Monday, March 30, 2015

BHG's Blogger Awards ...And the Winner Is...

Digging, the blog by garden writer Pam Penick is this year's best, and she thanks everyone for their votes here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Garden Shopping 102

A light drizzle today turned into a blustery pouring rain.  No worries, I needed a pruning saw and a few other things from the Let's Do It shoppe: Home Depot.

Usually Home Depot lacks the whimsy that I find at Menards.  Today, however they had some fun stuff.

Who knew there were Martha Stewart seeds?

I didn't see any I wanted but interesting to know they carry these as well as Ferry Morse and Burpee.

I found these little wooden crate herb boxes charming but didn't get them.

I have an old metal shelf in the garage that would be nice for my house plants on the pseudo-deck.  It is currently gun metal gray.  I've seen lots of examples of charmingly painted shelves lately so we're going turquoise.  It will be beauteous.

So many of my trees and shrubs need trimming and shaping.  We must have five different pruning loppers but the need a lot more strength than any of us have. 

I finally have an actual pruning saw.

My beloved iron garden shelves in many shapes (including a bicycle) have needed something that would hold plants or pots without the things falling through the spaces in the ironwork.

Florists moss is often suggested, but it is expensive, hard to find, and comes in tiny bags.

These cocoa hull (?) liners were reasonable and may be my answer.

I'm no fan of seed tape, having tried it once long ago with nary a sprout.  I am apparently easily swayed by Insta-Grow plants in clever containers.

Miracle Gro has these cuties:

With Easter next weekend I'm in full egg mode so I needed these:

Somehow in recent years I've developed a love of watering cans so these went in the cart:

I don't need any plant labels but we're talking Mickey Mouse.  They also had Goofy and Disney Princesses.  Seriously.

Though they're not remarkable, these jumped in my basket.  

Garden dreaming !

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Better Homes and Gardens 2015 Blogger Awards Voting

One of the blogs on my gardening blogroll Digging mentioned that it's time to vote for the 2015 top garden bloggers.   I thought I'd add them all to my blog roll for the nonce so I can enjoy them.   Take a look and vote if you wish:

Digging: Cool Gardens in a Hot Climate

Floret Flower Farm

Garden Betty: Diary of a Dirty Girl

Gardening Gone Wild: Your Weekly Infusion of Garden Passion

Growing With Plants

The Gray Boxwood

The Horticult

Small Town Gardener: Conversations in the Garden

Urban Gardens: Unlimited Thinking for Limited Spaces

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blogger Stats

You may already use your built in Blogger Stats, but I haven't been looking at them, always checking Sitemeter instead.  As you can see below, the Stats are actually much the same as Sitemeters and less invasive.

You need to be logged in to see them is the only difference convenience wise.  If you use the Popular Posts widget and also look at the individual post views (under Posts) you have a good idea of readership.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Too Close For Comfort

My beagle has turned stalker. He follows me everywhere. 

When I try to stretch out on the couch he jams himself in and pushes against my ever arthritis sore legs to make more room for himself. 

Whine whine whine.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Groundbreaker

Here we have an 8x10 Glossy of my garden workhorse The Groundbreaker.

 Needs cleaning and sharpening.

 Figure A Groundbreaking Landscape Tools.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Raised Beds : Getting Ready for Spring Planting

I've been working the soil in my raised beds with a hoe, just loosening things up.

I'm pleased that I spent extra time in the fall making sure all plant roots and leaves from the season were gone.  The previous year I had done a terrible job and it was a mess come spring.

Though I took care of that sort of thing, I still have tree feeder roots in the beds so I have to go back with my Groundbreaker and chop those bad boys out.

It is the big guy that looks like it has a double headed axe.  It has never met a piece of hard ground or a tree root it couldn't persuade to leave town.  My favorite tool.

Sitemeter Redirect

I've been seeing lots of re-directs and problems with My Space popping up as I read blogs on my blog roll.  

I looked up one of the redirect sites this morning and found that Sitemeter and its pop up pal My Space have been purchased by some Ad Spammy company.

Removing Sitemeter stopped the redirects immediately.  If you click on a link on your blog and see a strange address in the address line before getting to your site, take that puppy down.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Chocolate Cake of the Month

I've been craving chocolate cake and meant to try a new recipe each month.  Slow starting, but we're off!

I'm writing on my iPod as usual and will post the link to the recipe later.

This is the I want Chocolate Cake Cake from Smitten Kitchen.

I had problems.  My powdered Buttermilk didn't mix in well.  

Although my butter was properly soft, my mixture of butter and dark brown sugar never got "fluffy" by any stretch of the imagination.

The cooking time was 18-22 minutes but the cake was floaty in the pan by the end of that time so I cooked it till a toothpick came out clean.

The cake is a single layer which is nice. It wasn't the nice nice moist cake I'm looking for.  My buttermilk may have made all the difference.

The frosting is light and chocolatey and just right.

Not the chocolate cake I'm looking for, but nice with a glass of milk.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day March 2015 : The Secret Plant Histories

As you could see yesterday, nothing is blooming here.  It's a sad thing that I'm happy just to have bare brown ground with no snow, but there it is.

It occurred to me yesterday to tell the plant tales of three of my oldest houseplants.  Too exciting, right?

Momsy Plant

This is a tree whose variety I can't guess.  It belonged to mom and was forever in her beautifully sunlight house with an impossibly tall ceiling at the center.  There was a skylight way up in the ceiling that the plant strove to reach.  One of mom's cats was always trying to climb the tree, enraging mom.

When mom was gone and we were cleaning out her house, nobody spoke up for the tree because we all have homes with typically short ceilings.  As we were working, someone noticed that the tree had disappeared into the back yard.  It lay on the ground with all of its leaves torn off, and it was out of its pot, hacked to a mere two feet tall.

I never knew it, but one of my sisters was the original owner of the tree and it was given to her by an old flame she despised, after all this time, enough to try to murder the poor tree.

Horrified, I put the tree back in its pot and put it in my car.  When I got it home, I left it outside and watered it, not sure if it would live.  Within a few days, leaves sprouted along the hacked trunk and soon it was back, looking like a shorter version of its former self.

It goes outside with my other houseplants each summer and comes back in the fall.  It can get tall in mid-winter, though it doesn't get tall outside with all of that nice room to grow.

Bill the Fica

My brother in law had a nice fica tree which he put out on his deck next to his hot tub all summer.  It was in a small back bedroom in the winter. 

He grew concerned that it was truly unhappy all winter, and he asked if I'd take it.  I suppose I had a large number of houseplants at the time and he thought it would have a good home.

It has done really well for us, and I know he liked that we called it Bill the Fica, after him.  We lost Bill himself one terrible year, but his namesake always gets time out in the sunshine of our deck in the summer and because it grows tremendously and happily outside, it gets trimmed back quite a bit.

It can grow quite a bit even in winter, so the last couple of years I've brought it and Momsy downstairs where they get a southern sunny window but it is a little cooler than upstairs so they don't grow quite as much over the winter.

The Sproingy Plant

This plant was given to me by a member of a garden club I belonged to early on.  Its owner was very knowledgeable and generous with garden club members.

She had a truly lovely garden that put us all to shame.

This little succulent is a favorite toy of  our cat since those leaves just go sproing when batted.

I've had this plant for about twenty years, I think.  It reminds me of when gardening was all new to me and there was so much to learn.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

First "Garden Tour" of the Season, It's All About the Brown

We've had 50's and 60's for a week. It would be easy to be fooled into thinking we're getting that mythological thing called Early Spring.

I have been bringing out my garden ornaments and shelves which are made of metal or plastic, they can take a sudden tragic return to winter.

I really can use the space in the garage that they're occupying, so it's all good.

Returning to a habit from early in my garden career, I am doing my first "tour" of the season, going bed by bed and noting if any green is showing anywhere, and if trees and shrubs made it through the winter.

I also note any changes I'm hoping to make.

I've only covered half the gardens, but my blueberries all look good, as does my nectarine in its pot of a home.

I thought last year's new pink blueberry might not be viable, but when I broke off a bit of stem it was green inside so it is fine.

The arborvitae along the south wall seem nice and green and took little winter damage it seems, so I have high hopes for nice lush growth this year.

Here are some nice brown pics, imagine these in a month if the weather continues or improves green and full of life.

Imagine if you will daylilies and yarrow.


Pink Lemonade (?) Blueberry

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Survivor Worlds Apart

Last night's episode was mostly what we used to call a "downer" back in the day . It seemed to mostly consist of people being needlessly mean, cruel and rude to each other.  Although Survivor is often about people interacting poorly with others, it usually is only a couple of individuals, not something so rampant.

The worst of it went to Nina who was made to run ahead of her group during a challenge that had the group carry a water bucket full of holes back and forth.

Nina was deemed by Joe--who had seemed like such a good guy, as someone who would drag them down--wow.  

Almost a mercy for her to be voted out at tribal.  What will the group of loose, "fun loving" No Collars do when they inevitably get down to just three "carefree" crud balls?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Dreaming

60+ degrees!!!!  There is some unmelted snow, but it is all but gone.  There is something about sunshine and fresh air that downright invigorates the soul.

Off I went, shopping at Menards for plastic clothesline rope and other springy things.  They had none--lots of clothes pins but no clothesline rope.

Floating through the garden center area I saw some fun stuff.  Menards turns out to always have fun pots and other charming decoration.

I resisted buying things, but it occurred to me to take a picture  of the things I liked and perhaps I would go back another time and look for them.  

What an excellent way to stem impulse buying, eh?

Wasn't that fun?  Free, too.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Timely Tasks

I make the bed daily.  If I don't make it early in the day, there is often a surprise awaiting me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DOA On TV: Survivor Worlds Apart Week 2

What a fine episode, loaded with bare bodies--all smudgey on TV, thank heavens.  It seems by day three or four people start to really have trouble in the game.  They aren't eating or sleeping well, maybe they don't have enough fresh water.  The Thin Veneer of Civilization begins to crack.

The Top Five Who Lost Their Veneer this week:

Max (White Collar)


A college professor who teaches classes on Survivor, he must have missed the many episodes where a person stands out right away by flaunting bizarre behavior.  He dropped his skivvies in front of everyone and strode off along the beach to swim.  I thought he was dodging work, also a no no, but he claimed it was freeing and he could guarantee he'd be able to swim and think alone. Ya.   He did inspire fellow white collar mate Shirin to drop her drawers while she washed dishes.  Many eyes were averted.  Too many cheeks spoil the broth.

Nina (No Collar)

Many people have a breakdown at this early point in the game and it is always hard to see.  Usually the player is fine afterwards and can go on.  Nina really felt left out of things, particularly by younger girls Jenn and Hali.  I think it was a shame Nina made Will feel Vince was targeting Will as weak because he has asthma, that came out of nowhere, and it weakened the very good alliance numbers that she, Will and Vince had going into tribal.

Mean Girls Gotta Be Mean: Jenn, Lindsey, Sierra

Lumped together here this week are Jenn from No Collar who had no human sympathy for Nina's problems of the night and from Blue Collar  Lindsey and Sierra.  Lindsey and Sierra never give Dan a moment's rest from heckling, sneering and general mean girl snark.  If he goes they'll just find someone else to pick on.

Sent home tonight:  Vince Sly the Coconut Salesman, even though he was actually reasonable enough all night.  Nina's stabby stabby to Will made Will vote against Vince and voila, alliance gone.

DOA on TV: Survivor Worlds Apart

 I hadn't watched Survivor for a few seasons because they kept recycling old, mostly annoying characters.  One of the things I enjoy about Survivor is seeing an all new group of people go into the jungle and get eaten alive by all manner of things. 

The current group includes all new people with some really grand personalities.  Many of these people have been watching the show forever, they say. 

Somehow, everything they know goes out the window as soon as they hit the beach.  They seem to say and do every stupid thoughtless thing imaginable.  What's not to like?

This time players are in Three Groups:  White Collar, Blue Collar, No Collar.   The players seem fine with being slotted into these categories and are in fact almost working to exemplify the categories.  Very interesting.  Survivor as social experiment lives again.

My Top Five Players from Last Week  (Not thinking Good or Bad, just that they stood out):

Carolyn Rivera   White Collar Tribe  Smart, Saavy   Found the Idol two others had the clue for.  I wanted to smack her for telling Tyler she had it (Why why why???), then again for not using it.  She did escape at Tribal anyway.  So stupid she told that bozo about it.

Dan Foley    Blue Collar   He seems like a good guy who wants to get booted asap.  He must know that he should lay low and keep his snoot out of motion, but Yakety Yak, he talks back.

Jenn Brown   No Collar    She is just so down to earth, a really good player, and she seems like she's having a blast, so we do too, whenever she's on screen.

Joe Anglim  No Collar   Great team player, really kicking it in challenges, low key personality around camp.  Seems like a sweetie.

Vince Sly  No Collar   This guy is trying way too hard to get the Survivor Stalker Creepy Guy Award right off the bat.  Very intense.  What was he thinking when he imagined how his personality would fit in, in such an environment?

Sent Home Tonight:  So Kim for being an all too obvious and early liar and conniver.