The E Girl
A Lengthy Intro to My Organic Gardening Life:

Lost/confused?! My cosmetology business is in the process of closing. We have replaced it with an organic garden instead. The DBA was simply a nickname bequeathed upon me by a doctor a long time ago who made note that my name has 6 E's in it and dubbed me thus The "E" Girl. The Artemis organic body/skincare has a shelf life and is being disposed of, but the Eye Kandy mineral eye shadows and glitters will likely be donated to a beauty school we partnered with. Present focus has been diverted to home and family given our collective health situations. If you need a point of contact please use I am not putting my phone number online, and I've moved away from utilizing Facebook personally.

Let's begin with navigation or operation of this website first. I've been told sometimes there is simply a little confusion so hopefully we can clear this up. Any underlined text below is actually a clickable link that will deliver you to another website for information on what we're learning and researching. If you're interested in studying just click the underlined text links you see here and there. Think of it as a scavenger hunt for the hunter/gatherer society. The thumbnail images when clicked open the full size version of the image in a new internet browser tab. The videos all are primarily sourced off my iPhone/iPad presently so I fully recognize the quality may be skittish at best. Web design is one of those things I'm generally trying to keep basic/simple within reason across browser mediums minus images slowing down loading of the page regardless of attempting to shrink file size. I'm never going to get this perfect either. My hopes are that this explanation will help everyone better.

No chemical/synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are used with the exception of very occasional food grade diatomaceous earth added to the soil or a last resort mix spray (organic neem oil, non toxic soap, cayenne, black pepper, garlic, and water) if we suffer infestation similar to what occurred when we lost the cucumbers with mealy bugs. We have avoided thus far BT spray due to concerns of risks such as found by visiting/clicking here and here. For all clarification the mix spray has not been used in quite some time. To combat cole crop caterpillars attacking the broccoli and romanesco we instead planted garlic chives between them which has remedied their making lacework of our plants. Vinegar is used in weed control (20%) given the xeriscape. Fertilizers have included Rabbit Hill Farms, MicroLife, Ladybug, and Maestrogro (Rose Glo). We're doing our own composting; this means unattractive worms breaking food down. No burn molasses has occasionally been put out, and we've utilized bone/blood meal as well as epsom salt for magnesium. I realize there may be legitimate concern over the bone/blood meal, however, some of the fertilizers also utilize bat guano in their formulation which we are using. The molasses seems to be another one of those controversial conversations about if it is of any benefit/harm. I've read further that people are worried about fish emulsion/fertilizers and generally across the entire gamut of gardening or anything else in life there will always be the issue of taking a risk or gamble that has either reward or consequence attached to it. Until you're out here doing the work or learning certain lessons much of our moral, ethical, and other dilemmas does not hit home until you're truly face to face with the fork in the road and having to make choices.

Another clarification is that the bone/blood meal is used rather infrequently. The plants don't require a heavy proportion of those ingredients to do well. And yes one could say this is the macabre end of the Bone Collector urban legend where you recognize our garden is not perfect, vegan, or vegetarian. I have struggled with philosophical beliefs here. Harm is inevitable because harvesting plants where you cut or pull is in essence "hurting or injuring" said plant which then has to renew itself. The proverbial situation here is that we all aim to do good in life, but we're looking at two sides of the very same coin/object and using it as the means to act self righteous or holier than thou. Gardening is simply a lesson in birth, death, and rebirth or that energy changes forms yet is not destroyed while we complicate it or debate it. One should be able to test their soil and apply only when necessary. The garden was designed by my mom (Lynn) who was schooled in civil engineering and given to two groups who built the porch and xeriscaped the land. I was the one who wanted to attempt growing flowers, herbs, and vegetables which is a little more difficult than I expected. Our latest nemesis, however, with all the rain/dew this year is powdery mildew so our zinnias are a mess, and it's hard to pull them when the pollinators still want their nectar despite that they appear unsightly to a human's eye.

We are in the process of building new gardening beds and plan to fallow soil or work towards crop rotation with soil amendments soon. Thinning has been occurring as well especially romanesco which I estimate 50-60 of the seeds took. Flowers, vegetables, and herbs have been shared with family and friends. I'm submitting some of my photos to the database for Butterflies and Moths of North America or have spent time out in Fredericksburg, TX at the wildflower center with the butterflies.

The homemade lotion/body butter mom and I make is organic shea, cocoa, and jojoba butters, beeswax, vitamin E oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, and vanilla extract (for scent). The lotion is all organic sourced ingredients except for the vitamin E oil although I usually trust the brand for being reliable. Essential oils can be substituted for other fragrances and I believe we have rose, cinnamon, tangerine, and orange so far. The latest lotion/body butter we're experimenting with a scent combination of cinnamon mixed with tangerine. Our family simply wants to live a more stress free and enjoyable life at present without the many headaches and hardships we've endured. We also tried infusing avocado oil with opal basil and rosemary.

We are trying sweet potatoes instead of a traditional style potato this fall. The sweet potatoes appear to be either taking up much room in the bed or the quarter pieces we put in the soil have reached clear across from one end of a gardening bed to the polar opposite sprouting what appears to be separate sets of plants/leaves pushing through. A few dormant carrot sprouts have also shown up interspersed which must have stored energy up for after the first harvest. The first harvested carrots were utilized in a dinner meal long before I got a proper photo of them. I did use the carrot greens in salads and shakes/smoothies.

Our first monarch butterfly usually starts the butterfly explosion at about 7 am each day and a bumble bee in our sage usually as well followed by a whole lot of honey bees everywhere. It doesn't slow down in the zinnias till about 6 pm with pollinators. I do expect this to change with the seasons; overwintering. Milkweed and Hollyhock/Watchman was planted November 15, 2017 in the rain since the weather continues to fluctuate between rain or shine every other day presently. This included putting the found earthworm back after digging the hole. All seeds purchased/used are organic or heirloom. My step father (Darren) deserves the credit for the new garden bed construction and helping with many other projects. It's my belief that gardening is a to each their own process and everyone is entitled to their way of handling how they want to produce what they grow. We're not all going to agree on these concepts.

Our screech owl has returned to the nesting box already as of the end of October 2017. I guess we'll see if the female joins again. 2016 we had three screech owls (mom, dad, and baby) and then they took off for a while after their clutch/baby was old enough. They were also pretty active during the daytime surprisingly; constantly moving into the kitchen area to nap or sitting on the fence watching me water in the garden. The plan or goal being to build another nesting box for the other tree. Our cat below is another Halloween gift. Ink Spot or Inky showed up a tiny kitten all alone on our driveway roughly about 11-12 years ago which we adopted. She spent the entire medical LOA with me on the couch while I had my foot broken in 3 places and a dislocation keeping me company.

For the most part we're trying to let nature simply live/coexist. None of what we're doing is for everyone, and I can't possibly expect it to interest certain people. There has been the opportunity to meet some of the neighbor's children where we've made some exchanges here and there since they do peer over the fence from their trampoline looking in. Aloe, apple mint, and chocolate mint earns you some earthworms and an invitation to a birthday party combined with a request to share some seeds and the wish for a lemon tree. Being asked if you're afraid of the bees, told the garden is big/pretty, that the white rabbit out front is admired, and we need to team up to fix the fence between our houses. It's also been suggested we start a bee hive project, but my parents aren't very keen on us necessarily going into the actual project to that level yet. It would seem some of the neighborhood kids have an interest in gardening as well inquiring as to if it's difficult or not where I've expressed we have personally never done this before. Lots of questions including if I've seen a queen bee and about the fallowing or cutting the plants back. Silly me the only analogy I could think of was cosmetology 101 and explaining how if you have dead/split ends or over processing you get a hair cut so the new growth is healthier. No queen bee sightings and no hives; I can't exactly make jokes about the Borg to children perhaps. Might scare everyone with their worst nightmares?!

I'm still collecting butterfly and insect information. I have new guests showing up all the time it seems. The latest being the Red Admiral and Ceraunus Blue butterfly. For now I'll let the images and videos do the rest of the talking. Also our broccoli this year is more into the flowering and seed stages, however, if harvesting misses the tight bud stage it is still usable. The stems and leaves would be absolutely no different in use to collards. Broccoli flowers may be eaten raw or cooked. When a fully opened flower is steamed it will wilt, but it makes an edible nutritious garnish sometimes found in stores as a delicacy. One thing I've been very happy to learn in this is how wrong I've been taught in life about certain items. I have either pre-conceived notions or what was taught to me formed a very rigid exclusionary bias towards food and life. Those unsightly dandelions in the yard some are edible weeds/herbs. It's a chance to re-educate one's self. The broccoli is believed to imply that it was planted wrong season, bad seeds, or that it was starved of water/nutrients by most if it produces smaller crowns and goes to seed. I suggest we all reconsider our biases and research or question in life. Instead I'm questioning how wasteful our societies are by not realizing what is all around them if they look from a different perspective. What if we have wealth all around us and miss it by looking in the wrong places for it! Personally we share edible flowers with the bees. Borage is still used in my diet even with all the bees coming to pollinate it. I frankly don't care that a bee was there; pollinators are supposed to be helping out as teamwork! They help with mint and basil too which I'm grateful for. Now if only romanesco would do something besides turn into a giant lump of green leaves please. And yes we still shop at grocery stores for food.


Butterflies, Moths, Insects, and More Sighted/Identified So Far:

This is the running tally of what I usually see daily in the garden so far feeding from flowers or herbs. Click all the underlined words to learn more about what I'm identifying in this garden including all the food, herbs, and flowers you see listed below. Combatting insects deemed as pests vs. beneficials actually requires a lot of work/effort. Caterpillars are usually hand removed when found on lettuce, bell pepper, broccoli, or romanesco leaves presently for relocation. Caterpillars literally just crawl right on your hand or a small stick and let you place them. One Tobacco Budworm caterpillar (major agricultural pest) was found in the zinnias, but thus far I've not seen any others. I'm hoping they do not return. They start nom nom and your plants are just gobbled up. The butterflies usually dance or flit all around together as well as puddle. Charlotte's Web has visited us; Spiny Orb Weaver.

Horace's Duskywing (1)     ● White-striped Longtail (2)     ● Two Tailed Swallowtail (1)

Fiery Skipper (4)     ● Orange/Large Giant Sulphur (2)     ● Painted Lady (4)

Gulf Fritillary/Passion Butterfly (4)     ● Monarch (6)     ● The Queen (2)

Clouded Skipper (4)     ● Pipevine/Blue Swallowtail (1)     ● Long-tailed Skipper (1)

Giant Swallowtail (1)     ● Bordered Patch (2)     ● Crab Spider (2)

Assassin Bug (3)     ● Neon Skimmer (1)     ● Praying Mantis (1)

Variegated Fritillary (3)     ● Gray Hairstreak/Ashen (1)     ● Green Spotted Beetle (4)

Celery Leaftier (1)     ● Twinflagged Jumping Spider (2)     ● Screech Owl (1)

Cross-striped Cabbageworm     ● Cabbage Looper     ● Bumble and Honey Bees

Leaf Footed Bug (2)     ● Broad Headed/Bow-Legged Bug (3)     ● Flies

Carpenter Bees     ● Great Black Wasp (1)      ● Mosquitoes

Southern Dogface (4)      ● Spider Mites     ● Cicadas and Their Shells

Red Admiral (2)      ● Ceraunus Blue Butterfly (2)      ● Mixed Dragonflies

Crimson Patch (1)      ● Tobacco Budworm      ● Spiny Orb Weaver Spider (1)


Essentially We Are Growing:

If you have any interest in further information about the flowers we are growing this website gives some flower meanings. Viola and pansy will be somewhat similar, however, not all violas are pansies.

Zinnias and Violas     ● Perennial Plants (assorted)     ● Lettuce (Green, Gourmet, Leaf, and Romaine)

Bell Peppers     ● Broccoli and Romanesco     ● Carrots

Yukon Gold Potatoes     ● Borage and Echinacea     ● Rosemary, Thyme, and Parsley

Cucumbers     ● Lavender and Aloe Vera     ● Apple Mint, Chocolate Mint, and Lemon Balm

Greek Oregano     ● Garlic Chives     ● Opal and Siam Basil

● Cactus and Succulents     ● Cat Oat Grass and Catmint/Catnip   ● Sweet Potato

Yuletide Camellia     ● Hollyhock/Watchman     ● Butterflyweed and Showy Milkweed


Planned Seeds for Future Crop Rotation/Planting:

This fall we plan to eventually pull many of the zinnias and cut back the perennials, but we have held off on doing so while we still have a lot of pollinators using us for their habitat or home. I'm quite certain regardless this will happen very soon. Our zinnias have not beaten the powdery mildew and while new growth has come out positive it spreads quickly given the spores are wind spread. As such much of the pollinator habitat will simply have to be disposed of (trash not compost to quarantine disease). You can see the butterflies still taking nectar from these plants in some photos below. It's a frustrating situation/lesson, but they've provided us with a lot of color and blessings. It's simply a shame that the combination of cloudy, too wet, and colder weather provided a perfect atmosphere for blight.

Yellow Summer Squash and Green Zucchini     ● Black Krim Tomatoes      ● Garden Bean and Celery

Spinach     ● Bee Balm     ● Hard Shelled Gourds

● Ice Queen and Cactus Flower Zinnia Mixes     ● Cantaloupe


Thumbnail Gallery:

Click any thumbnail to view below and it will open the image in a new browser tab. Some photos were from my iPad while on medical LOA (Figuromo, iOrnament, and pottery) that I've decided to add in. I have tried to organize these into groupings by dates presently. It's the only logical way I felt to attempt to keep this large image gallery in some form of structure without becoming any more chaotic than it is at present.

The honeysuckle is our neighbor's which grows over our fence as are the lilies which I snapped a photo of before they died. You have lots of thumbnails to click! The goal is/was to average 30 photos per day, but for now I'm leaving this stagnant as of November 19, 2017 for the time being lest this thumbnail gallery turn into a gigantic monster. We still have a lot of pollinators including our Monarch butterflies with us since it's so warm at present.


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Quicktime iMovie Butterfly/Bee and Garden Compilations:

Pollinator garden was some of the concept we also have aimed towards.

Yes, at present our video count sits at what some term an unlucky number of 13 which I could've skipped over. What the number implies to each person is their own belief pattern. Some simply see it as evocative of darkness of night breaking into dawn. Ignore other's negativity. See it as inspiration, fresh developments, distinctiveness, growth, motivation, and passion.

The music in these videos is Kevin MacLeod's Oddities (With a Creation), Ripples, Far East Inspired (Ishikari Lore), Far East Inspired (Cambodian Odyssey), For Originz, Light (Somewhere Sunny), Finding Movement, Scoring/Noire (Comfortable Mystery), Scoring/Wonder (Lasting Hope), Industrious Ferret, At Rest, Blue Feather, Nowhere Land, Digital Lemonade, Odyssey, Vivacity, Teller of Tales, Scoring/Wonder (Finding the Balance), Dark World (Ossuary 5 - Rest), Native American (Night of the Owl), Porch Swing Days, Fretless, African (Arid Foothills), and Western European (Drums of the Deep).

What Is This Website:

Renee:  ISTP, Phlegmatic Melancholic, 1w9 Self Preservation, and 50/50 Visual Spatial with Musical Intelligence

Emojis were sourced from Last updated November 19, 2017. Everything has been done via iPhone, iPad, or iMac. No, it's certainly not the greatest set of tools for photography or videos. I'm rather amateur at a lot of this after all when it comes to photo taking or videos especially off a phone or tablet. This website has been designed as a one page amassment. Optimized primarily for display screen resolutions above 800 x 600. All HTML has been coded by hand in TextEdit instead of WYSIWYG generator having learned/studied since high school and the age of 18. I recognize there is a lot of text to read; my apologies. Proofreading has been performed, but I still make mistakes. We used the underlined text as our way of linking back to resources we've used in studies, research, etc. while indicating that anyone who desires to learn may click the word and gain understanding.

Renee is a licensed Esthetician (TX License 1446048; Expires Oct. 2019) presently employed as a full time Vitamin/Health and Beauty Care Clerk with a chain grocery/supermarket retailer focusing on life, (w)holism, well being, cosmetology, and harmony as of the close of November 2017. Previous employment involves reception, notary, and administrative support in insurance and legal fields (medical malpractice, personal injury, and employment) coupled with various areas of retail including grocery. I have also previously been a blogger and published online articles as a side job for extra income including partnering with cosmetic company PR within and outside of the USA (England, Germany, Ireland, Korea, etc.). I am not a know-it-all, but rather see life as a constant opportunity to continue studying or learning.

A few other interests included astronomy, art museums/pottery, Japanese music/culture, pen pals, visual novels, and forms of analytical psychology/archetypal personality studies as a means of growth or understanding one's self. Born in Clearwater, Florida on July 26 making her a Leo essentially, but lived in Texas since age 5. I was also in high school Color Guard. I've recently valued learning to keep a bit more to myself and be very selective in who is let into the finer details of my life. Likewise I do occasionally suffer from anxiety/panic attacks. Essentially my introversion kicks my bum a lot, and while I like to say I can do all these amazing things occasionally I fall apart. The internet is what we all contribute to and make of it for better/worse as it's been both benefit and hindrance in my overall life based on who or what I've met along the way. Lynn has worked in restaurant and retail industries while Darren is a mechanical engineer.

This garden is to show thankfulness and gratitude for how abundant a well lived life really is and in hopes that we realize wealth comes in many forms reaching beyond monetary value. We don't intend to discuss our religious/spiritual or political proclivities with others given that we're well aware of psychological, behavioral, and sociological manipulations, cognitive dissonance, fear/poverty consciousness that is being spread by others, discrimination/hate, and outright immaturity/ignorance.

Renee has spent time studying astrology, tarot, and many faiths in an attempt to open herself up to other possibilities. The last decade has been one of completely re-learning and trying to dismantle biases or prejudices she has carried. Nothing is perfect yet with adaptation. While she prefers the Tao/I Ching or even the Goddess centered views (Idunna, Kwan Yin, Mother Holle, Swan Maidens, Mokosh, Bastet, Oshun, Renenutet, Ix Chel, Inari, etc.) she respects the right for people to choose their paths in life. You need not support/subscribe to this way of life if it does not mesh well with you or inspire you in any form. I apologize if any of this has come off as offensive and openly admit that how I/my family live our lives is not something that we expect of others who are on different journeys or personal developmental paths of evolution. Everyone should find their own answers also from experiential studies/work; test everything for yourself with discernment.

For those wondering what I take from the above Tao/I Ching reading essentially the best way to get any message across is through a gentle form of persuasion, but to abandon forcefulness. Persistence and remaining objective combined with a level of tact helps one achieve their goal(s). Success is achieved through liveliness, receptivity, and effective hearing (short lessons will be easily understood in life when it does not serve as the means to an end in and of itself). Failure is not necessarily something to be ashamed of for it is worse to succeed in never making the attempt or to sit around twiddling one's thumbs doing nothing at all. Is real personal growth occurring in this situation or should it be abandoned? Is a promotion or other opportunity of expansion outward presenting itself to one's self? Lucky breaks don't exist; it's all the small effort combined that leads to fulfillment (a foundation built from the inside out). The small are part of a greater whole. Follow your own inner drummer towards greatness. With gardening for example the lesson is that to enjoy any harvest you have to be extremely willing to nurture the garden. You plant in the spring, but will not eat until the autumn. You have to sustain dedication to whatever you're pushing towards. All in all not a bad year!

This is also my way to heal the loss of not just my business, but a family member who is a WW II Veteran. The inheritance of which was not just furniture, but family photos, birth, marriage, and death certificates, my great grandmother's high school yearbook prior to the Great Depression, and other trinkets all of which allowed us to see that our family immigrated from Germany/Denmark before the Civil War era in Northern America. My step father's family is Sicilian; the family name is on a wall at Ellis Island in New York. At present I'm not sure how I will archive everything from 2016/2017 for anyone who still wants to see the videos or photos. The goal being to continue this in 2017/2018 as well, but with new videos and photos. I'll figure it out soon enough!

The E Girl