Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In the Garden: Jumpstarting the Year 101

The season got off to a rough start with a late heavy snowfall last Tuesday. Luckily my traditional five days off to get the garden going began Wednesday!

By Wednesday, my first full gardening day, the snow was mostly a memory.

There are certain tasks you need to do before you get to the fun stuff:

1.  Pick up doggie detritus.

2.  Pull leaves off of the gardens.

3. Block four legged beaners from the east side of the yard with their digging, trampling, detritus doggie ways.

4. Locate Gardening Notebook and note what survived and what did not, what to take out or move.

5. Put comfy garden swing and adirondak chair in a nice vantage spot for lots of breaks.

5. Clean out veggie garden raised beds.  I used cocoa bean mulch last year in desperation to help the veggies with the extremely hot summer and the two one week vacations we took in July and August.  I planned to rake that out of the garden this spring.  As it turned out it had mostly decomposed so I left what remained.  I had read as much as i could about a good veggie garden mulch and found nothing satisfactory.  Cocoa bean hulls were excellent.  Weed supressing and moisture saving.  To my chagrin the beds on the south side of the garden had tree roots, those really fine ones in them, no doubt from the arborvitae nearby.

Voila! Just a bit of snow left.  It melted last right on the south side by the fence where no sun could get to it easily.

As we see the ratty gardener didn't get all of the ornamental items taken in over the winter.  Note the poor arborvitae that was split by the heavy snow the day before.  I think my spouse put a bit of twine on it to bring the branches back together.

While taking a break I go to sit in my easy chair with a cup of tea only to find it heavily occupied.  Stinkers.

They can lounge anwhere...

This raised bed had crocus peeking out of the leaf cover by noon Wednesday so I had to scoot out and get the leaves off pronto.

Crocus emerging!

It takes over an hour to completely clear the leaves out.  As you can see lots of things were ready to go as soon as the evil snow left.  Narcissus, daylilies and mini-chives abound.
I had started cutting back my hydrangea stems when doh! I noticed lively buds.  Just got a few side shoots.  The long handled hand rake from Linders has been invaluable for saving my knees.  I can scoot my little tractor around the garden and reach in with the rake.  There is a matching hand hoe that is nice for plumping the soil up a bit.  Yes, the soil in the raised be is warmed enough to dig in.  A single day after ye storm.

I had at least three other varieties of crocus in here but certain four footed beasties broke into the bed and dug them out.  This fall I can safely add more.

In recent years I've become fond of whimsical garden ornamentation.  This bird house from Linder's charmed me in the depth of winter.  It is sort of heavy, being made of metal, and it was difficult to find a tree branch it hooked onto just right.  It looks just lovely, here's hoping emerging foliage doesn't bury it.

The bozos perhaps anticipate the upcoming east side ban.

I read on Facebook that you could give your peas a jumpstart by putting them in a wet paper towel and putting them in a plastic bag for 24 hours.  I did this but only a single pea sprouted.  In the ground they went anyway!

Welcome to the garden!

The fake garden creatures begin to appear.  I have a thing for frogs because I've always liked them myself, and when I first met her my mother in law, she had a dazzling collection of them on her kitchen wall.  Hugs, Mary.

The new gate and fencing which contains the diggingest dogs.  And handsome Mr. D.O.A.

A view from my new snuggly garden swing retreat.  Lots of leaves to pull.  My beloved Rusty Rabbitiques shelves over by the fence, not showing up so much now, but once they're filled with pots they'll give wonderful color to that underused spot.

Inspired by my Master Gardener cohort at work, I'm going to put in a small Fairy Garden around this tree.  It is even more gnarled on the other side.  The first spring we lived here a tornado took out about half the trees in the yard, just yanking them out of the ground.  This one may be raised up this way as a result, but it seems happy.  I always love Scottish Moss but can't get it to thrive anywhere in the yard.  I wonder if it might do well here.  It will look charming for a single season anyway.  The dreaded rocks you see here are I hope! some of the last remnants of the rocks and black plastic that were around every shrub and tree and in every garden in the yard.  Grrr how I despise rocks and black plastic.  These might just make a cute roadway/path in the fairy garden. If not they go poof as have their rocky pals before them.

I have a bad case of what I like to call "Plant Lust".  When I go to the garden centers in spring everything looks so vibrant and beautiful, I MUST HAVE A TON OF THINGS!  Tsk.  Bad for the budget.  So this year I am going to limit myself to plants with pink or white flowers.  This will look happy and charming and it will limit my Plant Lust options.

Unfortunately for me, I also have an obsessive love of watering cans.  No clue where that came from.  I find them irresistable.  These are loveable and practical as a nice concentrated stream of water emerges from their piggie nostrils.

I feel as if I got a ton done during my time off.  Lots to do, but it is heavenly being outside in the sun and warm air so I expect to be out there tons and have the best garden ever.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Evian Babies Rise Again

Via The Presurfer (aka The Generator Blog Guy) the new Evian Baby commercial called Baby and Me. Who wants to release their inner baby? Everyone, it seems!

What a Difference a Day Makes, Seriously.

Original, eh?  Still I took these photos tonight of the snow filled area on Tuesday morning's video.  Voila! Spring!

Touches of green in the grass!

My Baptista appears upright and unharmed.  My sweet husband brought out my swing :)

Raised beds in the veggie garden are visible.

Most of my arborvitae have recovered from the crushing snowfall.  You see how many pots and things didn't get taken in last fall.  This year it will be perfectly done.

Tomorrow is my first full gardening day of the season.  I'm going to work on the inner yard these first two days and outside the fence Saturday/Sunday.  There's a plan, man.

The Glory of the Garden by Rudyard Kipling

To get the season off to an even more auspicious start, here is a lovely poem that captures the essence of gardening:

Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.
For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You'll find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dung-pits and the tanks,
The rollers, carts, and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks. And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise ;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows ;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.
Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:-" Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.
There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.
Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gardening Season 2013 Kickoff in D.O.A.'s Garden

I have taken off about five days each spring whenever I can to give my garden a jump start.  Clear away leaves and old foliage, draw new maps of what survived the winter, make plans for new plantings, get my early veggie seeds going.

Mother nature, that ever humorous beastie seems to like winter more than spring this year because every single time the snow melts 6 more inches get dumped down.  Ha ha ha, Mother Nature.  Now let's see your sunnier side, pleeeaaassee?

Here is my first video of the gardening season.  Just listen to those birds singing!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Not Quite the Picture of the Day

Saw this on FB and it reminds me of my co-worker aka Rubber Duck Woman. If I could use Photoshop at all I'd replace Snape's head with hers. Much better.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ye Liebster

I rarely get comments but happened to notice one from novelist Kaye George nominating me for a "Liebster Award".   I read Kaye's post on the award, and the post by L. D. Masterson who nominated Kaye.  There appears to be a circuitousness about it, not quite a chain letter but perhaps the blog version of one.

So I looked up the award itself like any good librarian would do and found a variety of posts about it but no official site.  I liked the detective work Sopphey Says did on it trying to dig into the origins of the "award".

Whatever the origins it appears to be a way to say "I like your blog, I'm going to share it and I'd like you to answer a few questions about yourself that will let readers know you better".   It's all good.

Liebster Award Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator; list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Award to 11 bloggers, who have blogs with 200 followers or less, whom you feel deserve to be noticed. Leave a comment on the blogs letting the owners know they have been chosen. (No tag backs.)

4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.
1.  Thanks Kaye!  I'm going to look at all of the blogs you've recommended.  Thanks for sharing them.
2.   Kaye's Questions
Do you like your name?   I hate my actual name.  Is it anywhere on my blog? Noooo.  Horrible name.  Bleh.
Are you living where you expect to stay or will you move someday?  This is my place to snuggle in for the duration.  I love my little house.
Do you have pets?  What are they?  If not, why not?  I have two beagles.  They are our second set.  The most joyful little creatures you could meet. They don't ask much and are beside themselves when they get the few things they love: walks, belly rubs, treats.
Are you neat or sloppy?  Do you have a mate who is the opposite?   I am relaxed.  My mate is also relaxed although in his mind's eye he thinks he lives up to his mother's spotless ways.
Are you a morning or night person?  Mate same or opposite?   I am naturally a night person though a working life has made me sleep through my primo hours.  I have come to appreciate the quiet of the early morning hours before the world awakens, though you can't talk to me.   My mate is a ball of fire out of the gates in the morning and he is immediately somnolent as night approaches.
Would you rather be inside or outside?   I am so tired of winter I want to be outside for years!  Snow and continual ice are keeping me inside. Luckily I have much to keep me busy and entertained in either venue.
Do you ever get giddy with happiness?   When I learn or accomplish something new or difficult, yes.  I'm always battling my own incompetence so it is a keen victory!
Are you a glass half empty or half full person?  It should be obvious that the glass is always both half empty and half full.  Sillies.
What is your favorite color?  PINK.  I wear it whenever I can.  I don't decorate with it except to wildly some years buy all pink flowers for the garden.
If you could be anyone else either in the past or the future, who would it be?   Oddly enough, I wouldn't be anyone but myself.  
Who do you consider the greatest writer ever?   Although I have always loved Ray Bradbury, noone can compare to William Shakespeare.   He has his own Dewey Decimal Number!
3.   Eleven Random things about me
1. All too often I won't start a project that I don't think I can do really really well at.

At about age 5 I noticed the inside of fishsticks have a wierd shiny way of reflecting light.  I haven't willingly eaten them since.
When mom was pregnant with me she ate peanut butter and sardine sandwiches with honey on the side.  This explains alot!
I love notebooks to death and must have one and a pencil with a good eraser nearby at all times.
I don't mind earth worms too much.
I am able to mock my neighbor's crow like voice pretty well.  I think she'd be fooled.
I'm afraid to ride my new pink bike.
I'm the only person in my family with no artistic talent.
And everyone else has blue eyes!  Sniff.
I have lost the ability to make Granny Squares!  Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

I like making handmade cards but I can see people truly would rather get a Hallmark.
4.     Present the Liebster to Eleven Bloggers!
This will take some time.  Check back often!
5.  Put the Liebster Award on your page   (no room on the sidebar!):

Oopsie!  I forgot to make up 11 Questions for my (victims) honorees:

1.   Which do you love more chocolate or caramel?

2.     Pepsi or Coke (think carefully!)

3.    If you could take a riverboat journey down any river in the world, where would you go?

4.   If another planet in our solar system was colonized, which would you like it to be?

5.   Do you read only one genre of book or several?  Which ones?

6.   Does your spouse or significant personage or pet steal your pillows and horde all of the blankets?

7.   Who was funnier, Laurel & Hardy or Abbott and Costello?

8.   What is the scariest book you've ever read?

9.    What is your all time favorite board game?

10.  What language that you don't know would you like to learn?

11.   What is your all time favorite book? 

Don't Make Me Leave!!!

People love the library.  At closing some people are so snuggled down they don't want to leave. 

They ignore a half hour's worth of closing announcements. 

They give you this odd little waving away hand gesture when you remind them you're about to close and they've made no move. 

They tell you "I know" and go about their business.


Last night a girl was sitting having a jocular time with her hooves up on a chair, no shoes on, curling her toes happily in her socks.  I mention we're closing.  She nods happily.

Everyone else was out and it was past closing and Sock Girl saunters out and wants to know if she can use the restroom.  It looks like she has a change of clothes in hand.   I picture her in there changing clothes, adjusting her makeup for another ten minutes...

You should try Walmart I say.  They'll be open for quite awhile.  Ok she says.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kokonut Kapers

I've always driven people mad at family events taking pictures.  Now, muahaha I can take videos.

My nephew played a newlywed who comes to an unfortunate island resort where he and his new bride become hopelessly lost in the jungle.  Other characters try to save the island from exploiters living and dead.  Really a hilarious play.

                                                    JP tells us about the plot of Kapers

                                                                Alex Explains All

                                         The opening song welcoming you to Kokonut Island

Relaxing after the show