Idyll #432: Springing toward April, no foolin'!

cheloneMarch 28, 2009

Not terribly inspired but it should get the job done and we're on our way to another exciting 100 posts.

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PM, Dad was plumbing and heating contractor. Mum worked in and eventually managed a hardware store for 5 or 6 years. Both Mum and Dad were firm believers that if you could read and follow directions you could learn to do anything competently.

When I was in third grade or thereabouts we received a mimeographed sheet of instructions from the teacher. We were told to read them. The list included all sorts of things: take out your geography book, put it under your chair, walk around your desk once, etc.. The very last instruction was to ignore all the previous ones. I, along with maybe 2 other kids, squirmed uncomfortably as we watched all the activity around us. We looked at each other in confusion uncertain of what we ought to do. I caught the teacher's eye and she gave me a small smile. I sat and waited. The lesson was all about reading and following directions... and I'd learned how to do that at home with patient guidance from Mum, Dad, and my brother.

I've never forgotten that lesson. Nor have I forgotten the delight surrounding learning something new and doing a good job on it, too. Nothing satisfies me more than sitting back and say, "yeah, I did that" or saying, "I made that". Using my mind to express an innate creativity in small ways has always nourished my soul in times of lean.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 7:02AM
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Good morning

Yesterday did not turn out as planned, it started fine then took a turn for the worst. Before beginning the ravioli I decided I should clean up the existing mess before embarking on another and my morning disappeared in a thorough cleaning of kitchen and pantry cupboards. It was well worth the time (as most Julie jobs are) and I hope the results will last.

I finished just as my friend arrived and instead of lunch we drove to the Coldwater Creek outlet and had a grand time trying on clothes and purchasing things in their 70% off sale (this was off their redeuced prices). I came away with two organic cotten t-shirts, a pair of earings and a cool black denim jacket with embroidered metallic beads. All for a song:0) and I love them.

That was the good part of the day. I arrived home about the same time as David and he decided he would sit outside and talk while I gardened. He was walking to the chair on crutches while I went to get my rake when he fell on the driveway, landing on his injured side. I came around the corner to find him lying on the driveway, scared and in pain, feeling sick. I felt the same.

We went straight the Dr's office for x-rays where the good news was that the screws in his hip were still in place (the Dr's biggest concern) and nothing was broken in his foot (the most painful area). I cannot begin to tell you the relief this news brought. David's foot is bruised and swollen but given it is not weight bearing yet should have a chance to rest and feel better soon. We celebreated with a drink for me at home and a movie to watch together. Annie, David and I all sat through Beverlely Hills Chihuahua which has to be the worst film I've seen. Ever. David found it entertaining and it took his mind off his foot so it was worth it. DH arrived home from Boston at 10.30PM, having had another of those terrible calls telling him his son was at the hospital, feeling awful he had been gone again. Certainly not how I'd have chosen to spend my afternoon off.

Today it is gorgeous out. David has orchestra, then I'm putting DH in charge of family and heading into the garden.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 10:43AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Mary, sorry to hear about your bad scare yesterday afternoon. I hope David is doing much better today.

I had hoped to do a little garden clean up this morning, but it's only 32 outside and the wind is howling. No sense working in that kind of weather, so I will pick up the house instead.


Yeah, that's just what I wanted for the weekend - thundersnow!

I'd better shovel out the house as we have company coming for dinner. Hope they don't have to spend the night!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:01AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Mary...I can imagine how stressful the drive to the doctor's office was wondering how much damage might have resulted and how thankful and relieved you are that nothing serious was done. Phew!

V...again, your weather is so variable. Gosh, I thought New England was bad. Although I am sure we will probably get another snow storm in April, it would be so nice not to, for a change. This winter was long with a lot of snow. March has been colder than usual. We are all ready for sunny, warm days!

Well...back in the house. Barely finished clearing out half of the front bed with help and I'm done in. The sun is out and it is gorgeous out there. I'm going to have some Chili and go back out later. I have to at least get those peas in.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:19AM
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Mary! the screws held! your luck really is beginning to turn. :) And your garden is going to look terrific later on today.

V., the snow is going to be really pretty and it will melt away quickly. Sounds like woodstove and pot roast weather to me.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 11:27AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I passed on the yarn and pattern I loved in town. I was so ready to move forward on it, but over $300 was insanity. The dog would probably chew the sleeve anyway... Boo Hoo! I did buy some fish shaped buttons for the outfit I'm working on now.

Cleaned the cat boxes, went to the dump, made lunch, now for some treadmill time.

DH is napping of course.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 2:35PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Mary - what a scare - and what a relief! Screws are certainly my preferred fastener when I build anything - it's good to know they are as effective in people :-)

V - boy, am I glad that I don't live where you do! I'm sure we'll get a bit more snow at some point but I hope we don't get that kind of forecast....

It's a nice, sunny but chilly day out there here. Inspired by Marians's beautiful pictures, I ventured out to in search of color (By the way, Marian - and Nolon - are inspirations for me. I am always so impressed by the amount of physical work they do, especially given their age and infirmities. And we should all be so lucky as to get to Marian's age and still have such curiosity about the world and facility with a technology that would have been unimaginable in in the days of our youth! So, bravo Marian and Nolon!)

Color was pretty limited here still. A nice hellebore:

a pretty crocus of unknown name popping up in the orange-scented thyme:

and some snowdrops and Cream Beauty crocuses - which I didn't get any decent pictures of.

Randy moved the strawberry and blueberry pots out of the garage. They always look a bit pathetic at this time of year - and several pots are in desperate need of replacement. That means we likely won't get any blueberries from the ones we have to move to new pots.

I thought you might get a kick out of this picture that I found on the camera when I downloaded the other pictures. I wasn't aware that Randy had taken this one a week or two ago when Copper was here. (I used the pantry as my workspace and it got pretty messy in there!)

Copper is now 3 and has become quite a nice - much calmer - dog who loves her little buddy. The day after Copper went home, my friend who owns her e-mailed me to say:
'. Copper is perky and happy this morning and following me around as usual, but yesterday, she was so in the dumps, I have never seen her so bad. She went up to our bedroom, curled herself up in the smallest ball possible beside my side of the bed, and stayed there for hours. When I talked to her, she wouldnt move or wag her tail. It was like she was in mourning. ItÂs as if she thinks she will never see her little friend again. It is as if Copper is lovesick and she has been separated from her true love! ' The rest of our usual doggie guests don't go in funks when they go home - so Copper is still a bit of an oddball!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 3:36PM
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Woody - what a great picture of you immersed in work with the snoozing dogs. Aren't they the most wonderful companions? Poor Copper must really love you and misses you guys. Will you have a visit in the near future to reassure her you are still around?

Marian - you yard is looking beautiful and I hope giving you lots of pleasure.

Yes, it is hard to beat screws for strength. Did I mention the last thing David saw as they took him into the operating room the night of the accident were the chain saws hanging on the wall. Can you imagine how scary that must have been? Having his Dad's wacky sense of humor he joked later that he thought the guy from the Texas Chain saw Massacre was coming to do his surgery. I guess orthopedics use a lot of power tools but I don't think children should have to see them, do you?

This afternoon I moved a giant but floppy hydrangea Annabelle to a spot where it can really do it's own thing. I won't even mind if it flops as it is at the bottom of the garden. I also relocated a hellebore which was in a hopeless postion by the hose reel. I don't think hellebores like being moved so I gave it some extra TLC and have my fingers crossed. I continued general cutting back and leaf clean up, enjoying the sun and being outdoors. Tomorrow we have some of V's snow heading our way so I'm planning on enjoying a quiet day inside and making ravioli.

Tonight DH and I are on our own and are wondering what to do with such unexpected freedom.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 6:15PM
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It feels good to sit down for a bit with my 2pm beer-though I am somewhat behind schedule there. Im cooking some tortellini for a pasta salad and feeling satisfied with what was accomplished in the garden today- I even mowed my eeny-weeny lawn. One flat of my seedlings got some real sun , and the citrus and bamboos were fertilized. I fear that my Bearss lime did not survive the winter, which is to be expected as I carelessly left it in a position of danger . The jury is still out on all the cane begonias. I move the smaller ones in but those in larger pots are moved to protected areas outside . I cut them all back yesterday so we shall see.

Woody, like the action-shot of design in process with the fur-helpers standing (laying) by. How sad though that Copper is so lonely ! I particularly like that Hellbore you posted , with the clear while center., very pretty.

V, that weather just sounds like such a drag ! I would be happy to see some more rain here though ( while Im at the awfice of course) but none is forecasted any time soon. I actually had to drag the hose around a bit today.

Mary, my Annabelle is floppy too, due to just a bit too much shade. I did some tree limbing hoping to open the canopy a bit more , but the main culprit is a huge ash tree
in the garden of the house behind me.

Don't get discouraged or frustrated by the Salon stuff Chelone ..take a sit back and think how far you've come already ! And you know you'll be unhappy after all this work if you don'y get exactly the work surface you wish ( aka the cocktail table pressed into service late July ..)

PM, I hope you had a nice outdoor time today. I'ts good to have you back posting more often , and I hope you are feeling a bit better- the sleep mask ? Is this just a light blocking device? Or something more complicated ?

A few more shots of the unfolding spring display

From Garden 2009 From Garden 2009 From Garden 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 7:20PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good evening....
About to call it a day so checking in. We had our first real work day in the garden and had a very satisfying day. It stayed sunny in the high 50s all day until about 5:30pm when it turned overcast and much cooler. The rain is moving in tonight and we could use it. I can't remember a drier March. The hose is connected again, two winter pots were cleaned out and pansies added, the lawn was mowed, low, and one Nepeta that needed moving was put in it's new home in time for the rain. A few other small jobs were accomplished. It doesn't sound like much, but it looks 100% better out there. We haven't emptied the compost bin yet so there was nowhere to put the grass/leaf clippings. That job has to get done very soon. I will need DS for that though. I am hoping I have enough compost to extend one of the perennial beds that is getting a new shape.

Chelone...Heating and Plumbing is hard work and hardware inventory has to be one of the most detailed. Had to be some genes there and I can see where what you were taught about following directions was foundational for you. I seem to remember learning early how to follow directions, step by step and found that always made a big difference for me. I was always amazed that everyone didn't find it as easy to do. Now, I don't find it as easy to do. Just looking at the thickness of the booklet that came with the phone, or the thought of connecting up an audio system makes me tired just thinking about it.

Woody...that was so nice what you said about Marian and Nolon and SO True! I enjoyed your photos very much. So cozy there in the pantry with the doggies. I loved seeing your pots in their 'preseason' condition. Now I know what to expect if I manage to do something similar. You should be pleased to know that you have inspired me to do more veggies and fruits in pots this year and I already have two more large pots. One is filled with soil and tomorrow I am putting in a tripod and planting the pea seeds. Later I am planting strawberries in whiskey barriels and hope I can find some good healthy varieties. Did you order yours online and were they bareroot? ...DS went home with a large tin of doggie cookies and was very happy about that!

Mary...I don't think anyone should have to enter an operating room and see chain saws...golly...I always want to be out like a light before I get into the operating room, but it is not always possible. At least with the strength of anesthesia, the awake time is mercifully brief. You would think they would keep the chain saws out of sight, wouldn't you? Brother! .... I heard hellebores didn't like moving but had to move one in the fall. I was also extra careful and it came through the winter beautifully.

Kathy...ooohhh....ahhhhh....!!! Gorgeous spring photos! It amazes me how much you have fit into your garden. I don't remember seeing the lilac bush. How did you squeeze that in with all your roses? [g] The bleeding heart looks pristine. Are you using your new camera? I hope your Cane Begonias come through. They seem so indestructible. I only have one now, but enjoy it a lot. ....Yes, I did have a lovely day outdoors today, with a nap fit into the middle of the afternoon. [g] .... The sleep mask is about keeping the airway open during sleep. It produces a current of air to do that. Your fitting is about which mask will work best for you and what air pressure they use. The original masks made you appear as though you were piloting a plane [g], they fit over your nose and mouth and were air tight. I am told now they offer small tubing under your nose more along the lines of oxygen in the hospital. I hope that is what I will be able to use and that it will actually do some good. I am skeptical.

Well...that is it from here tonight. I was thinking today, that every day from now until November, there will be plenty to do in the garden. Such a lovely thought and with that...see you all tomorrow. :-)


    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 8:59PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning, last day of class here and all is going well. The students are doing a beautiful job and all have lovely roses on their plates. Today we finish up painting the fuchsias and the dragonfly.

Mary, so terribly sorry for the latest accident. How awful for David and you and family. Hugs to all/

Woody, love that photo of you industriously working, oblivious to everything around. You look absorbed in the work. Neat!

V. Euuuuwwwww... on that weather forecast. I hope it wasn't as bad a predicted.

Beautiful spring photographs everyone!!!!! Thanks for sharing. Kathy, looks like you are enjoying your new camera.

Hello to all! Have a great day!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 6:38AM
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There was no sun for us yesterday, just a solid grey sky and lots of fog that rolled over the house in wisps every so often. It was probably 45 degrees or thereabouts but not much of a day for garden clean up. I cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, went out to do some small errands, and then came home and did lots of little things that didn't really add up to much. I loaded the stove in the Salon and really let her rip getting a good, hot burn which you want in a catalytic stove. The smoke detector in the Salon is sensitive and on first firing the stove it will sometimes go off for reasons that aren't evident. It did it yesterday and there was no scent of smoke in the room, so I'm left to wonder if it was the remaining paint residue on the stove. I'll repeat the process today and watch it again. I have to say it was very cozy out there on such a dank day and Spencer was more than happy to curl up on my lap while I read. I really need to get all my cool toys out there so I may do some fun, creative work.

Yes, Woody, I too love the "action shot" of you and the pack. Copper needs a nice bed that can be dragged from room to room. Rex has a few and if there is a lot of commotion in the house he will seek it out and park himself there voluntarily. I am "old school" when it comes to physical activity, I really believe that if you don't keep moving the joints will seize up like the Tin Man and movement will be more restricted and difficult and therefore less activity will be attempted, and on and on. Most of Mum's doctors were worried about the necessity of "doing stairs" in our home, except the young, hip one. He thought it was great, and applauded me for requiring her to go outdoors daily. So, Marian and Nolon's activity level keeps them limber and fit and ultimately safer in the long run. Our bodies have evolved to be in motion and as long as we're sensible in what we ask of them we're better off when we keep moving. My late aunt always used to say that she wished to "die with my boots on", regularly taking place in fitness classes and walking in her neighborhood. With the exception of the her last month, she was vital and active into her mid-80s. I, too enjoyed the planters, Woody. I love the way they add a note of formality to your yard and allow you to take full advantage of the sunniest area of your lot. It's that touch of "formal" that really pleased my personal aesthetic when I looked at the plan you submitted for the course. That, and the simple, easy-care plants selected. It all looked attainable and do-able and true to the goal of the plan.

PM, I hope the sleep mask is the answer to your restless nights. I confess, though, that I keep thinking of the Dumas book, "The Man in The Iron Mask"... sorry! It must feel great to get the first clean up tasks out of the way. Still a bit too soggy here, but the cats seems content to excavate a fallow area near the front door.

I have a special fondness for Dicentra spectabilis, esp. the white ones. They reseed like crazy around here and I ruthlessly culled the herd last fall, something I may well regret having seen your's, Kathy. The thought of dragging a hose around seems very remote right now (it's raining and chilly). I think of you whenever I hear stories on drought-ridden California and its likely impact on agriculture. Would you suggest some wineries near you so I could look for something from your area when next I buy a bottle?

I took Rex on the errands and we drove the beach which he loves (head out the window the whole way). I've been working very hard to squelch the (irritating) habit of explosive barking at dogs on the side of the road. I give him a firm, "Leave it" command as we approach, repeating it as required. He's been very good lately, but he had a relapse yesterday. I pulled the car over immediately and calmly put him in a "down stay" and then we continued on our way. He was required to hold it for about 45 seconds before I released him with "OK! good boy!". There was no more commotion when we saw other dogs while on the drive. I leashed him and we did a parking lot perimeter cruise (to send pee mail) and then we practiced "Heel" and our good boy "go to town" manners along the store fronts and sidewalks. He has a "high energy" personality and is very much interested in everyone else's business so requiring him to focus on me in the midst of great excitement is hard for him. I get the best results by giving him a command he knows cold and will follow automatically when we encounter something like a group of kids or a couple of Moms with strollers. From the relative calm of a sit/stay or a down stay he is under complete control AND he's able to carefully watch the action and satisfy his curiosity. Often he gets to particpate and interact too! Later we went for one of our local walks and practiced some more. And he was allowed off leash in a field outside "his" territory where we practiced his repertoire off-leash, then we played ball. If I didn't hate dogs I could actually say I had fun with him...

While not a knitter I am not surprised by the price of nice quality yarn, 'bug. It's the same thing when it comes to quality goods for clothing construction. I have a stash of fabric (middling quality) that is years old and I plan to use it up before buying anything new to replenish the stash. Good news on the legal front, let's hope it's a lasting thing, not simply a lull. What are the fish buttons for? any previews?

I thought of Michelle yesterday and wondered how things were progressing at her parents' house. It's going to look like a million bucks when you're finished. Let's hope it entices someone to make it their home soon!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 8:03AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It is about 45F out and rainy. I left DH to go solo to his meeting while I stayed home for treadmill duty, knitting, dog outings, etc.

Julie, I am not able to grow Japanese Maples here, though they certainly sell many varieties. I don't have an area I could call "protected", so even Cornus kousa does not do well, especially with rodent damage. Honestly, Ninebarks are the best. There are some different colors of them these days, different sizes too. I know they don't come close to the sophisticated beauty of Japanese Maples, but they do survive and bloom! The viburnums are nice too, though they are damaged by an insect blight some years. But closest in charm to the maples, in my opinion, would be the dark lace leaf elderberries. Really pretty! There are variegated ones as well. Check out "Eva" below.

Chelone, $22 per skein for a garment requiring 20 skeins just was too much for me. The trouble is, each skein only contains 60 yards of yarn in this case. I may decide to make myself a scarf...I'll need a project while at Sarah's. I think it is impossible for the Skyler business to be a permanent solution given his Mom's psychological approach to things, but any lull is appreciated. At the moment she has bees in her bonnet about how DSIL should handle his 10th birthday. OYYYY... DD's worry at the moment is that baby could be born on Ex's birthday, at the end of April. Cross your fingers everyone! ;)

I'll try to photograph buttons later today. They are blue, but all I could find that came close to working on the red outfit. Rather patriotic looking for a tiny Canadian though. The pattern is a one piece item with feet and arms and hood. The directions so confused me! Essentially I had to knit the left leg on the right, and the right leg on the left. There is a reason for this, but counter intuitive!

Yesterday I managed to tidy up a bit of the patio, but this week we expect to be a wet one, so probably no garden activity. Still a few white patches about. I have seen the groundhogs up and munching in the island beds. Then I also saw a large red tailed hawk eating something and later flying off with it...I didn't care to know what!

Deanne, I'm glad the class is going so well! It must make a huge difference being able to work from your home and not have to lug materials about.

Phoebe continues to protect us from robins. Silly girl hasn't figured out that she can't catch birds yet...

Later folks!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 9:38AM
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Good Morning, Rainy day in the works here. Nothing the garden would like more though so no complaints. I did manage to get out and play in the garden for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon.

Mary, I'm so glad David's spill didn't end up causing more damage. And fingers crossed that the new job with benefits goes to you too.

PM, I love your sentiment that we can spend time in the garden now every day until November. How great is that!

Great photos Kathy. My dicentra is just breaking ground now. What a pretty lilac!

I was looking at new plant intros and ran across the one linked below for Marie. It immediately reminded me of Skyler :)

Waiting on Kate's arrival is at the top of the list around here these days. Today is the last day Jen will go into work until mid-July. Only two weeks to go now until her due date. She's doing weekly Dr. visits at this point and he says everything's looking good. Randy got her a new camera for their anniversary last week so we should have lots of pictures between her and me, lol.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 10:43AM
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You know, I actually think Surprise's arrival on Ex.'s birthday would be pretty funny and could even prove useful in the long term. It really would be the ultimate reminder to Ex. that she isn't the centre of the universe. ;)

I'm going to finish the reconstruction of thigh/knee fronts of a favorite pair of jeans, Daddy is in the bahn cutting kindling under Rex's watchful eye, felines are alternately prowling the Lab. and looking out the windows.

It's a day to stay cozy, 40s, rainy and raw.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 10:47AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Happy Sunday all!

I had one of my long-winded posts all ready for you when my Computer decided that it had had enough and simply shut down. Bad for me, lucky for you!

Mary, sounds like good news on the job front - you need it. What a close call for David, and more pain too, poor kid. I too saw the power tools before surgery - and also the pretend elbow joint that they gave me. And I did fall down and cause some more dmamage 6 weeks after getting the new parts. But still recoved completely, and I am thinking positive thoughts for David too.

PM, my DH has sleep apnea and has used a CPAP for years. He uses the martian mask thing. He doesn't like it, but now wouldn't think of sleeping without it, even for an afternoon nap. We were skeptical too, and were pleasantly surprised at the difference it made right away.

Thanks, Marie, but due to your influence, I already have a Diablo Ninebark and a Black Lace Sambucus in my small garden. I just thought I would try a Japanese Maple in the house....I still might.

I saw the link to the echinaceas and immediately read about the mac'n'cheese one and statrted craving Kraft Dinner *LOL*

I too am amzed at Marian and Nolon's industry. I also think "Nolon" is a very pretty name.

Woody, you look so ensconced in the pantry! It strikes me as a cosy and attractive place to work. We have a small office which is neither cosy or attractive...Your garden plan looked wonderful. How nice to have the doggies for non-critical company!

We had warm sunny t-shirt weather here yesterday. My garden clean-up is complete and there are teeny tiny signs of growth - nothing as spectacular as yours, Kathy! I bought 60 bags of three way mix for my raised beds, whose earth has settled considerably in the four years that we have been here. I went out to start using it and found two small boys lugging these horrendously heavy bags around to make a fortress. I didn't have the heart to destroy their fun, so I contented myself with a glass of wine and the NY Times crossword. The men were golfing! I hate golf.

Today is DS's birthday. We will have a nice family dinner tonight and then maybe some euchre. DS's apartment plans re coming along nicely. Having a birthday now means all kinds of apartment stuff: DD is giving him a new microwave - probably saving his life *LOL*. Great time for the JJob of cleaning out the storage room - lots of stuff can be shipped over to him - thereby saving my life *LOL* again!

I will be going to the visitation for me departed neighbour this afternoon. She had long battle with bone cancer. I wish I had had the opportunity to know her better when she was well.

Chelone, you are such an inspiration to me with your training with Rex. Jaxie needs some further work too, and I am reminded how important it is to do. I don't believe that you do kids or dogs any favours by letting them be brats! Loveable brats to be sure. Oh, I forgot, you hate dogs and kids (Small smile).

Mini golf for the men, a quiet day of celebration for DS.

All is well.



    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:21AM
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Julie, I keep meaning to comment to your question. My thought is that growing a JM as a houseplant won't work. I'd think they need that period of dormancy in winter. Happy birthday to your DS. Great news for both of you that he's getting his own place I'd think :)


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:36AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

It's raining pretty steady here now. We just came in from a short trip to Lowe's. I was going to go to a local nursery and pick up more pansies, but it is so cold and raw, I left it for another day. I managed to get wet enough just walking around looking at plant material at Lowe's. I was looking for a 'Purple Gem' Rhodie, which they did have. I am considering using three of them to create a short hedge street side of our front maple. I came home empty handed to ponder. A hot shower later, I am in for the day.

First thing this morning, I was determined to plant my pea seeds which I didn't get to yesterday. I wanted to place the tripod in the pot first. So about 6am, DH had bathrobe on when I asked if he could get the ladder out so I could tie up the tripod. We are both up for about an hour by that time. Such a look he gave But he is such a good egg, he went out, couldn't move the cars to get into the garage, had to carry the step ladder over his head to get it out. Still in his bathrobe. It was just starting to rain lightly at this point. But it was done in about 10 minutes. We had some good laughs this morning. :-) After all that, I still couldn't plant the peas, which are already soaking, because the peat moss in the soil mix is not moistening. I watered it twice yesterday and I see this morning only the top inch is wet. So I am going to have to take out the soil mix and soak it in the wheelbarrel before I can plant the peas. So later I am going to pot up the pea seeds in cell packs. Why do such simple jobs become such time wasters?! grrr

LOL Chelone...The old masks might as well be Iron Masks, they are so uncomfortable. .... white Dicentra are one of my favorites too. I finally planted one last year and hopefully will see it bloom for the first time this year. I am happy to know they reseed so well. ... So what are you baking this weekend?

G' Japanese Maples for you? I didn't realize they were not hardy there. I do love the Elderberries. 'Black Beauty' is the only one I have left after 'Sutherland's Gold' went to the curb last fall. That new 'Eva' looks like a winner. Do you have any cultivars that actually provide berries for the birds? We have two Ninebarks...'Summer Wine' and 'Dart's Gold'.

Eden... I wouldn't be surprised if you were out in the garden into December Rain or shine or heat or snow...sort of like the postman. [g] Through the end of November is eight full months. .... Two more weeks to go. I remember those last two weeks as being so long a wait. Plus I went two weeks late with my first. Since Jen has been working, I imagine she will be very happy with these last two weeks that she has more time to herself. I am keeping fingers crossed she goes on time. :-)

G'bug...when is DD's due date?

Deanne....I wanted to see your painting but didn't see a link for it?

Julie...thanks for that encouragement about the C-Pap. Good to know it does make a difference. You might want to mention to DH that there are new masks that are less intrusive that he might look into. ... Everyone in our family enjoys golf and wish they could play more often. I sometimes go along to watch and man the golf cart. :-) All our kids ski, but again, another sport that becomes difficult to indulge in too often. DD knocked her collarbone out of whack the last time she skied and has not been as interested in going since. DS is now into raquetball. He just loves it, which I am very happy about. He has plenty of opportunity to play every week or so.

I wonder what everyone else is up to today?


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:43AM
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I do so love Sambucus bug . but their size prevents me from using them in my current garden. I wonder though about putting one in a container as a specimen plant on the patio.

Chelone youve given me an idea with your query about wines here , I was thinking about nearby wineries and Trefethen Vineyards came to mind-they have really lovely gardens there , and though the public portion is not large its nicely done. I would be fun to tool around later this spring and take photos at some of the wineries gardens. I remember now that you asked earlier specifically about Pinots ? The Pinot varietal prefers the cooler temps at the south end of our valley and some of the best are grown in the Carneros region : Acacia , Bouchaine, Buena Vista all make nice Pinots. Pinots can be one of the more expensive wines because of the limited production. There are also nice and relatively inexpensive Pinots grown in Oregon in the Willamette Valley region , Amity is one that I know of. Some of the wineries near me whose wines I generally like are the aforementioned Trefethen, Clos du Val, Chimney Rock, Stags Leap when you decide to cross the Mississippi, and the Rockies and visit our mythical land Ill give you the wine tour !

OK, I need to have some granola and read the papes before I venture out with the weeding tool

Back later ..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:44AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

You want a day to stay cozy? How about 32 degrees, winds at 20 to 30 mph, 4 inches of snow on the ground and snow still falling? My goal for the day is to not leave the house. Secondary goal is to get DH to build another fire.

And I chuckled at Phoebe protecting 'bug from the vicious robins. Mystic has been busy doing the same this morning. As the worms are under a thick blanket of snow, we have about 30 to 40 robins hanging around the house, eating last season's berries from the Indian currant bushes. I was amazed to see our front porch covered with bird tracks first thing this morning.

DH invited two of his hunting buddies and their wives for dinner last night, and he cooked a most wonderful venison loin with a port and cranberry sauce. I contributed my famous mashed potatoes and green beans with almonds. One of the guys made a wonderful carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It was a wonderful dinner and a fun night. I did have to chuckle that one of the wives was amazed to see me cooking green beans "from scratch".

Time to replenish the giant coffee mug.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:45AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

PM, the due date is May 3rd, but the midwife expects tiny one to arrive any time after Easter, because Reed was over 2 weeks early.

Here are the promised buttons:

And this (out of focus) shot is of the red garment.

If you look carefully, you see the small lump of a foot at each extremity. On the left is the left foot, where you might expect the baby's right foot to be. That is because you are looking at the back of the garment. The left and right sides of the needle in fact become the front opening where the buttons will be sewn. Don't worry if this is confusing. I 'll show you when it is done.

Off to find some leftovers, though V's venison dinner sounds better!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 12:41PM
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It's time to fire up the woodstove! it's miserable outside, steady, driving rain and one run for wood will make the house very comfy.

I've dutifully scribbled down vinyard names and recommendations, Kathy. Thanks! it'll be fun to go hunting for them. Soak up some rays for me today, willya?

Here's what I did this morning:
I like these jeans and I'm also old enough to remember when wearing patched jeans was de riguer. Note the two holes on the fronts of the legs:

I opted to make a pattern since I'd be repairing both legs and wanted symmetery in the finished job:

I went into my "patching fabric" box and found something suitable. Here is one patch cut and ready to go:

This is the inside of a leg, showing the newly inserted fabric and the serged edge of the torn fabric I cut out to minimize bulk on the leg fronts:

And here is the finished product, showing the excised fabric between the patched legs:

I have always gotten a kick out of patching jeans, probably because there is nothing tougher than getting rid of your "favorite" pair. This little indulgence occupied just over one hour of my time. Next up is turning another pair of jeans into a jean skirt. :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 1:20PM
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'bug that's adorable and I get it completely! The buttons are adorable.

How much yarn do think would be required to make one large enough for me? It would be pretty nice to be snuggled into one of those rigs today. :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 1:27PM
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Chelone, good as new! What a great way to save a pair of well loved jeans.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 1:34PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Great job, Chelone! You sure do make it look easy.

I snapped a pic of the robins gorging themselves on the Aronia berries. Alas, my camera is not as good as Deanne's, but you can get the "picture".

And here's the front garden that needs to be cleaned up:

Here's my "tale of the internet" for today. I graduated from U of I in 1977, when the student population totaled somewhere around 32,000. I took a job at a very large accounting firm and was one of 30 in my starting "class". There was a guy named John who also had graduated from the Big U, but I had never met this guy before. Well, pretty soon he was telling everyone that we had gone to U of I "together". Technically true, but in reality... yeah, you, me and 31,998 other people. He was loud bordering on obnoxious, often needed to be the center of attention and in general became someone I steered clear of. I wasn't disappointed when he moved on to other employment a couple of years later.

Over the years, I've been surprised how often his name pops up in the class notes section of the alumni magazine. I think I sent in one update on myself when I got married; he's sent in updates constantly.

Yesterday, I got an email invitation to "join his network" on LinkedIn. Eew - I can't believe that after 32 years this guy still is tracking me down. I have the barest of bare bones profiles on LinkedIn, so he had to look through almost 300 names from our graduation year to find my name. I'm thinking I may disable my account!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Neat work Chelone! Repairing or hemming jeans has to be my least favorite sewing task, I think mostly because I do not have a maching powerful enough to go though multiple layers of denim. I enjoyed seeing your job though.

GB - the pants and buttons are adorable. Happy knitting!

V - your dinner sounds fabulous. I love seeing robins at this time of year. I have someone who is tracking me on LinkedIn if that is what turned into. What is embarrasing is that I get emails every time he checks out my profile, which has nothing more than my name and a phony date of birth. These emails were coming at least twice a week. I had recieved an invitation to join this person as a friend. Knowing musicians often communicate via these sites I grudgingly signed up, only to find I was the only friend. Plus, on the guy's profile instead of stating "married" which I know he is, there was a cryptic - press here to find XX's marital status. Ack! I've decided to leave social networking to the kids. Anything that tells the world how many friends I have or who is visiting my profile is just not something I'm comfortable with right now. This cosy corner of the net is much better tucked away.

Here are my rainy day activities:

Seedlings continue to sprout in the basement (and yes, we do have knotty pine panelling down there)

I spent a pleasant couple of hours making ravioli while listening to BBC radio and NPR. I decided on a spinach pasta dough with Kathy's suggestion of ricotta/proscuittio filling.

Rolled dough ready for the top sheet. Getting the constistency right is key to being able to roll out thin enough.

The edges were brushed with water, top sheet placed on, then cut into squares and edges crimped.

I have two batches in the freezer and am looking forward to supper tonight. First I'm having tea with a friend while the boys watch golf and Annie is at play rehearsal. I love Sundays.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 3:55PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The wood stove has been in action here all day, even though DH was out. If necessary, I too can start a fire! ;)

My sister in law had 5 sons (and several husbands...). You can imagine how many pairs of jeans she recycled in her lifetime! Now she's a grandma and still at it! No morsel of fabric was ever discarded. Some patchwork pieces are colorful, others subtle. But her work on jeans rivals yours Chelone! She's even been known to embroider bits on them. AND her boys loved it!

After sleeping on the yarn issue I just wasn't able to let it go. So I came up with a plan to make a scarf and hat out of the yarn and when I was out buying eggs and lettuce, I picked up 3 skeins of the $12 version of the wool. :) It is variegated, so I don't really know how it will look!

V, sorry about your admirer. Why does it always seem like the losers who find us? And they don't give up easily it seems. I did have one very pleasant surprise though, a classmate from grade 8 who turned up when we were caring for our parents in the retirement home. He was amazing! So nice to catch up with and so much better than when we were at enforced ballroom dancing together....

Hey, the sun is shining! Surprise Surprise!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 4:05PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

My sun is shining as well, and the snow is melting. I thought I would share my spring flower arrangement from dinner last night. Give me cut flowers and I am all thumbs, but give me some pots to work with and here's what results:

By the way, the crocus were very purple but they turned out blue in the photo. Go figure - the other colors are true.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 4:58PM
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The wind chased me indoors this afternoon- activities planed involved sweeping and raking ,both exercises in futility in this blow we are having today. The wind advisory is set to expire at 5am tomorrow morning . I performed the equivalent of raking and sweeping in the house with the vacuum and dust mop.

Chelone, that is one nifty piece of work there-I would not even have known how to begin such a project. Not to mention the patience and manual dexterity required. Very nice !

PM, my Lilac is a cultivar called Lavender Lady which was hybridized back in the 70s in Southern California for use in garden with little or no winter chill. I was very excited to have such a thing as the only lilacs I had ever seen in person were those at the florists. When I worked at the garden center in San Diego I ordered myself one and put it in a pot. It never bloomed. When we moved to Napa in 86 I had the movers haul it up. The first house we bought here was next door to the one I live in at present, and there was lots of outdoor infrastructure work to do, and I never did get around to taking the Lilac out of the pot and putting it in the ground. It rarely and barely bloomed. When we moved to this house a few years later I finally planted it. By that time the pot was about ready to disintegrate . It lives against the north fence and is subject to a severe pruning every year after it blooms to keep it small.

What a nice arrangement V ! And all can be recycled into the garden when they finish adoring your table.

Mary, that ravioli looks just perfect and I feel gratified to have been able to contribute content so to speakif only I could eat some! I think I would have a better shot at making ravioli vs. Chelones jeans project , but I know there is no way mine would ever come out looking like that !

Well bug Im glad you found a compromise for the longed-for yarn . I suspect only a gardener would describe multi-colored yarn as variegated, lol.

Wave to all,

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 6:41PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Interesting Kathy. I first learned the word from my dear friend Aethnae, who hails from Tobago. She used it to describe embroidery thread. I was later surprised to hear "variegated" used for plants!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 7:38PM
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My mom's always been a knitter/crocheter and I've always heard the multicolored yarns described as variegated by her too.

It's snowing here. Everythings covered with the wet, heavy snow that sticks to everything. It'll all be gone by tomorrow I suspect and it is pretty!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 7:50PM
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Wow, what an industrious group we've been today in our own little spheres!

I've never considered the necessity of a cold period for Lilacs, Kathy (not a consideration here), so having Lilacs must be a lot like Peonies... a real treat. I tell ya, there's always something new to learn from youseguys. :)

Mary, wheat is the meanie for you, dietarily speaking, isn't it? What do you substitute for it when you're going to make dough, pie crust, or a cake? The ravioli look terrific (loved that you fuss over the neat edges) and I'd like to give them a taste test. What sort of sauce will you be serving over them?

V., your dinner last night is still in my mind. I had to chuckle over green beans from scratch, too. Jeez, even I'm capable of green beans. :) Your tabletop arrangement looks so pretty (I'm at a loss over cut flowers, too) nice contrast with the reality over the threshold, huh? It would seem that you made quite an impession on your "classmate" lo those many years ago. Talk about a Cling On.

We had an early dinner with the mother of the Wrecking Crew (2 young, OOC Labs.) who visited sans Labs.. Haddock, oven roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli and carrot mixture. Simple food really can be the best. I was gratified to watch her tie into the final slice of spice cake with some coffee. Nice to know she gave it a good home.

I spent the rest of the afternoon down in the Lab. continuing on with some much needed repairs to other garments. I patched another pair of jeans and shortened the sleeves and the body on a long-sleeved tee shirt that is really too big for me and hasn't been worn in 4 years (it's a work shirt). I decided that instead of just shortening the sleeves and reapplying the knitted wristers I'd do some "restyling", why do it the easy way? I opened the wrister fully and interfaced it. I shortened the sleeve, slashed it and added a placket made from the excess fabric. I removed some of the fullness from the back area of the sleeve and then applied the interfaced wrister as I would for any traditional cuffed sleeve making two folds by the front of the placket. Sadly, I ran out of the proper shade of blue thread and wasn't able to make the two buttonholes or hem the lower edge. Now I'm contemplating adding a slashed and placketed detail to the sides of the body to give it a little detail at the lower edge. I have another one just like to do when I finish this one and decide if I like the whole effect. It will be interesting to put the watch on myself for the second one and see how long it actually takes from start to finish. I'm now very keen on digging out a couple of patterns and culling my stash of fabrics a little bit... . And I'm still contemplating a new style of slacks for the workplace; I like things that are loose enough to be comfortable when doing layouts on the floor where lots of bending or squatting is required.

I will say that having good machinery makes the whole operation a lot easier, as does having a dedicated area. It's been so long since I've really used a home sewing machine I often forget how pokey they can be and how multiple layers of stout fabric can present challenges. I was using my new Juki this afternoon; it's a needle feed machine which means the needle bar actually "walks" forward with every stitch working in concert with the feed dogs to pull the fabric under the presser foot. The feed is very uniform and multiple layers present no obstacle. A home sewing machine model is a "drop feed" machine, which means the needle bar remains stationary, just moving up and down but not forward. Drop feed machines rely on the feed dogs alone to pull the fabric under presser food and that's one reasonwhy multiple layers or heavily napped fabrics (like fleece, velvet, or faux fur) can be frustrating to sew on them, the other is that they're often underpowered for heavier work. If I needed more "step" to accomodate layers I would simply move to the Juki I have with the walking foot, that's the sort of machine I use at work and is generally a heavier duty machine. I was actually thinking about hunting around for a used coverstitch machine as I contemplated the lower hem on the shirt I've customized; a coverstitch machine is what is used to hem garments made from knits; it's a multi-needle machine, uses loopers instead of bobbins and produces a chainstitch that will give without breaking as the knit stretches. They're very fast and very versatile machines, but I also want a commercial grade buttonholer very much...

My name is Chelone and I'm a sewing machine junkie... and it's past my bedtime.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 9:10PM
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Crikey Chelone, competancy is a gift and it looks like you have it ! I envision a line of customers queuing up at the Salon to repurpose anything at all that is sewn. This is your time lady. You are standing on the shore of both sustainability and economic realities.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 9:39PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

As I lose pounds I dream of Chelone altering all my garments. Why do you live so far away?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 9:53PM
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Youseguys are good for my ego. But I'm afraid all the technical skill in the world doesn't amount to very much when faced with the grim reality of planned obsolesence and things that are often not worth repairing/repurposing AND a mentality that too often thinks altering/repairing garments is a waste of money OR doesn't even know that such a skill is still alive and well. Still, though, I do get a kick out of doing things like that and will still work at it until I'm no longer able. It's probably too late to go to law school, huh? ;)

I see Rick Wagoner has been asked to step down as head of GM. I wonder how he'll manage to make ends meet... suppose he's wondering about the continuance his employee retirement benefits and his health care? what auserity measures do you suppose have taken effect at his house in wake of the news? (snort)

I'm off today unexpectedly. There are several space hogging projects underway at work and there is not enough real estate for the one I'm assigned, so I'll work Friday instead. Whatever shall I do with the 3rd. rainy day in a row? hmmm... maybe I'll do some sewing. Or some vacuuming.

I don't think I told you that I may have hit paydirt in my search for cutting/work table options. After I can't tell you how many hours of fruitless googling over the course of the past year I stumbled upon a lowly PDF catalogue file quite by accident. I quickly skimmed through it and lo and behold! there was an entire page of add-on bench extensions for commercial sewing machines. I picked my jaw off the keyboard, went to the actual website and began hunting through it. I found something close, but not on wheels. So I fired off an e-mail specifying my needs and am hoping against hope they may have a workable solution for me.

And this tidbit for Julie: I have officially introduced the helpmeet to the concept of the JulieJob. I'm not sure he's nuts about the idea but at least his eyes didn't glaze over when I presented the list of little things to him yesterday. I explained that making a commitment to cross one off the list every few days gets rid of little irritations and makes life easier in the long run, pointing to several things I've done that have improved things around here greatly. He even managed to complete one of them, but bogged down on the cable project (putting the connector ends and wall covers on the remaining bare wires). Seems the electrician didn't wire the cable as I specifically requested (per my brother and BIL) and instead of 4 "home runs" there are only 2 and that will require US to go back and fish fresh cable through the wall again (since NO splitters should have been used). There followed a long-winded explanation of just how difficult the remaining "home runs" would be to install (with great detail supplied) to which I good-naturedly replied, "we'll simply have to dedicate a mutual day off and get it done the way it was supposed to be done when the electrician finally showed up to finish the job. It won't be so bad. And we'll go out to lunch when it's finished". No arguement, it is to be done the way it should have been done in the first place and that's what will happen. Shame on me for not following the electrician around and making sure it was done as I requested. The Grim Reaper is now officially on the jobsite. :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 6:32AM
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Happy Monday to one and all. Did major cleanup of plant beds and lawn this weekend (Saturday) and major cleanup of house yesterday. Truly am grateful for moisture as things are looking a little too dry for March.

Waiting with anticipation for the new Idyllkids to arrive! We've spent some time with our Jen this month as it would've been her due date. It's been a slow process for them to get through the miscarraige, and months of "nothing" haven't helped. So, Happy baby news coming through the Idylls is Wonderful!

Big in the ground JM's may be a problem in really cold climes, but why not a bonsai? Having taken care of Ky's I'm finding myself holding over random seedlings just to see what happens.

Wow, Mary. Could your life just be boring for a few days and let you catch your breath?

My niece has given up on me ever knitting something resembling a garment. "You're putting too much tension on the yarn, Auntie." The skills we wish we had! I don't see anything wrong with springing lots of $$ for materials that will last a lifetime on body AND in mind :-)

Chelone caused a major flashback to the early 70's and I'm wondering why she didn't put a peace sign or at least a five-petal flower power sign on the knees. Com'n, girlfriend!! Get the electrician back, Chelone. You paid him for a job he didn't do.....

Yanking wayward lilac sprouts has been part of my gardening life since I can remember, but I don't think I ever realized they needed chill. What one learns....

Me news: The first Committee Bill to keep my DB's hospital open has come out of the Public Health Committee!!!!! This is huge since only 5 of 72 considered bills were passed. Next is Appropriations (we think we've got that one wrapped up since the guy who came to the hospital sits on both PH and App), then finance then bonding if needed. I'm letting myself be just a bit proud but there's more work to be done.

Sending smiles to everyone and wishing I could get here more often....


    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 7:14AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

March is going out like a lion.... Very noisy and white out there!

Later guys!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 7:16AM
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Wow, we just had a thunderstorm and now there is faint sunshine through the steady rain... go figure!

Martie, call that jackass to come back?? FORGET IT, even if I had the stomach to deal with him again I have no leverage. I relearned some important lessons about dealing with contractors from him.
1.) Listen to your intuition. If it feels wrong, it probably IS.
2.) Contractors who smile and "yes" you and then turn to your husband for the decisions are idiots.
3.) Contractors who tell you you don't need as many flourescent fixtures because it's "only a sewing room" clearly are not to be trusted.

Suffice it to say, whenever the topic of electricity and electricians comes up I'm quick to relate my experience with that one. And counsel against giving him a chance to bid, let alone hiring him.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 7:46AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA


Yes, an industrious bunch here lately and what an interesting group of photos.

Are those whale buttons, G'bug? Where do you find all these lovely buttons? Love the color combo. That is a particularly pretty color red and I like the effect of whatever stitch that is. Like your solution for using the yarn you love.

Chelone...that is one thing I really relate to about you, your practicality. :-) My DD would wear the jeans with the holes and consider them very stylish, but wouldn't wear them patched. I think my practicality genes lay dormant there somewhere. lol

V....did I ever tell you how much I love log homes and prairies? :-) That is a pretty view from your porch with all the snow on the dry grasses and the log railing.

Mary...I'm trying to figure out...are you gluten intolerant, or is someone in your family? Yet you are able to make pasta dough and is it made from something other than grain? The ravioli looks delicious!

Kathy....I had not thought about Lilac's needing a chill and I think it is so great that you persevered and have a blooming lilac! It is very pretty too. I would not want to go without lilac fragrance for sure.

Martie...I hear about Kyle so often, where did I miss hearing about Jen? It is so odd that after a year on Idylls, I am still picking up some basic information about all of you. I'm very sorry, but I don't think I read that Jen had a miscarriage. Please tell me more about Jen. Again, apparently. It must be hard thinking of her due date which is around the time of the other Idyll due dates.

March can't go out like a came in like a lion...!

I'm off to fit in a quick shower before the person pruning my shrubs shows up this morning. Cool and overcast this morning, but no rain I can see.

I'll be back later...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 7:59AM
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I started the day off by ordering more seeds. I fear an intervention may be in my future, but not from you guys, right? I ordered some more castor bean seeds as I can't get the ones I saved to germinate, but now I'm thinking that it's just not warm enough where I have them and I should get a heated seed mat.

I am starting my cardoon seeds that came from Michelle today. I still have your geranium growing under the lights.

My zinnias are working on their first true leaves.

The goldfinches are fighting over the thistle sock this morning, which is almost empty again. I had to sew it up the last time I refilled it because a squirrel chewed holes in it.

Speaking of sewing, Chelone, you are right about the quality of clothes made today. I sent Jake to the cleaners to have some alterations done on a jacket that we bought on clearance (good jacket, on sale!) and he was surprised at how it came out. Maybe he'll be a future client. I think you could really have a niche for yourself and your trade :) Not all things die, just the best of the best emerge and survive.....

I really like that red, too, GB, and it goes so well with the buttons. I could see a little striped white and blue beret to go with it :) What zone are you? I thought Japanese Maples were hearty to zone 3 for some reason.

Julie, you should go to a greenhouse that specializes in tropicals and find just the right tree/large plant that can survive indoors and vacation outdoors in the summer - that would be the perfect scenario.

I'd better go and get my day started! I love Mondays....everyone leaves for school and work and the house is quiet :) I start to miss them about Wednesday....


    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 8:56AM
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Weatherman lied about the wind being called off at 5am and have revised to "this afternoon". Clear and sunny-bright but the tree limbs are whipping around debris is on the fly. Ill spend the morning on a couple of errands and hit the garden after lunch. My last day of mini-vaca ! I plan on another 3 or 4 days off in April.

Saucy I bought 2 seedling heat mats this year and they work pretty slick, I had a high and fast level of germination with everything I tried provided the seeds were relatively fresh. I discarded many packets that failed, these were all years old packets. I have a book called "From Seed To Bloom" by Ellen Powell that gives specific germination requirements for several hundred varieties of flowering plants , and for Castor beans it says to soak overnight in warm water and provide temps of 70 to 75 for germinationa seed mat would do the trick for that..

Hi Martie, happy to hear your news from the halls of the legislature, this is no easy time to be looking for funds to be sure. There are quite a few things I couldnt grow in SoCal zone 10 due to lack of chill, Peonies, Phlox, cherries, apples all come to mind, though there continue to be low-chill varieties developed.

Time to set off on the errandsLater friends !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 11:48AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I watched this this morning. Maybe you'd like it too?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 12:22PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh boy, what a day! Tears over the quilt for Reed which is nearing completion.

And then, on another forum, they have started a "lodge" for Sarah, where she can talk about her thoughts leading up to baby's birth. They are so excited to hear from her that hers has begun earlier than usual.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 2:14PM
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Isn't it nice to know that you and your family have so many friends all over the place?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 2:24PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

It isn't the quantity but the quality Chelone. Thank heavens the quality is TOPS.

Now off to deal with the servicemen repairing garage doors...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 2:46PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks for posting that link to the quilt G'bug. What a wonderful keepsake that will make! I love the fabric! Are you going to hang it on a wall or use it for the new baby...or? Such a labor of love. Seems like they must have been working on it a long time already. Sarah must be so pleased too. I think it is going to be an emotional couple of months for you G'bug!! :-)

Saucy...I used to start seed indoors, and I actually used an old heating pad we had in the house once. Covered it with aluminum foil and it worked great. I also had better germination with it.

The weatherman lied, Kathy!! LOL

Ta Da! My pruning is about done! It took 3 hours including the clean up. It started raining pretty hard about half way through. I was soaked when I came in and I'm in my pjs now. [g] He didn't do a bad job, but not as expert as I was hoping for. I found myself thinking that my own pruning was equal to his. I am happy. DH will be happy not to have to do any of it. He also dug out my Sambucus Black Beauty and we potted it up, since the bed it is going into is not ready. After he left, I forced myself to plant all my pea seeds that were soaking into cell packs and out they went. Ahhh! Done for the day and resting until dinnertime. I have books out of the library and a few gardening magazines and I am camped out.

What is everyone else doing on this dreary day? It is really cold and wet out here.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 3:13PM
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Break time..the wind died down a bit so I finished weeding the hell strip and finally did a pruning task that Ive been, contemplating for most of the winter this was limbing up my Pittosporum eugenieoides (the variegated version (like G-bugs yarn !) which is very large and I have kept to sort of a mutli-trunk tree form. It has a lot of really twiggy growth and so I use a wood file after trimming so the little knob-thingys are flush. If the wind quits altogether Im going to vacuum my succulents this afternoon. Between filing bush limbs and vacuuming succulents , this may seal my credentials as a serious gardener, rather than one who dabbles whata ya think ??? Im sure everyone on this forum does at least one thing that could be considered a tad extreme -Deannes coleus collection comes to mind, lol!

The quilt is beautiful bug, what a wonderful family treasure it will be.

Back outside..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 3:37PM
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Well, I survived the weekend of house reno. We all complained to each other by email this a.m. about how sore and stiff we are. The old house is looking mighty fine. Hopefully, now that spring has arrived it will sell.

We did have a good time together and some good food. I banned all beer and wine until after the painting was done. Otherwise, it wouldn't look so fine.

Of course I'm way behind with the Idyll world.

Have a good week everyone.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 4:19PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

That quilt is beutiful GB!

I started doing a scale drawing of the front garden this afternoon. So far, it's just the outline of the property and the house, using the survey to get dimensions. It's too cold and soggy still to go out to measure the actual garden!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 4:56PM
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Here I am again.. 4 day weekends involving no travel increase Idyll visits. Tonight Im going to spend a couple of hours doing research for my fantasy baseball league draft day which is next Sunday. I feel good about garden progress during the last few days, Im anxious to actually plant some stuff rather than digging up and weedingHoping to put the Zinnias in the ground in a couple of weeks. Today I saw growth emerging at the base of my Dahlias so I feel better about planting the new ones.

And, I have booked air travel to IU6 and lodging as well. Air fares have actually gone down since I checked schedules in Feb. Any of you who may be sitting on the fence may wish to look into travel expense from your area, Im flying from coast to coast and my fare begins with a 3. Not too shabby. And I can attest to the absolute fabu-fabu time to be had !!

Michelle, lol exchanging e-mails on the work induced aches and pains, and the beer and wine ban ! No beer until 25pm and no wine till 4pm is the rule here, unless its Christmas, New Years or the 4th of July

Signing off here best to all and hoping to see more of Marian and Norma this week

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 9:04PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

It's the end of a Monday here, and it's getting close to that time of year where I can see the headlight of the freight train coming down the tracks at me. Almost time to hang on for dear life!

Yesterday's internet tale led to an even more interesting story. I had a serious boyfriend in high school, and I broke up with him when I left for college. At the time (long, long ago, little Saucy!) the term "stalking" wasn't in common usage, but essentially that's what he did for about a year after we broke up. He was never threatening, but he just would not go away.

Ever since the explosion of the internet, I've always had this little nagging worry that he would try to find me some day. Perhaps I've been a little bit of a reverse stalker, but from time to time I would Google his name to see if it popped anywhere. Until yesterday, I never found anything at all, and I was always somewhat relieved to know he did not appear to be active on the internet.

But yesterday, his name generated quite a few hits. I was shocked to find out that he had committed suicide by jumping off a bridge over the Chicago River. In one of those odd little intersections of time and place, my husband and I rode the train into Chicago that Saturday morning right past the spot where his body was yet to be discovered. It appears that he had been married but was estranged from his wife.

I certainly have a sense of relief to know that he will never, ever pop up unexpectedly in my life. But I also am sad to know that his life ended so badly.

Sorry to bring a down note to the idyll; I felt like I had to share this with someone and you all seem to be the perfect listening post. Thanks for always listening!


    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:23PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh V, I'm so sorry that life is filled with these mixed emotions. So very sad, but yes, the right place to share.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:33PM
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Good evening

GB - The quilt is really beautiful and I hope a great comfort to the family.

PM - yes I have Celiac Disease which means I am gluten intolerant. Annie too, and David was just tested today by his Doctor. The pasta dough was a mix of brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour and tapioca flour.

Eating gluten sets off an autoimmune response that causes damage to the small intestine. This, in turn, causes the small intestine to lose its ability to absorb the nutrients found in food, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other complications. It is very different from an allergy.

Chelone - wheat is to be avoided, but gluten lurks in several other grains and countless hidden places. The list of things that cannot be consumed is long and boring and includes just about any processed foods. It takes as much gluten as would fit on a pin head to damage the gut so "cheating" on the diet is simply not worth it.

Learning to cook with a variety of different flours (rice, potato, tapioca, bean starch, buckwheat) is the best way to eat well. More and more gluten free products are available and I have tried many. A few are excellent, some are acceptable, but a lot really awful. They are all extremely expensive and have a very short shelf life. I have had countless disasters learning to cook without gluten but mastering something I've missed eating is well worth the time and effort. Annie has become a very good baker and this weekend made a wonderful coconut cake anyone would be proud of.

Here is a quote from my favorite GF blog about Celiac Disease:

"1 out of 100 Americans, it is estimated, has celiac disease. Only 3% of us have been diagnosed. Most of the people with celiac have belly aches or anemia or swollen joints or infertility problems or exhaustion or a multitude of little complaints that they have come to accept. They don't know that they could feel better. They could be reborn."

If you know of anyone with similar symptoms have them read about Celiac Disease and talk to their Doctor. You'll be doing them the greatest favor possible.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:35PM
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V - we posted at the same time and I read with sadness of the loss. Many layers of emotion I'm sure. You are right that this is a great listening post, and one that has brought me much comfort in hard times.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:41PM
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Uh oh, my tedious post about Celiac has killed off the thread. Having to look elsewhere for reading this morning I found this awesome site where you can make your own animated movies (just type in the script). I was so busy laughing at my own feeble attempts I'm almost late for work. I can't wait to get home and do more. (The sound effects really add a lot and the fart sound is quite realistic.)


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:57AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

A sunny cool day here. I must work on my knitting though as it is too muddy to work out there. :( Indoors my white Amaryllis are in bloom!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:11AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning... :-)

V.....what an awful story. Life is very hard for some people, very sad.

Mary...Honestly, not only did I not find your explanation of Celiac Disease boring, I learned something about it that I didn't know. I really didn't understand that it was an immune response. Wow, the ravioli dough looks delicious considering what it is made with. I often have a difficult time digesting grains and have been on grain free diets off and on for years. I was tested for Celiac though and it was negative. We make buckwheat pancakes once in awhile, which I love the taste of. I also seem to be able to tolerate Spelt flour more than others. Almond flour is sometimes used for special diets too. I would use that more if I could find a good supplier for it.

Well...the sun is out and the sky is clear and blue...nice day out there. I took a few photos this morning. Nothing great happening yet, but things are stirring and had a good drink yesterday. I have some pansies that I hope to plant, maybe today.

Hope everyone else is enjoying some sunshine too!

Galanthus planted in the fall. Happy they are coming up but they sure look small and sparse. Hopefully next year will be better?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 10:22AM
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It wasn't your post on Celiac Disease that derailed the thread, Mary. I actually a lost my post this morning and had to get to work, not that there was anything particularly earth shattering to report, mind you. I actually think it's great that you've identified the thing that kept you feeling crummy for too long and instead of allowing it to confine you, you've reached beyond what appear to be limitations to discover a new way of cooking and new level of self-sufficiency. Boring? unhuh!

I was devastated to learn of my friend's suicide, V.. He was a good friend through high school, and over the years we'd periodically check in with each other, always enjoying the conversations and visits. His death, on the floor of a garage, overcome by exhaust fumes haunted me for years and still occasionally cuts me off at the knees. Perhaps it's because he called me just about the time he killed himself and I was not home to take the call. He, too, was estranged from his wife and his professional life had taken a downturn (he was a finish carpenter/furniture maker). It's a very sad and difficult thing to reconcile the abject desolation that can lead to suicide. I have viewed the world very differently in the years hence, and that's not such a bad thing. In the end, there is no changing the result and I'm sorry that you've been touched by it, too.

On my walkabout this afternoon, PM, I discovered a lone Snow Drop... how it got to that area and is all alone is a mystery. I have some yellow crocus and another pool of white ones. Two rather large clumps of Narcissus are up and budded in the fern bed behind the house. I was surprised to see the buds on them, but no less delighted. If the ground ever dries out I may be able to clean the area up a little bit, too. I have a large Holly to thin and prune and I'm more than a little daunted by the prosepect. It will be easy to put that job off. :)

Boring day at work, very quiet with co-workers toiling along on a "life sentance" and not much conversation. I hope tomorrow is more fun.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 3:34PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hi Chelone... :-) Yes, I missed your post this morning too. Pretty quiet here today. I'm so sorry to hear about your high school friend. That had to be hard to take to find out he had called and you weren't home. Wish I had some words of wisdom on the subject, but I don't. My strongest feelings are often how it effects the people left behind. Especially children. Desolation is a good word to use. I can imagine life becoming too hard, too empty, too painful and hopeless. You just hope you will never find yourself there and try to keep the people around you from falling into that pit.

Isn't it nice to walk about, Chelone? Was it warm and sunny where you are today? I love the sound of your 'pool' of white crocus. I still have small little groups that I want to add to. I only have one Narcissus budding but the others can't be far behind. I think Hollies are one of the easiest shrubs to prune. They are so forgiving. If you can get your structure the way you want it and tip prune the rest, it can fill in nicely. No expert here. [g]

I headed to the nursery this morning for another tray of pansies and came home with three primrose too. I managed to finish two pots that I was adding pansies to. Knocked a few small items off my list...tied a rose to the fence. Dug out the Hay Rack, which needs a new liner. Pulled four Honesty plants that were shadowing more expensive plants and saved them for the compost pile. Then spent quite a bit of time with my Garden Journal trying to make decisions about what my priorities are. I know I won't get to everything that needs doing, so I have to do the most important. There's always something to be moved and that is usually the number one priority, before everything starts leafing out.

More rain the rest of the week but Sunday is supposed to be sunny and in the 60s!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 4:44PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

G'bug...where did your post come from? I didn't see it before. Photos of the Amarylis?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 5:41PM
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It's sunny, but it's pretty chilly still. The wind off the water has a real chill to it and I'm glad to wear a hat when I'm outdoors! I'm a little disappointed by the dreary forecast but there isn't anything I can do about it, so it's best to look for fun and joy elsewhere, huh?

The Holly is on the corner of the house and is probably a bit too close to it, but there's no moving it now. It's a bit too wide for the site and I have really gone to town on it before so I know what you mean about their "forgiveness". I have wondered repeatedly if I could trim it in a way to encourage it to grow up, the goal being a more formal, columnar shape. One that could be sheared seasonally, perhaps. It's obviously very happy and was covered in berries (until the birds discovered them) but it really does need it's exuberance curbed. ;)

I am writing to you via a new computer. My old machine was painfully slow and made doing many things tedious and not very much fun. One of the helpmeet's friends is very much into all things "technical" and enjoys putting together computers (go figure!). So, I have a new system housed in an old HP tower. And I have a flat screen monitor. It has some nice applications and I'll be able to burn CDs/DVDs (if I learn how) but I really like that it's got enough moxie to stream radio while doing other things, as well. The only glitch encountered is the "service pack" (I think that's what it's called) for my Nikon Coolpix 4300 camera... it doesn't work with Windows XP and he wasn't able to find the upgrade for it yesterday, so he's working on that for me. But it's fast! I feel like I'm in the Batmobile instead of in Fred Flintstone's sedan. :) Best of all, it was short money!

Now I have to spend some quality time answering the e-mail from the place that had potentially useful cutting/work table options for the Salon.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 6:01PM
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Yeah! 'bug's post wasn't there when I posted this afternoon!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 6:03PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Did anyone see my post from yesterday with the ballet clip? I haven't taken the amaryllis yet, but I enjoyed this one. Was it V who took this at her house?

Two of the greatest of life's virtues, patience and wisdom.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 7:20PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Congrats to Chelone on the new machine.

'bug, that photo made me do a double-take!

Speaking of doubles, we had a skinny little thunderstorm blow over and leave behind a double rainbow. Here's the end of, disappearing on the neighbor's property. It was just too cold to go out and find the pot of gold.

But I found something more exciting than a pot o' gold. I found the start of a bloom on my clivia!

I've been telling the clivia all winter that this is its year to bloom, and lo and behold it listened to me. There'a a story behind my clivia; it was a gift from a family friend named Fred. Fred was quite an eccentric fellow who lived in a hard-to-describe home built by his own hand. I'm one of the few people who ever actually entered his house, and that was to view all of his clivias when they were in bloom. He had around thirty of them, and it was quite the display. He shared one of the pups with me, and the next winter the house burned and all the clivias were lost. Fred took ill after the fire and never lived on his own after that until he passed away. So I always think of this as "the last of Fred's clivias" and I'm pleased to see the display.

Mary, I've been thinking of you and your lack of response from the violin teacher a while back. I've really enjoyed my on-line writing class and have had very nice comments from the teacher. Our last assignment consisted of three parts, and in her comments she asked for permission to use two of them as examples for future classes. I emailed her, gave her permission to use the pieces and asked her for a recommendation to take my writing a little further. No response...

Yours in frustration interrupted by rainbows and clivias,


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:04PM
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Mary, I am so glad David was okay after the fall. And I would love to taste your ravioli. It looks yummy.

Martie, happy to hear that you see progress for your brother. Hope it continues to move forward for you guys.

Bug, those buttons are adorable, and I love the little suit. Lucky baby to have such a talented Nana. I also thought Reed's quilt was beautiful. So much love your family is receiving. Hope Sarah is feeling fine.

Chelone, you continue to amaze with your talents. Hope you find your cutting table. The internet is a wonderful thing.

V, when you've got it, you've got it:) I have been invited to sign up for linkdin, but haven't done so. I am sort of planning to stay off the grid as long as possible, but I guss a lot of people are on facebook, etc. I read somewhere that people my age are the fastest growing group of people joining networking groups. Makes sense I guess. No one has tried to contact me, but someone did sign my guestbook at I would like to find out who it is, but I don't want to become a Gold member:)

Deanne, your plate was beautiful. I didn't realize you had a website, but found it online with no problem. Gorgeous work! I love the painted fruit. I have always had fruit pictures in my kitchen. I really like the sailboat painting, too.

Norma I have Spring envy after seeing your lovely photos.

Michelle, congrats on making progress at your parent's house. Funny how we get sore when using different muscles. I noticed that one day after I painted the lower half of my kitchen, and was crawling around on the floor.

I have to say that this group is one of the most talented, interesting group of people I can imagine, and I feel lucky to have met you. Funny and tolerant, too! Perfect in fact. I am off to take off the last of the wallpaper in my little tea room which is off the kitchen. Chelone, I have the kitchen painted and almost put back together. I am waiting for my new hardware to come in, and plan to get the tea room painted by the end of the week. Will post photos next week, hopefully. I would like to highly recommend triple antibiotic cream to anyone who gets a cut. The other day I cut my hand on a metal sign Skip bought at Sam's Club.It wasn't a deep cut at all, more like a graze, so I just washed it with soap and water, forgot about it. The next day my palm was very sore and swollen. Skip gave me the ointment and it was like a miracle drug. Hope you all have a nice evening!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:39PM
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V - I know just how you might be feeling. Fingers crossed you get a response soon. I learned patience really is a virtue. Is there any writing you can share with us? Love the clivia.

PM and Chelone - thanks for your responses. I've felt self-conscious about posting too much about health related issues of late and thought I'd finally tired everyone out.

GB - I was so taken with Reed's quilt I missed checking out the ballet. It is way cool and something I need to share with David. He will enjoy the dog and skunk pic too - a wise pooch!

Marian - how are you feeling?

Chelone - hope you are enjoying zipping through cyber space on your new computer.

I am thoroughly enjoying my seedlings right now, especially as there is sitll space under lights for everything that needs it. That could change with the invasion of the zinnias. Oh,and tomatoes, I need to start those soon too. My double purple datura has stubbornly refused to germinate so will be banished to the cold for another go around. Cherry Rudbeckia on the other hand has just come in and I'm anxiously awaiting germination. Its amazing what a thrill those tiny spears of green bring.

Far less exciting, another sure sign of spring - I saw my first pantry moth this morning:0( Time to buy traps and go through my dry goods.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:40PM
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Drema - your kitchen sounds as though it will be wonderful and I especially love the idea of a little "tea room". Can't wait to see pictures.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:43PM
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A Monday that is really Tuesday is more tolerable than a real Monday . Its pleasant out this evening and I did a WALAT to peruse the 3 roses that are racing to be the first open (and a potential pic for the Idylls) and it looks like Reine des Violettes and Madam Issac are giving the Archduke a run for his money.

Mary, that was interesting reading about Celiac disease, were you diagnosed as an adult? It interests me where some of these food intolerances come from, and it sounds like this one goes way back-I start to think about ancient people and crops that might be indigenous to the area they lived in I have a friend who cant eat any citrus , and I can imagine her early ancestors coming from lands where citrus was unknown, and some sort of rejection gene being carried on for centuries. Dont you love all the cool new Rudbeckias that have been introduced in the last few years? And the Gaillardias too.

Well, lookee, we have some Pics from PM ! You know that one always seems to come home from the nursery with more than one went for , lol. Its comparable to going to the grocery store when you are hungry-especially in spring !

V, I hope you get some feedback for your writings, when I was contributing to the newspaper I always was happy to get comments from my editor be they positive or negative, it helped me to improve. You can proofread something a million times but there always seems to be something you miss. My biggest 2 rules are never under any circumstances to start a sentence with After all" and never to use the phrase Now, more than ever" . After all, I often get annoyed reading them , now more than everlol.

Hi Drema ! Glad you got your dates squared away for IU before you made invalid arrangements !
And a Tea Room ??! We all should have one of those I think- its sounds very intriguing, and Im hoping you make good with the promise of the photos..I have a home office that has yet to be completed and now is sporting DSs music equipment.

Off to work on the fantasy baseball team again. Buenos Noches all..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 9:27PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Thanks for asking, Mary. Each day is a struggle. I am glad you posted about gluten intolerance. That is one condition that I have done no research on. It sounds really hard to cope with. I keep thinking of giving links to Fibromyalgia Syndrome. It is so little understood, and it is so hard taking the unsensitive remarks of well-meaning (?) friends. When they ask me how I am, I hate lying and saying "I am fine", but the responses that get to me the most is: "Everyone has aches and pains", and: "But you look so good"!!!
When at my doctors the last time I suggested that I may be helped by taking Cymbalta. I really hate taking mind altering meds, but have about reached the end of my rope. I also hate all the possible side effects, but I took the prescription that she wrote in to my pharmacist today. They were out of it, but it will be mailed to me. It is for the very lowest dosage available.
It isn't just the unrelenting pain that is getting to is the mind problems, which include cognitive problems; both long and short term memory loss; and anger. Add to the other stuff, the loss of strength.
I got disgusted enough about the condition of my kitchen floor yesterday that I mopped it with my old-fashioned rag mop. The job just about did me in.... I had to resort to added pain meds last night in order to get some sleep.
I made it to the GY class today, and got my shopping done.

I am sorry about the loss of those from suicide. A man that I may have married, but chose Nolon instead, reinlisted in the Navy, and was killed. I have felt guilt about that.

We had more rain last night, and there are very muddy spots in our circle drive. We have to wade through water to get to and from our car. There was a cold wind today.
I am thinking this is one of the longest winters I have seen since moving here. Maybe it is because I am doing most of the carrying in of the wood? Nolon kindly restocked the indoor pile while I was in town today. I will wait until morning to restart the fire. It is still 71 inside, but 43 outside. The stove has some heat left from this morning's fire. It will most likely be all out by morning. I made the mistake of leaving the stove not shut down enough while I was gone, and it was too warm inside when I got home. It has got that I cannot depend on Nolon to check it, or the indoor temp. Since he wears his winter wordrobe inside and out, I should have shut it down.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 9:45PM
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Mind altering drugs have their place, Marian trust me on this). Without them I'm not sure what would have become of my very underweight and extremely depressed Mum. There is nothing like grinding discomfort and worry about other things that are largely beyond your control to wear you down mentally. I know a little too much about the latter and worry for you. Every little thing that someone used to do with regularity and reliably that is no longer within their ability puts more pressure and responsibility on your shoulders. And, inevitably, more worry. It's good that spring and warm weather are on the way, at least the stove and heat will no longer be front and centre for a little while anyway. Let's hope the Fibro. abates soon and you get a bit of a breather.

You know, I know absolutely nothing about tea. Mum adored it and it was one of the easiest ways to get the requisite amount of water into her after the urostomy surgery. She had what I called the "perpetual cup of tea"... I'd keep adding hot water and a new tea bag and she'd lap it right up! Personally, I've never cared for it, but if Mary prepared some good stuff for me in a silver tea pot and we sipped it in Drema's tea room I'm certain I'd love it. :)

I can't wait to see the results in your kitchen and tea room, Drema. It all sounds very exciting. I sure hope things are OK in your world these days. I'm still waiting for a couple of prices from the building supply place in town. The "bath designer" who took down the information was supposed to get back to me on Monday, but was also under the gun for a kitchen remodel and is attending a conference today I think, so it may be a few days. But I want to get crackin' on it as soon as I'm able.

V., I love the story of Fred's Clivia. I recall the clip of the fire near your home a year/two back... was that Fred's house? It's first flower and the double rainbow are fortuitous indeed, are they not? Affirmation is a good thing, and sometimes it's hard to hear nothing when hearing something would make such a big difference. :(

Meal Moths are the pits, Mary. The helpmeet has a special antipathy toward them having battled them when he had his store. We always wonder how they get here in the first place.

I just finished my cereal and have the nagging suspicion the milk is starting to "turn", not being a milk expert I'm not entirely certain. But think this may auger the creation of a cake since I know one may use soured milk with great results. We'll see how I feel about some baking when I get home later today.

And now, I must away to the land of chaos and filth to once more toil on the present "rock pile" (I should wear something with horizontal stripes on it). I sure hope the reply to my specs on cutting tables arrives today with good news. And I hope Kathy is greeted with some roses very shortly!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 5:21AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning... :-)

Marian, what happened to you? You were doing so well a couple of months ago. Can you figure out what may have changed? I often try to remember to notice when I feel really good, what could possibly be the factors that are contributing to that. Then when I am not feeling well, I compare what I am doing to when I was feeling well, to see if anything is really different. It has helped me many times to put my finger on what happened. I have heard that often with Fibromyalgia, the changing of the seasons sometimes has a negative effect, but I am not sure that is true. You did say it is raining again, could all the rain you've been getting have something to do with it? I hope you will be careful with that medicine and very observant to catch any side effects.

Expecting a quiet day here. Rain expected the rest of the week. The garden can use it but I was just starting to enjoy warmer sunny days!

Kathy....hard to believe it is already baseball/rose season! You must be having a great week. :-)

Mary...I will be interested to hear how the Cherry Rudbeckia works out. What will you pair it with? computer! And a computer guru friend, how great is that! I am expecting lots more photos now! :-)

Hello Drema..!

Well...I have some big news. DH and I are looking at properties in York, Maine. We have an appointment this weekend, to see the house in the link below. We are very excited!! With mortgage rates so low and home prices coming down, we are feeling like the time may be right for us. We have always wanted to move to Maine. My mother's family came from Maine. I will keep you updated on how it goes. Who knows, maybe there will be a new garden to visit this summer? :-)

On the home front...I discovered the 'Plum Pudding' Heuchera I divided last fall has survived...

Have a great day!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 5:46AM
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I'm afraid I have not been a very good idyller....I have been reading, but I haven't had much to say,

I feel chatty today :)

V., always remember that any number of things could have happened to your email correspondence! Throw her off her game and ask her about it :) Maybe your email got stuck in her spam filter :)

I would like to read more of your writings. Maybe you could give us an assignment to do with you!

Chelone, you look so different in your new computer :) Your words are really fresh this morning :)

Marian, I am sorry to hear that you have been feeling down. I know that mood you're talking about, and it is not a nice place to be :)

Fred's clivia is lovely. I love the story of Fred too.

My first true love died in a work accident.

I had my first facebook stalking incident a couple of weeks ago and I was mortified. I dated this person while in the Navy, so Nick knows him well and had a good time razzing me about it. The stalker said, "just think, we could've been married all this time..." Um, no. Isn't there a way to say "hello" without being creepy? I think it is possible, but possibly I didn't date those people, lol....

Kathy, we don't have roses til June so scratch my last musings of us being 6 wks behind you...more like 8 weeks! Your pictures are looking really good! I keep meaning to bring my camera around town to join you in a photo tour, especially now that it's getting it's spring spruce up.

My neighbor is feeling good this year and I have been helping her in her garden. I think she is finally going to sell to the masses (she usually only sells to friends/referrals) and I think it will be fun. I am helping her erect a greenhouse today - we built the frame yesterday. I can use it, too, she says. Should I put my tropicals in and try to force them out of dormancy? I worry about the 40 degree nights...not sure how that works.

Well, today is magic day, and Cindy knows that means I must go clean my house before the magic comes! I am glad to know that Drema has deemed us all perfect :) I think she may be onto something....


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:05AM
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Chelone - the secret to a good cup of tea is to warm the tea pot first with boiling water (a silver pot might taste a bit funky but bone china will do well). Remove the warming water and add a good quality Darjeeling, Assam or Ceylon tea, maybe Earl Grey if you are in the mood for something a little smokey. Loose tea is the choice for purists but tea bags work just as well. Fill with *boiling* water (MUST be boiling). Cover pot with your tea cozy to keep warm and allow to steep for 2 minutes. Remember - tea should be brewed not stewed (ie left too long). Pour a little milk into your favorite bone china mug (preferably one with flowers or botanic illustations LOL!) and fill with steaming tea. Add sugar if taste dictates. Sit back an enjoy.

I love a good cup of tea but rarely drink it anywhere other than home. I find some of the weird herbal teas friends serve akin to sipping pot pourri, and the restaurant mug of barely warmed water with a poor quality tea bag perched on the side a poor excuse for the real thing. Just call me a tea snob.

PM - how exciting about the house. Just think how close you would be to IU6! Fingers crossed it works out. I'm thinking Cherry Rudbeckia would look good with blue Salvias which go with almost anything.

Marian - hope your new meds are right for you and help your situation. Things sound very tough right now.

Time to run - have a good day everyone


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:19AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

The sun is shining in and it looks like it will be a pretty day....
With that in mind, I want to thank Chelone for her understanding. It really helps to have "been there".
Pm2, the best answer to your question as to "What happened" to me is in the attached link:

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:05AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I have another link I want to post, but don't know how to put both on together.....
This one pretty well sums up how I feel, and what those who do not have the condition need to understand when dealing with those who have have FMS:

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:10AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

York, Maine. Sounds good to me...except perhaps the winter temperatures. I have very fond memories of Stonington and Deer Isle where my college friend built her own house. I do mean she did it herself too. She also built her art studio and an outhouse just behind her gardens. ;) It was delightful finding her by total surprise 25 years after freshman year together! (Not on Facebook either!)

This has been a very difficult start to the week with my favorite little family. Monday morning began at DD's work with a former employee stopping by and asking DD how Reed is doing. Then she discovered the quilt being made for her on her forum, then a few other things. She couldn't go home either because she had already signed in for the full end of year day. Once she returned home, DSIL was also struggling. He has recently had recurring troubles thinking about finding Reed and giving him CPR. He knows that dwelling on those things isnt helpful, but ignoring those emotions isnt either. So they talked about it, and hugged each other, and cried, and promised Baby2 that they wouldnt love him/her any less than Reed, and then played cards

On the good news front, they made a body cast of DD's belly together on Sunday. DD gained 5 pounds since her previous midwife visit and that is good. Also, on the Skyler front, the process of getting a co-parenting coordinator is moving forward.

I have been assigned the job of buying 5 HUGE chocolate bars. So that is my morning mission. DH has 5 students who deserve them, some for finding bugs in a program, others for volunteering to participate in a debate/role play event with him tomorrow in front of the class. This will be the last lecture of the term.

It is not quite 40F and a bit rainy so far today...but there are robins and yellow winter aconite about!

Feel better everyone, spring cheer will get here eventually.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:13AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Marian...I do understand more than you know, about your condition and your experiences with it. I read the links you offered any way, just to refresh myself. I still have seen that Fibromyalgia/CFS symptoms are at times worse than others and are sometimes worsened by some trigger. Whether it be more exertion, rainy weather, stress, etc. I do realize that you are always having pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. My question, 'What happened to you?' sort of lost it's intention in writing that it would have had in person. Imagine me smiling at you when I said it. :-) I was really expressing that I noticed such a difference in your frame of mind [therefore the way you are feeling physically]. I also struggle with health problems and it is just my way to try to moderate them any way I can, since, for me, taking medication has created more problems than it's solved, so that is where my response to you was coming from. Sorry if it didn't help. :-( I hope you will understand that sometimes I am at a loss as to what to say. I do read what you post and do worry about you. I thought Woody just expressed a very supportive statement about you and Nolon, which I expressed agreement with. I have often thought that you and Nolon need more help than you have, but I have not said so, because I figure you must know that too and if there was help to be had, you would avail yourself of it. I think having responsibility for you and Nolon with your medical condition must put you in a position of overexerting yourself often, and must be stressful. I do sympathize, I guess I'm just not that good at expressing it. :-) I really hope you get some relief from the pain you are feeling. And I agree with Chelone, perhaps, once the weather warms up and you are no longer having to bring wood in and can go sit in the sun and watch your plants grow, maybe you will find some improvement.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:06AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Saucy...I enjoy your chatty days, glad you poked your head in. :-) How exciting about your neighbor's greenhouse. Lucky duck! Great for seed starting in the spring. Not experienced with using one for tropicals. .... I was also going to take some photos last time I was out, to join Kathy in her photo tour, but my camera was out of batteries. Oh well, next time. About your first true love...were you still dating him at the time?

Mary...I love a good cup of tea, but end up with herbals to avoid the caffeine. I eagerly await photos of Rudbeckia and Salvia. More later about the house...

G' certainly know some interesting people. :-) What an adventure that sounds like, actually building your own home on an island, with gardens and an art studio to boot! ..... I'm sorry to hear about the week DD/DSIL are having. Sounds like it may have been cathartic. I can't imagine how they would have escaped having such a week. What a shock it must have been for someone to ask about Reed though. Wow. A body cast of the Well, does Skyler have 'show and tell' at school any time soon? [g]


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:29AM
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I've been a terrible Idyller lately. I've just been so busy trying to finish up last minute details in "the house" Lots of changes at work as well.

Last night we went on the webcam with Kenzie which we hadn't done for a while. For some reason they could hear us but we couldn't hear them so we had to stay on the phone with them. DSIL who is the techy at their house was flying.

It was fun to find a gardening book in my mailbox the other day. A complimentary copy of The Best of Birds and Blooms 2009. They published my container picture,recipe and quote in this book. They used it in another book and a magazine in the past.

PM, I found your comments interesting about feeling good or bad and what may have brought it on. I had an interesting experience lately with hot flashes, which I really hadn't had very often before. I usually drink green tea every day. After we went to FL I got lax and quit. I got the worst hot flashes every night. I started the green tea and also started with black cohosh root and I almost have none.

Mary, I loved your description of proper tea making. I do use boiling water and steep about 2 minutes. I do it in a travel mug instead of tea pot. I usually only drink the green since its supposed to have so many health benefits. I use a little honey and I never drink it unless I make it. Kenzie loves to drink tea with lots of milk. She asks for it every morning. She gets decaf.

Wow, how exciting to consider moving to another state. I doubt that I will ever live anywhere other than here. I supposed in retirement Minnesota would be a possiblity since we only live 2 miles from its border.
'bug, sorry to hear about the tough week. I'm sure there so many highs and lows for all of you.

Saucy, how neat that you and your neighbor built a greenhouse. What materials did you use? I still want one like Eden's.

That's all I have time for - talk to you all later.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 11:57AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Greetings, "peeps" -- I've been following along (altho perhaps not so well as Im mulling who's contemplating a move to another state in this thread - oops, overshot and must re-read I guess)!

V- I love that grouping of plants you put together for your table -- ranunculus is a particular fav of mine. I confess I havent planted a single pansy or annual yet -- altho I hope to this weekend, if I ever get to the store.

Took a "cruise" to PA last weekend for family drop-in and a "garden therapy" day on Monday to recover, LOL -- had a freebie mini-shrink session w/ my DD upon my return frm PA to delouse me of all the family drama -- it's nice to have it fall away -- I hate feeling the contagion of it seeping into one's brain, despite your knowing it should not! Things are a la usual for there.... I've been dealing w/ some stupid issue re my hip and/or sciatic nerve that I attempted to ignore for too long -- hopefully it will mend in a month w/ some meds the dr gave me; in the meantime, I try to ignore it to do some outside, much needed cleanup. Luckily, no more turkeys falling dead on my front!

It's been a cool spring here and I know I'll regret saying that one of these days when it suddenly hits 80 and I wonder where the tulips went.

Drema - I am with you re staying off the social network radars -- it's odd to me how people seem compelled to return to old school or old ofc connections -- and it's certainly way too easy to find folks today. I read just the other day an etiquette Q&A about is it properr to refuse a co-worker's Friend request on FB.... how the world is changing!

Reading of tea rooms and proper methods of brewing made me recall my dear grandmother who loved to have tea in the p.m. and as a child I learned how to do it "properly" and use milk -- I have many fond memories of those tea times with grown-ups. I generally will drink it in the p.m. myself if I want something warm, altho I dont have teapots or anything equipment now to do the proper job.

Michelle -- sounds like you kept the group in proper form to get your parents house refreshed -- what a lovely group family thing to do!

Glad to learn that Mary got some line on how to "work the system" re another job, and David survived his scary fall. You guys need to send the black cloud along to someone else!

Im looking forward to this weekend that should have good gardening weather and getting a lot accomplished and really into the swing of things and put those plans from paper into action. And maybe even a photo or two would be nice.

'bug - Im sorry to hear about the ups and downs but I imagine that will happen for a bit longer; luckily Surprise will be along soon and take up lots of everyone's attention!

Just think, in a few weeks we shall be hearing of Eden's Jen and 'bug's Sarah and their new bundles of squigglies (those things that Chelone hates along with dawgs).


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 1:19PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Ooops -- that's what happens when one only shows up on occasion -- I meant to say what a charming story and pic, V, of Fred's last clivias... what a wonderful story and so telling of the meaning of gardening!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 1:23PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I am links seemed to be pointing at Pm2 in particular, but they were not meant to be....

Marie, I feel so badly about the hard times that all are having because of the loss of Reed. I pray that time will eventually dull that pain. ( There is certainly no meds that one can take to do so. ) It is truely sad that so many lose loved ones before 'their time' . I don't recall my mother having visible reminders of the son she lost at age 21 months, except for one framed picture. She was blessed with 5 more children, so we all kept her very occupied and there was, perhaps, not much time for remembering. I know she did mourn the loss of her mother each year at the time of her death, and granddma lived to be 87! I do not feel such a loss at the death of the elderly. After all, it is inevitable....a part of life. It is as natural as birth.

Mary, my mother was a tea drinker, but she was not as meticulous about it's brewing as you. She also put sugar and cream in hers! I prefer honey in mine, and I like a lot of the herbal teas as well. I should get into the habit of drinking more, espacially the green tea. I wonder if the decaffinated type is as good for a body?
I hope David is not having after effects from his fall. I can hardly imagine how scary that must have been for him and for you!
I would be interested in sampling your ravioli. They look good. :-)

Woody, I do really appreciate what you said about Nolon and I. Actually he is doing better than I. He is doing what he enjoys. Most of what I do is the necessities. It has got to where even walking around our yard is very trying for me. I am certainly hoping "this too shall pass".
As I have told you in the past, you are an inspiration to me. The thing is....none of us can feel what the other is feeling. I still wish my Dr would set me up for a whole body scan. I feel there is something that is being missed by her.
I love your hellebore. That is a flower that I have never tried to grow.
I love the pic of you at work, and the dogs 'resting' behind you.

Kathy, I am envious of your lilac and bleeding hearts. I have lost both of mine. I pondered buying a new bleeding heart, and will if I find an offer that I like. I have an old fashioned purple lilac in a pot. I may put it at the southeast end of our house....

Chelone, I have never grown the white bleeding hearts. Maybe I will get one of them, too. :-) Reseeding would be very welcome.
Count me in as one who is amazed at your sewing skills. My idea of patching jeans is to iron on a patch! :-(
Congrats on your new computer and monitor. Exciting to have them, I am sure.

Julie, I never responded to your question about growing a Japanese maple indoors, since I have no experience in doing that. I would think it would have be be grown in a bonsai manner. Ours, that was damaged so badly by the hard late freeze a couple of years ago, has put up gobs of new shoots. I will wait until they are larger, and cut out most of them. I have another seedling one that I got from Vernon Barnes fall before last. It does not look as though it will be as red. It is still in it's pot.

Bug, you are tempting me to get aome of those beautiful elderberries. We have the native one out back by the woodshed. I tried a red berried one, but it did not survive. You are so talented! The baby outfits are great. Our Tim had only store bought outfits.
I have to chuckle over your dog and skunk pic. Ah, yes...patience and wisdom!

V, your "spring flower arrangment" is beautiful, and so practical. :-)
Lovely rainbow, and lovely clivia. The clivia reminds me of the bromeliads that I saw in WalMart yesterday. I was very tempted!

Every now and then I read something that one of you has posted that strikes my funnybone, or some other pleasant cord, then when I go back and scan the posts, I cannot find it again. :-( Often it is an expression that I enjoy. If I didn't get so far behind, I wouldn't mess up that way!

Pm2, what is the plant in your first pic? It looks very familiar, and pretty.

Saucy, (and others on Facebook) are you getting lots of junk email with facebook in their posting name? I am so annoyed that ever since I signed up there I am getting those trashy emails. I have not done anything there except post my picture....and I regret doing that! I forgot my password there, and emailed them about it. I was emailed instructions as to how to reinstate it, but have not persued that. That was over a month ago....
I am wondering how many of the Idyll members have moved over to facebook.

Again, my apologies to Pm2, in conection to the links. If you go back to my post before your query,you will see I had already mentioned posting links. I didn't do it because of your question,Pm2. I just hope to help everyone have more understanding towards anyone who has that condition. After having it for over at least 40 years, I am well acquainted with most of it's ups and downs. I hate that it is dragging me down to being an old grouch! I am fighting that vigorously.

Saucy, when I was taking pics of my Burkwood Viburnum there was a yellow honeybee enjoying it's nectar. I thought of you. :-)

Michelle, how fun to not only talk to Kenzie but to see her while talking. I would enjoy that with my GDs .
They may be here again this weekend. Tim mentioned coming the last time we talked.
I have not renewed my Birds and Blooms, and my last issue is/was April/May Garden Special. I don't imagine I will get the one you spoke of.

I guess I have rambled on long enough. Hope all are having a good day.


Yarrgh! I have a Sears popup coming on my post, and clickable links in it! I do not like that!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 1:42PM
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Marian, yes, you can get alot of spam from Facebook that is not pleasureable. I used a "dummy" email address that I have set up for sites like that where I know there is the potential for spam.

I got started on FB because Jake wanted to try it out. We play word games together and he feels like he's doing something cool.

Michelle, it's a "real" greenhouse, lol! It's aluminum framed with 3 tiers of shelves and polycarbonate windows - sheet plasic walls and roof. I am impressed with our greenhouse erecting skills and think we should market our skills :) It's 14X20 or something close to that....

I'm whooped. Off to shower and then out to dinner!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 3:33PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Five large chocolate bars are now purchased for the students...along with other groceries for us. I was sure glad to see pay day come around this month!!!

Doing laundry now, did treadmill, knitting too. I wonder what dinner will be?

My clivia was a gift too V. But it has faded now. It lives in the cold front hall year round and seems to thrive there. I usually murder indoor plants, so this mystifies me.

Here's a photo for today, but not up to Eden's cat clubhouse. This is why my bed rarely gets made!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 4:04PM
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That's quite a crew, 'bug. I would be hard-pressed to boot 'em outta the rack and make the bed, too. Me Too reminds me of turn of the (last) century portraits of men with their hair parted down the middle. Vita is at the top of the shot, yes?

Last night, Spencer needed to cuddle which means he isn't happy unless he's right under my chin. He drools. I rolled over and he put his head over my ear. And then began to drool into it... a "wet willie" from a cat, lol! Nice.

The sink is still full of dishes. I forgot to set the butter out to warm this morning and if there is to be any baking it will be after dinner AND therefore unlikely.

I meant to comment on the skunk at the dog's dish. My brother has had a couple of similar experiences, one with a skunk sharing the "crunchie" bowl with a now deceased cat of his. The other one is the best, though. He fell asleep on the couch and had evidently left the back door open for the cats. He awakened and headed to bathroom only to see a skunk trundle out of the side room and casually move to the water bowl in the kitchen before vacating the house in a calm and utterly self-possessed manner. "No one goes hungry" is his motto.


(just watched the ballet video, too and really liked it. It's easier with a faster computer!)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 5:01PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hello, hello....

Such a long, purposeless day today. Glad it is almost over. Not one thing done on the garden front today. Tomorrow is another day.

I wonder how Eden is doing? Must be pretty busy this week. need to apologize. It was a good idea to post the links. It's not an easy situation for most people to understand and it helps so much when someone does. :-) And hey, I get grouchy for a lot less than being in constant pain. :-) The plant in that first photo, was Lupine, a very common plant. My daughter really likes them so I went crazy with the seeds last year. I am happy to see them coming back. Some of them will bloom for the first time this year. did catch the drift of what I was trying to say. I have had a few 'Aha' moments like the one you described. I sometimes have neurological pain in my hands and feet, and there was one episode that lasted longer than usual, about 6 months and I was really getting tired of it, and despite a lot of research I couldn't get the symptoms to abate. Then one day, I woke up with a twitch under my eye. In some of my reference books, it mentioned twitching as a result of too little magnesium. I was surprised because I was drinking a lot of green drinks at the time to get the magnesium. I'd had the twitch before but had not connected it to the neuro pain. It didn't go away after a night's sleep, which was what it usually did, but was still bothering me three days later. I got pretty frustrated with it and decided to look up every food that had magnesium in it and eat as much of it as I could. Turns out nuts and seeds have the most magnesium in them, so I started eating them at every meal. I was so surprised when the twitch resolved within hours. I was so encouraged that I kept eating lots of them and noticed the neuro pain in my feet and hands was also improving. Within 3 weeks I had no more pain in my hands and feet. Needless to say I was astonished. I had already been to a neurologist and had asked about pain meds because the pain was really getting to me, and he had told me he could give it to me, but it might only give me 30% improvement and would most likely have side effects. I found a 100% improvement with no side effects just by being stubborn I guess, in looking for another way. [g] That lesson made quite an impression on me. I'm going to have to remember green tea for hot flashes. :-) Is black cohosh root, a capsule?

Cindy...sorry about sciatic nerve pain...ouch! I am still scratching my head about dead turkeys?!

What a colorful trio of felines you have there G'bug. What are each of their names?

Well, I am disappointed that no one here has made even one attempt at an April Fool's joke today?! I have been waiting all day for Chelone to get on and see my post about moving but she didn't have time to catch it I guess. Since the day is almost over, I will have to admit, that my moving to Maine was really only an April Fool's joke. :-0 Poor attempt I know. I guess it doesn't work so well on Idylls. It is that long delay, waiting for everyone to get in on the joke and dragging it out all day.

April Fools!!!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 7:14PM
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:) PM, I was happy for you to move to Maine! I am gullible...I would've believed you were moving to Timbuktu :)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:09PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I should have guessed...but I was had! I didn't think it made sense with your kids nearby, your garden work, and all that joy about packing up your belongings didn't ring retrospect!

As to eating nuts...I love them!!! All kinds. My latest delight is (low cal) almond butter. For tea I enjoy herbal teas, no caffeine. I add no milk or sugar, but I do insist the water be boiling hot. If I make it in a pot, I do Mary's routine. Otherwise I make it in a mug in the microwave. I like lemon tea as well as Ginger/Peach. Some of the others are too perfumed for me, like the raspberry or cranberry types.

The white cat is MeToo, the darkest one is Minou (NouNou) and the orange & black girl is Vita.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:10PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

LOL...Now that I think of it, I was not creative enough. that would have been funnier.[g] I think I picked Maine, to get a rise out of Chelone. Plus, my mother's family really did come from Maine and I have always wanted to move there. :-)

I am always the gullible one in my family, Saucy.

G'bug...I love almond butter now too. I haven't eaten peanut butter in a long time. I have a new favorite herbal tea too...Cinnamon Apple Spice by Celestial Seasonings. Very strong cinnamon taste. .... very cute names...Was Minou the first cat? I looked it up, I figured it was French. Pussy Cat..[g]. I'm sure there is a story that goes with MeToo?

Ok...that's it for me for the night. :-)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:05PM
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PM - moving to Maine would be something I'd love to do in retirement. I was thinking how lucky you are LOL! I've had episodes of twitchy eye and next time I'm going to try your remedy - pass the nuts.

Marian - one of the things that is so special about the Idylls is learning about the things that are part of each others lives. Link away!

In that vein, here are a couple of things I've been listening to today. Something classic: Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:35PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Saucy is the gullible one - she fell for it this morning when I posted on my Facebook status that my morning sickness was so bad I couldn't think up a good April Fools joke.

'bug, Clivias are known to thrive on neglect, so it sounds like you are doing the right thing!

Mary, sorry to hear that you are dealing with the dreaded moths. Getting rid of my last ones seemed to take forever. I became very suspicious of the rice mixes from Near East. I haven't bought them since the outbreak and have not had any more problems. But I think I have fungus gnats now!

Today was our first "long day' at the office, even though the work load has not increased yet. So not much else to share tonight.

Still no email...


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:38PM
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And something classical - Pinchas Zukerman and Itzak Perlman playing Handels Passacaglia - sublime!

What have you listened to lately?


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:38PM
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Well, PM , I must say you had me fooled ! I took the virtual tour and pondered Chelone making slipcovers for you and perhaps awnings !

I diligently went to be early last night and I had a nightmare which woke me up mid-night-one-ish. Cant remember a thing about it now (just as well I guess !) and it took me a couple of hours to go back to sleep. When my alarm went off this morning I dozed right off again and overslept till 6:30 (usually on my 2nd cup of coffee at the awfice by then) so of course I felt groggy as hell all morning after the leaping out of bed and rushing out thing. Felines were indignant at the late breakfast and awfice mates got many hours of humor mileage out of it.

Marian, thank you for posting the links on Fibro, I am very ignorant on the subject and these helped me to understand your challenges. I hope your good days can be enjoyed and its fortunate that your curiosity and interest in the natural world keeps you mentally engaged. You always sound pretty lucid to me ! When will you start moving the plants out to your deck ? Maybe if Tim visits he can help with that ? Might as well take advantage of the young and strong when they are around..

Saucy, youre moving right up there with our remodel mavens (Chelone, Mary, Michelle, Eden etc) with this greenhouse gig. ! You should definitely rate some winter space in there in exchange for your labors .. will we get to see a pic ? Cmon and get the frikken camera out !

All for me tonight- Over and Out !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:42PM
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The dog and I went out to one of the outlying woodpiles yesterday afternoon and the ground is so wet there are little pools around your feet if you stand for some time in one spot. Hard to believe we're down about 2" of precipitation for the month of March. I also noted the ground is absolutely covered with acorns. It's like walking on ball bearings and I alos noted that many of them have sprouted... If the ground ever dries enough I'll have some vigorous raking ahead of me because I don't thing the shop vac. is up to the job. ;) The forecast is looking downright lugubrious for several days to come.

I'll have to see what I can scare up for china tea pots at THTTF next time I'm there. I know there is a tea cozy there, too. It belonged to either my grandmother or one of her sisters and is in the family tartan. I have two tea sets here as well as an armada of tea cups still wrapped in newspaper from 1973 and neatly packed in a carton. All those long dead ladies saw that my home was well appointed. ;) A couple of questions, though. How does one store tea properly and in what quantity does one purchase it? what is your preference for flavor? how much does one use to brew a nice, aromatic, taste-filled cup of tea (I have one of those tea balls and at least one tea strainer)? and does one always use milk and never cream? (I prefer cream in my coffee and will pass on coffee with milk or non-dairy creamer. I'm a coffee snob.). Might be a good adventure for a raw, rainy day.

I'm a bit taken aback at the quoted price for the cutting/work table legs but the shipping cost really opened my eyes, nearly 1/3 of the price. There was no photograph or sketch included with the quote and I've requested one, preferably with an exploded view since assembly will be required. Still, if they are what I need I'll likely buy them, though perhaps not in the quantity I'd first hoped. I presently work in a shop where tabling is an issue and spending money on equipment is given short shrift. I'm all for economy, but really do understand that prudent capital investments could have paid for themselves in the 10 yrs. I've been "getting by" and "making do" there. It's all about the proper tool for the job and I have to remind myself of that periodically.

OK, I have to fire up the transport pod and head to the rock pile for another day. One more after this one! (and I have set out the butter, so baking is on the horizon).

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 5:34AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Mary...thanks for those links. I had never heard the Cohen song. I had a fun time watching the old 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' scenes. I also enjoy Perlman. I am pretty limited in what I've listened to of classical, but I did find one album that is my favorite, which is called 'The Most Relaxing Classical Album in the World Ever' I'm sure I've mentioned that before. [g] I have a lot of favorites on it and I linked to one below.

I had those moth problems some years back. We had to dump everything of interest to them and maybe we had some moth trap that had a lure in it? We haven't had any since. pregnant? :-0

Clivias thrive on neglect? That's the plant for me.

Kathy....I almost had myself fooled. I kind of got stuck at the realtor site looking at homes for awhile They had a nice $5 million dollar home on the water and I started thinking...well, maybe if all the Idylls chipped in about $20,000 a piece, we could purchase it and use it as a time share. It had acres to garden. :-) Slipcovers and Awnings, and don't forget all the clothes tailoring. :-) .... Don't you hate those nightmares that keep you awake for hours? I bet you slept like a log last night.

I wish I had a nice sunny spot for Saucy to come help me erect a greenhouse. :-)

Michelle...I meant to ask, are there any plans for Kenzie to visit yet? Webcams are just not the same thing, are they?

Looks like another lugubrious day out there [g]...I'm off...


    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 6:41AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Chelone's last paragraph has me wondering if she is George Jetson or Fred Flintstone this morning!


    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 6:41AM
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V - is it disappointing every time you check your inbox? Perhaps today.... Annie played the same joke on some of her friends and a few were totally taken in. Not those that know her well - she has told me she has no plans to have s@x before marriage. I guess times really have changed thinking back to my college days.

Chelone - I store tea in an airtight tin. I guess plastic would work too, for some reason we've always had a metal tea caddy or container. Unlike coffee, I don't think there is a noticeable difference between fresh or stored tea. I'll bring a few hundred teabags back from England. I love half-and-half in my java but it spoils tea for me where I prefer low fat (but not skim) milk. The amount of tea required will depend very much on the brand but a general rule in England is 'one for each person, one for the pot' referring to heaped teaspoons of tea leaves.

I always like to have on hand a good English breakfast tea which is a blend containing mostly Assam tea, some Earl Grey (watch out, the flavor varies a lot depending on the amount of Bergamot oil used), Lapsang Souchang for a real kick, and a delicate Darjeeling.

PM - I LOVE Rachmaninov too and that is a beautiful piece. Have you listened to his 2nd piano concerto? It is breathtakingly beautiful. You might recognise the theme in the second movement which was used in a pop ballard. The origianl is the best though.

Saucy - I have greenhouse envy!! Do hope you share some pictures.

Work is calling my name


    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 8:18AM
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I will see if my neighbor will let me post pictures here...I think she will.

I'm still wondering if I can put my tropicals in....if Deanne's moving them to the garage, surely I can move them to the green house?

I never did make my succulent wreath last year and am happy to have all the ingredients to put it together this year....

I just realized that I made plans to go to Maine with 4 girlfriends for the last weekend in May and that coincides with the Tower Hill plant sale, and I am torn! I know I will choose the friends, but I found such good stuff at that sale last year....

Mary, Jake asked me about driver's ed Annie looking to do the same? I'm kind of excited for him....but nervous, too.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 8:36AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Ha! "Lugubrious" ! I had to look that one up! Chelone, you bring new words to my vocabulary frequently. LOL
I like 'words' so that is good, and it rolls off the tongue nicely. ;-)

When I got up this mornng I was more flexible than 'normal' (probably due to the 2 sessions of before bedtime, and one at 4 AM). As I was washing up before preparing breakfast, my mind went back to my childhood and how I greeted the morning with anticipation and joy. I recalled how , as a small girl, I would arise after mama was up, and slip out the side door to go around to the front door and knock! I don't think I did it very often [I hope not, :-)]. I don't recall mama getting upset at me, so it must not been very often. I would love to be able to greet the day with such a childish anticipation.

Pm2, I accepted your announcement with no doubt that it was true. Such a thought never entered my mind. :-)
Ah yes...I should have known it is a lupine. I love them but they will not grow here. I think it is because our soil is too acid. Ei was so kind in sending me a lot of her saved seed. They came up nicely, but soon expired without blooming.
It sounds as though you have too many health woes to cope with, without having to be burdened with mine also! It is true....most everyone has their aches and pains....they are just differant, and (hopefully) not permanent.
I guess I ought to check out my magnesium level? I do love nuts, but have to be careful how many and what kind I eat because of my gallbladder. :-(
I have been known to tell my friends that I am defective merchandise, and need to be returned to the factory!

Saucy, I wish I had had the presence of mind to use a fake email address for facebook. I guess I was just too gullible. I wish I knew how to eliminate all the trash email I am getting, without changing my address.
As for using a phoney address, how would you know it wasn't someone else's?
Since I am registered there, and am apparently stuck with it, maybe I ought to check it out. It apparently does have things of interest connected with it??

Tee hee, Marie, occasionally my bed has to wait to be made because Tommy is on it, but that is okay, I have become rather slack at getting to it anyway. That is a good looking group of kitties. The one in the middle looks a little annoyed. :-)

I do not think I could tolerate a cat drooling in my ear! Tommy prefers to cuddle up to my back. I like that.
Thank goodness, no skunks in our house, but Nolon used to see one in his shop. It was 'tame' and never a problem. Since Calliecat is gone there is no longer food out there, so no attraction for 'visitors'.

Mary, thanks for your approval of linking. :-)
I haven't checked out yours, but hope to soon. I love classical music, and have several albums.
I had a bad bout with moths a few years ago. I did use the moth traps, and have been free of them for some time. I usually put flours and other foods that attract them in the freezer, but have not used that freezer since our icestorm.
Fruit flies and tiny ants are what are plaguing me now. The fruit flies have not been bad so far this year. I make a trap for them, with cider vinegar in it.

Kathy, sorry about your bad dream, and oversleeping, but happy that you got understanding from my links.
As for moving my plants out, it will not be until the end of this month. I'd rather be late doing it than too early. It isn't likely Tim will be here at that time.

Ha! I didn't think of Fred Flintstone or George Jetson....I thought of Star Trek. ( I was always a Star Trek fan.)

We are awaiting another round of rain, with chilly weather. Poor Nolon may not be able to get to his wood cutting , and that is hard on both of us!


    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:25AM
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Marian, it is a nice post, and you are not lost in the wind :)

If you're interested in setting up a dummy email account, go to Google and get a free gmail account that you don't have to go to ever again and use that for any social networking. When you're on a site like FB then go to your settings and uncheck any boxes that will send email to you.

What you're experiencing is spam, though, and it'd be better if it were going to a dummy account that you didn't have to look at if you didn't want to....

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 10:17AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I started making a list of Julie Jobs for the garden this morning and just came in from doing a few. :-) Breaking it down into manageable parts seems less overwhelming. Moved two small iris and just about finished the spring clean up in the front perennial bed. I see a lot of things coming back, that I was wondering about. My lavender that I started from seed in '07 already has lots of new growth on it. I thought that was really early. I think my front bed is going to be really full this year. [g] Where is Julie anyway? Probably helping DS move.

I have been enjoying watching the birds coming back to the garden. The feeders and bird baths are full and every day there are new birds. I still have Juncos, which probably will leave soon. They are so cute and two of them have been chasing each other around and remind me of precision aerial maneuvers made by the Thunderbirds, that DH used to take me to. I have a pair of sparrows taking over my one birdhouse and I just can't seem to keep them from nesting in the yard.

V....we posted exactly at the same time. I was thinking the same thing about The Jetsons. :-) are talking to a Motown girl. [g] Really, the extent of my classical experience is limited to two Classical albums that I have which are a compilation with the longest selection being six minutes. Then, whatever I have been exposed to from movies. I never heard any of it growing up. My parents were fans of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller etc.. I was surprised to realize when I was older that The Lone Ranger theme was actually the William Tell Overture. [g] I went looking for something classical that I could enjoy and stumbled upon these two albums at the library and was surprised to find how much I like them. So I have a growing appreciation for classical. Did you grow up listening to classical? What influenced your appreciation of it? Thank you for that link, it is beautiful and I found a few sections that did sound familiar to me. I'll have to link to more of what I have been listening to along the way, so as not to bore everyone to death all at once, and maybe you might be able to suggest other things I would like?

Saucy....I always wanted to make one of those succulent wreaths, but I don't really have a place to put one. I have so much part sun. What are you going to do with yours, are you hanging it? I love them. Where did you get all the succulents?

Marian... I have one particular memory of a bedroom I had when I was a child, that poured sunlight in the windows in the morning and always waking up so happy. .... Yes, having gallbladder problems you would have to be careful with nuts, but maybe if you start small with a couple to test it out, it might work for you. I sometimes will grind nuts before I eat them to digest them better and add them to yogurt smoothies. Yes, we all have one thing or another to cope with. Hopefully we will not all be having problems on the same day. ;-) DH and I have always been Star Trek fans. I never watched science fiction until we were dating. :-)

Still gray out there but not as cold as yesterday...


    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 10:53AM
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