Friday, May 30, 2008

The Macadamia Nut Crowd Loves Mohawks

On payday everyone comes to my office to get their checks. I get to see many co-workers that I don’t see often because they work at night.

Such is how I recently crossed paths with the Mohawk-coiffed dishwasher, who was recently promoted to the weekend swimming pool security guard.

He’s a young guy with a very likeable personality. A few weeks ago I commented that he looked rather nice in a Mohawk. It was unsculpted and unspiked. I told him I had never admired a Mohawk haircut before and it surprised me that I was complimenting his.

"Wanna touch it?"He bent right down in front of me and offered up his horseshoe-shaped tuft of hair.

With that gesture, his became the first (and likely the only) Mohawk I have ever had the opportunity to run my fingers through. It was all soft and fuzzy feeling. I guess he was sporting the casual nonstyled version because he had to be to work so early in the morning that day.

When he came in get his check, he had used a bit of sculpting gel and I commented on the different look. With a little smirk, he said he had to look good for all the ladies he would be seeing at the pool tonight. I laughed and said I’d imagine that one of the fringe benefits of his new position was the chance to strut around a pool full of bikini-clad young ladies all evening.

“Well, no” he said, “It’s mostly older ladies who like me to sit down and talk with them while they feed me macadamia nuts and pretzels.”

I’ve been smiling all afternoon about that remark.

Maybe I am not the only "older lady" admiring that Mohawk.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Once every 2 Years, This Crabapple is Stunning!

So every 104 weeks, it produces almost a week of gorgeous blooms.

Every now and then during the preceding 103 weeks with no blooms, I consider cutting it down and redoing that area. Then it blooms and I change my mind.

We have frost again this morning.

Yesterday I left all the coverings on the plants, so I should be all set. I hope I don't remove the blankets only to find that, like Betty's tomatoes, everything was hit anyway. How frustrating that must have been, Betty.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why do I Ever Listen to the Weather Person? ##!!##

When I planted on Sunday, the whole week was supposed to be no lower than 40 degrees at night.

Thank goodness I went outside last night and covered everything that was too big to haul to the garage.

When I got up this morning it was 29 degrees! There was a heavy layer of frost on the neighbor's roof.

Hopefully these nice warm blankies kept my babies safe and sound. I am not going to uncover them until I get home from work this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Get Those Hands Dirty

Since I have to spend my hard earned bucks to get my nails done every two weeks, I always, and I do mean ALWAYS, wear gloves when I am working in the garden.

I find it difficult to plant small items with my cotton gloves, so I use those latex food gloves that I keep in my kitchen. They are super thin and it feels like you have nothing covering your hand.

I do tend to forget how thin they are and I continue on planting for hours. When I get done, my hand looks like this:

All that black dirt is under the gloves! Yes, I get little rips and the soil clogs under my nails and then under the entire glove. So much for clean hands...

I thought I'd show you a little trick I use to fill large containers.
Instead of using more soil than I need, I fill the bottom with the plastic containers that I just took the plants out of. Just squish them in. It saves soil, lessens the weight of the container and helps provide drainage.

It's a good thing.

Here is that container all planted.

I put a canna in the back and some of my new dahlias in the middle. It should be stuffed full once they come up.

Do you recognize that stick with the birdhouse in the back?

It's my pupae on the stick that I saved in the garage all winter.

One of them fell off and I picked him up and put him on top of the soil and he moved! He didn't exactly roll over or anything, but he sort of bobbed up and down a bit. They are alive. I hope something does not eat them now that I've put them outside!

It's colder out today than I expected so I just turned on the television to check the local weather. It's only 48 degrees and A FREEZE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM 11PM TO 7AM. Just my luck! ARRRGGGGG .... off I go to haul all the plants into the garage.

Monday, May 26, 2008

'Texas Flame' Parrot Tulips

I was so surprised when I got home from work today and noticed the 'Texas Flame' tulips were blooming. I usually only get one or two blooms because the rest get eaten.
The flower heads seem smaller than I remember them. But then my tulips usually do get smaller each year. I am just happy to have so many to enjoy for the short time they are here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Planted $100 worth of Annuals Sunday Afternoon

Saturday morning I went into work for a couple of hours, then I went to Joanne's Fabric store and Kmart for another couple of hours.

When I got home, DH had the deck floor all stained. Now that was perfect timing! We both did the white part a few weeks ago, but it's been too cold to do the floor until today.

We let the deck dry overnight and Sunday morning we put the glider back on. DH is having a cup of coffee while admiring his handiwork.

I checked the weather forecast and it looks like no more lows in the 30's, so I decided to go out and buy some plants. I went to Home Depot and bought NOTHING. Usually Home Depot is one of my favorite places. This year there was not a thing I was interested in. They had some hanging basket sale-- for $5 or $6, but they only had one plant in them and I thought they were dull and uninspiring.

So I went to Wally's World and a nursery and found a few things...some poor looking sweet potato vine (but I needed that lime green color! so I bought it anyway), some orange geraniums, some very nice verbena ('Quartz Burgundy'), and some nice purple 'Marlin Blue Morn' petunias.' I also found some coleus called 'Wizard Golden' which is the exact color of the sweet potato vine. I think that will be a nice accent in the planters.

Here you see just under $100 worth of annuals. A Franklin doesn't buy much anymore.

I found some nice sized pots of straw flower at the nursery and decided then that straw flowers would be the center of all my hanging baskets.

I planted six hangers that are almost identical, three wall hangers and two big containers. I have a few flowers left, but I ran out of potting soil, so they will have to wait.
Here is my deck with the $100 worth of flowers on it. Go ahead....enlarge it...............
A hundred dollars worth of annuals barely made a dent in filling up that space. You can't even see the other side of the deck. It turns and goes about another 10 feet. It's bare, too.

This week we will bring out the rest of the furniture which will make it look less empty. I've got a long way to go before I get that outdoor room look I like so much!

Chasing Butterflies in my Bathrobe

What a surprise to find this cooperative butterfly when I went out to shoot the morning tulips.

He even landed on my hand!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Landscape Perspective

I get some questions about the size and arrangement of my gardens so I thought I'd try to show you where everything is located. I left these pictures big, so if you click them they will enlarge nicely and you will be able to read the writing (and probably be able to find a few weeds!). Be sure to hit the back button after you enlarge them because if you hit the "X" it will close out my whole blog.

I can't get it all in one picture so I have tried to get most of the side area in two shots. This is where the majority of my perennial gardening takes place. Everything in these gardens are perennial. I only plant annuals in the deck containers. I have labeled the different areas with the names I tend to refer to each area as.
About the only thing blooming in the main gardens now is the creeping phlox.

This is the front of the area above. I am standing about six feet from the road. The gardens go all the way back to the rockwall which is about 200 feet back.

If you focus on the main arbor, you should be able to see how this picture relates to the one above. I call these the "road view" gardens. These gardens are under pine trees which have been limbed as highly as DH could reach on a 12 foot ladder.

Nonetheless, sun is a precious commodity in the roadview areas. I have creeping phlox here, too, but it's not in bloom yet because of the shade. It's pretty difficult to get anything to grow in these areas. I think the tree roots as well as the tannin-infused soil has a lot to do with my lack of success.

I sometimes wonder why I even try! I guess because I spent so much time digging them all out (with only a shovel) that I can't bear to let them go back to the poison -ivy-filled empty lot they used to be. I think these gardens are about eight years old (time flies so quickly that I can't be really sure).

Everything is looking very green right now. I love to see the green grass paths. We don't water the grass so it's a rare thing to have all the paths looking so vibrant as they did at 6:30 a.m today.

I really have only done about 10% of the spring clean up work I usually do. Today I was working out there for about two hours. Considering my lack of spring effort, these gardens look fairly decent.

I think I have been working WAY TOO HARD in past years!

Campbell Soup Embellished Valances

Talk about differnt! LOL.
While searching the basement for something to embellish the valances, I came across these tiny little boxes of cambpell's soup. Hmmmmmmm....I wonder..........I do have a Campbell's kid cookie jar.

Well, I think they are quirky....maybe a tad too quirky for I continued my search.

I found three packages of these little mirrored black circles.

I wish they were about twice the size.
I spent some time trying to find something to back them with to make them bigger, but found nothing.
So I used them as they were.

And these valances are finished for now. I may change the embellishment if I come across something I like better.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Kitchen Windows have been Bare for the Past Month

I took the winter/holiday curtains down and have not replaced them because I want to make something different.

I have had this Simplicity 4973 pattern for quite some time.

I am always buying valance patterns when Joanne's has their .99 pattern sales. Most of them never make it out of the envelope. :)

But this cool weather puts me in a sewing mood.

Look! Not only have I removed it from the envelope, but I have even cut the pattern out.

I was surprised to find that only one piece is needed for each style. The envelope says, "Easy", but I wasn't expecting it to be that easy!

When I got home from work I went to the basement to rummage in the fabric bins to see if I had anything suitable. Finally I found two fabrics that I thought would work. I cut out two sections and sewed them together. It was just as easy as the pattern claimed....really, this pattern is a beginner's dream.

In about two hours, I had six sections sewn and pressed. I still need to sew the casing for the rod pocket and do a bit of embellishing....buttons, tassels or something.....but here they are so far:

I guess you can't really see the fabric pattern/color (at least not on my monitor). I will post a better pic when I get them all gussied up. I still have to make 4 more panels for a second window.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rain Mixed with Snow Today

That's the weather prediction.

No wonder I have no enthusiasm for planting.

My primroses are blooming.

They are always so bright and colorful. I like them blooming at the same time as the tulips. I also love them next to big boulders. Have you ever noticed that many flowers look good next to rocks? At least I think they do.

Yesterday was nail day and I asked her to give me something "bright and springy".

I think I got just what I asked for. This is certainly bright! I only have the nail art on the ring finger. Otherwise it's too much. The background is a new summer jacket that arrived yesterday.

Now if the weather would just cooperate, I'd be all set.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Johnny-Jump-Ups, Grape Hyacinths & a TON of Creeping Phlox

The phlox has just started on the sunny side of the rockwall garden. This is just 1/4 of the phlox bordering this area. It goes all the way down for 100 feet. I have this plant in many of the other gardens as well.

As you can see I have a lot of creeping phlox to keep the grass out of. It's a daunting task and I complain about it every year. I worked on it for a few hours Saturday. When it all blooms, it's worth all the work.
It should be a beautiful sight by the weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I can't seem to shake my passion for poultry.

I've been buying them since I was about twenty (oh, I guess it's only been a few years--ha, ha).

Today I thought I would show you a few of the roosters/chickens that reside above my kitchen cabinets.

This is a floor rug. I think it might be cute framed and put on the wall.

The only thing I dislike about these farm birds, is cleaning up after them. I climb up and take them all down to wash at least three times a year. I don't like sticky dusty chickens!

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's Never Been my Favorite Flower, But I am Liking it This Year


This plant is very hardy and likes a little shade. It is grown from rhizomes and has leathery leaves. The leaves are evergreen and by spring they can look pretty tattered. In past years the flower has been hidden in the leaves. This year there are three nicely visible pink flowers and I like it against this boulder.
This pic shows the big round leaves. Earlier in the season I removed a couple of the really tattered leaves.

I almost got rid of it a few years ago. I've had it in three or four different places and it's never done much. I think I may have finally found a spot it likes.

Here is another bergenia.

I may have to remove bergenia from my list of plants I don't really like. I am finding it quite interesting this year.

When I got home from work at 3:30 p.m. it was raining a little. About 5:00 p.m. I noticed the rain had stopped so I bundled up and went outside. I was shocked that it was really warm out there--too warm for the long sleeves I had on. I decided I'd spend 30 minutes removing grass from the phlox. Once I got to working, I spent over an hour. It was quite pleasant (except for the bugs that are coming out already).

I am hoping to spend a few more hours weeding this weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Size Matters

Even though it's still only in the 50-degree range, there was a bit of sun out today and the new tulips were opened when I got home from work.

They are both quite beautiful when fully opened.

The Greigii Kiev boasted of 7-inch blooms, so I thought I'd see if the advertising was correct.
Hmmm....six inches is the biggest one I could find. It's still a nice size for a tulip. The Monsellas maxed out at the same size. Not bad. I am happy with both of them.

I have not done anything new as far as the deck planters go. I usually have them all planted by now.

This year it's been too cold and I have not even been in the mood to go to the local stores to see what plants are available. That is very odd as normally I want to get there first so I can get "all the good stuff" before it's gone. Maybe I will just pull out the dozens of cannas, callas and dahlias I have stored from last year and not plant any annuals...........I am not even in the mood to do the big planters at all seems like way too much effort this year. It's really amazing how much work is involved to get the deck to look like it usually does.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Greigii Kiev and Monsella Tulips

Despite my lack of care, I have dozens of tulips blooming. I did not go out once to deer proof them. As it turned out this is one of those very rare years when there were no deer or rabbits eating my flowers.

This bold beauty is 'Greigii Kiev'. I ordered 35 of these last August from a telephone sales pitch from Breck's. I like these.

They are supposed to have "purple-veined" leaves. I don't see any purple, do you? Oh, wait a second. Let me get my magnifying glass out.

Ah, there are some tiny little specks of dark color. I guess that's the coveted "purple veining". I'd say that advertising is just a tad misleading. I was expecting to see the purple without having to enlarge the picture on my computer screen! Nonetheless, I'd buy these again for the dramatic flower color.

These 'Monsella' are also new.
These are not as bold, but they are no wallflower either.

I am very happy with both of these. It's wonderful to get mail-order flowers that meet (almost) your expectations.

I am waiting for my phlox to bloom before I take long shots of the other tulips. It should be this week.

I did a ton of cooking this weekend.

Remember Saturday night we grilled steaks? Well, we grilled extra so that after work tonight I can make a stir fry. There will be no frozen bagged veggies in tonight's stir fry. I spent a lot of time cleaning and chopping and have everything ready to throw in the wok. Bagged and frozen mixtures are so much easier!
I just love to look at all the nutritious ingredients.

Have a great Monday everyone.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

OMG--the Things I do for a Blog Post!

I know I've been a little lax on posting lately.

But can you believe that I stuck my flip flop adorned foot this close to a snake just to have a picture for posting?

OMG, I get the jitters just looking at this picture! My foot had no protection whatsoever. Thank goodness the reptelian didn't lash out at me!

Blogging has made me a crazy woman!!

DH and I spent most of the day staining the white part of the deck. What a pain it is. DH got a ladder to do the top part of the lattice

while I gave my favorite piece of deck furniture a fresh coat of the same stain.

It's only 55 degrees out today, but with the sun shining, it's a perfect day for this hated chore. Now we only have to stain the floor and the deck will be ready to bring out all the plants--even if the weather isn't.

DH bought corn on the cob when he went grocery shopping early this morning. After I finished with the staining, I brought the corn out to the deck to shuck. It saves me having to clean up all those hairy things from the kitchen floor. He also bought some steaks to celebrate finishing this dreaded task. He is outside right now cooking them. I have the corn boiling and the onions/mushrooms sauteing.

It should be a good celebration dinner.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What is this Rating System?

Is everyone seeing this? I came in once and it was here. The next time it was gone. Now it's here again. Just in case it disappears the next time I pop in, I took a screen shot for evidence. :)

I don't think I like this!

I really don't care to have people rate all my posts from 1 to 5. For what purpose is this being added?

I do hope there is a way to turn it off.

OK, I just went to two blogs and I didn't see this rating feature. Does anyone else have it?

5:30am Thursday
I figured out how to get rid of it. Go to your layout section. Under "posts" you will see a checkmark in a new box called "show star ratings". Just Uncheck it.

Ah, that feels better. I no longer feel like a teenager vying for prom queen votes.
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