Swing into Spring - Idyll #259

deanneart(z5Southern NH)March 25, 2006

HI all, Well, spring has officially arrived and I guess it is time to swing into spring cleanup in the gardens. IÂve gotten a couple beds cleaned out in the last week and am itching to Âdive into the driveway garden and might just squeeze a couple hours this afternoon to do a bit outside if I can get the indoor stuff finished quickly.

IÂve got to spend some time this afternoon cleaning out the fish tank and repotting those new fuchsias. They are drying out way too fast and are growing well so I want to move them up to roomier accommodations. IÂm over the moon with how well my ÂBeacon Rosa standard is doing and am hoping I donÂt completely mess it up when I get it outside to harden off. Does anyone out there have a sure fire way of hardening off indoor plants? I could really use some advice, as I tend to fry up my babies in the spring sunshine. Even when I think IÂm taking things slowly enough I still get an awful lot of sunburn on the cuttings.

IÂve been running like a mad person and canÂt seem to get caught up enough to sit down to my brushes and it looks like IÂm going to be crazed getting my latest magazine deadline out yet again.

Doug and I are going to the Keen flower show tomorrow and IÂm going to stick around to help clean up and see what gets thrown into the dumpster after the plant sales are done on Monday. My DB has picked up a lot of plant materials over the years that way and I figured a day of my time would be worth picking over the leftovers. In fact that really pretty variegated plectranthus came from there last year.

DD is still not completely recovered from that flu and IÂm getting a bit concerned that she is doing to much too soon and not allowing herself the time to recover. It sure was a nasty bug and IÂm thankful Doug and I didnÂt catch it.

I also wanted to ask if anyone has started up any of their dahlias yet? IÂd gotten a bunch of mine going in March last year because I wanted large, blooming plants for mid July but IÂm thinking of waiting until the end of April this year. Although, quite a few of them are throwing roots and new growth so I might not be able to put them off that long.

OK I donÂt really have time to comment right now and will try to get back here tonight after we get home from dinner out at MJÂs. IÂve lots to comment on but it will have to wait until later.


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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

that I've been asked to do a one hour presentation for the Nashua Garden Club on "Color Theory for the Garden" and Ive accepted! It isn't going to be until the first of November so I've got lots of time to plan. Mabye I can get it fleshed out and do a trial run on the poor unsuspecting Idyllers at IU3. How cool is that?


    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 3:36PM
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I was out by the garden shed today and noticed that I have 1.5" tulips shoots. The snow is melting fast but there is a lot to get rid of. The tulips are on the south side of the shed where the snow is gone. Its actually a pretty nice day, but it is wet and too much snow to do anything. I guess Ill clean the house instead.
Tomorrow we go to DD for lunch. Im missing my Kenzie. Grandma picked up an old fashioned pinwheel in town for her baby.

Hopefully, Ts car and Wendys tire are an easy fix.

Deanne, my best hardening off place is in my potting area. The garden shed is to the east and theres a board fence that runs along the south. I put them up against the fence, so they are pretty much in the shade and protected from the wind. I hope you score at the garden show. This is my first year with dahlias, so I am depending on you guys to tell me when to pot them up ;o) I know why you were asked to give the color talk, you are so good at it.

Taryn, 12 days is a long time. DD and family had it about a week. I did have the hacking cough around the 1st of the year. The Dr. gave me Tussionex. That really suppresses a cough. Spendy though.

V, great news about your daughters nominations. You can brag and we dont mind.

Eden, the Easter tree sounds really cute. A picture would be nice.

Lauren, wonderful pictures.

Mary, your weather sounds just like ours.

Id better go those final 3 sheets of sheetrock are calling (DH too)


    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 4:53PM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

Ccomment to Sue about Nick. My parents have a chihuahua (I don't think that's the spelling but you know what I mean LOL) who wouldn't jump on anything and the vet said he had a "slipped disc"; but he would scream if mom or dad tried to pick him up. The vet gave him pain pills, told them not to allow him to jump off chairs, etc and that he would be OK. He was, although he had another bout with it about 6 months later.

Deanne, I can SO relate to helping with the flower show and rescuing the leftovers! What fun!! I would love to hear your talk on color theory for the garden.

Babs, LOL about your comment to AJ's teacher!
V, brag on:-) I think that is great news.
Hi Lauren, I don't believe I've "met" you. I enjoyed your photos.

Re perms: I used to get them all the time but just got tired of the whole process. Now my hair is shoulder length and straight. I really don't like it all that much but I am not a hair person. DD got me a curling iron and tried to teach me to use it but I'm just all thumbs and end up with spikes sticking out in odd directions instead of curls.

We've had snow all day and low 30's. I must be the only person who is not ready for spring to come! I have brief moments of wishing it was here but mostly I just keep thinking of all the work spring entails:-( I was reading my warbler book this evening and did start dreaming of the spripng migration:-)

Do you folks remember that flower bed I was trying to re-work last October? I have lots of bulbs and perennial coming up!! DH had borrowed cousin's front loader to move the topsoil and fill in to level up the area. I combed the ground trying to get all the bulbs out but now there are 3 Dutch hyacinths and lots of daffodils coming up out over the septic tank!

I read and enjoyed everybody's posts on the last thread but can't remember everything that I wanted to comment on.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 8:23PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Hey VG, sounds like you are as talented with a curling iron as I am!

I'm back from a great dinner out with my son. We went to La Petite Creperie and I had a wonderful, aromatic baked french onion soup, steak et frites and a mixed berry crepe for dessert. All accompanied by a lovely French red wine. The restaurant is located in what used to be the sheriff's house and my MIL's husband actually grew up there (his dad was the sheriff for years).

Got a reasonable amount of cleaning done around the house and got all the laundry done. Before DD left, I asked her for a quick, easy-to-read book because I've been reading too much serious stuff lately. she gave me a book called "Hissy Fit" that I'm about 1/3 of the way through - it's just what I needed. So I'm off to put a dent in the book before I start to snore. Manana,


    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 10:05PM
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Ok, I'll swing into spring with you all. I just hope car troubles are not the theme this idyll.

Lauren good to see a post from you. And with pretty pictures. Thanks.

As for hair. Mine is thick and naturally curly, although not as much as it used to be. I wear it long and pulled back or up all the time. I don't like spending time on it and trim it myself. I used to wear it very short a lot, but got tired of spending the money to keep it cut every six weeks. I've never had to color it but the gray is starting to outnumber the red. LOL

It has been pretty doggone chilly here. Today I couldn't stand it any longer and put my coveralls on and went on out. I got one bed cleaned out and shredded the leaves and grasses I pulled out of it and spread them back in it to keep the weeds down. Tried to tidy up a type 3 clematis that I never got trimmed back in there. I didn't get around to trimming any of the type 3s so they will just have to do their own thing this year.

I got the four wheeler out to hook the little trailer up to move some stuff and the dogs got so excited I had to take them for a short run. Pretty chilly riding though.

V, congrats to DD. You were right to share that with us.
DH and I took a class in controlled burn with the dept of conservation. He is always wanting to burn some of the leaves in the wooded areas to control ticks but I won't let him because I read it is not good for the dogwoods.

My mind is now drawing blanks so will cut this short. I'm hoping to get out and do another bed tomorrow. It is to be a little warmer but rain may be moving in.

Take care. Norma

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 10:19PM
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laurenlolly(Melbourne, Australia)

Hello again all :-) I only had time to post a few pictures last time (glad you all enjoyed them!), but some of you wanted to know what I've been doing, so I guess I can tell you ;-) I have just been working my little butt off, trying to save some money (not working lol), bought a new car (a toyota utility, yay!), and of course doing heaps of gardening. I have finally decided to go back to university, so I will be starting in July, that's second semester down here for us. I'll be doing a double degree in Information Systems and Business....doesn't that sound impressive!! Lol. I hope I can get back into the swing of things after more then a year off. My dad lectures some of the Information Systems subjects I want to do, so it'll be good to have him helping. I am craving more then ever my own real garden... I think Mary askes if my garden is all in pots, well yes, every single plant on my 5 page long plant list is in pots, that's over 200 different plants!! It's very tiring trying to keep up with all the re-potting, dividing, and firtilizing that plants in pots need, if they were in the garden it woudln't be nearly as bad, my plants get so rootbound after one season. And then you have to deal with pots continuously getting blown over by the wind, especially in the windy Springtime, sometimes the pots shatter & I have to do it all again!! Sigh. But one day soon I will have gardens as good as all of yours :-)

Well it's getting late here and as I start work at 5am I really should get to bed. Night all!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 3:36AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning all,

38 degrees out this morning and when I woke up at 5:45 the sky was quit light out. So very neat! We now can look forward to 6 months with this much or more daylight. I LIVE for this time of the year. I just love having the long days to look forward to.

Yesterday I cleaned out the yukky humidifier I keep going in the living room for the orchids and it should have been done a while ago. The filters were pretty mouldy and I'm wondering if part of my nasty allergies lately were related to that. Then a quick workout at the gym and I watered and pinched all the plants under lights downstairs. I also repotted fourteen fuchsia. Unfortunately I never got to the fish tank so that is on the agenda this AM. Dinner at MJ's was fabu last night. She fixed this amazing fish dish with haddock with diced, stewed tomatoes/ calamata olives/ capers/ fresh parsley/ onion/ garlic and I think that was it. Just yummy. I need to get that recipe from her and fix that next Friday.

Hello to Lauren, great to hear from you and the pics were so nice to see. Congratulations on your decision to go back to school. That's great!

V, those burn pics were incredible. Id be a nervous wreck. Thanks for sharing that. How often do you have to do a burn? ~~Your dinner last night sounds seriously yummy, especially that dessert. ~~ Congratulations to your DD! That is terrific!! Im looking forward to meeting her this summer.

T, oh dear! What a drag about the car. I sure hope you got it fixed and that it isnt anything major. ~~ I found it interesting that you like the dark mornings. I really adore it when the sun is up at 4:30AM at the height of summer. I usually am out on the patio with my coffee and oats at five and you can just smell the green growing things at that hour. My favorite time of the day. It is also my alone time but I like it with the sun coming up.

Eden and Marian, count me in with those who are ready to get the plants outside. With all the cuttings Ive got going this year plus the orchids which seemed to multiply this spring like Marties it takes me hours to take care of things. Oh yes, I wanted to ask you guys, do you ever have trouble with fungus gnats and if so what do you do about them? I saw a product that was safe for indoors somewhere that got rid of them at the larval stage but Ill be darned if I can find it again.

Marian, that forsythia in the snow picture made me wince! Id be pretty cranky about snow on the spring flowers. This year weve had the least snow in March than any winter in 103 years. Incredible! It is actually pretty dry here now and I wish wed get a bit of rain. ~~ Are your orchid cactus budding up yet? Id love to trade you some cutting of those for anything Ive got here. I only have that one variety I posted a pic of last year. How many different colors do you have?

Babs, that teacher sounds like she is wound up a bit too tight. I LOL at your telling her to get into a reclining position! Too funny!

Martie, interesting about the herbs and sugar. It sounds lovely. Nope, not sorry a bit about asking. I love to hear about all the different things people do with the products of their gardens. So many different things and all of it interesting.

Wendy, so sorry about the flat tire. Those pansies would have tempted me for sure. They do just fine with some snow and mine sometimes even winter over so Id have stopped and bought a couple flats to tuck in for color. Cant wait, cant wait, cant wait.

Sue so did you get a bunch of stuff done in the gardens yesterday? Today is going to be perfect for spring cleanup. Im almost wishing I wasnt committed to go to the Keen flower show but Ill bet Im happy I went when I come home with my loot Monday evening. LOL. Hope the Nickster is doing better soon. That really is a worry.

Mary I loved hearing about Annie in her long, black velvet skirt. How terrific for her to be a part of that. ~~Great score on the passion flowers. Ive never grown them. Are they difficult? Im thinking of doing some stuff with vines in my large containers this year and would like to try one. ~~ Im going to be teaching that weekend after Easter how about the end of the month?

Eden, any way I could get a couple cuttings from your begonias? Id like to add some to my containers this summer. Do you grow them in shade or part sun?

Drema, pilates are just the best exercises for abs. Ive found however, that the power bench with the weights is the most challenging ab workout Ive ever done. Im ready to up the weight another ten pounds. That will make my starting weight 70 pounds!!! Incredible. When I started I could barely do ten crunches with no weight at all. It is amazing how much you can improve your fitness level at any age.

Cindy, count me among those with fine, straight hair. I cant even perm it. It just breaks off.

Sue, You can pick up your coleus when you come in April for the Dan Hinkley lecture. Would love to see a pic of the new do. RE the Dan Hinkley lecture, what time do you think you can make it up here for dinner? The lecture starts at 7:00 so Id like to be at Surfs as soon as we can get there. Ill be teaching in Mont Vernon, that day so Ill have to see if I can cut out of there a bit early.

OK I really have to get my day started and get out to the gym so we can get to Keene. Have a great day all.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 7:28AM
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The sun is shining! Just amazing how much better seeing it makes me feel in the morning. This is just quick post to say good morning. I have a birthday party for my neice this afternoon and my mom and dad are coming down today so it will be a busy day. I have quite a few things I want to say here but they'll have to wait until later. I'm off to the donut shop now for a nutritious and healthy breakfast, lol. Here's the latest proofs from her "turning 1" photo session for anyone who wants a Bella overdose...

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 8:28AM
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Oops, for some reason that link starts at the end of the proofs so you'll have to work backwards. Hope that's not a sign of how my day's going to go...


    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 8:32AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

DRATTS! Have to log in again today....

Well, we returned early from our Gravel presentation, but it was quite nice...a very pretty area and good people, though a bit on the gray side. Need youth in that bunch!

We were put up at the Wigamog Inn. Here are views from our windows. Look carefully and you will see that the hockey area and ice fishing huts are still operating:

Back at the farm things are much more advanced thank goodness. Here are a few scenes from this morning:

The bridge

Narcissus coming


But there's plenty of work ahead! So much tree damage this winter...means more cutting:

More stacking to age...

And more grinding for use on paths in the vegetable garden:

Norma, this is a fine time to be pruning those group 3 clematis. Go for it! I haven't even begun doing mine! I hope to be able to soon. Feeding them slow release fertilizer at the same time is a good plan too. (Low on the nitrogen!)

I am jealous of Isabella's new rain boots. They are so adorable on her! She looks so grown up in her denim outfit too! What a sweetie pie. :-)

Charlotte is back from the kennel and sleeping already. It is 9:30am! DH is off for his final hockey game of the season.

The workmen have completed installation of the kitchen ceiling, but there are a few details left to complete and then the painting. Then I'll be sick of indoor improvements and hope to turn to things in the garden.

Enjoy your Sunday one and all!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 9:41AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Deanne I plan to take a half day from work for Dan's lecture so I can get there as early as 2ish. Looking forward to it.

Yesterday proved to be very productive. I had to return something to Eddie Bauer in the morning so I ran over to one of my favorite shopping centers. Coldwater Creek was having a good sale and I had a $25 coupon to boot so I picked up a couple of things there. When I came home my neighbor from across the street was here telling Tom she had her house on the market. This is the neighbor who comes in for the dogs on short notice, watches our house when we're on vacation and keeps her yard and home in impeccable shape. Out of all the neighbors she wuld be the last one I would want to see move. Anyhoo, she is having an open house today so I concentrated my garden cleanup in the curb garden so prospective buyers would have a better view. Just from that garden I filled the whole trash receptacle for the week. It's dry very here. We haven't had any precipitation in weeks. Usually the ground is too soggy this time of year to walk in the beds but not this year.

Even though it was chilly I managed to stretch my walk out to almost an hour and a half. We had grilled lamb rib chops for dinner then I spent the rest of the night cleaning my desk. I'm switching Quicken over to the laptop from my old desktop. The version I had was so old I couldn't restore the data onto the new version. So I'm starting fresh with 2006 on the laptop. Last week I reconciled 6 or 8 months of bank statements. Now I'm entering 2006 credit card receipts and check register. I need a house cleaner and a secretary.

So far this morning I've showered and scrubbed the tub so I'm on another roll. If I don't get these inside things under control now it will be November before I get back to them. Today the plan for the garden is to move shrubs. Now is the best time. I have a yellow magnolia 'Sunspire' growing right smack in the spot where we want to put the proposed hot tub. Deanne, is your tub on a cement pad?

Count me in as prefering early sunrises and long days too. It's light out here at 5:30 right now but that will get set back again when we turn the clocks ahead soon.

Lauren, congrats on your decision to go back to school. I think the days of making a good living without a college or trade school education are over, at least in this country. Good for you.

Eden, what a cute bunch of Bella pictures. Love the garden boots. Just don't yank any of those topless ones out when she brings her first date home...lol. Somewhere kicking around here is a picture of me at around two sitting on the toilet reading a book. Throughout my life it surfaced now and then-usually when I'd least expect.

Time to get rolling.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 9:44AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

What do you think of this article folks?

By Kim Severson and Julia Moskin
SEATTLE -- Jodi Robbins and her family were on a grim dinnertime
Takeout pizza was a mainstay, except on the nights when Chinese food
seemed more appealing. When Ms. Robbins cooked, it was spaghetti or
tuna casserole over and over, with rarely enough time to make a salad.
Their routine was expensive, fattening and boring. In the rush to get
through the day, the family had lost control of the dinner table.
So Ms. Robbins now goes to Dream Dinners in West Seattle, where she
spends just under two hours assembling dishes like cheesy chicken
casserole and Salisbury steak from ingredients that have been peeled
and chopped for her. She does not have to pick up a knife, turn on a
stove or wash a dish.
All she has to do is pop the meals in her oven and, for about $3.50 a
serving, experience the satisfaction of putting a home-cooked meal --
of a sort -- on the table.
Americans, pinched for time and increasingly uncomfortable in their
kitchens, have been on a 50-year slide away from home cooking. Now, at
almost 700 meal assembly centers around the country, families like the
Robbinses prepare two weeks' worth of dinners they can call their own
with little more effort than it takes to buy a rotisserie chicken and
a bag of salad.
The centers are opening at a rate of about 40 a month, mostly in strip
malls and office parks in the nation's suburbs and smaller cities, and
are projected to earn $270 million this year, according to the Easy
Meal Prep Association, the industry's trade group.
"It's been keeping us from ordering pizza all the time," Ms. Robbins
said. "And you still feel like you're cooking."
The prototype, a kind of elevated cooking session among friends in a
commercial kitchen, popped up in the Northwest in 1999. The concept
did not take off until 2002, when two Seattle-area women streamlined
the process so customers could make 12 dinners for six in two hours
for under $200. That company became Dream Dinners, which opened a year
later and now has 112 franchise stores, with 64 under construction.
Super Suppers, which opened a year later in Fort Worth, is the largest
chain, with 121 franchise stores and 77 more under construction. For
people with few cooking skills, the centers keep things simple with a
rotating menu of mostly stews and casseroles designed to be assembled
in freezer bags or aluminum trays, then taken home to be baked or
simmered in a single pot.
Customers select their dishes online ahead of time. When they show up,
they follow recipes that hang over restaurant-style work stations
filled with ingredients like frozen chicken breasts, chopped onions
and jars of seasonings.
Cheerful workers hover around, carting off measuring spoons as soon as
they are dirty and pouring fresh coffee. They encourage the calorie
conscious or sodium sensitive to customize meals. And if someone hates
broccoli, it can be left out. For people who feel guilty about not
cooking for their families, the centers offer absolution in just a
couple of hours.
Lisa Johnson, who lives in a suburb of Raleigh, N.C., especially hates
shopping and cleanup. But she is determined to keep the family
together at the table, at least occasionally. She became a meal
assembly convert after just one visit.
"We're always hearing that eating dinner together is the cure for
obesity, learning disorders, drugs, divorce and every kind of problem
we have in society," she said. "But what no one tells you is how to do
all that cooking."
Although women still do 80 percent of the food-related work at home,
the amount of time Americans spend cooking dinner has declined to
about 30 minutes from about two and a half hours since the 1960's,
according to market research by Mintel International and the NPD
Group. At the same time, the country is showing signs of restaurant
fatigue. Spending in restaurants, which had been growing steadily
since World War II, has been flat since 2001.

Meal assembly centers are not necessarily a return to the home-cooked
food generations grew up eating. For one thing, no one actually cooks
at them. The chopped vegetables and frozen meats at most of the
centers come from industrial food suppliers like Sysco, and recipes
include ingredients like canned wax beans and that old hot dish
standby, cream of chicken soup. Nothing is actually cooked on site,
although workers in the back room might chop scallions or slice raw
beef into serving sizes.
But it may be a start.
"With every generation, fewer and fewer girls -- and boys -- are
growing up hanging around the kitchen," said Laura Shapiro, who writes
about modern cooking in America. "But the incredible popularity of
cooking shows on TV shows that people are hungry to cook, hungry to be
in the kitchen."
Even an "assembled" family meal will always be more meaningful than
takeout because of the physical connection between the cook, the food
and the family, said Bradd Shore, director of the Emory Center on Myth
and Ritual in American Life.
"When a mother says, 'Do you like my lasagna?' that is much more
loaded than 'Do you like the lasagna?' " Dr. Shore said. "The fact
that she made it with her hands is powerful."
Mayra Didomenico, a mother of two and a pharmacist, just wants to save
time and money.
"Every week I go to the supermarket and spend $200 and I still have to
cook it," she said as she filled bags with frozen marmalade-glazed
pork chops at a new Super Suppers store in Bethpage, N.Y.
So why not just buy frozen food? "At least here I am seeing the
ingredients," she said.
In addition to dinner, the centers offer a kind of canned camaraderie.
"People are looking for a communal feeling, whether it's around a
table eating together or in a storefront measuring food into little
bags with their friends," said Marc Halperin, director of the Center
for Culinary Development in San Francisco, which develops products for
clients like Kellogg's and Starbucks.
Meal assembly centers often encourage customers to attend with
friends, drink wine while they "cook" and even dance, as a set of
couples did on a recent night at Super Suppers in Bethpage.
"They turned off the music, pulled out a big-screen TV and we all
watched 'American Idol,' " said Evan Glass, a construction company
Stephanie Allen, who helped found Dream Dinners in the Seattle area in
2002, says her customers first come in with friends, but after two or
three visits return alone. "They want to get in and get out and get
their dinners done," Ms. Allen said. "They can say, this is something
I made, I can have my in-laws over to dinner, and I won't get a hard
time from them."
As long as the in-laws are not food critics. Some of the nation's most
experienced cooking professionals who attended a food panel recently
at New York University had never heard of meal preparation centers.
Once it was explained, they expressed disdain.
"People basically don't want to cook but they don't want to be told
they are not cooking," said Madhur Jaffrey, the Indian cookbook author
and actor. "It's an illusion."

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 1:22PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

It's funny, when I was growing up in the 60's, my mother was the oddball working mother. She was the only one I knew who worked outside of the home. But she taught me how to cook, and how to grow vegetables, and how to iron (okay, I've forgotten how to do that!), and how to do my own laundry. I worked as my kids grew up, but I taught them all these same things (well, except for the ironing) as soon as they were old enough to reach the stove or the washer. Apparently, once again I am the oddball of society! It's amazing that these people don't know how to cook without all the thinking being done for them.

On the one hand, these meal prep centers are certainly a step up from a constant diet of fast food. But they certainly don't break the cycle of kitchen incompetency. I also think it speaks volumes about what an ordeal grocery shopping has turned into. Just look at cereal, for one small example. The size of the cereal aisle in most stores is enormous, and the number of choices is almost endless. And if you have any sort of concern for health, you need to evaluate any new choice for sugar content, trans fat, etc. because the way in which a cereal is promoted may not be supported by its actual ingredients.

When I was a kid, the grocery store was at the end of the block and it didn't take long to do the shopping. Now, all the stores are super stores, located at the edge of town and surrounded by a massive parking lot. I seriously think the distance from my childhood home to the store is about equal to the distance from a typical parking spot back to the milk cooler at my current store. Shopping has become a marathon ordeal and I can see the appeal of avoiding shopping at these meal prep centers. But I still don't think you'll see me at one anytime soon.

Okay, enough of that. The news of the day is that spring hath sprung! I was doing garden cleanup at long last, and at 2:50 I walked into the house to get some water. On the way in I noticed that one clump of iris reticulata was budded. So the water break took a little longer because I ended up finishing my book, and when I went back out at 4:15, THE IRIS WAS BLOOMING! I was so amazed I plunked my butt down on the steps and just stared at it for several moments.

Garden cleanup went well. Of course it's not all done, but I made a sizable dent. Finally got smart this year and I started in the area that I always leave for last and never get done very well. That is in decent shape now, and I cleared all of the baptisia in front of the kitchen window, so I can look out and see the daffs coming up now. I was pleased to see that the arrowwood viburnum that we planted last summer survived the drought and the winter and is covered in buds. I have hope once again!

Okay, I have an eBay auction that I am bidding on and it closes in about fifteen minutes, so I will turn my attention to that. Hasta manana,


    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 6:32PM
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Eden Bellas pics are so cute. I love those little boots.

V, neat about the iris blooming out in the time you were inside. The book must have been good. So what was the hissy fit about?

GB, interesting read about the food prep centers. I don't think it would be for me, but I could see some people doing that I guess.
My pantry and fridge are getting pretty bare. I guess a grocery run is in order for tomorrow. I think I could easily go for ordering groceries like Sue does.
I don't like to cook very much but do an ok job of it I guess. I certainly like streamlined meals during garden season. I never know what time DH will get home anyway, so having a meal on the table at a certain time doesn't work for us. When he is home a lot, like the last couple of months, we like to eat our main meal earlier in the day. We don't sleep well if we eat to late.

I probably will go ahead and cut the type 3s back then. I was thinking it might be to late since they are leafing out already.

I did quite a bit more cleanup today despite having a headache. DH even contributed by cutting back most of the grasses for me. We have found that slipping a rope around them and cutting them with the chainsaw works great. Then you can just carry the whole bundle to where you are burning or shredding them.
He just looks at all my beds and says "you are never going to be able to keep up with all of this" and I just say "I know". LOL
If it weren't for all those #@%$* weeds I might stand a chance.LOL

I didn't sleep worth a hoot last night so am really dragging tonight. I'm going to turn in early.
I hear the sandman calling my name.
G'nite . Norma

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 9:26PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the outlook is for warm and sunny-it must be Monday.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 9:10AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Gardenbug -- these franchise "meals to make & go" places are cropping up here in my area (had not heard of them until a friend attended one) -- I hear most of them being for a kind of social gathering event -- birthday present, bridal shower event, anniversary present. It allows the people to have some social time together while fixing a batch of meals w/ no clean-up involved. Supposedly the one in this area touts fresh ingredients, etc. -- in that respect, I think it has some merit -- if for "convenience" people have turned otherwise to drive-thru food places or the "plastic" frozen prepared foods in the frozen food section (yuck re the preservatives, etc.).... I can see the appeal for a newly wed & her husband -- preparing foods together, etc. I confess initially I had the same "disdain" reaction -- but upon reflection and investigation, found that in fact I think the concept has some merit -- not to live one's life -- but as a kind of experience similar to the "make a bear" workshops and "make your own pottery" workshops that are so popular in this area for birthdays, etc.... not as a regular monthly outing substitute for cooking however. It might also offer some people who do not know how to cook a chance to ask how to "saute" or "cream" something -- if they can't seem to read it in a book or watch cable food shows!

I was frozen to the bone all weekend -- could not warm up -- inside or out - consequently got nothing done outside - kind of a bummer -- and like you Norma, very, very tired today - did not sleep well last nite & wished I'd stayed home! I know Spring will get here eventually but I may freeze before it happens -- and have a dust bowl in my yard -- so dry it's scarey. Drought in March?

Happy Monday, all.... it's definitely warmer here today - as you say, Sue, that means it's gotta be Monday.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 9:30AM
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Sunny here too but not warm...yet. It's supposed to warm up throughout the week though, with chance of rain just about every day. I'll take it over cold though. I've got a hair cut at noon today, I'm considering bangs for a change but I'll probably chicken out. I'm going to swing by Homegoods after that.

Deanne, Of course I'll send you some begonia cuttings. I'm still learning about growing them. There's not alot of information out there but I'm thinking they will like some sun but not full sun. I'm going to try rooting a few more today. I'll let you know what I end up with in a few weeks. As far as your question about hardening off plants I used this portable greenhouse last year and it worked great

Marie, looks like spring at the farm. Are you done painting the kitchen now? I hope we get to see pictures of the finished product when the ceiling's finished.

Norma, hope you're headache's gone. I have concerns of how well I'll keep up with my garden this year too with Bella here so much. I need to cut back my grasses and prune the clematis still too.

We have one of the meal prep stores here. I've been considering trying it out. I'm a good enough cook, but frankly there are other things I'd rather be doing. And I despise grocery shopping. It's just me here for dinner quite a few nights a week and on those nights I'm never disciplined enough to make dinner for just me and usually end up just eating whatever I can scare up around here, usually not the most balanced of meals.

I think I'm going to go take a walk around the garden before I have to leave so have a good Monday everyone.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 9:38AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Yes, it's a beautiful day here as well, so it really must be Monday. Norma, I had a similar thought as your DH as I worked alone on the garden cleanup on Sunday - how would I ever keep up this place on my own? Or when I'm older? But then later I realized I wouldn't be trying to cram so much into the one weekend day that was nice. There have been several weekdays that would have accomodated cleanup activities, but by the time I'm done with work and errands it's hardly worth getting out there.

Interesting morning today - I usually set the alarm for 5:00 but yesterday had turned it back to 6:00. Last night I totally forgot about changing the alarm, but at 5:15 the dogs got me up! I was about to yell at them until I realized the time - then they got a thank you hug. So how did they know, with the light changing every morning and the weekend schedule just past, that it was exactly time for me to get up?

I'm just a tiny bit sore this morning, so I'd better keep moving to avoid locking up. Later,


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 9:47AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Hey, we have one of these dinner prep places near us. They must do a crappy job of advertising because I'd never heard of them or the concept until Marie posted the article. I may try it for garden season when I struggle to get dinner on the table before 9 PM. We are used to eating fresh prepared food every night-nothing fancy, usually grilled or baked meat or fish, a steamed vegetable, and a salad so I'm not sure if the extra salt, sauces and frozen aspect would work but it's certainly worth a try once.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 10:49AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Good morning! Grrrrrrr I had to log in this am for the first time in months! Whats with that?

My dinner party Sat. night was great! It was far too long since we all got together and it was so much better than meeting at a restaurant. We originally met when our kids were just starting high school! So we got to catch up on all our familys doins. B/c of dietary restrictions, I made turkey breasts, mixed roasted veggies, redskins, lots of salad, orange/cranberry muffins, honey wheat bread and a Triffle for dessert. I only had some turkey and veggies left over. Yesterday, I just spaced out so today I have to put away all the serving pieces and straighten out the pantry.

Well, the news here just gets gloomier every day. Tomorrow is supposed to be black Tuesday at the company DH retired from. All the engineers were told to report to the office with their company car, if they have one. No absences allowed even for co business out of town, at suppliers, or for vacations. We heard that all the conference rooms are booked by HR and there will be a fleet of taxis waiting to take those who are pink-slipped home.

Then, DH heard this am, that a week from Wed., this process will be repeated at his company. As you can imagine, were on pins and needles here. I sent our a few more resumes just to throw my hat into the ring in case.

Sue, Im wondering if Nick would benefit from Glycosomine/Conjointin (sp). The vet put Bullet on it a couple yrs. ago for his back and hips. It really helps him and at times, he runs around like a kitten again.

T and Lauren your pix from the last thread are amazing.

Mary and Babs, you guys are such good Moms. I love hearing about how youre so involved with your kids.

V, brag away! Thats fabulous about the awards. And your dinner with DS sounded yummy. Re your discussion re kitchen competency, my Mom was the oddball and worked outside the home, too, on the afternoon shift. From the time I was 10, it was my job after school to watch the younger ones, and to make dinner and cleanup. At first, Mom would do the prep, but as I got older, I took over making everything. My 2 DBs, are both great cooks. In fact, my DB here, grows and freezes all his veggies every year and is the family cook. My SIL doesnt cook. Instead, she does the electrical, plumbing and drywall repairs and remodeling. It works for them!

Deanne, congratulations on having been asked to speak to the Garden Club. You are a Diva, dontcha know. Hmmm, can we get a transcript? That fish dish at your DDs sounds great. When you get a recipe, would you share it? In fact, if anyone has a great recipe for fish, please share. We hate "fishy" tasting fish, so Im always looking for good fish recipes.

Re the Dahlias, I dont usually start them until the first of April b/c they get too big in their pots waiting for the ground here to warm up. If theyre planted in cold soil too soon, they wont thrive.
If any of you seed-or-cutting-aholics, have too many plants, let me know. Ill take any extras. My plant budget is zilch this yr. I only had a few cuttings of Coleus that survived my care this winter.

Eden, the Bella pix are so cute! She could be a model for an ad. Is she starting to talk yet? My GN is just starting to say a few words, the first of which is "NO!" She was 1 yr. old in Dec.

Great pix, bug! Have a safe trip. Loved the idea in that article. Theres a new place that opened near us where you can buy home-cooked entrees for $3.50 ea. What a great idea for seniors or their caregivers.

Oh, Im so jealous of you guys that have a head start on garden cleanup. I still have tons to do and am hoping its warm enough this week to get to it.

The perm discussion I, too get a perm so my fine hair is manageable or its flat and/or sticking out. Since my hair is dry, I dont have to wash it but once or twice a week and then I blow it out and curl it with an iron. The rest of the week, I only need to run a brush thru it and go.

OK, Im off to call the heating contractor again to get him out here to fix the furnace install violations and tons of other stuff around here. Hi to everyone I may have missed, and hope the sun is out where you are!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 11:21AM
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Rainy here today, but at least it isnt snow and it will take down the snow thats left. Yesterday was beautiful, sunny and 55. We went to see McKenzie. As we walked up the sidewalk to the front door, there she stands looking out the sidelight of the door waiting for us. Cute enough to melt a grandmas heart. She got quite a kick out of the pinwheel that we brought her. She caught on quickly that she needed to blow on it to get it going.

Our youth group at church is having a mystery supper tonight and they are having a jungle theme and they like people to dress for it. For some reason I just cant get Rick to dress like Tarzan.
I am also going to the eye Dr. today and hope to pick out new glasses to replace the 16 year old pair that I have. I really only wear them when I dont have my contacts in.

I have heard of the meal prep places. We dont have any around here and wont for a long time. Im not very crazy about cooking these days. When my kids were growing up I was the dutiful mother and prepared home cooked meals for them. Now we throw some meat or fish on the grill, add a salad or vegetable and keep it healthy and simple.

Eden, nice little greenhouse. I can see where it would work well. Bellas pictures are adorable. It looks like she smiles easily. I love the boots just like everyone else.

So, Deanne what did you get after the flower show? We would love to hear your color talk at IU3.

Norma, our dog gets very excited when we start our 4 wheeler too.

Honey, no garden clean up here either. I do try to get most of it done in the fall so I dont feel so pressured in the spring. Thanks for the dahlia info. April 1 is just around the corner.

Back to work. Have a great day.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 11:43AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

DH just called and all the honchos are not in the office. All are in a mtg. somewhere and their offies are locked. Oh dear.

I have a little "greenhouse", too, to harden off my plants. It's nowhere near as large as Eden's. It's just a rack w/5 shelves covered in plastic with a zip front. I use it for my Dahlias and Callas.

Michelle, I do the majority of my clean-up in the fall, too, but there always seems to be a ton to do in the Spring anyway. Some of the trees are budding here quite a bit earlier than usual. It might go to 50 today. Think I'll look at the long-range forecast and see if I can take down the burlap around the rhodos. Anything to take my mind off the other news.

The heating contractor is supposed to come out tomorrow am. If they don't, I'm going to have to go to the Township and or the furnace mfgr. and have them light a fire under him. Geez. I hate to have to fight for something I've paid good money for.

Well, back to the pantry reorg. Later, friends.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 1:12PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Deanne, Yes, I have fungus gnats. What do I do about them? I gripe a lot about them zipping too close to my face, otherwise I do nothing. :-)
No, there are no buds on my orchid cactus. They are in a chilly room, with not much direct light hitting them. My main goal is just keeping them alive until they can go back outside. They are all from the same 'mother' plant, and just like yours. Some one gave me the original start years ago. I don't even remember who.

It is a dreary, chilly, overcast day, and I am feeling the effects......I need SUNSHINE!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 1:24PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Venting time. I spent the morning dealing with two computer problems created by one employee who has the boss convinced that he is a computer whiz. Now I hear at lunchtime that he has been promoted. I'm just a little irked at the moment.

Honey, I am thinking of Tom! It will be a very stressful week or so for him and I wish him the best.

Norma, I forgot you had asked about the "Hissy Fit". The hissy fit occurs when the heroine finds her fiance with her maid of honor the night before the wedding (at the rehearsal dinner). The book is about the fallout from that hissy fit as she pulls her life back together. It's not "fine literature" but it was a good, fast read and just what the doctor ordered. Now I can get back to some more serious reading.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent! Later,


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 2:04PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Deanne, you might want to try beneficial nematodes to get rid of your fungus gnats. You will need to apply them more than once as new larvae will continue to hatch for a while if you've got a good infestation. I'm using these to get rid of vinegar flies in my worm bin. I was please with the service from this company. And the nematodes do work on fungus gnats even though they are not specifically listed on the linked page.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 2:39PM
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taryn(S Ontario Z6B)

Grrrr, just lost 15 minutes of typing! Lets try that again, in Msword this time

I am surfacing from the flu depths and have decent energy today! Hope Deannes DD is feeling better too. It is sunny and 55F! Whoo hoo! Snowdrops are nearly done, Iris reticulata are in bud, tulips are up 2-3" and many perennials are showing new growth. Hellebores, many in pots, will be starting to bloom soon. We are most definitely springing into spring here in Southern Ontario!

But it feels soo strange seeing my garden come to life and knowing Ill be leaving it. My front garden looks very odd without the antique pumps with clematis climbing them. Pumps are in the garage, clems are in pots. The good news is that nearly everything I overwintered in pots to take with me looks like it made it. Had fun pottering in my greenhouse, watering this and that and enjoying the 75s temps in there. Had a viewing yesterday and another one tomorrow. Hopefully we get an offer soon and I can plan my new garden and say goodbye gracefully to this one. Hope I dont go through what David did, leaving his.

V, that would totally tee me offvent away! Very cool fire pics on the last thread BTW.

And T, Brennen was mesmerized by your elk pics! Especially that they come so close to the house.

Eden, Bella is a little doll! What a cutie!

Honey, sending prayers and good vibes that Tom is one of the chosen few who remain. What a stressful situation for all involved. Hang in there. Oh, and totally agree with your latest IU3 email about meals. Maybe we should chip in ahead of time for one of the make-ahead meal places! Seriously, with salad and sides, it could work, without too much work for V. Let me know what I can do to help.

I think those places are a great concept, for those who are too busy to cook on a regular basis. Definitely beats the preservative and trans-fat laden supermarket entrees, or worse, McDonalds for dinner, which so many harried families seem to fall into. What Id love to see is one of these places open up that uses hormone free, grass fed beef, free range chicken, chemical, preservative and pesticide free ingredients, organic vegetables. Would be great to have options like low-carb, wheat and gluten-free, dairy free as well. Itd be huge!

Re hardening off: In my pre-greenhouse days I followed the "start with 15 minutes of sun and double the time every day" method, until they are in the amount of sun they like. When they are finished their sun time, put them in a shady spot sheltered from major wind, but open to gentle breezes to toughen up those tender stalks. Takes about a week for full-sun plants, but works great, no sunburn, and they are ready go in the ground after that, hardy perennials that is. Tender babies of course will have to wait until risk of frost is over. Oh I wish I had some seedlings to harden off!

Deanne, see this link re gnats, which is a search on the Growing from Seed forum:


They are a pain in the butt.

Sue, if youre certain that Nicks problems are joint related, Id be happy to send you a trial sized Lakota K9 for him to try. I have many repeat customers on Ebay who give it to their older dogs for arthritis, hip dysplasia and general joint stiffness, with great results. Feedback has been nothing but positive. See link below and let me know.

Well it is way too nice to be inside, so Ebay and the muhly grass listing will have to wait. Im going to go do some garden cleanup in the front garden, make it look perdy for prospective buyers. And get some dirt under my nails! Yeah! If there is anyone who hasnt gotten back to me about seeds, email me with your picks and your snail mail addy and theyll go out tomorrow.

Hi to all, and sending sun to Marian and those who need it!

Taryn :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 3:47PM
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taryn(S Ontario Z6B)

Thanks to everyone who voted for my friend Sue's messy garage--just got this email from her--she WON!!!

"Yes it's true---I do own the messiest garage. I have not humiliated myself for nothing though--they are on the way to save the day!
Thanks to all who voted! And if you need any junk??????
No need to worry though--the $4500.00 prize includes 1-800-Got -JUNK truck!
And I am sorry I sounded like a foolish idiot on the radio this morning if anyone caught it! I had my acceptance speech all ready but emotion overtook me. Again.
Thanks again, you are welcome to go through the garbage pile.
PS-Harold is freaking out that he may have to part with something"

LOL, I missed her on the radio. Thanks again everyone who voted!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 3:51PM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Great news Taryn, about your friend winning the new garage and on having some prospective buyers coming this weekend! I've got my fingers, toes, arms, etc. crossed for you. And I'm glad you're finally feeling better! Whew, you've really had a time of it with the bug.

Thanks V, and all about Tom's job. It's just nerve racking. Sorry, I'm whining. I know we're better off than many but it's scary and frustrating all the same. On a conference call this afternoon, Tom's boss (who's a piece of work) made a profound statement to the honcho -- "We need to identify all those who have hands-on plant experience as well, so we can survive and compete." The big guy said, "Great idea!" (Duh) Who knows? Maybe that'll save Tom's job.

V, please take what Taryn and I said to heart about food for IU3. And remember: You're working, I'm home and I can help you before and during. Please take me up on it!

Before dinner, I walked the garden. There are alot of daffodils popping up where I thot I had removed them all. I think the squirrels moved some Crocus from Ruth's into my yard and there are Allium coming up in strange places. What an adventure this year's garden will be. I haven't a clue where I moved everything last fall.

OK, we're fed, bathed and ready for the couch and it's only 8 pm. Hmmmm. Must be gettin' old! Later,


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 8:04PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Taryn, thanks for the offer of the Lakota. We've never had Nick formerly dagnosed but if I had to guess I'd say he has disc problems. He'll be 6 in May so he's still a fairly young dog. From a confirmation standpoint his body is a bit longer than it should be and he's very active in the running and jumping department. For the past couple of days I suspected he might be playing us and my suspicions were confirmed today when he came barrela$$ing up the stairs after me because I was snacking on a handful of cereal. For the past week we've been carrying him upstairs and onto the bed even though every time I open the back door he tears across the yard like a bat out of hell. I smell a rat...lol.

So, Honey, Tom escaped unscathed today I take it? He strikes me as a man who lands on his feet. We went through that 5 years ago when Tom's company closed his plant. Luckily his plant was the first to close and he got a decent severance package (and a better job with a competitor). The other plants weren't as lucky when the company eventually went bankrupt and closed abruptly. Those people got nothing. The pension is now being administered by the federal govt and so much for retiree benefits. Welcome to a global economy I guess.

Will Ei be part of IU3? Even if she can't devote the time I would still like to meet her.

V, I hear you on the work vent. I call that "screw up, move up" but it seem to be an exclusively male phenomenon.

It was beautiful here today-sunny and mid 50s. I bolted from work right away tonight and took an hour walk outside. Pretty soon I'm going to have to start choosing between workouts and garden work but I think I'll wait and see how behind I get.

I've been spending a little time after dinner every night cleaning up my desk and have made great progress. If I keep the ball rolling maybe I'll get my mom's taxes done before she gets here on Friday. Then I can start mine. So on that note.....

Nite, nite,


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 8:54PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Honey, whine away; you're entitled! I hope that Tom's experience works in his favor.

I left work in a rather pissy mood. I should clarify that the job this guy was promoted to is not one that I am qualified for or that I want. But I'm worried that he's not qualified either. So his 1st computer crisis was the result of him not closing out a program properly. Crisis #2 was resolved by turning the printer on and off. While I was solving that problem with my incredible skill (caution - sarcasm behind that comment) he was asking another employee if they had a charger he could use for his phone. The second employee volunteered her car charger. When I left the office tonight, her car's hood was up and she was getting a jump from another employee. Yes, he drained her battery. I'm worried!

This post has done a wonderful job of helping me procrastinate on a job that I don't want to do. I think it's time to "just do it!" Sleep tight!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 9:21PM
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It must be spring because I've been waking up at 5:30 or 6 the last few days. All winter it was about 7:30. It even feels springlike here today, though a little rainy, but we're being promised two beautiful days in the 70s Thursday and Friday. Just housework going on here today, unless my mom and dad stop by, and Bella will be here all day. I need to follow Taryn's lead and get out and water some of the things I overwintered in the little greenhouse too. V, hope you have a stressfree day at work today. Not much else to say for now so have a good day. TTYL, Eden

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 7:17AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Busy busy here with guest, work and leaving Friday....Charlotte is acting strange. Hmmm. DH has tons to do and is acting strange as well. ;-)

I thought my mother was the only mother in the universe who worked as we were growing up. DH's Mom worked as well. So why did we all think this was strange? Because our friends' mothers were at home with aprons on and ironing their lives away while comparing detergent brands? Could be...

The kitchen will not be really done for at least another week. I will contribute a photo though folks when that happens.

Thinking of Tom & Honey, Nick and many others. Ei, how cool that we all will be gathering in July. There's a chance that I might meet up with EP at the airport in OK later this week. Wouldn't that be cool?

OK, off to do breakfast, some more clematis pruning, go to the dump and THEN, visit a way cool shop with my friend Lynn, the lady joining us at IU3. Maybe a manicure tomorrow? That would be FINE!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 7:47AM
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Hoody hoo!

I feel like a bad idyll-I just haven't had time to post much with better weather here and just daily activities. I did want to stop by and tell Honey I'm thinking of you and Tom-hoping that all goes well. I just can't imagine the atmosphere on a black Tuesday when this stuff happens. Hugs.

Yippee that Ei is coming to IU3!
Is there a limit to how many bottles of wine a passenger can take on a plane? I was wondering about that...; )

GB tell EP we miss her!

Did some garden cleanup yesterday....it cracks me up that a tiny square inch of debris my yard fills a complete garbage bag. If I had the space I'd have a humongous compost pile-and I'm not even joking! Shh don't tell anyone but this time I haven't seen one pile of deer doo in the yard and nothing has been browsed-that's unusual for my yard. Hopefully this will be a good growing season for all of us.

Taryn you are well again? I'm so glad! Whatever is out there really knocks people off their feet. I'm not sure if it's flu but it seems to linger.
Sorry I didn't get to vote for your friend-good that she won! I think that was during my 'flat on my back' moment. That would be so fun-my garage is horrendous.

Deanne-YES-I want to hear your color presentation!

Have a good day everyone!

Eden I loved the Bella pics-she's such a beautiful child: )


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 9:25AM
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vegangirl(z6 VA)

I have a few sore muscles this morning:-) Yesterday, we moved 3 small trees and 11 shrubs from my nursery beds. After supper, I sanded the powder room door trim so it's ready to prime today. Sunday, i planted several pots of seeds that need to go in the cold frame for some freeze-thaw cycles. I should have planted them a couple of months ago.

V, how frustrating about your co-worker. Sounds like he's could be dangerous for all types of machinery!

Deanne, DH sprayed Safer's Insecticide on his African violets and that got rid of the fungus gnats. They were on some dying af's that he rescued from Walmart for 10 cents each. Three of them died but the other 5 are growing great.

Taryn, glad you're feeling better. a couple of friends from church have had something like that since March 1 and are still hoarse and coughing. Must be pretty nasty:-( I hope your house showings result in some action. I would have a hard time leaving my garden I think. Congrats to your friend Sue! i would be like her DH, worrying about what I would have to get rid of LOL!

Honey, I wish the best for Tom. I know it's nerve-wracking. My aunt planted a bunch of crocus and they bloomed the following spring, The spring after that they all appeared in the neighbors and she had none in her yard. It was a mystery until she saw a chipmunk digging them up and carrying them back to her yard. It moved every single one of the bulbs back to my aunts yard!

Sue, chuckling about Nick:-) Dogs are so smart. When I was a teen, I had a feist who liked to chase cars. When I would come out of the house to yell at him, he would start limping. The first few times I fell for his trick until I saw him switch feet and start limping on the other one. BTW, he did learn to not chase cars:-)

My mother worked the biggest part of my childhood and I stayed with my grandparents. I only got to go home on weekends because both my parents worked second shift. when I got to be around 12, I was allowed to stay home by myself until they got home about 1 a.m. As a young child I felt very unloved and had the idea that my parents didn't want me around. As I grew older, I realized why I had to be away from home and understand the situation better.

Eden, I love getting up very early in the summer too. What a neat greenhouse. I'm dreaming of one someday. But..we have to finish the house first:-)

Michelle, LOL about Tarzan! Had you planned to dress as Jane? :-)

Re the meal prep stores: My first thought was "Hey DD and I should start a vegan meal prep store". But my second thought was that I don't need any extra work to do right now.

Norma, I always wanted naturally curly hair. It used to be more so when I was a child but in the 70's when it was waist length it must have stretched all the curls out.

Marian I hope you're getting some sunshine today. I know that feeling very well.

DH is calling me so gotta run. Hi to all I didn't get to yet.
Good day to all

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 9:30AM
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Oh no! I just did the wonderful 'erase' my post as I was correcting a spelling error. :o(

The shorthand version of what I wrote:

Sun's up, thinking of the Idylls who love bright mornings.

Bella's a doll, Jamie thought so too. ("Oh! A baby!")

I went with DD to her Dr. appt. yesterday. I heard two little hearts beating. All seems to be well.....an ultrasound will be done next week.

Taryn, so glad that your friend won! I couldn't find her freezer that she mentioned so I knew she needed to win. ;o) Glad it happened for her.

Honey, you & Tom are on my mind.

V, sorry about your day.......hope today is much improved.

Babs, I enjoy seeing your name on the posts!!! :oD

Drema, how is the commute going? The new job?

Marian, hope the sun shines in your life today.

GB, hope you have an uneventful time traveling and I do hope you get to meet EP.

Sue, Nick sounds like a smart little dog. I had to take Henry to the vet yesterday, again. They may have found the problem & I'll take him in again next week for a (final?) check up. I'm ready to be done with vets.

Deanne.............how are you doing? How was the flower show?

I can't remember what else was in my very nice post.....other than hello to Michelle and I hope that snow you've been dealing with it completely melted.

Exciting that Ei might be able to attend IU3!

I just see on the news that Disneyland and Honolulu are both having lots of rain.....I feel for those who went to those destinations for spring break.

Hope it is a good day! :oD


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 9:41AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Did I miss something....when did Eileen say she would be at the IU3 ?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 9:46AM
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Marian, good morning.

I believe Ei has been in contact with some of the other Idylls and that she is hoping to attend. I hope she is able to do so.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 10:11AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Hi all, Im back from the Keene flower show and it was definitely worth all the time and effort. The back of the Suburban is STUFFED with plants I bought for cheap, cheap, cheap. My estimate is about $600.00 worth of plants for $110.00. One of the displays had these gorgeous HUGE trailing fuchsias (12" pots) that were not flowering yet. I bought two the first night for $5.00 apiece and the next day the rest of them were still there. People didnt see flowers so they didnt buy them so I scooped the other three for $2.00 a piece!!!! Can you imagine? They are Fuchsia Dark Eyes and Swingtime. I also got four Fuchsia Golden Marinka one Sun Ray and four of those new Shadow Dancer Peggy. The Shadow Dancer varieties are compact with single outward facing flowers and just as sweet as it gets. Then I got this new coleus called The Flume that is really different, one Dappled Apple and one Gays Delight coleus, a large specimen of Iresine Purple Lady, two huge flats of nice looking alyssum, a large Plectranthus Lemon Twist a nice perennial grass (no tag).I also picked up eight pots of HUGE hyacinths, in bloom for two dollars a pot. Each pot has five or six enormous bulbs and Ive successfully planted these flower show hyacinths out in the gardens in the past so that was a great buy. Oh yes I also picked up an enormous new Proven Winners Lantana Tropical Fruit that has the loveliest variegation in the leaves and other various and assorted things that were going to be thrown out so they just gave them to me. Im in plantaholic heaven! LOL

Bug, loved your pics of your daffodils emerging. Looks like spring is getting there. We are having a beautiful day today with sunny skies and temps in the 50s. Im playing hooky from the gym and working out in the gardens.

Whoops, must run. Ill be back later to comment. Just wanted to tell you about the loot! LOL


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 10:29AM
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taryn(S Ontario Z6B)

Well, my firstborn not-quite-twelve-year-old Shane has had his heart broken for the first time. :( He got a "Dear John" letter from Kaitlyn yesterday, which I didn't hear about (or have an inkling of based on yesterday's normal behaviour) until this morning. He's at home, against my better judgement, because he wasn't up to facing everyone, who all know the sad truth. I told him it's best to walk in there head held high and face it, act like you don't care. So did Glenn, and his teacher and principle (we did get as far as the school parking lot this morning). But caved and now he has one day to mend his broken heart and pride and get himself back in the saddle. Ah, puppy love!

Sue, if I didn't know better I'd think Nick was taking lessons from Bullet, lol! I think some dogs are more cat-like than we give them credit for, Odie and Garfield notwidthstanding, lol! Lemme know if you ever do want to try the Lakota K9

VG, so nice to have you back again! Yes, a vegan food prep place would be along the lines I'm thinking, catering to specialty diet groups. But you do sound too busy!

Saw Sue at the school this morning. Though looking puzzled as to why the principle and I and Shane were having a discussion by my Aerostar, before that she was grinning ear to ear. I'm so happy for her (poor Harrold, lol!) :)

Babs, you're never a bad Idyll! Oh and BTW, have you discovered those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers yet? They are not only wonderful for taking crayon marks off walls, black soccer shoe skid marks off floors, but also grape juice and coffee marks off counters, ring around the tub off the tub, and more. I got black permanent marker off my dining room table in seconds, lucky for Brennen. And they don't bother the eczema on my hands like bleach and other cleaners. BTW what kind of laundry detergent do you use? Inquiring minds want to know, lol!

Well, got to clear seeds off the dining table, do a couple of Ebay listings, tidy kitchen, sweep floors, clean bathrooms, do laundry, mine the catbox, microwave apple/cinnamon/sugar to fill the house with the lovely aroma of apple pie, make Glenn's dinner (lunch) for nightshift, tidy a bit more in the front garden, tend to Shane's broken heart, spritz and damp-dry Glenn's work clothes (I don't do ironing). Oh, and then go to the dentist for a cleaning, and to make sure the mouth-guard I had made fits properly. Seems stress is making me grind my teeth at night and I have lovely pressure-cracks forming on my teeth. Hope the fitting is more fun than having the mold made. THAT would have been a photo op! Pink gloop all over my face, and nearly choking me, lol! Our viewing is between 3-4:00pm, and 28 is both my and Glenn's lucky number, so maybe this will be the one...

Sunny day to all!



    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 10:50AM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

My ears were burning for some reason and so I thought I'd better check the Idylls...LOL!

Good Morning Idylls!
This will have to be short, but I just wanted to pop in and say Hi! Did I hear my name mentioned?! Yep, I definitely want to meet all you Idylls! :-) I couldnt imagine you all being *here* and me not getting a chance to meet you wonderful folks! Would *love* to have you all here to my house too for a lunch/brunch if I can work it out(whatever fits in the scheme and if V doesn't mind my keeping her hanging about that aspect of it for a while longer). I just don't know what I will be able to do until I see how things go with my sis. We start the chemo next Monday. She will go two days in a row one week and then one day the following week and this will go on into August. The doctor does seem to believe she can beat it and I have faith in him. He came highly recommended and is one of only a handful of gynecological oncology specialists in the state of Illinois, so were hoping for the best outcome. Anyway, as far as having you all over here...I would *love* to do it(though I couldnt promise how great my gardens will look or how clean my house will be) it all depends on how time goes. BTW, just how many of you are coming this way? :-) Gulp! LOL! Just kidding, I can't wait to meet you all!

I have had to take a lot of time off work for the last two weeks (luckily they havent been too busy). But, if it wasnt my friends husbands business, Im sure I would be fired by now. Ive been thinking I may have to ask them to let me go, as its not fair to them and it looks like at a minimum I would have to miss at least two days of work each week. Well, well see...Im just rolling with the punches right now.

Had a wonderful visit with some of the old gardening gals last Friday night. It was *wonderful* to see them and I had a great time! It also made me realize how I really need to be around my friends more...good for my spirits and provides balance in my life! :-) Other than that have not been doing much. Did start a little seed. Mary...your Pink Petticoats are starting to come up!:-) I have 3 strong seedlings going. Also seeded some of my lupines and they are coming up too! Coleus are doing good and made two cuttings from my fuchsias - Thanks Babs & Deanne! :-) Looks like they are going to take...keeping my fingers crossed! Hope to try getting some of the Dahlias and Cannas going this week-end. Deanne and Michelle I didnt forget about you. Michelle I emailed you awhile back...did you get it? Deanne, Im hoping to send Freckles and Illustris over the next few weeks. Maybe Ill even a run a vacuum through this house! Its a mess and has been totally ignored. Keeping in mind Edens (?) housecleaning episode,Ill be wearing my crash helmet!:-)

LOL! Laughing at myself, I have never seen so many choppy sentences in my life! Oh well, by now I'm sure you guys have figured out how to "cipher" my writing! :-)

Oh V- I lost your email. Were you going to call me this week? Anyway, Im here, but in and out...looking forward to talking to you soon though!

A Chicago welcome to the Idylls...

The Blues brothers - Sweet home Chicago

Come on
Oh baby don't you wanna go
Come on
Oh baby don't you wanna go
Back to that same old place
Sweet home Chicago

Come on
Baby don't you wanna go
Baby don't you wanna go
Back to that same old place
Oh sweet home Chicago
Well, one and one is two
Six and two is eight
Come on baby don't ya make me late

Baby don't you wanna go
Back to that same old place
Sweet home Chicago

Come on
Baby don't you wanna go
Back to that same old place
Sweet home Chicago
Six and three is nine
Nine and nine is eighteen
Look there brother baby and see what I've seen

Baby don't you wanna go
Back to that same old place
Sweet home Chicago
Oh come on
Baby don't you wanna go
Come on
Baby don't you wanna go
Back to that same old place
Sweet home Chicago


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 10:53AM
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Hi Ei, it is great to see an update from you! My best to your sister and it sounds like she has a great doctor. I've been missing your posts. :OD

Mary.......how goes things?

Deanne, sounds like you did very well again this year!! Eager to see your haul when you get photos of it all.

It was sunny this morning but the clouds have moved in a bit. I need to get out of this chair and go move laundry around and then do something really impressive........laundry? drawer cleaning? Vacuuming? Heck, but I lead a very boring life! :oP

Oh! Maybe the horse & goats would like their morning hay! Oops! Gotta go!

Taryn, best of luck with the house showing and I hope by tomorrow that Shane's heart will be mended a bit.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 11:11AM
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Taking a break from the vacuum. And yes Ei, it was me who was viciously attacked by my own vacuum. I turned my back on it for just a minute. Don't take your eye off of yours. You can't trust them, lol.

Ei, I'm so glad to hear there's positive news for your sister. Add me to the list who would love to see you in person at IU3. I hope it works out.

Deanne, great score on the plants. You got some real goodies there. I tried The Flume last summer and didn't have any luck with it so I'll be interested to hear how it does for you. Mine just seemed to fade away but I know if anyone can grow it you can. I loved the long narrow leaves on it, maybe I should try it again. I forgot to mention this before but I too would love to hear your talk on Color Theory at IU3. That would be a highlight of the trip for me.

Taryn, Poor Shane! Puppy love can be tough on their tender hearts but they seem to bounce back quickly if I remember quickly from experiences with my kids. I hope this afternoons showing proves to be the one for you.

VG, I bet a vegan meal prep store would go over really well. I too dream of having a "real" greenhouse some day. Or better yet a house with a conservatory. Wouldn't that be cool all filled with tropicals.

T, that's so cool that you got to hear the babie's heartbeats.

Babs, that's great news that the deer have left your garden alone this winter. I'm hoping that I'll be able to some garden cleanup later this week too.

On the subject of working moms vs. stay at home moms I think good parenting depends on many factors but this isn't one of them. I chose to be a stay at home mom and my sister chose to have a career and both of our children turned out pretty well I think. I think one way can be just as fulfilling to a woman as the other. It just depends on the individual. I do have a problem with stay at home moms being portrayed as mindless housework drones though...that's a sore spot with me.

Well, breaktimes over. So back to it for me.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 1:54PM
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Taryn, Im glad to hear that you are shaking that nasty bug you had. How cool that your friend won the garage makeover. I use the Mr. Clean sponges. They are great for lots of uses.

T, how special to hear the 2 heart beats.

My mom worked out of the home when we were growing up. She sewed clothing for ladies especially those with plus sizes. I dont think there was much in stylish attire available for those sizes back then.

Deanne, what a haul you made. What fun it must have been.

Ei, great to have you pop in. I sent you an email. I didnt get yours-bummer.

I came home from the eye Dr. with 6 frames. I was in a hurry so I picked without looking at prices. The Ralph Lauren pair that was $261 was the first to be elimated. I may stop back for more. DH always tells me that we will never build a house because every decision is such a big one for me.

It is cloudy here today and was very foggy on the way to work. The weather is supposed to warm up, but rain for the next 3 days. So it will be warm on the weekend but probably very wet.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 1:54PM
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Hello Idylls

Ei - I'm so, so, so EXCITED!!! I'll also be thinking of your sister as she starts Chemo.

This week is busy for me and I might not have much Idylling time as I'm in the middle of preparing for the Memorial Concert on Friday. About 50 musicians (including Annie and myself) are playing in a concert to raise money for a scholarship fund in each of Susan's daughters names. Susan's brother and SIL are flying in from Taiwan and we are expecting a large audience. So far things are going well, rehearsals have come together and plans for the reception afterwards are in place. But I still have a lot to do this week including arranging a meal for all the performers, programs and flowers for the stage. I'm trying to think calming thoughts!

I've enjoyed a quick scan and will look forward to a more leasurely read at the weekend.

Best to everyone


    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 5:42PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

What a day at work! We had to have a computer tech out to hook up some new equipment, and a new guy came out this time. The last guy was straight out of central casting for a computer nerd. Nice guy, very capable but very nerdy. The new guy? W-O-W! 6'2", dark hair, grey-green eyes, incredible biceps and a deep tan. Got the picture? Oops, a little drool on my keyboard...

So I help him load up the computer equipment to drive over to the remote office, and little do I know that the lunch room is abuzz about me driving off with the "hot guy". They're all joking about what sort of compromising position we'll be found in when R., who works in that office, returns from lunch. Well, when R. comes back to his office, "hot guy" is on his hands and knees under a desk, and his very tight-fitting black shirt has pulled halfway up his well-tanned back. I thought I would bust a gut trying to stifle my laughter.

The good news is that "hot guy" knew what he was doing and the equipment change went smoothly. And he was a fun distraction for the afternoon. (No, I don't mean it like THAT!)

I see that Ei has posted her happy news. I'm keeping her and her sister in my prayers and hoping for the very best for them.

The dogs and I did a tour of the yard today. My For-Cynthia from last year's plant swap is full of buds, and the prairie smoke has the first buds on it. I forgot that I planted those lovely purple and white crocus in one bed and smiled to see them. Lots of bulbs starting to emerge everywhere. Mystic grabbed a pine bough that had blown off a concrete planter and spent his time barreling around the yard with his prize. If the weather cooperates on Friday and Saturday, I should have most of the clean up done by the time Dh gets home from the Bahamas. I hope that impresses him!

Mary, good luck with the concert!

Taryn, good luck with the showings. Glad to hear that Sue won - it looked like she deserved it, um, I mean, uh, she needed it!!! Hope Shane recovers quickly from Kaitlyn - gotta watch those Kaitlyns, we had a problem with one here! Funny thing is, her parents still sigh everytime I see them; I think they're the ones with the broken hearts. Oh well, the new girlfriend is even nicer and Shane will find the same one day.

Okay, early bedtime tonight because I have that slight buzzy feeling in my head. I will not get sick, I will just get well-rested.



    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 9:14PM
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Good Morning, It looks like today will finally be a beautiful spring day. The birds woke me with their singing this morning. I have Bella today but will try to get some garden cleanup done during her naps. Brad's going to work on the pond this morning, getting out all of the leaves and debris and starting up the pump.

Mary, I'll be thinking of you this week as you get things prepared for the memorial concert. What a special tribute it will be.

V, loved the story of your hunky computer tech. I noticed a few buds on my crocus yesterday too. It was a very welcome sight. I love seeing all the bulbs I planted in the fall starting to emerge. It's usually a surprise for me. I always forget what I've planted.

I'm going to go get this day started. Lot's to do here. Hope you all have a great day. We're halfway to the weekend.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 7:14AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Good sunny morning all, including any lurking computer tech hunks out there.

Today will start with a workman doing caulking in the kitchen and a painter priming and painting there as well. Then friend Lynn and I are off for manicures, something I VERY SELDOM do. A good way to begin the garden season I think. Perhaps if I manage to wear gloves my hands will stay OK?

Challenges on the DD front and these have me preoccupied and unhappy. When we meet this weekend, I hope things smooth out some. I'm not sure I want to know more, but at least DH will be there too to balance out the concerns.

Been watching lots of movies here...all of them OK, nothing fantastic though.

I've been pricing bricks for the vegetable garden, but nothing finalized yet unfortunately. Lots of clean-up and pruning done, but lots more to go too.

Later friends! Enjoy your Wednesday!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 7:33AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning all,

The temps fell down to 30 last night but it is supposed to go up to the mid-60s today with sunny skies. Woohoo! A garden day today for sure. Im hoping to be able to get the driveway garden cleaned out today. What a surprise I had this morning when I went to let Luke outside. Rahjii was already out and when I opened the door to let Luke out Rahjii was sitting on the top step with every single hair on his body sticking straight out! He turned around and zoomed in the house then Luke did the same. When I looked up there was a turkey on the front yard!!!! Well that is a first for me. Some of you guys have seen where I live and youd never expect to see a wild turkey on the front lawn here. Amazing. Too funny that the cats were afraid of the bird.

I was pretty sad yesterday to find one of my older fishies died over the weekend. I have no idea what caused it as all the other fish in the tank are just fine. He was my big male with beautiful finnage. I buried him under an urn in the garden.

Thanks to everyone for the vote of confidence on wanting to hear my lecture on color in the garden. Ill make a stab at getting that put together for IU3 so you guys can critique me and I can make improvements for the garden club here. Surprisingly, they even want to pay me for this. I told them Id do it for free but they insisted on paying me.

V, do you need me to send you a roll of paper towels for that drool???? You are too funny! ~~ Thanks kindly for the info on the fungus gnats. That is exactly the product I was looking for but couldnt remember where Id seen it.

Eileen!!! Im so thrilled that you are still going to participate in IU3! How neat. No worries about the coleus and Illustris. If you have time then that is fine but if not please do not worry about it. Im not in desperate need for more plants. LOL It was wonderful to see your post. ~~ Im so glad to hear that your sisters doctor has a positive prognosis and outlook. That can make such a difference. Thinking positive thoughts for you, your sister and family. And yes, do keep in touch with friends. My friends keep me from getting tunnel vision and are such good sounding boards when Im troubled about anything. Sometimes just having a sympathetic ear with a loving heart can make all the difference in being able to deal with difficult situations.

Mary that concert sounds fantastic and how wonderful that Annie will be playing as well. I know it is going to be a huge success.

Michelle, I wish Id had access to someone like your Mom when I was heavy. There were NO stores around here that carried anything in my size. I used to go for years without ever finding a piece of clothing that fit me. Forget about blue jeans or anything like that. I think that is probably why Im a bit over the top with my wardrobe these days. Im always amazed that I can walk into any store and find a selection of clothing in my size these days. ~~ You are too funny with the glasses frames. Im going to have to agree with your DH about building a house. Im a pretty fast decision maker but when we put this addition on the house youd have thought my life depended on what tile I chose for the bathroom or what light fixture I put over the dining room table. ~~ Im expecting to be able to dig your hosta in the next couple weeks. I know Im supposed to send you canna tubers along with that. Were there any coleus or fuchsia you wanted me to send too?

Eden, Love Bellas birthday photos. She is just so cute! ~~ LOL about not turning your back on your vacuum cleaner. Mine tends to trip me on the stairs so I know what you mean about not being able to trust them. Drasty things! ~~Ill let you know how I get on with The Flume. It is a really different looking plant and I think needs to be a large enough specimen to show itself to best advantage. I know the cuttings I took are pretty underwhelming but the plant I took it from was pretty spectacular looking. ~~ I googled pics of that Golden Marinka fuchsia and that is a terrific looking plant when mature. Ill have to send you cuttings of that one. ~~ I just love your little greenhouse. Youve made up my mind and Im going to have to get one of those for myself. When do you set it up and get the plants outside and do the temps still get below freezing outside and it stays OK in there? Do you use any kind of shade cloth?

Taryn, glad to hear that you are feeling better. Sorry about Shanes broken heart. I remember when one of MJs boys had his first let down. They are pretty cute at that age and take it all so seriously.

T, still havent gotten pics of the loot yet. Yesterday got pretty busy but Ill try to get to it today.

VG thanks for the info about the Safers Insecticide. Ive used that and it didnt eliminate the gnats for some reason. Maybe I have super gnats. LOL ~~ Sounds like youve been pretty busy. How is the house coming along?

Babs, you are too funny about bringing the wine on the plane. You know, they do have stores in IL. LOL

Sue, that Nick is quite the actor. LOL ~~ Did you get your taxes done? ~~ Oh yes, Im so bummed out that you can get here early on the day of the lecture but Im teaching and wont be able to get back to Nashua until 4:30. Surf opens at 4:30 so Im planning on meeting you here at the house at 4:15. No reason you cant swing over to Mixed Border if you get up here that early and need something to do. Wah

Honey, how are things there re Toms job??? Thinking of you guys and having sympathy anxiety attacks for you.

Marian, hows your weather??? Have you gotten any sunshine yet? We have finally had a spell of lovely sunny days here.

OK I think Im caught up now. Its time for me to get to the gym so I can get myself outdoors for the day. I have a lunch planned with a girlfriend today and wish I didnt. LOL Only a gardener would understand that one.

Have a great day everyone,

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 7:46AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Good morning to what looks like another great day. I envy you people who have the freedom to take advantage of weather like this. We're supposed to get our first rain in weeks on of all days, Saturday. My mom will be here so most of the weekend will be shot anyway. I'm itching to get out in the garden after work but am reluctant to give up the workouts. Something will have to give soon but I've decided to wait and see how behind I get on the spring clean up front. Since I slacked off last fall I have a real mess in some parts of the garden-especially the east side. I cringe every time I look in that garden...lol.

Ei, I'm so glad you were able to come back and that you're going to be adding to the fun at IU3. Great news on your sister's prognosis. You all must be very encouraged. I'll be thinking of you both.

Speaking of smart dogs, my first mini schnuazer, Zak, was a real card. We didn't have a fenced yard when we just had him and used to take him out for his walks unleashed. Usually he was pretty good but every so often he'd ignore you when you called him. If he ignored me I would start marching towards him. When you got within a few feet he would lift his leg on the nearest item and look at you like "Can't you see I'm busy?". lol I miss my boy.

Deanne, no the taxes aren't done. I took last night off from paperwork. It shouldn't take long though now that all the rental property is gone and I have no home sale issues. I have to do my mom's first but hers are simple.

V, we had the hunky computer tech guy here yesterday too. This guy is the lead programmer for the company we use to install and maintain our software. The girls swoon over him and I admit he's handsome but just not my type.

My boss is in Tuczon for the rest of the week so I'm footloose and fancy free. I can tell he's still distracted at me for voicing my opinion last week about not being included in important company functions. An opinion he doesn't share BTW. He thinks I'm imagining things. Oh well...everyone's entitled to their own wrong opinion I guess.

Mary, good luck with your concert. What a great idea. It's nice that so many people are coming together to remember Susan and her family.

OK, I know there is some work around here that needs to get done. Better go find it.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 9:01AM
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Good morning!

Didn't have a good looking computer guy here yesterday, just a pecker (woodpecker that is) that was doing this damage to the front of our house.

I didn't hear anything, not sure it happened yesterday, but DH noticed it when he drove up to the house last night. He was not a happy camper. We hung up an old computer disk to hopefully scare the dastardly bird away from the area (we need some ventilation holes elsewhere I guess). Other than that and an O.D. (overdose) of chocolate.......yesterday was good. :oD

Hope all are well!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 9:47AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Our weather has turned lovely and sunny the past couple of days. I wish I could say that for my disposition ! This ear and nose thingy has pretty well got me down. I bought a stronger type of sinus med in town yesterday. It is not good for my high BP, and will probably zonk me out pretty soon, but maybe I will feel better when the drowsiness wears off.I have ran around outside and cut back my type 3 clematis this morning. They were already leafing out, but I was ruthless anyway. I need to dig, and move, the Comtesse de Bouchaud. It is not blooming since the Bladdernut grew up and shaded it too much.At least I am presuming that is it's problem.

Eileen, I am sooo happy to see you post again. Sorry that I have been so remiss in contacting you. I am just not functioning with a full deck ! I do think of you, and your love ones. And pray that all will go well with you all.
I had a friend who had a similar diagnosis as your sis. She went through all the chemo, and was so dreadfully ill that we didn't think she could possibly make it, but she did, had lived a full productive life afterwards. Only God knows what the outcome will be for any of us.
Molly is in her permanent location, where I can see her from our front windows. She is growing well. None of the lupine has came up, and if the forget-me-nots have, I do not recognize them. :-(

The Brug that Deanne sent me is growing nicely. Something nipped off some of the leaves. I think it may heve been slugs. I checked it, and it's pot, and couldn't find any, but moved it to what I hope is a safer location.

Every time I go to town one or more plants follow me home. Some are for indoors, others for out. I managed to restrain myself yesterday, since I was feeling so very bad.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 10:38AM
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OK that's it. We need to have a plant intervention session for Deanne! You are HILARIOIUS with your plant hoarding tendencies,girl! Those fuchsias were SO cheap!!

Taryn I hope Shane is feeling better today. It really is so sad to see your child so broken up about a girl and all we can think is "this won't be the last time either"(such a terrible truth). AJ still holds a torch for a friend he's known since kgarten whose family moved away last year. She really IS a sweet girl and I always think who knows, one day they might run into each other and the rest will be history. We still email her. Lots of girls like AJ but he tells me he will never forget his kgarten love. They say you never forget your first: )

Mary-The scholarship funds are such a perfect tribute! It's such a loving gesture-her family must think the world of you! I hope you are holding up well-how busy you sound!

V! What,no bum shot to satisfy our imaginations???? LOL

HI EILEEN!: ) How's it going? You've got some pretty happy friends here with your IU3 news! I think you know my thoughts have been with all of your family and I'm praying for the best outcome for your sister. You really are a good sister-she's lucky to have you. As always take good care of yourself-are you still doing Curves? Just hang in there: )

Eden when both my boys were babies people thought it was amazing they would actually take two naps for as long as they did....shh--that was because I needed to get into the garden!!!That baby monitor was like an appendage on my hip: )
BTW I love your portable greenhouse!

Michelle-my mom did the same thing yours did and had a sewing business out of her home. She did mostly bridalwear. It really was a great way to stay home with 6 kids and have employment.

T-how terrible about the woodpecker damage!! (That scalloped siding is really cute!)I hope the CD works.

Hi Marian!

I've got AJ home-something intestinal happening: ( Wish me luck!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 10:58AM
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Morning everyone. Its a warm sunny morning here, with rain predicted for the afternoon. We are having carpet laid in 2 of the upstairs bedrooms tomorrow so we need to move all the furniture tonight. We are probably going to pull the old carpet as well. The carpet layer is Ricks DS and hes quite busy.
I returned 5 frames and came home with another 6. I have narrowed it down to 2.

Sue says "I envy you people who have the freedom to take advantage of weather like this." Ditto!

Deanne, maybe you could surprise me with a few coleus and fuchsia. The only coleus I have is Kiwi fern. I am starting 3 of the wizards from seed, Pineapple, Sunset and one other that I can think of. As for fuchsias, I need the easiest one to grow. LOL I have had no luck. Whatever you have extras of. Ill put a little surprise in your box too.
Thats too bad about your fish. Im sure its nice when they get big so that they are more visible in your pond. Do your cats bother them when they are in the pond?
I find that unbelievable that you had a turkey in your yard. Too funny that the cats were scared. Did you remind them that cats are supposed to prey on birds? LOL

Marie, I hope things smooth out with DD. Ill be thinking of you this weekend. What are you going to do with the bricks?

T, thats crazy about the woodpecker. Ive never heard of them attacking a house.

Eden, Im not sure Ive seen a picture of your pond. Id like to see it.

Mary, I think the concert is a wonderful tribute. It sounds like quite a project, but sounds like it will be done well. Im sending calming thoughts your way.

V, we never get hunky computer techs here.

Sue, thats a cute story about Zak.

Babs, I hope that AJ is feeling better.

I hope the sun shines where you are.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 11:39AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Quick pop-in Sue, Im with you Im so envious of everyone who has an opportunity to garden today during the day! Im anxious for the weekend just came back in from a quick walk around the Nations Capital mid-60s the bulbs are all starting, cherry blossoms blooming, lots of school buses and visiting tourists bursting forth on the sidewalks! Ah, Spring in Washington!!! It was really great will get me thru the rest of the day cooped up inside... I sure am feeling an illness coming on for Friday though (guess thats the "fever" in "Spring?"). . . . LOL.
Ahh, - Zak did what I always called "token tinkles" from my beloved dog Krista its amazing how they anticipate and outsmart us isnt it?
Vsheesh re the hunky promoted computer guy none like that in this firm! they all live on the "7th Floor" and seldom come up to see us (like theyre in the dungeon or something!)...
Mary, good luck with the concert I know youre be rewarded for all the hard work and effort youre putting into it.
Deanne wow you definitely are a Super Plantaholic! Its amazing you have any room for furniture inside or grass outside!! What a score you made though. I agree though you need Plant Intervention you first!
Wow, TI have had yearly periodic woodpeckers visiting my townhouse roof they "drum" on a metal plate on top Ive been assured that its a mating thing and theyre not doing any real damage to my roof now, Im worried after seeing your photos! Hate to say it youre sure you dont have any termites or bugs in that area do you? That what the pest guy told me might make them peck on wood on a house? Course it could have been just a "line" they were giving me at the time. . . .
Great to see Ei, Marian, and others being better Idyllers than I it seems really hard to get to during the work week lately.
Hope the sun is shining for everyone today!!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 2:04PM
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Oh My! What a beautiful day it is here today. We've got the pond going, and I watered all of the pots I overwintered in the greenhouse. They all look great and like they came through winter in there just fine. I potted up the begonia cuttings that had rooted on the kitchen windowsill, and took more cuttings from some different ones. This begonia propagating is all an experiment for me. I'm not sure what I'm doing or how to root what but am just going on previous experience I've had with other plants. We'll see how it turns out...I would love to be out there cleaning up but have Bella today so that's not possible. But I did take her for a walk earlier. She's more interested in stopping to pick up leaves and sticks than actually walking though and kept wanting to just sit down in the middle of the sidewalk and play.

Deanne, David got me my greenhouse last spring and once we put it up it's stayed up. It's been full of plants since the day I got it. I kept seedlings in there over the summer that I didn't have a chance to get planted and overwintered a bunch of things I never got out of the milk jugs that I wintersowed last year and also some z6-7 things that I didn't think would make it outside. I keep the blue tarp you see in the picture on the top of mine for shade and it's worked great. I don't think I've lost anything I've put in there yet. You'll love it and use it alot if you get one. I'm going to put my dahlias, caladiums and cannas in there to get them going later, if I can make room. You would be surprised how warm it stays in there too. Last spring I would go in on cold mornings and it would be 60-70s+ in there. You have to worry more about it getting too warm than it getting too cold in the spring. I keep telling David I think he should buy me another one for Mother's Day again this year.

Michelle, my ponds just a small 90 gallon preformed one. I keep a few plants in it, a waterlily, iris and a couple of tropical things in the summer and my 4 goldfish. We bring them in for the winters and overwinter them in an aquarium. I think this will be their 4th or 5th year. They're not very gold anymore, but mostly white now. I don't know if I have a picture of it or not but if I run across one I'll post it.

Marian, sorry to hear you're not feeling well. I hope you're nicer weather is making you feel a little better. Plants follow me home wherever I go too.

Deanne, sorry to hear you lost one of your fish. I have one that I'm worried about too. He just doesn't seem to be acting right lately.

Cindy, who needs grass, lol? I only have a small patch of lawn in front and Brad says it will be gone one day too. But I don't think so. It's just enough for me.

Sue, hate to break it to you but something's going to have to go during spring. Will it be the gardening or the exercise is the question???

It's time for Bella's bottle and nap now so that's it from me for now. Hope you all can get out and enjoy the nice weather for at least a little while.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 2:51PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Gee, when I first saw T's photo, I thought she was trying to attract a hunky computer tech.

It's my turn for weird email. I got an email from a male member of GW in response to a minor post on another forum. Maybe it's me, but I felt that the email could be taken two ways - an innocent offer or a not-so-innocent offer. So I've changed my log in to not allow emails from GW members. I think everyone who needs to contact me about idyllunion has my email address already.

Eden, I forgot to tell you how cute Bella was in her birthday photos. What a fun way to be able to share pics!

Deanne, we weren't going to tell you, but the real plans for idyllunion are to do an intervention on you and get you into a 12 step program for fuschia horders. It's a little-known but tough to kick addiction, and you're starting to enable others in this group.

I have about one hundred loose ends on my desk right now. I'll see if I can get that down to only 90 before I leave!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 3:34PM
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Deanne, my fuschias just arrived. I've unpacked them and they all look great, all 18 varieties. I'll repot them into 4" pots, they're in probably 2 1/2" pots now, and I'll put them under the lights. My questions are watering and feeding, how often do you feed yours and at what strength and as far as watering do you keep them moist, let them dry out between or what. Also anything else you can think of I should know? I'm counting on you, Fuschia Queen,to help my keep these alive until I can get them out into the garden!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 3:36PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

too late, Deanne's hooked another one...

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 4:42PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Gooooood Morning Idylland!!!!

What a scrumptious day we are in store for today. Im going to spend the day outside in the garden. Time to break out the sun screen. The weather people are predicting 68 degrees for today and mid 70s tomorrow. Woohoo!!!!! The only problem is that this month has been way too dry and we really do need a couple days of rain. It looks like we are going to get a bit of rain on Saturday though, sorry Sue! But it isnt supposed to rain all day just thunder storms and showers here and there.

Yesterday I got the section of the driveway garden cleaned out and began on the section inside the fence. The good news is that the Buddleia Pink Delight is 100% green wood! That is incredible and it means that the shrub is going to grow to gargantuan proportions this year. The one other year it didnt get any winter die off it was about eight and a half feet tall at the end of the summer.

I noticed that when I was cutting down the dead flower stalks from the Helianthus Lemon Queen the stems were quite rigid and sturdy so I saved a few to see if theyd make good stakes. Ill see what happens with that. They will probably rot on the ends that go in the soil but for a short term stake it might be a good thing.

T, OMG! That is terrible damage from the woodpecker. What a mess. Can that be filled or do you have to replace the clapboards? I sure hope you scare the feathered vandal away.

Marian, glad to hear youve had some sunny weather and that the brug is still doing Ok. Ive got to get mine out of the basement now as they are really beginning to show growth even in the dark. I really have to get a little greenhouse like Eden has. That would make a huge difference in getting things out earlier in the spring.

Babs, Babs, Babs, really? An intervention? And V, you are buying into this intervention thing too? Jeesh! If you guys had been presented with all those plants for such cheap prices youd have been hoarding plants too. I do have to admit that Ive got a few too many fuchsia but what the heck, I do have a lot of lawn left. LOL This morning Doug said, "Well I guess we dont have to go to Logees now." To which I said, "Of course we still have to go. They have a few unusual tropicals that I must have." ROTFLOL

Michelle, okie dokie, Ill surprise you in your plant package with some coleus and fuchsia babies. This is going to be fun! ~~ RE fish and cats; the kitties cant be bothered to even look at the fish if you hold them up to eye level with the aquarium. Ditto, outside. They have no interest in them which has always surprised me. ~~ Yes I did tell the boys that turkeys are birds and that kitties are supposed to be at the top of that food chain and that they looked pretty ridiculous running away from a turkey but to no avail.

Cindy, how is that fever going??? Are you going to be very sick tomorrow? Or will it be one of those illnesses that you can still hobble outside and get a few things done in the garden even though you are sick? LOL ~~ Yes I probably do need an intervention but dont tell V and Babs I said that. Te he

Eden, Im so jealous that youve got your pond up and running. Ours takes a day of cleanup to get it going and we still need to remove the upper waterfall rock and change the way it is supported and re-level the upper pond before we get it running. Im past ready to get the fish outside! Too funny that you still have that greenhouse still up. I thought those were supposed to be temporary to get things hardened off. LOL I definitely need on of those babies. ~~ RE your fish, that is exactly what mine started to do. He was just not acting right and then slowly started hanging around and resting in the bottom of the tank then he eventually just stopped moving and died. No idea here as to what happned to him. Maybe just old age although I know goldfish can live 20 years,. This guy was six years old.

OK fuchsia, I normally give them a little bit of liquid fertilizer with each watering, about 1/3rd the recommended dose of Algoflash geranium fertilizer. (Ive tried their other formulations and like that one the best) I dont ever let them get completely dried out that will cause them to drop leaves and flowers. Im careful not to over water either, they DO NOT like to have wet feet. That will kill them and cause worse damage than their drying out, especially when they are breaking dormancy. When I first pot them up I let them get a little bit on the dryish side before watering just to make sure that new medium doesnt get waterlogged. Pinch them religiously when small. The more you pinch them the more flowers youll have later, exactly like youd do with a coleus to prevent having leggy plants. With fuchsia every additional growing end is another place for flowers to form. When they are small dont let them get root bound (cant be avoided later in the summer)That will slow the growth down. Ive been growing my babies in translucent orchid pots so I can monitor the root growth and when I can see the roots are filling the sides of the pots I pot them up. Do give them as much sun as they can stand and not get sunburned. I used to grow them in shade because I thought they were shade plants but they really never did well until I grew them in stronger light. OK that is about as much as I can think of for now. Let me know if you have any other questions.

V, Eden and I are just twins separated at birth. I didnt enable her it is in her basic nature just as it is in mine. LOL Remember she won the Who Has the Most Containers contest last summer.

OK time to hit the gym and get outside. Have a great day everyone.

Sue, I think you need to be sick today! LOL

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 7:29AM
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Just a quick good morning, Bella spent the night last night and I have to get her up in a couple of minutes so this will be short. We are in for another great day weatherwise here today too. I'll try to grab a couple of hours in the garden during Bella's naps but I wish I could be out there starting now until sunset. Tomorrow we are forecasted for rain and then only 50s on the weekend but that's still workable. Things are really starting to pop up with the warm weather and with rain tomorrow they'll really start to jump.

Deanne, thanks for the info on the fuschias. I'll follow it and let you know how it goes. Hopefully I'll have some nice sized plants to work with by the time container gardening season rolls around in a few weeks. How you described your fish is exactly what mine is doing. Just hanging out on the bottom of the tank. He still comes up to eat with the others though.

V, I've decided I'm a hopeless plant collector and just go with it, lol. I think there could be worse things but Brad doesn't always agree...

T, that's terrible that the woodpeckers did that to your house. What kind of woodpeckers do you have? We just have the little hairy woodpeckers around here most of the time although I do see one of the larger varieties occasionally.

Remember 50 containers or less for me this year is my motto. I'm going to have to cram alot of plants into each container to meet that goal though I fear.

Gotta go tend to Bella now. Enjoy this beautiful spring day everyone.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 8:09AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Too late Deanne. Maybe I'll get sick after lunch but with my boss away I really need to be here. Oh well, there will be plenty of nice days ahead.

Woodpeckers do damage to houses around here too-probably one of the bigger varieties like the red bellied. Every so often one pecks away at the metal gutters next to my bedroom window at some ungodly hour of the morning. It sounds like machine gun fire. We get carpenter bees in the soffits of the garage. Those babies are creepy.

Luckily I don't have this plant collector's disease.

So...I got a call yesterday from one of the ladies in my rescue group. We have 10 dogs coming into rescue this week and she was asking if I'd foster because our group is woefully lacking in foster homes. Usually I don't because with our schedules and two existing dogs it can be disruptive but I agreed so we should be getting a house guest on Sunday. Anybody want to adopt a schnauzer?

Well the phone has started and I've had a steady stream of people into my office so it must be time to work. Enjoy your day.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 8:36AM
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Good morning!

I don't see that the woodpecker has returned since hanging the computer disk near his work area. We don't have a termite problem in this area and I can't fathom that he was pecking at any hatching spiders or other insects. I don't know why he/she decided that was a good spot to mine, but it sure is a lot of damage for one bird to have accomplished (cedar siding). DH will fill the holes with wood putty & I'll repaint. Hopefully it won't be noticeable and the little guy has moved on.

Spring seems to be showing itself more and more each day. As I drove into town yesterday morning I saw a lamb and new calf..sure signs of spring, along with the new green leaves showing on some of the brushy shrubs alongside the road. Still no leaves on the trees yet, but that cannot be too far away.

The electric company is having some trees near the power wires trimmed. They've offered to deliver the chipped branches to those that might want them. I'm going to phone this morning to see if I can get a few truckloads delivered. I have quite a bit of cardboard saved but didn't earmark the money for the other soil/mulch to use on my curvy beds I wanted to do the lasagna method on. This should get me started....or else I'll just have big piles of shredded branches & a stack of cardboard....... ;o)

Hope everyone has a sunny day in their forecast!


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 10:25AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Hi, yall! Well, weve all heard the term "information super-highway". Well, I think Im still back on the dirt road in my horse and buggy! Yesterday as I was trying to compose this post, my anti-virus notice of expiration took over the puter. So, I tried to renew it only to get myself so tangled up I couldnt do anything! Why do computer instructions make me feel utterly stupid?! When it says, "click on the download button to start" and there is no "download" button, how in ^&*(%$#@ am I supposed to know what to do?! Guess, Im not technical enough. Sheesh. Luckily Tom was able to figure it out.

Sue, I just giggled when I read about the Nickster bounding up the stairs when you had a handful of cereal. Arent pets amazing (she says as she listens to Bullet snoring in a turkey coma). Gosh, were such softies and they KNOW how to manipulate us. It sounds like he doesnt have a problem after all. Is that true? Silly, guy.

Thanks, V, Sue and everyone else that commented. Tom is pretty good at hanging in or landing on his feet. He spends at minimum, an hr. a day networking, sometimes more. The jobs hes landed for the last 8 yrs. were purely from those efforts and in some cases, were sponsored by the least likely person. Luckily, he doesnt have as many restrictions in his retirement pkg. as I do. The comment his boss made re mfg. experience, was a direct lobby to keep Tom. What Im trying to keep in mind is that sometimes, as Sue says, it all works out for the best. Its hard to see that, tho.

V, your coworder sounds like he needs guidance on how to dress himself! Doesnt it make you wonder how some folks get hired? Hmmm, wonder who hes related to? Loved the hunky computer guy story. What? No bum pix?!

Hey Babs, were driving to IU3 and we can put a lot of wine in the minivan, lol.

VG, I never thot of the chippys moving the crocus. We have tons of them even with 2 kitties intent on thinning the population. It was nice of them to plant them nicely spaced apart but together in one area.

Deanne, great haul!!! You truly are in plant heaven!

Taryn, poor Shane. Hell always remember his first love and your great support to help him get over the loss. Hope you get a fabu offer on your house!

Hi EI! I was thrilled to see you post and to hear we may meet you at IU3! Im so glad about the positive prognosis for your sis and that you have confidence in her Dr. Thats so important. Im sure shes thankful to have all your support and help.

Eden, dont take the work Mom vs. stay-at-home Mom stuff to heart. I wish I had been able to stay at home. It gives kids such a sense of stability. Im sure your girls wouldnt have wanted it any other way. You did good, kid, bucking the trend.

Mary, that tribute concert sounds just lovely! What a thoughtful thing to do. It sounds fabulous and Im sure it will be with your special touches.

T, thats awful about the woodpecker damage. Thankfully, since weve painted, we havent had any here. But I do have a story. When we first moved in this house, I was planting bulbs when I heard the tapping. I looked up to see Mrs. Woodpecker putting the finishing touches on a perfectly round 3" diameter hole in the side of our house! Obviously, she was moving in for the winter. So the following day, we had the roof repair guy cover the hole with a piece of roofing material until Spring. We were quite proud of ourselves with this solution. Until the following day, that is. We couldnt believe it Mrs. Woodpecker drilled an identical hole right next to the one we covered! So we let her live there the first winter, lol.

"Bug, sorry about the DD woes and I hope you, she and DH get to work things out.

Hi Marian. Hope you feel better soon. Its not fun being sick in the Spring. Hope the sun is shining for you today!

Well, it is absolutely glorious outside and Im outta here. I hope to get tons of clean-up accomplished. Yeah! Im thrilled to finally be back outside in the sun! Have a great day Idylls. I hope its sunny and mild where you are, too!


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 12:32PM
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Good rainy day.

The glasses frames are picked and the furniture is moved. Im thinking that I should slap a quick coat of paint on in the guest room since all the furniture is out. The walls are off white and the carpet will be too. Might be a little blah.
Lately I have been reading thru some of my old gardening magazines. I have some that date back to 1999 when I first started gardening. I'm suprised that they really don't seem that familiar when I look thru them. Or the ideas that appeal to me now that maybe didn't back then. My favorite is Country Living Gardener, which isn't in publication anymore. Its my style of gardening.

Cindy, how neat to be in Washington DC during cherry blossom time.

Eden, isnt it fun to watch the babies examine the world? I have Kenzie overnight tomorrow night.

Deanne and Honey, enjoy your day outdoors.

T, Id take those wood chips, on top of the cardboard, they would kill any vegetation underneath. That way when you are ready to make those curvy beds, you wont have to dig out any sod.

Sue, I dont know what carpenter bees are, but we have wasps that seem to want to live in the eaves of my garden shed. I am winning the battle though.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 1:58PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Howdy buddies!

Before I march off into the sunset tomorrow, I thought I'd give you this update.
First, the before shot, which probably doesn't seem all that bad to you, but it was old, orangy pink wood that was dirty and sticky and yucky. It certainly was an attempt at being modern back in the 80s when they did it, but to me it did not suit the farmhouse that it is.

So as of a few hours ago, it is now exactly the same - but painted and bright with a more rustic look to the ceiling and island. I am very pleased, except now the rest of the house needs an update too!

I'm bushed, and it is only 3pm. Guess I can't go to bed yet, so I'll pack, make dinner, etc. They say that rain begins tomorrow but that it will be 83F in OK!!!

Happy today everyone!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 3:17PM
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'bug, what a very pretty kitchen you have. I like the end of the island & the ceiling boards, it does look like what you'd expect to see in an older farm house.

I did call the gentleman about the wood chips. Turns out it is someone I went to school with and he said "do you know who you are talking to?" and when I said "yes" he said that old school chums could pull some strings. ;o) I was told to go find the crew, ask for the crew chief by name and tell him who sent me. I felt a bit stupid doing it, but I did and they said they'd get a load to me perhaps tomorrow. 5 yards in each load.......I'm hoping to get a couple loads, but will be happy to have one. They've had a few people saying they'll take all the chips they can deliver.....so I feel lucky to be getting even one load. Really hoping to get more once I saw it. They have 2 chippers going and one is newer, hasn't processed much gravel yet so it is chipping finer/better and that is the truck that will be delivering here they said. Whoo-hoo! I drove a fence post and made a sign so they'd know where to dump if I'm not home. Happy dancing (mentally as I have two left feet in real life).

Okay, I'm going to go back to the spring cleaning......

Hello to all!

Oh, the link is to a webcam that is showing a bald eagle sitting on her nest, if anyone enjoys this like I do.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 3:45PM
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ccsuzy(z6 IN)

What a glorious day this has been! I'm ready for more of the same. We're supposed to have rain tomorrow, but it's supposed to be around 60 or so for the next few days! Today it was 71! I spent a bit of time and cleaned out the front rose bed. All the roses are sprouting, and the with rather mild winter they should do well - not much die back. Got Nick out to rake the sputnik balls and those are bagged and by the curb. Cleaned up my mess, too! Licorice rolled in the sun while I was working the bed. Ah, the life of a black cat in the warm sun.

I have some daffodils beginning to bloom, some primroses blooming (just planted them last year, I'm pleased), and my bergenia has divided itself into three parts this year! Hopefully I will have many things I can divide and spread around since my plant purchasing budget will be very minimal this year. :(

I'm sooo out of shape. Even with the decent amount of walking this winter, I could tell using the different muscle groups out there. We did go for an afternoon walk since it was so nice. Need to get back in the regular habit of walking. I walked this winter even when it was down to 35 and sunny, but beyond that, I hibernated. So, I will take it slow and steady and maybe I will get the out of control corner bed cleaned up this year. I've been putting that one off for about 3 years - the perennials need divided and moved and the stones need set properly. Some areas need grass removed desperately.

Deanne - great haul on the plants. And too funny about the cats and the turkey! We used to have turkeys in the field behind us (not wild) and the cats just seemed to give them a wide berth.

Sue - my dad had a carpenter bee drill into his treated deck wood last year. He took his caulking gun and caulked the hole shut with the bee inside! No more problems after that. They will come back year after year to the same piece of wood. I'd love to have another schnauzer, but Cinders would never allow it. As I've mentioned, he even gets jealous when the cat lays on my lap. Lately when he sees the cat coming, he runs and jumps in my lap first and then looks at the cat like HA! He's a hoot.

T - our electrical company sent the "tree butchers" out here last year. I was furious - they butchered the trees around the lines (cut the centers out completely) and then left the wood for us to take care of. I called and complained mightily, because they stacked the cut up logs parts poorly and they rolled down the hill into the neighbor's yard AND we didn't want the wood anyway, but to no avail. They indicated it was NOT their responsibility. Idiots. I considered taking the wood log by log and dropping it in front of the power company's door.

Taryn - sorry about Shane's heartbreak. They all experience it at some point. Some take it worse than others. My 18 year old had his first love break up with him a couple of weeks ago, and spent the next day at home. Just couldn't go and face her, needed the day to get himself under control. He's fine now. It just takes some time.

'Bug - the kitchen looks gorgeous. I'd have been pleased even with your old one! My kitchen has cherry cabinets, but they are so old and worn and they really are beginning to look shabby, but there is no hope of replacing them any time soon. Wonder what DH would say if I decided to sand and paint them? He'd probably die, but they would look better, a nice creamy color? It would lighten up the kitchen as well.

They don't publish Country Living Gardener anymore? Seems like I just saw it on the newsstand last summer. This past fall I was at the library's book sale and scored stacks of Gardening magazines. I'll be looking for those in June, also. They have loads of books, too, but I just don't seem to have time to read like I used to. Too many other things to do!

Better go see if the meat is thawed for dinner. I'm throwing some burgers on the grill tonight, and we'll have salad and maybe some french fries. I have spring fever! I hope this weather lasts.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 7:03PM
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Happy Friday, It's close to 60F here already this morning but we're supposed to get some storms later. It's clouding up already. I think I might run out and pick up a flat of pansies today. Tonight is the Tony Avent talk at Goldner Walsh that Honey and I are attending so I'm excited about that. I heard him a few years ago and he's really good. I got most of the plants that I overwintered in pots in the greenhouse cleaned up yesterday. I couldn't believe how far advanced they are from the things in the ground. I had 3 clematis in there in pots, 2 of them were just in 4" pots, and they all had alot of new growth already. I placed an order for some scented and fancy leaf geraniums yesterday too that should arrive soon.

Mary, good luck with the concert tonight. I'll be thinking of you and hoping everything goes smoothly.

Marie, the kitchen turned out great. I love the ceiling. Have a safe trip!

Michelle, enjoy your overnighter with Kenzie.

Coffee's ready so have a good Friday everyone.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 8:20AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


My mother arrived unexpectedly a day early last night. Need I say more? The upside is they're leaving tomorrow instead of Sunday. Why they want to sit around my house all day today while Tom and I work is beyond me but we can't just change our schedules around at the drop of a hat.

Marie, I like your kitchen both ways but a fresh look is always good. Enjoy your trip.

It's supposed to hit 75 here today but I have no desire to go home early. Cocktails on the patio tonight though-probably more than one...lol.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 8:23AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good gorgeous Friday morning all,

Well we have the perfect day on tap here and it is going to be a shorts and tank top day today. The temps are supposed to get in the middle 70s. Im going to have to break out the sun screen for sure. The only fly in this ointment is that we are in a high alert for fire danger because of the lack of precip for this month. I think we broke records for lack of snow and rainfall for March. Im going to have to get out the hoses today. The weather people are predicting rain for tomorrow so I sure hope it comes to pass. They are actually supposed to be thunder storms.

Suzy, nice to hear from you. Ill tell you, Im pretty fit and between going to the gym and working in the garden for half a day yesterday afternoon I was completely out of commission last night. I crashed pretty early. I think that no matter how much you exercise a person normally gets it still takes a while before your body is used to the outdoor work again. ~~ How neat youve got dafs and primroses blooming. So far Ive only just gotten a few early tulips and crocus blooming but they really are such a breath of fresh air this time of the year.

T, great score on the wood chips! How neat you knew the fellow so will get the chips.

Bug, your kitchen looks wonderful. So fresh and clean and bright. I love it. ~~ You should see the new growth on my Proteus clematis in the rose garden in the front. I knew I had to pull that trellis out to have Doug finish adding the wings to it this spring so I just pruned it to the ground last fall and it is sending up about a dozen or more huge new stems from the ground. Too cool! Even though it wont make those wonderful early huge double blooms Im excited to see such terrific vigor from the plant. The Arabella I planted on that same trellis got the same treatment last fall and is also making some terrific looking new growth. I think that front corner is a micro climate and they are loving the conditions there. ~~ So I hope you have a great trip and enjoy basking in the heat and sunshine.

Michelle, have fun with Kenzie tonight.

Honey, Im just the same when it comes to computer stuff. If I didnt have Doug to keep things working Id be pretty helpless at keeping this wireless network working. I can empathize with your woes. I dont ever download any updates that pop up on my screen unless I check with Doug first. I know Im completely spoiled but I really should try to learn more about keeping this working. ~~ How is Bullet these days??? DD sent me a cat video yesterday with a kitty that looked a lot like your Bullet and I was wondering how he is doing.

Sue, I wonder how your furbies are going to be with a foster in the household? I cant imagine Nick thinking that is a good idea.

Eden, my fish had continued eating until a couple days before he died. I think as long as your guy keeps eating he is probably still OK. ~~ RE the fuchsias, I dont think the baby plants will be big enough to be crowded into containers with aggressive plants that will crowd them out. Probably keep them with plants that you can keep in check. I lost a couple fuchsia in a container that I had cannas in last year. They just couldnt compete. Im going to group a few of the new varieties into large pots together so they can get some size to them this year and Im thinking of tucking them into the front of the gardens where I have space for them to grow well. Im thinking some of the new garden space will be turned into a coleus and fuchsia nursery. Oh yes, I wanted to tell you that Ive actually decided that I have too many urns and containers to fill up and Im going to retire some of the older resin ones that are looking a bit shabby. I almost bought a huge urn at Home Goods the other day then decided that I really did NOT have anyplace to put it! LOL

Hope Marian is feeling better and that all is well with everyone in Idylland. Have a great day all.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 8:23AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Eden, I bought a couple flats of pansies myself yesterday too!!! I couldn't resist. I'm going to plant up several of the front containers with them until I can get the tender summer arrangements out there. The color will be so great right now.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 8:25AM
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wendy2(zone 6 MA)

Good morning!

What a day it is going to be, and I have to go to work in a little while. It will rain tomorrow, of course, but we do need the rain as Deanne said - everything is so dry. I did have a chance to get outside and do some raking earlier in the week, and I bought a flat of pansies and planted them in containers. My body was sore after doing that work too, out of shape from being sidelined by my foot injury and the winter. I feel like I haven't gardened in forever!

Here is today's color:

I just love the way these iris suddenly appear - I'd swear there was only leaves there yesterday. V, you mentioned that one bloomed while you were inside taking a break, I believe it!

T, sorry about your pecker. Hope the computer disk keeps working for you!

Marie, the kitchen looks great. The paint really brightened things up, and I like the new ceiling.

Have to run, everyone enjoy the day!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 8:38AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Okay, it's coffee-spewing time: "T, sorry about your pecker." Wendy, Wendy, Wendy!

Marie I love the update of your kitchen. The after photo looks like it came from a magazine article. I know what you mean about the sticky cabinets; I had that in a college apartment once. Nice to have them bright and clean! Hope your trip goes well, including discussions with your DD.

Pansies? Hmm, wonder if there are any at the grocery store?They might have to follow me home. DS is coming home again tonight and I told him I would need his back for a while tomorrow afternoon. I'd love to have all the front cleanup done by tomorrow evening.

MIL called last night, hoping to talk to the returned travelers. She was a bit confused when I told her they weren't due back until Saturday. I'm getting just a wee bit concerned about her; seems like these little incidents keep happening more frequently.

We had lovely weather yesterday and a good rain last night. After dire predictions about storms with damaging winds, all we got was a good drenching. I was amazed when I got home last night to see the catkins on the hazelnut in full bloom. They had been shut tight just the day before. I swear at this time of year that if you just had the patience to stay in one place long enough, you would see the plants move!

Okay, gotta run. It will be busy today as the month comes to an end, we have the usual Friday meetings, it's a payday and my coworker has the day off. Yikes!


ps - had a LOVELY conversation with Ei last night!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 8:57AM
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Good morning! 5:33 a.m. in this part of the world right now and I can see the hillside across from me. Spring sprung mightily with the daylight. I am enjoying it. There are clouds (fog?) laying above the river so there is a row of fluffy white below the peak, then clear light gray sky above. A pretty morning.......but will be better once we get some sun adding a golden glow to the picture. Right now it is light, but still in shades of black & white.

I'm hoping they will deliver the wood chips today so I can play with them & the cardboard tomorrow. I'll ask what chance there is that I'd be able to get more and decide on how big my dream beds can extend. If he says another load no problem, then wow! I'll be on my way (or so she hopes as she daydreams).

Oh no! The fog above the river has obliterated the hillside across the way.......it is now looking like something from a Stephen King story.......The Fog...... Not as appealing and I'm thinking hunkering down with another cup of coffee sounds good.

I get to attend the ultrasound for the babies next week. DD said her hubby couldn't stay for the entire ultrasound (they usually take a long time because they are doing measurements on two instead of one). Only one person can be in the room with her.....so once my SIL has to return to work then I get to go in. I'm thrilled.....to see the babies moving, but also because I am fascinated by imaging technology. In my previous job I assisted in procedures that used ultrasound and found it very interesting. I miss working sometimes......sometimes. ;o)

The woodpecker hasn't been back, that I'm aware of and the computer disk hanging out there looks a bit trashy all by itself. It was blown up and over the gutter downspout so the dog loaned me his tossing stick so I could get it unstuck. Payment for loan of the stick was I had to toss it for him a few times. Quite nice of him, really, to allow me to use it. I'm thinking that I'll hang one more CD (typed that DC 3x before I got it right, duh!) from this one and perhaps that will add enough weight to keep it from getting blown again. What to do long-term? Maybe long-term won't be needed. Hope not anyway.

Jamie has begun showing that he is two. Yep, the terrible twos with tantrums and the occasional hitting. When I witnessed his first tantrum, that appeared to me to be out of the blue, and I said "why what is wrong?". His Gramps said "I'm two!" Guess that is all that he has to say....He's two and he is going to use those two year old lungs and two year old tears when he doesn't get what he thinks he deserves. It is quite comical at times to watch him. He wants something that he isn't allowed to have or allowed to do.......so he says Please. You know "Please" that magic word that kids are told to ask adults before we give them what they want? Well, if it works sometimes why doesn't it work ALL the time---especially on the things THEY want----and they want it NOW. No matter if it is something hot, dangerous, sharp, yours,...........you get the picture. Please gets you a sip of milk. Please gets you your dinner. Please gets your shoes tied so Please also should get you candy for breakfast, a soda instead of milk with your lunch...........all kinds of things. I love grandkids! You give them back when they throw tantrums. ;oD Now, don't be thinking that he throws them often.........he doesn't, but they are sure interesting when it happens.

Fog is gone and the hillside is there again. I don't know what the weather forecast is......but I'm looking forward to the day.

Eden, hope you & Honey have a great time at the garden talk.

Deanne, shorts & tank top weather already? We may get to see spring weather a bit earlier than you do.......but you guys jump into it with both feet when it hits. We've not gotten over 63 or 65 yet and the days that warm have been few and far between.

Sue........oh my! Friday evening wine might turn into Tom's Margarita's for some added kick? I am carrying his recipe in my purse now, hoping to buy the right ingredients so I can make us some.

Fog is rolling in along the river again......

Happy Friday to all!!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 9:00AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

V, you took the spew right out of my mouth...lol.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 9:23AM
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Brad was sitting at the table drinking his coffee, heard me laughing and inquired so I showed him Wendy's post. He shook his head and said "bunch of crazy women". And we wonder why men never stick around here on the Idylls for long.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 9:30AM
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taryn(S Ontario Z6B)





    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 10:29AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Ho Hum ...thanks for thinking of me, y'all. I got up this morning feeling almost human, but am getting over it ! :-(
I at least got a couple of desserts baked in anticipation of our weekend company. Both of them are made with blackberries since I have a freezer full of them. Later on I will put a turkey in the roaster oven. Maybe that will answer the "What will I feed them" question.

Deanne, I am sorry about your drought and hope the tomorrow's forecast is correct.

We have been having plenty of rain this month. Another good one came during the night, and continued into this morning. Water is running everywhere in our yard. I hope it has soaked in by the time the kids get here. It is supposed to be nice and warm, and they need to enjoy the yard, and the woods. The woods still look like winter, but our yard is bursting with color. Several of my clematis have flower buds....Asao, Henryi, Multi-blue and Duchess of Edinburgh. I was so afraid that the temp drop into the 20s earlier in the week would kill them, but they look okay except for a few darkened leaves.

Marie, I too, think your kitchen looks good in both pics, but I understand the 'stickiness' and the need for a renewal. It does make the room much lighter, and I love light. :-)

Teresa, I love your visual of the fog and the mountain.
Sorry about the woodpecker, but happy about the woodchips.If I had a means of hauling it I could have tons of sawdust from the cousin's mill. Quite a mountain of it has developed, and they keep dozing it over the hill. They don't have a dumptruck to haul it in. Funny about your grandson. You are so fortunate to have him where you can experience these changes ( The same for Michelle and Eden.) I have missed out on most of that with my GDs.

Honey, I am so sorry about the turmoil with your DH's job. Since Nolon was self-employed, my main concern was the lack of jobs. It was sort of feast or famine. I never knew from one week to the next what our income would be. Being on SS and VA, has ended that concern.

(((Sue))) this too shall pass! :-) As much as I love to see our kids, it sure is a change from the routine of our hum drum lives. I always have to rest up for several days afterwards. If they lived close, and dropped in frequently it would be differant. In that case, they would go home each evening. ;-)

Hi to everyone I haven't mentioned. I have read all your posts, and enjoyed hearing from you all, but suffice it to say...I am rejoicing with those who are rejoicing , and weeping with those who are weeping.

My brain is fizzling out, so that is enough for now.


PS, Eileen, Molly has two big fat flowerbuds! Yippee! I can hardly wait.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 11:18AM
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Good rainy, windy day. Theres no drought here. We have water standing in the fields even.

Eden, we will have to see how it goes. Last time Kenzie didnt want to sleep in the pack n play. The Tony Avent lecture sounds like a nice way to spend a rainy spring evening.

Bug, your kitchen looks great. A nice fresh look and I love the ceiling. We have white bead board wainscoting in our dining area.

Deanne, too many urns and containers. LOL Last year I picked up some lavender violas and lysmachia Goldilocks and put those in a couple containers until I could plant the more tender stuff.

T, thanks for the eagle link. Very cool.

Wendy, great picture. Wonderful vibrant blue color.

Marian, blackberry desserts sound delicious.

Stay dry and to those who can be in the garden, enjoy the sunshine.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 11:54AM
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honey_mi(Z5 MI)

Good morning! Just a brief drive-by. I'm looking forward to seeing Eden tonite and hearing Tony Avent.

The furnace inspector was out this am and the furnace finally passed inspection. He's been here so often Tom thinks we should invite him to dinner! He might buy some of the saws, sanders and drill punches we have stored in the basement. I'd love to be rid of that stuff. He also gave me a name of someone else to call to see about fixing our deck.

I also talked to a carpenter who will come out next week to bid on the deck repairs.

Lastly, I guess there's terrible news from Tom's company. The part of the business that he works on will be sold so who knows what will happen to his job. I told him to be optimistic -- it costs nothing and things might turn out better than now. He's worried and stressing out.

It's a cool 60 out, no sun and it's supposed to rain. I hope we get a soaker like V did. I got alot of clean-up done outside yesterday and really enjoyed the weather. Funny thing is my lilies are up as much as the daffodils and tulips. Strange.

Marian, great to see you back posting and I'm glad you're feeling somewhat better.

'Bug, I'd kill for such a nice kitchen. I love the new fresh look!

T, thanks for the Bald Eable webcam. That's totally neat! I just love that sort of thing.

Deanne, Bullet seems to be doing OK healthwise. He's due for his vacinations and I'm not sure I'm going to do it. He's an indoor kitty and is only exposed when he goes to the groomer and she doesn't do any other cats. I'm afraid the vacinations will stress his kidneys and put him over the edge. If it's likely he'll only be with us a short time, I don't think I want to risk it. As for his behavour, he's a brat. He used to boss Patches around. Tom and I now realize he's bossing us around!

Well, I'm off to get dishwashing soap, cat food and litter, etc. Then I have to get on the stick and check into car rentals for our trip to Hilton Head in July. I also want to see if there are any jobs in the local paper and send out more resumes.

Hi to all. Hope it's sunny and warm where you are.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 12:16PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Oh my, oh my, I just zipped in here to do a bit of reading on my lunch break and am currently wiping my lunch time coffee off my screen. Wendy, you devil you! BTW Too cool that you've already planted some pansies. Their color are sweet faces are just irresistible this time of the year.

T, love the Jamie stories. DD didn't get into serious tantrums until she was almost three but when they hit it was get out of the way and get out the ear plugs time. LOL

Honey, too funny that Bullet is now bossing you around. I can so see that about him. I agree with you 100%. I wouldn't stress his system with vaccinations at this stage of the game. He just isn't likely to come into contact with any animal that would carry a kitty disease and it probably would stress his kidneys. Not worth the risk to him. ~~ Can't wait to hear about the lecture tonight. Should be great.

Michelle, I sure wish we'd get a bit of your rain. Here is hoping tomorrow forecast is correct. ~~ Yes, I even just told Doug that I wasn't allowed to buy any more containers or urns. Do you think there is a ten step program for urn-addicts?

T, yes indeed, today is tank top and shorts weather. Simply marvelous.

Wendy, great photo!!! Thanks for the color.

Sue, have a glass of wine or two for me. At least you'll have Sunday for the gardens. It is supposed to be perfect. When does the foster come?

Marian, glad to hear you are feeling better.

OK time to go back out in the sunshine.


PS it is currently 72.3 degrees out! Woohoo

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 1:27PM
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I'm just back from plant shopping. I got the pansies, and then stopped at Home Depot for some yard waste bags. They had a whole cart full of beautiful, healthy plants sitting right outside the door. I got a lavender, violas, ajuga chocolate chip, candytuft and some tie dye primrose that are really cool. I'm going to divide most of it up and put it in some spring container gardens. That will have to wait until tomorrow though.

Deanne, thanks for the heads up on planting the baby fuschias with more agressive plants. I would never have thought of that. I like the idea of putting a few varieties of fuschias together in a container too.

Michelle, Bella sleeps in a pack n play when she's here. So far so good, but she's used to it because she usually stays over 1 or 2 nights per week. Hope you can get Kenzie to sleep in hers tonight.

Marian, have fun with Tim and the girls this weekend. Wish I had someone making me a turkey and homebaked desserts. Sounds good!

T, I'm so excited that you're getting materials to start work on your curvy beds!!!

Wendy, thanks for the pretty picture!

Sue, a few glasses of wine will probably be a good idea.

Honey, see you in a little while...

I'm posting a link to a picture of the tie dye primrose. Isn't it pretty?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 4:05PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

No company this weekend! Tim called and they cannot come due to his car being on the sick list. I did get to talk to all three girls. They are at his house,while on spring vacation. Hopefully I will be in better health when they do come. I have the turkey in the oven. I'll freeze the surplus.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 5:29PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Happy Friday indeed- I got the "fever"and stayed home -- it got to be over 75 degrees -- it was glorious -- I worked outside for about 4 hours and then toddled off to do some errands and hit a Home Depot & a local nursery - Im contemplating removing a "lean tower of Pisa" arborvitae (about 10' tall but leaning, leaning since the heavy snow fall of February) & replacing w/ a Magnolia Little Gem or some other sort of evergreen... decisions, decisions.

Most of the daffs are now blooming, the first of the gorgeous blue Lieutenant anemone coronaria (altho they dont seem to be near anything else) - I seem to have a terrible time w/ the "timing" of things to bloom close to one another -- but still all the color thru the gardens make me happy, if not terribly "designer" looking....

But it's so dry! Im afraid to move or transplant anything just yet -- I pray we get some of that rain V and Marian have gotten.

Gardenbug - I love your fresh kitchen -- and the ceiling is gorgeous - so crisp and clean the room looks.

Sue, hope you get thru your visitors quietly and without tension.

Eden - love those primroses!! So you stopped at H.D. too -- you know, I was looking at their shrubs & trees, and it seemed to me that things are quite a bit pricier this year...? or is it my imagination? I tried to stay on "target" and did not permit any cart hoppers to ride in my cart - gotta show some restraint, LOL....

Okay - now that I had a little nap after all the hard work, it might be time for a little wine and kick-back to relax. Look forward to hearing about the Tony Avent lecture.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 6:12PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

A quickie while I wait for my son to get here. No pansies at the grocery store, but I am hatching a plan to get DS to a garden center tomorrow! Eden, I checked the Where To Buy and those primrose aren't available in my area. :-( They looked pretty cool!

Deanne, I forgot to mention that I got a good laugh out of the cats being spooked by the wild turkey, and I was amazed that you had a turkey in your front yard!

T, I too enjoyed your description of the fog rolling in and out.

Marian, hope you feel better. To bad that Tim & the girls can't make it!

Thinking of Honey & Eden at the lecture tonight. I hope they're having a great time!

I went to work today with no jacket, which was fine most of the day but then about 4:00 it dropped from the mid-sixties to the mid-forties. Brr! Why did I leave my coat at home?

I have brownies just out of the oven, and steak fajitas ready to saute as soon as I see headlights. So where is he? Darn kids!

Work was quite bonkers today. It could be a long spring! Okay, this is sounding like quite the stream-of-consciousness, I'm wasting time post. Oops! He's here!!!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 8:15PM
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Happy, Happy April! Let the official gardening season begin. Starting today we have 7 months of prime garden time here in Michigan. I'm ready! We got about 3/4" of rain yesterday evening, most if it during a thunderstorm while Honey and I were at the Avent talk. There's nothing like being in a greenhouse during a thunderstorm.

The Avent talk was great. The title was "The Top 100 Perennials I Wouldn't Garden Without". He did a slide presentation and talked about each plant. The ones I was the most interested in were Geranium Ann Thompson, beautiful gold leaves, a couple of the smaller eupatoriums, Little Red and Little Joe, though I tried Littled Joe a couple of years ago and he didn't make it. I think that may have been due to me picking him up for $1 and planting him very late. He also showed us a really cool Spigelia gentianoides that is pink. But though Plant Delights carries it, it's only available at the nursery, no mailorder on this one. The three heucheras that were on Tony's favorites list were Creme Brulee, Caramel and Frosted Violet for those of you interested in such things. He said Frosted Violet is by far the best of the purple leaved heucheras. He had a dozen or so hostas on the list, a couple that caught me eye were Captain Kirk and Risky Business. He ended with the arisaemas and a really cool one that I now have my eye on is Arisaema triphyllum 'Black Beauty'. Unfortunately it's sold out in the PD catalog. It was great to see Honey and to cap off the evening she was a winner of one of the door prize drawings. I'll let her tell you what she won.

I can't wait to hear how Mary's Memorial Concert went last night.

Also waiting to hear how Kenzie did sleeping over at grandma's. Michelle, we wouldn't mind a picture or two.

Marian, too bad about your company. Maybe when they come you'll be feeling better. Now you can make lots of things involving turkey for you and Nolon.

Cindy, so you had the over 75 degrees fever yesterday.

V, fajitas and brownies sound so good. Hope you're able to make it the garden center today. Enjoy your time with your son!

Well it's full daylight now but looks a little damp out. I may have to wait a while to get out in the garden this morning. I just hope we don't get anymore rain. How dare Mother Nature try to interfere with my big garden cleanup plans, lol! Have a great Saturday everyone!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 6:38AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Morning! 54 degrees out and we just had a light line of showers come through. I sure wish I didn't have to get to the gym today! Sigh, I've got to get my exercise in then get myself outdoors and garden, garden, garden.

Eden, I just loved your post. You sound so upbeat, exactly the way I feel. Time to go and play with my plants. ~~ Thanks for the information from your lecture last night. ~~ BTW love those primrose. I'd like to find some.

Cindy, LOL about your 'catching' the fever.

HOney, so what did you win? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Sue are you going to get any time outside today?

Marian, sorry your company cancelled.

OK time to get this day started. I've got lots and lots to accomplish before my head hits the pillow tonight.

Enjoy the spring day all,

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 8:42AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Yes, April 1st-let the gardening begin! My mom just left so I have the whole weekend to putter outside. The only glitch in the plan is it's supposed to rain today and I have a lot of leaves to rake and shred. My goal is to move all the woody plants that need moving this weekend before they start leafing out. The Forcynthia is starting to bloom so I can prune what few roses I have.

Tony Avent is speaking at the May meeting of the CT Hort Society. Monique, Les and I were thinking of having an early dnner at the Pond House cafe then heading over to the meeting. I sort of tossed the idea out there on the New England forum but got no takers. Maybe as the date draws closer. Deanne and I are going to hear Dan Hinkley speak on April 21st. I love having garden events to look forward to.

My foster dog will be arriving today. At this point I don't know anything about it. Since it's coming in with a group of 7 dogs from one household I can assume it will get along with other dogs just fine.

OK, time to hit the ground running.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 9:02AM
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Hi Idylls

Last night was lovely if emotional. Everything came together and it was a special evening remembering our beloved friends. I was not running this solo - members of Susan's church, the youth group, school, music teachers and neighbors all pitched in. We said afterwards how wonderful it was to work with such a great group. Susan's brother and SIL had flown 20 hours to be there, Susan's BIL came in from CA plus a TV news crew was there filming. There was a great audience who were extremely generous with dondations for the scholarships and everyone played beautifully. The flowers were gorgeous and the reception went well. I think Susan and the girls would have loved it! While it was meant to be a joyful celebration there were many tears too and afterwards I was completely and utterly drained.

This morning I slept till 9AM - I'd got up yesterday at 5.30AM and hadn't got to bed till after midnight and so it felt really good to catch up on sleep. I now need to get back to some of the things I'd put on hold, like cleaning the house! (yuk) Seedlings however, I haven't neglected and are putting on some nice growth.

Have a good Saturday everyone and thanks for all your good thoughts.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 10:38AM
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Its supposed to be 55 and sunny today. Kenzies night wasnt very restful. She ended up sleeping with us. Weve been up since 6:45. She is now napping. She is leaving around 1:00. Rick went to town to get some supplies to replace the tin siding on the east side of the garden shed. He offered to work on it today. That means putting in the new windows that he bought last fall. It may not be gardening but it is gardening related. I have to take his help when I can get it. Very soon it will be field work and then there arent very many spare minutes all summer.

Mary, it sounds like the concert went well. Im sure it was very emotionally draining.

I envy you all getting to hear such great garden speakers.

V, Im impressed that you DS has time to spend with his mom on a Friday night. You must have a special relationship.

Wow, Cindy, 75 degrees sounds wonderful.

Marian, sorry about the cancelled plans, but you and Nolon will eat well this weekend.

Eden, the primrose is so pretty. Another plant that I have never grown.

Well, Id best get something done while sleeping beauty is napping.

Have a great gardening day in any way you can.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 11:23AM
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Hi guys

I've been so pressed for time here but but I'm reading the latest.
Mary I was thinking of you last night sending comforting thoughts-I imagined it would be a very emotional evening for all of you. It sounds like it went very well.
I recieved a nice surprise e-note from Ep yesterday. She sends good thoughts to us all and is trying out The Garden forums site these days.

Here's something peculiar...Eden you might find interest in this too. I was curious to see where the hummers are and found a rather even concentration of hummers already throughout the whole U.S. !! SO do you think this is an April fool's joke? Ususally those guys aren't here until late April or even May...I say it's a prank...? You can check previous years for a comparison by clicking on the previous listed years below the map. Maybe I need to drag out my feeders: ) It just seems too good to be true lol.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 12:26PM
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Ah yes Babs, the elusive Ivory-billed hummingbird which hibernates 364 days a year and only appears on April 1.

No gardening for me so far today. It's too wet out there. Brad nixed the leaf shredding and what I wanted to do was rake all the leaves off the front beds, shred them and put them back down. I did go by Smith & Hawken and get a nice pair of garden boots 20% off and stopped in at the landscape place to order 3 yds of mulch to be delivered Tues., mostly to be used on paths. Brad's gone to work now and although I'm dying to get outside today's just not turning out to be a good day for it weatherwise. I think I'll clean the kitchen and take my chances with the vacuum this afternoon and maybe tomorrow will be a better gardening day.

Mary I'm so glad all went well for the concert. I expected it would be an emotional evening. Glad you were able to grab some extra sleep this morning.

Michelle, don't you wish you could transfer some of that baby energy to yourself? I know I do. As Babs was saying a few days ago thank goodness for naptimes!

Sue, can't wait to hear the stories of the new dog meeting Nick and Zoe and how it goes. Good Luck to you all!

Hope the weather out East cooperates for Sue and Deanne better than it is for us here in MI today and they're able to get some gardening in.

V, did you make it to the garden center???

I'm off to tangle with the dreaded vacuum...


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 1:52PM
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I'm inside for a coffee break. I've moved around 20 wheelbarrows of chips so far (since yesterday afternoon), there is close to a bazillion wheelbarrows left to move. Or so it seems to this very out of shape woman. I'm almost out of cardboard and not quite to the end of the porch. I thought I had lots of cardboard saved, but I guess I am either covering more area than I think I am or I'm just poor at gauging cardboard coverage. ;o) We do have some heavy kraft paper, it looks like the heavy layer of paper used for cardboard, so I will use that when I am finished with the cardboard and beg DH to see if he can find me more of the kraft paper.

I am not sure if I'm making the layer of chips deep enough and may have to go back to add some more. I'd guess I've got 6" which looks like a lot, but I know when it begins to compact/break down and is compressed by the next layers of material, that I plan to add, it just might not be sufficient. I sure hope that this works and that I'm not screwing it up somehow. I'm just guessing on how to do it and if it doesn't turn out well............I'll be cranky. ;oP Just trying to do it inexpensively and I don't mind waiting a year or so to begin using the area (planting). To get the area made to resemble beds will be enough of a mental boost as the plants will be later.

Did you stop to think that we have 2 bulldozers, an excavator, a tractor that could pull our flat trailer and yet I'm doing this with a shovel and wheelbarrow? Now, I ask you........what is wrong with this picture? lol DH doesn't want to drive on the 'lawn' and compress the soil, doesn't want to tear up the driveway with the tracks of the big equipment and I do understand all that.....but it sure would be easier if we could use the big machines for this. 6 trips and it would be done. :oP

Michelle, could you & Rick bring the bobcat over for a few hours? It would be wonderful to use/have right about now. :o)

Mary, I was thinking of you yesterday....I'm glad the concert was such a success. A lovely tribute to Susan & her daughters' memories.

Eden, that primrose is very pretty! The talk sounded interesting and I'm eager for Honey to check in to share what she won.

Marian, a turkey to munch on for a few days sounds wonderful...I love turkey and the leftovers we can have from it. I buy the boneless breasts most of the time so there isn't any wastage and I cook it in our slow-cooker so no muss-no fuss. Lovely!

Deanne......you are such a hard worker and I'm eager to see what changes you & Doug make this year. You put me to shame....but I'm learning and 'finally' doing.

Sue, you made it (to the weekend)! I hope the foster gets along well in your home & with Nick & Zoe. I imagine it will be confused & a bit frightened at all the changes it is experiencing.
Well, this coffee break has lasted about 30 minutes so I'd better get back outside and shovel some more....

Hello to all!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 1:58PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Ah yes, the return of the ivory-billed hummingbirds. I saw a couple myself this morning; I almost missed them because I was so intent on watching the whooping cranes on the front lawn as they did their mating dance. Don't get the feeders out, Babs! I'm pretty sure the ivory-billed hummers only feast on brownies. Why else do you think I baked last night?

I decided that a quick job this morning would be to move all my pots with woodies or perennials from the garage out to the deck. I staged them all together next to the house so I can protect them from frost if needed. The quick part went out the window when I realized there were 32 pots of various sizes that had to move out! Yikes, who planted all that stuff?

Michelle, I should set you straight on my son. While he is a good kid, there were other motivations at work in his decision to spend the evening with me. He had to drive up from school to meet with his boss this morning about working this summer. After a busy week at school and a three and a half hour drive, he was happy to just have dinner and head to bed early. He's been gone since 9:00 and I'm eager to hear how his discussion went.

DH & DD are in Florida now, awaiting their late afternoon flight home. Sounds like the trip went well but I didn't get a lot of details. I didn't tell DH that DS is here so he'll be surprised when he gets home.

Sue, good luck with the rescue dog.

Honey, we're all waiting for you to spill the goods on what your prize was.

I'm almost done with my lunch and then I will head back outside to conitue the cleanup work. I'm thinking a trip to the garden center may wait until tomorrow when it's supposed to rain. Enjoy your Saturday!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 2:06PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Afternoon coffee break (besides it is raining) So I've gotten most of the driveway garden cleaned out and we ordered our composted manure this morning from HD. They will deliver 3 pallets on Monday AM. Half of one pallet is for my next door neighbors but the other 150 bags are mine. te he! (6,000 pounds!!! maybe I won't have to lift weights next week. LOL)

V, I'm so sorry I missed the mating dance of the Whooping Cranes on your front lawn. That must have been amazing to see!!! And those Ivory billed Hummingbirds were here also. They stopped in to feed at my fuchsia that are in full bloom hardening off in the driveway. ~~ So you have 32 pots of perennials and shrubs? Hmpff... You think I need an intervention. I think I only have about ten perennial pots around here not 32. Jeesh....

T wow, you really scored with those wood chips. Fantastic! Your DH is too funny about the lawn but I completely understand. In this household I'm the kurmudgeon (sp?) who doesn't allow heavy equipment on the lawn. Doug would be over the moon if I told him to just drive the trailer up the hill whenever he needed to move it. How long do you think it is going to take you to move all of that? and do you have the curvy beds all laid out? Photos please?

Eden, bummer about the weather there. We were able to get quite a bit done between the two lines of rain squalls that came through today. The only problem is that Doug decided to use the leaf blower to blow out the gutters and then blow off the patio. The only problem with this scenario is that the windows to the dining room were all open at the time so now the dining room has to be thoroughly vaccummed and dusted before company arrives tonight. Everything in here is covered with a layer of silty dirt. Grrrr.... I did ask why he didn't close the windows and he said it never occurred to him. Hmmm... I think Doug needs to dust and vac for a bit because that would probably tweak his memory the next time he uses the leaf blower and the windows are open. My very favorite Dougism to this day is the time someone asked how often we dusted to keep the house so clean and he said that we didn't need to dust because it never got dirty. Yes, he really did say that and mean it. ROTFLOL! ~~ Do be careful of that vaccuum. They tend to get cranky during the spring cleaning season.

Mary, it sounds like the concert was a huge success but emotionally draining. What a wonderful tribute to your friends. I'm glad to hear you were able to catch a few extra 'z's' this morning.

Hi Babs, thanks for checking in and for letting us know you've heard from EP. Glad to hear all is well with her.

So Sue, did you get a lot done outside? and has the foster arrived yet? You must have been a happy camper that your Mom changed her plans and you have the weekend to garden. ~~ When is the Tony Advent lecture there? and do you have to be a member to go.

OK break is over and I need to get motivated to get a few more things done before 5PM.

Oh yes, I wanted to ask you guys if anyone grows Hakonechloa 'Albo Striata' and if so has it behaved itself in your gardens over time? My patch of it in the driveway garden was very well behaved for the first three years but last year it started travelling and it now looks like it wants to migrate to a different state. I'm going to have to dig the whole thing up and prune and replant it.

Later all,

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 3:46PM
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Thankfully it began raining and I had to stop working. ;oD

Here are a couple of shots of what the pile of chips looks like and what I've accomplished so far. I sure hope I'm not doing this all wrong, I'm almost afraid to look up/review some of the online sites I came across and am following by memory (following my memory isn't a good thing most of the time---holes like swiss cheese lurk there).

Nothing too impressive, but if I squint my eyes, really tight, I can see curvy beautiful beds --- someday. (Fingers crossed)


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 4:44PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

T! I can see the curvy beds too! Nice job on the layout, I really like the last photo. Yes, I know you can see edges of the cardboard but better yet you can see the beginnings of the new beds. The good news is that there is a lot of forgiveness in the lasagne method. You know how real lasagne is? Some people like all cheese, some like sausage, some like spinach, some make it with taco flavorings... lasagne gardening is kind of the same way. You're off to a good start.

I feel like I accomplished a lot today. I didn't get the entire front cleaned up, but I did start in the corner that I usually leave to last, and I think DH will be happy to see that cleaned out. Speaking of lasagne, I may just have lasagne that corner and start over. I've got a few things going nuts back there that I'd sooner be rid of. I think a few nice shrubs back there would be better.

And I ran the vacuum around here and got the chunks of dirt picked up. Two loads of laundry done, the bathroom sink clean, oh yes! and I cleaned five of my birdhouse gourds from last fall. They're all dried now and looking quite nice now that they are scrubbed. The bad news is I have eight more to clean!

The flight from Florida is delayed three hours! Too bad a good trip has to end with an interminable airport delay. And too bad I have to leave after my bed time to pick them up...

Okay, time to firm up dinner plans.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 6:50PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

What a day! It started out okay. I spent most of the forenoon ouside burning a brush pile. Nolon had said he wasn't feeling well, but I didn't pursue that subject since he is so vague about such things. I even thought his feeling bad was a reflection of my being ill for so long. Around noon he mentioned it again, and we both ate turkey sandwiches. Shortly after noon I asked him if he needed me to take him to a doctor. He said yes, which really surprised me. I dared not question just how bad he felt, and I knew the drs were not in on Saturday afternoon, so there was only one option....the hospital emergency room.
He said he had had a terrible night, with difficulty breathing. ( He had not mentioned that earlier.) He said his chest hurt, and other parts of his body. So...off to the emergency room we went. After the initial 'entering' we were put in a large room, all by our selves, with no windows,one bed, one (uncomfortable chair,and not much equipment. A nurse asked some questions, and had him strip to the waist. Then a technician came in and did an EKG, another nurse came in and had him breath in a thingy to open his lungs. The Dr finally came in and did practically nothing. After awhile the first nurse came and took him for x-rays. He was brought back to the room, and we waited, and we waited, and we waited. After about 2 hours we started to wonder if anybody knew we were there ! I went out to ask about it and was told there was a trama case and all the drs were involved in it.After about another hour I went to inquire again. The first nurse( who happened to be our next door neighbor's daughter) said she would let the dr know we needed some information as to whether Nolon could go home or had to be admitted. The dr NEVER did come back to the room, and never spoke to us again. The nurse brought a bunch of papers, including 3 prescriptions. She said Nolon had Bronchitis and need antibiotics and an inhaler , and cough medicine. (Nolon apparently wasn't running a fever.) My regular pharmacy isn't open on weekends, and I wouldn't have the discounts at the ones that were open. The medicine was atrociously expensive. Nolon choose to just get an inhaler and wait 'til Monday to get the other stuff.( Oh, I almost forgot to mention, he was never put on oxygen until we mentioned it about 2 hours after we got there!)
Thank God for the neighbor's daughter, she pulled some strings and got him an inhaler from the hospital pharmacy.
We have cough medicine at home that is most likely as good as the prescription the dr wrote ( it is Robitussin PM ).

If he makes it through the rest of the weekend okay, I will take him in to a regular doctor. I hope to get him set up with the Home Care so he can get oxygen supplies.
He has been in bed about a half an hour now, and I just checked on him. He says he is fine. Keep us in your thoughts.

It is thundering in the distance, and I think it is headed our way. It may be an interesting night.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 8:48PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Allright T! You go girl! I predict curvy beds stuffed with cool plants by next year. If you want to define the edge a bit more get a half moon spade and cut a trench along your bed line. Toss the sod you dig up under the cardboard.

I had a productive day here too. Because I bagged out on fall cleanup last year a couple of my gardens look like a thousand rat's nests. Remind me not to leave any stems of perennials up next fall. It's much easier to cut them down when they are upright than after they fall over and get buried by a gazillion leaves. Today I conquered the west front garden. Tomorrow I venture over to the east side. That garden scares me...lol. Torrential rain out of nowhere drove me inside. It didn't last long but I took it as a cue to go for my walk. The benefit to forcing myself to stay on an exercise routine is it will force me to stop gardening and perhaps achieve a balance of activities. As it is my back is a bit hinky tonight despite the walk, a bunch of Motrin, stretching and a half hour of Pilates. I am tired though.

The rescue dog didn't materialize today. The volunteer who picked the dogs up didn't get everybody groomed this afternoon so I'll have to wait til tomorrow. We're trying to work the logistics on this bunch-seven dogs, five females and two males, all around 4 or 5, non spay/neutered(one female possibly pregnant) or up to date on any vetting. Getting the spay/neuter appointments alone may take weeks and we can't place them until all this stuff is done. It will be a resource strain on a small group like ours.

Deanne I don't have a calendar in front of me but the Tony Avent lecture is the third Thursday in May. You don't have to be a member but they charge you five bucks. The meeting starts at 8 PM-doors open at 7:30 I believe. If you want to stay overnght you're certainly welcome. It should be fun.

Mary, congrats of a successful concert. You done good-relax and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

I wish EP would come back to idylls...and Cynthia, Chelone, Saucy...where has Brenda, Yeona, Barb, Janie and Martie been? I've been reading along at The Garden Forums but haven't felt compelled to comment on anything lately. GW still appears to be the best site for what I'm looking to do online. We just set our date for the CT spring plant swap through the New England forum. It's a good group over there too.

OK, enough from me for tonight.

Spring ahead tonight!


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 9:08PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good Morning all,

Im still enjoying my AM French Roast and it is already almost 9:00AM. Yikes, that is the one thing I hate about the clock change but Im all about the sun not setting until after 7 tonight. Everything is a compromise. Nest ce pas?

I did a bit more work on the driveway border before I completely crashed yesterday. Id forgotten how going to the gym then working outside just exhausts me. I need to build up my stamina again. I wanted to tell you guys that Ive got several cuttings off the soft growth of my fuchsia that are over 12" long and would be perfect for making a standard from. Ill keep some of them going like this if anyone is interested in giving it a whirl. Let me know (email me) and Ill get them started for you and figure out how to ship them so they dont break. Im so ready to get plants outside that I have to keep reminding myself that it still is only the beginning of April and not time for the tropical warmth lovers to get into the great outdoors. The fuchsia however are very cold tolerant so Im toying with the idea of getting them all outside into the garage.

Speaking of fuchsia, you guys should see my Firecracker. It is setting flowers like crazy right now. What a terrific plant. Eden, do you have that variety?

Oh yes, got my issue of Fine Gardening yesterday and they have the results of the container garden contest from last year and Ill tell you what. The containers from the Idylls are equally if not more beautiful. They have the specs for this years contest and you are supposed to include a shrub, perennial, grass, annual and one plant of choice. Im thinking of giving it a whirl. Ive got that huge urn I just bought at Sams that is looking for something special so I think Im going to use that to do an arrangement.

Sue, I so know what you mean about the gardens being a total mess because you didnt get the old perennial stems out. A couple of my borders are the same but those stems are the only things that kept the mulch on the gardens with those wind storms we had this winter so I was thinking Id do the same next year. Makes for more spring cleanup but it seems to hold the mulch in place. ~~ I just asked Doug to reserve the airplane to fly me down for the Tony Avent lecture. If I can spend the night he can come down on Friday AM or evening to pick me up. What time do I need to be there to get to dinner at the Pond House?

T!!! Horray!!!! I see those curvy beds appearing. Lots of work but so cool. Good for you. I agree with Sue I can so see those filled with beautiful flowers next year. Thanks for posting the pics.

Marian, sorry Nolans been sick. Hope he is much improved today. How did you make out with those thunder storms?

V what time did your travelers get in? I sure hope you didnt have to stay up too late. It feels to great to be getting the spring cleanup done doesnt it? ~~ LOL about picking up chunks with the dreaded vacuum. My house is getting to the chunky stage here too.

Ok time to get outside. Yea! Another sunny lovely day to work in the gardens. I can hardly deal it is such a great thing. Doug and I are supposed to go for a bike ride instead of the gym around lunch time when the temps get a bit warmer. Spring is truly here.

Have a great day all,

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 9:13AM
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