The E Girl
A Lengthy Intro to An 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 reneereeves@hotmail.com. 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.

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.

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.

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. Oddly I see sprouts from this already which I believe is due to us being quite warm still, but it does worry me a bit since I did not expect to see sowed seeds already growing 14 days later. 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.

Our screech owls have returned to the nesting boxes already (one as of October 2017 and the other as of December 2017). One has been spending its days in the front yard sitting atop our Fire Dragon Maple tree. 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. 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. I'm still collecting butterfly and insect information. I have new guests showing up all the time it seems. 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. And yes we still shop at grocery stores for food. Winter has also officially arrived here, however, Texas weather fluctuates all over the place never really settling on anything specific it appears with the exception of hot during summers.

Yes I have been stung by one of the honey bees in my left arm/wrist while out talking to our neighbor's children (I am not allergic). A rather harmless experience as it simply left me with a very small red welt that infrequently itches, but it is otherwise painless minus the peculiar superstitions we may still ascribe to.


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Fertilizers, Soil Amendments, and So Forth:

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 as companion plants which has remedied their making lacework of our plants. Vinegar is used in weed control (20%) given the xeriscape. Below is what we're presently using in our garden. 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.

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 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. 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.

Rabbit Hill Farms     ● Maestrogro (Rose Glo)     ● MicroLife

Ladybug     ● Bone/Blood Meal     ● No Burn Molasses

Epsom Salts (Magnesium)     ● Homemade Compost     ● Organic Alfalfa with Earthworm Castings


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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. Our pollinators are grumpy if in the fall/winter you move plants to the garage or cover them; Ink Spot fusses about wanting to munch on the grass.

Horace's Duskywing     ● White-striped Longtail     ● Two Tailed Swallowtail

Fiery Skipper     ● Orange/Large Giant Sulphur      ● Painted Lady

Gulf Fritillary/Passion Butterfly     ● Monarch     ● The Queen

Clouded Skipper     ● Pipevine/Blue Swallowtail     ● Long-tailed Skipper

Giant Swallowtail     ● Bordered Patch     ● Crab Spider     ● Ladybugs

Assassin Bug     ● Neon Skimmer     ● Praying Mantis

Variegated Fritillary     ● Gray Hairstreak/Ashen     ● Green Spotted Beetle

Celery Leaftier     ● Twinflagged Jumping Spider     ● Screech Owl

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

Leaf Footed Bug     ● Broad Headed/Bow-Legged Bug     ● Flies

Carpenter Bees     ● Great Black Wasp     ● Mosquitoes

Southern Dogface     ● Spider Mites     ● Cicadas and Their Shells

Red Admiral     ● Ceraunus Blue Butterfly     ● Mixed Dragonflies

Crimson Patch     ● Tobacco Budworm      ● Spiny Orb Weaver Spider

Dusky Blue Groundstreak     ● American Snout Butterfly      ● Gray Bird Grasshopper

Sleepy Orange/Sulphur Butterfly     ● Pillbugs     ● Box Elder Bugs


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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     ● 1015 Onion

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


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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.

I suppose, however, there is some hidden message here when you see bees and butterflies completely ignoring the unsightly powdery mildew (fungal taint/mess) or the flowers that are spent/past due which we've not pulled quite yet as they take to overwintering in our backyard to get nectar. They must be a lot less nit picky compared to myself or other humans with their judgments (taking the good with the bad/ugly). I've also learned to leave weeds in the rocks here and there. The butterflies love to sit in them and just "chill out." Usually I'm having to watch where I step or walk even in the mulch as they sit on the ground. The experience being if I'm out planning to use the vinegar to spray and control the weeds I must be extremely careful to observe no butterfly is resting there or I'd spray the butterfly with essentially an acid. Butterflies also hide in the leaves that are falling during fall/autumn. The bees also tend to follow me around.

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


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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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August 6, 2017

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    


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August 8, 2017

                     

                    

                    

                    

                    


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October 15, 2017

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    


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October 20, 2017

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    


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October 22, 2017

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    


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October 28, 2017

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    


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October 30, 2017

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    


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November 19, 2017

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    


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Extra Yearly Outtakes/Thanksgiving 2017:

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    

                    



Quicktime iMovie Butterfly/Bee and Garden Compilations:

Pollinator garden was some of the concept we also have aimed towards. Pollinators have been taken for granted and some believe that there is a worldwide decline in populations due to the excessive use of certain pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides combined with changing climate or even massive habitat loss with landscapes converted to human usage. However, flowers, fruit, beverages, medicines, and many other items we as humans enjoy require their help or teamwork.


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Music Utilized in These Videos:

The music in these videos is via Kevin MacLeod through https://incompetech.com/music/.

● 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)

● Western European (Drums of the Deep)     ● Scoring/Misc (Heart of Nowhere)     ● Scoring/Misc (White Lotus).


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What Is This Website:

Emojis were sourced from http://emojipedia.org/apple/. Last updated November 19, 2017. Everything has been done via iPhone, iPad, or iMac. Optimized primarily for display screen resolutions above 800 x 600. Clickable underlined text linking was our way of connecting to resources or references we've utilized for learning various topics rather than providing a long resources or link list somewhere else. This is hand coded HTML not WYSIWYG; Computer Science was taken in high school and expanded initially as nothing more than a hobby or random past time out of boredom.

Why a garden? This is something I/we have never done before so it represents a challenge. It was also to heal not just the loss of a business, but the loss of a family member combined with a desire to add curb appeal to the house. We chose to expand the porch after I fractured my foot. The entranceway and back doorway were never built to city code which prompted us to consider improvements to the original house design in the hopes no one else fractures any bones be they in the foot or otherwise. This is the second time someone was injured leaving the house out the entranceway. Essentially just trying to keep a peaceful life as much as possible as there have been too many uphill battles/obstacles recently.


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The Webmistress:

     

Typecasting Renee:  ISTP, Phlegmatic Melancholic, 1w9 Self Preservation, 50/50 Visual Spatial with Musical Intelligence,
Higher Conscious Archetype of Alchemical Goddess/Lower Shadow Unconscious Archetype of Goddess of Love,
Fairytale Archetype of Cinderella or Cendrillon, and Whale Spirit Animal or Totem


Renee is a licensed Esthetician who graduated Valedictorian which essentially implies I am a book worm with really good attendance (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.). Born July 26 (Leo with Magha Nakshatra) in Clearwater, Florida, but has resided in Texas since age 5.

A few other interests included astronomy, astrology/philosophy of various kinds (symbols/correspondences), tarot, 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. Do I believe in all of the "superstitious" views found; not necessarily. It is, however, something many cultures still seem to perhaps hold onto/promote for various reasons. To each their own. 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. Lynn has worked in restaurant and retail industries while Darren is a mechanical engineer. Maternal family is German/Danish and her step father's family is Italian/Sicilian.

The project has plans to be carried into 2017/2018, however, I've not decided as of yet if or how I will archive any of our accomplishments shown here from 2016/2017. I'm debating on if this is a wise concept or idea for those who will still wish to see a chronology of our gardening work via photo or videos. If you intend to send me e-mail via reneereeves@hotmail.com I do not tolerate flame wars, trolling, spam bots, etc. and will gladly block certain communications immediately.



The E Girl