Archive for February, 2010

postheadericon Sunday Selections

Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage.
~Finnish Proverb

postheadericon Spring Sights

It is starting to look like Spring around here.  The wild thing is that both the lavender and the Lion’s Ear (or Tail) both decided to start blooming at the beginning of February – I am just now getting around to showing the photos of the two of them..

I couldn’t believe how early they both got started, or the fact that they actually survived the move last fall.  I wasn’t very optimistic for many of my plants since the move was so rushed and haphazard.

We’re starting to get many more of these pretty little guys coming by the feeders.  My birdseed bill is starting to get pretty high as they keep bringing more of their friends.  The photo below isn’t a great shot, I just liked how I caught him mid-flight with his wings on the downstroke.

This Celtic design birdbath was a Happy Black Friday gift to myself.  I’d been wanting a new birdbath for quite a while and handn’t found one that I really, really liked.  We were wandering around Lowe’s at about 7am on Black Friday (ticked because we’d missed out on the TV at stinking Walmart..) and out in the garden section we ran upon this little beauty.  At $39.00 I should have bought two!

The birds love it.  It is a pain to clean as it’s very heavy and in two pieces, but it’s worth watching the little feathered fiends splash around and have a good old time.

The birds are getting friendlier all the time as they have discovered I am the mysterious being that refills the bird feeders – daily.  They used to all leave the yard when I’d walk out.  Now they sit about two feet from me, chirping to each other and at me to “Hurry up!”

And finally….THIS is what I see when I am outside looking in.  Little furry faces that really, really want to be after those birds.

postheadericon The Tao of Mia and Leo Book Review & Giveaway

The Tao of Mia and Leo

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

I received this for review back at the end of December.  With everything going on with Mom, I have just recently been able to sit down (with a couple cups of tea of course) and read it uninterrupted.  It is such a delightful read that I wanted to be able to enjoy it and immerse myself in the message of the book.

The The Tao of Mia and Leo follows the author and the escapades of her cats beginning with her beloved Samantha and then the mischievious title characters.  Jeffra Nicholson writes about living in and finally leaving the corporate world to pursue her dream of writing and shares how it impacted her and the cats.  She takes us with her through the life changes and what she learned about herself and her fuzzy housemates. 

This lovely true story is written by a dedicated cat lover who is able to convey a valuable life lesson to those of us with cats or those without.  I found it to be a very insightful look at both human and feline behavior; showing how interchangeable and instructional it can be at the same time.  Jeffra offers many comparisons regarding Leo and Mia’s personalities and the similarities with people. She puts a spotlight on instances where a person could benefit by taking a page (sorry about the pun) out of the cats’ book and mimicking how a cat responds to situations. 

One of my favorite examples is when she talks about buying all of the most expensive toys for her cats only to watch them play with a rolled up piece of tinfoil. She noted that people needed to be able to find joy in the simpler things .  I relayed this anecdote to my family members and compared it to buying a big fancy toy (like a jetski), using it 2 or 3 times, and then leaving it sitting in the garage.  Then finding out that something as simple as playing a card game of gin-rummy at the kitchen table brought us just as much joy if not more, than the $7500 water toy that is now gathering dust.  I keep telling them that we each need to find our ball of tinfoil.

Another selection I really related to (especially with some of my cats) is when Jeffra was moving to a new city and was terrified about the change in her life.  Leo’s behavior at the airport completely mirrored and conveyed what Jeffra was really feeling, but holding in.  Thank goodness Jeffra’s very intuitive mother pointed this out to her after the incident.  I can really understand this on a personal level since I’ve become aware that when I am especially upset or worried about something and trying to block it out, I will have one or more of the cats plastered to my side.  They are very attuned to our emotions even when we’re not.

This is a very easy read as it is not a really long book (around 100 pages).  It has a very positive message that is effectively presented.   I felt connected with the author when I was finished with this book as I also used to be overly wrapped up in my career and didn’t spend near enough time with loved ones.  Since leaving that hectic life, I am enjoying my family, friends, and furry ones so much more.  The Tao of Mia and Leo reinforces the positive message that simplifying your life can enrich it immensely and in unexpected ways.

You definitely do not have to be a cat lover to really enjoy this book.  It is very well written and would make a lovely gift for anyone on your list, especially someone in need of a boost in their outlook.  I have a couple of people in mind who I would like to get this wonderful book for.  I know I will be reading my copy again!

GIVEAWAY
The publisher has generously offered a copy of The Tao of Mia and Leo for one lucky MoonCat Farms Meanderings reader.  Sorry to my international friends, but this is only open to US RESIDENTS. 

There are several ways to enter the giveaway, you can do one or all. Just be sure to leave me a separate comment for each thing you do:

1.Leave a comment on this post & let me know if you have cats and how many.  (You don’t have to be a cat owner to enter, I’m just nosy.)

2.Become a MoonCat Farms follower.

3.Subscribe to MoonCat Farms Meanderings

4.Follow MoonCat Farms on Twitter and/or Facebook (links on the sidebar to the right>>>>)

5.Become a fan of The Tao of Mia and Leo on Facebook

6.Blog about this giveaway.

7.Tweet about this giveaway

To enter, just leave a comment below, on this post only.  The giveaway closes at midnight PST on Friday, March 5th, 2010.  One winner will be chosen at random and announced on Saturday, March 6th, 2010.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond or another name will be chosen. 

To purchase a copy of this lovely and very reasonably priced book, go to the Amazon.com link below:

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review. The publisher is providing a copy of the book for the giveaway winner.

postheadericon Proof is in the Potholes

This post is solely for my husband’s benefit.  Mr. MoonCat is very firm and outspoken in his opinion (wrong that it may be and IS) that HIS dog Cailen can do no wrong.  He seems to think that MY dog Chandler is always at fault whenever there is anything wrong or amiss. 

We have a gopher problem here at MoonCat Farms.  The gophers here seem to be relatives of the one above from “Caddyshack” with the awesome Bill Murray.  Envision the little gopher dancing and singing “I’m Alright” and you will have a picture of what these poor dogs are seeing on a daily basis. Boredom is a bad thing for working cattle dogs that aren’t actively working right now.  Do you see where this may be going? 

So, for your viewing enjoyment and my “HA – I have proof” amusement, I give you “The Boys”:

“Cailen and Chandler – On the Hunt”
“Cailen – BUSTED”
“Chandler – Not smart enough to get rid of the evidence!”
All to no avail as I’m afraid this will be Mr. MoonCat by the end of the summer:
Bill Murray vs The Gopher
BTW, it is the 30th anniversary of the release of Caddyshack.  If you have never seen this movie, you are really missing out on a classic.  I don’t think they intended the gopher and Bill Murray to completely steal the show, but they did.  Caddyshack

postheadericon I’m A OWOH Red Panty Crafts Prizewinner

Look at what I won from Tammy at Red Panty Crafts!  Isn’t little Ghost Kitty adorable with his little Ghost Mouse?  I was one of the winners in Tammy’s One World One Heart giveaway.  She has some more cute things in her Etsy Shop.  I really like that she repurposes items from the thrift store into new, usuable pieces (especially for those of us that don’t wear a size 2).  The Red Panty Avenger on her blog is a major kick too.  Go check it out if you get a chance.  Thanks Tammy!!!!

(I actually won FOUR goodies in the OWOH extravaganza this year.  I will share each with you as I get them.  Talk about icing on the cake…)

postheadericon Sunday Selections

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.
~Simone Signoret

postheadericon Letters, I’m Writing Letters..

Jen at Indie Fixx has started this awesome project to bring back the joy of letter writing.  The Penpal Project was created so that those of us who miss the anticipation and excitement of receiving a hand-written note, card, or 12-page letter in the good old post can start looking forward to the mailman again.  While we all rely on our e-mail, snailmail has been getting a bum rap and needs to feel some love. 

If you’re interested in finding a like-minded soul or two who enjoy the fine, almost lost art of the written word (on paper), go to Jen’s post HERE to learn more about the project and possibly sign up yourself. It’s easy, all you need to do is leave a comment and tell a little about yourself.  Then you can check out the other comments to see if anyone “speaks” to you.  I did and I can’t wait to put the pen to paper with a new friend or two or three… 

postheadericon Patient Style Winner

Random.org has spoken and we have a new winner:

Bec Clarke said…

I have terribly cold and bad circulating feet and these look like they would be wonderful for our cold winter’s here in the NSW snowy mountians.

Congratulations Bec!  Send me your mailing address & I will have your new slippers shipped to you right away.  (I’ll send you an email shortly as well.)

~~~~~

On another note, congratulations to ME!  I finally figured out the mega simple way to get the little photo of the Random.org result onto my posts.  I can’t believe it took me this long.  I wonder what other simple task it will take me another year to figure out?

Thank you for the entries and comments.  We’ll have another giveaway coming up in the next week or so.  Be sure to check in for your next chance to win…something. 

postheadericon Patient Style Giveaway Ends Tonight

Don’t forget to get your entry in.  The giveaway ends tonight.  The odds are with you, you can be a winner.   All you have to do is leave a comment and the awesome Anti-Microbial Slipper Socks can be yours!

postheadericon Herbs – B is for Bee Balm or Bergamot

Bee Balm
Latin Name:  Monarda didyma of the family Lamiaceae

Alternate Name(s):  Scarlet Bee Balm, Wild Bergamot, Bergamot, Scarlet Monarda, Oswego Tea, or Crimson Beebalm)
Description:  The flowers themselves vary in appearance and color from light pinks to mauves and deep scarlet.  The most often seen are the bright red variety.   The tubular blooms usually show in clusters of about 30 or so.  This hardy perennial has opposing leaves on square stems.  They are mostly dark green with reddish leaf veins. 

Habitat:  The monarda tends to favor areas with moist, well-drained soil.  Full sun is its preferred lighting.  Bee Balm is an excellent companion plant in the vegetable garden, especially for tomatoes.  It tends to attract the pollinators as well as some of the beneficial predatory bugs.  The fact that it is a very attractive plant just adds to it’s appeal.

Growing: Bee Balm can be started by seed, division, or by cuttings.  Seeds usually need to be scratched up a bit before planting.  They can be planted directly outdoors once the soil has warmed up considerably (70 degrees or above) or they can be started earlier indoors.  Root cuttings are possible and suggested in the spring, but division seems to be the most popular way to expand your Monarda collection.  It is actually very beneficial to the plant to divide them every few years as they can get too crowded  and not get enough air circulating through the lower sections.  They will also become susceptible to various ailments such as root rot and mildew if not allowed enough space.  The plant can reach up to 3 feet high.

Harvesting:  The leaves and flowers are the parts used.  Harvest on a sunny morning after the dew has dried.  After gathering bunches, tie them with string and hang upside down in a darkened, airy room until completely dry. Once they are dried, the leaves and flowers may be removed from the stems.

Uses:  Can be used as a digestive stimulant and as an aromatic in potpourris or the bath.  The taste of the leaves and flowers are rather citrusy and can be used in teas.  The teas can be made with either fresh leaves or dried.  It is also an ingredient in many modern mouthwashes as it has antiseptic properties.   It is not to be confused with the Citrus bergami which is where we get the bergamot flavoring that is used in my beloved Earl Grey tea.  It can be a bit much to seperate the two since they’re both called “bergamot” and both are used in teas and cooking.  The bee balm is from the mint family while the latter is from the citrus family.  A distinct feature of these flowers is that they will hold their color when dried.
Notes:   I really love growing these gorgeous plants.  While they do have many varied uses, I pretty much grow them for the dried flowers and for the hummingbirds.  It is a lovely sight to see the plants covered by butterflies, bees, and the little hummers.

Photos courtesy of: freeherbpictures.com
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Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational, informational, and recreational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease. It is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider before taking any supplements, herbs, or other substances.


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