Skating into February......Idyll #470

gardenbug(Canada zone 5)January 24, 2010

I slipped up!

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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

DD in years past...before hockey won out.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 5:44PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

This morning it was almost 40 degrees and raining. A good portion of our snowcover is gone and everything looks quite bedraggled right now. Mystic took advantage of the weather and went walkabout this morning. He did not return with an impressive collection like Clouseau's. I think Clouseau was planning to make a gourmet dinner for Mary and family!

I was going to order my seed potatoes today but it appears that their website is having issues, so no order until tomorrow. In the meantime, it was a good excuse for getting nothing else accomplished. Le sigh!

I've some up with a project that should require very little energy yet make me feel good, so I'm off to do that. Enjoy your Sunday evening!


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 6:14PM
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Okay, spill it! What project takes very little energy but will make me feel good? None of the things I've tried have worked :)

What a nice picture of DD, GB.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 6:59PM
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Love the skating photo!! To learn to skate and wear one of those outfits was long a childhood dream but England has very few ice rinks. Annie and David both learned to skate quite young but after the basics were not drawn to higher levels. We have fun going together once or twice a year and I love watching the pros.

Cyn - so interesting to read about your sister and her coach.

Chelone - I think Clousseau's motive for stealing all those items was each probably had a smidgeon of food on them. Pea brained certainly, but much loved never the less.

Saucy - I find making something in the kitchen often lifts my spirits. Today I made some killer Baked Beans the kids raved about. Easy, cheap, and delicious. Try them tomorrow if you're still feeling down. (I also enjoy the website they're from).

Just have laundry to fold and I'm done for the night


Here is a link that might be useful: Great Baked Bean Recipe

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 7:55PM
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No sun today, and not much productivity either. I guess thats ok for a gloomy cold Sunday in January. And glad to be skating into February too, in which we zone 9 folk begin to see the evidence of spring. I have targeted next weekend for possible seed starting. No sun is expected till mid-week .

I do enjoy watching skating, and also regret that the compulsories are off the radar- I assume they still have to do them ? I suppose they arent Âsexy enough for the general Olympic viewing public. Do you still skate Cyn ? Being an LA girl, I grew up on roller skates, the old-timey style with the key that you clamped onto your oxfords. No one had shoe skates back then.

Mary, your little knitting mouse is adorable ! I was at World Market today to buy a new cutting board and noticed that they are suddenly carrying somewhat retro aprons- it made me think of you ..another instance where my Idyll friends inform the things I see .

Off to finish the Coq au Vin ( a weekend project) and shortly to consume it.

Nite all !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 8:09PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Nothing better than leftovers from last night's company and a DH who did the dishes! I did a half hour on the treadmill.

I was very involved with DD's skating and wrote and printed the newsletter and more. DD did the figures and understood the why of it, but no one really LOVES that part. It is lonely, cold and usually early in the morning before school. She was very good at dance as well but never was a jumper. Couldn't lift herself off the ground! But in hockey, she excelled and could skate backwards from day one and concentrate on the rules of the game. Hockey helped her organize her university life as well and now helps her keep fit and have fun. She and DSIL both are enjoying Kung Fu very much as well.

For Mary, here is the ornament I mentioned earlier:

And more Ivy shots. Close your eyes if you can't tolerate more of this!

Ivy has just learned to screech and squeal. What attention she can command. She just loves her music classes too. Skyler is being given strict lessons on sitting and observing her and seeing what SHE wants and likes rather than forcing things on her. Very interesting....

That's all she wrote for tonight.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 8:12PM
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Mary I had he same thought as V, Clousseau was going to cook!

Cyn, sad that your sister had to give up her skating. It was obviously something she really liked. I think it is hard when we have a sibling we want to help, but can't. Does she like music, or art? They can be wonderful outlets.

V, I keep meaning to tell you that I am happy you had such a nice turnout for your program.

I can't remember who asked, but I went with Skip so I could get some handles for the bathroom cabinet/closet. This is a homemade piece that someone cobbled together at some point, and they used louvered doors for the cabinet. I didn't like the hardware and years ago removed it, then threw it away. It was four inches, which is a different size than they have now. Of course none of the hardware in stores have screws long enough to go through the wood of the louver. Anyway, I have been trying to get this thing fixed for years, and Skip always says it can't be done. So I picked out something and got three different size screws. Surely one of them will work, but he has to drill new holes. Cross your fingers.

Saucy, I have been organizing my old pictures. Sorting them out by person, time frame, etc. Then I am going to scan the oldest of my grandparents, etc. I bought two new picture frames that have 4X6 and other sizes in a group. I am putting in pics of the kids at different stages. It is fun to look at them when they were little. Sometimes it is hard to believe I actually raised 4 kids, but then I look at the pics and remember. I am also going to put together a 3D frame with some old jewelry from Skip's mom. It will be a little rememberance of her. Or you and Sarah could make a Valentine garland with yarn, clothespins and cutouts. I have some old Victorian type valentines around here somewhere, and thought about hanging them up instead of leaving them in a drawer.

Bug, I really like the ornament.

Today Skip and I went to the Apple store, replaced my cord, then I went to Trader Joes. I bought the lava cakes, and also Apple Strudel. Both pretty good, no muss. then we went to Best Buy and he got a new phone, the Droid. I am on technology overload. I ended up with a headache. Mike was working, and friends and family got a $50 discount. Sean, Devin, Skip were there too, because we were all doing errands together. When we got our new TV, I didn't go because of information overload, but the boys like it.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 9:40PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Saucy, don't know what V. was up to, but one thing that works for me is baking brownies (from a box-less energy) and then eating them-lol.

Mary, so funny about Clouseau. Like our Clouseau, yours seems well-named. That baked bean recipe looks good. I am going to save it.

'bug, as always great pics. I remember those cold, early mornings practicing my school figures, too. Like your DD, I was not motivated enough to continue with that once I was in high school!

Kathy, I stopped skating when DS and I moved here to Virginia about 16 years ago. I did the ice dancing as an adult. Love it because you can do that forever. We had folks at our club who were dancing into their 80s. I had hoped to be one of them, but plans change...

I really do think we should have three day weekends on a regular basis. I would love to have tomorrow off! I already know I will be tired b/c this darn game is still tied. Oh well, only 2.5 minutes left---which means at least half an hour more-teehee.

Sure wish I had some brownies.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 9:45PM
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I have new neighbors behind me, the previous walked away upside down on the mortgage I guess. New neighbor has beautiful white with black spot cat, who wears an ID collar, his name is Mr. Kitty. Mr. Kitty likes to come over the fence to visit ; Ted and Doobie dislike him, and vice-versa. However he likes me ! What a sweet kitty he is, and I will be sure to get a photo of him to share with yall. Last week I found his collar abandoned in my back garden, so I put a note on it and left it in the neighbors mailbox-something to the effect that MK had misplaced his outfit and would not allow me to re-attach it. Tonight as I was finishing dinner a knock at the door and there stands the neighbor with a homemade cake, to thank me for returning Mr Ks collar ! You know, sometimes people are really nice.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 10:29PM
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Where did the day go?

I spent a fair amount of time researching my seed orders. I think I've narrowed it down to 3 companies. It's fun to search out things I'd seen in other gardens. I had a few things I had seen at the Denver Botanic Garden and the MN Arboretum that I had taken pictures of. I also take a picture of the sign so I can remember what the name is. I like to try at least a few new things each year, but I don't like trying seeds that have difficult germination procedures. I'm pretty much a wintersowing or direct sowing girl. The more common stuff I'll pick up locally.

I'm nearly finished with the bathroom wall repairs. Sheesh what a long process. I think I'm too much of a perfectionist at times.

We had lots of rain yesterday, but still have lots of snow left. Now at least it won't blow around as it's ice covered. This evening when we came home it was snowing and blowing.

Kathy, your new neighbors sound like they will be easy to get along with.

Drema, I made a collage with several different items from my grandmothers. There's a locket, some old Valentines, a somewhat flat perfume bottle, a small doily and fancy buttons. I made this many years ago and still have it hung up. Maybe you could incorporate the Valentines somehow.

Mary, the knitting mouse is fabulous as is 'bug's knitting ornament.

V, how nice to have a full house for your presentation. So do I dare ask what's the latest and greatest in the perennial world? Not like I need anything more ;o)

I believe my wash is finished drying so I'd best go. Clean undies is always a good way to start the week.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 11:44PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

To answer Saucy's question, I went through my bookcase of gardening books and pulled out enough books that weren't really needed any more to fill two shopping bags. I will donate them this week to a group that is having a garden book sale with the proceeds going to provide horticulture scholarships. My bookcase now is more organized (and has a little free space for new books, hee hee) and an appropriate cause will benefit.

Kathy, sounds like your new neighbors may be winners! How nice for you!

Off to the shower. Michelle, I'll answer your question tonight.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 7:04AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Waiting for highlights on new plants from V!

On the local front, here is who came for a visit tonight. Phoebe discovered it while out for a walk with DH before dinner. DH gets credit for the photo with his new camera. ;)

On another front, an interesting sign below in the Milwaukee airport. We need this in Haiti I believe!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 8:46PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Great sign!

I think I left my brain at the office, so I will disappoint Michelle and 'bug for one more day. I'm whupped tonight.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:28PM
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Im hoping I will not have to spend the entire evening battling ants in the kitchen. They seem to have the upper hand. I guess the 10 days in a row of rain is not to their liking, and they are seeking higher ground. This afternoon at the awfice I announced the temperatures in various Idyll locations , Saucy, Chelone, Deanne, Sue , Cindy ..all were a few degrees warmer than Napa this afternoon. Heater is cranked up to 64 here.

Lol bug, dont those darn things hibernate in winter ? We get them around here upon occasion, and I confess that I dont find them attractive.

Michelle. I have all my seeds ready to go,including the stash from Michelles Extremely Value-Priced Seed Catalog" , lol.

And, as a harbinger of spring, pitchers and catchers report in 3 weeks. Sorry Chelone. From aiden

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:56PM
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Good morning friends!

I love the sign...I could use a recombobulation room at home :)

That looks like a baby it really that small?

I need to get my seed orders pulled together and procured. I have some trees on my "want" list, too, and need to see if I can order them. I was just thinking yesterday that by the time this garden starts looking good, it'll be time for the next phase in life, which may or may not include this garden :)

It was freakishly warm, Kathy, and we went without coats yesterday.

You all are so industrious - full of good things to do on a Sunday. I ended up cleaning the front porch (which is a catch all) and that makes me feel happy each time I enter the house...though it didn't make me happy to do it :)

I have to get to work early today - tax time! The accountant is meeting me there. I am also working on changing the software we use over to a new product, and I find that so frustrating...but I will be happy when it's over and I can see the end.

Have a great day!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 6:41AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It's about the EAT program. You know, the light switch plate is OK, but the actual switch is discolored and I hate it. I've hated it for 13 years. I am not comfortable changing electrical things myself though. Well this past weekend our guests marveled at that switch which happens to be a dimmer switch. They praised it up and down, sideways and inside out! Now I'll NEVER be able get it repaired. DH took in their every word. :(

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:08PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

We have a date! Feb. 16 Now we go from worrying about getting the date to worrying about the surgery! This should be (fingers crossed here...) a less invasive surgery than the last one - which turned into three (18 hours June 1, 1998 to remove the left acoustic neuroma; 10 days later another surgery to put in a shunt; 6 days later another surgery to repair the shunt after it stopped working... Randy calls 1998 the year from hell!)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:36PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

That's wonderful, Woody -- at least that you have a date for the surgery and that it is to be less invasive than before. Im hearing more often that there are so many new ways of doing different surgeries and they are less invasive and that means of course better recoveries and fewer side effects. I think you have to take those sorts of comforts to your heart and hope it will all go smoothly.

I've been reading along but not much to say --

I adore the felt mouse you did, Mary - truly truly lovely. I can see how one would become entranced with those miniatures! So wonderful.

V - that's a great way to unload garden books to folks you know will enjoy. I've got a huge stack at home like that and dont have the time or inclination to sell on ebay or half but I hate to just send off to a general goodwill. I wonder where I could donate locally like that to for a gardening project?

I did manage to get a few of my long-over due EAT things done -- I got the hair shorn - a major accomplishment.... and I bought a plane ticket for IU - so Im committed... and a hotel reservation at one of the other choices.... so some small to-dos got did. And even re-organized a drawer or two over the weekend of slugging.

I thoroughly enjoyed the one-day Spring we had yesterday -- in the 60s - it rained but it was still wonderful... blech, back to cold and another storm on the horizon -- I guess Denise is sharing her storms with the East Coast - if only you could send plants along with the storms (free shipping, LOL), Denise. Have you dried out yet? or are you looking for bog plants?

I figure this year I'll end up replacing a bunch of plants - last year I took the Sue approach of zonal denial and planted a number of shrubs that were marginally hardy -- well, Im pretty sure they got walloped in the heavy snow and lingering ice, etc. -- the jasminum in its microclimate nitch looks fairly like toast right now -- and a few other things like that.

Saucy - I say go for the trees you want -- one never knows aobut plans. I frankly never thought I'd be in the same house 20 years later; and now Im thinking much as I talk about doing something 5 years from now, I suspect I might end up in the same place....which worries me if I have some trees I never should have planted & they grow to full size in another 5 years, LOL -- What trees are you looking at, Saucy? I only wish I had a larger property and can think of at least 3 I'd die to own -- the tricolor fagus; the oxydendron that Sue's got such a wonderful example of, and a cornus controversa variegata... Yep -- Top 3.

I am a failure at seeds and not going to get sucked into that this year, despite all the wonderful ones I hear you folks talk about!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 1:42PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Well rats! Just lost my nice long newsy post. And to add insult to injury, I had to log in again. What's with that??

Anyhow, the gist was: Good news from Woody. The waiting game is a very difficult one to play. It sounds as if positive vibes are coming through though, so we will be waiting...we miss you here!

Quiet on this forum this week. Not throwing stones though - I do wish I still had a glass house :)

Thinking about Skyler and the food thing: we don't battle over this anymore. I do cook meals for us all with him in mind: example: last night was sweet'n'sour meatballs, Fettucine Alfredo and steamed asparagus; I knew DH and I would eat everything, visiting DS would eat the meat balls and Fettucine, and TCS would eat the Fettucine. They all know I am going to sit down and eat my dinner and nothing special will be done. However, as TCS is so awful in the food department, it is not uncommon for him to have a sandwich or something as a bed time snack. We are seeing the pediatrician next week and hope that something can be done to offset the appetite-suppressing effects of TCS's ADD meds. Meanwhile, he has learned to mind his manners and say "No, Thank you" if confronted by a food issue. I do forewarn folks that he is visiting to expect this. The temper tantrum thing is a bit excessive though, Bug. If TCS acts up in a store, restaurant, or wherever, he is told that he may not come back. When he craftily asks "For how long?" I always reply "For a year. Ask again when you are nine". And I stick with it, although the rest of the family thinks I am just a little bit mean.

Yesterday we woke up to 8C (46F) and driving rain. We lost about two thirds of our snow (awwwww....) and are back to colder weather today. Winter has not forsaken us yet I fear.

DH is happly - well, not happily - EATing his way through the kitchen now. New faucet has been bought and the whole day yesterday was spent on installation. It works great, but in my opinion is the ugliest thing in the whole place. But DH loves it and had to do the work so viola! done. We have also purchased the Lazy Susans. Of course our cupboards are not the right shape for them and some fooling around has to take place before they are installed. As a result, everything from the two corner cupboards is now on the counter, there is absolutely no place to work, and the Susans sit in their boxes anxiously awaiting their new home. After a frustating morning, DH says he will work on them tomorrow....Subway for dinner tonight!

While DH worked on the tap and Susans, I decided to paint over the stencil in the bedroom and redo it, as I had made an error before. Started by washing all the walls and woodwork, and while the furniture was still out, went to get the paint from the basement...of course, no paint left. So the bedroom is clean and the faulty stencils remain. I have decided that my shabby chic decorating is a little more shabby than chic...

Kathy, it is so nice to have good neighbours (take it from someone who doesn't). And the photo of Mr. Baby is adorable! An All-Star for sure.

Gotta go - DS is leaving in half-an-hour and wants to update his c.v.



    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 4:18PM
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Ha! Well done, Mr. B, putting on the baseball uniform to ratchet up the irresistible factor for grandmom.

More rain today and that will probably be all for the week.

Lots going on but also fighting V's brain freeze condition at the moment. And Evie knocked the keyboard to the floor and the spacebar is funky.

Woody,wonderful news on the date. Different kind of worry, to be sure, but I know I prefer a tangible apprehension than floating around in nebulous stuff.

Drema, I'm definitely going to IU up in Napa,maybe not the whole shebang but some part. Things have quieted down enough that I feel good about making travel plans again.

My brother from Hawaii is visiting this week, and my brother from Alabama will be in for one day Thursday -- a rare occasion to have us all together.

Sorry to hear of plant losses,Cindy. Let me know what you've lost and maybe I've got "doubles" of it around here somewhere. I doubt my agastaches will survive all this rain.

Mary, the felty creature is wonderful.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 5:19PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Fantastic news, Woody! I hope you find yourself able to relax in the interim. Not easy, but a supply of your favorite old funny movies (or new) may help, as might the new gardening catalogues and dreams of spring, and little excursions to well-loved spots for dinner or afternoon treats. I am sending every good thought your way-you should have quite a pile by now!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 6:44PM
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Hi, just stopping in to tell Woody how happy I am that you have a date, and it isn't too far away, so any worrying will not last too long. Like the song says, the waiting is the hardest part.

By the way, what is the EAT program? I missed it somehow.

I have been trying to do several things at once here. Skip left for a few days, and Sean is here with me, so I am focusing on projects that I can get him to help with. Such as, "please go through this mountain of cords and tell me which ones can be thrown out". Turned out there was only one cord out of 20 that was necessary to keep. The others are pitched and will go to the trash before Skip gets home. I have been motivated by V to organize the other cords that are attached to something. I told Sean to wrap them, and put twist ties on so I can tell what is what. I am not good at puzzles, my brain doesn't work that way, and it is a piece of cake to him. One time I went to a training class and the theme was, everyone thinks they are a pilot. They pile things on the stairs, or wherever, then leave it. But it never gets off the ground. Touch items one time, put them where they go, and be done with it, is my philosophy. So, I am on a mission.

Bug, I hear your pain on the light switch. Maybe you can paint a flower on it, or attach a pretty button or something? Crochet a light switch cozy. I saw the cutest one at Caribou coffee house the other day.

I got the handles on the cabinet yesterday. Took all of ten minutes...

Bean soup and cornbread are done. Must go eat:)


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 7:41PM
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Bug, the cozy was on a cup, lol. Guess i can think faster than I can write.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 7:42PM
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Regarding storms,if Denise is sharing, Ill say "no thanks" We had a doozy yesterday. I drove to work in light snow that was blowing around some. It didnt seem bad in town at all, but I started getting reports of no visibility in the country and numerous accidents and pile-ups. For the first time in 13 ½ years I decided not to go home. Im very fortunate to have a really good friend at work and spent the night there. We had a lot of fun actually.

On the DQ front, I must report that the last 2 weeks have been going a lot better. She went crying to the boss and he laid it on the line for her and I think she realized that shed better shape up or she may get shipped out. Hopefully, it will last.

Cindy, your top three trees are 3 that Id like to have as well. You certainly dont see them in nurseries around here. I hesitate to order trees. I really fear getting a teeny tiny one or an oddly shaped one. Several years ago we planted a smallish Honeycrisp apple tree. Rick loves the Honeycrisp apples and I figured it might be years before we enjoy them, but if I dont plant it we never will. Last year the deer grazed on it, so this year it has a huge fence around it. Do you remember the lovely Tri-color fagus we saw at Richs Foxwillow Pines Nursery at IU3?

Woody, Im glad to hear you have a date. I dont think anyone deserves more than one year from hell and since youve had yours I hope 2010 will be one that you both will look back on and say what a good one it was.

I think Mr. Baby hit a home run with that outfit. One way or another Kathy, they worm their way into our hearts.

My last experience with an opossum was extremely traumatizing. I have probably told this story before, but I leaned down in the semi-dark barn to retrieve something behind a trash barrel and came eyeball to eyeball with one.

Drema, EAT is "eliminate annoying things" little things that bug you like your cabinet handles.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 9:15PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

It's official; the weatherman says we have had no sun for the last 7 days. I know that we have had very little sun for many days prior to that, and the lack of sunlight is affecting my energy level. I can take the cold but the cloudy weather is just the pits!

Cindy, it was a horticultural group that was sponsoring the book sale. If you're feeling motivated, you might check your state association, public gardens or even the AHS and see if anyone has a similar sale. Notice I said "feeling motivated" because if this opportunity had not dropped into my email inbox I never would have pursued it! :)

Woody, great news on getting a date. I would say it will be here before you know it but I know it will seem like forever. Count me in on those sending good thoughts and prayers to you. And never hesitate to post an "all about you" post because I for one just want to know how you are doing and don't need feedback on my own blatherings.

Now for my thoughts on new perennials. First of all, you all have to realize that you are so much further ahead of the curve than the average gardener or landscaper, much of what I spoke about is old news to you all. But the focus of my talk was on how to separate the wheat from the chaff (or the Caramel from the Amber Waves?) when it comes to new plants. I spoke about plants coming out of programs like Chicagoland Grows, breeders like Darrell Probst or plant introduction companies like Plants Nouveau. For the most part, these plants are going through some pretty serious testing for garden performance before they are brought into the market.

Even though they are not brand new, I talked about the Prairieblues Baptisias because Baptisia australis is the perennial plant of the year this year. My favorite of the new hybrids is Twilite Prairieblues:

There are some new groundcover Tiarellas from Dunvegan Nursery in Pennsylvania that look very interesting, T. Lehigh and Susquehanna. I haven't planted them myself and am still evaluating the breeder's comment that they are named after rivers because they run like rivers. Ahem!

And I'm still a fan of the Cone-fections Echinaceas. Hot Papaya will be a hot commodity this year because it is in short supply, but it has performed well in our trial garden.

I'm going to be gone for a couple of days for another show, so I have about 8 million small annoying things to do before I hit the road at 6 am. I'd better say TTFN!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 9:24PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Michelle, glad to hear you spent the night in town. The Trib had a photo of a pile up in Mason City, Iowa that was awful. We had light snow but the winds were awful; had there been much more to blow around we would have been in trouble as well.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 9:27PM
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Pesky day at the awfice today , but on a positive note, it has stopped raining , and it looks like we may have two days in a row with no rain ..instead the tule fog will be moving back in for another visit. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to spend at least one full day in the garden this weekend still have several roses to prune.

Woody, that is fine news you shared with us today, I hope you can spend the waiting time pleasantly and comfortably , and that all proceeds smoothly. No doubt it helps that you have confidence in a skilled surgeon , and the advances of the lighter touch of new technology on your side. We will be thinking of you !

Yay Cindy ! IU continues to gel. I can see how tempting it was to throw the zone to the wind after seeing Sues garden . I cant even consider anything but the smallest trees on this lot of mine, and since I grow so many roses the 6 hours of direct sun where they are sited (which is almost everywhere) is vital. Im going to pay the tree guy to come and limb up the Liquidambar again, and head back some of the branches. Our local library here does booksales 3 or 4 times a year , and books are donated by the public. I have taken many bags of books to them , and feel like they will get a good home if purchased at a library sale. Maybe your local library has something similar ? I have two bags in the garage right now to drop off.

Boy Julie, what I wouldnt give for a couple of Lazy Susan in my cupboards. I suppose one can consider crawling around on the floor to get pots and pans out of the mysterious caverns at the rear of the cupboards to be some form of exercise ?

Well Denise, I did mention to DD that Mr Babys rig was the wrong color.

Drema, EAT is yet another of Julies outstanding life-organizing tools..I believe it stands for Eliminate Annoying Things, and the intent is to fix all the piddly little crapola that has been driving you nuts..ergo bugs switchplate.

I believe there is not a single plant pic on this thread thus far . Better fix that .

How about a shot from one of the many little pocket gardens in the Village of Mendocino a taste of IU7

Nite all !

Kathy in Napa From Mendocino

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 9:37PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

O, wow, Kathy - what wonderful ideas we're going to get to add to our collection -- love that shot.

I actually wrote a post last nite but it blew up when GW/my computer froze and all went puff; rebooting usually dims my enthusiasm for doing anything more as it takes a while and Im easily unmotivated in the evenings...

Michelle, you're certainly getting a lot of extreme weather this year - as is my locale. Yes, I vividly recall those wonderful tri-color beeches at Rich's and that's why it's one of my top 3 wish trees -- but at 30 to 40 feet not in this backyard!. But I did mention it fondly for years to my brother and he informed me a few months ago he actually has planted one; so I get to watch one grow vicariously... Im still pushing him for the cornus of my wish list and the Cercis Silver Cloud .... he's a bit into variegation now - I guess we all go thru these same waves of interest, LOL.

I have actually ordered almost all my trees mail order -- mostly from Forest Farm, altho a few from other places -- I've never had an issue with the size or branching -- I give Forest Farm rave reviews for anyone looking for a specialty item - they're amazing. And from West Coast to East Coast -- if you get it early by ground freight, it's not particularly expensive.

Thanks for the offer,Denise -- I suspect my agastaches will be on the ghost list too this Spring; I've had several overwinter well for about 3 to 4 years; but not likely to get there this Spring....I do love them tho.

O, one thing - anyone ever heard of "Smarttalkers"?? It's some sort of franchise I suspect -- there's a new location going into the little center where I get my hair cut - the sign caught my eye so I went to peer in the window -- the marketing sign read "we teach your baby to talk" !!!! What's up with that? Are we raising unintelligible babies? I just can't imagine folks paying money to drop their babies off -- or is it really to teach parents? Strange goings-on...

Well, gotta face the woik. More security programs being loaded today on our systems; I suspect FB visiting at awfice is going to be verboten after today -- piffle -- but I'll be really roiled if GW and plant surfing for lunch gets nixed.

It's frigid, frigid today and apparently the warmest day, Geez...


    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 9:14AM
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Good evening

This evening I did something I'm not sure I've done before. Feeling rotten with a sinus headache I slept for two hours before driving to music lessons and announced everyone was on their own for dinner. DH was easy as he is out of town. David made himself eggs, followed by peanut butter with a dollop of whipped cream - Yuk! Annie had some soup before her violin ensemble and is just making herself an omlette. I feel somewhat better but must admit it was rather nice having an evening off and no dishes to do either. And knowing our lovely organic eggs provided the evening's nourishment was satisfying as well.

Our temperatures here are dropping rapidly too which probably accounts for my sinuses.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 8:52PM
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Maybe the trick to "Smarttalkers" is to teach the parents to stay the heck off their cell phones and PDAs and actually talk to their babies and small children when out on errands, at grocery stores, etc. -- I fear we will be de-evolving soon if this trend continues (she said, stumbling off soap box).

I was visiting with my friend Ginger, the pit bull mix, over the fence a few moments ago and was reminded of something odd, something I still can't explain -- and may have shared this already so feel free to ignore. I give Ginger a dog bone every morning and p.m. and have done so for years, since she was a puppy. The morning after my dad died, I grabbed the dog bone from the bin on the porch and headed to the low fence, where Ginger waited as she always does, but she didn't know me at all, was fearsome and in full attack mode. I'm in the robe I wear every day, everything else is the same except -- what? I had to back away and couldn't get her to recognize me. She wanted to come over the 3 feet of fence and have a piece of me. Still can't figure it out. The next day she was fine and has been ever since. She has this funny sidekick now, a miniature doberman, who gets a small piece of dog bone too. I really should start making dog treats like Woody, the amount we go through. This little dobie slips out through the fence posts at night and into our yard and leaves "presents" right next to Ein's bed on the porch. How eloquent! In the morning, Ein is not amused to find his porch besmirched.

Today Marty dropped me off at my job at a large medical center. Parking is difficult and it was local, so he and Ein drove me. This hospital has been building wings and adding on, and I hadn't noticed but they'd left an enormous amount of space for a meadow. It was blooming with lupins and orange and yellow African daisies (dimorphotheca sp?) and has a decomposed granite path running through it. The perimeter is planted with big, tall stuff like birds of paradise and phormium, so you hardly see the meadow unless you're standing on the sidewalk next to it. I'm interested to see how it progresses over the seasons and aim to bring a camera every month since it's not far. The job was mercifully short (the attorney was a fast-talking stutterer, the double whammy).

Agree about trees and Forest Farm. Thanks for the plant report, V. There are some fine baptisia growers amongst the idylls (not me though). Gardenrant had a thread going where the subject came up if baptisia would grow in warm zones in So Calif, and most posters thought no, but I know I grew it in a public vegetable garden 25 years ago. If I had a larger garden I'd try it again.

I was telling Marty this morning he's my pit stop mechanic, where it seems lately I make the lap back home with one thing or another broken. Yesterday he had new tires put on my car, this after the massive outlay of the clutch and transmission work a couple weeks back. Last week my steno writer needed work, the case coming apart since it gets banged up so much rolling around in the wheelie cart. Knock wood everything is up and running for the moment.

Amazing how the acronyms proliferate on the idylls. Always makes me think of Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide) and his acronyms, like the SEP field. (Somebody Else's Problem)

Michelle, good to hear things are OK at your work for the moment.

Jeez, Cindy, what's next? Bringing your own laptop to work for lunch Internet time? Isn't it Microsoft that feels Internet breaks rejuvenate employees?

Hope the sinuses are better tomorrow, Mary.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 9:29PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

This business of getting older is very trying at times...and this is one of those times.

Last night at book club we spent an hour and a half debating what to do about a woman who wants to attend our group but who has been very disruptive in the past. (She moved away and has returned) We want to be kind and good people, but in the end decided it would involve other valued members leaving. I for one would dread attending sessions with her there...and that is not good either. In the end we decided that 2 friends would break the news to her and continue supporting her in other ways.

Another friend is suffering along with bone cancer. She is a champ, a wonder.

And then today DH and I discovered that the very fine receptionist at our dentist's was actually siphoning off insurance money from many patients and fired. Never would anyone imagine that behavior from this caring woman. You just NEVER know!

And so it is a pensive time for me at the old homestead.....but I think that DH is slowly on the mend from his laryngitis and cough. Frustrating though it has been for him, it was an eye opener for me and certainly changed dynamics between us!

The moon is gorgeous out there tonight...and my mind is on my trip in late March already!

In the meantime, February is fast approaching with at least four important birthdays for my friends and family. :)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:34PM
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There's a new trend to teach the tiniest of babes to speak/read - is this what Smarttalkers is? I find it disturbing, too.

I wonder what got into your neighbor's dog, Denise? Very odd. You're sweet to greet them each day, and Ein to put up with them :)

Up late listening to the president...I am never disappointed when I stay up to hear him speak.

Mary, I second GB's earlier recommendation of saline's cheap and easy, and sometimes brings good relief. If you're able to do it, learn to use a netti pot. It has helped immensely.

The sinus problem is going around here, too, as I hear lots of complaints in my circle of friends. It is interesting how things carry on from person to person, town to town, state to state.

Time for bed! I was late getting up this morning because I was late to bed last night...this is getting to be a bad habit.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:44PM
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Animals are so intuitive, and so resistant to change. I cant remember at all how the pets here reacted when my DH passed away, although he had been ill for awhile and I suppose the household was altered in their view. The cat that was his particular favorite became very close to others in the family. I expect Denise, that you were emanating something foreign to the neighbor dog, something that made you unrecognizable. My DS is into auras and the like, and your experience seems to lend credence to some of his theories, occasionally wack-o but heartfelt.

Cindy, FB has always been off-limits at the awfice for me, I guess that just as well, all I need is to be harvesting my Farmville squash in the midst of the business day ! Bet youll be able to take a shot of that same view in June Cindy, but it will look different; I took this photo in October.

Mary, I salute your night off , the older the children get the more one likes to see them lean to become less dependent on the parents.

Ok, all for me , waving to all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:58PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I have no idea about what Smarttalkers is, but as a veteran of a pregnancy forum with DD, I can say young moms are suckers for almost anything! Personally, the teaching of hand signing was very useful with grandson Reed and of course with Skyler as he lost so much hearing and it was feared he would lose all. Reed could sign "toilet" at 3 months of age and mean it. Ivy has shown no inclination to sign. So what helps one child doesn't necessarily help all.
As far as talking...I always wanted an OFF switch with my two! Now when I am in town and hear young folks speak, it is usually mainly the F word that shows up. "He F'n called me at F'n 9 o'clock and he F'n said that his F'n brother was gonna F'n ...." You get the idea. So if Smarttalkers introduces actual vocabulary to help a person who needs to communicate information..well why not?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 11:28PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

O, you beat me to it, Saucy -- I was going to suggest a neti pot - never heard of it before my DD told me of it last week -- both she and her DH had colds/sinus problems and have used one -- makes me giggle to think of it -- actually she calls it the "snotty pot" so you can understand why.... ENT drs are apparently recommending them these days instead of antibiotics!

Hope you feel better, Mary.

I totally agree w/ you, Denise, re the thoughts on PDAs, cell phones, etc. -- it's so disconnecting from the human race; I abhor it... I suspect gardeners are more in tune with the whole issue as we still respect and wonder at nature - in this town, folks dont even notice their surroundings any more or if it's sunny outside -- too busy w/ those devices.

I bet Kathy is right that there might have been some other scent on your bathrobe that was upsetting your fence friend -- or maybe the cat or something like that? I know w/ Chloe she hates folks in hats, especially men -- she can know the perrson, but if they're wearing a hat, she says "take it off or else..."

Well so far, I can report, obviously (since this post is from awfice) I can check in here, whew!

Love the info re the perennials, V -- I havent seen any info much this year that is exciting me about new plants; am I becoming jaded or what? The new echinaceas are interesting but Im wary til they've been trialed; too many issues with some of the earlier intros in the last couple of years...

Actually, Im surprised to hear you dont have any baptisia in your garden, Denise -- same size as some salvias, and interesting foliage, altho shorter boom time I imagine than salvias for your region.

Mary -- sounds like your children are definitely old enough to fend for themselves and in fact you're doing them a favor to start nudging them to independence -- it will prepare them for college or after 18hood so much better -- they should be fixing meals for you now....

I've been thinking of IU3 and those wonderful trees we did see, among other incredible things like V's place and Ei's incredible gardens (I guess we must have bored her, Ei, Ei, where are you??)... I may try to find an old shot of the fagus.... we need some more color for this thread! Maybe we should start a color a thread this year (I know we've done magenta before at this time of year for V-Day...).


    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 8:57AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Snowy, blowy, cold and gray... but Cindy is right! I can't choose a color, so here's The Alexandra Rose which is always a mix. YOU choose! ;)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 9:32AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Well, I can only find this extremely poor shot of the fagus tri-colored... but my memory has a ton of terrific mental shots, LOL:

And of course, this terrific place - so creative and imaginative (Northwind Perennials)

(I guess my color is Green).


    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 1:22PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hello all from the frozen, windy, frozen, snowy, frozen, bright, frozen north. Did I mention that it is freezing here? Expecting highs of around -9F (-23C) for the next few days - and colder at night. The sun is shining unmercifully brightly and the wind is whipping snow diamonds so strongly that we are experiencing whiteouts. No skiing for TCS tonight!!

I am, as I think Saucy so perfectly put it some time ago, in a mood. And as V. also put it, (if I remember rightly), bummed out by encounters with family. I have had words today with DD, DS and TCS. My basement decluttering has ground to a halt, and I am toying with the idea of dumping it all into about six big black garbage bags and trundling it all to the curb. I sincerely doubt that I would miss any of this stuff. DH tried to "help" one day, and we ended up keeping everything he touched. And the piles he made are still exactly where he left them one week ago. Hey, Woody, maybe you and Randy could take a road trip??? I refer to your great thread about what you have been up to.

On a more contented note, as we have a kind of free evening (I make TCS do all of his homework on the weekend as he has things happening some evenings), we are going to grab a bottle of red and cook up a pizza and sit by the fire tonight. TCS is going to work on his Cub Car and I am going to put things on my now-installed Lazy Susans. I was quite astonished to find that one shelf is empty as I pitched the stuff I never use, which was way at the back of one of these useless cupboards. Interesting - If I had just pitched this stuff before, I probably wouldn't have bothered with the LS's.

And I am sorry to say Kathy, that crawling into the cupboards to reach stuff is not exercise - it is a manifestation of an AT - And I am into EATing, right? Also, getting down that close to the kitchen floor only serves to remind me that the floor is dirty....

Off I go, to look at everyone's amazing photos and to dream about Spring....



    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 4:11PM
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Well, hel-looo sunshine! I dont care if it is frigid cold, its just uplifting to see the sun. DH and I had fun visiting some distant family on the 4 day trek but the grey overcast was widespread.

Catching up on reading here has taken more time than I expected. Comments will be a bit crunched as Im expecting a friend shortly whos helping me with a project. It started simply by opening a box yesterday - some of my grandmothers things, packed away for years. There is much to sort and research but Ill be sharing photos with you as I make progress.

Woody, very glad to hear you have a date set! I agree with Saucy, in limbo is maddening when you want to take action, plan and line up your ducks, so to speak. Also pleased to read this surgery will hopefully be less invasive. Ill tell you right now how wonderful your rooms look after the painting and paring down! I find books the most difficult to remove or donate.

Ive thoroughly enjoyed all the pictures posted while I was goneoh, that lighthouse is great! Cute baby shots as always, it seems at that age they never take a bad picture. Mary, I laughed at Clousseaus stashwhat a hoarder he is, wanting all that good stuff close to him. Have to mention the chickens; I had no idea they had such a sheen of beautiful colors in their feathers! Sinusy headaches among our family and friends, tooand it lingers, sometimes a dull ache behind the eyes. I blame barometric pressure and low overcast skies because I feel downright perky today with the sun out!

Must go, oven timer is dinging on the brownies and my friend will arrive any minute. Short Idyll visit but waiting for a better time would only make me more behindwaving to all.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 4:30PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

How funny that Northwind Perennial Farm came up on this thread; I drove past there today on my way home from a conference in Wisconsin and had fond thoughts of the IU3 visit. And that route was "going against the Google" so it must have been Idyll thoughts that sent me that way.

Here's a photo from my trip there last spring.

Cindy, I'm becoming jaded right along with you. One of the talks yesterday was about tropical plants for containers and I finally left before the end of the session. Comments like, "Brugmansias get more fragrant in the evening, but I don't know what that's all about" made me fear that I was losing knowledge as I sat there.

And I missed the whole State of the Union address as I had to attend the banquet last night. Once I get caught up around here I may try to catch it on the internet.

I'll drop a little commercial in here. I met two lovely ladies at the show who have created and are marketing a seed keeper kit for gardeners. They donated one of the kits to the fundraising auction at the banquet and I purchased it, so I'll be playing around with it soon. I hope you all won't mind if I share their link; they were so nice and they are putting a lot of serious effort into this venture. And they fed me chocolate, too! :)

Candy must be the reason that I had brownies on my mind as I drove home. I fought back the temptation, but after thinking of warm brownies coming out of the oven. . .


    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 8:13PM
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Almost Friday .The work week has been spent in the confines of the conference room, and we are beginning to have information overload.

Julie, lol the AT relative to crawling about in the bottom cupboard. What wasted space there is in poorly designed kitchens. Mine certainly qualifies.

Re Baptisia and the west, it is rarely seen in my area, and not sure why. Have never seen it offered in local garden centers. I dont think its particulary thirsty, but maybe chill is an issue ?

Beautiful pic bug..and Im pulling for a purple theme on our next thread.

Hi Candy !

Enjoying Cindys shots from IU3, before my time. I could envision a segue when I am in Chicago in summer on business,

Not much to add, but maybe a little vote for purple..see below.

So what kind of nagging is required to get Deannes keister over here ? From Idyllunion 6 July 2009

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 11:03PM
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I agree Kathy - I think we're long overdue for some of Deanne's photos. They are one of the things that get me through the long winter.

Neat seed saving kit V! I purged mine and am looking forward to stocking it with this year's stash.

Last night was the Middle School chorus concert. Due to their exceptional teachers, involvment in musical groups is at an all time high - over 93% of the kids belong to a choir or musical ensemble. It was a fun concert and hearing so many young voices singing together with such enthusiasm was a real treat. I couldn't help noticing the difference between the kids who had reached puberty and shot up and those who stil had their growing to do. You might have thought there were 5 years in age range instead of just 2 grades.

After work my book group are meeting at a pottery painting place and bringing along wine and nibbles. I know it will be a blast, but I'll try and get my painting completed before hitting the Merlot. I've planned out 3 tiles I'm hoping to paint with Jacobean motifs borrwed from my last needlework project to use as trivets. I'm not sure I ever showed you this, unfortunately I did't get shots of the cushion made up but just in the blocking out stage.

Time to hit the trails
Happy Friday


    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 7:45AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Gorgeous work, Mary -- I adore the classical motifs - they are timeless and never go out of fashion decade after decade.

That's amazing that 95% of the students in a middle school participate in music -- I am a believer in fine arts being mandatory in all schools - but these days with the huge budget shortfalls, all too many "extras" like that (including foreign languages and/or immersion in languages) are on the chopping block - at least in my neck of the woods. Very sad. But folks dont want their taxes raised.... so chop, chop, chop.

V- you were definitely channeling Idylls -- funny how we can all be on the same wave length. I think Northwind stands out in my mind as one of the most extraordinary display gardens at a nursery and such imaginative other ornament displays -- I recall the floral display in the one wooden barn structure that gave the aura of a spiritual sanctuary too -- no good pics, but the memory sticks. Kathy, I heartily endorse your idea of hitting some places if/when you're next in Illinois (altho Northwind was over the boarder in Wisconsin - Lake Geneva looked like a marvey resort place to stop over in tho.).

Funny, I was thinking of Deanne when you spoke of the "tropical container" talk too, V -- egads, our Deanne could fill a book about the art of tropicals -- and brugs.... maybe she's hiding out writing some books....?? We hope she hears the call....

Isnt that interesting re Baptisia and West Coast? It's certainly hardy in V's zone so has to be hardy in yours, Kathy -- I dont think it likes to be wet, but it's otherwise pretty rugged and definitely a no fuss, no muss -- if it looks scraggly, you can whack it back and it regrows terrific foliage. You just have to be patient re bloom and I think it requires sun -- well, V can speak to it better.... maybe you should trial some in your garden, Kathy!

Okay, gotta do the work chores - I have a stock club "workshop" at someone's home for most of the day tomorrow and we're expecting snow - yucko -- Im such a weenie about traveling anywhere in bad weather any more - my age is starting to show - or it could be Im grumpy about missing my Saturday slug day...


    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 9:04AM
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What a nice treat to see pretty needlework from Mary. I loved the little mouse, too. I think those would make darling Christmas ornaments.

But before I forget to mention this entirely: Woody, I'm glad to know you've received a date. No amount of "waiting around" is fun but now the die has been cast and at least you know the where and when. No shortage of good thoughts winging their way to the cosmos from this location, I can assure you! I am duly impressed with your organizational efforts, as well. Please know I think of Randy and the situation with his parents often, hoping things aren't too bad on that front.

"Smarttalkers", eh? I wonder which Bell Telephone spin-off, or manufacturer of cell phones owns that company? Best to get them talking early so their parents will have to get them cell phones "to keep in touch" or better yet, "to keep them SAFE". Denise, you cracked me up with your take on it all... not too terribly far from own cynical thought process.

The hardest thing about planting trees is siting them properly and then waiting for them to put on some size. It's like pulling teeth to get the helpmeet on board with that sort of thing. I like the smaller, ornamental understory trees but to get them planted around here is no small feat. First of all, a space usually has to be cleared, then stumped, and then the digging is pure hell. Not for the faint of heart.

My week back at work was depressing. And the hours crawled by. Awfice, indeed. Also, cold and poorly lighted.

I salute independent children and the adults who make it a priority to require it. No good comes of too much "nose wiping", methinks. And the musical participation rate is really astounding, too. Those things were required when I was Jr. High in MA., but not even available to me at high school in NH. Indeed it is part of the whole tax debate. I can understand both sides, however. It's tough to see your property taxes and inflation rise yearly while your wages do not. Moreover, expensive bond issues voted in to accomodate school population bubbles still have to be paid when the bubble bursts and the school population decreases. No easy answers on any front, are there?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 10:32AM
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Checking quickly from the awffice where nothing is blocked. I couldn't help posting a few Northwind pictures of my own. The gardens were right up my alley.

Cindy, thanks for the Forest Farm info. I was actually looking on their website just the other night.

Hopefully, things will be quieter this weekend and I'll be back with a few comments.

Don't you just love the lace with the barn wood? What about the grand urns in the barn setting? The last pic for those who weren't there is the inside of the silo with a brick floor.
Maybe the coleus grouping will bring Deanne around ;0)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 12:14PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Michelle, that silo just gripped me when we saw it, and still does! How I wish I could convince DH to do this! We have the silo....

Off to my haircut on this frigid but sunny day.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 1:30PM
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No time for more comments, but Michelle those are some of my favorite pics of IU"S. Wish I had seen it in person.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 1:35PM
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Bet that barn pictured above would be an expensive painting project requiring a lot of scraping. It sure needs it!

I found these shots today while prowling around the picture files. They're shots of plants that I love to see every year:

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 1:45PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

All the good thoughts sent this way are very welcome! Yesterday we got some pre-admission forms to fill out in advance of the meeting with the pre-admission folk on Feb. 9. One of the forms had to be filled out by my family doctor so we called for an appoinntment. Good timing because he's leaving Feb. 9 to go help out in Haiti!

Chelone - re Randy's parents - his mother has been in a nursing home for a few weeks now. She seems to have settled in nicely and is enjoying the social contact with other ladies there. His father's leg with the knee replacement has settled down reasonably well too so his father has been able to drive again. The nursing home where MIL is is fairly close to their condo so FIL has been able to go visit/help with meals etc. pretty much every day. He is repeatedly says he'sheartbroken and is still agitating to bring MIL back home - not a viable option for either of them, but he's not willing to accept that. So there's still stresses on that front for everyone - especially poor SIL who gets the brunt of his frustrations because she lives the closest to him.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 3:10PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A fly-by before we leave for dinner, but I had to tell you all that I was right about the SeedKeeper ladies being very nice. They saw their website traffic spike, found out about the post and called me to thank me!


    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 6:54PM
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Friday greetings , I have a movie night lined up, and a rose pruning day on the agenda for tomorrow. We had a full day with no rain, and then a bit of a shower tonight, but I think I should have opportunities over the weekend to get started on the climbers. I always feel a sense of urgency when I start to see bulbs coming up and the weeds are everywhere impossible to pick in the mud.

Such enjoyable pics today-Marys outstanding needlework, and retro-IU pics, and the fabu spring bounty from Chelone..

I think I might just take the Baptisia challenge thrown down by Cindy, must make sure there are no invasive issues though. I might be able to find a spot for it in my front garden.

More tomorrow !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 9:40PM
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We certainly skating into February here. After the rain last week and now extremely cold weather, the streets and sidewalks along with our yard is solid ice.

I had a really nice conversation this evening with Kenzie. It certainly tugs at my heart strings when first she said "I want to come to Iowa to your house" and then "I want you to come see me"

Wow, Chelone that is certainly some serious color you posted.

Mary, you amaze me with all your talents. Its a fabulous design and perfection in the stitches of the needlework.

Julie, you have my sympathies as we are also experiencing sub-zero temps.

Cindy, wasnt that an awesome sitting area?

I cant actually say that I see baptisias offered here either, but I attribute that to the nurseries in the area that find it hard to stock anything the average homeowner wont buy. I have 2 baptisia australius that I picked up years ago from a nursery that is now out of business. They have gotten huge around 4 ½ tall and wide. The Twilight Prairieblues looks like a winner. Im wondering if it gets as big.

Well, the boss came through with another small increase, but the bigger deal for me was the additional 11 PTO days. Especially now that Jeremy is seriously considering a job offer in Texas.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 10:05PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Be it known that I love Baptisia of any kind. I was given a home grown 4 year old seedling of baptisia australis my first year here at the farm, 13 years ago. It bloomed the first year and there's been no looking back. They do not like to be moved, so it is tricky to find a spot for a small plant that will eventually turn into a shrub size!
When I searched the nurseries for other varieties I had trouble. I eventually found B.'Carolina Moonlight' by mail order. It is still small, but growing, and that lovely pale yellow I am fond of.(I understand there is another called "Screaming Yellow".) I have B. "Purple Smoke" which has not taken off yet and also B.�Twilight Prairieblues� which is small so far but should increase in size. My very favorite is a pure white form (Alba). I see that Wildflower Farm sells it. Every year I think it looks small but then it turns into a shrub each time. It blooms for months and I think it is superb!
Boy, this is making me impatient for summer!!!! The site below gives ideas for companion plants as well as care.

Baptisia leucantha Alba

B.Caolina Moonlight


    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 8:41AM
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Another fan of Baptisia here. I've had trouble finding the yellow ones around here and I've never tried a white one, either. I had to move a big one when we built the bahn and it languished in a too shadey site, I moved it again last year and it will be interesting to see if it prospers this season.

Cold and still here this morning and the Reed moon last night was absolutely breathtaking. Outdoors with Rex last night there was no need for a flashlight. We didn't linger long, though, it was incredibly cold for us (zero) and the wind was whipping.

Thinking of Marian and anyone else in "storm central". Hunker down. We have patches of bare ground here and snow that is sort of crusty and crunchy.

Good news on the job front, Michelle! I sometimes think compensated time off is more valuable in the long run. You don't get bumped to a new tax bracket and you get the luxury of TIME. Hard to put a price on that. I'll bet it's hard to hear Kenzie say she'd like to be with you... esp. when you want to be with her. And worries linger. Hang in there.

I'm thinking about some painting today; maybe the bathroom? The helpmeet is up to something in the bahn this morning and it's a tad too cold to be really comfortable outdoors right now. Maybe it'll be more inviting later on.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 10:01AM
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I will order a dwarf blue Baptisia from Digging Dog-is said that it is 2x2 when mature, a good size for my garden, and, wonder of wonders I think I have a spot ..

Back Later

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 11:35AM
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Hi everyone

I might be ordering more Baptisia too - those are stunning GB.

I mentioned 93% of David's Middle School kids participate in a chorus or musical ensemble. What makes this even more special is that those are the students who choose to do so on their own time (before, after school or giving up a lunch period). 100% take general music as part of the curriculum. Pretty cool!


    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 1:08PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Another fan of Baptisia here-sounds like we have a majority at this point! Don't have any planted, but I want to add it to the new bed if it gets enough sun there. We'll see.

Kudos to your doc, Woody, for heading to Haiti. As so many of us, I find myself wondering if I could offer anything. Not loving one's job leads to what-if musings, doesn't it? I wondered if my French would be good enough at this point to go down there in a few months when they may want teachers.

Denise et al, I agree. I hate to see parents driving in a car or walking around in the grocery store yakking on their phones with a wee one in the seat or walking with them. You are absolutely right about TALKING to your kids! That goes for older kids, too. Priorities, don't ya know.

Love everyone's pics. Chelone, that forsythia makes me wonder if I was right to cut down almost all of ours out front! Spectacular. Of course, ours never looks so full. And, that stone wall is magnificent. I think I would move to Maine or NH if it didn't get so darn cold for so long in the winter. I can deal with a couple months, but then I'm done-time for spring.

It's been snowing here since 9 am and we have about four inches at this point. DH is about to take the pups on a walk. They love the snow. DS and Kelly want to come by to trade cars since I don't plan on going out. They will have Koda (means 'friend' in Lakota) with them. They brought him by for the first time last week. Annabelle was fine, but Clouseau sort of went after him at one point, so I had to pin him and play alpha. Not an easy task when he doesn't want to be put down. Sorry I don't have a picture for you-it would probably make you laugh! We didn't have any problems after that, but it makes me nervous. I didn't think he would ever have a problem with a puppy. He doesn't have problems with other dogs even when they come over to run around the yard (I fear I am the only one around here with such a dog-friendly-read destroyed-yard), so I am not sure what prompted this. I hope DH gets them back before the kids come. I am thinking that the more they see of each other, the more Clouseau will accept him. The puppy really is so funny. He tries to get Clouseau to run around with him to no avail. Although he doesn't realize it, Koda is the perfect buddy for him!

Mary, very cool about the 93% enrollment in music specials. That is fantastic. As Cindy said, Band and strings and chorus are some of the items on the chopping block here, along with our modified calendar, elementary foreign language, full-day kindergarten...we will know about the calendar after Feb. 4th. Our principal gave us our "Intent Forms' last week. We have to tell her now what we are considering for next year (staying put, retiring, moving to another school, etc.)and she always has a question about our "future career goals" (isn't that redundant?). Anyway, this year I put retirement as my goal. Not sure she will be amused. Don't really care either. Just wish I could afford to do it!

Oh-and the ear still isn't working. I wonder if the dentist damaged a nerve or something. We have been way too busy at school with testing and meetings (oh and a little teaching along the way) for me to even call the doc. Maybe I can get in the end of next week. Very annoying, especially when I answer the phone and have to switch ears b/c I have no idea what is being said! Jeez!

Okay, I really am going to get busy, EATing now, but first need to refill the bird feeders-those wretched starlings have cleaned me out and all the others are hopping around searching for leftovers!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 3:35PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

There was an article in the local paper today about my doctor and Haiti - apparently he's been going there since 1978 and is a senior projects officer for a children's charity that manages Haiti's TB program, a mental health program and built and operates a children's hospital. The hospital was badly damaged and needs to be rebuilt. There is a fundraiser tonight at a local restaurant/club. We won't be going but will make a donation when we see him on Feb. 8th!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 3:57PM
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I managed to get Reine des Violettes, Polka and a couple more bush roses pruned today, the sun shining most of the time. Many observances were made; green buds on the Clematis, the Spirea . Foliage emerging at the base of several Sedums, a rather distorted looking flower on the burgundy Gallardia , Nigelia popping up everywhereand the weeds ! Ai yi yi, the weeds. I am surely entering pre-spring clean-up time, a task that is totally weather-centric. Many perennials still need to be cut back , a couple need to be moved, and everything needs to be smother mulched for weeds. Cant move anything right now, the soil is totally saturated and more rain is on the way . Cant mulch because it floats away with heavy rains. I can however cut back, so today I did some of that even addressing the yukky slimy lambs ear foliage, ( a place enjoyed by infant and adult snails) and my loved-and-hated Eupatorium Gateway. Foliage was also seen emerging at the base of the Delphiniums, so Sluggo was applied. Speaking of which, my Baptisia purchase was led astray by the blog of Tom Fischer (editor in chief at Timber Press) who posted an essay he wrote for the Oregon Hardy Plant Society about the seeds from Dowdells Delphiniums in NZ. I remember discussions about them at length back in the olden days of garden listservs , and am sure I have been to their website before. So, I bought a packet of seeds,which I bet I will have to cold stratify , but Mr Fischer put me in a swoon, as did the photos. I paid 18 bucks for a packet of 50 seeds, a hideous extravagance which I hope will serve to encourage extra vigilance when I start them. Still going to get the Baptisia though.

Michelle, what Chelone said on PTOs, I sure have become attached to mine to the extent that in the darkest days of my employment they were a major factor that kept me from walking away. I use at least half of them every year for gardening days. Ill take a full or a half week off and spend almost the entire time in the garden. Im about due for my first half-week of the year too, needed to get the above clean-up accomplished. Glad you got some extra $$ too !

Mary, what do you attribute the high rate of music training to at Davids middle school ? Is it required ? Both my kids took music in middle school, but DS is the one who has stayed with it ever since, as far as playing , singing etc goes. DD listens to many styles of music, but I attribute that to the influence of my household where all sorts of music is listened to . I know she will give the same exposure to Aiden.

All for me tonight..waves good vibes over to Woodys world..

And warm vibes to Marianmy NWS forecast for her area says freezing fog a concept I am having a hard time envisioning.

Some pics I took this morning when I went grocery shopping..

We are having foggy mornings, and here the mist is hiding our eastern hills . From Winter 2009

Mustard growing between the rows From Winter 2009

A vignette at Monticello Vineyards From Winter 2009

Here the fog is starting to lift and the eastern hills can be seen. The tree is a large mature olive. From Winter 2009

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 8:42PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The Reed moon, yes Chelone. And again tonight.
"I am the diamond glint on snow"

There you go again Kathy! How I love olive trees and vines... It is quite impossible to imagine. Here it is minus 6F and I can't believe we'll see anything green for months! Reine des Violette has died here I believe. We'll see come Spring.

Today I stitched together another sweater for Ivy, size 1-2.

I have 100 pages left to go in my book, then I have a huge tome on Jacques Cartier to read for March's meeting.

My friend now has a new granddaughter. I forgot to report back on that. Sadie Grace. Her 2+ year old brother isn't entirely sold on the attention she gets and gets up in the middle of the night, turns on all the lights and plays with his toys. Hmmmm. Not my problem! ;)

Yes, I too was thinking of Marian gathering her wood. Lots of ice here. DH has been collecting more wood from the barn in the wheelbarrow and stacking it by the door. Phoebe so wishes she could help! It has become very hard for me to walk her. She is so in need of exercise and is demanding it! Vet says to wait 'til March when the ground is not so icy that she could slip.

Bonne nuit!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 9:11PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

All is well here. We did get a brief freezing rain thursday eve, followed by a little sleet, then snow. It snowed all day yesterday, and we ended up with around 6 inches. There is no problem with trees and power lines. I have not had to step out of the house since thursday before the weather started. I brought a lot of wood into the utility room, and am still working on it. It was in the teens last night, and will be in the upper single digits tonight. I have a large round of wood on the stove, and am fixing to go to bed.
After tonight there is a warming trend. We have more than the needed amount of everything...enought for at least another week.
Thank you for the concern.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 10:19PM
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"I am the diamond glint on the snow", indeed. A beautiful Reed moon pours light over the coldness outside my window as I type. I awakened from one of those too vivid dreams of times past when my friends and I watched a late summer full moon rise over the mountains. We sat on the roof of the car listening to the Moody Blues and hadn't a care in the world. Never, ever would I have conceived they would end their days the way they did. No amount of peaceful breathing next to me could lull me back to sleep tonight.

So, I toured a fantasy vineyard and read of rose pruning and a bumper crop of slugs. And a self-sufficient lady waiting for the weather to abate and the latest round of snow to begin melting. Watermelon colored sweaters for a small lady, and the establishment of the canine pecking order in another, distant, snow-bound home. A fine way to take my mind off sad thoughts, if you ask me!

The first coat of red has been dutifully applied to the bathroom walls. If I am industrious and get right on it later this morning I could, conceivably, get the remaining two finished today. It would be nice to have it behind me. It's been hanging over my head since I learned of my friend's death, each step in that room a painful reminder of him because painting is "from the neck down" and gives my head too much time to think, mull, and dwell.

I'm no fun now. I think I'll visit Hever Castle in Mary's Kentish countryside or some other such place. Sleep soundly my friends, the diversion has been soothing. ;)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 2:21AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I awoke from one such dream yesterday morning. The trouble is, they stay with me for several days. I think your red bathroom is a wonderful diversion. Mine is the treadmill. Let me tell you, that is certainly mindless! Last night, we experimented with Rex's new trick. What a complete failure! Phoebe was so eager to please but could barely do a "down" because she smelled the treat. No way could we get the treat near her snout. She only got points for entertainment!

There is snowfall this morning. I wonder what lies ahead for the day. We are counting time until Tuesday when DH is hoping to teach two classes in a row, 2 1/2 hours of talking. Can he do it? A very interesting question, because he must repeat the exercise on Thursday as well.

We have had remarkably few birds this winter. They say the Fall weather pattern did not allow for enough seeds for them. We are keeping the feeders full but I have only seen 3-4 juncos at a time and little else. Very different without those feathered friends!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:08AM
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Good morning

Kathy - what a wonderful misty morning. General music is taken by all students but electing to play and instrument or join a chorus is optional. I think music is at an all time high due to the fabulous teachers who have made it both hip and fun. Even the football players and hockey kids enjoy participating and turn out at concerts and musicals is tremendous.

GB - that is a lovely sweater. The wool and simple ribbing are just perfect together. Hope we get to see little Ivy modelling it.

Hi Marian - glad you are safe and well! I was thinking of you reading an article about research groups that are popular here with some retirees. The groups pick a subject to research and each write a paper which they present at their monthly meetings. The participants shared how much they enjoyed their projects and learning from each other and I wondered if you had anything similar in your community.

A fun evening here last night at the theatre with friends watching the play Nearly Maine. I thought of Chelone and all the fun at IU6. The play was whimsical and touching and left you feeling warm which was perfect for our coldest night of the winter, down to -4F. I wondered a few times in the night how the chickens were managing. But this morning when I brought them a warm bowl of mush they were perky and lively, no sign of frostbite on their combs, and four eggs were there to greet me.

Yesterday morning when I was scattering some scratch in their outdoor shelter I noticed Henny Penny was in the nesting box. Not to miss out on a treat she waddled out to peck at some corn and dropped her egg right there in the snow. It was interesting just how warm it was and the egg was up in the kitchen within 2 minutes of being layed. Now thats what I call fresh!

Yesterday I came to the dismal conclusion that my skills as a housewife are lacking. While I keep on top of the main areas others are easy to neglect. There were huge dust bunnies under David's bed and visible cobwebs in a few rooms. I gave part of the house a really thorough vacuuming and inspired by Woody, reorganzed one of our bookshelves. The family room looks lovely now, I had a roaring fire going throughout the day and even the kids commented on how welcoming it was. I'm hoping to build on my success and attack some other neglected spots. As long as I don't get distraacted by a craft project, or cooking, or reading, or the Euchre we've all been enjoying playing toegether, or tea with my friend who's coming over.....

Did I ever show you this? It is the little needle felted donkey I made for our ornament exchange. It was so much fun to make - he is carrying a little mail bag with a tiny Christmas card from my miniatures. I thought I might make another with a Valentines card to keep. I think today's cleaning might just have flown out of the window.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:10AM
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Oops, my miniature came up humungazoid. Lets try this:

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:32AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I failed to mention...the sky was clear most of the night, and the moon was beautiful on our snowy landscape.

Ah yes....dreams ! Mine was a nightmare last night. It began with one unruly child, which I presume was my son ! ? And the unruly children increased, and increased , until the house (or what ever it was) was full of them, and they were trashing everything. Nothing I said, or did, fazed them, and the parents were totally useless. Weird, and I wonder what brought such a dream on. It is the second really weird one thet I have had in recent days.

The snow is beautiful today, with a clear sky, and a bright sun. But we have not ventured out. A friend suggested coming to get us for our worship this morning, but we are reluctant to take a chance on walking in such conditions.

I will have to go out soon, to get more wood, but will use all the necessary precautions.

The predicted low did not materialize. Our low went up and down, and settled on 13F. My digital indoor/outdoor thermometer chose today to quit on us. :-(
So I do not know what it is out now. But I am pretty sure it will get above freezing. If I can get just outside the door onto the deck, I can dredge that thermometer out of the snow, and use it. I plan on attempting that maneuver. :-)


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 10:34AM
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Dreams of unruly children -- I've heard stories the past couple days of a 5-yo autistic boy that will curl your hair. Autism behavior has so much variation, and this little boy's variant seems to be aggression and violence. He's the son of my brother's girlfriend. Cruelty to animals, aggression his default interaction mode with children and adults (biting, scratching, pulling hair). I kept wondering if these were the children routinely institutionalized in the past. This mother is trying desperately to socialize this child, but as my brother sadly put it, the child's isolating behavior inevitably ends up enveloping the parent, because no friends, babysitters, etc can take it. So a parent with normal social needs is left alone and isolated with the autistic child.

I remember those New Zealand delphs. I did buy some species delph seeds this fall, and predictably they haven't shown up yet, after prescribed chilling period. Lovely photos, Kathy.

Mary, I did miss seeing your usual postings of Christmas crafts, so it's great to see what you've been up to.

Jacques Cartier was the first rose I planted here 20-some years ago, a Portland rose if I remember correctly.

I have to share a pic of my brother, the one visiting from Hawaii. We last saw each other nine years ago. Duncan is in the back up the stairs, and Marty's daughter Alcina is below Duncan. His house has no screens, no glass for the windows. He lives near very active volanos and says the work to keep screen and glass clean is not worth it. (There's a man's solution to housework, Mary!) He says the bugs don't bother him, mosquitoes not as bad as in Canada where he's lived most of his life before Hawaii. Temps he says are 80, day in, day out.

Will keep this short since deadlines loom. Waves to all. The moon has been stunning, hasn't it?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:20AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Chelone, I hope the morning sun has brought you comfort, if not joy, although I wish you that. Nights can seem so long, especially when all the house is quiet. I have come to think of these infernal machines to which we are so frequently attached as lifelines during such times of wakefulness.

Moody Blues, huh? "Days of Future Passed" is on my list as one of the top ten albums of all time. I wonder why we are drawn to melancholy music when we are feeling that way? I never put on reggae or anyhting cheerful when what I need is cheeering up. Go figure.

Mary, your donkey is adorable! Eeyore was always my favorite from the 100 acre wood stories.

Marian, do let us know what "freezing fog" is like if you do get it (per Kathy's report). I am picturing people all over the place walking into something like a glass door and bouncing off-lol.

Kathy, that mustard looks so pretty growning amidst the vines. Always love the look of olive trees, too.

'bug, post a pic of Ivy in her new sweater when she gets it. I do envy all of you who are so talented.

Oh, man. DH is sending away the guys I have under contract to clear the snow. Bye!!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:31AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Made DH walk down the street to ask them to come back-aarrgghh-and now HE'S mad at ME!

Denise, I wish I had a brother living in Hawaii-I would be visiting him about now!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:37AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Cyn, freezing fog here would be when it freezes on all the vegetation. It is very pretty. And does not last long.I suppose it can make slick walking if it is heavy enough. It would on porches anyway.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:55AM
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Second coat of Ben. Moore #2006-30 is applied and drying. All tools, save the roller which is wrapped tightly in plastic, are cleaned and drying. I will go for the final coat later this afternoon. I usually get a boot out of painting but this hasn't been much in the way of fun.

That summer was one for the books. My recently deceased friend had a '67 Dodge Polara sedan and was the "wheel man". My friend that killed himself in '93 rode "shotgun". I rode in state in the back seat. And we put some miles on that baby, pooling our money for gas and sundries. There was an 8 track player and a variety of tapes, among them, "Days of Future Passed", which was a favorite. We figured out how to minimize the time required to get to our favorite tracks and they obliged me by putting that one in frequently. I love to swim and they indulged me in that, too. They'd lean their backs against the driver's side of the car, "posting guard" while I'd put on my suit between the open doors on the passenger side. One hot night we passed a lake and they jokingly asked me if I wanted to swim. I said, "Sure!". They reminded me I didn't have my swim bag... I replied that bathing suits weren't flotation devices. Stunned silence. I stripped and went in, but my "blow hard" buddies were not so sure it was such a good idea, lol. Later, we laughed and laughed about that night because they were shocked I'd skinny dip. I have trouble listening to "Knights in White Satin" without tears now. We listened to that tape watching moon rise and laughed about entering "the real world" and wondered where we'd be in 10 yrs.. That was a long time ago. And the internet beats the hell out of infomercials. A pleasant diversion indeed.

Rex is pretty focussed on the treat, too, 'bug. ;) I have to hold his muzzle in my hand but he's starting to understand that he WILL get the treat and is beginning to relax just a little bit. The helpmeet says I'm torturing the dog, and I say, "yeah? so what? that's what dogs are for, right?".

Beautiful and cold this morning and I'm not sure what to do with myself between coats of paint. Laundry?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 12:23PM
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Hi Everyone! The sun is shining here. Always a pleasant thing. It is still cold. The boys are working on a project, and they wanted me to come along, so here I am freezing in the workshop, listening to a boy flick on the TV. Today is family day at our gym, so we are trying to get the crew together to swim or some such. You have to be 15 to belong, so Devin and babies can't go on an everyday basis. Skip is going to play raquetball with the boys, me, the girls and babies are going in the pool. They have a hot tub, steam room and sauna too, so I look forward to that part. Then, everyone will come over for dinner, and I might watch the Grammy's tonight. Not sure about that. Sometimes these award shows stink, but I do liking looking at the dresses on the red carpet.

Chelone, that Moody Blues album is one of our favorites. I saw them in concert once. It was wild. Little Richard was their opener. It was supposed to be BB King, but he didn't show for some reason. Little Richard was dressed all in white, dancing on the piano. I really wasn't familiar with him, but what a show he put on. After he was finished, he took off his white boots and threw them into the crowd. What a performance! I know exactly what you mean about certain songs bringing back memories. My best friend in high school had a yellow corvair convertible. We used to have to carry a case of oil in the trunk, and stop every so often to put in a can. On my 18th birthday at midnight that song "18" by Alice Cooper came on. We had the top down and were singing at the top of our lungs. I think it is fun to remember such times. They will always be with you. I hope you are enjoying your memories. I think we grew up at a special time, and look back with a smile.

Denise, I am with Cyn on the Hawaii visit:) Glad you were able to visit with your brother after a long stretch apart.

Mary, your needlework is so pretty, and I just love the little donkey. How do you work with such tiny detail? I couldn't do it. Well, I don't think I could do something that nice big or small. I know what you mean about the dust bunnies. They are everywhere at my house, even after I sweep. An hour later, they are back. I have convinced myself that it is because of the woodburner, and dog hair. It always seems worse in the winter time.

Kathy I really like your vineyard pictures.

Well, the boys are starting to gather up, so I will sign off for now.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 12:59PM
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I remember the debate that one of my college era friends and I had re: the Moody Blues, he despised them , declaring that they were too dramatic . This friend went on to become an afficianado of and a season ticket holder to the SF Opera. Go figure !

Waiting for the fog to lift here so I can turn my attention to Sally Holmes, and the balance of the bush roses in the front garden.I could be in a place at the end of the day today when all the bush roses are done and only 2 climbers remain to be coiffed. I think of Woodys New Dawn swag, and how stunning it is likely to be this summer .

Cyn, winter brings the Napa Valley Mustard festival , which lasts most of February and involves different wine-food events all up and down the valley.

Love the little donkey Mary !

I really must do something useful while I wait for the fog to lift..Chelone has shamed me into action .

Later friends !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 1:31PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Im taking a rest after the weekend shovel routine -- I guess Mother Nature is determined I get her kind of exercise this winter, darn it -- I tried to be brave and was out in it yesterday at the stock club workshop but coming home in mid afternoon was a terror - the roads were horrible -- nothing had been done to them despite there being about 4 or 5 inches of snow on them - braking was a Hail Mary every time you needed to stop.... I came home and went to bed for an hour, LOL -- a good stress reliever.
No luck w/ hiring anyone to shovel here, Cyn -- and I hear word there might be two more systems in our future.... Incredible winter. We had about 6 or more inches from the forecasted dusting.

I betting the internet traffic on baptisias went thru the roof in the last couple of days, 'bug -- Im now wanting one of those albas, despite no space or place.... hmmm, what could go.... Kathy, I've got the baptisia minor (which likely is what Digging Dog has?_ and it's a good 3 feet wide after 5 or 6 years in a spot it likes. But it's a great plant. I really like that Twilite Blues too -- it had some great color last year.

Such loving attention to detail for the donkey, Mary -- just amazing. You guys are eating a lot of eggs -- do you ever worry about cholesterol? Just wondered; afflicted with high that seems to be somewhat genetic, I try to be very wary of the products that are high in it after spending a few years (and medication) to get it back to normal levels.

Well, I have to gather enough energy to go check the hall closet that had horrible scratching noises in it(or under it/over it) mid-week -- Im worried it was a squirrel or some similar pest making itself comfy -- the attic/roof is directly overhead. But it's been quiet the last two nites so could one hope it got trapped and just died? Well, have to dig the closet out to make sure there's nothing comfy at the bottom of the mess of luggage, blankets, comforters and old clothes.

Drema - that sounds like such a nice family gathering to make a tradition! How nice everyone lives close enough and can make time in their busy lives to gather.

Denise -- I laughed at the male solution to soot -- no windows, LOL. Surely they have a lot of bugs of some sort in the tropics there dont they? (Im betting brother is talking to sister who's back is turned to the camera, eh?)

At least it's bright and sunny here today, altho till frigid...


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 1:43PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Denise, your tale truly strikes me in the gut. Of course you all know I'm a terrible worrier about Skyler, but can you imagine dealing with serious autism? The only thing worse that I am familiar with is my friends who help with their teenage twin autistic grandsons. What a life that has been for the entire family, near and far. One of the boys is able to be trained in dealing with daily life (we hope!) but no one knows yet how to deal with his brother. At some point he may need to be put into a home and guarded. I have a friend who had twin daughters, one of whom was institutionalized. That was a horrible decision for the parents, but highly encouraged by the doctors. The child was appealing and cute but never gained weight and eventually died at around age 7. The truth of the matter is that my friend did not realize that she was neglecting the healthy daughter...who as an adult is doing so well. She's named after me so I have strong feelings about their situation. Motherhood is not for the weak....

We will soon be going to a presentation by a teenage friend of ours about her summer in the Arctic and what she learned about Global Warming. She's amazing...

And so we are off!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 2:28PM
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This is the first year we forgot to get the bird feeder in the ground before it froze solid. Sure seeing a lot of big noisy crows, though. At least the sun is still shining and that helps keep the backyard from looking so desolate. Kathy, I appoint you as director of nagging to get Deanne back posting bird photos. After all, you promised me bird photos from her, lol. She must be over wintering on FB!

Mary, your felting projects are such exquisite little creatures of detail and the needlework is just beautiful. This prompts me to believe youre not only multi-talented but very patient, have perfect vision and nimble fingers. Enjoyed hearing about HP dropping her egg in the snow, which led me wonder how difficult it is to clean out their house in this freezing weather!

Michelle, thanks for posting the barn wood photos as Im such a fan of old barns. I love old architecture in general but its the weathered effect that lets me imagine the stories they hold. Perhaps its because I see the passage of time without costly acts of preservation to give me a better sense of its history.

And, bugfirst off, this new tiny sweater for Ivy will remain my favorite no matter what else you make. Its a wonderful blend of colors; how to sayboth vibrant and soft?! Cant wait to see a photo of her wearing it and its perfect for Valentines Day.

Second, you mentioned you have a silo at the farmhave I missed a picture of this? Now Im intrigued and hope youll share what you dream doing with it and some photos. Then, you must work on DH to let you do it! You know this man, so put a spin on it to include the valuehistorical landmark, architectural element, environmental, property researchany topic in which he has interest and passion. How exciting! Start on him now, hell need time to think it was all his idea, lol.

Marian, were you able to take any pictures of the freezing fog through your sliding door? Nice to know you were stocked up and cozy during the unpleasant weather. That sounds like a perfect time to make bean soup! DH is making a big batch of chili today and later in the week I plan on having huge baked potatoes topped with leftover chili, grated cheese and green onions.

Denise, has the autisic 5 year old not had any preschool screening? Usually they are quick to refer children to an at risk program through the school district or advocate group for help and support. Your brother must have fascinating stories about living so close to an active volcano and the island experience itself. Nine years is a long time, wow.

Chelone, loved that blast of color you posted! So now I want to see pictures of that red bathroom, no excuses. Was it difficult to work with? Ive heard red can be tricky in getting even coveragedid you use a primer first? Im sorry to read that youre struggling with such painful thoughts about your friends. It is a hard thing to accept and perhaps youre still be angry at them for leaving you this way. Caught between "how could you" and "why" and not finding the answers. Maybeif you reach deep inside yourself and forgive them, it will help you find peace of mind. Sending good thoughts your way

Dreama, that sounds great - having a family day at the gym and finishing up at home! You are so right about musicit has almost a drug induced effect on the memory trigger. A song can stop you in your tracks, send you back years in time, give you the power to see, smell and taste, remember the clothes you wore, laugh or cryheavy stuff.

Cindy, you and Cyn have had quite a winter!I keep wondering if your area set any record for snowfall.

Im being summoned for a chili taste testwaving to everyone I missed.

Misc Pic of the day: Non conformist in the icicle world

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 3:50PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

So glad Sally Holmes lives with you Kathy! She up and left Deanne's place and mine as well. The nerve! Gee she's a lovely girl though....

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 6:49PM
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We made a shopping trip yesterday to get a cabinet for the bathroom. More paint, hardware and some fabric were purchased as well. I found the perfect fabric to make a roman shade. Now just to figure out how. My mom who is an excellent seamstress has made them so I can always call for help. We also ordered the new sink/vanity top.

Kathy, its interesting to see the grapevines naked. They certainly don't look like they would produce much.

'bug, the sweater looks like just the thing to keep Ivy warm in their frigid temps. Love the baptisias.

Chelone, you have some wonderful memories of your friends. I'm finding painting somewhat like weed pulling and it seems to take my mind of some of the issues that are on my mind these days. I've finished patching and priming finally. I have a friend who has the most gorgeous red bathroom. I can't wait to see yours.

Denise, here we have dust from the gravel road we live on. The windows are never clean but I would wonder what my house would look like without their protection. Must be a man thing. What an incredible sad story about the 5 year old autistic. Surely there could be some adjustment in his meds to help.

Mary, what a comical bunch your chickens sound like. I can just picture Henny Penny waddling out and depositing her egg right before you. The little donkey is just adorable.

Cindy, here's hoping your critter escaped back to the outdoors. Not something you are looking forward to I'm sure.

Did someone mention magenta? Here's Lauren's Grape that was discussed recently.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 7:25PM
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Third coat is finished and the tools are all cleaned and drying by the woodstove. The original color was a very dark red (the bedroom was the same color), with stong blue undertones (Ben. Moore 1288, why I remember that nearly 20 yrs. later, I have no idea). I used alkyd (oil), satin finish. In 2000 we reconfigured the bedroom and I repainted it but never did the bathroom as we hadn't decided on what the final iteration would be. I sanded the walls thoroughly and then washed them. I applied two coats of a sealing primer as was recommended by the "King of Paint" at the local lumber yard. Sucked, but the end result should be good. I repainted with a latex (not my favorite) satin finish formulated for kitchens and bathrooms. Lots of people recommend tinting the primer when using dark colors but I disagree. I learned enough in my (required) Jr. High art classes to know that the lighter prime coats imbue the topcoats with a brighter cast. And that multiple, sheer coats give the wonderful depth of color and pleasant sheen you want on walls. It's still wet so I can't really get a feel for the coverage right now, but I think it'll be fine. I'm not sure if I'll reuse the old mirror (which is losing it's silvering around the edges, it's OLD!) or spring for a new one, maybe a large oval? And I haven't gotten a new over mirror fixture yet, either. Just haven't felt like it... what did you choose, Michelle? any other thoughts on the subject my friends?

Candy, I'm not angry with either of my friends for their deaths. I'm one of those people who believes passionately that every person should have the right to end their lives on their own terms whenever they so choose. It's nobody's business but their own. I respect their right to exercise that most personal option. But both deaths involved calls to me before they did it and while I know it wasn't up to me to "change their minds" I labor under the heavy, and self-imposed burden of "if only". And that's not their fault, in any way. I know the pangs will lessen with time, but when they hit they hit hard and can be incapacitating. So I "roll with it". Red, swollen eyes and intermittant tears are part of the hand I've been dealt. Now it's up to me to play the hand and move the hell on. Dead is dead, after all.

That magenta poppy is beautiful. Sometimes the depth and richness of floral colors stops me in my tracks and makes me gape with wonder. Birds can do that to me, too. And so can fish.

I smiled at Henny Penny dropping the egg in the snow, too. What a treat to have them that fresh. I'll bet the lovely warm mashes you prepare for them helps. I surfed around the websites for Hever Castle and Penshurst Place in the wee hours of this morning. Have you ever visited either one? There looked to be some lovely gardens there, although not in the purely Tudor traditon.

I was thinking about "difficult" children and at what point institutionalizing them becomes the best option to protect the greater part of the family. I can think of no more wrenching choice for a parent. It sure as hell ain't for the "faint of heart", 'bug. It's a good thing we humanoids are as resilient as we are.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:03PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I left the house for a mere ninety minutes last night, leaving three responsible adults and three dogs to manage on their own for a bit. I came home to find the house smelling quite strongly of smoke. It seems that:

a. they started a fire in the fireplace but didn't open the damper

b. they didn't notice until the smoke alarms went off

c. in all the confusion, a large spark flew out of the fireplace and burned a spot on the wood floor

d. the puppy peed three times in the house (probably either trying to put out the fire or freaked out about the smoke alarms)

Yes, I was only gone ninety minutes!

So do any of the idylls have any suggestions about what to do for a burn mark on the floor? (Short of refinishing the entire floor) It's about the size of a dime squished into an oval, and it's rather obvious right in front of the fireplace. All ideas welcome!

So DS and wife had come over to discuss chicken coop plans. We have settled on our location and have a preliminary sketch done. We'll use some recycled materials and will have to buy some also. We also plan to try a green roof, with some hens and chicks, of course, along with sedums.

I see that there are less than three hours left before February begins, and since I should be sleeping for at least two of those, I'd better run. Where do the weekends go?


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 10:13PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Chelone - I love those paint colors! (I've been checking them on the BM web site...) We've been to Hever Castle - nice place... What I remember most was the topiary, the maze, some nice walks and the rather gaudy loggia and piazza! The topiary chess set:

Part of the loggia/piazza:

We stopped at Penhurst Place just as it before closing time so didn't get many pictures and I can't find any that made it into the album!

I would love to be able to travel to England again - so many gardens yet to see....

The pantry was the EAT/de-cluttering target for today. Amazing how much stuff accumulates in one small room....

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 10:41PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

V, the only trick I know is to remove the dark part with some kind of stiff brush and then rub a nut (Brazil nut or walnut) on the now pale raw surface to help the pale color blend with the rest of the area. The nut oils do this quite well.

Of course you can't control everything or everyone! So sorry.

Aren't you lucky to have Mary to get ideas from!!!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 10:41PM
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Good morning

Chelone - you are making me homesick. Both Hever Castle and Penshurst Place are within 20 miles of where I grew up and we loved visiting them. Annie and David have particularly enjoyed Hever, especially the year Annie dressed up as Anne Boelyn for Halloween. There are so many fabulous historical sites and gardens in Kent. I'm so hoping we can get back to enlgand this year.

Michelle - I lvoe the Lauren's Grape and that magenta that just sings!

V - how many chickens are you thinking of and how big a coop? My sedums never made it onto the roof of mine and are over-wintering in pots beside our wood pile. It will be fun to see your construction. Bummer on the smoke/burns.

Last night I think I had the worst night's sleep ever. A couple of things were on my mind, but minor stressors not life changing events. I was still awake at 4AM, 6 hours after going to bed. I think today will be a long one.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 7:26AM
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I know about insomnia, Mary. ;) Sucks, "don't it"? Mum always used to say the best cure was to get up and DO something. I think she was right about. Bet you'll sleep like a baby tonight, though.

I hope one day to visit Great Britain. I have been overseas just once and I vividly recall looking out the window of the plane and recognizing the shape of England far below... it sounds silly but it was really a transformative moment for me. It was very green! We have erased the really old history of our beautiful land (along with nearly all its magnificent native peoples) and the notion of a building that dates from the 1300s blows my mind. I look at the building facades and think about the names from history that I know (the Dukes of Buckingham, the Boleyns, the Sidneys) and wonder what parts of the estates they would recognize. I think about the vagaries of "justice" and how loose evidentiary law permitted attainture of treason. And I wonder how history will regard our much vaunted court system 400 yrs. hence. You hail from a fascinating and remarkable land, Mary. Woody, thanks for the pictures! how often do you think they have to trim up the chess set?

V., I confess to laughing aloud upon reading your account of last night's festivities, esp. the puppy's attempt to "put out the fire", LOL. You need a block off plate and a good woodstove, my girl! Fireplaces are such a waste of energy and heat, not to mention hazardous in the wrong hands. I have no pearls of wisdom to roll your way about repairing the floor, sadly. What a drag, that sort of thing will annoy the piss out of me, personally. I like 'bug's suggestion which makes pretty good sense to me.

I'm thinking about what nice families are represented here. I love the family day at the gym, Drema; what a great idea. I love families that share and enjoy music, and activities that require participation, not passive observance. Denise's brother reminds me of Michael MacDonald, lol. He could model for Selsun Blue to pick up a few extra shekels. ;)

And who cares about housekeeping skills? over-rated in my not so humble opinion.

Rex drools a lot when we practice his new trick... I hope he masters it before I cave in totally to the "EWWW" factor.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 4:27PM
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V, sounds like everyone jumped into action the minute you left: How much mayhem can we make in 90 minutes? Okay, go!

Sorry to bring up such a wrenching topic with the little autistic guy. My neighbor Holly (special ed teacher) says he needs intense biofeedback intervention, and that if Hawaii says they can't do it, federal moneys must do it. So I passed it on to my brother.

More stories from my brother, this time about England, the idyll topic du jour. Remember he'd been in Bath? Well, at Christmas, the lighting of the town festivities, throwing the switch went to...Nicholas Cage, who owns a house and a castle in Bath, and proclaimed it to be the most beautiful city in the world. My brother has traveled too many places to count, so I asked him if he concurred with Cage. He said maybe Zurich beats Bath. Maybe. I've seen Bath twice, very quickly, and didn't even see the famed Roman baths so must return. Yes, my brother's hair is amazing! I was stunned to see how absolutely white it was, no grey at all.

The night rides in cars, music on the tape player brought back thoughts of my old pals, every one of whom scattered after high school to different states. There's occasional talk of getting together, like on this year's holiday cards, but it seems unlikely. That space after high school before serious responsibility is a magical time. Lots of angst, but such close friendships form. (Neil Young, Harvest and After the Goldrush, are my high school memory triggers.) So sorry about your friends, Chelone. Sadness you must feel, but guilt, absolutely not -- but you know that already.

Good work on the bathroom, Michelle.

Mary, love the embroidery, such exquisite work. I love to see what you've been working on.

Speaking of sedum on chicken hutches, did you see the press reports on the proposed "living architecture" project in Portland?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 5:08PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

V- LOL - how could you use that word "responsible" for those three? Obviously they failed that adjectivec abjectly = sounds like the pup was the only alert one (either trying to put the fire out, egad, or at least being concerned and scared).... Boy, they get D in life lessons, eh? Dont leave them alone again, is your lesson, eh? I hope you can repair the floor - 'bug's home remedy sounds plausible doesnt it?

Michelle - LOVE that Lauren's Grape -- I still have had no success with it (o now, I have to remember to try to sow my poppy seeds into the yard sometime this month, assuming snow goes away)...

You're making lots of painting headway, Chelone, altho Im sorry it gives you time to dwell on sad thoughts - I find that weeding and housecleaning do that to me too, unless I've got lots of music blaring for the cleaning gig.

Hope you get some sleep, Mary -- I hate when I obsess about small worries, which happens often too to me - sometimes even TV programs will do that to me - which is really stupid; but I dont know how to turn those thoughts off....

Photos of castles and talk of England -- makes me nostalgic too and I certainly cant call it home. I too adored Bath the two times I've been there --- I thought the Roman baths were interesting but was really in love with the glorious Georgian town architecture, and visiting those makes one call up imaginary encounters with Regency times -- Beau Brummel, Jane Austen, etc. I think I read every Georgette Heyer novel penned when I was a teenager, and it was like dancing thru each of them to visit Bath. Such an eminently walkable town too.. A must visit in my book. Now, it makes me think of Spring too.

Well, it was sunny here and that does improve Mondays -- I think Im happy to report no critter discovery and the closet was still secure; but somehow I dont think this is going to be the end of the story. It seems to be my winter/year for critters and the saga will go on....

I dont know enough about biofeed back to understand how a five year old could be successfully taught that -- and then one as challenged as the autistic one you described, Denise. So sad -- serious illnesses and other behavioral problems in children can be life-sucking, consuming and isolating for all parents - and one has to feel so bad for the siblings as well. Counting my blessings as I think of those challenges.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 7:49PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

V., sounds like a sitcom in the making! As to the burn, my former MIL was helping me restore an 1850s log cabin on one of her farms and she used to fix the floors with sawdust mixed with a little glue. Put it in the spot, let it dry, sand a little, can't see any difference where the problem was. If that or 'bug's recipe doesn't work, put a plant there and just let everyone walk around it-lol.

Cindy, we have so many people come by when it snows asking to shovel us out. Wish I could hire them all. It can't be easy going door-to-door hoping to make a couple of bucks. Looks like another bit of bad weather coming tomorrow and then another system at the end of the week. I hope it isn't enough that you need to shovel again!

Marian, thanks for the explanation. I think I prefer my twisted vision of all of us walking into smoky grey walls of frozen fog!

Woody, it's alway nice to see pics of places I'd like to visit someday.

Chelone, I have been to London, but would love to get to the countryside of England and Wales. Ireland would be fantastic, too. I have a friend who is of Irish descent and she and her husband (also Irish) go over there every other summer. The pictures are incredible.

Another idea for the little autistc fellow is ABA. Very structured. We have what is called in our county an "Enhanced Autism" class that uses ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) with our severely autistic elementary-aged kids. I studied it, but haven't used it in years and I think it has become a more intensive intervention since I did it 20 years ago.

Candy, hope the chili passed the taste test. I must be losing taste buds because DH and friends said the last batch was really hot, but it didn't seem at all spicy to me. Oh well. Love the icicle picture!

Michelle, the Lauren's Grape is amazing.

Mary, I hate it when I wake up early like that and can't get back to sleep. Cindy's comment about tv shows doing that to her rang a bell-I had to give up 24 because it was so ennervating (to me anyway) that I wouldn't be ready to go to be until way past my bedtime! Wishing you sweet, LONG dreams tonight.

Speaking of which, 'night all.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 8:53PM
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Very little to add tonight, the 3rd straight day without rain, but gloomy still. Will sympathize with Mary, and my sleep issue is waking up an hour or so before the alarm, and then dozing a bit, end result waking up groggy and feeling like youve been up all night partying.

Love the talk of the Green and Pleasant Land, a place I have always wanted to visit, and determined to do so one day. IU10 ?? What better for the 10th anniversary .

And did someone mention Sally Holmes ? Her locks are shorn now, but here she is in her heyday..These were taken in 08 I think, she needs some new photos this year. From Garden Sept 08 From Garden Sept 08

Sleep tight friends !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 9:54PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I took the plunge today and ordered my bees. I'm working on the order for the hive equipment and getting close on that. And we hope to have the chicks ordered by the end of the week. My three big spring projects are potatoes, chickens and bees and my goal is to have all the equipment in place before we go to New Zealand in the beginning of March, then the "live goods" will start to arrive after I'm back. It just might work.

We had coyotes in the front yard this evening and it has left me with a very unsettled dog. The coyotes were close enough that I opened the front door and told them to scram and they did. Of course, now Mr. Mystic would like to go outside and investigate what went on, and I really don't want to send him out in the dark - where did that lovely moon go to?

Denise, Neil Young's Heart of Gold triggers the smell of microwave popcorn in my brain. The snack bar area of my dorm had a very limited jukebox and the place always smelled of popcorn. I know there was more than one song on there, but it's the only one I remember hearing.

And my HS boyfriend was a huge Moody Blues fan. After we broke up, he wrote long, rambling letters to me that usually quoted Moody Blues lyrics. The first anniversary of his suicide is next week.

Mary, I can empathize with your insomnia. I haven't had a problem lately but have had terrible times in the past. I usually turn on the radio to a pretty decent overnight talk show. It's just about guaranteed that if they are doing something really interesting, I'll be out like a light in no time.

I think we are looking at getting 20 - 25 chickens. We're trying to figure out what breeds. I should be researching breeds right now, but the crowd over on FB keeps sucking me in to these awful YouTube videos from the 70's.

Many moons ago, when I went back to school to get my MBA, one of my classes was an obscure seminar on the Black-Scholes option pricing formula. It was about as exciting as it sounds, it involved a lot of calculus and it certainly fell into the category of "what will I ever use this for?" Well, lo and behold, on NPR today, Terry Gross had an interview with a guy who basically said that the proliferation of the Black-Scholes formula was what lead to the whole banking crisis. NOW I GET IT!

V, who may have insomnia as she recalls that awful class

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 10:32PM
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Reading along and just wanted to poke my head in and say hello. Chickens and bees sound nice, but NZ sounds fabulous to passport arrived yesterday and I've been daydreaming about where to go :)

I want to cross the pond for our 10th anniversary, too...I can't think of a better way to celebrate and I've never been to Europe!


    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 7:58AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We are all thinking of Haiti still, and some of us have mentioned even going there. This note arrived in my mail from DS this morning:
By Carmina, one of many Haitian-American bloggers/entrepreneurs/educators/open sourcerers I met in NYC Saturday, willing to Take a Stand for Haiti:


My good friend Mike asked puzzled. And I understood his reaction because I had the same one at first.

Haiti s children dont need laptops; they need food, shelter, the basic stuff

Im grateful that others have the skills and the opportunity to go to Haiti and help with those basic needs.

I applaud their efforts and admire their courage: unfortunately, I dont have the skills or opportunity to do so myself.

Almost a month has passed alreadyIts time to build Haiti back!

Its not going to happen overnight and its not going to happen by itself.

Its starts with everyone doing a little bit, where they are, when they can.

So Im doing the little bit I can by actively supporting 2 organizations whose mission I believe in.

What motivates and excites me about the One Laptop Per Child / Waveplace project is its potential to impact the next generation of Haitians, out of which future parents, citizens, mayors, senators and even presidents will come from.

I see a potential to open the minds of our children to other realities, other worlds, give them new dreams, broader horizons.

So last Saturday at a CrisisCamp in NYC, when I heard Adam Holt and Allison Bland, exhausted from an early morning train ride from Boston to NY talked enthusiastically about this project I saw a chance to make a difference.

No matter how small my part would be.

Then I witnessed something awesome: people were gathering around them, coming together, rallying around this project.

The ideas started flowing, out of the box ideas.

Suddenly, a simple translation project request became a movement to revolutionize the educational system in Haiti.

2 days later, we have a coloring book project under way, translation parties in the works, blogs, websites, publishers/authors willing to giving us permission to make their children Creole books into e-books, an active and growing online community of a people exchanging ideas and ready to make a difference in anyway they can. Wow! If we can do that in 2 days, what can we do in 1 week, 1 month, 1 year!

Yes, I realize that its a drop in the ocean, but if you could even indirectly impact the future of 1 child of Haiti,
would it not have been worth your while?

You can help!

Join our community at The New Haiti Project.

Donate 1 hour of your time to translate material from English to Creole. (Spanish, French, Portuguese and other languages are useful too.)

Start here:

'Bug and DS

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 8:24AM
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I've become a "fan" of TNHP on FB. I want to give your DS a big hug, 'bug.

I was thinking Where's Saucy been? when I woke briefly in the night. Fell back to sleep immediately. I always sleep like a bear.

Black-Scholes, so there's our villains!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 9:17AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

GB - your kids are pretty impressive - you must be very proud of them both!

It's been an incredibly odd winter here this year. We've had virtually no snow. There's 1-2" in the forecast for today but the radar looks like most of it's going to miss us again. This is what the front yard looks like as of this morning - very odd...

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 12:37PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Woody, I remember the first email you sent me with questions about the layout of your front garden and about the volunteer work you were doing. There were lots of clematis questions! Looking at today's photo impressed me with how far it has come...and how much better it looks "filled out" rather than an island in the middle. :)

And yes, I am very proud of both of "children", but it wasn't an easy journey. I only take credit for not killing them. The crisis camps are so interesting to me. The work they have done on cartography in Haiti following the devastation really pleased me. This has long been one of DS's loves.

DD's efforts on the Oil Sands project are a David and Goliath affair, but I suspect her father's efforts over the years on sustainability and gravel were a real part of her upbringing. There's an upcoming event for DH, (if he is able to talk) which is posted below.

This morning Phoebe received her new dog license. She looks charming in red. :)

Oh that Sally Holmes. Wish she liked zone 4/5 better.

V, your excitement over your projects and travel is WONDERFUL...but it sounds exhausting. (I'm showing my age...)

And as for castles, my hikes through the Alsatian Vosges ruins was a big part of my childhood. There's nothing to compare in these parts of the world...except perhaps Native American treasures to be found. A friend's daughter has begun her archeological studies to concentrate on this area. It makes me wonder what I would major in if I were to have a second chance.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:03PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

'bug, I find more and more that the work does not bother me, it's the dealing with people (and keeping them all happy!) that wears me down. MIL decided before Thanksgiving that she should meet with her three adult children to have a frank discussion about end-of-life issues (nothing imminent, but they want to do this before there are impairment issues).

So two and a half months later, the meet is scheduled for this Sunday, not the best day for some but it has to be done because DH and I are traveling in March. Um, yes, but why are we to blame for inconveniencing the others? Many weeks have gone by that would have worked much better.

Just one of many little issues that shouldn't be issues, you know?

I want to be a hermit.

'nuff for tonight - I cut my finger slicing bread and it's hard to type. Minor cut but I keep "fat fingering" the keyboard - y'all can't see the 5,000 backspaces in this post!

V the recluse

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 7:44PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Kathy, your rose memories brought to mind the Garden Porn blog I read the other day - I imagine you've read Michelle Derviss's blog from time to time, there in CA? She's so talented in her designs and blog -- but her recent one was about a paid job she has caring for a rose garden -- it's fairly funny and made me think of you -- she said she likes the job security such a contract gives her but that's about it, LOL...

V -- family interactions and stresses are so childish it seems at times, arent they? There's usually at least one person in the dynamics who insists on making drama out of everything....I know you will enjoy your preplanned trip despite the attempts at guilt. Yep, people are certainly hard to deal with. When I was in the auction business, we used to say "the best client is a dead client" -- you can relate Im sure.....

Well, 3 to 5 more freaking inches of snow (my yard should look likes yours Woody -- it's role reversal this year) and there are wild rumors of another huge storm for Friday... egads, someone mistook my region for Michigan this year....

I gotta go get ready for Lost -- been waiting for this nite for a long time!!


    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 8:12PM
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The real turning point is when you can come home from the awfice, do a few small chores and still have enough light for a bit of a WALAT ..and since it has not rained for 4 days , no special shoes were required . I always think of February as Pre-Spring and so much remains to be done.Im pondering my schedule to fit in a 6 day weekend somehow this month , but may have to put off my trip to the coast till March. Rates are still off season. I want to do an IU rehearsal drive just to make sure I havent tried to cram too much stuff into each day.

bug, wonderful stuff with your DS. I also enjoyed looking at the gravel linkI have heard you discretely mention this issue for all these years but had no understanding of the problem involved. It reminds me of the logging battles here in Northern California in a way.

Woody , lol, your front yard looks just about like mine ! Green with a few intermingled brown sticks. Im enjoying the chat over on the discussions side re: Persicaria polymorpha. I have a potential spot , but all depends on concrete removal and budget .

Yes indeed Cindy, I have visited the Garden Porn blog, and I confess I am rather addicted to garden blogs in general ! Some great writing to be found there.

Leftovers and reading tonight ..ha anyone read The Savage Garden ? I plowed through about 1/3 rd of it last night, and since the climate and environment is so like my own Im enjoying it ..

All for me, Buenos noches amigas..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 9:55PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Kathy, although we've always had spunk (activism tendencies...) I think that logging in BC was a wonderful model for us. We were members of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee way back in the Queen Charlotte Island days and traveled by boat there on the very day it was "saved". With us was Paul George, who you can read about below, as well as other charismatic experts. DD was there with us though only 7 years old, and no doubt our experiences there helped her make life choices. So perhaps it's the tenacity (and a bit of humor) more than the cause?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 11:04PM
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I'll add this on here so that you won't have to go hunting for the Idyll du jour thanks to our bamboo hawking friend from China. ---hole.

And a fine good morning to you all!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 6:07AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

bringing it back to the top again....

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 8:22AM
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