Steak might be a good choice too!

Mix ingredients together over heat with olive oil or coconut oil adding salt, pepper and spices of choice to items such as peppers, onion, mushrooms or whatever you have in the fridge. Shrimp or Steak might be a good choice too!

All food looks better with a little cheese on top and garnish.

Quick and Easy with little planning. Did I mention that these were toasted hotdog buns cut and flavored with a bit of garlic?

Dr. Oz has lots to say about the great effects of these ingredients for healthy living.

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It’s all about what is in the fridge! Make the most out of all of your ingredients.

Easy entertaining.

Any food looks better with a great view!

Get artsy with the simple things

Bon Appetit!  Hope you enjoyed this little taste of “happYmess cooking” from a creative who loves to have fun in the kitchen!

Hope you will share some of your favorites as well!

Allison Adams

 

Visit my weekly posts at http://www.alabamawomenbloggers.com on Thursdays for all things “SWEET HOME ALABAMA”.

 

 

Lake Living: Art In Nature


I have found, in living on the beach as with living on the lake, that while we can set up tent on the shores of nature, God is in complete control. While residing for three years on West Beach in Gulf Shores, I became in tune with every breeze, display of sunset, and the ease of unwinding into the end of a day. I was aware of each popup storm that blew past, as it tossed umbrellas and spewed sand. We were forced to move inland at least three times because of hurricane threats and tropical storms, towing dogs, cats and kids. For the next 10 years, I lived in the city. I found I lost count of sunsets and even the shape and size of the moon most of the time. 

This past month’s ice event shut that city down, showing us that we can prepare, but we can never be ready for everything that nature has in store. 

I was in my home on the lake the entire week of Snowpocalypse 2014. All became still on Lake Tuscaloosa the day after the snow blew across the South, although I have heard there was a pontoon out that afternoon to take in the white wonderland vistas from the water.

I watched as icicles formed, growing longer each day as the ice refused to melt. Tracks in the snow reminded me that these are not our woods. I actually had time to fill the bird feeder that I glance at on the way out the door to meetings and carpool, thinking maybe I should refill it, despite the squirrels. 

My dogs, who associate the woods with our camp house and freedom, we try to contain. Their excitement is buzzing as much as that of the kids in the neighborhood. Through their eyes we can re-connect with our inner child, embracing the magic of snow. 

On the lake, only a few days before the ice storm, I sat on my deck in shorts, soaking in the warm sunshine and watching a sailboat putter out to the point until it raised its sail, capturing the wind for fuel that would push it across the open water.

Each day, as I putter back to home base, tired and hungry, I am reminded why we live. As an artist, as well as a writer, I look at life as art. 

Colors are beautiful when they are significant,I read in “The Art Spirit” by Robert Henri, beside a warm fire. He died in 1929, but any artist who has studied the notes from his classes realizes his wisdom is timeless. 

Life is beautiful when it is significant. Many of us live life being simply present. Quoting from Henri on a day when I have nothing else to do because I am locked in by Mother Nature, I write as I read, It takes wit, and interest and energy to be happy. The pursuit of happiness is a great activity. One must be open and alive. It is the greatest feat man has to accomplish and the spirits must flow.

Life and spirit, I am convinced while surrounded by it, flow most naturally in nature. 

I look back on the ten years in the city and while I loved that time, I am happy to be back in the throws of nature. While in Birmingham, we took the time to explore every restaurant, outdoor cafe, music festival, and cultural event that we could fit into our weekends. We would drag the kids along, all in the name of exposure to the things in life,to Bible studies, art shows, festivals, garage sales, and plays. We would have date nights to motorcycling spots, RV adventures, beer pubs, wine tastings and fundraisers. We lost sense of what God was doing outside of our self-orchestrated circle of life.

Today, just a few days after the ice has melted and a warm rain plummets on the roof across the rocky yard and into the lake, the waterfalls blast with activity to again remind me of the power of nature. Just beyond the hilltops I catch a glimpse of one ray of sun piercing through a cloud as it illuminates the water for only a second before fading back to shadow. 

Tonight, or perhaps tomorrow, or whenever Mother Nature agrees to move onward, I will make a point to step beyond the porch and find what that moon has been up to. Again, I have lost track. Maybe right now I am missing a rainbow as I write. Art is always being created by nature even when we arent looking.

Heres hoping you have a peaceful run-in with nature. Until we meet again, be sure to gather those photos of you and your love of nature, the lake, or your love for anything for that matter. Because in life, the greatest of all is love, and it is February, the month for no excuses!

Photo: Allison Puccetti Adams

Colors of the Lake acrylic, by Allison Adams. 

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A REAL Person’s Life~ In the Closet


If you are like me, mornings are enough of a challenge without the worry of entering the war zone of the closet. Not only are you fighting with reruns of items, but also with the image of yourself fighting some stranger in your mirror when you pull out that outfit you thought was going to work as it always had. And the less time you have to get ready, the more difficult it seems to be to find something to throw on. And let me back up a second here, to address those who say they “simply threw something on in the morning”. I’m calling the bluff, as a person who routinely loses her closet beneath a stack of shirts that fit awkwardly, had a stain, pants that “used to fit”, and shoes that “looked so cute in the box” but look ridiculous on your foot when put with the outfit you purchased them with. 

Now there are some, lets just call them blessed, who can wake up and slap on a t-shirt and stylish exercise gear (theirs probably without the dog fur mine are coated in), pop their hair in a ponytail, slather a bit of gloss on their lips to highlight that natural blush they were born with and head out the door.  They look refreshed, they look pulled together. I sit on the floor of my closet quite often and wonder where that person went, as I love to think I had that gift once upon a time.

I love my closet, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the space I have now. As I roll towards the age of fifty, I remember all too well the dark caves of space I once climbed into, digging for shoes in an abyss of sharp corners and muddy boots. I remember the bi-fold doors that wouldn’t close, no matter how hard I slammed. I remember one night when the whole closet came crashing down from the weight of all of my clothes on one rod. Some of my clothes have been with me as long as my twenty year old child. I am not a hoarder because I like to call it organized “possession”, something my family just doesn’t understand. I’ve had regular moves to thank for the fact that I am able to recycle all of the styles I have hung onto. And lo and behold, I’ve seen the seven year cycles come to pass, just a few years ago wondering, “Now WHERE is that that big brass circle belt I wore in college! My daughter just bought one!” 

Technology has actually brought that cycle a bit tighter, as universal trends cycle quicker and various ridiculous past trends are easily manufactured into high fashion once again. I have teens. I have been to the vintage shops with them, and often say, “You should just wear mine! I have this!”

I’ve done a heavy clean of my closets only twice in my the past twenty of my 47 years. I still remember the items I miss, a long leather coat with a big hood I wish I still had when in the woods and a red cropped leather jacket with silver brads I wore during our Harley Davidson days, that was NOT a Harley jacket. I recently saw one in In Style and wondered why once again I let my friends strong arm me into “letting go”. So I may not ever wear it again, but dang-it, I would have the option if I felt the urge.

I am not the fashionista of my family, far from it. I still remember the days when my mother was in her thirties and our dad told a friend, “if S….was in style, she would wear it!” I grew up shopping in a number of Tuscaloosa clothing establishments, their owners even telling my daughter who is eight, “I remember when your Mama was your age, I would try to tie those clothes around her. She hated shopping but your grandmother and aunt were quite the clothes horses!”

Electronics were my thing. Give me a t-shirt and some jeans and I was happy. But, as an artist, I still enjoy putting outfits together. Every month I find a day to snuggle up with my fashion magazines. I tear out pictures of looks that I like. I dig in my closet, often finding nuggets to recycle or up cycle as I like to think of it. Photographed are a couple of examples of ways to pull in current colors and styles without going shopping every season. Who knew, buried under a fat stack of scarves I swore I would wear to some equestrian event,(Who knows! This is a horse city!) that I had a pencil thin snake looking belt that is “so” today, as shown in a recent magazine article? I put it with a straight line skirt like the photo and a blousy top, adding an updated ankle bootie (who knew, I fought those for years but they are growing on me) and what was old is new again.

Now, I know, in sharing my secrets, I blow the image that all of us try to keep up, that we all shop every day, work out, play tennis and have nothing else to do with our time. I love being thrifty, and often frequent the second hand shops. What a gold mine to be in a college town where girls my size only wear something once then sell it!  I am not too proud to share that! 

I’ve been told by my mom to “dress my age”. NEVER! I say, appropriate, ok, but not my age! The sun we have to avoid to keep the wrinkles at bay. I have no control over the facets of gravity, but my clothing, I have every choice! And I will go down with as many options as I can muster or drag around.  Every little girl loves to dress up. Why should women be any different?Even if it is just to go the the grocery store! If we can’t still have fun dressing, then tell me, what is the point?

While I am not a professional fashionista, I do have friends who are. 

Here are some tips from some of my favorites:

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Photo:  Army Jacket

A recent article showed the new recycling of the “army jacket” (flashbacks anyone?)

Here I have taken mine from the 90’s, with photo of the article and up cycled with similar items I own.

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Yes, it is REDBOOK, but hey, I’m kinda liking the casual vibe, especially when temps are 

ranging from 30 in the morning to 72 in the afternoons.

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Get creative with color and magazine photos.Image

This years florals are the favorite. Feminine and fun.Image

Proof I am NOT a hoarder…but dang I wish I had those wedges back.Image

My closet BEFORE….color coding surely helps make the mornings easier. Image

 

May 2013 Special Days to Celebrate


May 2013 Special Days to Celebrate Calendar.

If you are like me, you are counting the days until Summer!

Hopefully time will appear to slow down and you will find yourself somewhere beside some water or with your toes in the sand.

Well, while the kids are peering at you from between the water toys and the magazines, pull this calendar out (there is one for every month) thanks to Family Crafts and tell them to let their creativity soar.

And on May 10! There is something for YOU to cheer about! National Clean up Your Room Day!

I will be sure to put balloons on the mailbox for that one!

Every day can begin with some kind of celebration! It does’t have to be “just another day”.

The link above will lead you to peruse the pages of the site where this was created  and you and the fam can CELEBRATE everyday in happYmess!