Idyll #469 Wintry WALATING

dodgerdudetteJanuary 17, 2010

WALATs occur between rainstorms here, in Muck boots.

Carry on Idylls..

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Saucy, I think I have that plant, but I am not the best with latin names. It is related to the hydrangea, they have a big one at Tower Hill, I think. It starts with a P or H has an oid in there somewhere. If you post it on FB, Cynthia or Sue might be able to tell you, because I think one of them told me what it was.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 3:09PM
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Wish I could cyberscent this 'Shropshire Lad' from last July to you all....

Botanical names exercise elicited Rose, Shasta, Violet, Cheri, Mentha (I actually met the cutest little girl with that name, suited her to a tee), Veronica, . Cane or Clem for a boy. Fun to think about!

Mom's CT Scan came back totally negative for everything. Another bullet dodged.

Hooray for David!!! Please, Mary, figure out a way we can see/listen at some point!! Remind Annie that a favorite pic of mine from you was when she was playing solo on the violin and the conductor called her "Rocking Annie." The admiration on the other kids' faces said it all. She has her moments and will have lots more....

Not too into football since my Patriots made fools of themselves last week, but willing to partake in the food that goes with it, so off to sizzle up some snacks.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 3:35PM
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Martie, that's great news on your mom's CT scan. One slightly less busy day (remember your summer of recuperation?) you'll have to share your Haitian tales.

So neat to see photos from your PC days, 'bug.

Mary, wonderful news for David. Parental pride for such an accomplishment just isn't taboo. I'm amazed to hear of other fans of Fiddler, one of my guilty pleasures. I played the movie recently, and the family eyed me as one possessed, so no other fans here but me.

Chelone, what a fabric windfall! I saw photos of a designer who was using gorgeous menswear suiting fabric as draperies, which really appealed to me -- just an idea.

Get that passport, Saucy! You'll feel so enabled when you do, lol. Who knows, the idylls may one day take European gardens by storm.

Drema, Mitch doesn't have a degree in photography but has studied it in school extensively. Your potager is soo lovely!

Some more pink, a summer dormant pelargonium now in bloom, P. echinatum:

Michelle, I love that Einstein quote from the restaurant. I'm just finding out I'm most likely "prehypertensive," so am committed to super brisk walks 30 min every day and no more salted pistachios or wherever else mega doses of salt resides.
Cindy, big congrats to your DD for her degree in library sciences! I want another lifetime to get a degree in that too. If she's still in London, my brother's favorite pub in Covent Garden is the Nag's Head, and London's supposedly oldest restaurant Rules is in CG too.

We had a "cowboy" dinner last night for my uncle visiting from Mass. -- Marty's chili beans, corn machoux, steak, cornbread, plus non-cowboy roasted asparagus, so the house is clean today. I love the aftermath of dinner parties!

V, sounds like you're just about squared away. The desk in front of the window is the perfect station for scouting photo opportunities!

Waves to Marian, Norma, Cyn, Candy and all not mentioned, but if I keep toggling back to the old post this one's bound to disappear.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 4:29PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Hello friends,

I am back and feeling quite put out that I am still on soft foods (I mean, seriously,if I never eat another yogurt or scrambled egg in my life...), but reading all the posts from #468 has been wonderful. One thing that really is making me insane is that I can't hear out of my left ear-it is blocked and has gotten worse since the surgery. Quite irritating. I feel like I am on an old airplane with pressurization issues! I have been telling the kids all week that they need to yell at me. It is very funny when they do-we have been laughing a lot this week. Reminds me of the early SNL bit with Garrett Morris on the Weekend Update..."our top story tonight..."

Mary, how spectacular! You have every right to be proud and not a little boastful about David. I agree with Martie-we would love a link so we could hear him play!

Martie, glad the scan was clean. Gosh, there are so many worries in life, aren't there? It is the essence of humanity that we are all in this together though and sending good thoughts and healing energy each others' way as we go. Don't feel too bad about the Patriots-I am a Philadelphia fan-that's worse-quite pathetic-mostly we don't even like to admit that we are fans-teehee. Of course, I was born north of Green Bay, so I've always loved the Packers-at least until Brett moved to the Vikings-wow, what a season he has had-I am hoping they win the Super Bowl this year. We were supposed to have friends in for chili and football today, but since I still can't eat it and am fighting a cold, we postponed until next weekend.

I know there are so many things I was going to respond to, but this will do for now. I did write mid-week, but did something goofy and it didn't post and I lost it-I know, should do my composing in Word. Oh well.

Have a cozy evening all. Talk to you soon.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 4:49PM
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The fabric in question is for clothing and includes some really nice wools, rayons, rayon/wool challis, and some pretty hip synthetics, along with a TON of stretch knits. I am not really quite sure how to process all of it, to be quite frank. Although it did make me think about acquiring a coverstitch machine and quality buttonhole machine. (More junkie tendancies). The 100% polyester plaid left over from a run of parochial school uniforms reminded me of Kathy. I jokingly suggested to the helpmeet that I could make a pleated skirt and wear a white blouse and knee socks and we could take it from there... hehehe...

Cloudy, rainy, and downright dank. This morning's forecast called for snow overnight, and a total of somewhere between 5-10"; the temp. is gonna have to drop some to achieve that. If it does come to fruition perhaps I could milk a "snow day"??

The helpmeet spent a productive morning in the Board Room and there is a sizeable load to go to the kerb for trash collection tomorrow. That is the space I've been gamely attempting to bring under a modicum of control since early summer. I suspect he was jumpstarted to action by a somewhat acid comment about the lack of importance he assigned to anything related to organization and general cleanliness. Whatever it was, I couldn't be more pleased and told him so.

Great pictures of your stint in the Peace Corps, 'bug.

Also meant to mention that we watched, "Gran Torino" the other night. What a wonderful film, thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to all with the caveat that it's not remotely "politically correct" (which is why we liked it so much).


    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 4:51PM
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I also wanted to say congratulations to Mary on David's achievement, and also to Cindy for your daughter. Isn't it great when their hard work pays off? Im happy for you both.

Chelone, your cloth aquisition will be fun, fun, fun!

Cyn, I hope your ability to eat improves quickly, and that your ears get better too!

Mary, I love that Shropshire Lad. Georgeous! And also happy that your mom is okay, too.

Hope you all have a nice evening!


    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 8:22PM
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We St Marys girls sported 100% wool navy blue pleated (must touch the floor when you kneel) skirts and blazers. The whole school smelt like a wet sheep the 3 days a year it rained in LA. No polyester for us, by god..
Anyone ever seen The man from Elysian Fields ? ItÂs not a new film ,late 90Âs maybe ? and not sure how it ended up in my Netflix queue, unless it was one of those Âsuggestions they throw at you. Not a great film, but very good, and the most surprising part was a first rate, understated performance by Mick Jagger of all people. Maybe heÂll make more films when he gets too geriatric to go on tour.

I Âm not sure I was very productive today, but I did get the living room bookcase cleaned up and have two bags of books to donate to the library and a lot less dust on the very top shelf. I would love to have built in bookcases in that room, but have no clue how much something like that would cost. In any case , the RV parking concrete demo project has priority for big-ticket expenditures this year, along with 2 windows that need replacing.

Cyn, I found baked or mashed potatoes to be a good alternative to yogurt when I was in my tooth Ârecovery mode.

Âbug, great photos , and interesting analysis of your PC days.

Martie, that Shropshire Lad is just exquisite ! I am restraining myself from ordering too many new roses this year, though I dug up 2 so those are justified ÂreplacementsÂ. If I get another Austin this year it will be Sophys Rose, but I am still on the fence , and may get it anyway and put it in a pot .

Saucy, did you take the mystery pic at the Tower Hill dudes garden ? I defer to my east coast Idyll friends on any id for this.

Minestrone is almost done, so IÂm off for now..

GÂnite friends..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 8:41PM
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Yes, Kathy, it was taken in the Tower Hill dude's garden :) I have several more pictures for id, too...but that'll have to wait until tomorrow as I think I'm off to bed now.

I don't think it is mukdenia from the google was taller.

I would like to see David's performance, too, if it is possible.

In a way I think the PC informational talk may just kill this idea...which wouldn't be a bad thing. I would wait until the kids were on to the next phase in life.

Maybe hiking the Appalachain Trail would be a better goal? It's been rolling around in my head, too.

Hello to all! I'm waving right back, Chelone.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 9:04PM
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The lasagna has been consumed, the game won and the house back in order.

Martie, I'm happy to hear that things went well for your mom.

'bug, I very much enjoyed your PC pictures.

Cyn, what a bother to still be on soft foods. Many around here are Packer fans too. My sister and family are in Madison and my brother in Mpls. so there is much razzing these days with Brett's move.

I'm thinking that Eden has one of almost everything in her garden.

Chelone, did you get any navy herringbone fabric. That was our uniform when I was in high school.

Denise, my cloestral is moving in the wrong direction so daily exercise is my goal for the new year. Not like I didn't exercise before - sheesh.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 9:44PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

My skirts had to touch the floor also....but there was no official uniform. Yetm we all looked alike in our penny loafers, pleated wool skirts, wool sweaters with circle pins at the neck of our "McMullen" blouses. Good grief.

Saucy, check with Adam. His room mate (female) from years back hiked the entire A Trail and he helped her prepare for the task.

My friend from Lake Forest College (1960-1961) phoned me this evening. We've been out of touch for 2-3 years. What did we talk about? Just picked up where we left off. Great when that happens. Dogs dominated this call, also talk of Reed. She's an artist and the switch to a new medium intrigues me!

Tomorrow...well off to the vet we go! Let's hope for good news on the surgery site.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 10:07PM
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Im sitting here wondering why I scheduled so much for this week. Definitely poor planning and failure to check the calendar before making commitments.

Martie, so glad your Moms CT scan was OK. Waiting for test results can be so nerve wracking. Beautiful photo, thats a such a delicate color!

Cyn, how about giving that soft food diet a pick me up with some chocolate pudding? And did you check with the doctor about the blocked ear? How annoying that must be!

Congratulations to Mary and Cindy! The joy of our children is always magnified when we can share it with others.

Michelle, I did use branch loppers to take down that Castor bean plant but had great concern with the sap. I read that it can be quite a skin irritant. Even with gloves, the droplets splattered in every direction. Maybe I took it down too early, do you wait until a hard frost? Also wondering if you dug up the root like I did or just let it decompose in the soil over the winter? That thing was hugelike a science fiction spider.

Saucy, take the hike! You can be in control, make your own decisions and keep your molars!yikes. I enjoyed your PC photos, bug although it does sound a bit restrictive.

Chelone, yes! Gran Torino was great. Now I might be able to forgive Clint for making Million Dollar Baby.

Muck boots for Walating, Kathy?not even close, lol. Weve had some snow melt, not much in the yard yet. BTW, yes I use the basic macro setting on my camera; its only a little Canon. DH keeps threatening to buy me a new one and I keep rejecting that idea; I just enjoy taking pictures without the urge to learn the intricacies of higher level photography. On the flip side I love experimenting with ambient light, angle and other variables. What I lack in skill I make up for in being stubborn enough to take 10 shots to get what I want. Half the time I dont know what gave me a particular result, lol. A good example is the black background in this one, taken on a sunny day. Yeah, I do contort myself into weird positions but Ive never hung by my heels!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:22PM
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Sorry, that's so big!...I'm sure I sized it smaller in my photo program before uploading to photobucket.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:28PM
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I was contemplating the title of this Idyll after I posted. Wintry Walating here consists of snow at least knee deep this year. I went out the other day when the hoar frost was thick to take a winter shot of the butterfly garden. I like the idea of the four seasons pictures that several of you have mentioned. Anyway, I waded through the snow. Fortunately I have the spruces as a backdrop because there is literally nothing to see. The snow is really deep there. So much for planting for winter interest.

Candy, I wait until frost takes the castor beans. I do have the loppers with the telescoping handles and have never noticed a sap issue. I leave the roots in the ground.

From my walating:

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:45PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good Monday Morning everyone!

Geez, what's with the "please log in" all the time????

First off, lots of congratulations in order: Great news about the pending increase in the size of your family 'Bug!! Fun indeed!

And wonderful news about David, Mary. The music especially but also the fact that the fun-loving boy is back having fun outside! And Annie is being so very responsible in terms of driving, and in general she sounds terrific!

And a degree in Library Science - Oh to live a part of one's life in the amazing world of books!

Chelone - isn't that what you cleaned up the space for, to have room for all kinds of new neat stuff? I recently bought a tufted quilt for $2.00 at a garage sale - it was made from the gentleman's old suits after he retired, and is backed with flannellette - really sturdy and warm. I bought it for TCS's camping expeditions, but I find it looks great in the guest room on our old antique bed. (The bed was my great-great-grandfather's wedding gift to my great-great grandmother in about 1850. We have all the rest of the suite too).

I am still trying hard to EAT my way throught the basement storage room. I am getting about as much help in this project as I The biggest chore is sorting out 35 years worth of our photos, as well as my late in-laws forty or more years of photos. Six huge boxes, all sitting in my basement. I hate it. I have put together large manilla envelopes for every family member and am putting photos in the appropriate ones. When an envelope is getting full I mail it to the person whose name is there. Many photos of DH's sibs from the time they were born until now - the youngest is 50 something. What a job.

Trying to talk DH into freeing up some cash for ceiling fans, lazy susans, and plantation shutters. I noted that Kathy has some in her living room and I want them too. *sigh*

The beasts are helping with the EAT program in that they ate two of my living room chairs this week. The wood, not the upholstry. So repair may not be possible. I don't understand this - they get lots of exercise, walked, played with in the yard, well-fed, lots of attention, and have an abundance of chew toys of their own. Any advice, Chelone??

Love reading about ambitions - and past feats - PC and hiking, new gardens, cooking experiments - you folks are a bright sunny day in the middle of a grey Canadian winter!



    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 9:42AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

This WALATING thing...what I don't do for Idylls! Today a fell on the ice while Phoebe and I were trying to walate for this day's posting. The hoarfrost is lovely, not quite as gorgeous as Michelle's photo, but beautiful none the less for a grey winter's day.

Topics I have been considering over the past week include whether or not Phoebe actually NEEDS a coat once she returns from the coiffeur's. I find them ridiculous, but a naked dog could indeed get cold, no? Another topic is a male friend's worry. He is concerned about reading to his 10 year old daughter at night and that she will not read on her own. I of course think this is fine but he is anxious. Having taught reading in my past, I am full of opinions, but the world has changed so I doubt myself at times.

On another front, I'm concerned about my friend in book club with many cancers...another woman with a husband whose a jerk and who sabotages efforts at eating healthy meals...about the progress of custody of Skyler. There's more, and I'm sure we each have our list of worries, but that's part of mine.

DH is working to put off jury duty until May. We don't know if this will be possible or not, but it certainly would be best for his health and for his students as well.

Off to locate some colour for the day.
Voila! Back in June-05 I was successful with these...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 11:44AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

I am very thankful for the 3-day weekend here - playing catchup and trying to get some rest at the same time.

Chelone -- Im feeling guilty now w/ that huge haul you got re the fabrics - I cleaned out about 30 years worth of fabrics from my mother's sewing room -- ended up giving it all to Goodwill because I just couldnt figure out what to do with it; mega drawers of threads, and notions too.... I know my psycho sibling was furious - but again as always,while she wants all this stuff, she lives in a 1 bdroom apt and has yet to bother with renting a storage locker - she just expects it all to stay living at Dad's for some future fantasy house she's going to one day own.... Nor will she follow thru on a single clean-up task - like a kid - she does 2 hours and then the rest of the job is left undone completely.... It was a great source of accomplishment for me to deliver the 12 bags to the charity and a load off Dad's shoulders -- but if you'd been around I'd have been happy to offer! I did keep a few choice wools, mohairs, silks, and other wonderful fabrics that someone could own someday. Sometimes one has to grit one's teeth and just heave-ho, right?

Saucy - your mystery/ Tower Hill dude plant - I wonder if it's darmera peltata (umbrella plant)? maybe someone already suggested that....

Cyn - sorry to hear you're still on softies and had a side effect -- stopped up ears are sooo annoying - sounds like more fluid?

oops, magic is happening here today and I gotta move... back later.

Im impressed with the winter WALAT efforts -- falling is no good tho, 'bug, in pursuit of artistic endeavors! Michelle -- stunning pic.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:12PM
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Oh, I think you might have indentified it Cindy! I have a darmera (be quiet Michelle:) but I was thinking it had more textured leaves. I think I was confusing the leaf texture with rodgersia though. I'm taking it that it's a large leaved plant, Saucy? Something you want for casting?

Well, I've caught up but can't begin to remember everything to comment on. It did stick in my mind though, that Marie and family are welcoming a new addition and congratulations are definitely in order there. I'm wondering if Sarah's as tired of being pregnant as Jennifer is?

Mary, you have every right to be so proud of David. He must be very excited too. Also,hate to say, but boys will be boys as far as the sledding incident goes. I never found a solution to that with my David. I just hoped his guardian angel was paying close attention:)

My bit of news for the day is that Jenni and Randy found out this morning that the new baby is a boy! We're all very excited about that. Randy most of all. He's walking on air:)

It's getting closer...


    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:39PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Well 60 days sounds bearable in terms of Spring's arrival, but very long in terms of diet end exercise. Why is that?

Eden, I don't think Sarah worries too much about her pregnancies. She keeps very active no matter what, and if one wants an entire hockey team of children, well now's the time for it I guess.

This is just a short photographic follow up on my earlier ramblings.
At breakfast time this morning:

At lunchtime:

The verdict from the vet is to continue walking Phoebe on her leash, but greater distances and (oh no!) allow her to pull ahead a bit for exercise. OY!


    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:49PM
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Saucy, meant to add, if it is darmera you're looking for it likes a site where it can have wet feet. I have mine near my fountain where it's always wet from the splash over and it loves it there.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:52PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Oh, 'bug, I'm with you! Tell that friend to read to his daughter as long as he can! What a lovely thing it is for both of them and they will have such wonderful memories of those times. At 10, there are a lot of books that she could enjoy having read to her that she would struggle with on her own and, of course, they can reread those old favorites again and again.

Kathy, thanks for the suggestion of potatoes-don't know why in the world it didn't occur to me. Even though I am done with soft foods today, baked potatoes are on the menu tonight-yum! Michelle, chocolate pudding has been a staple and not one I seem to tire of...

Oh, BTW, what is a WALAT or WALATing? That is new to me and I have some guesses in general, but not the exact words.

Chelone, your fabric windfall sounds fabulous. Can't wait to hear what you do with it all. No need to fill us in on the Catholic school girl uniform and DH, though-LOL.

Cindy, meant to say congrats to your DD. Libraries are the most marvelous of places (along with gardens, of course). I always intend to just run in and hurry out, but it never quite works that way. One of my favorite poems is "Metamorphosis" which references Kafka and in which you find the lines, "changing me into...the New York Public Library./ Ah, to awaken one morning as the New York Public Library/I would pass the days observing old men.../as they mounted the ponderous steps between the lions.../...I would feel the pages of books turning inside me like butterflies./I would stare over Fifth Avenue with a perfectly straight face." I love that. All great libraries do seem to instill that sense of awe and wonder and magic, don't they? What a splendid career your DD has chosen!

On that note, I am off to work outside a little-it's 50 degrees and the new bed needs finishing.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 2:00PM
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Attn Cyn..

WALAT is a very important garden task :Walking Around Looking At Things.

And SALAT of course is often performed as well..Standing Around Looking At Things.

I try to do both daily.:-)

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 3:23PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

OY! I should never re-read a post of my own. Who was that person who wrote "whose" instead of "who's"? How embarrassing!

Did some treadmill, now for knitting before making Moroccan chicken for dinner.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 4:07PM
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Yummy!! A whole wonderful day full of nothingness!! Rich has finished the drum room and paint is now rolling in the living room. We've decided to go full bore and do the dining room, too. Perhaps a greener shade of green??? Who knows. At this point I don't care. LOL

Started my fourth Marie Antoinette biography, this one by Evelyne Lever and "Translated from the French by Catherine Temerson." Perhaps someone could explain why it's "the French" rather than just "French?" I've never understood that tweak.

Saucy -- go for the PC meeting, at least. I'm sure that there are short stints you could do through the Red Cross or other organizations that might give you a taste if you're interested. Perhaps you could hike pieces of the AT rather than the whole shebang? I remember at 20yo getting impatient with any hiking trek after about a week, and now what I used to truly love for that one week seems like one huge chore. No more sleeping on the ground, thank you.

At any rate, let's go to Logee's!! First weekend in Feb?

Delightful to learn that you will have a Boy, Eden!! Randy looks like such a sweetheart, but also such a guy's guy, that it seems right to add some blue into the mix.

Interesting to hear the options for Saucy's mystery plant. Whatever it is, if it likes wet feet I want one.

First sniff of paperwhites today and noticed that the sky wasn't inky until almost 5pm. 60 days to Spring suddenly seems doable.

'bug -- All is forgiven re: whose/who's. If we were sitting around your table talking no one would know the difference, right? LOL

Seed selecting in the final stages. Very proud that I'm sticking to just annuals. Ivy geraniums planted but I'm not liking the look of the starting mix and may ditch them and start over. Greenish tinge to the top and it's too soon for that.

Also, talked to "our" landscape guy who is itching to get to Cornfield Park and start work during the third or fourth week of March. We've collectively decided that we'll hire his business for the entire week and then we can make spot decisions as needed. ie., how high IS the water table where I want the second shrub border to go and once they start digging will we need to ditch that plan? You all know the drill. He's already started with design from the plant list he compiled during our initial meeting. Cool to work with someone excited about the project.

Chicken/broccoli/rice casserole bubbling away and good french bread for dinner tonight. Mid-January fare at it's best!

Don't forget LALAT, Kathy, reserved for those with medical stuff that disallows W/S.

Applesauce is great after gum surgery, too!

Everyone have a great rest of Monday, and Remember the Dream.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 5:29PM
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Well, of course the skirts had to touch the ground when kneeling, but during recess when the nuns weren't looking we rolled the waist band over and over to hike the skirt back up over the thigh. And weren't we cool and devious then...just pay no attention to that large roll of wool fabric bulging around our waists under the thin cotton blouses with the Peter Pan collars.

Cyn, I feel the same way about libraries. One of the grandest buildings in town is the old post office and not the library, which was poorly designed from the get-go and is being scrapped and redone, although probably not 20 years old. And library hours in branches all over town have been cut due to budget shortfalls.

I say definitely keep reading. Nothing better than reading a long book to kids at night leaving them begging for another chapter.

The storms have arrived, blowing 30 knots in the harbor. Mudslide watch begins for those dwelling in possible slide areas. Listen to that rain!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 5:33PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Woohoo! WALATing and SALATing-two things I CAN DO! Might even be good at it. Didn't do a darn thing in the yard/garden afterall. The only folks at the garden center were the old man and the woman my age. We agreed that we did not want to load 15 heavy bags of soil conditioner into my car. I'll wait for the young bucks to return. Sort of embarrassing that I can't lift the bags any more. Oh well.

So much fun hearing about all the new babies.

Phoebe is looking good, 'bug.

Eden, thanks for the good news. I can do 60 days, especially if I'm WALATing and SALATing! teehee.

The pups are telling me it is supper time. They wish they were getting Moroccan chicken. For that matter, so do I!

Waving to all.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 5:33PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Yesterday morning when the alarm went off, I rolled over, looked at the clock and shot out of bed yelling, "Oh crap!". DH asked me what the problem was, and I told him I had forgotten to reset the alarm. He then said, "Well it's Sunday morning; how early did you need to get up?"

Of course, I had thought it was Monday morning. Once you shoot out of bed like a cannonball, there's no going back to sleep, so I was up a little early. And that was such a good thing, because when I looked out the kitchen window, I saw the most extensive hoar frost that I've ever seen. After a quick breakfast and shower, I headed outside with the camera to WALAT and capture the morning.

Right next to the front porch, the branches of the hazelnut bushes and its catkins were covered with the frost.

Northern Sea Oats, Chasmanthium latifolium, are looking a little forlorn by this time of year, but they dress up nicely with the frost.

Looking up the hill in the back yard was almost a ghostly experience.

These are branches of witch hazel, which seem to echo the flowering stems of late autumn.

So it was a fun morning for a WALAT, despite the challenges of falling through the snow pack from time to time. (There's nothing worse than knowing you are standing up too high on the snow, and you're just waiting to break through the crust.)

Much interesting reading on this thread so far. Now, I'm going to be gone for a couple of days and I'm not taking my computer, so don't go galloping through a thread and a half, OK?


    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 9:25PM
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Am I crazy to tell the boss that I'm unhappy with my raise? I know that many aren't getting one. I think all the added responsibilities and stress deserve a little more than an across the board raise.

Eden, what fun to add a little boy to the mix.

Denise, our letter man sweaters covered the rolled up waistband.

I know I was reading to my kids at age 10 and probably older. We read quite a few series of books. I would read some and then encourage them to take a turn.

Well, that is one way to look thinner shave off all your hair! Phoebe looks adorable either way.

Cyn, I wish I could pass on some of my homemade applesauce to you.

I worked in the public library of the town that I went to business school in. I always went home with more books than I could read. Since so many here are cat lovers, I've attached a link to Dewey (as in the decimal system) the library cat. He came to live at the very same library that I worked at but a number of year later. Its a cute story.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 9:31PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Chelone, You chuckled at the mental picture of Trubby using the amaryllis tub for a literbox, and I chuckled at the "begonia tubers". Only there weren't any, but apparently the soil was well fertilized anyway. When I watered it, the excess that ran out was very fragrant!

I am enjoying all the pink flowers, but am too lazy to hunt up some of my own, :-)

Michelle, your frosted trees pic is beautiful.

I am unfamiliar with Darmera, so had to do a google search on it.

Ahhhh, poor Phoebe! I think she definitely needs a coat!
LOL, at your shock of printing the wrong your/you're. Welcome to my world of mispelling words that I once knew so well. My cognitive powers have dwindled quite badly. I utilize my little dictionary frequently, and still make lots of mistakes that I miss....

Mary, that is really neat about David. You have every right to be proud. And I love Anna's attitude. I like what you said about her driving, also. Our GD, Savannah, is the same age, but has no desire to drive. Her mom got her a car, but she hadn't driven it the last I heard. Her younger sister, Bri, is driving, with a licensed adult with her. She loves to drive.

RE: reading to children. My mom always read to us, and it sure did not diminish our love of reading when we were old enough to do our own. The same with our Tim, and with the GDs.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 10:16PM
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Ah yes, the all important LALAT perfected by Martie during post-op..LALAT is the most difficult in my view, since one does want to jump up and DO something.

Oh dear Bug , Phoebes new coiffure is mighty short !

Our skirts were not rolled at recess as there were far too many nuns lurking about, but on the way to the bus stop skirts were hiked and ties taken off. Untucking the blouse was an effective camouflage for the roll- we were slimmer then. Lol.

Michelle, at my company we have taken 2 5% salary cuts and have all (those of us who are left) had to absorb more duties. We are in one of the hardest hit business segments, so those of us who have survived are glad we still have jobs, in spite of pay cuts and added tasks. I dont know how impacted your company is , but I would respectfully suggest that you not rock the boat at this point unless you feel that you are essential to the business and have a very strong relationship with your boss. Are you privy to the P&L of your company? That info would help you decide whether or not you are getting hosed so to speak.

V, beautiful pics, you are making great strides in the photo world !

Indeed Martie, I really noticed the lengthening evenings this weekend. We are in the midst of a very strong series of Pacific storms and I dont expect to see the sun for at least a week. We are closely monitoring the river levels, as the rainfall predicted could put us in a flood stage. We hope for breaks between storms . I want to go to Logees ! Waaah ! To far for me. But youve made me think to check my maps for my visit east in Oct..could be a possibility .. I could go and pick out stuff and have it shipped home. They have such fabu of my weaknesses. We better have some serious pics here if you guys go.

Time to check out yall tomorrow

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 10:50PM
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Ding ding ding...we have a winner! Darmera it is! It's already been put into the shopping cart :)

V., the Sea Oats are my favorite of that set! I've never seen a hoar frost here...I wonder what the conditions are that make it happen for you and Michelle? It's beautiful!

GB, I don't think I told you how much I enjoyed the pictures of you and your husband in the Peace Corps and how I thought that the little statues were so similar to the place in TN that I had linked. I just said those things to myself :)

Michelle, I keep meaning to tell you that I'm looking forward to your bathroom redo, you always come up with a good plan and excellent execution! Can't wait to see the "afters."

It is snowing and grey this morning...I'm going out to vote so Ted Kennedy's seat will get filled, and then I have to go to the groomer's to buy Zeus his special food (she's the closest place for me to buy it)'s an off morning, but that is good since I'm not in a rushing mood.

Time to get moving! Have a great day, all!


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 7:38AM
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Stop reading aloud to a child (or anyone for that matter!)? PHOOEY on that. Nothing fosters a love of reading more that being read to. There was a time before radio, television, and computers when reading aloud to the family was a time honored tradition. Guess you know where I stand on that, huh?

We have a beautiful library in town. If they don't have something in their stacks they are always delighted to track it down for you if it isn't available in the statewide on-line card catalogue. Librarians love to help and find things for you. If they don't, they're definitely in the wrong business. I have decided that my next biography is going to be about Napoleon Bonaparte. Martie, I highly recommend the biography of Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser; she captures the essence of one of the most misunderstood and villified women in history.

Cindy, good for you for simply taking the bull by the horns and getting rid of the sewing stuff! It's really easy to want to hold off getting rid of things, but in reality it's an important part of moving on after a death. Not that I don't place great importance on carefully examining things and sometimes putting off tough choices for a time, mind you.

Thank you Saucy, for asking about the hoar frost. I never see it here, either, and I surmise it probably has a good deal to do with rapid temperature drops quickly freezing any available humidity... not common for my maritime locale.

Is it necessary that Phoebe be completely shorn, 'bug? a good friend of mine with a handsome Standard Poodle trims him with what is referred to as a "sporting clip". The fur is trimmed close, but not down to the skin, and it is just short but still provides a level of insulation for him. If it's terribly cold and his fur is very short she will put a coat on him, but not ususally.

Beatings, Julie. More beatings. I suspect you have some boredom issues with your little "beaver dogs". The Wrecking Crew is destructive like that, too. They chew up their beds and have done quite a number on some upholstered pieces, too. I'd be all over spritzing with the bitter apple stuff...

Home today with a cold. I just couldn't face the refrigerated workplace today. The helpmeet is in the process of succumbing, too, I fear. I have things to do in the Salon so the day won't be a total loss. And I have to think about retrieving my computer, too.

Where has Ei disappeared to and what about Anita?? Best to all and esp. our friend Woody who I hope is hanging tough and reading along. Hello friend. :)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:00AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Hello Chelone :-) The latest word is I'm 'on the list' for February but are still waiting for a date.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:33AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We're glad to hear the latest word WOODY! Phoebe should have a nice coat when we next see you!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 10:26AM
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Great to hear you made the list, Woody. Won't be long now.

Between property taxes and my quarterly tax payments, the bill is we've decided to change our names and join the Foreign Legion. (Hope their requirements aren't as onerous as the Peace Corps. I need all my teeth!) Ein too (his new name is Jeffy). Marty says no new names for the cats cuz they're not invited. Kinda fun to fool yourself into thinking there's options ;)

Lull between storms this morning so I played in the garden, pruning stuff, moving pots. I keep forgetting to tell Chelone that at Saturday night's cowboy dinner there was much talk of Cottage Grove, Maine. My friend's mom lives in Cottage Grove but is having her annual winter visit here, and my uncle from Mass. vacations in Cottage Grove. Once these geographic connections were made, they were off and running, with quite a few connection to Chicopee, Mass, so lots of back forth with those town names that sound so "quaint" to me -- Chicopee, South Hadley, etc. I think this is also Saucy's neck of the woods, no?

Must tell Kathy, my beer buddy, that Marty brought home a bottle of Yanjing chinese beer when shopping at an Asian market in Gardena. Label has a fab picture of the Great Wall on it. Stowed deep in the fridge for the weekend!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 12:06PM
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Woody, so glad you are getting closer to the date!

Michelle, I loved the cat story. I will see if I can find a used copy on Amazon, or if my local library has it. He lived a long time. Our town is having a special election on Feb 2 to try to pass a levy. They want to add on to our library which is very tiny. My hometown a couple of miles away is in the final stage of their redo. I love the library, and belong to three of them:)

Have you guys looked at the thread in discussions about new plants? There is a beautiful new dicentra, and I like the leaves on the Astilbe too. Just when I had a conversation with Skip about no new perennials, no container gardens unless they were from the plants I saved in the basement, or mixed veggies. I planned to use the money I would normally use for that to build the fabled window greenhouse, because even though I have all of the windows, actually enough to build 5 green houses, there is still a cost involved with the roof, and the connective materials, door, etc. I also said I was switching to shrubs and other woody plants, in prep for my old age, and veggies, which produce something to eat. I can see that was a foolish thought. I will never be able to resist some of these plants. I'm nuts.

Saucy, I have that plant, and really like it. I got it a long time ago when I was new to gardening, and it has hung with me all this time. I have it by the pond, in the shade.

V, great pics! Glad you had a whole nother day off to enjoy.

I am going to go grab some lunch. Went to the gym today, and it seems to make me hungrier than normal. Metabolism must be working.

Hope you all have a good day!


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 12:38PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Beautiful photos again, V -- finding beauty no matter what the time of year... LOL, can Denise find beauty in mud when it comes? And Kathy in between the rain drops?

Sounds like a great fantasy that we all want to move awy and change our names - now if only some $$ went along with us to set up the lifestyle we want too??

Glad to hear Woody has some concrete news; Martie's Mom is doing okay and the rest of us are hanging in.

Drema - I know exactly what you mean about how to resist the new plants. I wont say Im hot to have darmera but there are plenty of other perennials, trees and woodies I'd love to have. I think it's the collector ailment dont you?

Michelle - great story about library cat -- I confess Im concerned about DD finding fulltime employment in this career (not that I was asked) as too often this is a place public budgets are being slashed and bashed -- and w/ Kindle and other ebooks, the whole field is changing. She took many courses about internet/website searching, etc. and told me that's where the future likely lies. I have to confess to being a bit proud when she told me this was what she'd signed up for grad school for because years ago I thought it would be a career I would have gone into if events had not taken me elsewhere -- so it was a bit of "chip off the old block" amusingly - while she had a love of books I dont recall ever telling her this was once an ambition of mine (of course, I also had egyptologist, antique appraiser, museum curator and a few other oddball notions growing up).

Re the raise issue, Michelle, I think you've been given some good advice here -- knowing where the company stands financially is important, and where you fall in relation to those who make those decisions.... It truly is a tough market out there -- are you prepared to look elsewhere if a financial discussion leaves you unsatisfied?

It's almost 57 degrees here - stuck at the awfice -- but I still saw 3 foot high piles of old snow & ice -- hard to understand how that stuff can linger so long! It's downhill after today tho - and possible sleet/mixed mess for Friday. woohoo..

I too vote for keeping Phoebe clothed - she must be awfully chilly w/o her full attire -- but maybe there are ways to keep it shorn a bit closer? I know different breeds have different types of cuts to keep their hair under control -- Chloe has always had a puppy cut since I cant keep up with the daily grooming required for maltese very fine long coats -- it's worked out well altho she's the only one in my household with a regular grooming appointment from month to month...

Gotta get back to some other business.
Enjoy the sun wherever you may be today.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 1:50PM
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Time for break from the shopping, hair and dental appointments, service check for the car, dry cleaning and other errands Ive been running for two days! The whole week is locked down with more so Im grabbing the chance to sit and Idyll.

V and Michelle, fabulous photos of the hoar frost! Weve certainly had enough water vapor with days/nights of fog but other factors didnt cooperate to produce that wonderful feathery effect here.

Michelle, thanks for the castor bean information. If I manage to plant another, Ill be sure to let the frost take it down and leave the roots in the ground. I, too, loved the story about Dewey (perfect name!) and the library. Not surprised the residents have attempted leaving 3 cats in the drop box since Deweys passing.

Libraries have changed so much in the last few decades. The one of my childhood was a three story stone building with exterior Greek pillars, marble floors and wooden stairs, high narrow windows, smelled of floor wax, leather furniture and books. I do understand the need for multi media, expanding to accommodate the community and environmental considerations but I still miss the sense of history and timeless atmosphere the old one emitted. Glass walls, skylights, chrome and computer terminals are the domain now. Oh geeez, that almost sounds like fuddy duddy talk, doesnt it?!

Well, seriouslyCindy your daughter was wise to engage herself with courses for internet and research. Im sure shes well prepared and will find success in her future. And I can identify with your mention of Egyptology! Absolutely fascinating subject that I never tire of exploringthat and archaeology, of course. Not just treasure hunting, but for the quest, the research, discovery and marvel of the ancient world.

Wow, bugPhoebe is totally transformed! I would guess shes a little chilly given the natural coat of her breed? Youre just the one to knit up a doggie jacket.

Martie, this landscape project sounds so exciting! Lucky to have a landscaper whos enthusiastic about the job, too. Im thinking youll be busy posting pictures, right?!

Hey, Woody. Januarys more than half over so hang in there. Hoping things come through for an early February date!

Denise, maybe you can post a photo of that cool beer bottle? My former neighbor actually had a collection of old labels and it was pretty neat. Interesting how a label can change some ordinary item into a unique appearance.

Drema, you make me smile. If anybody can build a greenhouse, it will be you I mean, you managed to create a Tea Room that I covet, so I know the greenhouse will come.

Waving to Saucy, Marian and Chelone and anyone else I missed!

Misc. Pic of the day: I wonder if this photo has been doctored up?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 5:01PM
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Good evening

I'm considering switching from Picturetrail to Photobucket and am trying these out as a test.

Here are a couple of photos of chickenland in winter.

The chicken coop and enclosure first thing this morning.

Here you can see the way the bird netting is weighed down by fresh snow. However, it soon bounces back and has kept the girls hawk free all winter. Of course I get covered in snow as I open up the coop. The smaller "out buildings" provide shelter and different places to hang out in during the snowiest weather. But in all but the bitterest weather the chickens are eager to get outside and stay there all day. They are tough old things!


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 8:56PM
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Woody, good to hear you are on the list for FEB. I hope it will be an early date and sucessful venture.

Michelle, I love that shot of the trees.
I just finished reading Dewey. It is a good book and hearing you worked at that library is interesting.
Maybe I should start a book about Niki. She sure is different than any cat I have ever known and I could use a millon and a half dollars. LOL

V, nice that you got some great shots of the frost, having shot out of bed for no good reason.

Denise, Lol the Foriegn Legion. Not funny on the taxes thing though. Between taxes and insurance it's hard to stay afloat isn't it?

Drema, sure hope to see your greenhouse erected some day. I think we all have probably dreamed of having one.

I enjoyed the Peace Corps pictures too Bug. Pheobe looks pretty active. She probably keeps herself pretty warm by bouncing around.

I saw Julie and Martie breezed through again. I waved. Also Saucy, Chelone, Cyn and Candy. Hi to all.

Kathy, I guess the WALATING is a bit mucky Huh?

We have thick fog but at least it is staying above freezing. Not much else going on.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:26PM
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Mary, The coop in winter is attractive. I've been thinking of changing from Picturetrail too. Let me know if you like Photobucket.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:33PM
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Between storms here on the left coast, with the next one arriving in the morning. The back garden looks like the bayou.

Made my reservation for Lotusland this afternoon ! Im jazzed..This will happen in mid April, a nice time of year for a drive south down the coast . Dont you have a raincheck Denise ? Perhaps our paths might cross .. Im going to google that beer..

Some of you will also have an e-mail this evening relative to IU7

Mary, I love the photos of the feather ladies digs ! It looks might cozy for a chicken coop I must say . I abandoned Photobucket many moons ago- I just found all the advertising etc to be a distraction. I use Picasa now (which is also the program on my hard drive that I use to store and organize my photos) and I also like Flickr. Both are free. The only reason Im not using Flickr is that I dont like the resizing options. I keep checking back periodically to see if they have made any changes.

All for me tonight..waving ..

Kathy in soggy Napa

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 9:48PM
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Wow, how cool is that?! Way to go, Mary! You did an amazing job and I love the extra touch with the out buildings that create a little village. Like the idea of that overhead netting; must be entwined into multiple branches so it doesnt come loose? Your children dont just benefit from the fresh eggs, you gave them a different glimpse of life and a great example of how to take on a project! Please tell moreseem to recall you mentioned a light bulb and wiring? And was that fence always there or did you build that, too, lol! I'm unclear if your property is on both sides and part garden? Sorry to bombard you with questions but I think the whole idea was terrific. Applause!!

So glad I stopped by before shutting down the computer a bit early tonight!

Hi Norma! You can start a rough draft with photos for your book about Niki right here, lol.

Gnight Kathy..wavingships that pass in the night.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 10:12PM
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The wooden fence is our pool fence and the swimming pool, now covered with a safety cover and snow is in front. Our property extends to just beyond the big tree in the center of the top photo, and 20 ft or so beyond the smallest coop in the second. We back onto park land so much blends together.

I ran an outdoor extension from outside our house to the wooden fence and installed a weatherproof box to plug in the light for the coop, electric fence and water heater. The light is on a timer, but the fence and water heater are on all day.

This was such a fun project to learn about and evolve. It began when I brought home our first chicken (Red Betty) in a cardboard box from the Farmers Market one day last April. I had already checked with our town that there were no restrictions on keeping chickens and got a (somewhat reluctant) go ahead from DH. I spent all of that day making the smallest coop from a shipping crate we had in the garage and an old guinea pig run. Red Betty and the baby chicks lived in there till August when I completed the chicken condo from another huge crate. Nearly all the materials were donated or recycled and with what I had leftover I made the low shelter to provide a snow free area for hanging out in. Like a garden, things are never done and next spring I plan to add a Sedum roof to the condo.

Nite all!


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 10:45PM
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Mary, I just love your morning pic of the coop! So cool!

Kathy, when you use Picasa, do you have to resize your pics before posting? I have been using Photobucket, and it works, but I noticed Picasa has a download for a Mac, so thought it might be a little more user friendly for me. I have a Picturetrail account, and it is a real pain. I can't even copy and paste a regular size pic, everything is thumbnail. Even on a PC, it is a 3 step process, and you can't do it in bulk. They have a lot of my first digital pics, and I don't have other copies.

Norma, funny that you mentioned you are looking at your kitty for cash. The same thought ran through my mind, lol. I might be able to get a children's book out of them, but I don't know about a novel. Do they give 1.5 mil for kiddie books?

Well, I am heading to bed. I have been trying to set up QuickBooks for Skip, so am whupped:) I think the setup is the hard part, once you figure out what to classify everything, filling in the blanks should be easy for him.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 11:14PM
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Drema, I choose a size when I upload from my Picasa software on my hard drive (and we have an external hard drive for photos and music)and them when I go to my web album to upload I have three sizes to choose from. Picasa is a Google app, so it is pretty user friendly. Not sure what the issues might be relative to Mac.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 12:07AM
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Woody, I'm glad to know you're in the queue for February. And I'll be thinking good thoughts that it all progresses smoothly for you. It's good to know you're reading along.

I am a walking contagion and home as a result. But it hasn't kept me from shovelling the deck and admiring the pristine and sparkling snow that accentuates every tree limb and pine bough in the yard. It's beautiful. Not nearly as impressive as the photo provided by Candy, however.

Mary, I love the chicken Compound. You've worked very hard on it and it shows. The thorough and organized way you've approached the latest venture in animal husbandry impresses me and would have made you a star in 4-H. :)

Arrived from Netflix yesterday was, "Food, Inc." and "Frost/Nixon". I returned from a necessary errand to find the helpmeet more than halfway through it. I have not watched it yet but feel I really ought to. I can tend toward squeamishness but on issues such as food safety and security it's probably best to "buck up" and take notice. Slaughter of farm animals was commonplace where I grew up and while I've only observed poulty, I have seen sides of beef and pork put through the big saws and reduced to the cuts available in the meat department. Even that is sobering.

The 3'x14' recycled, perforated rubber entry mat for the Salon is in place. It's not as "open" as I'd hoped but it will definitely get the job done and hold the sand, grit, and wet to a minimum for the stairwell. Next goal is the paint the stairs and get a runner in place on it. I still have to collect my computer and get that set up out there, too (probably not today unless the helpmeet opts to be the "runner").

I have to look for Cottage Grove. And I hear you on the taxes issue... many do not know that Maine is the most highly taxed state in the country. Also the "oldest" and the "whitest"... dubious distinctions, all. ;) I believe Chicopee has the distinction of being the "buggy whip capital" of our country... . Hey, someone has to be repository for useless information.

I read, "Dewey" last winter. It was a charming read and the "local connection" to Michelle makes it even more fun. Maybe I'll haul myself to the library to pick up biography of Napoleon Bonaparte today. I love costume dramas and Santa delivered, "Napoleon" to this address. It's an A&E production, starring Christian Clavier, Gerard Depardieu, Isabella Rosselini, and John Malkovich and has been very entertaining. I have never known much about Napoleon but he was, apparently, a very brilliant man who succumbed to meglalomania. It will be interesting to uncover the "back story" to the disasterous Russian campaign and Waterloo. The only thing that could sidetrack would be a comprehensive book on Francis I (the Valois foil to Henry VIII). ;)

Time to plot out my day's activity. And remove a few more skin cells from my nose...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 9:09AM
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Not a snow day but an ice day, so I wont be going to work again. They are talking ½ of ice. I will probably continue to work on wall repair in the bathroom. I do have the paint as well if I ever get to that point. I think the course of action has been decided for the bathroom and we will forego the double sinks in exchange for a tall upright storage cabinet next to the vanity. We rarely get ready at the same time and resale isnt a factor for us.

I have all the ingredients in the house for split pea soup so I think this will be a good day for it.

As for the raise thing, I got the same across the board raise as everyone else, which was actually tiny. In the past year Ive been given a lot more added work and much more stressful work. Along with supervising the CSRs of which the DQ is one. Im not crazy about people management. I do know whats going on financially. The economy hasnt hurt this business at all; in fact we are busier than ever and have several new endeavors in the works. Which of course the new employees wont be capable of taking on, so it will fall to me as well. I just feel that he needs to acknowledge this. Hes using other businesses not giving raises as an example, but I reminded him that those are businesses that have been hurt by the economy and we havent he didnt argue the fact. Weve worked together for more than 25 years so we can talk about it. It was all discussed very civilly and I await the answer.

Im also hoping for more vacation time. We may finally be going from vacation and sick leave to PTO. I dont take many sick leave days so this will be great for me. My son just informed me that he has a job offer in the Fort Worth TX area and that its almost a done deal. At least if my children move away, it is to warm locations where I can visit in the winter and get away from this crappy weather.

Interesting that the NE doesnt get hoar frost. I figured anywhere thats cold would. Weve been having a lot of fog the past couple of weeks and that really brings it. It makes the most mundane things look oh so lovely. Its especially pretty when you get sunshine with it.

V, you must not have the depth of snow that we have to get such great shots. Most of my shrubs only have tips showing and all the perennials and grasses are totally buried.

Mary, I love the first picture. You have a lovely backdrop to chickenland.

Drema, you are no more nuts than any of the rest of us here thats why its so fun to hang out here and have you all for friends. Im very excited for your greenhouse project.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 9:47AM
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Phhf! Im about to venture out and begin my agenda for the day which concludes with dinner guests tonight. That is providing this icy mixture doesnt worsen. I caved in and will pick up from catering since its a last minute deal.

Just time for a quick post and a Pop Quiz! Can you identify this object?

Mary, thanks for the additional description. Now I have a better sense of the whole layout. I love when you do updates with photos and its a neat seasonal series, too.

Norma, Id like to hear what makes Niki different from other cats youve had! Although were petless now (and that may change) Im familiar with their quirks and personalities so whats up with Niki to make her unusual?

Chelone, for cryin out loud!you should be taking it easy with that kind of cold. Be good to yourself; curl up with a book, the cats, a warm blankie and a cup of green tea. Im starting to think your industrious nature never rests and your bootstraps are too tongor do I mean too short? Whatever, you know what I'm saying!

I happened to look back and catch my "doctored up" on the snow picture. Theres one to prickle an English teacher:) You must have a field day with me, bug! The words tumble forth without grammatical editing, I type fast and Im much too vain to think I need spell check, LOL.

Michelle, I envy you staying home making soup and working on the bathroom today!

Now that Ive raced through this if you guessed dinged up, short handled wooden kitchen spoon youre half correct. Its really a pry bar for when the car doors freeze shut. Invented out of necessity because the seals are temperamental when I leave it out of the garage. Using the door handle will open a mere crack between the door and frame where I can slip in the spoon (wood doesnt scratch the paint) along the length and pop it open. Always carry it in my purse, so its with me wherever I am. As you can see, its well used and a piece has chipped out so I need to modify and sand down a new spoon.

On with the boots

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 1:35PM
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Well, here I thought is was a diet spoon...makes it look like you're getting a big spoonful...but it dribbles out so you get less calories!

Hi to all! Chelone, sit down and watch Food wasn't too bad, and I'll bet you and the helpmeet find that you rank okay with doing the right's better than that laborious list of things to do you've got going on!

The chook's nest is so wonderful, Mary! I love it.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 2:11PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Lots going on here but none of it interesting.
Phoebe just went out with her friend for a long walk, now permitted.
Making a beef stew for dinner.
DH STILL not teaching, so plans need to be made about all this not being able to speak. The docvtor just says not to talk. Big help.
Enjoy reading along.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 2:55PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Just a wild guess on Candy's egg separator?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:53PM
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Have no fear, Candy. I can "slack off" with the best of 'em. I did make it to the library and have book on Napoleon. That man could write a love letter, ladies! (blush). I don't quite have the steam to deal with cleaning the staircase and painting it, however. Long term can be good...

I am at my own computer right now. But I'm still in the "library" at home. I couldn't face hauling all this gear out to the Salon tonight. And I still have to disassemble the drawers of the file cabinets I want to have powdercoated. For now this is OK. And everything works the way it used to. Predictable is good.

Candy, you're a woman after my own heart. Who said "man" was the tool user? someone who couldn't spell, obviously. ;)

We have a huge pot of chicken soup. I'm growing tired of it already. But it's quick, it's easy, and it's a perfect excuse for more bread.

Michelle, be your own best advocate. You know your worth and anyone worth his salt "supervising" you will, too. What are they going to do, fire you? for what? asking for more money when you've been assigned more work and the company is flush with work and probably cash? I think not. Go girl!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 5:07PM
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LOL Candy, I thought the slot in the spoon was there to let you balance in on the side of a pot somehow. You got me!

Oh Drema, I can't wait to see your greenhouse. Do you have a design all planned out for it yet. Just a thought, but since you have lots of windows, Brad used windows for the roof and the door of my conservatory. I don't know how big you're going though so that might not work. I'll be waiting to hear more about it. Exciting!

Marie, what's going on with Ric's voice? Is it just a cold or something more serious? Seems like it's been going on for a while now. I vote for a warm coat for Phoebe. After all you just took away the only one she had:)

I think like Chelone on the raise, Michelle. My parents taught us to do our very best work and to expect to be paid what we deserve. You go for what you KNOW you're worth.

I didn't wear uniforms to school but my kids did. Two inches above the knee for the skirts. Megan always pushed that and carried an extra, longer skirt in her bag in case she got called on it. Jen obeyed the rules.

Mary, love, love, love the chicken set up. I'd have some in a minute here if they were allowed. You've done such a great job setting them all up in style. Lucky chicks!

Hmmm, the Peace Corps or the Foreign Legion??? Oh my!!!

Nothing exciting going on here. We've had great weather for January. Storms have seemed to just go around us so far. I'm loving the longer days too! We're due for a thaw into the 40s this weekend.

Bella spent the weekend with my sister and I have to say it was too quiet around here. I had Kate yesterday and she's doing all those cute baby things that make grandmas smile. She patty cakes (claps her hands), stretches ( lifts her arms over her head), shakes her head for "NO" and waves "Hi" and "Bye". Fun stuff if you're her grandma, not too exciting to you all though I'd guess :)

I did some shopping this morning for supplies to make valentines with Bella. I stopped at the nursery to breath in the smell and picked up a few flowering plants too. Stuffed shells in the oven for dinner. Bella's playing with clay. Like I said nothing exciting, just a quiet evening. Hope you're all having a good one too.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 6:04PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Mary - I love your photos of the chick condo - and if you switch to photobucket I can see them at the awfice at lunch, yeeha!

Drema -- cant wait to see what you do for your greenhouse - I've seen any number of very cool ones done mostly from salvage stuff - it's amazing. I know yours will be as creative as any I've seen in garden magazines.

Hope you feel better, Chelone - glad you stocked up on a book to let you kick back and enjoy poor health and enjoy being homebound....

Michelle -- that's great that you've known your boss for so long - that does put things on a different footing -- maybe at worst, he could give you a few more weeks of leave (that doesnt actually "cost" him money outright, but gives you more leisure and time to make those trips?), and not something that other employees likely will note either. Hope you get a good outcome from your talks.

I do love the smell of greenhouses in the winter, Eden -- it is food to feed the gardener's starving heart isnt it? My paperwhites are blooming in the kitchen right now and give off a bit of that to me; but I'll likely venture to the local one in a week or so to see what agaves or such they might have.. o someone shoot me, I dont need more agaves.....

Denise, I thought of you "down on the bayou" after you talked about your back looking like that these days --- geez, whatever happened to moderation in weather? you get feast or famine?

Well, Chloe is antzy for attention - gotta go do duty!


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 7:43PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Well the topic for today was "make money" vs "earn money". I think Michelle earned money....just didn't receive it. YET!

Eden, I now understand all those Nana things you spoke of. Before it seemed so...saccarine. Now I love it all.
You mean I have to put it back together?

Well Ric has had laryngitis for over 2 weeks now. It is so very frustrating for him. He is investigating having his friend keep the class for the entire term. This fellow has taught about 8 classes for him already. It just isn't fair to the students to be in limbo. We'll see if the university accepts this plan. His graduate students are all on top of things and doing well with email correspondence. Of course this means an extra course for DH next term. In the meantime, after collecting and faxing letters from his boss and the doctor, the jury duty scheduled to begin on Monday was canceled anyway. Sheesh.

As to colds, this year I have used saline nasal spray and really benefitted from it. I discovered many others praise it as well. Maybe that would help you too Chelone? Others use it regularly as a preventative. Something to ponder.

Today I picked up several books for Book Club. I want to start them all at once!

As to Candy's spoon, I vote for a back scratcher! I have a Chinese one and plan on taking it with me to my retirement home. (should I eventually go to one...)

OK, treadmill is finished for today. Time to unwind from it all.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 8:22PM
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Marie, I just 5 minutes ago downloaded a similar picture off my camera. Taken yesterday...

I think it's so cool that we both have granddaughters the same age!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 8:53PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

...and they're both so cute! Great pictures and funny how similar they are.

Woody, hope they get you at the beginning of the month! Still sending all good thoughts your way.

chelone, colds are no fun, but hot lemonade always tastes good-even better with a little added something!

'bug, sorry about Ric's laryngitis. A day or so of that is frustrating enough. Can't imagine two weeks!

My first thought on the spoon was that it would rest on the side of the pan, but I guess the notch isn't quite deep enough. This time of night, my brain is not working too well. Come to think of it, brain is lacking most of the time these days-ha.

Time for bed. Hoping the wintry mix for the morning is enough to give us a two-hour delayed start at school. At least I think that is the forecast for tomorrow-maybe it was for Friday-that brain issue again.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 9:35PM
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Between storm fronts again, with the next wave expected to hit overnight . Looks like the high winds are over for the present . A couple trees are down in the park in my neighborhood, and noticed a few fences that are toppled too.

Well , Candy, very industrious use of the beat-up spoon ..we have no need of such a tool here I confess. I believe I would use the spoon for the Saucy method, dribbling out additional calories.

Michelle, Im glad You are in good standing with the boss, and are able to open discussions about $$..and Im always happy to hear about any business that had an up year in revenue. We are in the midst of our annual vendor meetings where we sit down with the top tier and plan for the year ahead. Results for 09 were uniformly bad, but on the plus side, some are projecting slight (very slight ) upswings in 2010..looks like we share a commonality though, having worked for the same company for 25 years ? On does get to know a little bit of everything by that time, huh ?

I m off to have some dinner, with a wave to all, and then some research for lodging in Santa Barbra when I visit Lotusland in April.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 9:38PM
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Avert your eyes Chelone, baby alert .

The heck with all this toy-playing stuff, mine is na-ner... From aiden

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 12:46AM
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Enough already, you're going to make me sick... ;) I want to see a shot of Aiden eating dirt. Or doing something similiarly indicative of his developing awareness of all things horticultural.

I took Rex out at about 5 AM and it was beautiful outdoors. Cold (12-15), crystal clear with beautiful stars. Apparently the night shift was pretty active last night because he sported his semi-Mohawk and did a lot of snuffling and galloping around with his nose in the snow. Idiot.

It's about time to put a few sticks in the Salon stove in preparation for some work today. I may not be in the refrigerated workplace but there is still work to be done here. And smearing germs on a variety of surfaces won't bother anyone, it'll remain my own special secret.

The laryngitis has lasted a long time, huh, 'bug? The poor guy must be driving you nuts. I'd be about ready to eviscerate the helpmeet if he'd been moping around the house for 2 wks., lol.

Time to mine the catbox and rustle up some morning grub. Later.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 6:28AM
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I hope you rustled up the grub before you mined the litter box, Chelone (oh I crack myself right up)!

Sneaking in but I need to get back to work!


    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 11:14AM
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The filing cabinets have been disassembled and delivered to the powdercoating place. Price for completion will depend on whether or not the present finish (olive green) is painted or coated and that will be determined by putting one in the oven used to cure the powdercoating and seeing if the finish burns or not. If it doesn't burn it will be pretty inexpensive; burning will require some sandblasting before the final finish is applied. Fascinating process and the portfolio is crammed with beautiful custom work on motorcycles (tons of really "tricked out" Choppers). More exciting, however, was the refurbished patio furniture in their portfolio. Our set needs attention badly and when I go back with my final color choice for the file cabinets I'm going to put the most decayed chair in the back of the car for a professional opinion.

I have to learn about wireless routers and receivers before I may move the computer to the Salon and not have to pay the cable company any more money. I will NOT give them one more dime, they're already overpriced and without any competition in my area. "Bending over" for an additional monthly charge isn't part of my plan for increased independence, thanks. It's high time they were more regulated since even the federal government is now encouraging people to conduct business on-line.

I "mine" and thoroughly wash up before I feed, Saucy. You crack me up, too. :)

I am feeling better, but still feel as though I'm wearing a football helmet that's about 2 sizes too small. :) Probably should've gone to work today (paycheck will be grim) but somehow bumbling through another day unimpeded by what's increasingly becoming "meaningless" work seemed preferable. My "slacker" credentials are now fully updated, methinks.

What to do now? (blow my nose again).

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 12:56PM
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How nice to see Aiden show up and join the baby party! Now we just need to see Drema's crew.

Sick men, ughhh! I have two friends who have husbands that have slipped and broken an ankle or foot in the last few weeks and another friend who's husband is scheduled for surgery. For some reason I always feel almost sorrier for the wives that have to deal with them than I do the actual patients. Hope Ric's voice returns soon and he's off to the university, Marie. Two weeks seems like an awful long time to be without a voice. I have to admit I'm not very nursery.

Chelone, remember my pink chairs? I had them done at a place that does auto painting. Pricey for me since I wanted the particular shade of pink and it seems no one wanted a car/motorcyle that color so they had to order it special. You should have seen how awful and rusty they were when I got them at the flea market.

I have Kate today. She's such an easy baby. So content to play by herself. We did read a few storybooks and now it's about naptime. Bella will be here within the hour and I'll use the window inbetween to make a pot of chicken tortilla soup. David's coming by later for dinner.

Not sure where this day is going but it's flying by.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 2:02PM
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Eden, nice that you've popped in because some of the patio furniture in the portfolio reminded me of you and those yummy pink chairs! isn't that funny? you never know when an Idyll will cross your mind. Not a lot of call for Mary Kay pink, eh? I'm thinking of a nice metallic black and maybe highlighting the floral pattern on the back and arms with some gold... . I've also considered a nice burgundy or dark green metallic, too. Best to keep that one under my hat since the helpmeet would find those color choices a little bit scarey to consider. Hehehe...

We had chicken soup for lunch and I plaintively asked that we not have it for dinner (that would be 5 meals in a row by my calculation). I'm happy to report that we will be having scallops.

The cats have been thoroughly enjoying the sunshine today. They go out the back door onto the deck. They go down the hole to the switch backs and to the ground. Then they circle the house and end up in the windowbox outside the Rat's Nest and nag the helpmeet to let them back inside. Or they return to the deck and cry piteously at the back door. Some life.

Time for "Law and Order"! gotta go. :)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 2:58PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Speaking of cats and sunshine, this is our crew today:

Chelone and Kathy, another baby picture with toys...

Lots of little stuff going on today too. First the guy came to remove our old satellite dish. YEAH! I wish the TV tower would go too, but we use it to hold the weather station and our newer setup for the computers.

After finishing treadmill#1 of the day and breakfast and fireplace stoking and so on, I left for town.
There was the local police presence for me to admire.

Then, since I had my camera, thought you should know that both our nearby library and the next town over's library have been recently refurbished as they were examples of Carnegie libraries of the area and worth preserving. The limestone one could not be made wheelchair accessible, but the red brick one was. There is a third library between these two which is less exciting architecturally, but which offers great service as well.

On the health front, DH is still home, working at his computer and resting and eating too. He walks Phoebe at least 3 times a day which is good for them both. This business of having him want attention and being waited on is wearing mighty thin, but I've been at it for 46 years, so I'll carry on.

Onward with my day! Hope you are enjoying yours!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 3:42PM
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The one on the ottoman cracked me up. My aunt referred to that sort of thing as a "sun bath". They're so cute.

Mr. Carnegie was really something, wasn't he? the library in our town and the one just to the north are both legacies of his money, too, 'bug.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 4:17PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Now those are the kind of libraries I grew up with. Good solid buildings! Great photo of the cats-such a good feeling lying in the sun, isn't it?

Kathy, keep that little guy working! Just think how much mulch he'll be able to haul in a few years. Too cute. I think the Idyll imps are the cutest babies around-and our four-legged ones are pretty adorable, too! I am hoping our grandpup comes for a visit this weekend. Clouseau is in desperate need of amusement, but Koda can't come until he is finished with his antibiotics and get his shots.

Well, it wasn't today, but it is tomorrow that may bring a delay of school. The good news is no one will be able to tell any difference when I am actually diagnosed with dementia.

Eden, would love to see those pink chairs. Last fall I bought an Art Deco iron set of two chairs and a table that needs refinishing. I was thinking of going with either purple or green (a light, spring green). Anyone want to vote? They will probably go out in the yard, not on the patio, but I'm not really sure yet.

I am planning to start reading the New Hosta Encyclopedia in bed tonight. I do need to hit the library this weekend. Feeling the need for a murder mystery or two.

Chelone, scallops sounds great. DH finished the chili I made on Tuesday. I had two bowls of ice cream. Tomorrow will be a pork roast.

Just realized what time it is. Dreaming of ice and snow and delayed openings...

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 10:04PM
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Good morning

I'm loving all the baby pics - keep them coming:0)

GB - what wonderful old library buildings. Hope DH continues to mend.

Cyn - it's funny for me to see you write about Clouseau as our dog shares the same name and I wondered how you knew he needed amusement.

Last night for dinner, after the seed of an idea was planted here, I made Chicken with 40 Garlic Gloves. I followed an Ina Garten recipe but cooked it in the oven rather than the stovetop. We all love garlic and chicken. It was delicious and provided me with the opportunity for a rare glass of mid-week wine (I can imbibe when I like during the summer, but during the school year I have so much to and from activities in the evenings I treat myself only at weekends.)

After, we all watched a History Channel special on Gallus gallus domesticus (the chicken) and more specifically eggs production. I learned some new cool facts but found it hard to watch the conditions battery hens are kept in.

Drema - did I tell you I'm building a hoophouse from PVC piping? It will cost under $30 which appeals to my frugal nature. I plan to replace the plastic with bird netting mid-summer which will allow me to harvest veggies before the critters do. It looks a super easy project and I might start this weekend, we're supposed to hit mid 40's.

Have a good Friday everyone


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 7:47AM
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I hunted up a picture for you Cyn. This is from '07 but it gives you an idea of the chairs...


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 8:14AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Ooh-the chairs are so pretty, Eden. They are perfect with the flowers! My color scheme, too. Is your door purple? Our front and kitchen doors are purple and I love that!

Mary, here's how I know our Clouseau is in need of amusement-he stands in front of me, winks, waits, gives a little whine...I get up, let him out the door...he goes about two feet...turns around...looks at me and mom (Annabelle)...neither of us go out...I close door...he pushes it open...comes in...jumps on mom...runs back out open door...turns and stares...repeat again...I go out and mom follows...he charges down the stairs, across the dirt that used to be a garden, leaps onto the patio...turns and stares...runs back up...jumps and goes down in and I give little jumps as if we are going to run, too...he takes off...races around...comes back up when he realizes we aren't there...repeat. To quote chelone..."idiot." Actually, it is very funny and Annabelle will eventually run and play sometimes, but a puppy would be so much more fun for him.

Michelle, meant to thank you for the kind thoughts about sending your homemade applesauce. That is one of the best treats-so much better than store-bought, isn't it? I had an aunt who cooked hers with the peels, so it was pink. Always loved that!

Candy, did we ever get the answer to the spoon quiz?

Uhoh-lunch is over-need to deal with two wee ones who were sniffing dry erase markers. Never a dull moment-LOL.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 12:22PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Happy Friday everyone!

I have managed a "read along" for the last few days but I rarely get a chance to get near the computer....DH has discovered on-line backgammon and plays for a good part of the afternoon, and then TCS is allowed an hour every day on his favourite sites after I have supervised homework and music; then it's time for me to do my most dreaded chore: Make Dinner. *sigh* I am getting cabin fever I think.

I think of you guys often as I go about my daily routine. Today's Julie Job was to tie a clean tea towel around the mop and go around knocking down all the cobwebs and assorted crud from the ceiling where it meets the walls. I thought of Marian with a smile, remembering her anxiety, unfounded, about meeting her DS's friend not so long ago. And I think of Chelone as I hang my laundry out in the frozen sun, and then bring it in the next day and festoon the wooden racks in the house....

And was it Saucy who posted "I rode my bicycle past your window last night...." on Facebook? Well, thanks a bunch, DH and I have been singing it for days.

Chelone, I knew what your recommendation would be for the dogs the second I typed the question...*LOL*...I have a spray called "Shoo" and I wipe down the furniture with it - but then I found Ajax licking it off yesterday, so it obviously isn't the answer. I had them both outside to play as usual yesterday, when I found an old Frisbee belonging to TCS. Tucker went absolutely crazy when he saw it - obviously someone in his former life took the time to play with him. Sadly my sixth throw sent the frisbee into the yard next door, and I know it will never be seen again...It's not that easy to buy Frisbees around here in winter...

Eden I love the pink chairs, and I like Chelone's colour choices too. I smiled when you mentioned the helpmeet's possible reaction to your colours - DH likes gray and white - that's it. My life would be lonely and boring without him, but Geeze Louise, one needs to be just a little more daring than gray and white...

The babies are all so sweet - and growing, well, like weeds - springing up before our very eyes. Keep 'em coming, they are such a treat to see.

I am quite fortunate as mining the catbox is not my chore - I do doggie gifts, he does the cat thing. To make his life easier, DH bought a Littermaid, one of those electronic cat boxes that rakes itself ten minutes after the cat has paid a visit. Tucker finds the sound of it very provoking and races, barking, to the laundry room door every time he hears the thing, and Paws uses it during the night quite a bit. Tucker also finds used cat litter to be a satisfying snack, so ten minutes after he has manged to get in there, the thing rakes again and he is off yapping his head off, not realizing that he has put the thing into motion. It can be annoying but I must admit we all find it hysterically funny. You know what they say about small minds...

Tucker and Ajax have found the ceramic tiles in the kitchen where the sun hits to be a most pleasant place to stretch out. Love the comfortable look of your cats, Bug. I think I agree with Chelone - cats have a sort of neat life.

BTW, Chelone, do you have e-mail yet? I have a question for you....

Gotta run - school bus time then I'm out of luck on here!



    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 3:14PM
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I am glad to see Friday and this ridiculously busy week behind me! DH and I are going to his cousins for a housewarming party scheduled on Sunday, then take our time meandering home. No itinerary but we intend to make it a 4 day weekend. Surely we can find a place where the sun is shining, you think? This is the tenth day of grey, overcast and fog with one exception. I never really saw the sun but the low sky broke up and it grew lighter for a short time. Guess I shouldnt complain, you dont have to shovel grey and dreary.

Cute baby pictures! Kathy those eyes get me every time, are they really sapphire? Eden, Kate is just a doll and she sounds exceptionally good natured. Again, so happy theres a little boy on the way! I dont see any goosebumps on Ivy so DDs house must be snug and toasty warm, bug.

Now those are traditional library buildings. The red one reminds me of a school, was it one in the past?

Oh yes!almost forgot. Eden, those pink chairs are fantastic - in fact, Im sure the whole porch is, too! Love to see more of your garden photos.

Cynthe Pop Quiz spoon answer is right at the bottom of that post. I fear for my Idyllship if being too wordy is tripping the buzzer on the bore-ometer, lol.

Mary, you tease You knew a hoop house would have me conjuring up visuals and curiosity for another of your projects! Already Im wondering how you will anchor it to the ground. Dont be shy with the camera this weekend. Id like to return on Tuesday and find a nice little documentary, pleasewith photos of course.

Hi Julie and thanks for the cobweb reminder. Without sunlight I havent been checking for them!

Waving to allhave a good weekend!

Misc. Pic of the day: Not here, but somebody got some snow!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 4:43PM
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I've kept an ear cocked to the Oprah Winfrey program this afternoon. Sarah Palin and her daughter, Bristol, were guests. That girl is as dumb as a box of rocks, IMO. What's the ulterior motive for subjecting her to national scrutiny yet again (money?). I certainly hope she has an investment advisor if she doesn't plan to live with Mom and Dad in perpetuity or they've failed to set her up with a trust fund.

Julie, beatings are good. When Wrecks was in full "destructo mode" we hadn't quite beaten him into submission with obedience work. It was really very interesting to watch the metamorphosis, actually. Once we were both on board with obedience work and began using "Mr. Leash" as the enforcer he began to really "come around". I suggest you go back to working with each dog individually ON LEASH, and make it "just the two of you time", leave the second idiot at home! The mother of the Wrecking Crew has yet to split them up for training. I know that's inconvenient for her, but I honestly feel that failure to do so has made the whole training process a lot more difficult that it needs to be. E-mail is back!!!

So, I was in problem solving mode this morning.
1.) I went to the blacksmith this morning with my dreadfully inadequate stove "tools". He knew exactly what I was saying when I told them, "these suck". I have two new tools on order and also the rack and bumper that will be installed on the side of the chimney. They will be ready in about 2 wks. and I'm thrilled; no more time wasted searching the web in vain for quality "hearth" tools!
2.) Recyclables are turned in and the cash is in my wallet.
3.) The homely love seat is out of the Salon. I've moved the two lovely "Martha Washington" chairs from my late aunt's home in. The upholstery is dreadful, but the lines are great.
4.) I've gotten an estimate for the stair runner for the Salon staircase (in virtually indestructable polypropylene). There's a lot of work to accomplish before any installation can occur, but at least I have a price in mind. And the patterns and colors were not too bad.
5.) Final color choice has been made for the file cabinets that will support the desktop in the Salon. And more information on what's required to refinish the patio set was gathered. I'm really excited about doing it.
6.) And GET THIS: the helpmeet has finally hoed out the Board Room! many things have been added to the burn pile and the back of his wagon is full of items to go to the transfer station tomorrow. This is HUGE because now there will a place to park the fabric score for the immediate future.

Mum used to make gallons of home made applesauce. And it IS better than store bought stuff. She also made a fabulous applesauce cake. Applesauce is highly underrated, methinks. Hope the choppers are better, Cyn.. Send some to me, Michelle!

Dreaming of hoop houses, chickens permitted to be CHICKENS, and yummy pink garden chairs I'll toddle out to the Salon to ready the stove for the overnight burn after we have dinner. Warms thoughts to all on a chilly day.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 5:10PM
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Just swapped out the old kitty litter for fresh. Joseph was boycotting the catbox and twice I had to do an "emergency airlift" of him from a rug to the catbox, the little varmint.

What regal libraries. And look at those stripes on Kate! Nice to know babies still play with the toy Ivy is pictured with -- some things never change, I guess. Mr. B. has such beautiful strawberry blonde coloring.

Storms have temporarily abated. This was the LA lighthouse yesterday afternoon. Marty got called in for two overtime watches, today and yesterday. The guy they're ready to promote when Marty retires has been taken "off the wheel" for 60 days, after multiple complaints from pilots not feeling safe with him at the wheel. You can fake it all year, but not during winter storms like this one.

Now I've got to either walk or sleep, both necessary but can't decide which!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 6:10PM
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Marty is definitely "puttin' in the weather", Denise. And you're right, you either know how to deal with stormy seas or you don't. Bottom line, when you're responsible for people's lives you'd best know what you're doin'!

Beautiful shot of the lighthouse. Laughed at the image of Joseph and the emergency "air lifts"... Ein wouldn't clean up the turds to help his Mummy? :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 6:17PM
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Blow that photo up and frame it Denise!

I've been meaning to pass you a link to this site - I think it'd be the perfect retirement gift for Marty (I want this one of my ship!) - but I don't know prices, so I don't see any tugs, but they do special orders.

Just thinking...


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 6:25PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

My friend in Oregon sends me photos of her witchhazel and hellebores, cyclamen and more. It is supposed to lift my spirits, but boy...It will be months before I even see snowdrops!

Today the last of my uncles sent me a letter saying, among other things, that this is his 26th year of retirement. He sent me news of how arthritic he is, who brings him meals, who cleans the house. Also the birth and death dates of his four siblings, my father being the oldest of the five. I've always been afraid to write him because of my French, but I need to slap myself in the face and get to it this weekend. He has NO ONE left.

Yesterday we had exciting news for us. I know this is dreary stuff for anyone else, but our friends in our environmental organization (GWO) WON THEIR CASE. This means so much to us! Here is what one friend wrote them:
I just can't tell you how happy I am about this decision - you have fought
so long and hard and smart! Your ability to present such a strong case gives
everyone at GWO cause for celebration and optimism. We always hoped that an
application would be overturned and that it would hopefully turn the tide of
rubber-stamped applications and this just might be it. Thank you, thank
you, thank you for your dedication and perseverance.

DD has phoned discouraged, focusing on Skyler. I know some of it is her cold, some hormones, but really she's had a horrendous week with the monster.
- Last weekend he went for a sleepover and the family went to bed and LEFT HIM UP ALONE watching movies. His friend had locked himself in his room and was playing computer games. DSIL walked past the house later with the dog and found him alone. He stayed while he finished the movie and then took him home, furious.
-Tuesday there was his learning to use an air gun at school, with no announcement beforehand from the school. Some guy from the Olympics came and showed him how to use it. DSIL was furious.
-Wednesday was a meeting of minds over dinner. DD has HAD IT with whining and bartering and simply says eat it or don't. Shut up about it. We are your parents and know what is best for you to eat and how much. Ivy eats better and more than he does. The dog actually has the best manners.
-Thursday was Fiddler on the Roof night and though sick, DD was very excited. They performed it when she was in school and she knows every song by heart. Well at intermission, Skyler started a fight when his Dad refused to buy him a hot chocolate. Crying and screaming ensued. When he returned to his seat, Sarah had no patience for him and told him she came to enjoy something very special and he could have hot chocolate any old time. He shut up but promptly fell asleep and woke up later and asked LOUDLY what was going on in the play, to everyone's annoyance. DSIL was furious for the second half of the play and apologized to DD for not enjoying the evening out.

So today, DD phoned me to ask what two things she should focus on the next week he stays with them. I think she needs the week to unwind and plan. I'm not sure where I'd begin either because having one week at his Mom's often wipes out any advances they have made.


Tomorrow my friends arrive for an overnight. Dinner will be simple and good. DH cannot talk. But we'll do OK. They bring breakfast goodies.

Today Phoebe had a nice walk with her friend who came to visit her once more because it was sunny out. Yeah!

Enough about me and mine!

The red library building actually is the same design as the limestone one if you look carefully. Neither was a school.

Eager to view Mary's next project! Chelone's too of course. Great news on the Board Room!
[PS: Chelone. Do you still have that writing booklet of mine somewhere or did it make it to the dump?]

Candy's picture of the day reminds me of my kitchen doorway most years. There's a whirlpool of snow there usually due to the wind direction and house structure. So far, not this year!

Denise, I'm speechless when it comes to Marty's work and the fabu fabu photo!

Bonne nuit mes amies!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 8:41PM
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Writing booklet is secure right next to me, 'bug... under a recently received insurance policy.

Skyler needs his buttocks lifted about 6". What a little -hithead. Sounds like bedtime without any dinner at all might be just the ticket. The quicker he learns it ain't all about him the better off he'll be. ((('bug's DD))). Not acceptable at all that a child is left all alone to watch movies, whatever happened to BEDTIME, for Pete's sake?

Meant to add the scene outside the kitchen door is amazing. Can you imagine being a settler in a soddy or a cabin and waking up to that sort of scene? I always think of that sort of thing when I see shots of serious snowstorms.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 9:28PM
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The weekend recipes have been selected, Coq au Vin (not a new recipe, but an old favorite and the weather is perfect) and Sweet and Sour Pork - a new version and Minnesota Wild Rice Soup is waiting in the wings pending spare time. The possibility exists that it may not rain much, if at all, tomorrow so I may spend some quality time with the brush pile. It has rained almost non-stop since Sunday and what a soggy mess the garden is ! Fortunately , the brush pile is on concrete .

Did I say bug , how much I enjoyed the buildings from your visit to town ? I really need to add a few more photos to my architecture file. I remember last winter I had plans to start a separate thread for pics of interesting buildings in our towns, and I went out a couple of times to take the photos. More are needed !

And I always do love to see photos of Edens garden ..especially the pink chairs .

Mary , I once had a pvc-pipe hoop house, but it has since been demod as the components started to deteriorate over time. I used greenhouse grade poly sheeting because it was UV protected had a three year warranty. Regular poly breaks down pretty quick in the sun. My DH and I built it in a weekend, and it even had a door, with redwood bender board as the frame. I still have the benches he made for me, and I hope to have a pre-fab greenhouse one day if I can clear a spot for it.

How clever of you Chelone, to go to a blacksmith to have your fire tools made. I never would have thought of it. You are right, the fire-tool selection is woeful and swollen with cheap-o crapola from China. We (speaking of the American consumer ) seem to be in a place where we accept low quality junk that we toss into the land-fill and re-purchase every couple of years. I would rather spend 100 bucks and get something that will last 20 years (or more) than 5 bucks on the disposable version. Guess that why most of my furniture is antique. I mean, could you walk into the local Ashley Furniture outlet and find anything remotely close to that chair you have by your computer desk ? Not a chance.

Candy, Mr Baby does indeed sport some nice eyes ! Both DD and I are blue-eyed and I guess thats where it came from. Both my children were blessed with beautiful eyes..DS s are hazel. Lol , I thought the same thing when I saw Ms Ivy in her scant attire, and conclude that people in cold climates keep their houses warmer that we zone 9 dwellers. I rarely have the thermostat above 64 in winter, and our houses are not nearly as well insulated.

Wow, Denise that sure is an uncharacteristic SoCal view ! And what a wonderful photo.

Julie , I am envisioning the yapping of the hounds as the auto-litter box does its deed. And Frisbees are available for purchase here year round.

Time for dinner , and onward to the weekend..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 9:48PM
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Well then, Chelone, you must have my IU6 wine glass? I left it in the Salon while I was packing.

What other treasures did you find?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 9:55PM
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Saucy, an extra IU6 wine glass can be had in Napa -I saved a few

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 11:55PM
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Saucy, your wine glass is on the windowsill in the Salon and it's presently holding safetypins. Not only that, but there is another one in the china cabinet, and I have no idea to who that one belongs. But it's safe and secure behind the glass doors. along with your bee stemware. Fear not.

The stillness of predawn on the Compound is broken only by periodic coughing from a rapidly deteriorating helpmeet. He seems to be on a schedule about 3 days behind your's truly. I looked in on him and Nurse Polly is on the job, so he's in capable paws. He can spend the day in the rack as far as I'm concerned but he'd better get that load of crap in his wagon to the transfer station first (he ain't THAT sick). ;)

I found a roll of 96" #8 cotton duck that I'd purchased before Mum arrived in late '03, too. I recall working out the dimensions for a couple of floorcloths, but am now quite certain the preliminary drawings and "cipherin's" have long since been recycled. Also a traverse rod and several other interesting items. And I also found the shots of the original level of chaos in there and will try to duplicate them to illustrated the reduction in crap.

Julie, the thought of the dogs exhibiting Pavlovian behavior over an automated catbox is really very funny. And further underscores the baseness of a dog's nature. Which is why, of course, I hate dogs. Is there anything on the planet they won't eat?

The blacksmith was fascinating. He's wonderfully talented, and does really amazing work. Wonderfully intricate gates and garden art along with a good deal of repair work and the occasional small job (stove tools for weirdos like me). Vulcan lives! he was listening to classical music and I saw clear evidence of a kitty, so he must be a good guy.

Yeah, Kathy, I think I'm getting weirder with every passing year. I spent hours looking all sorts of sites trying to find the sorts of tools I wanted. It's all the same "canned" crap, over and over. But in a variety of designer finishes and for not inconsequential amounts of money! From a practical standpoint, tongs are about as useful as teats on a boar when you're working inside a woodstove. And shallow ash shovels are a complete nuisance, as are the stupid little brooms. I even tried that standby purveyor of all practical items, Lehmann's, no luck there, either. Wish I'd had the presence of mind to visit Vulcan's forge a couple of months ago, lol. I mentioned I was on my way to the powdercoating place and he instantly asked me if I "make things, too". We had an interesting conversation about planned obsolescence and the difficulty in finding the sorts of tools that go hand in hand with burning wood. Interesting how what was once commonplace has now fallen by the wayside as the practice of burning wood or coal has largely fallen by the wayside.

My lineage sports blue and green eyes. Don't think there's a set of brown eyes in the ranks, come to think of it. Hmmm.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 6:10AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

For what it is worth, DH and I had a mesh screen across the front of our original wood stove opening. It was in need of repair when we arrived here, and so, devious souls that we are, we asked at the local Jerusalem Mennonite Buggy Shop about the chances of him being able to fix it. Basically, we were eager to see the construction of the buggies and learn a bit more about our neighbors! Well sure enough, we were satisfied on all fronts! The carriages were amazing and of all varieties. Some even had subtle trim on them in colors!!!!(This still surprises me) The screen was repaired and there was confusion about what to pay for the work. He suggested $5-$10 for his time and received over double what he asked for. A repair job in town would have been in the hundreds! As for our tools, well we often allow it to cool down at night if we will be out the following morning, so we use an old dustpan and brush and the bottom drawer for emptying out the ashes. We have bellows and 2 pokers which have history for us, one made by a friend's grandfather, the other our own from way back. Nothing very classy, but it works. We often gaze at the brassy sets in the window of the shop in town, but never think they look useful, so glad to now have this verified.

As to eyes, I always was told I had hazel colored eyes. Then in middle age I was told they were green! I love green eyes. Then they seemed to change according to what I wore. Now they are grayish blue. Go figure! You live long enough and you see everything and more!

Last night I managed to begin another Book Club read: Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden. I am enjoying it.

Here's a review:
This is a complex and colorful tale that deals with the incredible struggles of a First Nations family's attempts to become reconciled after years of living apart and suffering alone. The novel's main setting encompasses the wilds of northern Ontario where a family has grown up learning to survive by living off the land. As they reach adulthood, the pull of the urban south enters their lives and the family draws apart.The story picks up when an uncle and niece eventually reconnect under very strange and tragic circumstances. The uncle, Willie Bird, is in a deep coma and at possibly at death's door because of a serious plane crash while the niece, Annie Bird, has come home from her desperate search for a future in her missing sister in the jungles of the big bad city. The only tangible connection between the two is through a poignantly silent drawing together of their individual stories as inner emotions and hurts pass through their clutching hands at they come together at the uncle's bedside. Guilt is cleansed and the true spiritual essence of who they are as kith and kin emerges. Everything in this novel is a revisiting of the formative events of their respective pasts as the Willie and Annie draw close to each other in a transcending spiritual bond. Boyden is especially effective in mapping out the journey that native people take from their roots in the wilderness to the fleshpots of the big city in search of an ever-elusive identity. As they talk within themselves, the images of a sordid and unhappy past flash up on the big screen of life and disappear. The reader gets to see what really causes extended families like the Birds to be uprooted and then to come together later in life as only a shadow of their former self.The only triumphal part of this novel is the desire of the main characters to work through their problems and recapture something of the essence of family. It is through the retelling of these misadventures that the uncle and niece confront their failings and move on to enjoy each other. I like this book for its ability to both explore and personalize the psychological and spiritual drama of two very separate journeys and unite them under one tent at the end. Happiness for any culture is definitely bound up in the reassuring embraces of family. Boyden offers a very graphic description of the hardships of First Nations people who move outside the reserve and become separated from kin. That alone makes this book worth reading.

One reason this book appeals to me is that I know the area written about, Moosonee and Moose Factory, as well as other northern areas. I also know the "evil" city of Toronto. The plight of First Nations People is painful for me, having seen the problems in Labrador, British Columbia, Alberta... as well as Ontario. Good writing too!

Off to start the Day.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 8:10AM
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Good morning

My early morning market run was solo today as my friend is travelling, but what it lacked in company, it made up for with great buys. I came away with a huge bag of local Honeycrisp apples for $2, fingerling potatoes, tiny eggplant, other assorted veggies, fresh figs and a bag of Key Limes. I can't wait to cook.

Kathy, you're right, from what I've read UV stabilized film is essential. I got some remnants from the company linked below.

Candy - I will stabilize with lenghts of rebar sunk into the ground, and the frame secured to those with cable ties or wire. I find pounding in shorter lengths so much easier than attempting anything tall.

Denise - what a fabulous photo. I would have guessed Maine rather than LA.

GB - how rotten to hear about the ongoing trials with Skylar. It's hard to believe the sleepover parents are so irresponsible and uncaring. But dealing with the other side of his family must be the hardest.

Al sorts of things are calling and the sky is blue. Have a happy and productive day eveyrone


    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:54AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Funny that our eye color was mentioned. I was studying mine in the mirror last night,trying to determine what color they are. I concluded that they are blue-green, but I alway have had blue on my driver's license. My ancestry is mostly German, Dutch, Irish, and Swede,( Hienz 57), so blue would be appropriate.

Chelone. My stove tools were my mothers. I have her poker, ash shovel and dust pan. All metal. The poker and shovel were for her cook stove. Somewhere I have the soot rake. I don't think it has been lost in the shuffle!. I use a regular whisk broom to sweep around the base of the stove. So far, I can still get good brooms.

The cheap stuff that really aggravates me is the toilet brushes! They fall apart in just a month or two!
And the drip pans for my electric range. Just one boil over removes the chrome!

Taking pics of historical buildings in town sounds like a good idea. I hope I remember to do so, when the weather moderates.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 12:00PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

It's a hazy, lazy Saturday here in the Midwest. The temperatures are above freezing so our snow cover is sublimating this morn. My personal battery is completely discharged after a very busy week, so I am in total slug mode today.

We had a group of 17 go to see the touring production of Mamma Mia last night. The show is fun, the cast featured some great voices, and we were not embarrassed to get up and sing and dance during the final numbers. We even brought along our own wooden spoons to serve as fake mics. Yes, we are nuts but it was a lot of fun!

Chelone and Kathy, I'm another one who agrees with the comments about the cheap crap on the market today. Good for you for engaging the local blacksmith. My personal rant on cheap stuff is mattress covers. The ones you can buy today are a joke.

Denise, I love the lighthouse photo, although if I looked at it too long I could get seasick! Yes, Marty would never want to have me on his boat.

I hear a basket of laundry calling my name. I really should get something done today, otherwise Chelone will disown me!


    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 12:58PM
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Chicken is marinating for tomorrows Coq au Vin , 2pm beer poured, laundry 80% complete but no gardening was performed today- a few showers and one downpour put the kibosh on that idea. Everything is wet as can be, lots of puddles and standing water are seen here. There was sun today though, which was nice to see even briefly. I managed to get my walk in this morning before the weather turned again. I made a brief reconnaissance of the garden, staying on paths that were non-muddy, and low an behold, tulips and daffodils were observed, just breaking through .

Mary, the poly I put up on my greenhouse actually lasted about 5 years I think , even though the warranty was for 3. I used clear c-9 christmas light as my heating system, stringing them under the benches. I was able to get 7 degrees temp raise as I recall , which worked fine for the type of things I had in there over winter. If I ever get my RV space redone, a small, (very small) greenhouse is a priority .

Thats all for me , time to finish the chores..

Waves to all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 7:10PM
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Hi everyone!

Denise, nice pic of the light house, but too bad you had to have the bad weather to get it. Nice that they asked your husband to pilot the boat, good positive affirmation for him. Do you think you are coming to the Idyllunion?

V, is the play like the movie? I liked the movie, but I bet it would be fun to see it as a live show. My laundry is calling me too, but I am ignoring it, lol. Can't seem to get myself motivated to sort socks.

Bug, nice pic of Phoebe, she looks very cute with her haircut. Hope things settle down for Sarah and Wayne. It is hard when you only have the kids part time. For lots of reasons, of which I am sure I am stating the obvious, duh! Do you think he might be having some sort of reaction to something in his diet? Devin has a bad reaction to sugar.

Mary, your hoop house sounds like a great idea, and I am sure you will get it set up before I get mine. If you want me to get some windows for you, let me know.

Laura, if you want me to keep some windows so you can have them, I will be happy to do it. You live pretty close to me, probably 2 or 2 1/2 hours. By the way, you posted a really cool Begonia pic some time ago, it has sort of fuzzy leaves, almost shaped like a grape leaf, and I just loved it. Do you remember the name? I want to keep my eyes open for one, since I have decided there is no way I can just buy veggies this year, lol.

Kathy, Bug, and Eden, babies are adorable:)

Chelone, you are making great progress! Good job.

My baby dog chewed through my MacBook power cord the other night. Sean was showing me a little bit on how to use Photoshop, and the cord was right between us on the couch. I have been very careful about it, because she is cutting teeth. She has chewed my stairs, the wallpaper off the wall, the rocker on my new upholstered rocking chair, even tries to chew the wrought iron table leg. She has a million toys, kongs, etc. Anyway, I was looking at the computer and just that quick those little razor teeth chomped it in half. One chomp $80. She is a little sweetie pie though. Very smart, and once I get her trained, she may be the best dog I have ever had. Her classes will start soon.

Hope you all have a great evening!!


    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 7:52PM
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Drema, do you remember what color the begonia leaves were? I used to have probably at least 40 different ones. Now days I think I have maybe half a dozen.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:05PM
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We are watching (I think) the whole series of Indiana Jones. I don't mind one, but I can only watch so much, I am surfing...
Eden, it was just a few months ago, you said it was one of your favorites, the leaves were green, with a possible little edging of a reddish, but that was not predominate. Don't know if that makes any sense..

Skip is not feeling well, has been coughing and sneezing all day, so i am going toget him some medicine, put the dogs out and call it a night.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:46PM
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Just returned from a day long funeral. Rick's uncle who was a bachelor and English teacher passed away after a short bout with Alzheimers at 68. We had a time with other cousins, then the cemetery and then lunch. We drove to the school where he taught and they had an incredible "Celebration of Life" He must have been an awesome teacher and to quote many of his students "he inspired them" I guess one former student started a facebook page. Nearly 500 people have joined the page. The comments are incredible. He was a unique, talented, caring and complex man. Oh, he loved garden too.

The reason I make the homemade applesauce is because our apple tree produces apples that really are best for either applesauce or baking. Cyn, I cook mine with the peels on and then run them through the colander and freeze it. Its the easiest way possible.

I have blue eyes and we have quite a few of the Carnegie libraries around here also. Quite a few are no longer libraries but museums or something similar.

What great shots of the littlest Idylls. I do have to say that I like Aidens activity best.

Denise, cool lighthouse picture. Jeremy loved lighthouses when he was younger. One vacation we trekked around Michigan trying to scope out all the lighthouses we could.

Drema, bummer about the cord.

bug, your DDs situation is a really tough one and sounds pretty discouraging. Hopefully, their consistency will eventually pay off.

Chelone, I dont believe I would have thought of the blacksmith for something like tools kudos to you. Actually, we have a blacksmith right next to our office (only in a small town) Anyway, he made a custom tutuer for my boss daughter. Im thinking that I might have to come up with a design.

Eden, the pink color for your chairs is just the perfect choice for the sweet styling of them. It was worth the extra bucks. I have a couple from Ricks parents that really need painting. Ive not come up with a color yet.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 9:49PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Denise, spectacular picture! Marty is one courageous man to be out in that! Nice that he is so trusted by his crew.

'bug, sorry Skylar is being such a pain for your DD. She's making the right decision-eat it or not-IMHO. No child has ever starved by missing a meal or two.

Candy, love that snow picture. As a kid I would have been thrilled to open a door to find that! Actually, I still think it would be fun. Funny about the spoon-guess I was skimming through too fast!

I agree about the durability of tools-and most everything else-these days. Even our plain old fireplace tools from my parents are sturdier than anything I could find today. Getting a blacksmith was inspired.

Interesting that many of us share light eyes. Mine are green, but sometimes seem hazel depending on what I wear. Of course, they are getting harder and harder to see as my upper lids are getting droopy. My eyes seem to be getting smaller and smaller. That is the only thing I would be tempted to change (not the only thing that could use changing, mind you-LOL).

I've been cooking a lot today-very unusual! I have a pork roast about to come out of the oven and chili on the stove for tomorrow. Very confusing melange of aromas.

Well, the pork was okay. Not great, but DH liked it, so that's good. I am watching the ice skating now. Used to skate and know some of the coaches and one of the athletes, so that makes it fun.

Hope everyone is tucked in and warm.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 10:02PM
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Drema, they're all my favorites, lol. Was it Art Hodes maybe? Scroll down the link about half way and there are some pictures of it.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 10:18PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Drema, I haven't seen the movie, but some of our group who had said the movie was true to the play but that the play was better. Better voices, for sure!

Michelle, how touching about the tributes to Rick's uncle. A few years ago I took my son and his friend to the visitation for one of their English teachers who unfortunately had a sudden heart attack just weeks after he retired. The couple had been friends with my in-laws and had come to our wedding. I had not realized until that afternoon what a positive impact the teacher had made on my son.

This past week was the major trade show for our area, and I gave a talk on new perennials as part of the education program. I was quite excited to have a full house of close to 100 people for the session and a lot of favorable response. I'm beginning to find out that the program was "noticed" and I'm hoping this leads to more opportunities.

And after all this time of setting up my own equipment for a PowerPoint presentation, I have to say that it feels like the ultimate luxury to have not one but TWO techs doing all the equipment set-up for me.

Brown eyes here and no Carnegie libraries that I am aware of in the area. My DH has blue eyes and my DD has blue-gray eyes. DS follows me with brown eyes.

'bug, unfortunately I suspect that much of Skylar's problems are due to a lack of consistency between homes, and there is not much that one side can do without the other's cooperation. And it does seem like the other side is unwilling to work towards Skylar's common good.

I just finished reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery and really enjoyed the book. Very different from much of what is out there today, but very, very good. Now to decide what to read next! (Lots in the stack)

Better get to bed!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 11:27PM
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A frosty morning here, ladies (single numbers which is cold for us). The Salon was 63 degrees when I went out to fill the stove earlier this morning. There were plenty of coals in to rekindle the fire and I was well pleased with the fullness of a nearly 10 hr. burn. Praise be well seasoned splits!

I watched the skating, too, Cyn.. My favorite has always been the ice dancing. It makes me sort of sad that it's the only division that retains anything similar to "school figures" and also that they never show the compulsory dances or really explain the rules regarding lifts (compared to the pairs competition) or the finer points of the competition; what to look for, etc.. Oh well, just one more example of "dumbing down", I guess. But it was pretty.

Drema, I'll bet you were mad about the gnawn cable. I am quite certain you beat her thoroughly for the transgression, yes? are you sure it's a puppy and not a beaver kit? ;) I once knew a cat who had a thing about chewing electrical cords and lost his top lip because of it! He was a funny looking thing named (you guessed it), Fang, because his incisors looked extra long as a resut of the missing lip. Lol.

I can think of no finer tribute to a life's work than the praise of students. I have a friend who was my HS english teacher and he's a great guy. There were several books that were "banned" in the podunk, jerkwater school I attended, but they were books frequently assigned by private schools. Every summer he gave me a list, said nothing, just put the list on my desk. He made those 4 miserable years considerably more than just tolerable. Bravo!

Today is my day to sort and do laundry so I'd best "get at it".

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 7:44AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Mornin' all!

Company still here so I'm grabbing a minute before starting breakfast for the troops.

I thank you all for comments re Skyler. I know I was venting because of the frustration of the situation, but still comments are very much appreciated. I really care about this little boy and his future, also his impact on the other children in his family! In my heart I want myself to believe that V is right, that "a lack of consistency between homes" is the problem. But I also know that kids are masters of dealing with two households..even playing one against the other. Yet, I know that this is only a part of the problem. Because of his early medical history, bad patterns were indeed begun, but also, I cannot neglect the fact that he DOES HAVE issues as a result of his first three years of surgeries and tube feeding. Issues that have set him way behind others and that no one knows if he will surmount. It is scary stuff. Though I want with all my heart to believe he is completely in the normal range, I am being forced to take a second look. He truly is not aware that he is not the center of the world, and that egocentricity is beginning to work against him at times. He is not aware of those around him and how they behave in different situations. He does not remember rules and works and works at manipulation to do what he pleases. It is possible that he may begin to learn these things years after others, but we do not know. So if I vent in the future, it is a reflection of the pain we all feel for what this child is going through. Yes, it is easy for me to want to slap him in the face at times, or introduce spanking to catch his attention, but I believe that would set us many steps back. If and when something shows signs of working...I'll let you know.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 8:07AM
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Eden, that is it!!! You are SO GOOD! Thank you. Did you get yours from that nursery? I haven't seen this plant around here. For some reason, I ended up with a lot of begonias last year. They grow really well in the conditions I have, which is very little sun for the most part. I always push the envelope, but I know we all do, lol.

Chelone, I really didn't beat the dog, because I felt like it was my responsibility to keep it out of her reach, knowing that she is teething, and it happened so fast, I didn't even see her with it. I was 1/2 inch away. I am going to try to get her to put her toys in the toy box, though. She seems very intelligent, so I think we can do it. Maggie is not the sharpest pencil in the box, but she is the sweetest. Never could teach her much. All she asks out of life is to sit with her paw on my foot:) She has shown new life since the puppy came though. I actually saw her leap the other day.

Cyn, I watched a little of the skating too, yesterday. I just love it, but I think I liked it better years ago when it was more like dancing and less acrobatic. I like the acrobatic parts when it is an individual skater, I love the smooth graceful movements better in ice dancing. I remember one Russian couple in particular that just took my breath away, can't remember their names, but it was back when the costumes were flowy. Probably the 80's. It has really changed. Remember Peggy Fleming, how slow she skated? I saw her once in the Ice Capades when we lived in Pittsburgh.

I have to go to Lowe's with Skip. My dishwasher needs a new electrical box or whatever you call it. It keeps shutting down, and the little fixes aren't working. Can't play my music and wash dishes at the same time. Or make coffee, etc. I am going along because I have an agenda:)


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 8:11AM
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Ah, the secret shopping agenda is a fine tradition Drema ! I wish you success in the endeavor.

V, I watched the film version of Mama Mia last summer..very light entertainment but the la la ! It was painful to watch Pierce Brosnon sing (or attempt to sing I should say) I dont know what they were thinking casting him in that part .

Not much too add this morning , going to take a brisk little walk around the neighborhood before the next rainstorm arrives

Later friends !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 11:46AM
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Hello Idylls

A few views from this morning. I was missing some kitchen items and when I checked Clousseau's crate found it as messy as some of our other family members' bedrooms. Not as expensive as Drema's pups wayward behaviour but perhaps I should still call Chelone.

The feathered ladies enjoyed the snow melting to expose dirt to scratch in. Here are the flock enjoying the warmer weather.

I needle felted a little mouse for a knitting friend. Excuse the hair that somehow found its way into the photo.

Last night DH and I saw "Up in the Air" (not to be confused with Up) which was excellent. Right now I am needed to drive to the airport:0(


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 12:09PM
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I've been wanting to see Up In The Air, Mary! If I miss it at the theater, I guess I can always catch it with Netflix.

Clouseau's crate resembles Zeus's bed...especially if I forget to put the trash up high (it has a stool to sit on). Zeus always looks like he has a hangover on those mornings after :)

I got the front porch cleaned off...litter box completely emptied and scrubbed....SunnyD's chairs packed in the truck (borrowed for Christmas party). Now I think I'll fill the bird feeders, drive and unload the chairs and then shower all the filth off of me....relax the afternoon away unless Sarah talks me into visiting the Ecotarium in Worcester.

I am enjoying everyone's posts and pictures. I think a small group is going to Logee's on Feb 13th if anyone within a short ride wants to go. I think I've decided to attend the CT Hort society's Spring Symposium. Their hort society does so much more than ours (or at least it seems that way).

I'm really starting to think about my next project...winter is wearing me down and I'm starting to get antsy about spring...and I'd like to have something fun to put in the garden when it gets here!

Talk to you all later.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 12:25PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

Morning all. It is cold and drippy outside. the heavy rains are due later and into tomorrow.

Chelone and Drema, re: skating-that is so funny-I said the exact thing to my husband after watching the ice dancing. As one who grew up having to do school figures and the patterned dances, the compulseries are my favorite part. I really feel I can get a better handle on the team's skills watching those. I was so disappointed that Brent Bommetre and Kim Navarro didn't make it. He coached my older sister for a number of years and I just adore him. Sis is on the autism spectrum and has some other issues as well. At 19, Brent was so kind and patient with her and he really understood that moving her away from PA would end her skating since no other place would accept and encourage her at age 59. Most people just think she is weird. Sadly, my mother did move and Barbara no longer skates. I have not met many people like Brent.

I also get tired of the ladies who can't seem to display decent posture. The difference between Sasha Cohen and Rachael Flatt is huge. I was hoping Nagasu would win the gold. Can't stand hunched shoulders and reliance mostly on jumping skills. I like a combination of skills. It is funny to watch Peggy Fleming now. So different.

'bug, sounds like Skylar is pretty lucky to have you and DD on his side. Sounds like he will need direct instruction and role-playing to help those social/interpersonal skills. It is so hard. I think parents always feel a little guilt when a child has a disability and sometimes there is a tendency to spoil or let the kiddo get away with more than we might with a so-called normal child. Limits and structure are good things!

Can't wait to hear what you came home with from Lowes,Drema!

V, congrats on your successful speech! Very exciting to have a packed house and get kudos after!

Kathy, try to stay dry-sounds like it is a mess out there.

Off to join Chelone in the laundry room...I'm hoping I will find the laundry fairy has come and gone, but suspect not.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 12:33PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'm the laundry fairy here, but I'm waiting until after our late lunch.

Our friends were great guests, enjoying food, dog, fireplace, etc. They worked around DH's lack of conversation magnificently, the males going upstairs to play on the computer and the ladies talking about Skyler's issues. My friend is a psychologist for the school board, about to retire NEXT WEEK. She conducts all sorts of workshops for teachers, parents, and kids too, so just who I needed to talk to these days! She has a DVD for me to share with my daughter (and I hope DSIL who learns visually).

There is rain here today, on top of snow. I hate to think what our laneway will be like this week once it freezes over.

Mary, the knit mouse is just so sweet! I have seen clear Christmas tree balls with similar knitting inside, no doubt with toothpicks used for needles.

I hope to have some good reading and knitting time as the machine does the washing this afternoon.

Hi Woody!!!!!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 1:09PM
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Looking at Clousseau's crate I was thinking to myself how interesting it would be to get inside his pea brain to find out what the motivation behind the stash was. Animals never cease to fascinate and amaze me. And Drema, a baby is a baby is a baby, huh? If there is trouble within a mile and you give them a second they'll find it!

I was hoping Miss Nagasu would take the title, too, Cyn.. But I was also left wondering how much physical conformation has to do with the finer points of posture. While there is no doubt that it requires practice and attention to detail to put the final "polish" on posture certain body proportions lend themselves more easily to an elegant tableau. Few ballerinas are built like Mary Lou Retton! On the subject of compulsory figures; I also feel that the mastery of them probably contributes to graceful carriage and permits time to perfect a pleasing presentation of arms and hands, though I may be off the mark on this supposition. I feel the emphasis on jumps has greatly taken attention away from intricate footwork and SPINNING. I love fast, tight spins that don't "travel" very far from their centre point. I don't really like the spin that involves holding the leg in front of the body, either. While it certainly demonstates flexibility I find the overall line unattractively awkward. Nor am I particularly fond of the Bielmann spin. The emphasis on jumps has also weighted competitions in favor of the very young athletes. And I think the sport has suffered because of it. Wouldn't it be fun if they had a division for an older age bracket, where maturity and practice put more attention on the fundamentals from which "figure" skating derived its name? What fun to have someone in our midst who has skated and can give us a skater's perspective. And I am saddned that your sister no longer skates; for those who struggle an outlet that demands attention and practice can be a refuge and losing it can leave a void not easily filled. :(

Almost time to empty the washing machine.

Your DD is in a horrible position, 'bug. She has to deal with a spoiled brat and all the attendant tantrums yet has less than 50% of the "control" over changing any of it. But I have to wonder at what point Skyler's tough start in life becomes "the hand he's been dealt" and ceases to become the excuse/reason for being an obnoxious, selfish child that is a pain in everyone else's ass. NO kid has a perfect life. If anyone can get this message across to him it will be your daughter. And I'll bet it will be with a zero tolerance policy, too. This must suck so much energy out of their lives on a daily basis. So sad. But they have to keep on trying because:
1.) it's their "job" as parents.
2.) they love him and he deserves to be loved by them.
3.) and if they don't he'll surely fail.

Good thing we have dogs to kick, and flowers to make us smile, huh?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 1:51PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Aha! But remember Chelone, DD knows how to work her DH. Hehehehe. He's making great progress! I suspect big changes are in the offing: less electronics, friends at THEIR house only (for a while), and more. DD has instituted some interesting changes as far as dealing with his sister too. So...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 5:34PM
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