Month: March 2018

A history of chandeliers

(Editor’s note: DeeDee Wood is the store manager at Tharpe Antiques, in Easton, part of the Talbot Historical Society.) The word chandelier comes from the Latin/French word “candelabru,” which means candelabra, or a place for candles, in English. Opulence and elegance are synonymous with the great sparkling lights of the rich and famous, but the roots of the candelabra go far deeper, and have origins in the caves of the ancients. Some of the earliest lighting made by humans was discovered in the caves in Lascaux, France, where they used torches in caves so that they could make their ancient pictorial paintings. Archaeologists found a lamp buried in the floor of the cave, with soot still intact. There are examples of many types of oil and grease lamps dating back to 17,000 BC as well, showing that illumination of the night was always a problem to solve for humanity. The ancient Sumerian and Egyptians made molded candles, alabaster and colored glass lamps with wick holes to burn the light bright into the night. Oil lamps were produced for larger use in Egypt, Greece and Rome. Materials such as stone, gold and bronze were used during this time period. Roman lamps were well known for being decorative and purposeful. The Byzantines made what we most closely associate with modern chandeliers during the 6th century, creating candles crudely nailed to a...

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Herbs offer an ideal accent to your garden

With many gardeners putting their attention on their vegetable gardens with spring upon us, herbs could get some due consideration as well. Their green foliage and aromas in the air could add some atmosphere to a windowsill or plant beds, and can work as wonderful seasonings to accompany your harvest from your vegetable garden. Herbs fall into a few main categories: Flavoring, food, medicine, and perfume and many gardeners planting multiple herbs choose to group their plantings by category as well. The herb garden at Pickering Creek, which has been managed by the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society, since 2003, offers inspiration with its beds being planted with groupings like “Pizza,” “Tea” and “Remedies.” The Pizza nook of the garden has different types of parsleys, sage, and oregano. If you are trying out a small herb garden for children, “Pizza Gardens” is a popular choice because they house some of the more recognized herbs and end with a fun cooking project recognized by all children. Another fun herb niche is a Chocolate garden, with the star planting being Chocolate Mint, an herb that is growing in popularity. After being dried, it can be ground up and used in hot chocolate, frostings, and anywhere else you’d like a hint of something different. Team it up with other chocolate fragrant plants such as Chocolate Daisies and chocolate colored blooms such as Chocolate...

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March to it, prepare yourself

March is the month of preparation, so take the time to prepare your garden for the growing season by checking soil pH and cleaning up winter debris is a perfect way start. March is the best time for pruning trees and shrubs, especially for fruit and shade trees. If you have fruiting or flowering trees, bring in a few pruned branches and place in water with flower preservative, and watch spring to begin to bloom inside as well. Week One • Deadhead fall pansies to encourage reblooming as the weather warms up. Apply Espoma’s Flower-tone at the suggested rate to encourage larger blooms. • Mist your houseplants every day or two with water at room temperature. Be sure to groom them often, removing all dead or yellowing leaves. Remember, pruning and deadheading encourages new growth. Cut back any foliage plants that are not producing new growth and repot them in new soil. Week Two • Wild onion and wild garlic are emerging, use Weed Beater Ultra to spot spray. Unlike many other weed killers, this product works in cooler temperatures. Another method would be to use Kleen-Up by Bonide and equal amounts of water in a coffee can plus one third of a teaspoon of liquid Woolite or Joy. Then paint this mixture on the plants with a sponge brush. • Rhododendrons are evergreen shrubs that require proper feeding...

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Learn to schedule with a plan

As I sit here typing this latest article, my windows are open and my house is full of the smell of fresh air, thanks to an unseasonably warm February day. The springlike weather has me ready for the busy season that inevitably awaits my family and me — both of my boys are busy with school and sports, and both my husband and I get busy with volunteer and work obligations. It is a flurry of activity to be sure but somehow, we survive each year, thanks in part to some scheduling strategies I have added through the years. Whether you are single or managing a busy family, working or retired, here are some scheduling strategies to make your life a sweeter and of course, a simpler one. The idea is not to have a schedule free of commitments but to have a fulfilling life where you have time for what you love and what really matters most to you and your family! I know the notion of developing a schedule sounds contradictory to a simple life but typically having a schedule in place will actually prevent you from over scheduling your life. Before you commit to any new activity, obligation or appointment, you need to know what you have already committed to, right? It isn’t all that different from setting a budget — who goes shopping without knowing...

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Bulbs are ready to flower

March is a time for spring bulbs to spike out of the soil and unfurl into bloom. After months of cold, dark winter weather, seeing color in the garden is always a guarantee that spring is close. The bulbs that were planted in the fall have had time to go through their chilling period and are now ready to flower. The first to bloom of the early bulbs are the smallest of crocuses. Tiny cups of petals poke out about an inch high in lawns, deciduous woods and flower beds as soon as the temperatures in the soils warm up. The colors of crocus include pure white, pale- to bright-yellow and soft- to bright-purple. The earliest crocuses are often a soft shade of yellow and purple while the later, larger crocuses are colored more boldly and brightly. The grass — like leaves — can blend into the lawns and flower beds and last about a month after the crocuses bloom. Crocuses are long-lived bulbs if they are planted in well-drained soils with winter sunshine. Many areas in the country have gardens full of crocuses that have naturalized and have created a mass of color in the early spring. Chionodoxa or Glory of the Snow are either blue or a pure white, tiny flower bells that arch up out of the soil 2 to 3 inches tall. Snow Drops are...

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