It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Mildred, the blogosphere friend who causes me more work than I can shake a stick at, posted about MINIATURE BEGONIAS/TERRARIUMS a while back.

Well sometimes I do get weary of my yap yap yap about all the things I'ma gonna do, so I done one of them things I keep yapping about. Today I am going to show that I can get down to business and do at least one of the things I yap about, I am not just a yapster!

So here is the start of my project, ooohhh the light is just a little bright in here isn't it.

If you look closely out the window of that picture you can see why the light tends to rip your eyes out in this room, it has snowed. It snowed yesterday while I was finishing up my shopping trip with Rebecca and our girls. My voice sounds cranky doesn't it? And Dear Reader you are wondering why aren't you? You are saying, "but Lanny, aren't you the 'let it snow' freak? Aren't you always saying you are envious of those of us who struggle under the weight of winter-long snow?"

Why yes, Dear Reader, you are very correct on that. I do indeed envy, I admit to that sin, I envy you who actually have winters. Because I wait, and I wait, and I wait for either a good ice-skating freeze or a dump of snow. And then low and behold it is time to do something like, get on with spring, plant peas. Usually I plant peas on Lincoln's birthday, but I missed it, then I said I was going to plant them on Presidents' day and missed that, then I said I was going to plant them on Washington's birthday and yes, I missed that. There you go Dear Reader, you've got the pattern. So yesterday, when my plans changed up, I sorta had a melt down 'cause I just haven't been true to the good start I gave myself in the garden last fall. And instead of just continuing to melt and turning into the Schmo that changes her mind on what we are going to do, I quickly put my peas to soak in jars of water with labels and on a tray, planning that today I could plant my peas. Ahhhh there is the rub. There is snow on my garden. I do not want to do the scrape the snow thing. It will all be gone tomorrow, tonight I will drain the seeds and put wet nappies on them to keep them moist and all will be well. But it would have been better if it hadn't decided to finally snow on the day I soaked my peas. Ooohhh oohhh I digress, back to terrarium building.

Glass container, activated charcoal, store bought pebbles and store bought moss

Now that I shut my curtains you can see my container. A five gallon beverage server.

I bought this quite a while back, bought two in fact, I used them at my daughter Michelle's wedding here at the farm and for many other events. But every time we used them there were always problems, so I vowed to never use them again, ever, as a beverage container.

One actually cracked because someone turned the whole spigot not just the knob. The slightly cracked one had given me the idea of using it as a terrarium. Unfortunately, in keeping with tradition, I took it up to my "whatever" room to be dealt with later. Well later came at the behest of a foot that went through the glass, (no one was hurt) and it had to be thrown away.

The layers start with pebbles, then activated charcoal, then moss

The pebbles of course allow for drainage in case of over watering. The charcoal keeps everything a little sweeter and the moss keeps the soil from sinking into the charcoal and the pebbles. I know it seems silly to buy pebbles but the ones outside are not sorted to size, cleaned, polished and similarly colored, so I splurged. The charcoal was in the pet fish department of that store that people either hate (because they are union) or love (because they have a job finally and are employed by them) or appreciate (because, like me, they are the wife of a poor school teacher/sheep shearer/mechanic/farmer).

The soil

I'm not planning on eating anything out of my terrarium, so I don't need to "go organic" and it isn't that expensive, only a couple of bucks. I have, in the past, sterilized my own indoor potting mix. The smell of cooking dirt (soil) is not all that pleasant, not to mention the time to spend stirring the dirt, it is enough to make me not mind cutting corners and spending a few bucks.

Some of the plants going in; asparagus fern, African violet and an unknown.

I purchase the fern but the violet I have had for a while and can't seem to get it to bloom so I thought maybe if it went to a foreign exotic land it might get happy and bloom. The other plant, that looks like a large misshapen African violet, is a plant I bought for my mom when my father died. My mom kept it alive for thirteen years (a major feat for her, the only plant known to survive Bethel-captivity for more than five or six years) and I in turn have kept it, and it's offspring, alive for another fourteen. (Not a major feat but a darn good one because I have croaked my fair share of plants over the years).

However, I do not know what it is. I managed to come home without a tag as I had wandered into the "not for sale" area of a little nursery I stopped in at somewhere up by Buckley when I went on a sentimental journey to see the Carbon river area, one of my dad's favorites within an afternoon's driving distance up and back.

So if you can name it, I will give you a big smooch blog style and send you a little sumpin sumpin. It blooms with small clusters of small pretty purple blooms, when one of them blooms I'll post them.

The plants go in

The hard part is not being able to get both hands and elbows into the works, or even the hand and the plant through the hole at the same time. So the plants are sort of plopped in. But hey, I have seen plants go through much worse and survive, so in they go. Not being a professional terrarium builder, I do not have fancy schmancy put-the-plant-in-gently tools.

A plant that didn't make the grade

I bought this plant to go in and be a "tree" in my terrarium scene. I have these cute little lights that I put in, I'll show you in a minute, and I wanted them on a plant that was tree like. But....

Too big

I neglected to measure my container and just went on memories. Which in this case was definitely not a good idea. Oh well, live and learn, and learn and learn....

The light entrance

This is the spigot. It has now turned into the light cord hole.


The lights were amazingly small enough not only to be a good scale inside the terrarium, but to also fit through the spigot. I just had to bend them over and guide them through. As friends who have been to my house can attest too, I am a twinky light person. I use them every where. in every room.

A good sized strand, a hundred lights, equals about a seventy watt light so, I figure that it is not a terrible thing to have a few strands in each room. I appreciate ambiance lighting. Ah, I just like them, and after Christmas, when the commercial grade ones are two bucks a strand, what the heck, cheaper than the light bulb even. ooooh oooh another digress...

Ta da

So there it is the finished product. Wait, I'll turn on the little lights inside.

Ta da da da

And there you have it, ready for display, except that the display area isn't ready for it. Well, I'll put it there, I just won't take its picture until the area is properly dealt with. Yikes, Kathy, from Spot on Cedar Pond fame, is coming over for a spot of tea at three,

The mess

So I better get this mess cleaned up. The good thing about company for me is that it makes me clean up a mess I might otherwise leave. You know it wouldn't be that hard to rationalize it, I could repot some of my other house plants but I would do it tomorrow so I would have to leave the mess today. But then tomorrow would have something else up its sleeve so then the mess would stay there 'till who knows when. Isn't it good that I am trying to give up lame-o rationalizations for Lent?

So by three my house didn't look too bad for company, Kathy is always so gracious, she has an always spotless house, if not spot-less, pretty stinking close, yet she continues to befriend those of us who struggle in that department. And she never says a word.

She had picked up her mail before she arrived and in her mail there was an item from Amazon. Guess what it was, come on guess... no, guess again... Mildred can you guess? It was a book. .... It was a book on terrariums that Mildred had on her post. Kathy saw it and decided to get it and it arrived on the same day that I made my terrarium and had Kathy over for tea, is that weird or what. But then we specialize in weird at Dirt's place!

Dear Reader, I hope that if you chose to practice a spiritual discipline for Lent, that it is going well for you, not easy, but well. Because I'm not so sure we learn much about anything when things go easy. That's why I'm not fasting. Fasting is easy, for me. Eating at the appropriate times is hard, for me. Eating off of a plan is hard. Going to bed on time and sticking with a schedule is hard. I did well on the eating, but not so hot on the schedule tonight. With God's help tomorrow will be better. Now I am going to go lay my silly little head down and praise His Holy Name. I am terribly sorry that I ran out of time to visit over at your place today, tomorrow ought to be better for me. See you then. Goodnight and God bless.


KathyB. said...

I have to say, the terrarium is beautiful and I don't think your photos do it justice! I too was thinking how coincidental it was that my book arrived in the mail and I picked it up in time to see your terrarium. And tea with you and yours, dear Lanny, is ALWAYS very fun, stimulating, inspirational, educational, and did I! Tea with you, your daughters, a pack of ratters and reclining the whir of the spinning wheels as Bet and I spin up more yarn. Altogether a lovely day. Thank-you!

Mildred said...

Lanny, I love the terrarium, especially the twinkly lights. What a great use for your container and how special that one plant is; can't wait to see the blooms! Sounds like you and Kathy had a wonderful tea party and I hope the book is enjoyed. Wishing you and yours a happy weekend.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh i made one of those a million years ago! i forgot all about it! it was not nearly as lovely as yours but i loved it anyway and it was happy for a long time...

smiles, bee

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

The terrarium looks great. I especially like the little christmas lights. They are so cheery. You done good. :o)
I have an entire 10 x 14 shed for potting (I'm dangerous with dirt and debris, it flies everywhere). It's time to start planting here in SE Georgia. Now that my neck is healing so nicely I can probably do these things again! Wahoo!
Y'all enjoy your tea time. Have a cuppa for me. ♥ ∞

LindaSueBuhl said...

what an adventure - only Lanny could make such a story of planting the terrarium (quite lovely) - I have been using a chop stick to help me with working on the seed starting - might be a good thing for terrarium work also? nay - not long enough for your big hearty terrarium. Sorry about the planting peas thing - I have a stack of containers, soil etc. which is demanding attention - so far I've ignored successfully.
I'm doing OK with our Lenten discipline - thinking of our Savior when I have to remind myself - no you chose not to have that for this time period. It reminds me to think more of Him - that's a good thing. Cheerio and good fortune with the pea planting.

Susie said...

Good luck with the terrarium Lanny. It turned out great and the twinkly lights add a different look for sure.

Marla said...

Your terrarium looks very nice. It's snowing here tonight. It had finally all melted and now everything is covered again.

Kathleen from Eggs In My Pocket and Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Oh, I just love what you done! I looks great! Love your words also! Have a great weekend,blessings,Kathleen

A. Joy said...

me thinks you need a few little froggies to put in that terrarium! They would think it was a crystal palace!