Idyll #497: 60 days Till Spring!

jak1(4 Ontario Can)January 18, 2011

And counting!

Carry on, Idylls!

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cyn427 (zone 7)

What splendid news to get today when we awoke to ice-not all bad since it resulted in a day at home-schools closed!
Unfortunately, the dentist wasn't. :)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 6:11PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

DD's very good friend and former room mate had her first child on Monday the 17th - a healthy boy. I am so happy for this wonderful couple!

I am also delighted that everyone is doing well after this:

A great deal of time has been spent at the chiropractor's. DSS it turns out has very flat feet and will have serious knee issues if he doesn't get attention for that....but no real accident problems although she will work on his neck and lower back in case. You can imagine the fun of taking 3 kids to the chiropractor when you need treatment for yourself as well...

DSS's Mom has bought him a pet rat. We are very pleased about this because it means she will support teaching responsibilities at her end now. We hope. The rat is named 'Ratatouille'. DSS has missed a great deal of school lately and I for one am concerned about that. I don't feel one needs to be overly strict about school, but this kid misses SOOO very much. All he has to do is say he feels sick....

Made a big pot of Moroccan Soup for dinner and that crustless cranberry pie too. YUM!

We're back to cold & flurries by midnight.
Hi everyone!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 6:35PM
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I spent a couple of hours cleaning out the junk room upstairs. Keep, donate or throw. Lots of stuff from my kids growing up years. Its slow going. Jeremy did go through some things and take them back to Texas when they were here. I plan to paint and maybe replace the carpet. We already have 2 guest rooms and a toy room so I plan to make this a storage/sewing/craft room. Kenzie really is into what she calls "Arts & Crafts" so I'd like to have a good spot to work and also for supply storage. I will probably keep my sewing machine set up as well. It won't be anything like Chelone's wonderful space but it will be a good use of the room.

'bug, hopefully the chiropratic treatments helps everyone. It looks like a pretty hard hit.

This helps with the winter blues just a bit.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 11:14PM
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Michelle, any time you can dedicate space to something requiring time and ability to set up and spread up you're ahead of the game. I've never been surprised by the level of frustration experienced by new sewers when they have to set it all up and then put it all away to make room for dinner on the dining room table. No wonder sewing has such a frustrating reputation! ;) Does Kenzie show any interest in sewing? does she use a sewing machine yet? (I was sewing when I was in 1st. grade, but I was required to turn the hand wheel by hand until Mum was convinced that I was capable of controlling the motor. I did a lot of practicing under her wary eye before I was allowed unfettered access to the gas pedal!).

Miserable, raw, and rainy today. A predicted drop in temperature will freeze the slush solid and leave undrained areas a sheet of ice. I have my Yaktrax at the ready, but am not looking forward to the final result.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 3:43PM
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Great day so far! Lunch out with hubby and crafting time this afternoon with a good friend. Just the things to brighten a cold winter's day :) Tomorrow...back to my organizing, I've been on a break since before the weekend but I'm ready to get back at it.

Michelle, I'm a big believer in spaces dedicated to specific tasks. I set up a craft area for Bella and I downstairs last winter thinking it would be a great place for us to make a big mess and leave it. I have a couple of those wire shelving units you find at Sam's Club that all of our craft supplies are organized on. But...she didn't like working there alone and I didn't like the fact that if I sat right there with her I couldn't cook, fold laundry, etc. all the while staying involved in her project. So... we have all the craft supplies in that space but she usually works upstairs at her little table. That's just what works best for us. We also have a writing center, with lots of materials for writing and drawing that's tucked behind my bedroom door. We make room where we can. She always gravitates back to her little table though to work. One thing I do want to do is put up an inspiration board for her and one for me. I did have one up over my desk in the room that has over time become "Bella's room". These days it is full of calendar photos of dogs and pictures of Paris. Her stuff! :)

My mom spent much of her time sewing and she always had a sewing room and when they built their last home she had a beautiful big room with lots of counterspace, drawers, material storage closets, and places for all her different machines. She had walls with pegboards to hang her rulers, scissors and other tools and a wall for pinning up her quilt pieces as she was designing them. I wish I had a picture to show you, Chelone. I really love how your salon's turning out and when I read about what your doing to get it all set up I often think of my mom. Sewing seems to have skipped a generation here though as I have no interest. Mom taught Jennifer to sew when she was young and I have a small machine here for Bella, just no one to teach her :(


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:57PM
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I am really very discouraged about AdBlocker. I don't know how to make it work for me. I'm still getting ads and my BIL is no use... too smart for my use. He just "fixes things" and never "bothers" with giving me the information that may prove beneficial in the future. It doesn't matter how many questions I ask, he just takes the mouse from my hand and "fixes" it. "Father knows best", I guess.

Sewing is a wonderful skill. But like so many similar skills, it doesn't relate easily or conveniently to our "point and click" world. It requires time, patience, and a willingness to fail... meaning that when one encounters failure, one must backtrack and patiently pick out the stitching to correct the mistake. In sewing there is no "cut and paste" "cure". Corrections take time and it's that time that cements the lesson and imbues the student with the ability to "think ahead" when faced with something similar in the future. That is, I believe, the "missing ingredient" in the many failures we see so routinely in our present educational model. But, I'm "old school"; I believe in penmanship, memorization, "rules"/"punishment", and "learning by doing".

And that's probably why I'm so frustrated by AdBlocker. The area requiring a "fix" is never clearly identified. And I don't know where to look to fix what's wrong. :(

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 7:08PM
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On my internet browser "bar" (look up to the bluish gray area above this pink gardenweb page) I have a pop up blocker. It says that 138 pop ups were blocked. Do you see anything like that? If I pull down the "Tools" button, I see a pop up blocker option.

I don't have the ad blocker, because the pop up blocker I have seems to do the job.

I don't know if I'm any help at all ;)


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 8:33PM
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I hope no one gets me wrong and thinks I can really sew. I usually make curtains or pillows as I can never find what I want and I like the concept of having my choice of fabric and style without paying custom prices. Eden's mom reminds me so much of my mom. A wonderful sewer (is that a word?) She has at least 4 or 5 different machines. She's wondering who would like to inherit them. Not one of us girls has raised our hand. My mom no longer quilts because of arthritis and I think because her quilting friend died. She always sewed all our clothes growing up including coats. Now, I didn't always appreciate this. I wanted clothes from the catalog. We did get to buy clothes when we were in high school. My mom sewed for others when I was growing up as her way of working from home. She has started alterations now, which is something her mom did in her later years. YUCK! Another thing she is getting a reputation for is making Baptismal gowns and they are truly lovely.

My mom started to teach me to sew on a small child's sewing machine when I was probably 5. I made a Barbie wedding dress, which I still have. I'm sure my mom did more of the making than I did, but at the time I believed I did.

As for Kenzie sewing, she hasn't shown interest. Although, one weekend she wanted me to sew her Fairy shoes.

Eden, your mom's room sounds like a dream. Bella likes Paris? One day someone mentioned France and Kenzie pipes up and says "I love France" when I asked why she said "because the Eiffel Tower is there"

Sooo cold here! It was -13 this a.m.

I guess I'd best get going and get something accomplished this evening.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 8:46PM
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I sewed a lot when DD was a little girl she wanted to wear dresses and I found sewing them cheaper than buying . I really got into it for a few years but I have zero interest now, and would find it a chore to even cover a throw pillow. I used to love buying fabric, and finding inexpensive remnants to use. It's funny how that 'sewing- Kathy' seems like a different person !

We are in a rain free phase, none on the agenda though the weekend, and I think I might venture down to Berkeley Botanical Gardens on Sunday -it would be fun to take some photos of 'winter interest' and might even see some Aloes in bloom. They are typically frost free there.

Chelone, I would suggest you use Firefox as your default web browser , it's free and for me it seems to have the most powerful blocking . I have zero, and I do mean zero ads on GW . This is what V has too. I just googled adblocker for Firefox and installed it, took about 5 minutes and it was a done deal ..wish I could transport to the compound and help you !

�bug that smashed-in van keister looks dreadful (and expensive) . I hope the family gets all their injuries squared away.

Ok, I need to address the dinner thing-nite all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 10:05PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I took a different route home this afternoon so that I could drop something off at another office. After I pulled out of their parking lot, I saw a car ahead of me pull off the road. The young woman in the car jumped out, looked like she was about to wave her hands to get my attention, then looked like she was changing the motion to one of exasperation. That's when I saw a notebook and well over a hundred pieces of paper all over the road.

I put the car in park, kept one eye on the road and began helping her grab the papers. She kept saying how embarrassed she felt. She'd been in a hurry to get to the bank before they closed, had set the binder on the hood of her car while she ran back into the house to get something else, and then pulled out onto the road.

It probably took us about 5 minutes to grab all of the papers. I don't know how long it will take her to get them all back in order! There were at least eight other cars stopped on the road waiting for us to get out of the way. 5 minutes is not a lot on the clock, but it's a small eternity when you see all those cars waiting! (And of course, they all would have waited a little less had there been another hand or two.)

Chelone, in the upper right corner of your browser screen do you have a small red stop sign icon with the letters ABP on it? Let me know and if you do, I can walk you through a couple of steps to be sure it's working.

We had a visitor on the front sidewalk yesterday afternoon.

Mr. Muskrat and Mystic got into a little altercation. It was the second one of the day for Mr. Muskrat, as he already had some injuries. Mystic got off very easy, "just a flesh wound," but after a phone call to Animal Control Mr. Muskrat moved on to the great muskrat lodge in the sky. Then DH plowed a lot of formerly white snow out of the driveway to make it look a little less like a crime scene.

And yet one more story. I have a professional profile on LinkedIn, and today I was shocked to see one of their suggestions of someone I might know - a guy that I had dated briefly back in college. I have not heard anything of or from this guy since 1977. Yes, we went to the same college, but there were another 33,000 students there as well. We did not even have the same major or the same graduation year. How did LinkedIn decide that maybe I knew this guy?

On that note, I shall go to bed. And probably have some weird dreams. But then again, Monday night I dreamed that my friend Pete the attorney surprised us all by revealing that he had played bass for Cheap Trick when he was in college, and that he had brought the band over for a private concert. Just as they reached for their guitars, BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 10:41PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh V, such a rich life! (in your dreams at least!) We too have several stories about things left on the car rooftop.
Yes, 5 minutes can be an eternity...

Today we have -17C(1.4F) temperatures and sun. The trees are covered in ice and gorgeous. Last night's moon...DID YOU SEE IT? FABU-FABU!

Kathy, the vehicle has already been replaced by an identical van (minus the DVD player which makes DD most happy - and Skyler less so). It remains to be seen what insurance will cough up for the totaled one. DD is exceptionally good at researching everything, cars included. She snatched up this new vehicle for a VERY good price, beating out over 200 other offers. She is amazed.

As to sewing, I gave up when the kids were little. It was impossible to complete anything, no less safely. Our cat at the time swallowed a needle with thread attached and the trip to the vet was very expensive. The cat was OK after 3 days, and DS got a science fair project out of all the x-rays. The knitting I now do takes place in a non-cat part of the house.

These days I have a child's sundress pattern for Ivy that involves a knit top with fabric below. I already have a collected stash of summer fabrics for her. Last night I picked up a hand made nightie for her as well. (I can't restrain myself!)

Off to work on house & home and more. We have a submission to send in to CEILAP by tomorrow.(Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 9:11AM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

Another Vancouver style wet with hints of snow day. Snow on car tops, quickly melted away by, you guessed it, rain. The cold is permeating my slacks, so I might have to turn on the heat, for a bit, today. Richea will be happy.

Cyn I hope you made good use of your snow day, and the trip to the dentist didn't ruin it completely.

GB, OUCH, that poor car, and your poor family. I hope the chiropractor offsets any problems, so nothing manifests later. Did the chiropractor help you with your plantar fasciitis or was it something else?

Glad your DD got a replacement van at such a good price. My DD is very good at the research thing as well. Sometimes I get bogged down by the info, so it takes me longer to sift through stuff. Eventually I figure out if it's something I want when buying, but often I miss that thing.

I loved 'Ratatouille' the show. Glad that DSS got an interesting but not too hard to look after pet.

I wonder why he wants to miss school. I hated school because I was teased horribly, but went because home was a different nightmare. The more I was around people the more I loved my cats and dogs and plants. Thank goodness I met Richea and had my kids, then found here!

Michelle, you are inspiring me to get going on the nephews accumulated junk. I'm getting most things on my list of daily to dos, but have been remiss on the ongoing junk toss out and also reading about accounting. I have to get on those, so today I'll look at the library for more comprehensive acct'g books and will spend twenty minutes on cleanup. Twenty minutes a day should give me lots of space within one week to have room for dog paraphenalia for visiting or overnight dogs.

Thanks for the winter blues breaker. Does winter sowing help with the blues, for you?

Chelone, I agree, a place set up for an activity is great, but I don't have one. Instead for my beading I hide my beading supplies around where I sit on the couch and where I stand, for computer, which is right by where I sit. So I don't have the neatest setup, but it works for me. I often listen to the tv when I bead and write, so I wouldn't want to be in a separate room. All of my stuff fits into a large rubbermaid type container, so I can get away with working here.

I make mistakes all the time in my beading. Especially with a more complex design. It requires some of your patience concept. I read once that it takes 10 years of a few a hours a day to truly master a skill. I like this quote from here:

-""Along with the 10,000 hours principle, there's another principle (called the Pareto Principle) that states that 80% of the mastery of a skill comes with only 20% of the effort. The remaining 80% of effort will give you the remaining 20% of mastery.""

I'm not sure I understand exactly what it means, but I think it means study, study, study, and then practice, practice, practice, and then things click. I hope that we get back to practice, practice, practice to learn our passion, whatever ever it is. Self discipline is the word I like, to describe what kids need to learn these days. That's a hard one to teach. That's why I like martial arts, but I'm sure many things teach self discipline.

I agree, try Firefox. It seems to control the worst of the ads, with adblockers, boosting it. There are fewer problems in general with Firefox for me than IExplorer. I hope you can resolve this problem. I miss your notes, when you don't visit.

Eden, glad you had a good day. I envy you your crafting time with your friend. I haven't ever figured out how to meet people with my interests. I'm thinking of starting some kind of club for beading and one for writing too. It must be gratifying to talk about your interest and not have the eyes glaze over, lol. Poor Richea.

Kathy looking forward to the pics of the Berkeley Botanical Gardens. :)

If I could cover my beads in what I was sewing, then I might try my hand at it again. My youthful and not so youthful efforts, were not so pretty, but coupling it with what I love, both beads and macrame...ooh la la la la la.

V, you were destined to be there for the paper girl. I remember the time that the library books went for quite a ride on the passenger side roof. We rode quite a ways until they dropped off. We realized, retraced our steps, and found all but one. I hate paying library fines, so that was not a good day. I'm glad you were there for her. I hope no one honked at you. I hate keeping people waiting if I can help it. But I hate getting honked at even more. It makes me jump every time.

Good that Mystic is okay. Do you remember the silly song Muskrat Love? Well that's what went through my head as a ulogy to Mr.Muskrat. I wonder if he'll come back as a dog..;0)

Captain & Tennille MUSKRAT LOVE song:

It is a small world. Richea is always running into people from his past. I don't, but my past lived in North Vancouver and doesn't appear to live on the web.

Sorry you missed the concert. Hit snooze next time?

I've got to go walk the dog, then start supper. I slept in this morning for some reason and I'm behind in my daily chores.

Happy Thursday night,


Here is a link that might be useful: Sew-a-Knitting-Needle-Roll-Up

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 7:08PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hello everyone! Happy Friday. It has been miserably cold here with just the right amount of snow for skiing, snowboarding and sliding. TCS has been outside quite a bit and our desire to increase his physical activity is working. Also we seem to have finally found the right combination of meds. Behaviour both at home and school has been great, he is eating a little better and sleeping well. His school sends home a checklist every day outlining how he did in the day's activities. He has had excellent reports every day since school started in January. We are all pleased. He says school is "awesome".

I understand the missing school thing Marie. TCS missed a lot in December. It seemed the school was calling every second day for me to pick him up due to illness. The last time we were walking by Tim Hortons and he suggested we stop for fudge! Guess who hasn't called again? I told him he better be half dead if the school calls, and also that sick kids lie in a darkened room with a cold cloth on their head for the rest of the day, no video stuff, no laptop, no reading, just quiet dark rest. So far so good.

Sarah's van looks a bit like our Subaru did about 10 years ago. There was about $10,000 damage. It was shipped back to the plant and repaired, and came back better than before. We on the other hand, will never be quite as good as before. Glad they were not any more seriously injured and that they were successful in shopping for a replacement. Too bad that all the kids were with her - it must have been terrifying for them all.

A rat for a pet? Ummmm, not so much. Will the Mother look after it while Skyler is at Sarah and Wayne's house??

I am impressed by all you junk-tossers. I am currently trying to spend an hour a day going through storage room junk. The menfolk have cleared out most of the space (speaking of dedicating space to an activity) needed for their golf room. TCS wants new clubs but is enjoying Daddy and Grandad's attempts to better his swing.

Kathy, I am in the same place as you are re:sewing. I sewed nearly everything my children wore untill DD was about 10; then brand names became much more important. I still have my sewing machine but have long since donated my fabric collection to worthy causes. You are right, I am a different person now.

Our hard drive crashed yesterday. Most of my photos are on Photobucket, DH had downloaded his medical records for a session with the specialist on Monday, TCS's work is on his laptop...but DS lost everything - 900 songs, all phone numbers, email addy's, I don't know what else. He is not a happy camper. Computer is at the "hospital" and will be home again tomorrow.

Oh V.I cringed at the "crime scene" comment *LOL*

Yeona you sound like you have lots of activities gong on and lots of planning for the future. You sound like a woman on the move for sure!

Today will be a quiet day; housework and laundry are caught up, and we have DD's Boston to add to our own two for the weekend. They will keep me occupied!

Cheers all.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 11:29AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Well Julie! Such good news about Adrian! Love your story about fudge. About their car, there was no question even from insurance about the car being a write-off. Thank goodness no argument there! Imagine if anyone had been in the back seat! (Indy dog was, but was lying down and is fine.)

Yeona, I was going to make a needle holder, but instead decided to keep my needles in an old vase and that works well for me. The circular needles, rulers, cable holders etc...go in a small rubbermaid type container.

As to the plantar fasciitis, that eventually went away. I'm not sure that physio or arch supports helped, but a year later all is well.

Now the funny/annoying story. The story about Ratatouille was just that, a fabrication of Skyler's. I put it in the lie category, but Sarah is OK with it being "I wish..." She should have guessed I suppose, given his mother's outlook on such things, but DD had pet rats as a kid and adored them. Honestly, they were great pets for our family with so much personality. Unfortunately, DS was allergic to them.

OK friends, I've completely failed V's test and have been spending. I've bought yarn, a sweet nightie for Ivy and some finger paints for her visit next month. Then today I ordered clematis and vegetable seeds. The devil made me do it....

Off to the kitchen where the easy lamb stew is cooking. Smells good too!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 12:18PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Crazy dogs! ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: fun loving dogs in winter

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 1:21PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hello friends! Just a note to tell you: our forecast here for tonight is -40 degrees. This is the point at which the Celcius and the Fahrenheit scales merge. In other words, it is going to be freakin' cold!

Where is our "January thaw"?

C'mon Spring!



    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 4:02PM
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Your January thaw is moving into my neck of the woods, Julie.

I shovelled snow today, waiting until about 11 to get going on it. The wind had died down, the sun was strong and it wasn't too bad. I cleaned out the area next to the oldest stack of firewood and, conveniently enough, the area under the oil fill for the bahn. Rex had a wonderful time plowing through the latest 9" of powder and proudly presenting me with his ball. (fool).

I haven't attempted AdBlocker again having been entirely too wound up in my slipcover. I finished it today and it looks nice. Mind you, I'm pretty picky about things and did a considerable amount of pretty fussy tweaking, but I'm delighted with the result. So, I'm in no mood to be slapped down by another round of AdBlocker.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 5:49PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Jeepers, Michelle, Julie and 'bug, I wouldn't ever leave the house. We are in the teens on the + side and I hate going out! Stay warm. And yes, the moon was spectacular down here, too. I love lying in bed and watching it rise throught the bare trees. Magical.

'bug, those dogs are hilarious! My husband and I were laughing and laughing. We think Clouseau would do the same given half a chance. Great video.

Yeona, I agree about the 20 minutes a day. I decided that would work for me and I am making some headway, although I don't get in 20 minutes every day. I need to be more consistent!

V, glad Mystic came out on the top of the altercation. Sounds like Mr. Muskrat was feeling pretty disagreeable (two fights in one day?). Are they usually like that?

Kathy, hope your adventure to the botanic gardens was fun. Glad the rain has moved out for you. Will be looking forward to your always beautiful pics. We could use some inspiration around here. I am thinking about going to the Philadelphia Flower Show again this year now that all the notices and ads are arriving at the door.

Waving also to Eden, Chelone, Saucy, Woody, Norma, and all the Idyllers frantically looking through plant catalogues and yearning for warmth at this point.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 6:01PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

cyn - the only frantic looking through things going on here is searching through the user manual for the CAD software for the course I'm taking! It's keeping me very busy. It's not particularly intuitive software and has lots of odd kinks to learn about. Actually, I appear to be having some sort of problem with the software - a couple of functions seem to have stopped functioning yesterday and today it hung twice and another time popped up with an error box and promptly shut the whole thing down! I've posted a note for the teacher on the class discussion forum and included files that show some of the odd things it has done. Either I'm doing something completely wrong or I need a new program disk.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 7:27PM
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I won't even mention the temps here in Norcal, suffice it to say I will go down to Berkeley as planed tomorrow morning to see what kind of winter interest there might be in the garden. The garden opens at 9 so I should still be able to get a couple hours of rose pruning in when I get home.

Today I went to the matinee of DS's play in Santa Rosa (yonder over the hill) so no garden chores were done, other than filling the bird feeder. I am posting a still from the play on the 'Moments' thread. I have been going to the theater since I was a child, it's hard to describe the feeling of sitting in a darkened theater and realizing that one has actually somehow produced a son that can act.

How frustrating Woody, I hope you are able to get the software issues resolved. Randys photo of the swan was splendid !

All I have tonight, I hope to have some photos to share tomorrow..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 10:19PM
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Well the guests have left completing a 5 weekend run of entertaining and overnight guests. I'm just not that big into entertaining. I'm ready for a weekend to myself.

Kenzie was here until after church this a.m. and then she was off to her cousin's birthday party. She was very excited about the concept of an "Arts & Crafts" room. We stopped and picked up some craft supplies of her chosing Friday night. She was thrilled and crafted when we got home and all day Saturday. She made lots of pictures, cards, fairy wings and braclets of wood beads and seashells. She made 2 braclets for herself and one for each of her cousins for their birthdays. I just love her enthusiasum. I also like that she isn't all that interested in TV or video games.

Julie, what great news about the meds combo and TCS's improvements.

I missed the moon the other evening but it was still quite pretty as I left for work in the morning and I thought of little Reed as I always will when I see a beatiful full moon.

Kathy, how was the botanical garden? I've become FB fan of the MN Landscape Arboretum and I see they encourage winter visits.

V, sorry about the Bears. There are a lot of Packer fans in this area. I'm sure my BIL is celebrating.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 6:47PM
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Well, I took over 200 photos today in Berkley, but won't get around to posting (I did put some of the Aloes up on FB) till tomorrow. It was a beautiful morning and the temps here this afternoon almost made it to 70! We will often have a 'false spring' event in late winter.No rain and only minor frost for over a week.
Michelle, this was my first visit to UCBG in winter, foolishly as it turns out! There were alot of areas I didn't go into . such as the herb garden and the old rose garden; I knew there wouldn't be much going on there. But the Agaves and Aloes were fabulous.

Waving to all, catch you tomorrow ..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 10:33PM
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A good Monday morning to all,

We had planned a nice relaxing weekend. Brad took Saturday off work. It was the first day he'd had off since New Year's Day and we'd planned a date night of dinner out and maybe a movie. was so cold we ended up just staying in, ordering pizza and watching Netflix. Then Sunday morning Jenni called. She and Randy were both down with a bug and she was hoping I could take the kids. Grandma to the rescue and Kate and Wally spent the day here. She picked them up around 7:30 pm. This morning it's still really cold here, 7F when I got up. Good news is that it's supposed to reach a high of 27F today and into the 30s for most of the week. That seems almost balmy. My plan for the week is organizing my kitchen cupboards and a couple of dish/small appliance shelves I have in the basement. That should keep me busy for the next few days.

I'm a bit behind on my Idyll reading but here goes...

Woody, I give you so much credit for tackling that CAD class. At this point in my life figuring that out would seem like more of a punishment to me than something I'd enjoy doing in my free time. I bet you learn lots of useful information and skills though!

Michelle, you're talk about the craft room did inspire me to organize my craft shelves. I'd just went through them before the holidays but they get used alot and needed straightening again. Like you, I'm so glad Bella likes doing other things more than watching TV and playing video games here. We do have a Wii but she never asks to play it. She went through a "beading" phase too. The dolls and stuffed animals all have necklaces and bracelets around here. I found lots of cute beads at JoAnn's in shapes of hearts, stars, animals, etc. that she really liked. Does Kenzie have one of the weaving looms that you use to make potholders? Bella enjoys doing that too. I think her fascination with Paris has to do with the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. I've gotten her a few children's books about different countries, one being France and I pick up the coffee table type books with lots of big glossy pictures if I run across them too. That got her familiar with them and when she was smaller she'd see bridges, and towers when we were out driving and call them that, lol. She also likes having an Eiffel Tower in the Fairy Garden. :) I bet you're thrilled that Kenzie's so excited about the craft room. You guys will spend many happy hours creating in there I know.

Kathy, I keep meaning to ask you about the cement area you want to have taken out. I'm wondering what you use it for now? Is it someplace that you use for a container gardening/patio area? I don't believe I've ever seen pictures of that part of your garden. What are you planning for it once the removal's done? I enjoyed seeing all of your beautiful agave photos over on FB. Can't wait to see more!

While doing an internet search for green things to look at I ran across pictures of the hosta garden David B. took us to see way back during IU 1. These photos are from '09 and I thought you guys might enjoy revisiting it. One can never look at too many pictures of green gardens this time of year I don't think. I'll link it below.

Enough rambling from me. I'm off to pick up the toys scattered around by the kids yesterday and then back to the January organizing project. Have a good day all!


Here is a link that might be useful: Hosta Garden

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:29AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hola all! I am hoping that Spanish (that IS Spanish, right?) will make me feel warmer. It is -36 C now with the windchill. The men went to the city today and bought a golf simulator; they are going to hook it up to our repaired computer in the "Golf Lounge". I still have a ton of junk to move out of there, but it is slowly shaping up.....

Doggies went out this morning with great hesitation. One was back at the door in fifteen seconds, the second was lying at the bottom of the steps on one hip as he didn't want to or couldn't put his little frozen back feet down, so out I went in my bunny slippers to bring him in. Doggie #3 (DD's) came hiking back on two legs - the front and back on one side. Couldn't help but laugh but it really isn't that funny - poor babies!

TCS has had indoor recess for the last three school days. He is practicing his yoyo skills at that time. A classmate is giving him "lessons".

Meanwhile, I have bought seeds and planned my veggie garden. By the time we pay the heating bill there won't be much left for food, so these things better grow *LOL*

Sorry this is so boring, but that's winter in my neck of the woods!



    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 5:11PM
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Hola Idylls,and (correcto-mundo Julie) happy Monday ! I think I'll skip the weather report..I'm starting to feel a trifle guilty, lol.

Eden, I'll post a pic of the concrete area tomorrow-you'll understand why you've never seen it. I tried as best I could to hide it from my Idyll friends visiting last summer. I distracted them with wine. I enjoyed the photos of the hosta garden !

Here are a few pics from Berkley on Sunday. Berkley is about 50 miles south of me, but is essentially frost free-I did notice they had a few things in the Australian and palm/cycad section covered . The garden in on the hillside above the university so I expect there are some micro-climates at play.

I liked this combo with the Echeveria and Mexican fan palm. From Berkley Botanic Garden Jan 2011

A cool Protea just coming into bloom -looks like I was a week too early for this one. From Berkley Botanic Garden Jan 2011

Aloe plicata From Berkley Botanic Garden Jan 2011

More Aloes in bloom From Berkley Botanic Garden Jan 2011 From Berkley Botanic Garden Jan 2011 From Berkley Botanic Garden Jan 2011

The Golden gate from a high point in the garden From Berkley Botanic Garden Jan 2011

The link will take you to my blog post, a few more pics there..

Enjoy !

Kathy in Napa

Here is a link that might be useful: More from UCBG

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:05PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A pensive post here tonight. A week ago Sunday, I was chatting on line with my friend Jodi, discussing where we would meet to watch the Bears-Packers game. By early Tuesday morning, Jodi and her husband were at the airport, booking the first flight out to Colorado, where their daughter had been in a terrible accident. Her daughter had been a passenger in a car that hit black ice on the highway. The car rolled five times; every window was shattered and the roof was collapsed on her side.Some good, quick thinking by her boyfriend probably saved her life. She's out of ICU and in rehab now recovering from the head injury. It's still very uncertain how long her recovery will be, and Jodi will be out there with her for quite some time. Please say a prayer for her if you're so inclined.

And the clueless wonder (CW), who quit her job back in September? Her house suffered major damage in a fire a couple of days ago. CW was not at home and is fine, although quite shook up. My sympathy is just a little thin here because CW made a few too many jokes about her father knowing people who could "fix" things.

And of course the d*** Bears lost the stinking game...

But the girls just keep on keepin' on:


    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 10:51PM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

V so sorry about Jodi's daughter. I'm sending good thoughts out for her. I hope she heals well and quickly.

Glad the girls are there for you, in all their feathery glory.

Wow too bad for CW. Scary that CW's comments are so suspect. No wonder the nickname.

Julie, sorry to hear that your car accident has caused such a change in your life.

Car accidents are so scary and so random. The one I was in at 20 was a total fluke. We were going down a steep hill on a rainy night and at the bottom of the hill a tire blew out. We spun around and crashed into a car that had a drunk driver in it, and he was instantly killed.

Everyone in our car was thrown clear. I skidded along the grass and landed safely without a scratch. My friend lost part of the use of her arm. She couldn't fully extend her arm anymore. The driver and my friend's date both had slight head injuries. It was a total fluke. If the drunk driver hadn't been going 80 and we hadn't lost our defective tire, everyone would have been fine.

Lol about the doggies. I don't blame them for beating a hasty retreat. I know I would without major snow clothes on.

I don't know what TSC stands for but I'm glad to hear the meds are helping. I was so happy when my nephew's meds started helping him with his schizophrenia.

Good luck on getting your junk removed. I hope you don't have to trip over the golf lovers too much. It sounds like the next spare room should be yours. I got sidetracked on that chore, but will have time to get to it tomorrow.

Sorry about your DS losing everything on the hard drive crash. We were lucky when my sister's computer got a virus, and were able to retrieve everything for her. My son and Richea are both very knowledgeable about computers, and around here we back up everything on disks. I also save my writing to Richea's computer, just in case.

About all of my activities and goals, don't be too impressed. Even though I do everything on my list, I don't do it all for hours and hours. I might only write a few lines everyday, and I only do about 15 minutes of every other activity. Dog walking takes about an hour and a half a day. I decided about 3 months ago that if I wanted to get my book written in this generation, I had to write every day. The problem is I'm always at war with myself because I also want to walk the dog, do tai chi, yoga and belly dance.

Plus, I wanted to work on my fears. One of my big problems is that whenever I do the books for my businesses I get so stressed, so I decided that I would read about, and practice, accounting procedures, until I'm blue in the face. Hopefully knowledge about every aspect of keeping the books will drum out the fear. Learning about accounting, even if I do use Quickbooks, will give me an edge over my fears. Plus when I go to an accountant I can understand what they're talking about.

GB the vase sounds like a good idea. I just liked that it could be rolled up and put away if needed. I wish there were a way to keep sewing needles safe, too. Like your cat I had an altercation with a sewing needle, which I stepped on. At which point half of it broke off and traveled deep into my foot. It took a seasoned surgeon to get it out, after the intern dug around until I could feel what he was doing. I still have the inch long scar on the bottom of my foot. It itches sometimes, still.

I'm so glad to read that the p fasciitis disappeared. I remember how much trouble you had living with it.

Hopefully Skyler can learn to use that vivid imagination to better use, like writing stories or something. Ratatouille must have really grabbed his attention when he saw it.

Those body sledding dogs were great. I wonder if they just started doing it by themselves.

Chelone sounds like you had a satisfying Saturday. Glad the slipcover's finished. So what's the next project? Leah's a fool about her ball to. She looks so proud of herself when she brings it back to me. But these days she doesn't play for hours and hours, like she used to.

Cyn the teens sounds like a nice temperature. I find any minus celsius number to be too cold for me these day. I like it when the numbers creep up. Hopefully we'll have an early spring. It's good for the construction business, too.

Woody, I hope you can get your disk repaired, quickly. There must be some way to do that, through the software co.

Kathy I love the pic of your DS. I love live theatre. What fun it must be to see him on stage, and especially at the theatre you have many memories of.

I enjoyed the Berkley pics, but I don't know/ remember if I'm allowed to look at the ones on your FB acc't.

Michelle entertaining for 5 straight weekends would make anyone want to pull a hermit.

Sounds like Kenzie has a really creative streak. I always love to hear when kids are expressing themselves creatively. It took me 25 years to refind my creative streak, in gardening then in necklace making. May Kenzie always have that drive to create.

No moon here, but we had lots of green making rain.

I must have missed the Fine gardening magazine with the succulent topiaries but I did look it up online, and found a bunch of different styles and shapes. I'm looking forward to trying to make my own.

Lots of images of Succulent Topiaries

Buenos noches mujeres y hombres,

Happy Wednesday,


Here is a link that might be useful: Say hello in different ways.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 3:56AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Yeona, thanks for the language link. I sent it to Skyler and also got sidetracked and sent him (and DD) the URLs for related sites on Pig Latin, making origami hearts for Valentines Day, writing secret codes, etc... Anything that gets him interested in writing, language...or anything! (besides computer games and wrestling!!!)

That should be enough !!!!!!! to entice Ei to post again soon.
Any news of Brenda these days???

Yesterday was Debbie Day and the fridge got cleaned. Hurray! (How's that for excitement?!)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 9:15AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good morning all. The week is drawing to a close and so is the month. We are now officially "over the hump" of winter, although I know that there is still a lot to come. TCS is hoping for at least one snow day; why, I don't know, as we stay home and review all of his work on snow days. I think he just likes the time and attention of Nana!

Yeona our car accident hasn't really changed our lives that much, just neck issues now and then. Since I had an accident in the Spring, my neck issues are a little more profound now, but we are still o.k. TCS is our grandson and the initials stand for Three Carrot Sticks, which is what he ate at a Thanksgiving feast a few years ago. He has been notoriously hard to feed.

Our weather has moderated and we have light snow. However, there is a vacant house down the street where the pipes burst in the cold, flooded the whole house and caused over $100 thousand dollars damage. As no one was checking the house, the insurance won't pay (there was a clause requiring someone to go in and check on things every three days.). The owner has Alzheimer's and has been living wih her daughter in the U.S. for the last year.
The heirs might just sell it "as is" but this was the mother's only asset and the sale was supposed to keep her in a facility later. Sad situation that could have been avoided....

Yesterday I had a "day off" as I had to have a small growth removed from my back. I warned everybody that I would be suffering and crabby and they would have to do all the work. Well, the whole prcoedure took less than five minutes, I never felt a thing, I had no suffering and wasn't crabby, but I still took the day off *LOL* Spent the morning on the couch with a good book, had a long telephone chat with a friend in the afternoon, and went to a neighbour for tea in the evening. I usually keep pretty busy so it was a nice day for me.

Kathy, those succulent photos looks so warming on a winter day! I didn't really give much thought to the bloom cycle of Aloes, probably because you wouldn't see that naturally here. I did have one tiny bloom on a Jade this winter! You do take some beautiful shots. It will be nice for you to get rid of the concrete pad and have more room for plants.

V that is a tough one for your friends with the badly injured daughter. But your chicken sure does look good. Do they consistently lay eggs for you? or is it dependent on the weather or time of year? I must confess I know zip about chickens! I do recall though that at one time you had those little chicks in your downstairs bathroom - kind of like Bug with the turtles :)

Because I didn't do much yesterday, I feel energized to do some stuff today, cake baking and the like, so I will be on my way now.



    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 9:55AM
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Happy Friday friends ! Looks like a slow news day on the Idylls..our week of false spring weather has ended and we are back to winter reality. This morning was one of our fog events, probably 1/4 mile visibility- these are the days when I'm glad I only have to drive a mile to get to the awfice. Rain is expected back tomorrow night.
Today I ordered some new styles of hats for the garden center , and have my eye on at least 3 of them to add to my collection. It seemed a decidedly summer-like task, ordering hats with names like 'Palm Springs' , 'Catalina' , 'Gardener' etc.

So, tomorrow will be my one day in the garden and I thinks I'm going to move a couple things before the soil gets soaked again (it still hasn't dried out much) and tackle Reine des Violettes.

Julie, what a mess re: your neighbors with the blown pipes, it reminded my of Cindys' issue a few years back with the common wall in her basement.

Yeona, I think it is admirable the way you set goals for yourself and try to accomplish at least a bit of them each day. I've been pretty sloppy about that the last couple of years, though last spring and summer planning for IU kept me on-task. What I really truly want to do is get back up to my 20 miles a week walking regimen. I�m hoping for a mid-February start, there will be enough daylight after the awfice by then to walk an hour .

All for me tonight ..catch you guys tomorrow ..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 9:21PM
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We've enjoyed a few mild days with a nice amount of thawing. Today was colder because of the wind but still probably 30 degrees. We went and did some shopping today. We don't get there often so I was pleased to accomplish alot. I found some nice gifts for Charlie and a birthday gift for a friend. I was also on the search for new snowboots and brown shoes that are somewhat dressy but comfy. Not an easy task. I also wear a fairy common size so it seems that my size is always gone.

V, how awful about the accident. My prayers will be with her and her family as well. I'm sure the distance will make things more difficult. My sister was hit by a car when she was 15 and suffered a serious head injury. I hope your friend's daughter recovers as well as my sister did. It did take time though.

V's chicken reminds me of the goose that showed up here on Thursday. It's hanging around the auger that recently took corn out of the bin, enjoying the spillage. I think Rick was going to call around to find out who it belongs to.

Kathy, I'm enjoying all the succlent pictures. One of my aloes has thrown a flower spike. I'm excited to see what the bloom will look like.

Talk to you all later.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 11:20PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Busy days here...and a sleepless night!
We managed some shopping yesterday, getting DH new jeans and socks etc. I bought yarn and fabric as I'm still in winter knitting mode. We had a lunch out at the mall in nearby Guelph, Ontario.

Friends have arranged a birthday party for DH in mid February. Today they phoned to chat and that was nice. They will be traveling to Hawaii in March for a much needed break.

At the end of the month DGS goes to Florida with Make-A-Wish. His wishes were to see a space shuttle take off and to visit the Harry Potter land nearby.
Soooooo....the other night DSIL came home and looked out the kitchen window and said he thought he saw a snowy owl there. Oh dear, it just flew away!
Later, he asked Skyler to go collect the mail from the mailbox. There was a letter addressed to him : Skyler, blue bedroom. Inside? A formal acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Can you imagine his delight??? What a great Daddy.

Lots of activity regarding DS and the Haitian school. Trying to get the owner of the school money to follow a three year course leading to a certificate.

In a few hours we are off to an early morning meeting on gravel. There will be a presentation by a very sharp pair of women: Lessons Learned: Caledon's CCC Stops the Rockfort Quarry. Not everyone's major interest, but very interesting to us!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 5:26AM
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Hello Peeps,
Sorry I've been a bad Idyller. First I was not feeling well and then as you know it is hard to jump back in. I have been reading books more than the computer. I need to stop that because I'm not accomplishing my winter project goals.
I did want to come by and say hi though, and share this link that Saucy shared on facebook this morning. I know Woody would enjoy it too. Being a horse lover I think this Sculpture is pretty awesome. She also had a few things in her landscape I liked, the wood walkway intriqued me.

Someone shared this poem too.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Robert Frost is considered the bard of New England. Casual readers sometimes overlook the depth of his poetry and its technical accomplishment.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound�s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Going to post before I lose it. Have a good day!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sculpture

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 10:02AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 7:39AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Yoooooo Hooooo.....Hellooooo....out there in Idyll land. Are you all iced in and snowed under? Most of you (except Kathy) seem to have had dreadful weather this winter with more to come. Far more precip that I've had. It has been cold here, but we can cope with that.

Very quiet here. Everyone except TCS has had awful colds and the other night the entire household was in bed by 7:30! The men are really pleased with the golf lounge, and to show their appreciation they completed all of the baseboard work in the bedrooms and bathrooms. Today I will start painting, starting with TCS's room. The total cost was under $250, including the wood, the paint, and the replacement of the bedside lamps that broke when the they weren't removed from the tables before the furniture was moved.

My Banana Ensete is still huge albeit a little raggy. I have discovered tiny black mites on it and so have been giving it a little more attention lately. I also have three orchids and two geraniums in bloom right now, cheery little things during a long winter!

Have bought all of my seeds for the veggie gardens,and am starting to rethink the triangle garden in the backyard.
Anxious to get out there. I am a little concerned about some of my plants as we have had extreme cold and little snow cover, but it may just be an opportunity to buy more stuff!

Off I go - the paint can is calling!

Cheers, and take care in this dreadful weather!


    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 9:20AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Painting going on here too Julie - by Randy... We've been here for 11+ years now and it's time for some refreshing of the paint. We like the main paint color - blue-gray in the halls and living room. So Randy repainted the halls with the same color. We're changing the main bathroom to a paler shade of peach - that's his next job. The master bathroom will be painted the same shade of deep blue it is now.

Randy was cleaning up a bit in the basement last week and found a wool-moth infestation in the wool Indian rugs on the floor in the one room that is finished down there! The rugs are now all in the shed (on the back porch for the big, heavy one), waiting for spring heavy garbage pick-up. He moved the living room sectional sofa off the living room rug, vacuumed and checked for problems there too. Fortunately, that one looks to be OK.

My course continues to be very time-consuming. Part of the problem I think is that my computer is not 'up to snuff' in terms of speed in the working memory. I keep getting oddball problems appearing. I will muddle through though because I'm not in the market for anew computer yet.

We're supposed to be getting our first serious winter storm tonight. Blue's 'parents' were supposed to be heading back to their condo in Mexico tomorrow - fortunately, they were able to switch their flight to one on Thursday. Hopefully, whatever mess the storm leaves will be cleaned up in time for that flight.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2011 at 3:41PM
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Good morning, friends. We are snowed in again - another snow day for the children. I'm growing tired of my mixed up weeks, and all the projects I had planned to do in the "workshop" have fallen to the side as I had planned to work while the kids were in school (they can bother you so, lol). I am just thankful that I have the luxury of staying home this winter!

My welding class is going splendid, though, as (knock on wood) we have not had snow fall on Mondays. Just terribly cold temps, but I've been dressing for the weather and braving the train. I have a new appreciation for Cindy's daily commute. We began welding last Monday and I am very excited to begin a project. I want to build a table, but last night I dreamt of a sprouting bean for the garden - very large like Jack and the Beanstalk. I need to sketch it out and see what would be involved.

Norma, thanks for sharing the horse/driftwood sculpture link. I thought it was neat that she was also a gardener and had her gardens online. I would like to go to her Open Garden tour ;)

Woody, we need to freshen the paint in our kitchen and have been talking of doing a mini makeover as we need a new floor, too. I think I will stick with my original color as I like it and think it's cheery.

All the pictures have been wonderful. I have been following along but at a loss for words. Writing makes me feel good, but I have been struggling lately. Winter just makes everything harder for me. I want to begin to plan my retirement to a warm (snowless) place. I think I might like live on Kathy's street :)


    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 7:41AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

There's been lots of hype about our weather but as far as I'm concerned it is mostly hype. This is Canada after all, and we are supposed to be used to the snow. I do not enjoy driving in it, but it is beautiful out there! DH did not have classes, so he has worked from home. He went to a meeting a little while ago at a neighbor's house.

I've been busy with many projects and been in contact with both DS and DD over various trials and tribulations on their plates. Life is tough (in case you hadn't noticed). Yet, there's also lots of good stuff too.

As you have heard many times, I am rotten with indoor plants. But today I observed one plant that looks downright pretty! I brought it indoors in November because it is not hardy here. But today it looks healthy and has begun to bloom. I'll share it with you:
Euphorbia x martinii 'Ascot Rainbow'

My favorite catalog arrived...from Fraser's Thimble Farm. Some photos there, but mostly text. I love reading about Hepaticas that cost $375!~ LOL

Hope to get to reading and knitting tonight. Sun tomorrow they say!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 4:36PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hey - I posted a short reply to Saucy's post and it doesn't show here - I bet I forgot to "submit". Anyway, what I said was: Kathy had her house up for sale a long time ago. Perhaps we should all chip in and buy it; we could operate it kind of like an Idyll timeshare...*LOL*

'Bug that is a beautiful euphorbia. The only one I have in the house is a Milii - Crown of thorns - that I had gifted to my mother at least 18 years ago. When it gets big I whack it off and it grows again. I do little or nothing to/for it. My kind of plant. But not as pretty as yours...

It is still blizzardy here, but it does look beautiful. We don't have to go anywhere so we can enjoy the Christmas card look at our leisure. No school today either, but a teenaged boy from down the street rounded up all the kids and took them sliding - what a great day for that! The snow is higher than my dogs now, very confusing for them. Funny to see them trying to run in it too.

I have managed to paint the new baseboards in TCS's room. I want to spend about a week fixing up the master bedroom (mistress bedroom *LOL*). Paint the new woodwork, stencil near the ceiling, replace the duvet cover and shams. Nothing really major but I sure won't be thinking of that in about 6 weeks.

Bug I love your idea of the gutter garden (seen on another site, sorry all). I think I have DH convinced that it would be a great way to grow some leafy greens and to provide some privacy on our little deck. I am giving it serious thought.

I now understand why I gain weight in the winter. With little to do, I head for the kitchen. Today was 100% whole wheat bread; apple crisp, and macaroni and cheese with a salad. Perfect.

Have fun digging out, friends!



    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 5:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Here's the idea I showed Julie: see below.

So this is the Year of the Rabbit, starting this evening. (Phoebe began celebrating yesterday though. Poor rabbit!)

Boy, current events are horrendous these days!

Here is a link that might be useful: Gutter-ific

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 6:04PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Well we got totally walloped by the 2011 Blizzard. Seems our area had the highest snow fall total for the Chicago area. Fortunately, several things went the right way. First, the boss called the first snow day EVER and closed the company today. He even sent us home early yesterday so that we all could get home before the worst hit. Second, the power did not go out. So we've been safe and warm at home just waiting it out.

I had fun for a bit yesterday when they called "all hands on deck" in the greenhouse. A good-sized shipment of tissue culture plants had arrived and they needed to be dealt with before the storm; they would not have tolerated two or possibly three more days of waiting. So I got to go plant for a little bit. It was a refreshing change of pace, especially with the storm forecast looming over us.

Today's adventure was taking care of the chickens. I had to snowshoe to the coop to get the girls their feed and collect the eggs. It did involve a bit of falling down in the snow, but no eggs were lost and the chickens are all happy.

We had a very sunny afternoon after all the mayhem of the storm, so DH and I snowshoed down the driveway, which is almost half a mile long. We took Mystic with us. IT was pretty funny to watch him bouncing through the drifts until he would hit a point where his bounces lost forward momentum. Then he'd turn and try another direction. I think he (and I) will sleep well tonight.

Now we are waiting for the plow guy to show up and free us. (The ATV was quickly overwhelmed.) He said he would be here about an hour ago. I've already warned my boss that I might not make it in tomorrow. I did have to laugh; DH was hatching this elaborate plan that involved borrowing a car from my son, parking it overnight at a nearby bar, and then snowshoeing down the driveway again in the morning to get to the car. I just looked at him (yeah, one of those looks!) and told him that there was nothing that urgent at my office that required me to snowshoe that distance with temps below zero and wind chills of twenty below or more. He has abandoned that plan!

I'll leave you with a photo from this morning. When I first let Mystic out the front door, he took one look the four foot drift just off the porch and decided he did not have to leave the porch. "Watch out where the huskies go..."

Stay Warm!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 8:21PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I gather Mystic has asked for indoor plumbing!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:28PM
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Good evening friends..hard to believe it will be Thursday already tomorrow; this week has just whipped by for me. A lot going on at work as we prepare the garden center for spring, and I've been trying to do some household organizing while I am still somewhat winter housebound-it was actually over 65 out this afternoon here ! We will have frost tonight- a 30 degree temp swing.

Lol Saucy, you could buy the house 2 doors down, we could go halves of the house in-between, tear it down and have adjoining gardens ! I sure feel lucky to be where I am when reading about Sues ice-on-snow and looking at the weather icon from Mass with the icy tree. Jeesh. It must take forever to get dressed !

'bug , 'Ascot Rainbow' is one of my favorite Euphorbias. My original plant though shows signs of reverting, so I cut off all the green leaved stems late last summer. It seems to be the most vigourous of the variegated E.s ..I love Tasmanian Tiger but it upped and croaked after 3 years , and 'Glacier Blue' only lasted a few months.

Julie(and 'bug) the gutter post reminds me of a popular method of planting strawberries in SoCal in the late 70's early 80's involving a similar technique of mounting PVC gutter along the fence and potting it up with the berry plants.

Snow is pretty V, but I prefer to languish in zone 9 ..

Nite all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:16PM
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Hi Everyone! Seems like you are all keeping busy, and productive during this cold weather. I have been working on reclaiming the upstairs bedroom that used to be Mary Kate's. It had become a dump spot for anything the boys wanted to drop there. Sean doesn't want it to be his room, so I am turning it into a craft/girl get away room. The boys watch too many loud movies for me. Skip found out yesterday that they eliminated his job, so we are trying to figure out what to do. My job being re-orged was bad enough, but this is a big problem. Crossing my fingers something turns up for him. I had already filled out forms to be a substitute teacher last month, and am just waiting for the fingerprint check to come back. At this point, I can't even get upset anymore. Just can't work up the energy. All of the important things are okay, I try to remember that it is only a job. And the kids are grown, so it isn't the same as it would have been when they were little. He has some calls out to colleagues, so maybe something will turn up.

Bug, I love the idea of the gutter garden. And that Euphorbia is beautiful.

Woody, your house will look so fresh and crisp with the new coat of paint.

Saucy, I like your ida, and Kathy's too! How fun would that be!

V, that is some snow drift you have there! Hopefully this will be finished soon.

Norma, I have loved that poem ever since I was a little kid. It had always hit a chord with me.

I am going to go resize some recent photos of the kids and post them up here. Be back in a few :)


    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 7:18PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

The 'big storm' turned out to be nothing too much here - only 6-8". The sun was strong today and the street had melted clear by 2:00, so I was able to walk Misty this afternoon. Blue arrived yesterday to stay until the end of the first week of March. His 'parents' headed back to their condo in Mexico today. They were originally scheduled to leave on Wednesday but were able to change their flight to today.

Drema - We'll keep our fingers crossed that something turns up quickly for Skip! A new coat of paint is nice although, since the colors aren't changing much, it doesn't look very different.

V - cute picture of the dog trail.... Misty has such short legs that deep snow is a problem for her. Randy usually snow-blows a path for her from the patio to under the pines so she can do her 'business' down there. Now that Blue is here, he breaks trail for her and she can just follow his footprints.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 8:30PM
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In the words of out friend Sue, TGIF ! I am hoping to get out to take photos of the Acacias around the valley tomorrow morning.. we are entering spring here. Tonight I saw buds on my freesias, daffodil foliage is 6" high and all the Hellbores are in bloom. And the temp forecast for tomorrow begins with a 7 . I see a feverish gardening weekend ahead . Must finish pruning the roses and cutting back the perennials�everything is growing .

Waving !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 11:00PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Kathy, do you have any idea how many MONTHSs it will be before I can repeat what you said? No doubt it will be May.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 6:58AM
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How exciting Kathy! Just thinking about it brings a smile. Share with us so we can live vicariously ;)

I've got a fire going in the workshop (a.k.a. the garage) and I'm trying to keep it warm enough to start a new project. I'm going to use colored concrete in a pattern (2 colors) and carve a bowl. I have made one, but broke it in the end process. I hope I am successful this time. I think it'd be fun to have some succulent bowls, and some to use for reflection (and the dog likes to drink from them).

In between adding logs to the woodstove and ice removal, I made a pot of mushroom soup. I'm going to hop in the shower now and head to the new cheese shop for something to melt on top. I need to go to the hardware store and get birdseed, too, as Jake brought my feeders close enough to where I could refill them (in years past, we would shovel to the birdfeeders, but that became too cumbersome a job as the snow mounted up).

Have a great Saturday, friends!


    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:58AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

It's relatively mild here this morning although snow is approaching for the afternoon. When we were walking the dogs this morning it was brilliantly sunny and, for the first time this year, felt more like a cool early spring day than a mild winter one!

Randy is in the kitchen making marmalade; I need to work on the next exercise for my course.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 11:54AM
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It all starts with Kathy's season so YEA!

We quite several more inches of snow overnight. The sun is shining now, but we are in for a lot more cold and some snow for the next week yet. Bah Humbug!

I have put down my last book for awhile. I have promised myself. Sure it's a great way to pass time but I need to get active somehow.

Saucy sounds like you are giving it a try.

Woody you too, with your dog walking.

Drema, so sorry to hear about Skips job. I know how devastating that feels. I was there once.
Hope something turns up for him, and you get to start subbing soon.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:48PM
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I will second Norma's excitement for Kathy's spring! I didn't know daffodils grew in Northern California. Today is has been snowing again. I am becoming one with the snow. Yesterday I sort of finished up the room I am working on for myself. I just need some pictures for the wall and a lamp that has a good lamp shade. Thanks for the encouragement about Skip's job. You guys make the hard things easier.

Tommorrow the kids are coming for breakfast instead of dinner. Jenny wants to be home in time to watch the Superbowl. We don't usually watch it, but I bought some hot dogs just in case we decide to have pigs in the blanket. Haven't made those for years, but the boys seemed to get excited about it.

I am making my veggie growing list and planning the plot out. Other than that, not much going on here.

Hope you all are having a nice weekend.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 5:50PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I thought I'd post the recipe fore the cake that was tonight's dessert. I think kids would get a kick out of this one so those of you with kids/grandkids might particularly like to try it. It's a perfect dessert for two with no leftovers to tempt you later...! The recipe came from an Australian newsletter that was included with a Canadian medical newsletter I get. (Which is not to say the recipe is 'healthy'.... :-)


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 2 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. EAT !

If your microwave oven is not 1000 watts, you may have to experiment to get the right cooking time. I recommend that you put the mug on a plate - it does overflow if the mug is not just the right size - which it usually isn't! I also suggest that you mix the ingredients in a 2-cup measuring cup and then pour the finished batter into the mug - it's hard to get the flour mixed in well in the mug. To remove the cake from the mug, let the mug stand for a minute or so, then take a fork and loosen the cake and gently pull it out of the mug onto a plate.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 6:58PM
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I�m just not acclimated to almost 80 degrees in early Feb. But it was nice ! I took no pics today; it was all about manual labor ; I got two of the climbing roses pruned, and decided to remove 'Polka' , another climber that just doesn't fit well in it's location. I cut it down today, and tomorrow I'll try to remove it. Digging out climbers usually involves a hatchet .
Norma, I never read in the daytime-I always feel like I should be doing something else ! In winter I read most evenings, since I don't watch TV after baseball season ends. This leaves me free to do something useful during the day, though I admit to wasting time on the computer !

Drema, daffodils grow very well here , and will naturalize.

Lol Woody, I'm always up for a 'healthy' recipe involving chocolate. This is something that would be really cool to do at the awfice-we have a microwave in our break room.

Nothing else to report , but pining away for a check in from Chelone and Cindy!

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:30PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The plow guy didn't make it out until Thursday morning. Well, actually he showed up between 9:30 and 10:00 pm Wednesday, but decided that the driveway was such a mass of white that he would not know where to plow. So he came back in the daytime. It took some doing to move all that snow, but I finally made it to work at 11:00. Slowly, all the roads are returning to normal around here.

Today we took the in-laws up to Madison, Wisconsin for a day out. Almost funny to think that on Wednesday we couldn't have made it two miles down the road, but today we got to Mad City in 90 minutes. We went to a live broadcast of Michael Feldman's public radio show, Whad'Ya Know?, which was entertaining and also interesting to observe. He interviewed two guests on the show (via telephone, not in person); the first was Dick Cavett and the second was Amy Chua, aka the Chinese Tiger mom. Dick Cavett has been a favorite of mine for a long time, so that was quite enjoyable. Amy Chua has been quite the center of controversy lately for her book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Her interview was an interesting spin from what I've read lately about the book. Got me wondering if she was backpedaling a bit after catching a lot of criticism.

After the show, we had lunch at a restaurant called The Old Fashioned, which was modeled on an old fashioned Wisconsin tavern and featured Wisconsin beers, cheese and other food. It was great! But I don't need another meal today.

But it seems that the dog is demanding that HE get some dinner, so I need to sign off. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!


    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:36PM
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Some Dick Cavett

Here is a link that might be useful: Janis

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:13PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh man! I've never watched TV, so Dick Cavett and Janis interviews...well it never occurred to me to ever watch things like that on Youtube.
I saw Janis back in 66 or was it 67? at Fillmore West in my post Peace Corps days...and YES, what an impression she made in her purple velvet attire when she let out that blood curdling scream at the start of her performance.

You know, I thought of her parents raising her even during those years before her death. Heck, that was before i married! And now, with the struggles Skyler goes through, the death of Reed,...I can't imagine their lives.

I'm glad to see a couple of those interviews Kathy. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Not a whole lot going on here. Weekly snowstorms have delivered an unpleasant hit with respect to missed work which has left me feeling impoverished. I have embraced the "free time" with a certain amount of zeal, however, harnessing my energy with increased time in the Salon.

The driveway and the snowblown paths around the Compound have taken on the look of a bobsled run and really put the kibosh on feline outdoor activity. Even Rex is not thrilled with his limited mobility. I take him out on his string and we play ball in the driveway but it's not the same as being able to roam and fully patrol the vast expanse of the Compound. It's winter and it snows in the winter, so grousing about it is pointless. It will melt soon enough.

I've just finished making cookies. Nothing special, just basic chocolate chip with more walnuts than chips. But they'll keep the sugar craving at bay for a few days, I hope.

Can't think of much more to add, but maybe something will come to mind later today.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:31AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Marvelous Chelone! The detail on the curtains, even the rings painted to match the rest of the trimmings.

Gorgeous snow here. Phoebe spent much time barking at squirrels this morning.

We have lunch to deal with shortly. There's a red and black currant pie to deal with too.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 12:00PM
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Where has the week gone? For some reason it really zipped by. I ended up with yet another cold. I'm exhausted when I get home from work those first couple of days. The weather was crummy on Monday and Tuesday. The roads were somewhat difficult. Especially Tuesday after it blew all night. The drifts on our gravel road were hard and I wasn't sure I'd make it through. Once I'm to the highway it's usually not bad.

Chelone, the curtains are fabulous. What a beautiful hang out you have there. I don't know much about sewing machines, but those two look pretty impressive.

Woody, the mug cake looks like fun. Kenzie is always telling me how she loves chocolate.

Drema, I'm slowly working on my seed order. I buy most of the vegetable seeds locally and order flower seeds. I'm having a hard time finding the seeds that I want to order and when I do its from so many different companies. I don't like to order from so many because the postage gets so outrageous. So sorry to hear about Skip's job. I hope something turns up soon for him. Your project with the room reclaimation sounds exactly like what I'm working on this winter. Kenzie and I will end up with an "Arts & Crafts" room. Its slow going though.

Saucy, your projects always sound so interesting. I can't wait to see the end result.

Kathy, I'm glad to hear that the 2011 gardening season has begun somewhere.

This year my plants under lights are looking halfway decent. I've begun taking cuttings. Today I have two beautiful blooms on a fuchsia, a few blooms on a double begonia and a few pelargonium blooms here and there. It does help to see these things when everything is so white these days.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 3:34PM
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Michelle, those curtains were a necessity. That big window faces south/southeast and anyone driving by the house has a clear shot into the Salon when it's dark outside. Talk about working in an aquarium! Anyway, I haven't been able to justify the money for the purchase of the entire amount of fabric to do all the windows (70+ yds. without lining!) and decided I was going to use what I had on hand to get the job done.

I was the happy recipient of a lot of fabric from a friend who ran a sample making business. In the load of fabric was a large roll of unbleached cotton canvas duck. I used it to make the removeable covers for my padded work/cutting tables, taking care to pre-shrink it before cutting it. I had somewhat over 15 yds. left over and was able to make the curtain panels out of it. I also did one small window on the west side of the house with the same fabric. I didn't have enough fabric to do pleats under the rings so I have to live with the (IMO) unattractive flat panel, but the work is neat, they get the job done, and they're easy to draw across the pole. Naturally, I had to "guild the lily" a bit and that's the reason for the flourishes under the rings and the banding stripe on the sides and above the lower hem. I used the back side of some moire taffeta (I love moire but the effect was lost on the banding so I opted to "keep it simple stupid"). I used the same moire to cover the 3 panels of the dressing screen. The color isn't a perfect match with the walls but it's close enough that it still works and the unbleached duck looks nice with the pickled woodwork. It's not my "vision" for the room but as they say in the horse world: never was a good hoss in a bad color.

I pickled the rings, the poles, the wooden brackets, and the finials (all of which I had on hand and have been moving for the best part of 20 yrs. now!). I still have to go back and fill the screw holes to hide the screw heads on the brackets. A perfect job for the next "snow day".

As for using what one had on hand, the slipcover was made from a roll of fabric I bought on super sale at a local store some 25+ yrs. ago. I made cafe curtains out of it in the early '90s, and save them when I tired of them. I reused the fabric for part of the slipcover. (squeeze that dollar 'til it hollers).

A lot of melting going on in the driveway today. More tomorrow, but after that the cold returns and what refreezes will stay that way until the next "thaw". Oh well. Praise be the Yak Trax, yes?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:03PM
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I love the drapes and slipcover Chelone. I think the nessecity of working with what you have is the mother of creativeness. The Salon looks like a peaceful place to be.
Nice machines and I like the fabric rack too.

Wow Michelle , Fuschia blooms?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 7:02PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

That fabric rack used to be in your workroom in the house, right Chelone?

I've been collecting fabric..foolishly..for Ivy dresses. It's an addiction.

Tomorrow the central vac man is supposed to arrive. (He said he'd come December I'm not holding my breath.)

Drema, give Skip a hug. Its gotta be tough.

Saucy, thinking of you too and your new cheese shop! YUM!

Michelle, I have no indoor blooms now except for the euphorbia, but a few of the wallflower cuttings have survived and maybe I should make more cuttings with their new growth.

Better go wash the dishes...

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 7:51PM
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Chelone your salon looks wonderfully cheerful. You have struck just the right note. A wonderful, functional space. I can see the vision :)

Bug, I wonder what it is about women that makes us want to gather fabric? I can't even sew but I love looking at it, touching it, imagning what I would do if I had talent in that direction. I have a friend who just made some curtains from some sheets she bought on closeout years ago. It was originally sheets and they have magnolias on them. Not something you see everyday, and they are perfect for her space. I have a friend who used to make her daughter's dresses and she did a beautiful job with smocking them.

Michelle, hope you feel better soon! It is hard to keep plugging away when you are under the weather.

We are watching the Super Bowl. I don't think we have ever done this before. For some reason Skip wanted to see it. I don't know one end of the field from the other, but am enjoying the commercials. And I like Fergie. But I'm pretty much done now. We used to live in Pittsburgh, so I am rooting for them. I think I am going to go upstairs and read my book in a minute though. I am trying to stick to a calorie level because my cholesterol is right at 200 and I want to lower it while it will be relatively painless. But I want some popcorn and/or choc almond ice calorie allowance is used up alas...


    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 8:50PM
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Wild weather we are having here on the cusp of spring. Right now, at almost 6pm I have the house opened up still, windows, doors etc. The sun is going down so I expect the temp will start to drop precipitously. I didn't look at the temp today,but it was about the same as yesterday, so mid to high 70's is my guess. So, I spent all weekend outside, and have 80% of the rose pruning done. I decided yesterday to sp Polka, which is a Romantica climber that just doesn't do it for me. I cut it back to the nubs (a saw was involved, as it is an established plant ) and began to dig. Hah ! The roots are huge and vast . Dug a trench around it, as close to the crown as I could get, and poured 3 teapots full of boiling water into the root zone. I expect I'll have to repeat a few more times, but hoping to kill the roots a bit so I can dig it out. This will be the 6th mature rose I've dug up this winter. One was moved to a new spot, 3 were tossed , one was put into a pot to be given to DD if she would like to have it .

Chelone, the Salon looks fabulous and what an impressive array of equipment ! I hope you get the kind of fulfillment you deserve for all the planning and work that has gone into this space. Well done my friend !

Drema, I'm watching the Superbowl too, but only because I have a bet on it , lol. I have the volume off , and glance over periodically to check the score. Regrettably it does not look a though I will be a winner . I need Pit to score a field goal , and GB to score a field goal and a safety, lol. Fat chance !

Michelle, I'm not buying any seeds this year, I have enough stockpiled ! I'm going to direct sow the Celosia spicata you sent me, and I have lots of Zinnias and Amaranthus as well. I was hoping my Amaranthus viridis would re-seed last year , but it didn't so I think I'll start my leftover seeds under lights this month.

Lol bug, when DD was a toddler she wanted dresses . I sewed them like mad, and haunted the remnant tables at the local fabric store. I have no desire to sew now, but damn, wouldn't I like to be able to create that snazzy chair like Chelone did !

All for me tonight .. sleep well friends

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 9:35PM
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My thanks to 'bug for her assistance with Adblocker. They appear to be gone... for now. There is no way I would ever have found the solution on my own. Now if I can just get the wireless thing tamed, all in due time I guess.

Drema, I am sorry for your added worry with respect to Skip's job. My brother's job fell victim to the housing market and he is now pushing two yrs. without one. He is enterprising and has an interesting gig making precision metal instruments but naturally the job he lost was the one with benefits. We will likely lose our health insurance at the end of the quarter, so I sympathize and know how the worry can eat at you. Hang tough.

I see Saucy is taking a welding class! very exciting. I don't suppose there are any pictures of the work in progress as it's probably tough to manage a camera with a welding mask and gloves. :)

The prediction from my brother has been that after working in my own shop for enough time it will become too much work to actually go to work. He's not too far from the mark. But times being what they are economically I'm nervous about ditching a sure thing (no matter how distasteful) for insecurity. Maybe the change of season and subsequent decrease in regular oil deliveries will bolster my confidence. Dunno. But I don't want to go to work today.

The cats went to the vet. on Friday. They all "got felt up" and there was a rabies vaccine for all. Plaque and tartar were virtually non-existent, and the cold weather has kept them more sedentary than they usually are so they've put on some weight. Spencer tipped the scale at 14 lbs. 10oz.! We invested in a grooming tool called a "Furminator" and it works wonderfully. They weren't sure they thought much of the idea at first, but they've come to rather enjoy the process and the amount of undercoat it removes is amazing. I wonder what our Mary could do with the fur and her felting technique??

Well, I have to mine the litterbox, put together my lunchtime snack, and then twiddle my thumbs until 7:20 at which time I leave for work. Ugh.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:01AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Just a quick nod to Chelone here. The drapes look lovely! What a great job. The salon is really looking good. And you don't want to hear this, but your color scheme really flatters the color scheme outside the window.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:10AM
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Breaking wind... uh, sorry, I meant NEWS. I believe the wireless computer conundrum has been solved! I can't be certain, but once I relocate this machine to the Salon tomorrow we'll be certain. Dare I hope?

I know I bored you to death with tales of painting the corbels last fall. I finally emptied my camera the other day and my faithful documentation of the the work was displayed.

The corbels are in 3 parts and beautifully hand carved. They are oak and were stained very dark as was the vogue in the late 19th. century when they graced the interior of a very posh hotel in Syracuse, NY.. I have loved them for years but never had a place to use them that would give them "pride of place". After careful and long consideration I decided to paint them.

I began with a thorough scrubbing in TSP to remove the years of accumulated grime. And then I patiently began filling the small cracks that had appeared as the glue failed and pcs. began to come apart:

The lower detail (finial?):

The capital and the main body of the corbel are combined in this shot, although they are separate components held together with pegs:

After the TSP scrubbing I applied 3 coats of sealing primer, using a small brush to delicately coat the inside of carving and avoid drips and "slides". Multiple sheer coats is the only way to get good, smooth, even coverage. I followed that up with 3 coats of Ben. Moore "soft gloss" exterior white, using the same technique. I allowed 24 hrs. of drying time between coats. The project took a long time.

When the individual components were finished I applied them to the pickled back board and mounted them to the wall. The pickled shelf was then added to support the speakers.

I'm not finished yet. I still have to crawl under the eaves and used a right angle drill to drill down through the plate so I can thread the wires up through the wall and over to the receiver. I also want to make covers for the speakers to cover the harsh black color. The covers will be easy, but I prefer to wait until it's warmer before crawling around in the attic in sub-freezing temperatures. ;)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 5:25PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Everything looks so perfect and bright out there in the salon. What a fun project!

My project today was making a pumpkin soup. I added way too much jalapeno pepper and am not sure how I'll rescue dinner yet...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:06PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Hi, Idyll friends!! Popping in to see what you're all up to. Life on the farm is good, life as a Grandma is GREAT and the little guy has a birthday on Sunday :) Okay, I gotta go check up on you all :) Have a great evening, everyone!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 9:19PM
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Fabu fabu Chelone !

IU related e-mail has been sent out, if you did not receive and wish to be included please advise...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 10:40PM
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Chelone, your corbels are looking good. After you put your speakers in and can play your own music, you are going to love working in there. I think the right music makes a big difference in mood. Thanks for the thoughts re Skip's job. The good news is that when my job went south, he started up the window/siding/remodeling business. This is just not the right time of year for that, I have to make it through the next 2 or 3 months. He is a veteran so they take good care of him, my job at the University was the one with benefits. I am going to try to find a job, and he is working on it too, we will see what happens. Either way, I know things work out one way or another. For some reason, I don't seem to be having panic attacks, which isn't like me at all. Maybe because last year was just the year from hell and I have no energy left to panic:). Enough about me, even I am sick of it:)))

Bug, were you able to salvage the soup? When we were in Canada we went to a great Chinese buffet and one of the seasonal items was a fabulous chicken and pumpkin stir fry. Wish I had the recipe. Pumpkin tastes so different when it is not in a pie. I remember years ago I made chili mixing up the spices from scratch. I still hear comments from time to time about the cumin. I am always liberal with my spices :) Now I use McCormick premix chili mix, one original and one hot per pot. Turns out perfect.

Well, I have to go figure out something to eat. Just got back from checking on my mom and am starved. Torn between popcorn and cheese and veggie something. Amazing how differently I look at these foods when I know they are going to be tabulated and measured for nutrition. My healthy breakfast of nonfat yogurt with a few granola sprinkles only received a C+, and I was still short on potassium and calcium yesterday. Today I ate a Viactiv and a multi vitamin :) The website I use is below, if I can copy it right.


Here is a link that might be useful: Count your calories and nutrition

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 7:31PM
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Quickie. Yesterday our brief "thaw" was blown away by a cold front heralded by stout north/northwest winds. Dog prints on a sodden driveway were flash frozen in a matter of an hour!

Cold today. But bright and sunny. Polly braved the cold to stake out the bird feeder and hit the lottery. She bagged a red squirrel who'd evidently crossed the frozen snowpack and was obliviously chowing down under the feeder. She carted him back to the house (hoping Daddy would let her bring it in) but dropped into the crevasse between the snow and the side of the house. No doubt he will remain there until springtime releases him as I have no desire to fish him out.

I need to explore Drema's link.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 5:59PM
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I'll bet the Birthday Girl has already snuck off to work this morning. I hope you have a great day, Chelone. Here's a shot from Fall:

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 6:25AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Chelone, I'm breaking tradition here and sending you a geography lesson for your birthday. I found it fascinating! I suggest you download the high resolution version. I even enjoyed the comments.
I hope you enjoy the day!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: True size of Africa

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 7:42AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Happy Birthday my friend!



    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 10:17AM
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Drive-by from the awfice...My home computer internet connection has been down the last couple of days due to a faulty power cable on my wirekless router...hoping it will be on UPS this evening , in the meantime a wave to all ,
and best birthday wishes to Chelone !

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 10:38AM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Chelone, as I know how you feel about both kids and dogs, I though perhaps a kid eating a dog would be a good birthday picture for you! Have a wonderful day!!

As someone who has painted a lot of high-detail trimwork, excellent job on the corbels!! Patience is key in those projects.

I'm supposed to be doing year-end bookwork, but I had to pop in and greet the birthday girl :)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 10:58AM
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Happy Birthday Chelone!!!!
Today I discovered a bud on this aloe. Must be a gift in honor of your birthday!!! Can you see it? I was thrilled.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 1:13PM
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Brenda, your little guy is sooo cute! Doggie gets points too.

I thought you guys might enjoy seeing the plant I picked out for my Valentine's present. A couple of weeks ago I went to the nursery and picked up the aloe above. While there, I saw the coolest cactus and have been thinking about it ever since. Well today I went to get it. I love it. I also got the little rosemary in the pot too because there is nothing like rosemary in the winter to lift your spirits. Smells heavenly. The aloe is beside it, and then I went in the basement and brought up the thready leaved aloe to see if it would get a bud. That is one I brought back from California last Idyllunion from Filoli. Little green sunshine.

Myrtillocactus Blue Myrtle

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 1:26PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 2:21PM
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What a nice surprise, you guys.

I love cacti. And I like that there is a bud on the Aloe, Drema; isn't it fun when you discover something unexpected? I've never tried Rosemary in the house, though I recall Martie saying it made rather a nice topiary. It sure smells nice. (the rescued Germamy-ums have yet to put forth a flower as the helpmeet has been brutal about pinching them).

Lol, Brenda. I would kill for floors like those in your picture. That is one mellow fleabag, and a glowing testament to security and "family". :) (precisely why I espouse the benefit of regular beatings as frequently as I do!)

Who says there is nothing to look at in a winter landscape, Woody. Beautiful; serene and patiently waiting for the snow's retreat and longer hours of sunshine.

And the bounty of fall, Saucy... simplicity in composition and color. Isn't that sky just too blue to be believed?!

I spent a long time poring over the geography link, 'bug. I took a Geography class when in college and it was a fabulous class. I figured it would be one of those "yawn" deals, but the prof. was great and it was fascinating! I recall resenting the study time Biochemistry required because Geography was shortchanged over the course of the semester. Maybe one day I will be able to visit that wondrous place... maybe.

I'm glad I don't have to work tomorrow. Today was a drag and I'm relieved it now appears in the rearview mirror.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 5:00PM
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Happy Birthday Chelone! I don't have a picture for you but perhaps you can visualize Niki lying across my ankles while I am sitting here in the recliner with the computer.

I have been doing some heavy duty cleaning in the basement this week and she cracks me up. I will be working away and glance up to find her perched in the most unusal places watching me. Norma

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 8:02PM
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Happy Birthday Chelone. My wish for you is that by your next birthday you're spending every work day in your beautiful salon!

Brenda, "Kid Eating Dog" made me LOL! Cute!


    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 9:00PM
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    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 10:06PM
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Happy Birthday Chelone. My wish for you is that by your next birthday you're spending every work day in your beautiful salon!

Brenda, "Kid Eating Dog" made me LOL! Cute!


    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 10:42PM
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From Moon

Happy Birthday Chelone !

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 11:39PM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

Happy Birthday Chelone
and many more from channel four.

I wanted to make a card for you Chelone. But putting the picasa html in didn't work. Maybe it's too big? I can't find the resize controls on picasa. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. Anyway I hope you had a great rest of the day.

picasa web album
To display the image inside the posted message:

I'm wiped for a change so I'm heading for bed. I'll talk more later.

“May the wind always be on your back and the sun upon your face and may the winds of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.”

Movie quote Johnny Depp

“There are four questions of value in life... What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.”
Don Juan deMarco (1995)

Night night,


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 3:22AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It is -27C here, that's minus 17F. Yes, it is COLD! They are predicting rain all next week.

Yeona, what a lovely piece of jewelry you have produced. Not something I could wear here on the farm...but I can even imagine it with jeans. ;)

I'm trying to finish a book for book club that just does not grab me...about 100 pages to go. I'd rather be knitting. Then there's the housework and other work. Norma, I should be working on the basement clean-up as well....

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 7:55AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Oy! I missed Chelone's birthday!!

I hope she accepts my belated birthday greetings, and I hope she is amused by the Chicago coast in winter.

Hope you had a lovely day yesterday!


    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 7:13PM
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Good evening Idylls, and here in Norcal spring continues to present itself. Today I saw Daffodils ! We will be back to rain on Monday; I'm ok with that. I had to water some containers today and all my collected rainwater is almost gone. At Whole Foods they had the 1st of the California grown strawberries and navel oranges. I gave a talk this morning at the garden center on attracting birds to your garden so it was late afternoon before I got home to work in the garden. I'll have a full day outside tomorrow.

Yeona, If you select a pic in your Picassa web album there should be a pull-down dialog box under the 'embed image' dialog box that lets you select the size. I always pick 640 for GW, 640 will not be a selection if I forget to resize when I import from the Picassa software on my computer to the web album.

Over on FB , Brenda has posted pics of Judes 1st birthday party, maybe I'll nag her to put a couple of them up on the Nana Thread..

All for me tonight, the kitchen is a mess and I have no desire to wake up and see it that way in the morning !

Dreams of spring to all..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 10:30PM
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Guess where I am right now.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 7:47AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Hmmmm in thew salon? On your new wireless connection?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 8:03AM
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Indeed I am. I have even taken a picture to commemorate the event. However, as more pictures are to be taken today that will be posted later on.

(it's like being on the bridge of the Abraham Lincoln... "mission accomplished", the only thing missing is a flight suit, lol)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 8:26AM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Yay for the wireless in the salon, Chelone! I have a good source for flight there a particular color you have in mind? They're not particularly flattering, I'm afraid. I do love the flooring! Jim and I installed it, and it's the perfect solution for a farm house. It has held up amazingly well with the parade of dogs, farmers and now Jude in his walker. Not a mark on it!

Pictures of the birthday party are uploading on photobucket this very minute. We had a wonderful time, and Jude was thoroughly confused by the goings on. After gifts and cake, he crashed for a couple of hours. When he got up, he was like a little drunkard for a while. Too much sugar isn't good for anybody ;) He fed me a couple of bites of cake, and I'm hoping that someone in the press gallery got a shot of it.

Kathy, I envy you the daffodils, but your mention of them lets me know that spring will be coming along here one of these days. We're due for a warm-up, and the weather people are predicting rains and possible flooding. As they tend to be a little overly dramatic, I'm not getting too worried yet ;) I wish I had tidied up the kitchen before bed last night. I love having an island in the kitchen, but it seems it's a catch-all for items needing processed. Not many dirty dishes, but an odd assortment of things needing a home, and some of my year-end bookwork needing attention. Speaking of that, I should get busy. I think DD and DS will both be over today. I'm into October on the books, so maybe I can get that finished today, so we can find out how much the fine folks at the IRS would like us to contribute this year :/
Have a wonderful Sunday, all!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 10:41AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Call me a softie...but I enjoyed this story. I am convinced my dogs do better with hand signs than verbal cues.

Here is a link that might be useful: Puppies for Parole

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 2:54PM
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The helpmeet presently labors under a head cold. He's remarkably cheerful in spite of it, though Wrecks has sorely missed the outdoor activity he's been used to. His Nibs has retired early with "his Polly" and that's OK.

We had a delightful "dinner" (in New England "dinner" is the main meal and is usually in the afternoon) of salmon, mashed potatoes, and sauteed cabbage/onions/carrots. It was wonderful. Followed by St. Valentine's Day chocolates.

Our 50 degree day respite is about to become history and it's time I headed into the house to fire up the stove in preparation, I think.

Bella is really looking "grown up" these days and I marvel at how Kenzie has changed over the years. but pay no consequence because you know I hate kids. And dogs.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:26PM
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The faux spring is over ..rain and cold are back here in Norcal. I am comforting myself working on plans for my late spring road trip to Santa Barbara. I worked pretty feverishly in the garden yesterday, knowing that a full week of rain was looming ahead and pulling weeds will be iffy next weekend as my ground returns to the winter-mud state. I was moving slow last night ! Lots of bending and sitting on the ground, digging, sawing. I also scattered a whole bunch of Sluggo around; once the rains stops and it warms up a bit the snails will be out looking for plunder. For the present this is a cold storm, coming down from Alaska and will drop the snow levels down to 2k feet, so they say.

Chelone, hooray for your wireless in the Salon..the Helpmeet might find it difficult to pry you away -does he visit there ?

Lol Brenda, Chelone could probably sew her own flight suit with all that equipment she has there at the Compound.

...time for dinner !

Kathy in Napa

Here are some photos I took yesterday morning around the valley..

Lots of balloons out -- I could see 9 from where I was parked to take this pic; this one was closest. From Napa Valley

The Acacias are in full bloom. From Napa Valley

The entrance to Far Niente Vineyards. I hope to be able to worm my way in to the gardens in the next couple of weeks- they charge 50 bucks for a tour and tasting, but all I want to do is photograph the gardens. From Napa Valley

The flowering plums at Oakville Grocery From Napa Valley

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 10:57PM
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The sky is equally blue here but it's a helluva lot colder, Kathy! My favorite is the 3rd. shot down, that wonderful, formal allee. So pretty.

I do rather spend a lot of time over here now. A friend of ours remarked that we have "his and her" doors into the bahn. And she laughed when the helpmeet came up to the Salon and I told him, "try not to touch anything" (a favorite line from "Overboard").

I'm plugging away on another slipcover at present and it's coming along nicely. I'm pleased and am presently considering the "couture" touches I want to add to it.

I can't wait to get out of Dirtyland today and get back here. :)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 6:25AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

I bet it looks and feels just great in the salon, Chelone! The quality of the light is so nice now - harbinger of Spring.

Although it is freezing cold here today.

I have finished painting the baseboards in TCS's room, and am half done the ones in the master. Then I will repaint my bedstand, stencil around the top of the walls, and buy some refinisher to spruce up the rest of the furniture, and I am ready for Spring.

The photos are lovely, and the kids look so cute. TCS wouldn't do valentines this year. He went to a dance instead!!!!

An enabler friend of mine sent me a link to a site that sells exotic plants; bananas, Sago palms, a variety of different Taros...I wasn't going to get anything new this year, just concentrate on what I have already, but.....

Playing my annual game of "Don't plant the seeds yet, Jules, they will be monsters by mid May" but it is so difficult when the sun is bright. I may satisfy myself by running the self cleaning cycle of the oven and then christening it with a batch of peanut butter cookies...

Quiet day. I have got to figure out how to link our new camera to the laptop, as our "real" computer is now dedicated to the Optishot golf simulator.

I hope all is well for all of you in Idylland!



    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 8:39AM
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40's with a chill wind today. We still have patches of snow and piles of it where Bob cleared the driveway.
I'm still working on the basement although I did take a couple of days break from it.

Our neighbors are cleaning their chicken house and ask if I wanted the manure that is mixed with sawdust, so I said of course. They are loading into our tractor bucket and Bob is stockpileing it to compost. I can always use enrichment for this poor soil.

Now that the snow is melting off I can see tons of clean up that needs to be addressed as soon as things dry out a bit. I really sank in when I walked across the yard to dump the cat box today.

Nothing else much going on around here. I'm tired tonite but don't have an excuse like Kathy.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 6:56PM
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It's going to be some time before the ground reveals itself once more around here. Yesterday was really cold with a stiff, cold wind. I fired up the stove in the Salon and was thankful for a snug retreat. Dirtyland is also usually cold... heaven forbid we actually turn the thermostat up past 58.

Norma, your basement cleaning exercise reminds me that the helpmeet has finally tackled the boardroom. He's still not finished but he jettisoned a ton of things, and has been forced to reorganize, sort, and make a home for all manner of the treasure he's unearthed in there. Of course, his cold has forced him to "take to his bed" in recent days and progress has been temporarily halted. The pride likes hanging out in there with him, too. He says he looks up to find one or more of them looking down at him, too... good thing they don't weigh 100 lbs. or he'd be part of the food chain. ;)

(I have a feeling the cold is making a move on my usually ironclad constitution... we'll see)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 5:51AM
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