Diva Musing: Spell Checking…

Spell Checking…
Sometimes I think things to death. Where am I, Who am I, What is the meaning of life, What am I supposed to do in life? I follow thousands of ancestral years of people thinking the same way. They had many thing in life, thousands of years ago, to evaluate just as I/we do. Someone eats your lunch out of the refrigerator. How will I respond? If I were a cave woman I might pull out a tomahawk and pound their head in, I worked hard to bring down that mastodon! I might use the proper “UG” to cuss them out sufficiently. I may just walk away, but not likely for a cave woman or even a mountain woman like me. Simpler times were easier to handle.
Today we are on sensory, emotional, global melt down almost each new day. Many of us are addicted to our cell phones and can text in a blink of an eye a feeling, emotion, or fact. No more smoke signals that could be effected by the weather (or so they want us to think). LOL! So many of us are under the spell of technology, bad news media, big pharma propaganda and general stressful malaise.
What can we do? Spell Check! Identify and evaluate the spells that you have let get cast on you and work to break them. It is all about decisions we can make. That is the real spell breaker. Our good choices.
Do I want to keep taking those drugs, Do I want to keep wallowing in self pity, do I need a significant other so much that I would put up with abusive bullying prats???? If you don’t break the spells in your life you could become the bitter, cynical shrew/witch you likely despise. Are you clinging to the past and letting dead issues allow you to create more bad Karma? Do you need the victim mentality so badly that you can’t let go?
Is the blame game still the mantra for your life all the time? Are you the indefatigable whiner? So much so you don’t even deserve Cheese with that whine. Each day is a new day to choose. Only you can choose to love in spite of chaos and cruelty in you life. You can choose to stay away from those who create this in your life. You can distance yourself from any ting and everything that destroys your vibration in the world. You do not have to let other destroy you inner peace and love.
Start volunteering and get outside your own problems. You may want to go back to school and start a new trade or learning tool. Have an adventure you never thought you could. Sit in groups that nurture you personally and spiritually. Stay out of groups that DON’T!
Put on your big girl panties and go for it. Shift happens; but only when we agree to let shift happen.
The Universe sends you what you think about all day long. If you choose the blame game, you’ll get more things to blame others form. If you choose the change game and think only of what you really want the Universe will bring you that continually. Don’t keep swimming upstream. Go with the natural flow that the universe has set for you. I hope my pontificating hasn’t upset you. I really do this often to remind myself to practice what I preach. Happy Spell Checking. Love and Light to our Light-worker Brigade.
Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Musing: Fall is in the Air…

Fall is in the Air
By now you know the Crones grew up in the South. I remember from my early teens hearing all the old times talk about the Farmers Almanac for planting, weather predictions and healing remedies etc. It was gospel to a Southern Farmer, Fisherman, Hunter etc. Today is is as solid as ever in my opinion. I’m listing a blurb to inform those of you internationally that is a good tool to add to your toolbox of research about life and nature. Fall is coming and I’ll use it to get my fall plants safely in the ground and other need to know things as well. You may want to check it out.
Time-tested and generations approved the Farmers’ Almanac is a compendium of knowledge on weather, gardening, cooking, home remedies, managing your household, preserving the earth, and more. Anyone can give you advice — Farmers’ Almanac goes beyond today’s experts and enlightens you with generations of perception, experience, and common sense.
Today, they are more accessible than ever:
In Print: Published every year since 1818, the retail edition of the Farmers’ Almanacnot only provides amazingly accurate long-range weather predictions (for both the US and Canada), but also articles, calendars, and information on everything from the best days to garden, fish and take vacations, to recipes for healthy homemade dishes, and ways to use natural remedies to cure a cold. Meet the editors. Find out where to buy the Farmers’ Almanac.
Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Musing: Micro prairies…

I decided to turn my front yard patch into an old English Garden.  Here is an interesting bit of information I found.  I love it so far. Pictures will follow if I can get it going.  Fall Planting in my zone is coming up soon. Nature has been watering with great rainfall so far.
Micro prairies: No yard is too small to go with earth-friendly native plants
If glimpses of strikingly beautiful butterflies are scarcer than a rare bird alert in your yard, maybe it’s time to go native.
Native plants are key to aiding and attracting native insects and pollinators, including swamp metalmark and monarch butterflies, hummingbirds and endangered rusty-patched bumblebees that were once plentiful in Wisconsin.
Restoring green space is important  . . .  no matter the size.
In fact, the more modest the yard, the easier it is to transform it into a micro prairie teeming with living things. Think of your yard as just one diminutive piece of the collective urban landscape.
No yard is too small for the inclusion of native plants,” said Neil Diboll, consulting ecologist and president of Prairie Nursery in Westfield. “Even one plant of butterfly milkweed can attract monarch butterflies to lay their eggs and result in caterpillars that become the next generation of monarchs.”
RELATED: Turn your backyard into a birdwatching paradise by creating a ‘birdscape’ of native plants

Wisconsin’s Neil Diboll, owner of Prairie Nursery and native plant expert, stands with spectacular big bluestem grass. (Photo: Prairie Nursery)

Diboll is an internationally known expert on native plants who is living and working right here in Wisconsin. He is intensely knowledgeable and a regular guest on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Garden Talk.
Numerous studies have shown that green spaces in cities improve air quality, reduce summer temperatures and benefit people’s mental health,” Diboll said.
Restoration of the planet does not depend solely on preservation of large tracts of land in a pristine condition,” he added. “Small plantings of native plants, in urban and suburban landscapes, can provide critical habitat for a wide variety of birds, pollinators, other beneficial insects — even reptiles and amphibians, too.”
Diboll proposes the alternative of native plants.
One of the advantages of a prairie in a small yard is the replacement of a nearly sterile lawn with a living landscape of beautiful native flowers and ornamental grasses.  . . . They also provide wonderful opportunities for children to learn about the intricacies of nature right in their own backyard.”
Prairie is the French word for meadow,” he said. “The term prairie has come to represent the mid-continental grasslands dominated by warm-season prairie grasses and many showy flowers. Meadow typically refers to cool-season grasslands more common in the higher rainfall (areas of) northeastern U.S. and Canada.”
Little house on the little prairie
It seems that homeowners are looking to spend more time with birds than with lawnmowers, as native plants top the list of demands in a recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Karen Johnson is setting the example in her Bay View yard.
A member of the Southwest Milwaukee/Wehr chapter of Wild Ones, Johnson wanted to “attract insects which in turn attract insect-eating birds.” Wild Ones is a national non-profit organization that began in Milwaukee in 1977 to promote landscaping with native plants.
One of the advantages of a prairie in a small yard is the replacement of a nearly sterile lawn with a living landscape of beautiful native flowers and ornamental grasses.  . . . They also provide wonderful opportunities for children to learn about the intricacies of nature right in their own backyard.”
Prairie is the French word for meadow,” he said. “The term prairie has come to represent the mid-continental grasslands dominated by warm-season prairie grasses and many showy flowers. Meadow typically refers to cool-season grasslands more common in the higher rainfall (areas of) northeastern U.S. and Canada.”
Little house on the little prairie
It seems that homeowners are looking to spend more time with birds than with lawnmowers, as native plants top the list of demands in a recent survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

A whopping 84% of both single-family and multifamily owners wish to incorporate natives into their yards. Drought-tolerant plants and low-maintenance landscapes came in second and third on the list  . . .  some qualities that native plants can also deliver.

Karen Johnson is setting the example in her Bay View yard.
A member of the Southwest Milwaukee/Wehr chapter of Wild Ones, Johnson wanted to “attract insects which in turn attract insect-eating birds.” Wild Ones is a national non-profit organization that began in Milwaukee in 1977 to promote landscaping with native plants.

Dorothy Messner, of Fond du Lac, sought approval from the City of Fond du Lac and started a native wildflower prairie near her home in 2015. Years later, her vision has come to life and greets those who take a small walking path near Camelot Drive and Knight’s Way in southern Fond du Lac. Wochit

Initial preparation for natives is labor intensive, Johnson explained, but after that “maintenance is minimal.”
According to Diboll, the first step is destroying turf grass and weeds.
For fast micro prairie results this summer, manually dig up turf. Or, rent a mechanical sod cutter for larger areas. Visualize the area by using a garden hose as a border.
For an easy but slower method, Diboll recommended smothering the lawn with black plastic, cardboard or plywood for about three months.
Or, kill grass with a broad-spectrum, non-persistent herbicide such as glyphosate (Roundup) at eight-week intervals beginning in late May.
Plants then can be placed directly into the dead grass. The easy, slow method’s advantage is it does not disturb the soil and expose it to invading weed seeds.
Leaving a spot or two of bare soil in your yard is also beneficial to native bees, as 70% nest in the ground.
Once your natives are planted, water as needed until they are established in about two months.
Be patient with native plants, as they will first develop their long roots. Prairie plant roots can easily reach six feet or more, where turf grass roots grow only a few inches.
Mowing may be needed a few times the first season or two for weed control. After that, mow just once in early spring. Early spring is best because many insects overwinter in plants, and the native seed heads are a good food source for birds in the winter. 
Transplants are definitely better than seeds for micro prairie gardens,” Diboll said. “Seeds require two to five years to reach maturity, while many transplants will bloom the year they are installed (not all). Plants also result in tidier, planned gardens, while seeded prairies have a more casual and wilder appearance.”
Buy natives locally; Be picky about plant choice.
Regard any generic “wildflowers” with suspicion (especially in those free seed packets); make sure what you’re planting is truly indigenous and desired. The last thing you want is to unwittingly introduce invasives to your micro prairie.
It’s best to obtain native plants grown as locally as possible, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Most nurseries will reveal where their plants are grown, but ask if it’s not apparent.
Luckily, Wisconsin native plants are readily available.
From Prairie Nursery, order online or by telephone. Live transplant plants are still being shipped through June 6 then resume after Labor Day. Seeds are shipped anytime.
Prairie Nursery offers pollinator favorites, grasses, hedges, shade plants and no-mow grass. You’ll find natives that thrive in clay or sandy soils, moist or dry areas. The pre-planned gardens feature selections skillfully picked, or you can opt for the U-pick plant kits.
Stein’s Garden & Home also sells native plants at its 16 locations in Wisconsin. Stein’s has offered a special True Wisconsin Native area since 2011.
Customers were looking for native plants that in many cases were already in our collection but mixed with the other perennials,” said Michelle Blayney, horticulture merchant for Stein’s. “True Wisconsin Native program allowed for those plants to be easily identified separately from the rest of the plants in the perennial assortment, as well as some additions that were not in the collection.” The natives saw strong growth, especially the bee-friendly varieties, she said.
Blayney said Stein’s True Wisconsin Native plants are raised in Germantown and have not been subject to hybridization. “They are truly Wisconsin natives,” she said. “They are unaltered.”
Johnson in Bay View said she finds natives at Stein’s, Shady Acres Perennial Nurseryin New Berlin and annual sales at the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and Wehr Nature Center.
Other timely native plant sales are also coming up.
In Menomonee Falls, Wild Ones members receive 40% off all container-grown natives at Johnson’s Nursery throughout June, which is Wisconsin Native Plant Appreciation Month. Proceeds will benefit the three Milwaukee-area chapters of Wild Ones.

Every year, the turf grass shrinks and the native plants expand in Ben and Marian French’s yard in West Allis. They are members of the Milwaukee Southwest/Wehr chapter of Wild Ones. (Photo: Ben French)

In the North Shore, the Schlitz Audubon Center is hosting a native plant celebration and sale on June 3. Drop-in activities will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with Wisconsin Master Naturalists and Gardeners. Six scheduled events will feature presentations and guided pollinator plant hikes.
For further guidance, read “Landscaping with Native Plants of Wisconsin” (Voyageur Press, 2007) by Lynn M. Steiner, a Wisconsin-raised author and speaker on native plants.
In addition, “Wildflowers of Wisconsin” (Adventure Publications, 2000) by Stan Tekiela is handy for easily identifying flowers and distinguishing natives from exotics or invasives. If something blooms in your prairie, it’s imperative to know if it’s native or something detrimental that should be destroyed before going to seed.
Jennifer Rude Klett is a Wisconsin freelance writer of history, food and Midwestern life. Contact her at jrudeklett.com.
RELATED: Want to help animals and other wildlife avoid extinction? Choose native Wisconsin plants
Top 10 native plants
Here are Neil Diboll’s top 10 plant recommendations to help transform your yard into a beautiful, natural sanctuary that’s restorative for both people and wildlife. The list contains low-growing prairie plants for southeastern Wisconsin micro prairie gardens on well-drained, medium soils with full to mostly sunny conditions.
But keep in mind, there are natives to address just about any yard issues, including heavy clay soil, shoreline protection and nibbling deer.

Little bluestem native grass offers year-round interest and blazing red fall color. (Photo: Prairie Nursery)

Prairie dropseed (sporobolus heterolepis), elegant emerald clump
Little bluestem (schizachyrium scoparium), blazing red fall color
Butterflyweed for clay (asclepias tuberosa, var. clay), attracts monarchs
Smooth aster (aster laevis), late fall bloomer

Feed pollinators in late autumn when everything else has faded with smooth aster, a profuse bloomer. (Photo: Prairie Nursery)

Cream false indigo (baptisia bracteata), loved by bumblebees
Purple coneflower (echinacea purpurea), butterfly favorite

Native purple coneflower is a butterfly favorite. (Photo: Prairie Nursery)

Rattlesnake master (eryngium yuccifolium), attracts beneficial insects
Prairie blazingstar (liatris pycnostachya), beautiful lavender spires
Wild quinine (parthenium integrifolium), extra-long-bloomer
Ohio goldenrod (solidago ohioensis), compact pollinator favorite

Diva Rambling: 8 Good Foods….

Healthy Reminders year round.  We, as usual are on a health review.  Our habits need tweaking every day.  I hope this tweak helps you as well.  I found this today and needed the review of the benefits of these goodies.  Hope they help you as well.  Thank you Health Captain.  Namaste, The Queen Cronista
8 Foods to Eat More If You Want to Lose Weight
We all know losing weight, and subsequently maintaining it, is no easy task. Especially when temptations such as calorie-rich foods are all around us and even manage to hinder the weight loss attempts of the most determined of dieters.
To help you increase your odds of success and shed the unwanted pounds, take a look at this list of foods you should eat more if you want to lose weight, as recommend by nutritionists. Add them to your diet and enjoy their proven weight-loss benefits!
Apples are extremely popular and healthy fruits, with numerous perks. If you want to lose weight, eating more apples can also help you keep pounds away.
One reason is that they contain about 85% water, which makes them very filling. Filling foods usually reduce appetite and promote a lower calorie intake. More than that, apples are rich in weight loss friendly fiber. A medium apple has around 4 grams of fiber, which translates into 11% of the recommended fiber intake for men and 16% for women.
Another fiber-rich ally for your weight loss plan is asparagus. This green veggie is low in fat and provides only 40 calories per cup, while packing 4.5g of protein and 4g of fiber (soluble and insoluble).
Fiber is slowly digested by the body, keeping you satiated for longer, thus making asparagus a perfect choice in your weight loss attempts. While helping the scale go south, asparagus also provides you with important vitamins and minerals such as A, C, K and folate, calcium and iron.
Potatoes are usually considered weight-loss saboteurs but when part of a healthy diet, they can actually help you lose weight instead of gaining it.
Plain potatoes have around 160 calories, no fat and around 4 grams of fiber. Plus, they are rich in vitamin C, potassium ad vitamin B6. Due to their fiber ad resistant starch, they rank top in terms of satiety, making them a good choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Just pay attention to how you prepare them. No frying, turning them into chips or covering them in sour cream.
If you have been avoiding beans for their gassy reputation, just know you’ve been missing out on their weight loss perks.
Kidney beans, chickpeas or soybeans are all high in fiber and protein, helping you eat less and reduce your calorie intake. The soluble fiber in beans has a great satiating power while the 7 grams of plant-based protein control the hunger and satiety hormones.
Beans also have a low glycemic index, keeping hunger pangs away by keeping stable energy and blood sugar levels.
When it comes to weight-loss breakfast options, eggs reign supreme. They are rich in protein, low in calories and packed with 13 essential nutrients and healthy fats.
Eggs provide around 6 grams of high-quality protein, helping you feel satiated and eat less throughout the day. Being high in protein, eggs also boost your metabolism to burn an extra of 80-100 calories per day, due to their thermic effect.
Cottage cheese
Just like eggs, cottage cheese may work just as well in making a good breakfast choice when trying to lose weight. That’s because it is low in calories, with 160 calories per serving, high in protein and calcium to keep you full and satiated and stimulate fat-burning.

Citrus fruits
If you’re trying to lose weight, you might want to add some citrus fruits to your list next time you go shopping. That’s because oranges, lemons or grapefruits are extremely low in calories, between 35 and 62 calories to be more specific, and rich in fiber and water.
The 3-4 grams of fiber citrus fruits provide, help you maintain a sense of fullness and satiety and reduce your calorie intake at the next meal. They’re juicy, sweet and keep you satisfied! What’s not to like about citrus fruits?
Naturally sweet and delicious, berries are also ideal for any weight-loss diet due to being low in calories and high in fiber. They also include high amounts of pectin, a soluble fiber than boosts satiety and reduce cravings. Apart from helping you trim down, berries can also lower cholesterol and abdominal fat.
When part of a low-fat diet, berries can also lower triglycerides and improve insulin resistance. They are cholesterol free, highly nutritious and extremely versatile.

Diva Tasting: S’mores Bread Pudding…

S’mores Bread Pudding
1 Pound Cake Cut Into Cubes
1 (14 Ounce) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Cup Half N Half
4 Eggs, Beaten
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2 Cups Miniature Marshmallows
1 Cup Miniature Semisweet Chocolate Chips
5 Graham Cracker Squares, Crushed
4 Tablespoons Cream
4 Tablespoons Miniature Marshmallows, Or More To Taste
4 Tablespoons Miniature Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Or More To Taste
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 square baking dish. Spread pound cake pieces out onto a baking sheet.
  2. Bake cake in the preheated oven until dry and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Beat condensed milk half n half, eggs, vanilla extract, and nutmeg together in a bowl.
  4. Spread cake pieces out in the bottom of the prepared 9×13 baking dish. Pour milk mixture over cake. Scatter 1 cup marshmallows and 1 cup chocolate chips over the milk mixture; let rest until mixture is slightly soaked into bread, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over the top.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted into the center of the bread pudding comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  6. Whisk 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons marshmallows, and 2 tablespoons chocolate chips together in a saucepan over medium heat until marshmallows and chocolate are melted and completely incorporated. Pour marshmallow mixture over bread pudding and cool, 20 to 30 minutes. Yum!

Diva Rambling: Fried Green Tomatoes…

One of my season favorites.  Restaurants in the South have them on the menu.  Hope you enjoy. My vegetarian, nutritionist, daughter-in-law loves these.  Namaste, The Queen Cronista
How To Make the Best Southern Fried Green Tomatoes
With a pinch of salt and yes, sugar, you can master the art of frying green tomatoes
Choose Your Skillet
Cast-iron skillets are great, but any good, heavy skillet works fine. An electric skillet is also a good choice because it keeps an even heat, allowing the tomatoes to cook uniformly.
Salt – And Sugar – Before Frying
After slicing the green tomatoes, sprinkle the slices with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.  Green tomatoes are very acidic, and the sugar will balance the tartness and give them a nice depth of flavor. Let the tomatoes sit for a few minutes as you prepare the other ingredients, and then lightly blot the top surface of the tomatoes with a paper towel. Don’t worry if you see a bite more moisture forming – this helps the breading adhere to the tomatoes.
Keep the Heat High
Make sure your oil has reached the desired temperature (usually 360° to 375°) before you put in the battered green tomatoes – the right temp is what makes them crisp and beautifully golden. If the oil is not hot enough, you end up with soggy-crusted, limp green tomatoes. If the oil is too hot, the outside will brown too quickly and your tomatoes won’t be cooked all the way through. Keep your oil level shallow – you don’t want to completely submerge the slices in the oil. For added flavor, add two to three tablespoons of bacon grease.
It’s Ok to Double-Dip
While many recipes say to just dredge and dip once, it’s ok to double dip.  Green tomatoes will extrude juices when frying. Double dipping them in a batter creates a crisp exterior, and a perfectly-textured interior.
Drain Properly
When fried, remove the green tomato slices with a slotted spatula, drain on a double layer of paper towels, then transfer to a rack on a baking sheet. Some people like to salt the tomatoes once again at this point. Keep the fried green tomatoes warm in the oven while frying the rest. Do not cover the tomatoes or the crust will soften and become soggy. And do not stack the tomatoes on top of each other until they have cooled about 10 minutes, otherwise the ones on the bottom will become soggy.
Serving Suggestions
Fried green tomatoes make an excellent addition to the classic summer dish, the Southern vegetable plate. They also make really nice appetizers, served with ranch dressing. And of course, you just can’t beat the Fried Green Tomato BLT.

Diva Rambling: Nature’s Plan….

Napoleon Hill again.  He understood the Universe’s plan and honored it.  Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Failure seems to be nature’s plan for preparing us for great responsibilities.

If everything we attempted in life were achieved with a minimum of effort and came out exactly as planned, how little we would learn — and how boring life would be! And how arrogant we would become if we succeeded at everything we attempted. Failure allows us to develop the essential quality of humility. It is not easy — when you are the person experiencing failure — to accept it philosophically, serene in the knowledge that this is one of life’s great learning experiences. But it is. Nature’s ways are not always easily understood, but they are repetitive and therefore predictable. You can be absolutely certain that when you feel you are being most unfairly tested, you are being prepared for great achievement.

Napoleon Hill~