Icebox Watermelon – Heirloom Sugar baby melons

When we put in the vegetable garden this year, we also made an east facing bed for a flower garden. This garden is about 16 feet wide by 9 feet deep.

It was too late in the season to start the flowers from seed, so I planted a pot of heirloom sugar baby watermelon vines from Bonnie Plants.  They carry this brand at our local home improvement store and I have had good luck with their peppers and tomatoes.    The peat pot container had four seedlings in it.  I planted this in the center of the garden and then added zinnias and portulacas along the perimeter.

Young watermelon vine June 09 2017

watermelon vine 6-19-2017

Young watermelon. The young melons are a lighter green with pronounced stripes. 6-19-2017

Looking into the garden from the front 6-19-2017

Watermelon patch 7-01-2017

Almost mature watermelon. The skin has gone from bright green to darker dull green.  These only grow to  8-10 pounds.

As the watermelons grew, the chickens found them more interesting especially as the watermelon vines ran outside the fence.

The chickens enjoyed the escaped watermelon

The first melon we picked was not ripe.  The little curly tail on the vine was dry but the leaf off the stem next to it wasn’t.  There are all kinds of ways that are supposed to tell you if it is ripe. I think the signs vary with melon variety and other factors.  The one below is the only ripe one we have gotten so far.  It was very sweet and the texture was good.  I think if we had left it any longer it would have had the grainy texture.

Unfortunately our watermelon patch looks to have a deficiency or a type of viral leaf wilt.  we may not get too many more melons, although there are about 9 good size ones growing at the time of this post.  The temperature has also been in the upper 90’s for the last couple of weeks and petty much everything is suffering from the heat.  This could be another factor.

 

Overall it has been a fun experiment.  I will research more about watermelon vine diseases and types of melons for our area.  We have found that they require a lot of nitrogen, water and space and that no matter where I put the fence, the vines want to grow on the outside of it. 😉

 

Dragon Thursday

Good morning.

I ran across this unusual dragon pendant on Pinterest.  It is made by Jean Burgers, Owner, Maker, Designer and Curator of Jean Burgers Jewellery.

The back of the pendant.

Description from the website:

This pendant is one my Spirit Animal Series, a collection of unique works I created using a combination of etched Labradorite and metal.

I handcut this sterling silver Dragon silhouette using a tiny sawblade, (no casting or laser cutting!), and set a stunning piece of Labradorite onto it using a claw setting.
The piece of Labradorite was etched with the Flower of Life pattern by Holographik Universe.

The Flower of Life is an ancient geometrical design based around the circle.
It contains ancient, theological value depicting the fundamental forms of space and time. In this sense, it is a visual expression of the connections life weaves through all sentient beings, and it is believed to contain a type of Akashic Record of basic information of all living things
In sacred geometry the circle represents the sphere in 2 dimensions. It is the most universal symbol known to man and the ultimate representation of the unity and inseparability of all things. The Flower of Life pattern uses Pi to create the perfect balancing of spheres with sixfold symmetry. The centre of each circle is on the circumference of the six surrounding circles of the same diameter.

Take some time to visit the Etsy store and browse all of the beautiful jewelry. Each piece is hand made and finely detailed.  You can also find them at the links below.

Jean Burgers Jewellry.com
Facebook
Instagram
Tumblr

Enjoy,
Melyna

 

Captured Moments – Full Moon with Panasonic Lumix FZ80 and Topaz Studio

One of the reasons that I wanted the Panasonic Luminx FZ80 was the 60x zoom.  My old Canon SX280HS , which had a bad experience at the beach one year, had a zoom that worked well for moon shots and I wanted another camera with similar zoom capabilities..  I tried using the hand held night shot scene mode on the Panasonic Lumix FZ80.  It would not zoom close enough to get the shot I wanted.  I decided to try using the 4K mode in the iA setting and the zoom extended and focused the way I was hoping it would.   Below are the results.  The photos were shot in 4K, hand held with the camera braced against my porch post.  (A new tripod is high on the wish list)

I caught a bit of the clouds in this one.

The next photo is also a hand held shot using 4k in the iA (Auto) setting.


This is the same photo using an effect called Antique Amber in Topaz Studio. 

 

Captured moments – Waterlilies and thoughts on photo editing software.

We place water tanks around our place for the wildlife.  The taller ones for the deer, lower ones for other creatures.  It gets so dry in the summers and there are no ponds or creeks nearby.  We added some Gambusia, also known as, Mosquito fish to all the ponds to keep the mosquito population down.  This tank is near the house and I added underwater plants and a waterlily to it a few years ago.  This lily has not bloomed for a couple of years, but this year has given me a single bloom about once a month since spring.  

Of course I have to take photos.  

Photographer, author and editor, Theo Fenraven,  takes amazing photos and turns them into beautiful works of art.  Click the link above to visit his website.   He has some amazing art.  I was curious about which photo editing software he used and he said that he uses Photoshop and Topaz.   He was very helpful answering my questions and directing me to blog posts he has done detailing some of the processes he uses.

This is an example of his art.  Beautiful!

Digital Art by Theo Fenraven

Theo uses the pro plugins that Topaz offers and actual Photoshop.  I have not used either of those,but had experimented with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software.  I admit that I did not enjoy using it.  It may have been more than I was ready to commit to.

I have been using Photoshop Elements 13 for a while now and went in search of Topaz.  They have a series of great plugins that can be used with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.  They also have their own free software called Topaz Studio.  I am trying it out now before I venture into buying some of their plugins.  I am enjoying Topaz Studio.  It is very user friendly and fun for a novice like myself.   Since I am comfortable with Photoshop Elements, I find myself switching back and forth between the two software programs, comparing ways to edit photos. One of the lovely things about Topaz Studio is users can create filters and share them.  While I have created some of my own, I did not use them for the waterlilies, they worked better for the wildlife photos I had been editing.

Below is the unedited, direct from the camera photo of the waterlily.  I am using a Panasonic Lumix FZ80 camera.

The next photo is edited with Photoshop Elements.  It is cropped and I used a Saturated Film effect.

Below is one using a filter titled Expressionism from the user created filters in Topaz Studio.  I did tweak some of the setting.  This a very cool feature.  Even though they have given you their settings, you can open individual sections and make your own adjustments.  


Lastly, is a filter from Topaz Studio called African Forest.  I love this effect.  I did change the color temperature and hue and played with the opacity of the filter.

After using the free software, I am sure that I will be buying some of the Topaz plugins. 

 

 

Captured moments – Travel – Blanco Gardens

I love visiting Blanco, Texas.  It started out as being a halfway mark for my best friend and I to meet for lunch and spend the day together.  We have an early lunch, then walk over to one of our favorite places, Blanco Gardens.

Blanco Gardens

It is a short walk from the cafe, and we always end up bringing back trays of plants on the walk back. 

Amelia Lintner, the owner, is wonderful.  Friendly, knowledgeable and fun.  Her gardens are colorful and invite you to explore.  She carries trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables.  She also has a wonderful selection of succulents, which I love!   You will also find a nice assortment of planters, garden soils and amendments too, as well as a lovely gift shop inside.  It is a wonderful place to relax and browse.  The zinnias and succulents I bought from her this year have been outstanding.

zinnias

Looking at the store from Highway 29

The porch on her shop is a cool, shady place to relax while contemplating your purchases. 😉

 

Inside the shop

Amelia has a beautiful selection of planters and slag glass in the shop as well as seeds and other gardening supplies.

 

Amelia trying to escape my camera. ❤

 

This is an amazing selection of lavender. To the left is a room with some of the succulents.

One of her succulent arrangements. I love this ice plant.

 

Recycled tires. How cool is that?!

Love this bat!

 

Slag glass in a fun display.

That’s a big boot!

 

A fun area with various decorative items.

 

If you are out and about in the Hill Country of central Texas, stop by and say hello to Amelia, take a stroll through her gardens, relax on the porch and take home a plant or two.  

Blanco Gardens

Address: 500 Main St, Blanco, TX 78606

Hours:

 
Saturday 10AM–4PM
Sunday 10AM–4PM
Monday 9AM–5PM
Tuesday 9AM–5PM
Wednesday Closed
Thursday 9AM–5PM
Friday 9AM–5PM
Phone: (830) 833-2433

 

Dragon Thursday

This weeks Dragon Thursday is for all of you crafty people, knitters in particular.  My friend Christine shared this pattern with me a while back and I came across it again yesterday.  The pattern is a design by author Kim Harrison.  You may be familiar with her urban fantasy, paranormal series, The Hollows featuring Rachel Morgan – bounty hunter and witch.  It is a fun series.  The dragon is actually inspired by her character, Peri Reed, who also knits, in  The Peri Reed Chronicles .

So she created this pattern for a knitted Dragon.  Adorable, right?! Click on the photo and it will take you to her website.  You will find more information and videos she created to help you create this awesome dragon.

I also found a link on ravelry.  I really want the blue and white dragon!

If anyone makes one of these dragons, please come back and share a photo.  

Have fun!

Melyna

 

 

Captured Moments – Armadillos

I never know what I may find when leaving the house in the morning.  Last week, we were rushing out the door and my son pointed to an armadillo snuffling around the yard.  Our eldest cat was lying in the drive way watching it and the armadillo seemed oblivious. They have poor eyesight and apparently, it was too busy digging for food to hear us.   I rushed back in the house to grab my camera and was sternly reminded that we were going to be late. I snapped a few photos then dashed to the car.  This was what caught the armadillos attention and it scurried back into the woods.   These unusual creatures can be destructive to lawns, but we really don’t have to worry about that.  I am surprised it can even burrow in our rocky soil.

To find out more about this adorable armored mammal click this link:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Armadillo page

The article on the website is perfect.  I remembering being fascinated by these unusual creatures as a child and still delight in seeing them.