The E Girl
Organic Gardening Life:

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 reneereeves@hotmail.com.

No chemical/synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides are used. Much of the pest control has been by hand removal/relocation or other alternatives including planting pest deterring plants or the use of a mix spray (organic neem oil, non toxic soap, cayenne, black pepper, garlic, and water). Very occasional food grade diatomaceous earth is added to the soil. I have avoided thus far BT spray and found other ways to manage insects. Vinegar is used in weed control (20%) given the xeriscape. Personally I tend to not worry about the weeds very much so I'm usually leaving them, and I don't spray or pull perhaps often enough. Fertilizers have included MicroLife, Ladybug, and Maestrogro (Rose Glo). We're doing our own composting; this means unattractive worms breaking food down.

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. I also wanted to figure out a way so my step father (Darren) would not have to mow the yard all the time. If you ever plant zinnias they are a gift that keeps giving so be careful. I have flowers exploding right now everywhere on really tall stems the same height as me or taller. Also, after pulling my first planting of carrots I just noticed new shoots/seedlings coming back so if you want to fallow soil it's important to remember some plants lay dormant storing up their energy to show up at a later date. This is the same with our lettuce which I thought would not make it through the summer, but is still going strong. The triple digits slowed several plants down or they had transplant shock. New beds built might finally mean we can plant the yellow squash or tomatoes. You'll notice some flowers like to come in the form of stars also. The ground was planned to lay fallow through part of the fall/winter or to go through crop rotation. Heavy soil amendments, compost, etc. will be added with areas that will have new seeds for 2017/2018. New wildflower seeds were purchased as well as pie pumpkin seeds. I will probably either thin or transplant if I can do so carefully when new beds go in because the vegetables might feel too crowded or plants are too large for their pots.

If you see underlined text/words below it's a link so "click on it!" Any underlined text was meant to stand out and alert everyone that it links to information that may be helpful in the choices we have made (including the underlined "business, Artemis, and BT spray" up above). It's my way of letting you know there is something to learn about or that I've been avidly researching. Normally I don't point these things out, but it was brought to my attention some people did not understand text links (underline marked text) or thumbnail gallery operation so I have to politely provide instructions. I took for granted everyone knew certain concepts with web design; that the underlined text/thumbnails link to another website, image, etc. Get clicking I've put lots of little underlines all over to make everyone look around!


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Butterflies and Moths 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. I have added a couple of other insects to this list that are neither butterfly nor moth, but have been present. Feel free to say gross on some of these. My mom usually says I'm going to give her nightmares. I spend more time photographing butterflies, bees, and insects on flowers. My step father started referring to me as Miss Caterpillar. The number of butterflies is growing, and because of this we've decided we do not know when we will fallow during the fall/winter yet so we're deciding to wait.

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

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

Gulf Fritillary/Passion Butterfly (3)     ● Monarch (6)     ● The Queen (2)

Clouded Skipper (2)     ● Pipevine/Blue Swallowtail (1)     ● Long-tailed Skipper (1)

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

Assassin Bug (2)     ● Neon Skimmer (1)     ● Praying Mantis (1)

Variegated Fritillary (1)


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Essentially We Are Growing:

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


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I have given flowers and herbs away to friends/family because I simply have too much. This is also why I drastically thinned romanesco. There must have been 50-60 total seeds that took and it caused uncontrollable disease/pest problems. I've reduced to about 15-20 for now to monitor lest we all lose our sanity. Usually a day here with me includes bumble and honey bees following me around/crawling on me, being covered in mosquito bites, avoiding ants, or spiders that have fallen out of my hair and landed on my face so it's generally not boring. It does not matter what I do; mosquitoes love me and I am a blood bank. Apiphobics and arachnophobics should not apply for this job ever! We lost our first planting of cucumbers to mealy bugs and aphids, but will try again. We've never gardened before so I've considered this an amateur attempt. I'm also still learning a lot of different ways to use the herbs and have attempted to use carrot greens in shakes, salads, and cooking. Our cat (Ink Spot) is extremely attached to the cat oat grass so if you come in the house without any prepare to be scolded in loud meows or for her to attempt to run out the front door past you. I am also dealing with her newly acquired habit of drinking my water out of my cup or climbing the dining room table to look at my plate of food.

Blame this on the very large herbalism book someone gave me. I'm also 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. Nature is funny to observe. Mom and I made gluten free peanut butter cookies and the squirrels when I put a couple out ate one cookie and carried the other cookie whole right over our neighbor's fence. If you put shelled peanuts out they eat and bury them in the yard. We're usually feeding the birds also. The pine box/rectangle photo below is the beginning construction of our new beds for gardening.

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, and orange so far. The many "I" references are often because my work hours allow me to be the one doing most of the watering, fertilizing, and observing or oversight, but ultimately it's a group project since I still need help from others especially since we need to cut back plants this fall which have grown wild and jungle like. And Mother Nature is most definitely another helper trying to adjust/adapt to what has been done.

We may try sweet potatoes or yams eventually instead of a traditional style potato. We also save bell pepper seeds to use at a later date for planting. They're a tricky bunch where after heavy rains if I start seeing anything turn black or rot I quickly add epsom salt being that I was told our soil has problems with plants learning to absorb calcium. Our first monarch butterfly usually starts the butterfly explosion at about 8:30 or 9 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 4:30 or 5 pm with pollinators. Milkweed should be planted sometime soon this fall hopefully. A word of advice though from a personal learning experience. Don't wear red, yellow, orange, or pink combined with green in the yard or the bees and butterflies make a line for you thinking you're a flower needing pollination. I had a monarch hit me square in my forehead one day flying directly at me.



Thumbnail Gallery:

Click any thumbnail (click a small image to get a big image) 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. Flowers, bees, struggling vegetables, butterflies, mushrooms, etc. 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. Pay zero attention to the image names; I have eccentricities and do weird things. The lilies below are my neighbor's actually. They were there only a couple of days so I am glad I caught a shot of them.


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August 6, 2017

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    


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Quicktime iMovie Butterfly/Bee and Garden Compilations:

Pollinator garden was some of the concept we also have aimed towards. 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, and Teller of Tales.

I apologize greatly that the second video has an issue with shaking and blur in some areas. The fourth video my finger sadly got in the way also because I was spontaneously trying to catch the butterfly that surprised me. Another video due to the spinner might impact those who suffer motion sickness. One of these butterflies you will notice sadly the wing has been injured. I do not know how or why, but he/she spent much time that day in the garden eating from our flowers. We have also had a hummingbird, 3 screech owls, and a rabbit stay with us. Usually one of the screech owls sat out on the fence at night right next to me and watched if I was watering the garden or opted to sleep often in the kitchen/porch rafters. The bird bath is a favorite spot; the squirrels seem to use it too. The blue jays especially enjoy splashing around. In fact they splash large amounts of water out of the bird bath sometimes two or more at a time appearing like children in the pool or bath tub. I am no expert photographer/movie maker, and iPhone/iPad is not always the greatest resource; no offense.





















Randomness:



Renee is a Leo (July 26), ISTP, 1w9 Self Preservation, Phlegmatic Melancholic, and 50/50 Visual Spatial/Music Rhythmic. A few other interests have included Japanese music, visual novels, art museums, and astronomy. My interest in Japan or other Asian countries has been ongoing since I was in high school.

Past employment included legal admin/notary in medical malpractice, personal injury, and employment law. Insurance, freelance web design, esthetician (makeup artistry/skin care), grocery retail, and blogging. I partnered with a beauty aficionado for articles and advice in Ireland as well as networked with the PR for many cosmetic companies trying items before they hit store shelves which also implies I got a lot of beauty industry products from countries outside of the USA. Other spare time was penpals in Germany, England, and Korea. I had 2 from Korea who wanted to learn English.

I have more people who dislike me for being pro organic than I can count on my two hands. To each their own, but please try to at least learn, question, or study as I am before completely writing me off. I have had personal issues with my health where I am sensitized to certain chemicals causing me to wind up in the ER at 3 am a decade ago near death (an allergic response resembling anaphylactic shock) prompting me to start researching what is put into makeup, lotions, food, hair care, household cleaners, toothpastes, etc. Some of which what I've learned or found has made me question the values I've had or held. I also as a cosmetologist interviewed someone who left the industry after she disclosed how harmful working around so many chemicals with explicit MSDS sheets was for one's well being as she became very ill. Some of my clients as an esthetician were seeing me for very similar situations. They could not find a cosmetologist who recognized the blatant contraindications or allergic type responses one has to specific chemicals put into our hygiene or skin/body care industries which put them at risk/harm.

You could say any product I was endorsing in my business or spa had to pass a pretty stringent test for me to put it in back bar or use it on a client. It also changed how I viewed the cosmetic lines of many companies on the market as a whole up to and including their animal testing methods (a strange move towards researching the so-called cruelty free, vegan, and mineral lines). I found myself reviewing and researching products for a variety of cosmetic companies including podiatrists who were creating nail polish to prevent yellowing, fungal infections, etc. or a Korean company asking me about their face masks. Essentially the PR contacted me, sent me the items to use/look at, and asked me to write up my thoughts. All of which have much to consider about them. I have simply seen, lived, and experienced a slightly different life than some which you can't fit into a tiny website, resume, or job interview. Get to know me or a subject before completely saying yes/no. And beware I can get on a soap box or rant if you push me far enough which has elicited from some people that they can't win arguments against me.

Emojis were sourced from http://emojipedia.org/apple/. The chibi image was sourced from http://rinmarugames.com/. Last updated October 19, 2017. If there are proofreading errors I have missed forgive me. I've been doing websites and hand coding since I was 18 learning programming basics in high school then self teaching myself including Flash. Everything has been done via iPhone, iPad, or iMac with each one being temperamental and throwing tantrums on occasion. This website has been designed as a one page amassment for gathering and discussion. Optimized primarily for display screen resolutions above 800 x 600. And yes I know I still confuse Windows terminology with Apple; my iMac uses TextEdit not Notepad.



The E Girl