Monday, April 30, 2007

The Thrill of Working Like a Horse in the Garden Has Already Dimmed

When I got home from work this afternoon, I didn't do any work at all.

I just sat on the deck, soaking up the sun and taking pictures of myself. Is that the height of narcissism or what?

I was actually doing something else. Hmmmmmmm..............what do you think I was doing?

I was giving myself a pedicure!
Sometimes the simplest things give me such joy!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

It Was a Wonderful Weekend

I didn't do nearly as much outside work today because I couldn't use scissors after all.

I did do some edging on this phlox border.Last fall I planted a few dozen shorter red lilies all around the phlox. I didn't notice any coming up yet. I do hope they survived the winter.

I did find my first grub.

Look how I can pick him right up! I'm proud of that. I've even squished them right between my gloved fingers.

Oh and look at this big beautiful earthworm!

I overturned them with every shovel full. There are so many interesting things to discover in the underground world!

I was reading Sandy's post about Johnny Jump Ups and decided to go take a another look at mine. They are such little lovlies when you take the time to look closely at their little pansy-like faces.

Worked My Fingers to the Bone

Well, O.K. not exactly to the bone, but I did remove a few layers of skin from all that scissoring.

Today I will have to bandage it up and head back out because I really must get the rest of the dead foliage cut down. If I put a nice thick layer of bandaid, I should be able to scissor a bit more without it hurting.

The loss of a little skin shall not stop me from completing my weekend goals!

Bird Hotel Opened For the Season -- No Squirrels Allowed

I brought out three bird houses yesterday and put them on the deck. It was such fun last year watching the chickadees that made a nest in one. I am hoping to get another nest or two this year.

I thought this house needed more contrast against the white deck, so I grabbed a spray can and gave it a squirt or two of green paint. The entrance had also been eaten away by squirrels, so I added more grapevine to cover the damage.

They look a little forlorn right now, but it won't be long before this area is overflowing with plants, etc.

Since I had the can of paint out, I also painted this unfinished piece I've had in the garage for the past few years. I'm thinking it will look nice full of orange impatiens.

This little house is really a bird feeder, but I use it as a planter for hens and chicks.

Last fall I just pulled the hens and chicks out (there is a layer of landscape fabric underneath) and tossed them in this barrel. They survived quite nicely. Yesterday I just picked them up and layed them back in the feeder area.

I have never seen a bird take up residence in this little house, but I have had tree frogs in there.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Working Garden Attire

This post was inspired by a picture I recently saw in a magazine. A lady working in her garden was wearing a long white (yes, white!) summer dress. Her long shiny hair flowed around her shoulders.She was stepping on a shovel in white sandals with a bunch of day lilies sitting on the ground beside her. She was a true vision of beauty.

We were supposed to believe she was transplanting day lilies.

Come on Editors!

Here is what I looked like this morning when I went out to do some serious garden work.

Well coiffed, I'm not! (You purposely can't see much of me in this picture.) I do have some pride! :) )
No white long dress either.

No white sandals for this garden gal. These are serious working shoes!

I did about three hours of work. I spent nearly two of those hours with scissors cutting down all the sedumn Autumn joy. Luckily I can still stoop for long periods of time without pain. After two hours I had to stop the cutting because I was getting a blister from the scissors. I still have one more large bed to cut down.

Overall I am quite happy with the day's accomplishments. These beds are looking much better from the road (sorry about the poor lighting. I am too lazy to go out after the sun goes down and retake the picture).

Look what DH found living in the grill burner.

A tree frog.
See all that stuff around it?
I think it's froggy doo doo. I've never actually seen froggy doo, but what else could it possibly be?

Inside the house, I did a load of laundry, cooked a meatloaf and corn-on-the-cob dinner
and changed my bed quilt for the new season.

Yes, I had a very productive day!

Well, if this Isn't A SLAP IN THE FACE

to any dedicated tulip-loving gardener!
This is exactly where I found this tulip--laying right on top of the rock wall.
Wouldn't you think the varmit could at least EAT the tulip?
I wonder if a chipmunk or squirrel did this? I've seen rabbits do it with lilies, but they just left them on the ground. I've never seen a rabbit run along the rock wall.
I am so happy to announce to the blogsphere that I have my gardening energy back! I have been outside for the past hour cutting down sedum autumn joy and I am loving it--just loaded with energy! I love that feeling!!
Well, the break is over so back outside I go. I will be posting again later this afternoon.
I hope you are all having a good Saturday morning!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Alright, What's the Secret

to changing the profile picture???????????

I've tried 4 times to change it and nothing happens.

I am uploading a picture to my blog.

Then I copy the url of the picture and paste it into the profile picture spot.

I hit update and it just keeps the cardinal picture. It does not say anything about the pic being too large, etc.

So if you have me on bloglines, it's probably saying I've updated a zillion times. (sorry about that!)

Anybody know what I am doing wrong?

An Evening Garden Walk

Last night I was visiting Kris over at her garden by the lake. She has some of the same tulips I have, only hers are now blooming. I was inspired to get away from this computer for a few minutes and walk around the gardens to see what's been happening the past 5 days.

These tulips show promise.

I love the sedum 'Frosty Morn' as it makes its spring debut, although I am not very fond of its flower. I grow this one mostly for its variegated foliage.

I only a have few scrawny daffodils. This one is growing in the path to the compost pile. It's all bent over because of the late heavy snowstorm last week.
I found a this weed all over the main garden. It has tiny little white flowers. I don't know what it is.

I did find one nearly perfect daff.

But overall my gardens are a BIG MESS. I need to do a ton of work before I'll have any bragging rights.

I hope my urge to garden returns this week. I have had almost no desire to get out there this year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ella's Rooster Tablescape

I should have been outside this afternoon cleaning up some of the gardens, but I was not in the mood afer work, so I did this table instead.

It's full of roosters, hens, eggs and a couple of "The Little Red Hen" books. Remember that story?

Most women seem to relate to it.

I think it would be the perfect table for a homemade chicken pot pie dinner. If one of those hens would cook the pot pies, I would be very happy to help her eat them!

Hey, Willow, You made me literally laugh out loud when I read that the blue blouse was "too zoey" so you had to buy it!! I wish I could see it! Thanks for commenting to you and everyone else who has commented on the post below. Without all of you, there would be no reason to blog. I appreciate each and every one of you.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good Thing I Have a Day Job

because my video poker strategy did not pan out in any monetary windfall.

My new ensemble, though, garnered a few compliments from the casino host and a few of the workers. I felt good in that outfit. It's been awhile since I felt good in anything I wore. It's eyelet lace. How long has it been since eyelet lace has been in style? 1970's?

Too bad I wore it Friday night and my poker tournament was not until Saturday (maybe it would have brought me luck). I played six different times from 10am to 7pm. I never got a royal flush. I didn't even get 4 of a kind...sad, sad poker hands. I'd guess I finished in the bottom 10% (I think there were 84 of us playing). I did not go down for the winner's announcement. I knew I did not place, so I decided to take a jacuzzi instead.

My Mom & Dad surprised us and showed up Saturday afternoon. I was walking around the casino floor and almost bumped right into my mom! The hotel was full when they arrived, but luckily someone canceled and they got a room. We always have a fun time with them.

We got home about 1:00 p.m. today and it was over 80 degrees Wow, what a surprise! It was really too hot to work outside, but we did anyway for an hour or so.

If I were one of those people inclined to name their homestead, I would have to call my humble abode "Pine Cone Acres". Just look at all these pine cones. We had to use a snow shovel to pick them all up.

We removed 3 wheelbarrow loads in the front yard.

They were all from this large tree.

Thank goodness we have had 4 other trees removed from this area. Just imagine how many pine cones we used to rake up.

Friday before I left to get my hair done, I finished my table runner. I have not had a chance to set the table, but here is the runner with the inspiration dish.

I will have do more runners to match some of my other dishes. They are such a quick project compared to the two years it takes me to finish one of my king-sized quilts.

Well, that's about it for my weekend. I wish I had three days off EVERY weekend. I've been trying to get the boss to agree to allow me to do that, but so far he's not too interested in taking me up on my offer to reduce my salary by 20% in exchange for the extra day off.

I hope you have all had a great weekend, too.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Come on, Royal Flush!

I am doing something wild, wacky, fun and maybe profitable this weekend.

I am in a video poker tournament!

I've never been in one before. If I come in first place I can win $1800.

It's not likely that I will be first, but you just never know--stranger things have happened. It's all in the luck of the draw and the player's poker strategy.

I rarely play poker, but I do know the correct poker strategies. I won't follow them anyway for this tournament. In regular poker if you get a high pair, you would hold it over a suited Ace, King, Queen because in the long run you would come out ahead.

Since I will be playing for the short term tournament, I will be going for the big payoffs, so I will hold the A, K, Q and hope for a Jack, Ten in the same suit to give me the Royal. I think it will be such fun!

I took a vacation day at work today. I have to get my hair trimmed and styled at 11:30 a.m. (have to look good in case I need my pic taken for the big poker win...LOL)

It's going to be a beautiful weekend for a drive. Sunday it's going to be around 70 degrees so maybe I can fit some yard work in when I get home.

Right now I am going to get a little housework in. Must work a little before I can spend the weekend playing.

I hope you are all having great weather, too. Have fun in those gardens and I will see you in a couple of days.

Update: I had a great day off. I decided to go out and buy a new outfit for the event. Does this look like a winning combination?

Hopefully it brings me luck. Oh, O.K. I will fess up...I went out to buy a new outfit because nothing fits anymore! It's getting depressing. Many of you might think I don't look all that fat in this pic. Well, naturally I picked the pic taken at just the right angle to disguise it!

I will worry about the weight gain later. Life is too short to be depressed.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What's for Dinner?

How about a little crow?

I pulled into the garage after work and there was DH holding a paintbrush! He had gotten home just a bit before me, but had already changed was staining the lattice!

I couldn't believe it!
Last year he procrastinated until the flowers had all grown too high.

I changed quickly and went out to help him. I did the last section as well as these planters.

We had a very productive afternoon.

Thank you, DH. -

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Tea has given me the honor of selecting this as one of the blogs that make her think. I am feeling so good that Tea holds this blog in such high esteem. Thank you so much, Tea. I can’t tell you how meaningful it is to me to know that you find some pleasure in visiting my little plot in cyberspace!

That said, I hope no one takes offense with I am going to say next.

I do not participate in most memes. Why? Because I have a suspicious nature.

When I see something in the rules that request a link back, I am immediately suspicious of the post's intent. Why can’t we just say, “Mary started this meme”. No, that won’t do. They want to make sure they get a link.

Have you ever wondered why? Well, I certainly have.

In my ever-so-humble opinion, this smacks of a blogger on a social climb to the top of the almighty google rankings. These memes reproduce more rapidly than rats in the sewer lines. Imagine how many links will come from thousands of unsuspecting bloggers, who think this is just a bit of fun. Little do they know they are rungs on the ladder of the blogger's hungry climb to the top. (you don't have to imagine. I looked it up. This blogger had 40,200 links at 6:15 p.m. today. Just to give you a comparison, I have 147 and most of those are my own links to other pages in my site.)

Now I could be completely wrong about all of this. Maybe the majority of those who start such memes have no idea that the thousands of links they get will shoot them way up in the rankings.

Yeah, and I’m a middle-aged Playboy model making 6 million a year.

Tea, please don’t feel that I am saying anything negative about you! I am totally flattered that you chose me. I have been thinking about a post of this nature for the past few weeks and your nomination just gave me the platform.

I am only ranting about the people who start these things with the goal of increased rankings. I think a blog’s ranking should be based fairly on its content. I understand that links are about the only way a search engine can evaluate them. I just feel that links should come from people who actually read the blog!

Ok. I am off my meme-with-a-rule-to-link rant.

Upate: Good morning, everyone.

I can see by the comments that people are taking this the wrong way.
I need to clear up one thing.
It's not people like us who participate in the memes that I am ranting about. We all do it just because it's often entertaining and it gives us something different to post about. Lots of times it's fun to read the answers to find out more about our blogger friends.

It's the originator of those memes that require a link back. That little badge that you put on your blog goes right back to the person who started it. He/she is the one getting the thousands of links.
If all they really cared about were the friendly, getting-to-know-you answers to the questions, there would be no need to stick the badge (the link they made for your convenience) on your blog.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sunflower Garden To Be

It doesn't look like much at the moment, does it?

I took advantage of the 55 degree weather when I got home from work and decided to begin removing the asters from this area.

I forgot what hard work it is to dig out deeply entrenched perennials! I removed 4 wheelbarrow loads (about 45 minutes of work) and decided that was enough heavy-duty digging for today!

I told DH to get some stain because NOW is the perfect time to stain these side panels. (We'll see how fast he moves to get the stain. Who wants to bet that it will be weeks before it's done?)

I am planning to make this side a sunflower garden. About two months ago I bought these seeds:

I will replace the soil I removed today with some of the top soil I bought last fall. I can't plant these until June so I have plenty of time to work on this area.

After the hard work of digging, I wanted to continue working outside. Something easy like trimming this butterfly bush was perfect.

People are always searching to find out how to trim a butterfly bush so I thought I would post these pics to show the before and after.

In the past I have cut it way down to about a foot above ground, but I want it to get a little bit taller than it did last year, so I am experimenting with this height.

I really don't do anything special. I just cut it down wherever I feel like cutting. For about five years now it's worked just fine.

What's with Blogger today? I tried 5 times to answer the comments on yesterday's post, but it would not take my password. I finally gave up trying. But do know that I appreciate your comments Kris, Pea, Giddy, and Jean!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Deer Have Found the Tulips

First, I appreciate all of the nice things you said about my quilt. Thank you all so much for taking the time to comment.

It's always a thrill to complete a top, but I also feel sort of lost with no project to work on.

Sunday afternoon I took a short walk around to check out the tulips. I found this:

Little stubs with deer tracks near by.

I'm not surprised. They eat them every year. I did run right out and spray what's left with Hinder. At the moment there are still quite a few they have not eaten. We will see if any make it to bloom.

After I tidied up the kitchen tonight, I was struck with an idea for a new project. I still have a lot of fabric out and I thought I would use this "Ella's Rooster" plate as inspiration for a table runner. I pulled out a few pieces of fabric that I thought would match. Then I looked in my new book for one of those 4-inch chicken patterns. I tried to find fabric that somewhat resembled the rooster on the plate and made a block.
Then I rummaged around for some 4-inch star points and combined two blocks to make this star:

I still have to embroider the little legs. I think it has possibilities. The green did not show up as much as I would have liked, but I think if I use a green tablecloth and put the runner down the middle, it will show up more. I don't know just where it's going from this point on. I will probably make a solid center block and then a rooster to face the opposite direction. I will just putter around after work each night and see where it takes me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sewing on the Last Border

What a good feeling to be sewing the very last seam of the quilt border.

I had a couple little challenges before getting to this point.

The thing about quilt borders is that they rarely come out nice and neat at the corner.

See how this does not "flow" around the corner?
Most people would probably plan the corner block beforehand, but not me. I just sew and work out the problems as they occur.

With this border, I decided to go with a wild spikey block at the corner.

I think it works quite nicely.

I am also happy with the blue I added around the edges to tie in the blue background in the bird blocks. The quilt Gods were smiling upon me as I did not run out of the blue fabric. I had just the tiniest piece leftover.

I wish I could show you a better picture of the completed quilt top, but it's too big and I don't have two people around to hold it up, so this will have to do.

So now my big winter project is done.

I have had a pretty productive winter, piecing two complete quilts. This snowman quilt was the first one.
I have decided, though, that this one still needs another border because I don't like it ending with white. I need a darker border to anchor it. All that's for another day.

Right now I am just going to bask in the glory of having completed the cardinal quilt. Now I must think of a name for it. Something with a little more pizazz than "the cardinal quilt".

Any ideas? Maybe "Birds of a Feather"?

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