Easter

Easter
Lily in Autumn

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris
This is a story of Jack the Ripper with at Twist!

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name
This is the first of a trilogy retelling the true story of the infamous countess as a youn adult novel. History is not always what it seems.

Wild Horse Runs Free

Wild Horse Runs Free
A Historical Novel by Ellen Tsagaris

With Love From Tin Lizzie

With Love From Tin Lizzie
Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls and Automatons

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The Legend of Tugfest

The Legend of Tugfest
Dr. E is the Editor and A Contributor; proceeds to aid the Buffalo Bill Museum

Emma

Emma

Like My Spider

Like My Spider
It's Halloween!

Moth

Moth
Our Friend

Little Girl with Doll

Little Girl with Doll
16th C. Doll

A Jury of her Peeps

A Jury of her Peeps
"Peep Show" shadow box

Crowded Conditions

Crowded Conditions

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Opie Cat's Ancestors

Opie Cat's Ancestors
Current Cat still Sleeps on Victorian Doll Bed with Dolls!

First Thanksgiving Dinner

First Thanksgiving Dinner
Included goose and swan on the menu!

Autumn Still Life

Autumn Still Life
public domain

Boadicea

Boadicea
The Original Bodacious Woman

Angel Monument

Angel Monument

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Kiowa Doll

Kiowa Doll

Sketch of children playing

Sketch of children playing
Courtesy, British Museum

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Small Dolls, Clay and Cloth

Small Dolls, Clay and Cloth

A Goddess

A Goddess

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Maya Angelou,

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Maya Angelou,: We salute another excellent woman, Maya Angelou, and mourn her passing. I studied many a work by her, and consider her a compatriot, Eonia ...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sister Waters, A Poem

Read for Annual River fest, and I note, the Bible verses in church yesterday were all about analogies to water, with allusions towards conservation, more later. Sister Waters Sister waters, Running deep, running angry, Running still, but Running empty never. Muse’s names long and short, Wapsipinicon, Rock, Green, Mississippi, Illinois, Sylvan slough, Home of fey, Muddy waters, Black water, Sisters who race to us, And in their haste to embrace us, Flood our shores like the Nile. Wonder you have time for us at all, You trek to the sea, to Mother Ocean, You love us all only in passing, We, your sisters, take our Life from you; Without you we are gone, Dried, dead cat tails in A Cold, cold Autumn. You give us life, and leisure, You give us passage connect us, Your mortal siblings, You travel far, you are passionate, And there are days when your rapids and currents Fight over us, and claim some of us, Wider than some seas, no mere lakes for Weekend boaters, You ferry us, protects us, sustain us Travel us, Till the end of the voyage, Till all your tributaries lead not to The sea, But to another river, Styx.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wild Life and Wild Turkeys! Baby Rabbit Bunny Hop

Tuesday, there was a wild turkey in my parents' back yard, just sauntering along the ravine, actually quite cute. Yesterday, something tiny flashed in front of my car towards the curb. I slowed down, and had a stare down with a very tiny baby rabbit, only about 5 inches long, as tiny as you could be and still hop. Also at my parents, a gray rabbit and a black rabbit and a black squirrel engage in public squabbling, over what, no one knows. Winter has ous somewhat in its icy grip again,and it seems our Snow Queen does not want to melt. It may be 30-something tomorrow night, with other parts of the country getting 5 inches and mroe of snow. Endless winter . . . .

Sunday, May 11, 2014

How To Grow Avocados; Logees

Please see below; these are very good for anyone with gall bladder or peptic ulcer issues, and they are a fruit high in all sorts of nutrients. How to Grow Avocados in your Garden or Container By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin Avocado 'Day' Avocados are considered one of the healthiest and tastiest fruits on the planet. Its rich, creamy inside is filled with nutrition and flavor and growing your own avocados is a fun adventure for the gardener. Avocado (Persea americana) is a native fruiting tree of Mexico and Central America. Avocado fruit varies in weight from 4 ounces to more than 5 pounds depending on variety. In The Garden When left on their own, avocados can grow upwards of 20' tall. Judicious pruning can restrict the height significantly and this is often done in commercial plantings for ease of harvest and spraying. In a Container As a container plant, the height of the avocado tree is restricted by the size of the container as well as pruning. The cycle of growth begins in winter to early spring with the expanding and opening of flower buds. In greenhouse culture in the north, this starts before the end of December and continues until late winter or early spring depending on the variety. Flowering Time Avocado Flower Flowering time is related to growing temperatures and day length. Grafted varieties flower quickly, usually the first year. These young plants, however, aren't mature enough to fruit and the flowers will fall off. This happens until the plant is large enough to bear fruit. Fruiting an Avocado As container plants, trees need to get to 6-8' tall with a trunk caliber of 1.5"- 2" before they will set fruit. This requires a large, 24" pot (15 to 25 gallon). It takes a few years for young grafted plants to reach this size. Putting on Growth Once the flowering cycle is finished, plants return to vegetative growth over the spring and summer months. Healthy plants, even in pots, can put on 2' or more on the strong upright branches. During the mid to late summer's growth, the plant will form flower buds, and although they are not visible, they swell as the fall and winter season approaches, and the cycle begins over again. Pruning Pruning right after the flowering cycle is complete will give the least disruption to the flower bud formation. Generally, plants are headed back at this time making strategic cuts that lessen the height and width but trying not to disturb the shorter lateral braches where much of the flowers and the fruit will form. What type of Container is Best Terracotta containers are porous and allow the roots to have better aeration. This causes the soil to dry quicker thus reducing potential pathogens. Plastic pots can be used as long as a highly drained potting media is used. You can increase soil drainage by adding more perlite or sand to the mix. How to Fertilize Liquid Fertilizer In containers, avocados are moderate feeders. It is best to use a balanced fertilizer with a slightly elevated middle number (phosphate) like 7-9-5. Feeding can be done through irrigation. When you water, add small amounts of liquid fertilizer once a week or every two weeks. Remember the more often you fertilize container grown avocado plants, you need to reduce the amount of fertilizer that's added to the water. For example, if you fertilize every week, add 1/4 tsp per gallon or if you fertilize every two weeks, add 1/2 tsp per gallon. Top Dress Fertilizer Another option is to use a slow release fertilizer that is sprinkled or top dressed on the surface of the soil. These typically last for 3-6 months and release fertilizer slowly into the pot. When using slow release fertilizer, don't top dress too late in the season so the fertilizer will taper off and the plant will have time to harden off before the onset of cold weather. Granular Organic Fertilizer You can also use a granular organic fertilizer which, like the slow release, is sprinkled on the soil surface and allowed to leach into the potting mix. Organic fertilizers generally have a slow release component to them and so only a couple applications are needed per season. Fertilizer Caution Like any plant, avocado plants can be over fertilized. This results in excessive lush leaf growth, burned foliage, and reduces fruiting potential, as well as aggravating the root disease issue. If you have used too much fertilizer, it is important to leach the fertilizer out of the soil by watering the plant continuously until you see water flowing out the bottom of the pot. Do this for several minutes. Sensitive Root System One of the problems with container grown avocado plants is root rot. As is the case with most root disease, the cold damp conditions of winter often initiate the problem. Be sure to keep the plant's root system warm during cooler temperatures. Once soil disease organisms affect the root system, it is very hard to return the plant to health. Manage Soil Moisture in Winter When growing plants that are going to winter over in a northern greenhouse, conservatory or sunroom, where the night temperatures are below 60˙F, it's important to manage the soil moisture accurately. Bring the potting media to almost dryness, and then thoroughly soak the soil. A little wilt is better than constant soil moisture. The organisms that cause the root collapse thrive in damp cool soil and don't proliferate under dry conditions. Pests for Potted Avocados In northern climate culture, few insects bother the plants with the exception of mealy bugs and they are generally not much of an issue. Insects to Look for if Avocados are Grown in the Garden In areas where avocados are grown outside year-round, there are different pests that do affect the plants; some of which are mites, thrip and fungi. If you live in an avocado growing area, it is best to check with your local agricultural extension agent for pest problems and recommended controls in your area. To see our 'Day' Avocado and other tropical fruiting plants for the home garden, click here.

Cultivating Doll Gardens and Housing Fairies

During the late 60s and through the 70s, there was a series of postcards that featured antique dolls photographed next to prize winning flowers and plants. Lovely china heads posed next to award winning tomato plants, and delicate Parians were juxtaposed with delicate rose bushes. There was also a book published. The dolls and the plants were art of one woman's collection. The postcards had lots of fans. They show up even today occasionally in the column Mr. Barry Mueller writes in his family magazine "Doll Castle News" where he writes a column featuring postcards and dolls. Maybe this is why I have always loved flowers, and dolls made from them and other natural plants, fibers, and seeds. You can literally "grow your own dolls" if you go this route. I still have my first hollyhock doll, made by my mom for me from a bloom harvested in Battle Mountain, Nevada, many, many ears ago. Mom also managed to embroider tiny French knots on the flower to create a face. Pansies and violas, even little violets captured my imagination. They looked like little faces, and snap dragons with their mouths that moved like a ventriloquist dummy's intrigued me. I liked making pictures and flower people using them by ironing them between sheets of wax paper. Hint: if you have allergies, never use goldenrod in these experiments. The heat from the iron accentuates the scents of the goldenrod, and you have instant allergies. I loved the name Queen Anne's Lace because, of course, I thought of Queen Anne dolls. Mandrake root often resembles human form, and is mentioned in books on doll histories like "Dolls" by Max von Boehn, and in poems by Metaphysical Poet John Donne ("Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.". When I was little, I also made cornhusk dolls, dolls from broom straws, dolls and animals from milkweed pods, dolls from whittled sticks [Dad's specialty], and I read about dolls made from acorns and walnuts. Miss Hickory, created by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, is about the most famous of these. There was also a story about a small fairy who was looking for a house in which she would live, but she kept getting evicted from old hornets nests, beehives, glass jars, until a little girl who believes in her lets her live in her doll house. Now, we would create a fairy garden or terrarium for her. I always set up a few of these and love Christmas Village figures to populate them. I have a gnome village set up under a fairy door attached to a mighty oak, and many garden figures which I consider my "outdoor" doll family. I make ponds with bits of mirror and trees from interesting twigs. I use lots of small rocks and plants as well, and love various railroad accessories in different scales. Later, I got a "real" fairy house made from a very little, hollowed out gourd. I had also read about gourd dolls in books by Lois Lenski, and even grew my own gourds one year so I could make more dolls. At the California Renaissance Faire one year I bought a Beefeater made from a gourd. I have a scarecrow and maiden with gourd heads, and many small dolls and animals from Peru made of etched gourds. I even have a doll purse made from a gourd. At our annual gourd festival, I saw a wonderful, jointed one of a kind doll made entirely of gourds. You wouldn't have known it to look at her. Pumpkins, of course, are sort of special gourds/squash. They are ephemeral, and don't last, but I do have a couple small, painted and preserved pumpkins that have lasted. They can also be carved or mad from realistic latex and plastic pumpkins sold in craft stores during the fall for just this purpose. Carving pumpkins are also among my favorite things to plant because I get to create Jack O' Lanterns from them, and scarecrows if the mood takes me. These kissing cousins of folk dolls intrigue me. They are often reproduced in clay and papier mache, and there are antique versions, and contemporary versions by D. Blumchen, and Bethany Lowe, two name just two artist workshops that make them. Also related to the harvest are corn dollies, often made in abstract circular shapes associated with fertility goddesses, Midsummer Straw men, often life-sized from Scandinavia, Swedish Tomte or elves, and plaited Swedish goat ornaments. Cornhusk dolls are important in Native American doll history and in early American childhood history. Corncobs also make interesting dolls, and these were made famous by Susan, Laura's corncob doll from "Little House in the Big Woods." I loved making these, and got an A for one I did in art class. Many examples exist, and I saw a wonderful small Christmas Tree at Nieman Marcus one year that was completely decorated with miniature corncob dolls dressed in dyed colors of husk. Cornhusk dolls are also made in Mexico and South America, and dolls of plaited wicker come from Mexico as well. Some Native American Dolls are also made of basket woven fibers and are dyed. Others are made of dried apples. Many artists make dolls from dried apples and pears; my most macabre example lies in her own miniature casket. I recently bought an artist's doll made of seeds, nuts, and fibers on eBay. The doll was made by Marie Gleeson, and came MIB. She was made in the Bermuda. Hawaiian dolls are made of palm fiber, and some from coconuts. Kimport's dolls featured many dolls made of natural plants and seeds in "Doll Talk" over the years. these are still great resources and appear frequently on eBay. Kimport also featured antique dolls that were made in the style of Kate Greenaway, and bonnet heads of unpainted bisque that wore flowers on their molded hair as hats. This year, I planted marigolds, pansies, geraniums, black velvet petunias, primroses, chocolate mint, lemon basil, cinnamon basil and more. I am coaxing wildflowers from seeds, and closely watching my black columbine and hollyhocks, which are perennials. I have tried sunflower seeds, often the inspiration for felt dolls or dolls dressed like models for Anne Geddes. Many dolls have been named for fruits and flowers, from Veggie Tales, to Strawberry Shortcake and friends, Daisy Quant, Shrinking Violet, Victoria Plum, etc. One year, I'll grow my own flax to spin into cloth for doll projects, and consult my favorite encyclopedia article on dolls, the 1956 World Book, Volume D, to make Swedish birch bark dolls and acorn dolls. There are more ideas on my blog, "Dr. E's Greening Tips for the Common Person." May you have happy hardening and doll collecting adventures this summer. As for me, I may start my long awaited project of creating a set of flower paper dolls called "Herb's Daughters."

Happy Mother's Day! "Funny Brownies" NOT and some Green Trivia

Happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere! Lots of good green trivia and healthy living ideas in this month's "Reader's Digest!" Also, here are some recipes I wasn't able to post earlier this week: Vegetable broth with tricolored tortellini 1 pckg. tri colored tortellini from the fresh pasta section, or dried pasta you can cook longer 1 8 oz package mushrooms, fresh. 1/2 onion, chopped, any kind 1 stalk fresh celery, chopped 2 cubes chicken bouillon Salt to taste Boil all ingredients together until the mushrooms are cooked. You could start boiling the vegetables and add the pasta and a good drop of olive oil after a couple of minutes. Serves three, very healthy and flavorful vegetable broth. You can add other vegetables, and meet, if so desired. "Funny Brownies" with fresh Chocolate Mint 1 fresh chocolate mint plant 1 package brownie mix, any kind, make as directed with three eggs to make cake like 1/2 dried cranberries Russell Stover chocolate truffle Easter eggs, chopped, or other chocolate truffle candies chopped Mix brownies, and add all other ingredients, follow directions, bake and cool as directed. I also like to make the brownies from scratch using Dianne Mott Davidson's "Scout's Brownies" recipe from "Dying for Chocolate."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Original Tips 21-24

This week, the Pelicans Fly, and our River is high. Islands dotting the depts of the river are watered over, and the slough area that was dry ground threatens to cover the trees growing in it. It has been an interesting news week, with major First Amendemnt Issues and Eighth Amendment issues regarding the death penalty. We contintue to have a very cold spring after a few unseasonaly warm days. Our hearts go out to those hit by the floods and seemingly endless tornadoes. Our flowers locally are just peeking out. I nearly swooned at the riot of color showing in our local grocery. The geraniums and dark red lilies look especially nice. Read below the next few original tips. Be safe, and heed the strom warnings when they come. 21. Teach about archaeology trough magazines like Archaeology, Civilization, National Geographic, and Smithsonian. Encourage kids to collect a library of these materials, and help them to organize it. They will be constantly reading and gain a respect for earth. 22. Teach children to respect animals and wildlife. If they have a favorite stuffed animal, like an elephant, have them study elephants and thei9r evolution, their role in literature and culture, where they live. The more familiar we are with something like this, and the more we come to love it, the less likely we are to abuse it or ignore it. Do the same with human culture. Encourage children to learn bout people from around the world by having them read folk tales, literature, listening to music, participating in ethnic crafts, collecting ethnic artifacts. Folk Dolls and foreign dolls are a good way to introduce all children to different cultures. Those with their own collections should learn about them and then go on the road, offering to display and lecture on them. 23. Volunteer when you can at community cleanups, book fairs, botanical centers, museums of all types, libraries, Earth Day celebrations. Teach children not to waste, but to share and to trade where possible. See the onsite community areas for barter. 24. When re-gifting and homemade gifts are good. Teach the spirit of gift giving and holidays; commercialism has been an issue since the first Christmas. Read Christmas and holiday stories and lore to see how such greed and commercialism are combated through the last two millennia. Also, you can see how people celebrated in historical times of economic adversity like War, Depression, and famine. You might be surprised at how happy and meaningful some of these celebrations can be.

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Exploring a Favorite Flea Market

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Exploring a Favorite Flea Market: Review: Eagle Estate Brokers [EEB] Flea Market The Bottom Line: EEP opens the last Friday/Saturday of each month, and on special occasions...