Wintering Herbs Indoors

OK, I admit it. I scurried as fast as I could, and in a rush brought ALL my herbs and tender plants in right before our freakish Halloween weekend snow storm!  Therefor, when this crossed my email this morning I was thrilled! Thank you so much to The Herb Companion, now I know better what I should have bothered with and what I could have ditched. My full windows will be happy to have some “disappear” and I will have an easier winter maintenance routine. You can read the full article on-line, it is called “Wintering Herbs Indoors: Save your favorite herbs by bringing them indoors for winter care, and enjoy fresh flavor throughout the season.” By Betsy Strauch.  Click

Ron at  a window
These all got a bit of "frost bite" - ugh. This is one of a few windows now populated with herbs. We will see if I can resuscitate them!

I have taken some highlights out that I found very useful. The article begins “Autumn. The harvest of herbs is winding down, and the frenzy of trying to stay ahead of the weeds has abated. It’s easy at this time of year to kick back, relax and forget about gardening until the new seed and nursery catalogs start arriving in January. Herb gardeners who live where winters are frost-free can get away with this, and so can those in more rugged climates who only grow annuals, such as dill, or tough perennials, such as garden sage. However that leaves a lot of gardeners unaccounted for, including those who grow rosemary, tender lavenders or other plants that will die at temperatures below 15 degrees, as well as those who have a yen for fresh herbs all winter. Those people (and I’m one of them) need to make some decisions now.

…forget about the annuals, such as summer savory, chervil, cilantro, borage and dill. Their lives are about over; if you want them indoors in winter, you can start new plants from seed… Don’t bother bringing in tough perennial culinary herbs whose dried leaves have good flavor — I’m thinking of sage, oregano and thyme — unless you think you can’t get along without the fresh leaves…Don’t bring in huge tender plants if you don’t have room for them, no matter how badly you need them for next year’s herb garden…Lastly, turn your back on diseased or pest-ridden plants…

Think cuttings…this is well into the article and worth reading if you are thinking about doing this. The section is called “DISASSEMBLING AN HERB.”

To read how she brings her plants in, well, you will have to go to the article! It is on page 2…Caring For The Plants Indoors– page 3, but I will tease you with… “As light levels diminished with the approach of winter, the herbs seemed to enter a holding pattern. None appeared to be growing, and only the rosemary offered many leaves for harvesting. I watered only when the soil became dry or nearly so. Sometimes I was a little late, and the pineapple sage wilted on several occasions, but they recovered well after being watered. I applied no fertilizer.”
(Note: This article originally appeared in the October/November 1993 issue of The Herb Companion.) By the way, this is a lovely magazine if you like Herbs. I throughly enjoy my copy each time it comes in the mail. 

Read more:

See you all on Friday for Fun Food Friday!

Happy Halloween in all it's glory?

Halloween brings out Birdellis uber theatrical side. Being a fashion model and designer she often feels like an actresses anyways, so this is almost like a regular runway day for her. The difference now is, she gets to choose her outfit. She was thrilled to be invited to THE “HOT” designer party’s, she went (it was Saturday night)  to Heidi Klum’s party… Heidi’s costume, in her own words, “It’s kind of like a dead body with the first layer of skin ripped off. It’s basically like me naked.” Birdelli went as a full-fledged Diva.

Read more about Heidi’s costume:

Birdelli ready for Halloween
Birdelli ready for Halloween

Fun Food Friday – this time Cape Breton Food.

Julia with scones
Julia enjoying some bakery traditional Cape Breton Scones.

For todays post I went online and found this these lovely words and recipes. All info., words and recipes are from:
“The story of Cape Breton wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse at the old recipes because of their historical link.  I can still smell the aroma of my grandmother’s bannock as it was taken out of the old coal stove oven and hear her pronounce it with that lovely Gaelic lilt.”


2 c flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 c raisins or currants
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c oil
1 egg (slightly beaten)
3 tbsp milk 

Sift together dry ingredients and stir in the raisins. Blend the remaining
ingredients and stir in the flour mixture until the dough is all together.
Toss on a lightly floured surface until no longer sticky. Knead a few
times. Divide the dough in half then pat each ball of dough into a 6 “
circle with the top slightly rounded. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle
with sugar. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place 2 inches apart on a
cookie sheet. Bake at 425F for 10 to 12 minutes or till golden brown . Serve hot
with butter and jam or flavoured butter or honey.


Scottish bannock is a simple type of scone that was cooked in the early days over open fires.  Settlers from Scotland made a frugal bannock with lots of flour, little sugar and drippings or lard.
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c rolled oats
2 tbsp sugar (granulated)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter (melted)
1/3 c raisins (optional)
3/4 c water

Stir together flours, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add melted 
butter, raisins (if using) and water, adding more water if needed to make 
a sticky dough. With floured hands, pat into greased pie plate. Bake in a 400 F
oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned and tester comes out clean.  Cut
into wedges. “ … again….Thanks to the website for all this information!

Tha thu ann = There you are  (Gealic Words for greeting children, and saying goodbye)
And…Mar sin leat  (Goodbye in Gaelic.)

Until Monday -Have a great weekend.

On the top of Cape Breton…

…fortunately not covered with snow, although there was snow in the highlands early in the week, that raised the river the next warm day. This was relevant to us for the rest of the human gang was Salmon fishing and every little detail seems to matter! Tilly and Milly continue to be our spokespersons for Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, but some other the others did join for a some fun and vacation time too.

They want to remind you about our new series and contest – Featured artist interviews and postings 1x per week, hopefully thru the winter. We are planning to kick off this exciting new path with a series of Featured Cape Breton Artist. As we told you on Monday – a new member of our gang, an artist themselves, will be conducting most of the interviews.  After Cape Breton we will feature various artist we know and or have met. If you know some one who creates amazing work for whatever reason PLEASE let us know. We would love to meet/make new artist friends. We are searching for a great name (clever and descriptive) for the art series. All ideas will be considered: email: your ideas, the top 3 will end up as a contest with you, the viewer, able to vote and so help pick the winning name.

Izabellas in her Art Hat
We need a name!

In the meantime here are some more photos of Milly, Tilly and Moe enjoying the magnificence of Cape Breton. Moe, as Minister of Clean Water thought it was his obligation and privilege to be able to go up to Cape Breton and check out those waters!

We confess, we were in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia CA. last week.

The sunset pix last week was actually off the edge of Cape Breton. It is a BEAUTIFUL, and an amazing place to visit. The island is a bit remote and many miles away for most of us, that all seems to add to it’s beauty. Worth the traveling effort!

*** BIG NEWS*** Today we are announcing the up and coming series of Artist Features. We think it will be 1x a week, hopefully thru the winter, and starting in a few weeks. We are planning to kick off this exciting new path with a series of Featured Cape Breton Artist of many genres. We are very excited about this!  A new member of the  Botaniumus  community, an artist themselves will be conducting most of the interviews. (hint: he is a photographer and journalist.) We will work our way around this magical island, so stayed tuned. After Cape Breton we will feature various artist we know and or have met in the past year or so.  If you know some one who creates amazing work for whatever reason PLEASE let us know. We would love to meet/make new artist friends. We are also searching for a great name (clever and descriptive) for the art series. All ideas will be considered: email: your ideas, the top 3 will end up as a contest with you, the viewer, able to vote and so help pick the winning name.

In the meantime, Tilly is on the edge of the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada. The grand views make one want to soar with the birds! Tilly has had to raise wings, think, stretch and marvel in awe at the amazing feats of natural beauty.

Cabot Trail makes Tilly want to fly
Grand vistas make me want to fly!

Smitten with Muffins…..Fun Food Friday lives on.

I found this recipe on a website called It is by a woman named Deb who seems to live with a itsy-bitsy NYC kitchen. She also seems to have a wonderful site, full of personality and great sounding food!  Add to that many many many cooking credentials and awards and it is yet another wonderful find!

Julia Pumpkin Muffin
Julia and Pumpkin Muffin time!

“Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from the American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can)
1/3 cup vegetable oil*
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar**
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

* Oh jeez, I messed up on this, too, using a 1/2-cup instead. It’s amazing anything ever turns out in my kitchen. That said, I also can’t attest to the oil-levels in the muffins either, though mine are fine.

** OMG! This too! I for some reason kept 1/4-cup aside, and wondered why the recipe called for so much. I didn’t use it all.” ——— Thanks to the Smitten Kitchen we look forward to many more yummy recipes and fun readings.

***Julia also want to remind you that Monday is a holiday here in the grand USA – thank you Chris for finding us (ha ha)… we will be taking the day off. See you all on Wednesday.

The Art of Food – Visual Feasting w/Arcimboldo

Arcimboldo Summer Arcimboldo Jurist

This post is compiled primarily from All quotes are from the article (link above.)

Humor, but with a twist of reality, botany and zoology: Arcimboldo’s shows skill and due diligence to his times and those disciplines. “Even seemingly pedantic botanical details bear out the theme of empire. Arcimboldo’s composites incorporated exotic specimens, such as corn and eggplant, which sophisticated viewers would recognize as rare cultivars from the New World and beyond, where so many European rulers hoped to extend their influence.” …Arcimboldo’s royal patron, was the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II…“Rudolf’s father, Maximilian II, the Hapsburg archduke and soon-to-be Holy Roman Emperor, welcomed the painter in his Vienna court in the early 1560s. Arcimboldo remained with the Hapsburgs until 1587 and continued to paint for them after his return to Italy.”

Giuseppe Arcimboldo clearly had a playful side as well as his own method for whimsy! Check out the image below-the still-life, which was not a typical subject matter of his time. One way a basket with fruit…upside down an amazing head of fruit!Arcimboldo-Reversible-Head

Giuseppe Arcimboldo (also spelled Arcimboldi) (1527 – July 11, 1593) was an Italian painter. Today he is best known for creative and imaginative composite heads created from objects as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish, and books. He has some what of a resurgence of popularity in todays modern world.

“The first known composite heads were presented to Maximilian on New Year’s Day 1569. One set of paintings was called The Four Seasons, and the other—which included Earth, Water, Fire and Air—The Four Elements. The allegorical paintings are peppered with visual puns (Summer’s (see above) ear is an ear of corn) as well as references to the Hapsburgs. The nose and ear of Fire are made of fire strikers, one of the imperial family’s symbols. Winter wears a cloak monogrammed with an “M,” presumably for Maximilian, that resembles a garment the emperor actually owned.Earth features a lion skin, a reference to the mythological Hercules, to whom the Hapsburgs were at pains to trace their lineage. Many of the figures are crowned with tree branches, coral fragments or stag’s antlers. The paintings were meant to amuse, but they also symbolize “the majesty of the ruler, the copiousness of creation and the power of the ruling family over everything,” says Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, an art history professor at Princeton who is author of Arcimboldo:Visual Jokes, Natural History, and Still-Life Painting. “In some ways it’s just humor, but the humor resolves itself in a serious way.”  — Abigail Tucker is the Smithsonian’s Magazine’s staff writer.   Read more:

Arcimboldo-Water: part of a set of paintings: Earth, Water, Fire and Air—The Four Elements

It is a very interesting article, I highly recommend it, click the link above, or here, and read the whole article. I think it will blow your socks off —think of him, his time and his work. Take a few minutes read and look, I promise it is worth it! Look closely and you will be amazed by the literal/visual puns and the truth of his work.

Saturday we are off to Hey Day at The Mass Audubon, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary. The Love Birds are pleased to be part of the PRINCETON ARTS SOCIETY & MASS. AUDUBON WACHUSETT MEADOW, 2012 Calendar called “The Nature of Art.” Starting Saturday the calendars will be for sale, and the center will be displaying the artwork featured in the calendar. I don’t know what month we are, we will see when the calendar is unveiled! My guess is February since they are holding hands and are called The Love Birds. What’s your guess?

Creativity – our ART theme continues.

I found this most amazing piece on one of my “standby” sites called – URBANTIMES  – Optimistic Forward-Thinking Online Magazine.  (

Source: ) (via Urbantimes)

“KK Shakes For Perspective

Raghava KK is a self-taught artist who has had a colorful life history full of ups and downs. It shows in his various works, which fluctuated between exuberance and morbidity, but always with a message of truth that tries to make us think. In this example he vies for a world without bias, where children are taught perspective from the earliest of ages. His unique perspective from living outside of his place of birth allows him to try to see his surroundings with empathy. After all, he got to live and walk in the footsteps of those who weren’t like him. He must have done this very well, because others forgot that his background was different from theirs. So, he seems like a perfect person to help provide these lessons for us all. Don’t you think that this shaking up of our perspective can help us all understand someone with different views? It seems so simple, and yet not enough people attempt this. It’s about time that we did.

Here’s his new interactive children’s book, Pop-It.”  Above article was written by  on September 22, 2011 and posted on the URBANTImes  (

TED talk:

POP-IT at home

It was a big download and took some time but ohhhh so worth the $1.99 it cost! It may be one of the coolest books for kids I have ever seen. I admit, I don’t see a vast amount of kids art and books, but I DO look and I AM fascinated by them.  I do not have any “uprights” commonly known as having 2 legs and upright standing children, we only have the 4 legged more horizontal variety that bark! Regardless, I still LOVE this book. POP-IT “is a new form of storytelling that teaches open-mindedness to children and parents .” (iTunes description) The artwork is fun and fab…the interactivity made me laugh and enjoy it even more. If you have an iPAD download it now! I think you will be amazed at the creativity – and the message of empathy, love and acceptance for all.

Is there a better way to start the week? I think not. POP-IT: generalPOP-IT: KIRKUS ReviewPOP-IT: GPOC Interview

Doodles, next step sketches?

Wikipedia: “A sketch “done extempore” is a rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not intended as a finished work. A sketch may serve a number of purpose: it might record something that the artist sees, it might record or develop an idea for later use or it might be used as a quick way of graphically demonstrating an image, idea or principal. Sketching is generally a prescribed part of the studies of art students.”

The sketches of some individual artists have become very well-known, including those of Leonardo da Vinci which have become art objects in their own right, with many pages showing finished studies as well as sketches.

The term “sketchbook” usually means  a book of plank paper on which an artist can, (or has already) drawn sketches. Does anyone have a Doodlebook? My sketches seem more like doodles…. but, if a sketch is as stated above ( rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not intended as a finished work. ) then these are sketches? I am no Leonardo but I share anyways! Take the poll below and vote for Sketch or Doodle.