Saturday, December 26, 2020

First Christmas without Mom #RIPmom

Best Wishes for safe, happy and Healthy Holidays!

Well, I was able to continue our family tradition without mom and prepared and baked her Italian lasagna last night for our Christmas dinner. Harry made a delicious side salad full of fresh Romaine and Arugula. We used Christmas plates and ate at the kitchen table instead of the dining room. We have plenty of leftover lasagna to freeze for future meals and memories. 

RIP mom, we miss you every day; we especially did yesterday, Christmas day.

Peace to all of us blessed with life and prayers for strength to those of us who have no choice but to move forward without our loved ones. I sure look forward to the hope that 2021 brings.

My photo above was taken on an outing with Harry in the NJ Pinelands as we tried to find Webb's Mill Creek. We never did find it! But found Pinelands beauty on the journey.

Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Photo of our last Dahlia (Show 'n Tell) and hot Peppers of 2020! #GardenCuizine

Hope you all had a healthy and Happy Thanksgiving! We had a quiet, but safe one. It felt great to spend time cooking and baking. Of course, we missed mom terribly. She was still with us this time last year. She loved the holiday season. She especially loved my homemade pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dessert!!

Just thought I'd share a photo of our last harvest of 2020 (see above). We're still savoring the peppers and tomatillos! I'm headed out to the garden today to pick some rosemary if it is still alive. What's still growing in your garden?

Photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 28, 2020

@journeynorthorg Annual Monarch Migration #NJ @PinesAlliance @cumberlandctynj

New Jersey Monarch Migration

Monarch butterflies in New Jersey are headed south as their annual fall migration continues. Yesterday, along the bay shore, we saw lots of Monarch's feasting on the native yellow goldenrod plants located in the front of East Point Lighthouse along the dunes. 

East Point Lighthouse is located on the Delaware Bay at the mouth of the Maurice River in Cumberland County. The area is along the edge of the federally designated Pinelands National Reserve.

The lighthouse overlooks the Delaware Bay and is the second oldest lighthouse in NJ. It was fully restored in 2017 after a fire in 1971. I was surprised how many people were touring and visiting at the time of our visit. 

We kept our masks on and decided not to go inside the lighthouse until after the pandemic. It was open though for those who wanted to see the gift shop and the view. Instead, we took a walk to the waterfront.

And, yes, I reported our Monarch sightings on Journey North (see link below)! I had hoped to see more Monarchs at our home in Mt. Laurel, but even with all our milkweed plants, this year we have hardly seen any compared to last year.

We also saw a beautiful Common Buckeye butterfly mingling in with all the Monarch activity!

Related Links

Fine Art America prints and greeting card of Common Buckeye photo by Diana Wind

Visit NJ East Point Lighthouse

Monarch Migration 

Journey North Report Your Monarch Sightings!

Photographs Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 7, 2020

@ConserveNJ Sunset last night Franklin Parker Preserve - NJ Pinelands #wetlands #naturephotography

Pinelands Sunset photograph by Diana Wind
The biologically diverse, 9,400 acres of the beautiful Franklin Parker Preserve located in Burlington County, New Jersey is a serene place to visit to find peace, hope and joy.

According to the Preserve's brochure (link below), the land was once a former cranberry farm owned by the Demarco family; they sold it in 2003. The sale was the largest private conservation transaction in NJ state history. The NJ Dept of Environmental Protection purchased 40% interest in the land, which will help to preserve it forever.

The individuals in the NJ Conservation Foundation and all the people involved in the restoration efforts must be really proud. Just listening to the chatter of a colony of Great White Egrets perched in a spot along the 5,000 acres of freshwater wetlands says it all.

The park is named after Franklin E. Parker III who was the first chair of the Pinelands Commission. We're enjoying learning about the wonderful parks and natural beauty right here in the Garden State.

Related Links
Brochure for Franklin Parker Preserve
Take Action for Conservation
Pinelands Preservation Alliance 
Blog post and photograph Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

@ConserveNJ Some photos from our walk on the loop trail in Franklin Parker Preserve NJ Pinelands

Harry and I made time to get outside to take a nature walk with our cameras to explore one of the best New Jersey parks: Franklin Parker Preserve. The preserve is home to stately Great Egrets, Eagles, snakes, frogs and many species of birds. Below are a few of my photos from our recent walk on the loop trail. I did see an Eagle, but he was too far away and all I got was a blur in my picture. And, I did capture some Great Egrets; I'll add that photo later.
A sight to behold: Wetlands in the NJ Pine Barrens
Someone kept an eye on us!
5,000 acres of NJ Pineland Wetlands
Related Links 
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

@USFWSRefuges Reed Reflections #WindPhotography Took a Covid-19 break with a walk at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

Reed Reflections
Nature Photography by Diana Wind

We have been indoors so much due to COVID-19 precautions, it felt so good to make time to get outdoors to enjoy a safe, nature walk. We packed our cameras and headed south towards Barnegat, NJ to explore Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge at Eno's Pond in Lacey Township. We also took our masks, but only had to wear them once when we passed a few people along the trail.

The well-groomed walking trail through the woods led us to a wooden observation deck at Eno's Pond. The view from the deck was obscured by overgrown weeds and trees. But, on the path near the water's edge, we were able to get a better view of the pond. The mirror image reflections of tall, green reed grass and trees were mesmerizing.

Standing along the water's edge, we could hear the reed grasses blowing in the warm, summer breeze. Every so often, we could hear and see circular water ripples coming from a fish or frog. 

The tranquility was just what the doctor ordered after mom died last month. It is hard to believe she has been gone for over a month already. RIP, Mom...

We look forward to more New Jersey nature adventures with our cameras.

Related Links
Photograph Copyright (C)Wind. Reed Reflections at Eno's Pond August 22, 2020. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Social Distancing between me and Mom...Really? @GovMurphy NJ Nursing Homes need testing of visitors too

Our Heartbreak Continues
We Love You Mom, Grandma, 
Aunt June, Sister, Best Friend

My dear mother has been lying alone without family by her side during this COVID19 pandemic (108 days, but who's counting!). She has only been able to hear my voice once since March 5th. and that was when I was able to get by her bedside at an emergency doctor visit. 

Our attempt for a virtual visit failed. The staff couldn't get her attention to look at the camera - she is extremely hard of hearing and didn't hear a word I said. Mom isn't a good candidate for virtual visits. Although, we are going to try again this afternoon. It failed again because she was sleeping through it.

Today, NJ nursing homes were allowed to reopen. Yay! Thank you Governor Phil Murphy. Nursing Homes, like other business, are required to follow strict rules for COVID19 precautions. 

One rule that I'm struggling with in particular is the fact that we will have to socially distance and stand six feet away from her. Six feet from Mom? Really? You're kidding right? She is practically deaf. Plus, after all this time isolating her from us, she has become lethargic and is now sleeping most of the time.

This is happening across the country as families struggle to cope and deal with having loved one(s) in a nursing home. Reopening with the rule of keeping family six feet apart seems cruel and unfair; especially to those with dementia and/or whom are deaf or have poor vision and eyesight or are bedridden. Our seniors need their loving family up close and safely by their side now before they die.

In my opinion, we can all still keep safe during outdoor visits with masks on. If the visitors could be tested on the spot, wouldn't that eliminate the need for a social distancing policy? Testing, testing, testing can solve so many COVID19-related problems. 

Thank you nursing home healthcare workers. 

Related Links
When will it end? 
COVID19 NJ updates

Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Growing Turmeric #GardenCuizine Antiviral and Inflammation fighting qualities in Curcumin

Growing Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) grows well in pots. Years ago I planted a fresh piece of rhizome that I purchased at Whole Foods and have enjoyed growing turmeric ever since. New growth shoots up in June displaying signs of life as it leafs out for another season. 

At the end of the growing season, the leaves die down to dormancy through the winter. Fresh and dried Turmeric is available in markets. I mainly grow Turmeric as a tropical plant like ginger. I take it indoors every winter as we live in zone 7a.

Turmeric adds golden color and flavor and medicinal properties to foods and beverages; especially in Indian cuisine. Ground and dried Turmeric spice is a key ingredient in golden milk and curry blends. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda remedies. 

A health benefit comes from the active ingredient, Curcumin. Curcumin has been studied for having polyphenols that aide in fighting various conditions, including inflammation. 

Studies have shown that when Turmeric is combined with black pepper, health benefits are increased and made more bio-available to the body. 

Other studies have shown that Turmeric has antiviral qualities. No peer reviewed studies are out yet to show if Turmeric has any effect on novel Coronavirus, but none-the-less, maybe we'll be adding more Turmeric to our diet. Turmeric Latte anyone?

Happy Gardening and Healthy Cooking!

Related Links
How to Grow Turmeric
Curcumin Effects on Human Health
Antiviral Properties of Curcumin
Turmeric Latte

Photo and Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Planting Seeds and Gardening to take away my worries of Mom and #COVID19 #GardenCuizine #tuttoandràbene

Planting Seeds 
and making Rainbows!

The COVID19 pandemic arrived on the heels of mom having a nightmare hospital experience that landed her in a nursing home. Mom is so hard of hearing that we can't talk over the phone. We can't go visit with COVID19 precautions. And, now, we can't even do her laundry anymore. What can we do? We can follow the recommendations for staying safe, think positive and carry on. 

Children around the world are making rainbows and hanging their art in home windows. I'm going to make a rainbow sign with the Italian words: Tutto Andrà bene to show mom via Google Duo. She will love that. Everything will be all right!  And, in trying to be normal, today, I finally got a flat of seeds planted and under grow lights. Yay!

Seed starting indoors can be done any time. For our gardens, I have always started our seeds on St. Patty's Day; this is late for me.  

I never know just what I'm going to plant. The fun part is sorting through the many colorful seed storage containers piled high with thousands of varieties. 

Seeds store well in airtight baggies and commercial packets kept in a dark closet. Some seeds are pretty old; they keep for years. Keeping a garden journal helps me keep track of germination results.

Some seeds will be directly sown outdoors. I scattered some native seeds: Meadow Blazing Star and Echineacea Pallida yesterday. Seeds I selected so far for under our grow lights include the below list. 

For those of you reading this who have traded with me in the past, let me know if there is anything you want. I'm sure we can plan a safe swap with no contact driveway pick ups. When I get the next flat planted, I'll post the list.

SEEDS planted 2020
Happy Frog soil w/ pro mix
1.      Moonflower Giant White 2018 Burpee
2.      2017 Chiltepin
3.      Petit Moineau Tomatoes 2017
4.      Salvia Fariosasa blue salvia

5.      Zinnia Giant Lavender 2016
6.      2014 Yvonnes Salvia

7.      2015 Goldman’s Tomatoes
8.      2018 large Heirloom Red
9.      Lady in Red Salvia
10.   Chocolate Cherry tomatoes 2015
11.   2011 Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate

12.   2018 green top red bottom heirloom tomatoes
13.   Salvia Splendens Vista Purple Lynn Weidman’s garden 2009

14.   2018 Coral Nymph Salvia
15.   2011 Italian Parsley comm seed

16.   Surprise seed ??? tomatillos?

17.   Sweet Basil meadowbrook 2009

18.   Zinnia Envy Ferry Morse
19.   Coronado Hyssop 2014

20.   Large white salvia 2010

21.   Zebra Heirloom tomato 2014

Be safe and Happy Gardening!
Andrà tutto bene!
God Bless you and your family - Diana
 Un po' di pepe | …… (oon∙poh∙dee∙PEH∙peh) Cristina writes ...
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved. Posted by Un po' di pepe in Amici e Famiglia, Italia, Italian life
Updated 4/3/2020