Idyll # 437 The Bee's Knees Idyll

saucydog(z5MA)April 25, 2009

Carry on, friends!

I'm still grinning....


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Not a bee-phobe here, but still the prospect of 'catching a swarm' seems a bit intimidating ! Hooray for Saucy !

On my lunch break but not much food around here, as I went to the garden center instead of the grocery store this morning ..we have our priorities don't we ? Hmmm, I wonder what Plectranthus tastes like with some balsamic vinagrette ?

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 3:24PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Saucy! I'm with Kathy, I like bees but a whole swarm that I would actually have to capture, I'll pass. That sounds like quite an accomplishment too! So what now, will you have two bee hives? I have thought it might be great to have a hive of bees here, if there was someone else to take care of them. [g] But really, there are so few gardens in our general vicinity that I would feel bad for them. I don't think I have enough blooming all season for a whole hive. Although I do have a lot of clover in my lawn.

I have been waiting for the next thread to start and wondering if it would have 'baby' in the title. So the fact that it has bees instead....hmmm....I wonder if that will turn out to be prophetic and little 'baby surprise' will wait for the next thread? :-)

Yesterday was a first...first mosquitoe of the season. :-( Today...first fan out of storage.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 3:47PM
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The bees are very docile when they swarm because they gorge on honey first (to keep the full for the long task ahead of them). I put a trash barrel underneath the branch, gave the branch a good swift shake, and down they fell! I put the lid on and voila! Then I took the barrel of bees and dumped them in the new hive. All the stragglers are marching in as we speak.

I'm on my way out to western MA for more bee supplies, and then will move them to a new location after dark tonight (with a screen over the entrance).

PM, bees travel a long way for pollen and nectar! They'd die if they tried to live off my land :)

Giddy is what I am....


    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 4:01PM
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"Mistress of the Swarm"... could make a good horror flick or Sci-Fi title, huh?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 4:45PM
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Since it was cool, windy and a chance of rain, I decided to drive into the city to see what I could find for the garden. Corn planting is just beginning here in our little corner of the Iowa. Calving has begun as well. So I saw quite a lot of cute little calves frolicking in the now green pastures.

I didnt actually find much. A few coleus and a star magnolia. I picked up the needed ingredients for hypertufa after being inspired by Saucy. The portland cement was a bugger at 94 lbs. I rolled it on my cart and asked to have it loaded into the trunk.

I was in search of some clematis but didnÂt find anything interesting. I have 4 trellis with nothing on them. I wonder if its too late to order some. I could do some annual vines for this summer.

I also found a good-sized decorative metal key for the Secret Garden. Maybe when Kenzie comes IÂll have to hide the key and see if she can find it. If you recall in the book the key to the Secret Garden was hidden.
I recently went to one of those parties where they sell the wall words. You can make your own up as well. So I bought one that says "The Secret Garden" IÂd like to put it somewhere in the garden but not sure how. IÂd have to put it on a board. Any ideas?

I also visited my son for awhile.

Catching a swarm of bees sounds very interesting. Too bad it wasnÂt captured on video.

PM, it sounds like you are really getting things accomplished. It truly is a good feeling.

I hope Skylar has a stellar birthday!

HereÂs a few of my favorites these days.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 10:53PM
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All quiet on the Idyll front tonight- I envision folks languishing after a day of high activity.. I planted Zinnias, Coleus , Amaranth among others. Amazon delivered my D60 guidebook today,and I have perused it while watching baseball.
DS and I will go to the local Bonsai societies show tommorow afternoon, I dont do Bonsai but he does , and I enjoy looking at them . Next week I will take 4 day weekend, (Fri and Mon) and hope to fit in a trip to the Ruth Bancroft garden, camera in hand..
No Angelonias to be found today, but plenty of Lantana. Im leaving spaces in my pots to plug them in when they start to show up.

Marian, I had no idea you had anything like the pouroff on your property. Does the water run all the time or just in spring ?

Woody, your project seems to be coming along nicely- and a photo of freshly turned soil was a great way to start the day this morning. I have grass paths too, and find myself constantly spading out more and more grass- the beds keep getting bigger and the paths smaller !

PM it sounds like things are shaping up at your place always good to have a finished project and to be satisfied with the result.

Saucy, the bees have been very active here for several weeks, I think the Rosemary blooms were the first to get them on-board so to speak. I have Lavender and Salvia blooming now so they are quite happy. They never show much interest in the roses .

Thats all she wrote for me tonight

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 10:55PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning.... :-)

72 degrees in Boston right now. Another first, a night with the house fan on. It was fairly comfortable, but today is supposed to be warmer. Debating whether to put the window air conditioners in so early. We are planning a quiet day today and will probably see DD later. DS #1 is working all weekend. We heard from DS #2 this week. He is doing well, heading into final exams in the next week or two and starting up softball for the summer. That's about it from my corner.

Kathy, Sorry you haven't found your Angelonia yet. I enjoy Lantana too, which variety are you trying this year? I was thinking that if you haven't even filled up all your summer containers, and your garden looks that good already, wow, how good is it going to look! Your Mary Rose? has a lot of blooms on it and once again, the foliage looks better than any rose has a right to. :-) I am surprised that is your Camellia. It is really long lasting. I find myself scratching my head at your report of buds on your Zinnias already. I think you have a magic garden this year, with magic seeds. [g] Also hearing that you like to make major changes every couple of years, I suspect that your garden is just the right size for you, but I wonder could you be wishing for a larger space? Maybe that is why you want to rip things out? Because you want something different and have no place to work it in, so out comes the old. Like Chelone, I am envious of all your spectacular roses, your Camellia, and your huge succulents, all of which I am unlikely to ever grow. I seem to find many things to content myself with but I have had something new going on every year for the past five, so I hope I won't get tired of it all as I complete things. .... There was quite a Red Sox/Yankee game on last night, but we missed most of it. We were watching Mama Mia on PPView so we just caught the last two innings. My kind of game too, high scoring, so I was sorry to miss it. DH and I did not enjoy Mama Mia at all. We found it painful to watch at times. lol I don't know what they were thinking. The scenery was gorgeous though! ....Thanks for the encouragement on the rock edging. Many New Englanders would envy your 'rock-less-ness'. :-)

Chelone...I wouldn't exactly call it wall building, with only one rock high. I have a lot of respect and admiration for those who have the talent and patience to produce gorgeous rock walls. I struggle just to get one line of rocks to fit together in a pleasing way. [g] Not having enough rocks that I like might be half of the problem though. Have you already started redoing your rock wall? You're talking about along the edge of the roadway? ....I've just noticed that you are a serious list maker. :-) My family rolls their eyes at my 'lists'. .... Our DS is a fan of the Gardner Museum. I haven't been since DH and I were dating many moons ago. The courtyard is what stuck with me the most. ..... When we trained our dog, we did use hand signals too. I also found the combination of voice and hand signal to be the most effective. I think dogs must be body language geniuses sometimes. .... What did you decide on for dinner last night?

Saucy....I haven't started letting the house plants out to play yet. [g] I just think about having to drag them all back in soon and I may wait until at least the middle of May to have some chance of them staying out for good. Your houseplants will definitely get the jump on the season in this warm weather. Would love to see photos of the new bee hive and what's growing in the greenhouse. Your gardening season is off to a great start this year too. ....I am getting an education about bees, thank you very much. :-) I am happy to know that swarming bees are docile because of gorging on honey. Makes sense. When I am cranky, sugar makes me docile too. lol

Gardenbug...enjoyed your story of Indy and keeping us up to date on what's happening there in Edmonton. Indy sounds like a wonderful dog. The kind of faithful companion as in Lassie or Rin Tin Tin. :-) I'll bet Skyler is having a wonderful week. Hope DD is feeling at least distracted by all the activity.

Woody.... Loving your photos of your progress in your front garden. That first photo was very helpful in seeing where your bed is in relation to the street. The primrose is a very pretty variety. Looking at your spring bulbs under the pine, I'll bet you have that wonderful pine fragrance. Nice that your financial work and staff adjustments are behind you and you get to relax out to dinner and busy yourself with garden work.

Michelle....I like the sounds of calving season. Not something that happens in our neck of the woods. I just love calves and in the past we would try to make it to the Topsfield Fair and I would always make a point of finding the baby animals of any shape and size. Baby cows are just lovely with their big eyes. .... So you are going to try your hand at tufa? What are you planning to make? .... You could order Clematis at Bluestone. I bought three last fall and they are doing very well this spring. They were small, but they are taking right off. They will be having their 50% off sale the end of May. ..... Is Kenzie scheduled for a visit? The key for the secret garden sounds like a great idea. Not sure I understand what the wall words are? So tell me more about your son. He lives nearby? Your Pulsatilla looks very happy. Do you give it good drainage? Chinodoxia is pretty close up too. I haven't added that particular bulb to the garden yet, but I keep meaning to. Where did you plant yours?

Kathy...I tried to take photos of the shady border we finished straightening out yesterday and was not happy with them at all. As I looked at them, I was remembering how it looked to my eye at the time and the photos were just missing so much. I was also very conscious of the change in light and reminded of the photos V took, and how different a few minutes and a different focal point made. I really need to buy myself one of the field guides for my camera too. .... Our DS is fascinated with Bonsai. It's really nice when the kids have some interest in growing.

Marian...was it hot where you are yesterday? Have you moved more plants outside yet?'s light out. Hope everyone enjoys their Sunday. Imagine...another first, baby Kate's first Sunday. :-)


Oops! I almost forgot. Was it Eden who was going to try raising chicks this year? I saw this article in the Boston Globe yesterday, link below.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 6:13AM
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Well, I just received the shock of my life. I let Spencer outdoors and was stunned at how warm it is outside! incredulous, I checked the the thermometer and it reads 69F before 6 AM. Yesterday was nice, but it didn't get past the low 70s here, a sea breeze made me keep my sweatshirt on. Time to get the screens out of the attic!

It was very warm inland... I stopped by my favorite nursery on my way home from the "stove store" and it was in the mid/high 80s and actually quite uncomfortable. I didn't buy anything but have been longing for a Viburnum plicatum (Doublefile) for a few years now, so was scopin' those out. The place was crawling with vegetatively-starved shoppers and everyone had a smile on their face, lol.

Now... about stoves. I was desperately frustrated by the stove again yesterday, it refused to preheat reliably to 350 degrees until I cranked it up to about 400. Clearly the thermostat is shot. The helpmeet has been yapping about fixing it on and off but naturally nothing has been done, mostly because he cooks on the stove top or uses the broiler. Then I realized something really HUGE, you guys. I'm a 50% shareholder here on the Compound and if I want a new damn stove then I'm gonna have one! I went "shopping". I almost passed out at the prices some of those huge stainless jobs command but found a salesman and told him I had no intention of spending 4-5K on a damn stove but would happily part with up to $1500 to solve the problem at hand. I settled on a GE Profile 30" freestanding gas range. It's self-cleaning, has 5 burners, a warming drawer and it will be white. I was expecting all manner of protest from the helpmeet but he offered no resistance whatsoever. I couldn't believe it and was prepared to begin the great cake and baked good boycott if my request was refused (stong leverage, lol). Instead, he looked at the spec. sheet, looked at me for a long moment and said, "you're absolutely right about this. It's an important piece of equipment, something we used every single day and the one we have doesn't work properly. It's so old fixing it isn't really the best choice when we have the option of replacing it. Order it up, honey!" Delivered (but not hooked up) and the old one taken away it will set us back just under $1200; we shopped "local", and it should be here by next weekend, or the first of next week at the latest. The venting system will wait until we make a decision on redoing the kitchen and adding some cabinetry.

Both of us were raised by very frugal parents and the fruit has not fallen far from the tree, as the saying goes. The present stove is at least 25 yrs. old and as long as it worked reliably we were both OK with it (if it ain't broke don't fix it). I recall Mum laboring with unreliable ovens and my father being too cheap to replace it. He teased he about it regularly, telling her she shouldn't complain so much since she had it "so easy". She "dealt" with it and allowed it to irritate and inconvenience her but never simply said, "enough is enough, I need and WANT a new oven. Buy one!" And there were countless other little episodes like that, the same thing for the helpmeet's parents. Unlearning the lesson of "getting by" and "making due" endlessly just because you can do it is a hard one for both of us.

I sanded the cutting table components yesterday (thought of the Mistress of the Swarm as I schlepped them down to the garage bay and set them up there). I have the shorter pcs. to do today and MAY start pickling them if I have time after cleaning up the final garden out back (blew that off yesterday). Plants are now officially shooting out of the ground and Magnolia stellata is opening and smells heavenly.

Michelle, I can't believe you weren't able to find a Clematis! I noted a ton of them at the nursery I visited. I have 2 vacant trellises here, their occupants (both clematis) succumbed or simply "failed to thrive". I didn't replace them last year because of the painting, and this year I want to rework the front beds and that will delay replacement again. And I don't care. Think of your trellises as sculpture. Works for me. And if your M. stellata is your first you are going to love it. Too many people think they need protection. They don't, they're tough as nails and often siting them in protected places encourages them to open sooner than they would in a more open area. Your zone is a good deal colder than mine but I know of plants that grow very happily and flower reliably in zone 4 New England. I love the Chionodoxa, mine are all purple but I love the first one with palest blue "racing stripe"... darling! I lost a Pulsatilla a few years ago and never replaced it. I'd forgotten about it until I saw your's! When will Kenzie be coming for a visit? will she be able to spend a week or so all alone with you and DH? I love that you add little surprises to the Secret Garden and so will she.

I thought about bee wranglin' yesterday. And it amazes me that once captured they can be redirected to a new hive and are perfectly happy to set up housekeeping. So the whole swarm thing is about migrating? kinda like the shift to Suburbia in the late '40s-early 50s? :) They are incredibly complex little beeings aren't they? (sorry).

And I love that the kids are into cleaning up the neighborhood. I think there is a very large life lesson there for them... reinforces the "don't be a litterbug" mantra of the '60s (anyone remember those roadside signs?) by allowing them to see what happens when people casually toss something out a car window, thinking it will somehow just "disappear". It must've been a beautiful day to paddle the waterways, bet Jake and his buddy had a blast.

I think Geocaching sounds like terrifically good fun. I checked out my area and sure enough there are more than just a few geocaches awaiting discovery. I didn't totally get the "cache" part, though. Do you take what's in them and simply replace it with something else for another person to find? (I instantly thought of the Twinkie in the movie, "Wall E", lol). Geocaching also reminds me of Orienteering, something several of my friends who were very involved in Outward Bound were into. Can't wait to hear about the slushy birthday bash and hope the "watched pot" is doing well... love that she was outdoors "doing something" instead of hanging around... waiting.

tap tap tap!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:06AM
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It's calving season in Idyll land, too. Sorry, couldn't pass that one over! :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:25AM
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After reading that article, PM, I just had to google "eglu" to see what that was all about! What a hilarious "home" for chickens!

PM, I am often critical of my pictures too....they do not look the same as what I was seeing through my eye! I wanted to take pictures of the swarm yesterday, but it is impossible for me to do the beekeeping and picture taking all by myself!

Good score on the stove, Chelone! You handled the negotiations with the helpmeet fabulously, as usual! I will think of you pickling, while I paint beehives.

Michelle, the only advice I'd offer in the 'tufa department is to keep your mix more on the dry side, as often people want to mix it too wet. If it's too wet, then the sides will slump and be hard to keep vertical. Have fun playing in the mud!!! My tufa pots look better every year.

We had 6 bag of trash from clean up yesterday. The people who clean up are then treated to a free bbq on the common. It was a successful day. My kids enjoy participating, and like that they get free ice cream for doing it :) Jake's friend tipped the canoe while reaching for trash and they had a wet ride home....but you know boys, they probably weren't too unhappy about it!

I'd better go get set up to paint....

Enjoy your day!


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:17AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I just remembered where I heard of Geocaching. It was in a Without A Trace episode, where a suspect of a kidnapping had hidden items of his victim in this geocaching event and thought the authorities would never find it. [g]

Chelone, I found a small Viburnum doublefile at one of the local annual plant sales for $10. last year and added a second one to the yard. That sale will be coming up on May 16th and I hope to go again this year. I usually come home with lots of goodies at less than what I have spent for similar at the nurseries. I could pick you up another one if I see one. .... Your account of having discovered you could buy a stove without permission was very entertaining this morning and I actually did laugh out loud. :-) I couldn't be happier that you will have a new stove to cook on. I don't think you have to be inconvenienced and aggravated to be frugal. I'm fairly frugal myself, but buying what you need, when you have the money for it, to make your life more productive and cutting back on stress is sensible. Frugality has to be sensible or what's the point? I always remember that old saying, 'pennywise and pound foolish' to keep me on track in that department. That is from someone who has worn the exact same winter jacket for the past 15 years. It hasn't a stain, or a tear and it still fits. :-) The helpmeet sounds like a very wise man and a pretty good communicator too!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:19AM
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Just finished reading what you've all been up to. No time to chat this morning but I wanted to throw out this idea of recycling an old headboard to Michelle for her Secret Garden wall words. It's the first picture in the link...


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:54AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Good rainy morning from my corner of the world. It's one of those days that goes from gray to grayer, then the skies open for a bit and it pours, and then it just becomes gray again. We went to church last night so that I would have some time to work in the garden this morning, but those plans have been washed out.

But this past week has been one of accomplishment. The wedding invitations are all addresses, stuffed, sealed and stamped. There are two large boxes ready to go to the post office tomorrow. I'm going to deliver them to the post office near my office, where there is just one employee who makes sure that things get off to a good start. It's quite a relief to have that job done, with a happy bride to be as well.

And from the list of things I was grumping about not too long ago, the carpet has been installed and the remake of my ring is moving forward. I think we have settled on a design and I have a preliminary estimate on what it will cost. The cost is well within the budget so that project will move forward now.

Yesterday I was at a large orchid grower's greenhouse with my new camera at hand. Here's a little bit of the beauty that I encountered.

The sheer quantity of plants is mind-boggling.

Have a great day,


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 10:41AM
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Coffee with the Idylls this morning, its shaping up to be another nice day here. Yesterday on a whim I bought a 6-pack of Campanula cups and saucers , which I have not grown for many many years, I made a spot for them by moving one of my Penstemons that would prefer a less rich location and will plug them in today. You cant get much more cottage-y than those-it will be this years nod to the old-fashioned flower.

Chelone, sometimes the unilateral decision is the way to go , huh ? Perhaps this purchase will be a slippery slope down to the valley of kitchen-reno ..Its remarkable what a few relatively modest changes can do for the space- a new counter top, sink and faucet , and the removal of the ugly bug collecting flour light fixture and replacing it with can lights , along with a new paint job fixed mine up just swell.

V, nice pics youve been posting with the new camera ! Last night I read through my new guidebook while watching the ball game, and also ordered an exta battery. Since mine has no on light I have found myself forgetting to turn it off .

Michelle, your pics werent there when I posted last night, we must have been Idylling at the same time.. very pretty ! What are the wall letters made of and how big are they ? I was seeing a sign post of some sort ..

PM, I actually found the Lantana in a jumbo 6-pak, and its Radiation which is a orangey yellow combo. A couple of the plants I put in last summer came back . I do wish my garden was a bit larger, so that I could have a veggie garden space, and more roses !

Ok, I have to get out of here and high-tail it over to Whole Foods so that we dont starve here this week, the larder is bare

Happy Gardening , and a wave to all!

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:21PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

So is anyone else grumping about the temps on the east coast? Holy moly.... mid 90s yesterday and again today planting going on as I am not assured I can haul a hose around for the next two days that we're slated to have this bizarre heat! My peonies all budded up are slumping over in the heat -- no leaf coverage from the trees yet --- and no, I didnt have enuf energy to get up and out at 6 a.m. this morning to dig. It's more of the hose/watering thing..... and poor Chloe wants to hang outside but for all of about 40 seconds.

Pretty pretty photos, V, and Michelle! I guess an orchid greenhouse would have one swooning in desire, yes, V? It's so easy to get sucked into these new addictions for we weak folks, LOL.... I now there's a local grower about 15 miles from here; I almost visited in winter when I was suffering no-grow syndrome but I resisted as I feared coming home w/ 10 plants or something silly....

It sounds to me that you had a tremendously successful week, V -- all those projects finished or perking along! Congrats.

Hope Kathy's having fun today at her bonsai trip.

Saucy, that's very neat about the swarming -- wish you could come take care of carpenter bees for me, LOL -- I know they're not in the same category -- Cant wait to see the tufa pots you and Michelle produce. Im still in thrall from the ones we saw at IU in PA - where she seemed to use twigs/plants on the outside for some decoration -- never did figure out how she did that but it made them uniquely decorative I thought.

Chelone -- love your executive decision in the stove department -- altho heed Kathy's words of warning about that slippery slope, LOL -- I heard you saying postponing hookup/venting til other decisions made about "future reno" -- that's how it gets started! Ya replace a toilet, and then next thing the whole bathroom has been reconfigured and renovated oodles of moola later.....

Michelle - unless you get heat immediately, I would imagine you could still order some clems -- have you tried Brushwood Nursery? smallish vines but good prices and usually reasonable shipping as well... I have successfully resisted ordering any this year as so many never got planted from last year's order; I've been potting into containers or larger pots while contemplating combos.

Well, I guess Im going to force some errands done so Chloe can take a nap as we're forced into a.c. conditions already...


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:11PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Wow, it's been a while since I was able to get here!

Tuesday TCS played basketball; Wednesday he had music, Thursday and Friday he was in a musical: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and yesterday he went swimming and our town celebrated Spring with The Maple Festival. Today he is at a friend's house, and the men, of course, are golfing - in the cold and the rain.

I was quite amazed that an elementary school would take on the challenge of a full-fledged musical, but they did, and do one every year. Every child that signs up gets a part to play, and anyone from grade 1 on up to grade 8 can sign up. We were all pretty amazed at the talent displayed by the kids, and by the scope of the production. Absolutely great! TCS was an ice-cream-cone...he was originally going to be a cinnamon heart, but all of the other hearts were girls....

My major focus this year was (is) to be on my front entrance. The builder had dropped an ugly chunk of cement at the front door as a step, and the previous owners here made a raised bed with some kind of cement blocks. The blocks were not weather-resistant and had split and fallen to pieces, leaving a lousy-looking mess. I had been lobbying the men to replace this but nothing had materialized. Men are such naysayers..."Oh it would cost a thousand bucks to do something can't just replace what's there you have to excavate 6 inches and add gravel and stone dust and then....and what could we do with that big chunk of won't fit in the car...".

I saw a man working down the street on Thursday, and when I see a man with a truck, well, I usually find something for him to do...for twetny bucks the concrete chunk was gone. Then I went to Home Hardware with my measurements and a nice young fella there helped me figure out what I would need to build a step and garden: $255, delivered. So Friday I cleaned up the mess at the front, and built my step and garden - four times to get it right. But it is done. It is solid. It is not really pretty, but it is neat and functional, and the other stuff wasn't. My men are astounded. Good.

Anyway, sorry I have to run - TCS has to be walked home from buddy-whats-his-name's house. Later.



    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 2:58PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Afternoon all,

Well Im having a meltdown! Yesterday hit 89 degrees here in the shade on the north side of the house. Way to hot for April. We broke records for the warmest temp on this date yesterday and again today. At least its only 84 out today and the bit of clouds are keeping it reasonable for working outside. I finally got the entire front of the house cleaned out, the driveway and rose gardens are done and the last two days Doug and I cleaned out the whole container garden area, which included removing all the pots and cement blocks that the pots sit on, then raking it over, weeding out any grass that grew into it, then I put a fresh edge and expanded it by six inches and spread two trailer loads of fresh bark mulch over it. I used the sods I took out to fix the front edge of the lawn that the plow had ruined two winters ago. Then Doug mowed he front lawn and its looking pretty spiffy out there right now.

The bummer about these temps is that the daffodils and hyacinths are frying as well as the weeping cherry and PJM Rhododendron. The cherry blossoms are falling off as soon as they are opening up. This year its going to be the two day wonder.

Im loving all the photos here, Kathy and V. you are both really making good use of those new cameras!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kathy, I cant believe how lush and summery your gardens are already. They are really gorgeous.

And V. those orchids are gorgeous! Do you happen to know what Vuylstkeara that first photo is? It looks somewhat like Cambria Plush Lensings Favorite. Just beautiful! I really love those orchids as they are really reliable bloomers and sometimes bloom twich a year.

Michelle, Lots of pretty things going on in your garden!

Saucy! Brilliant! You caught a swarm?!!!!! Thats fantastic! ~~ Ive been meaning to ask you if youd be interested in trading a painting for a leaf casting? I want to replace the ground level bird bath in the container garden area with a nice leaf casting.

OK break is over and Ive got to go and help Doug get the pump in the fountain. We want to get that started today too.

Waving hello to one and all!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 3:32PM
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Yesterday we had pizza for dinner, PM; it's how we get rid of the little bits of leftover vegetable... onions, spinach, and broccoli on it last night. I was in charge of salad and cutting the veggies for it. Tonight is roast stuffed chicken, and I'm in charge of it. I used up some not very flavorful bread for the stuffing and put it in the oven about 3:30. Broccoli and spinach for the vegetables and gravy for the stuffing. I am monitoring the stove carefully as we began at 450 and I'm trying to get the heat down to 325 or 350, lol. Think we needed a new stove?

I've finished the "gross" cleaning of the back garden. The leaves, sticks, and last year's growth have been cleaned out. I've thinned Hydrangea "Annabelle" and given the Sibirian Iris a basic haircut. All the debris has been dumped and it's time to indulge in some "plant grooming". Looks nice and it's quite warm here, too. 80-85 earlier, but now in the mid-70s. I slathered myself in sunscreen this morning and am glad I did. My goal is to get all the gardens cleaned up before going back and looking at what I'd like to move before they get too big. I've had a lovely time doing it and am sort of sorry I have volunteered to work tomorrow.

I've really been trying to focus in on the judicious addition of shrubs that will attain good size, provide cover for birds, and interest in multiple seasons. There are many beautiful plants on the property already and what I'm trying to do is add some things that will improve screening and serve as pleasant backdrops for the surrounding areas.

I have a Rhododendron that is really struggling and I want to get it moved. I underplanted it with Epimedium rubrum and Galium odoratum and as those plants settled in, the Rhodo. began to fade. I suspect the shallow rooted Rhodie is being out-competed for nutrients by its unassuming neighbors. All the leaves are toward the top of the plant and are a distinctly olive color... it has some buds but it's clearly a very unhappy shrub. It's a goner if it remains where it is and if it succumbs before reaching a new site well... that's life in the food chain! No one is is irreplaceable.

Lol about renovations. It's important to know what you want to accomplish before you begin, that's for sure. The purchase of the stove solves an immediate irritation and builds toward the finished goal: a compact, thoughtfully arranged galley kitchen that is easy to clean and efficient to use. The range hood situation must be addressed and it's going to require some careful thought about the final configuration of any cabinetry and the sink area. I think the solution will be very pleasant but right now I'm not interested in sitting down with the graph paper and putting in the time. That's for next fall/winter.

Cindy, I meant to tell you that your comment about going to work to be able to pay the vet. bill cracked me up. Ain't it the truth? lol.

V., you should be right proud of yourself, that's quite an accomplishment and one I'm sure is very touching for the bride to be. Too bad your garden play date was rained out but I'm sure you have a good book to amuse yourself or something else interesting to do. Lovely orchids and are we going to get a shot of the carpet? (Fleeting Fawn?)

Julie, nice work on the project. Don't you just hate it when you get the litany of "reasons" (we call 'em excuses) why something "can't" be done?! I don't put up with that crap anymore. Life is too damn short to spend your days "puttin' up and shuttin' up". Good to see you've finished that chapter, too. Lol about being an ice cream cone... I remember Gene Wilder in the movie. I was in Jr. High and really like it. (I love Gene Wilder anyway).

Very glad to see/hear from Deanne. I suspected you've been busy out in your yard and fussing over the annuals who must really want OUT of the garage by now. I think of you when I'm outside with the cats... I know you like having them "help" you in the garden, too.

Time to check the oven temperature... and then think about the next thing on the list (yes, I'm a "lister", PM). Will it be more plant grooming or some sanding? Hmmmmm...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 4:29PM
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Chelone, You're getting a new range! My sil,the kitchen designer, says it's "range" not "stove". Whatever it's called I'm envious. Mine's going on 30 years old and though it still works fine getting a new one's on my short list. Can't wait to hear what goodies you bake up!

V, those orchids are gorgeous. You are really crossing things off your list! But the wedding coming up soon too!

Speaking of lists, I'm a big list maker. I make them for everything including what Brad needs to do too. The Honey Do list I guess :)

Saucy, two hives! Impressive.

Woody, hope you had a nice relaxing dinner out with your friends.

Marie, I can't imagine me or any of my kids staying with each other for more that a few days. A very few. And I get along great with my kids, just in different houses. So I can understand Sarah's feelings too. Hope that babe hurries and gets here.

I've been shuffling around shrubs and perennials in the garden all day. And I'm tired. I got alot done out there this weekend though. Lots more to go but I've learned not to sweat it and enjoy the process.

You know I have to leave you with a Kate picture, so here goes...

Kate getting ready for a car ride.

Time for rest and relaxation for me.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:19PM
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Its been a good day for a short nap and a phone conservation with my favorite granddaughter since it is cool and rainy. She was in a chatty mood and stayed on the phone longer than normal. We did some garden talk. I asked her what she wanted me to plant in her garden. She thought lots of pretty flowers and carrots.

Eden, I knew you would come up with a great idea. The funny thing is I have a double headboard and foot board that are very similar to the one in the picture you posted. Since they are for a double bed I didnt think I would use them and tossed them out in the garden for possible garden use. Kate looks so adorable in the matching hat/sleeper.

Cindy, I have ordered from Brushwood before, in fact I had their website up in another window as I was reading the Idylls. It appears that lots of things are sold out. Im thinking purple, small flowered and long blooming for the wall of trellises and for the single trellis Im thinking something more in the burgundy/pink color range.

Ive also been looking at Bluestone also.

Julie, Im quite impressed with your attitude towards the project make work of it and get it done.

I resisted an orchid the other day when I was out shopping. So far Ive been tempted but have never brought one home.

Kathy, the wall letters are made of vinyl. I did get they type that they recommend for outdoor use. The whole saying is 18" long.

Chelone, I added a Doublefile last year. It was a clearance sale shrub. You will be baking up a storm with the new stove and the Kitchen Aid and you wont be frustrated either. I did see a few clematis, but nothing that excited me. Plus they were all type 2s and last year I had several for the first time ever get clematis wilt. I have a few local spots Ill have to check out. The flowers with the pale blue stripe are scilla. As for zone I would actually consider myself zone 5 as I really dont have problems with growing zone 5 plants and have many.

Plans for Kenzie to visit are pretty sketchy at this point. Im hoping she can spend at least a few days here.

PM, my son lives in a city nearby that is an hour and 15 minutes away. This is also the nearest large shopping place for us. We have a town that we are very close to that has some shopping and a small mall. The Pulsatilla is in a raised bed. They reseed around my SILs garden, but Ive not had that. In fact I lost one of the 2 I planted. I like that they bloom so early.

Michelle (also a list maker)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:28PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

It's been so long since I took photos I've almost forgotten how to upload them.... I figured before Spring was blown out totally I better capture a few moments:

here's my little furry marauder scavenging amongst the plants and getting "caught":

and the tulips before they're gone...:

The muscari and ipheion are looking pretty this year:

And the Cercis Covey looked lovely this year:


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:19PM
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Ill be sorry to see this weekend go, the weather has been so nice-if a trifle cool-okay for manual labor thats for sure-better than the heat wave you easterners are getting. I had that last weekend ! Today I dug up an area that I have been using for a pathway between beds- it made no sense where it was and it gives me a nice 20 sq ft area or so for my basil and tarragon. Now well see if I can retrain myself not to walk there anymore ..

And all the talk of Clematis- I want Arabella in the worst way.

DS and I had a pleasant trip to the Bonsai show (If you can call 2 miles a trip) and looked at the trees on display and sat in on the demo for awhile. What an interesting sub-culture the Bonsai folk are..

I dont know if any of you IU5ers remember this but in one of the gardens (in Scarsdale I think) Sedum seiboldi was used as a ground cover in one of their beds; Im copying that idea on a smaller scale (everything here is on a smaller scale, lol) and as I was planting them I thought about how many ideas I have used this spring from IU. I love going back and looking at those photosbut look out, this year I have a 4gig memory card !

Tomorrow one of our vendors is taking the awfice to the ballgame Dodgers vs Giants , the west coast version of a Yankees-Red Sox game. Field level seats behind home plate too. I will get home WAY past my bedtime , but the vendor is supplying the wheels so at least it will be ok to doze off in the car on the way home. All awfice mates have adjusted to the inevitability of the Dodger fan in their midst.

Julie, I was wondering where youd got to ! Rebuilding the front steps is definitely an uber Julie Job if there ever was one. Good for you ! Your home improvement creds are moving up to Mary-Chelone territory . So is it almost time to re-open the wine deck ?

Deanne, I had to nod in recognition when you mentioned expanding your bed by 6 inches..I cant even count how many times Ive done that over the years! At this point though , Im running out of real-estate. There is one other area I could convert but it involves removing concrete and moving a fence. I have to decide how much longer I think Ill be here in order to justify the expense.

Chelone, I dug up a Rhodie this year too- it was absolutely crappy looking with sporadic blooming . No room for slackers here.

I need to go put away all my tools and think about some dinner . Here are a few pics from this weekend ..

These are Bella hybrid snaps , and no rust !! A major breakthrough here. From Garden 2009

Ted and Doobie having a dissagreement this morning From Garden 2009

The container grouping shaping up , but still in infancy From Garden 2009

I love this Clematis, but lost the tag. I think the word 'Carnival' is in it's name.. From Garden 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:33PM
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OK, so the "range" is in the kitchen and the "stove" is on the hearth and you put wood inside it when it's cold outdoors? Don't know why, but I have a mental image of Bruce Hornsby at his piano surrounded by GE Profile "ranges"... . The roast chicken was very good, but the best temperature I could coax out of the oven was just under 350 degrees. I'll be racing for the June's high heels and frilly apron before you know it... NOT.

Cindy, your garden is beautiful, and 2-3 weeks ahead of mine. That little white chair is absolutely darling, do you have more of them? I had no idea woodchucks came in white, either. ;)

Kathy, I hope "your" team takes the game. The Sox took care of the Yankees, even better that someone managed to steal home, lol. Alas, the Celtics lost to the Bulls in double overtime, series all tied up at 2. This is going to be a tough play off for the Celts, they're missing a number of people to injuries. Oh well.

Who generally comes out on top when Doobie and Ted have a disagreement? Here, it's Spencer (the only boy) but it's a toss up between Polly (larger by far) and Vera... depends on the location of the set-to and whether or not Mummy is in anyway the object... if I am, then Vera displays a tenacity and ferocity that even Polly notes! I love the colors of the Snaps you posted, never had quite enough sun here to grow them very successfully.

Michelle, try Completely Clematis in MA., she is a clematis nut and carries many unusual varieties and her area may still be quite chilly. I know people have said her stock is small for the price, but I've gotten things there before and they've done well (except poor Maidwell Hall that was "done in" by a ravenous Krossa Regal hosta). That's for the ID on the bulb, I knew when I looked again it wasn't Chionodoxa as the arrangement of the flowers is the same.

"Bucket o' Baby", ready for a roadtrip. She still looks inscrutable and very "fresh". Better watch out, Eden, I have 12 casters that may start turning up on this thread... ;) you're lucky I still haven't bothered to get the service pack for my elderly camera's software. This is the first spring in a very long time I've actually had the luxury and frame of mind to actually ENJOY the spring clean up and the prospect of rearranging my garden bounty. I'm not really quite sure where to start to be honest, but I think taking some herbicide to the encroaching phalanx of brambles is going to be "job one". And then there is rather a lot of Astilbe that needs lifting and replanting in enriched soil. Some of the crowns are looking downright petrified.

Oh my, I see it's time to venture to work. I did not get the remainder of my sanding done yesterday and should do that today. I suspect another immersion into chaos will provide the impetus to get home and get crackin', though. Now, what am I going to take with me for a snack? the helpmeet has to go to the grocery store or we'll be out rooting for tubers along with every other neighborhood garden pest.

See ya! (tap tap tap!)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 5:33AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thankful it's Monday morning and the 90 degree days are behind us here in the Boston area, at least for today. Today's forecast, a very comfortable high of 68 degrees. Tuesday on the other hand is supposed to bring record temps in the 90s again but just the one day and back to high 60s the rest of the week. Yay. Nothing fascinating to report here. My excitement yesterday was discovering spinach & beet seedlings up in their veggie bed. Asparagus coming back from seedlings planted last year and fresh new growth on what had looked like dead bare root strawberry plants. DH worked very hard this weekend getting our screenhouse ready and all the outdoor furniture out for the season, among other things. Thankfully, he seems to be moving fine and well rested this morning.

Glad to see so many posts this morning. Just 'buzzing' with activity here yesterday and everyone seems to be busy just like the first bees of the season. :-) [couldn't help myself (g)]

Saucy....I googled the eglu after you and was shocked at the price-- $500! That sort of defeats the purpose of saving money by having your own eggs, does it not?! I'm all for home made digs. Eliot Coleman, who is so inventive in the garden, came up with a neat poultry home. It was a little bigger than a dog house and is on wheels, with wheel barrel handles to move it all around the lawn. It was ingenious and very charming looking. They named it 'Duckingham Palace' and all the inhabitants were given Royal names, Henry, Katherine, etc. [g] He raises ducks over chickens, because they are the best behaved in the garden, apparently. According to him, they keep his gardens free of slugs. Kathy, maybe this is for you? I linked below, see page 67 for a drawing of the Duck Palace. :-)

And yes, I understand about being the person in the family that takes the photos. I received a tripod as a gift last year and it is still in the box. If I would just buckle down and read the guidebook and learn to use the tripod and the self timer, I would be all set. I don't know why I haven't done it yet. It just always seems like there is something more important to do, I guess. .... I bet that water was cold yesterday for Jake & his friend!!

Eden....Sweet Kate looks very comfy in that carseat. Is that some sort of newborn insert? Love that headboard link too.

Congratulations on things falling into place, V. I bet you are so happy to have the invitations all ready to go. ....Thanks so much for posting photos of the orchid greenhouse. They're gorgeous! #1 and #3 are my favorites. I can see why someone could get hooked on growing them.

Kathy....Cups and Saucers say cottage garden to me too. They are fun. Do you ever try veggies in pots? Thanks for reminding me about Sedum sieboldii, I forgot to look for mine. I've had it for three years and it is almost the same size it was. I haven't figured out why yet. I saw a 'new to me' sedum at the nursery last week. It looks like a miniature evergreen shrub. I am going to go back and get it later. I forget the name. .... What a nice outing you have planned for today. Great seats! Have a great time!! OMG, I LOVE those snapdragons. I have tried growing them twice and I don't think I have enough sun. They never do much for me. None ever look that good. Great varieties, the apricot is my favorite. Also wish to see a better photo of your Bronze Fennel. How cute are the feuding felines! I do enjoy cat antics, not being able to have a cat, I love the pics.

Julie...I was just starting to wonder what you were up to and I suspected you were busy with one thing or another, but who'd a thunk you would be renovating your front I hope you had a tool belt and a contractor's cap on because that would complete the picture in my mind. :-) Good for you!

Deanne....nice to see you! I know you will be much happier with the forecast for cooler weather later in the week. At least winter is over and we can garden. Hope you will post some photos of your gardens soon.

Chelone...Homemade pizza has been one of my favorite meals in the past, but I have trouble with it now and have to avoid it. Not sure if it is the crust or what, but I do miss it! Whole grain crust and plenty of peppers is my favorite. You certainly make yours very healthy!

Michelle....You mean your DD and SIL would not be thrilled to have a week to themselves this summer and send Kenzie to your house? Have they ever spent a whole summer in Florida yet? I wonder if they will be looking for a visit home come August. ;-) .... Very nice that your son is close by. An hour or so is just the right distance, I think. .... I didn't realize the Pulsatilla was an early bloomer, good to know. is Chloe feeling? Did you have a check up for her at the vet this weekend? What a very pretty property you have! Looks like bird heaven around your garden. Very pretty color tulip!

Marian, Woody and Norma....what did you do this weekend? Thinking of Denise and Brenda and sending good thoughts. Gee, Mary must be in 're-entry' after vacation. Who else am I missing?

Now that is something I would like to see....Chelone in June's heels and apron! :-) Isn't there an Idyll who is proficient with Photoshop who could alter an IU photo? [g]

Is anyone experienced with growing Elephant Ears? I want to pot one up for DD who has three hours of morning sun. I also don't want to give her something she will have a hard time with, since this will be her first gardening attempt.

Time to head outside and check things out.

Until next time... :-)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 7:28AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Gb - check your hotmail - I just found your e-mail this morning; it had been dumped into the Junk mail folder by my ISP's e-mail software and I just found it this morning....

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 8:59AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Deanne -- LOL re the meltdown - I think my plants are having that if not me!

Michelle -- re the clems -- for tIIIs my longest blooming purples are Polish Spirit and Etoile Violette and are very strong growers; my Jackmanii superba is more bluish purple - I can never decide if it's blue or purple, LOL but it does well too; not as robust as the other 2 though. Are u considering any of the integrifolias/vit mixes for the pinks? Alionuska is really pretty; I'll have to think of some others; altho 'bug's likely got oodles of ideas.... I was smitten by Avant Garde from IU last year and am trying that; we'll see how it does for me.

Kathy -- more gorgeous photos -- yes, I too have been trying to make some IU combos I saw in the last couple of trips -- I recall that sedum sieboldi distinctly and hope to try it somewhere; altho I've yet to determin if I have enuf room anywhere to do it; I tried edging my patio that is line w/ ilex w/ other sedums (and thymes that were totally a waste); but oddly some sedums did pretty well and others not so well. The s. sieboldi tho has done well in individual spots and it's so easy to "propogate" LOL... just break a piece and plunk it in....

Julie - sounds like you've made terrific headway w/ a spot that troubled you -- the front step -- look forward to seeing photos of what you did.

PM -- thanks for inquiring re Chloe; she's so-so; definitely still feeling punk and not eating well -- we have a vet and blookword trip tomorrow to get some info on how her little system is responding or absorbing her new diet - I am much worried about her, but happy to have the chance of having her around even if she's not at her usual perky best. Keeping my fingers crossed that this new diet and meds and things work out -- I've read it can take a while to find the right combo of foods for IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) canines; she's eating but a tablespoon at a time - not enuf to keep a mouse alive.

Well, more hot days here -- 2 to count; and then back to blessed cooler weather; the tulips will be blown but other things are definitely popping.

Every time I coughed on the metro today, I kept thinking I needed a sign on my neck -- this is not Swine Flu; just remainders of bronchitis, LOL.... But definitely it's worrisome for all of us who end up in "crowds" somehow -- no rock concerts for me!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 9:14AM
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Eden- Congratulations on beautiful Kate! She is adorable:) And what a fun time of the year to have a little one.

Michelle, I really like the flower pics you posted. Can you tell me the names?

Everyone has been posting gorgeous pics, thanks! It gives me motivation to get out there and do the clean up, in the hopes that underneath the sticks and leaves there is beauty! Yesterday we worked on our new potager pretty much all day. This morning I got up as soon as it was light enough to see outside and went out there for about 2 1/2 hours. I am sore, using unused mucscles and knees, but it feels good to know I am heading in the right direction. I bought a number of colorful veggie seeds and can't wait to put them in the ground. Striped tomatoes, Rainbow Sherbert Watermelons, varieagated eggplants, sunflowers, etc. This is the first year for it, so it should be fun. Mary and Brandon are eating organic meat and vegetables when possible, so I am thought we might enjoy it. Today I am watching Charlie while his mom works. I watch him a couple of days a week in the afternoon while she finishes up her last class to graduate (May 15), and works one day too. He is such a sweetie pie, very easy to watch. And brilliant too, of course.

V- loved the pics of the orchids. Hope work is going well this week for you.

Chelone, I know you will love your new "range:)". I got a new one when we moved in our house 12 years ago, and I remember what how much I enjoyed having the latest. It was a computerized one, which I had never had before. You mentioned that you cook pretty much everyday, so it will definitely be worth the investment. I finally got my kitchen painted, I am now waiting for Skip to put the new hardware on the cabinets. He said they have to be countersunk- is that the other tense for countersink? Anyway, the new ones aren't exactly the same size, so I am waiting for him to do that and put the molding up. I promise pics will follow:) I may have to go online to find out how to do this sinking myself.

Cindy, your spring garden is lovely. Hope your puppy is doing okay.

Norma, your garden is so pretty. Thanks for posting the pics.

Deanne, I am so happy for you and Doug that he found a job! And fairly quickly too, considering how hard it is to find one. I bet you are relieved about that!

Saucy, I am looking forward to your bee adventures this year.

Marian, the waterfall pics were really pretty.

Kathy, I love the pic of your back area!

Well, I have to go see if I can get Charlie to eat his lunch. He is usually a good little eater, but I think he took a late nap this morning and threw his schedule off. My kids never followed a schedule, but he is a very organized little guy. Likes everything in its place and time. Interesting to see when it comes naturally like that.

Hi to those I missed. Hope you all have a great day!!!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:09PM
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OK, home a bit early today as I had to officially order the new "range". It will be delivered on May 9th. and the helpmeet will have to unhook the old one and hook up the new one as the delivery guys do not mess around with gas hook ups. Maybe the helpmeet will help me with some shots in heels and an apron, just for you, PM.

The helpmeet is layering some fresh cow manure, leaves, soil, and assorted other goodies to get some compost cooking. Rex has been stealing a turd here and there for some organic snacking. :) There is some major fly action happenin' on the load, too. Spring has definitely sprung.

Drema, I can't wait to see the results of your painstaking wallpaper removal. I'll bet it feels great to have that behind you and see the fresh paint job. How old is Charlie now? I love that he's a little "manager", with his very own idea of how to schedule his day. You should stop in more often. ;)

I don't think there is anything more worrisome than an ailing pet. And as they age the nagging worry about "maybe this is it" becomes a more common refrain. Diet and exercise work for people, let's hope it's the answer for Chloe.

The news has definitely gotten its teeth into the Swine Flu thing, huh? Clearly, caution is called for but I can't help wondering if the repeated stories don't whip people into more a frenzy of worry than is really necessary. Cover your mouth/nose when you cough or sneeze. Don't rub your eyes. Wash your hands. Stay the hell home if you're sick. Aside from that what are we supposed to do? shutter our homes and burn nettles on the front stoop?? jeez, enough already. Refuse to live in fear, I say!

I have an appointment this afternoon and I think it may just be the perfect time to get the remainder of the sanding done. Time to put on the "work clothes" (the already really grubby ones, that is).

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 2:26PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Hi all...
I am very busy, but have some questions that need answered. The waterfalls are only active during rainy weather. The pond is year around. I have never known it to be dry,. There is a springs in the hill across the hollow that keeps it supplied.
Chelone, I am sure it is deep enough for a dip, it used to be used for baptisms (immersions), but would be too cold for me to enjoy, even in the summer. It is very shaded.

Pm2, we originally had 37 acres, "more or less", but sold the 17, "more or less". It was all unemproved when we bought it in 1977, except for a clearing. It belonged to a cousin, and he pastured part of it. Otherwise it was all wooded, and had a not very good dug pond on the upper part.(The part that we sold.) We had a pond dug several years ago, back of Nolon's shop and sheds. I stocked it with hybrid blue gill and catfish.The catfish are quite huge now. I will try to remember to get a pic of them when Nolon is feeding them. I went out this morning with him, but did not take my camera. A school of very large catfish came for the food. They are sure ugly critters! :-)

I started taking out indoor plants yesterday, and have taken out most of the large pots, and several small ones. I got sidetracked because of the containers of peas that I have growing out on the deck. I have been fighting a varmint that was digging in the containers, breaking off and uprooting the little plants. You cannot imagine all the steps I have taken to deter it/them. Yesterday afternoon I built a squirrel and rat proof cage around the last ones that have just sprouted. During the wee hours of this morning I switched on the deck light and saw a MOUSE run out of one of the larger plant's container. I went out and checked, and sure enough, it was the culprit. This morning I discovered that one of the three containers, that I had so carefully fenced yesterday, had been visited by mouse or mice and there were hardly a plant left of the double rows! I had not even thought about it being mice!
I have 2 traps set for those blasted varmints now.

I mowed almost all of our 'lawn' last week.
I have been pruning lots of shrubs, and have lots more to do.
It is raining outside work has been put on hold. It makes a perfect time to set out plants, between showers.

I had a request from a GD and my X-DIL to be their 'friend' on facebook, so have renewed my membership. Now, our son and I are communicating there. :-)
I am hoping many friends and relatives will join in.
I am learning more about it, and even posted some pics in an album.

Saturday, a friend and I rode together to a "Lady's Day" (morning) at a congregation in a town near Harrison. We had a very good morning, and met several ladys that we had not seen for some time. It was the third annual lady's day there, and I hope to go again next year.

That made the third trip to town for me that week! Didn't get much done at home....except the mowing.

I agree on the 'range' versus 'stove'. I cook on a 'range' and heat with a 'stove'. Of course it used to be a cook stove, and a heating stove!

I need to get busy again, but do want to say how much I am enjoying all the pics. The orchid pics gave me a scare until I found out they are in a professional greenhouse!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 2:37PM
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Chelone, agree with you about the aging pet comment. I didn't mention anything here at the time, but my 12 year old Chocolate lab had to be put to sleep last month. He had a mass wrapped around his intestine. So Maggie, my 11 year old Golden Retriever got sick on the day after Easter. They had been together since babyhood. I thought oh boy, here it comes.I waited until Wednesday to take her to the vet, thinking that she probably ate someone's Easter candy, snuck something out of the garbage,since we had a lot of people over here for dinner, etc. Finally I got really worried and took her to the vet after she threw up a gray plastic bottle cap ( no idea where she got that, didn't recognize it as anything in my house). The vet took xrays, $200 later, the vet told me it was gas. I had to laugh. Still have my dog.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 3:28PM
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This thread is chocked full of goodies! Babies in car carriers, cat spats, and beautiful gardens!

Cindy, your garden is beautiful. I always enjoy getting a peek. Chloe looks like she takes care to hop over the plants :)

Kathy, it is fun to see more of your garden, too. I can't wait to put together my first pots. It should be soon as we're busy getting plant material now.

How nice to see Drema. I'm sorry you lost a pet. I am having a bee "adventure" today....some of the bees are a bit "lost" and keep returning to the spot they swarmed. I'm going to suit up and gather any that I can and bring them over to the queened hive. If they don't stay, oh well, I tried :)

Deanne, I would be honored to do a trade of some sort with you. Let me get through this plant sale. Are you thinking elepant ear, or some other leaf? I could have something for you at the end of May (in fact, I'm headed up to Maine that weekend, so maybe I could make a detour to deliver)...think about it, and let's discuss.

Marian, your landscape reminds me of home, and I like to hear you describe it. I was immersed in a tank in the church - lol, your pond looks more inviting.

I am beginning to feel inspiration seep into me when I walk through the GG....I'm not sure what shape it will take, but the ideas are coming and that is good. It might take me 10 more years....but no garden is ever done, right?

I'm getting up early in the mornings and playing in the greenhouse (watering and transplanting) and some days we go to the wholesaler and then I dream of making pretty combos. Deanne's coleus love the greenhouse (under the shade cloth for now) and my zinnias are growing as fast as they can. I can't say I'm too thrilled with my bananas, but I'll give them some time.

My new beehive is painted, and I met an old time beekeeper by going out to Western Mass and buying my own equipment (I mail ordered before). He is 82 and still happily working the business.

Well, I have some bees to wrangle before dinner. Wish me luck, they're not happy and haven't had any honey to gorge on :)


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 5:46PM
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Lets see what I can remember.

Chelone is getting a new range,and contemplating heels and aprons. Pickeling tables and cleaning up gardens.

Saucy is capturing bees, making tuffa, working in the greenhouse and contemplating the GG.
Was there any pictures of the finished tuffa projects with Deanne and Wendy?

Deanne, cleaned up the container garden and infringed on more of Dougs lawn. Hooked up the fountain and had a weather related meltdown.
It was way hot and windy here too. I have a sunburn.
Today it's raining, much needed too.

Eden has been moving plants and enjoying baby Kate. What a cutie.

Michelle has some pretty blooms and is contemplating a sign for The Secret Garden.

Julie has built new step and garden area and shutled TCS to many activities.

Cindy showed us some of her pretty garden and is coaxing Chloe to eat.

Drema has been working on the potager and planning some colorful plants,watching baby Charlie and has lost a beloved pet.

PM2 is rebuilding a rock wall infringing on more lawn and has strawberries greening up. (me too) I was doubtful those dead looking roots would grow anything. LOL

Woody is still busting sod and doing paperwork.
Did you get a good grade on your landscaping project?

GB has been birthday partying and awaiting Surprise's birth.

V took pictures of beautiful orchids, and finished the invitations.

Kathy showed us her backyard and spatting kitties. Love those snapdragons.

Marian has been putting me to shame with all her accomplishments in the garden, and trying to outwit the creatures after her plants.
Loved the picture of the pour off.

Who did I miss? Some one I'm sure. Martie and Brenda come to mind.

I have been working on the veggie garden, trying to move a few plants. I finally just had to let the weeds go until I could get some other stuff done or miss the window of time to do it. I just hate letting any weeds go to seed though.
today I went shopping since it was raining. Needed potting soil and a few plants for containers.
I also had a ten dollar coupon that I put towards a new quilt for my bed. The old one was getting pretty ragged.

I worked on a trellis for the back corner of the veggie garden and am now contemplating which clems to put on it.
Oh I built some steps down the back slope of that garden too. Moved the mulch pile with our new tractor that has a bucket. Yeah! that thing is going to save us a lot of back breaking work.

Things look like they grew six inches today with the rain. It had been so hot and windy I was beginning to worry about the plants. The iris are starting to pop. And I have a few azaleas blooming. The wild phlox is starting too.

Thats it for now. Time to go put some aloe on my sunburn.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 8:04PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I call all stoves, stoves - a range to me is prairie - as in 'home on the range'... :- )

Drema - losing a lovely Lab is always a sad thing - as is losing a lovely Golden, so I'm glad your Golden's problem was just a case of 'greedy guts' :-) Chelsea, our Golden, lived to be 15 so that was a nice 'gift'.

Cindy - I hope Chloe is all better from whatever ailed her. That was a cute picture of her in the garden.

Where's Mary these days? We need a chicken update - and a David one too :-)

Saucy - nice catch on the bee swarm - you've got way more nerve that I do!

Norma - sod busting is behind schedule. I sort of had an energy'crash' Saturday evening. So I've not done anything since Saturday morning. Tomorrow Barb's daughter will be here and I hope to get more done - except the forecast is for rain, so we'll see.... My final mark on the course was 86.5 so I didn't 'ace' it but it was a reasonably respectable grade. The teacher said a few more vignette sketches to go along with the 3-D view would have given me a higher mark. I was out of energy for drawing by the time I finished that one!

I seem to be having a tendinitis flare up so I'll quit now - 'Hi' to all I missed commenting on...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 8:24PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I got most of the indoor plants put outside. Here is a pic of the 'first half' of the deck:

And on to the far end:

And here are the plants waiting for containers to be added to, plus a few other odds and ends:

More are in other locations around the outside, including all the hanging ones.
It came a good shower on them, so they are pretty soggy. :-)

Saucy, I would never be brave enough to catch a swarm of bees! But I am very happy for you, and proud of you.
We were all immersed in a 'baptistry', but people are still going to rivers for that.

Eden, that is a precious pic of Kate.

Cindy, I love the pictures of your gardens. They are beautiful.

Kathie, I love snapdragons, and yours are beautiful.
The Ted and Doobie spat shot is a great catch. Wish I could catch Tommy and Trubbie's infrequent slapping contests. They never get very angry.
Beautiful Clematis.

Pm2, that was a very good synopsis of evryone's posts. Such posts help jog my memory on what others have said.

Drema, very good hearing from you again. Your veggie plans stirs my desire to be able to do all that again. Nothing beats home grown veggies, and the great feeling you get from growing your own.
Wow! 200 bucks to be told your dog has gas!

Lol, Chelone....Rex stealing a turd here and there for some organic snacking! So funny!
We have had an influx of blow flies indoors lately. I hate those nasty things!
I am with you on the swine flu scare. The news media really love to stir the pot!

Norma,you did great on your remembering. :-)
I have let the weeding go too, but for differant reasons.
I bought a trellis for the clematis at the north corner of our house. The thing I had rigged up last year was not only ugly, but not very practical.
Things are busting out so fast here that by next week everything will be leafed out. The rains we are getting are really helping too.

Woody, I thought about "home on the range" too. :-)
Yes, where is Mary?
I hope your tendenitis flare does not last long.

A possibility of small hail tonight. Please,please, no more plant damage!

I think I am forgetting something... I'll remember it as soon as I post. :-(


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 9:03PM
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Marian, I'm jealous. You have a dolly to help move your plants. I have one on my wish list, but never get around to buying it.

Facebook is good for something. I had and old highschool freind contact me. It was nice to catch up on where life took us.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 9:43PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I am on my way to bed and most of my comments will have to wait until morning, but in case Chelone gets up and posts before me, I just had to say, don't forget the pearls and the feather duster! lol

And Norma! You are feeling better?! Nice to hear you are back in action! A tractor, huh? I've got to get me one of those. lol

All in all, everyone sounds so excited about spring and their garden, even those with aches and pains and low energy. Quite the group. [g] Now all we need is another new baby. :-)

Ok....sleepy time...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 9:54PM
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Wow, Norma, you definitely take the prize for Idyll World Roundup, lol. I am speechless with awe. :)

No word from Kathy this morning must mean it was a long day at the ball park. I've not heard a sports report so can only hope she was able to view the desired result. I wonder if she has a sunburn, too? oh... that's right! the sun that shines on that place they call California doesn't actually BURN people... . Hope you had a grand time.

Marian, I grant you I have a rather twisted sense of humor but the first thing I thought of when I saw all those plants lined up on your deck was the line at the unemployment office. ;) Holy mackerel, you have a TON of plants; you and I are definitely a study in contrast... there is exactly one plant in this house, a red Amaryllis. Lol. I chuckled at the mice sneaking some of your vegetation; sometimes it seems no matter what we try there is no escaping some things, huh? Your story of the pour off being used for baptisms reminded me of the pool in the brook that fed the mill pond in my town. Two elderly women used to use it to cool off on very hot days, carefully immersing themselves clad in their slips. Until they discovered the town drunk happily observing them from behind a clump of undergrowth. They dressed him down severely in the Post Office in front of the early morning wave of patrons. Lol. I recall watching that same drunk (a delightfully gentle man) relieving himself on the back of the Post Office as I was walking along that very same brook. Clearly, in a small town, the brook and the Post Office were hotbeds of activity, at least to elderly women, the town drunk and 12 yr. olds. ;)

Drema, I'm sorry about your dog (even though I hate them). I did a mental tally of the animals that now occupy real estate here on the Compound and came up with this inventory:
4 birds
4 cats
3 dogs
But the mental picture that really sticks in my mind is that of the helpmeet walking down the driveway toward the house one June morning, with only Sally's collar in his hand. She was nearly 13 and she too had a mass in her abdomen. Making that tough decision is what seperates the "men from the boys" when it comes to pet ownership, stewardship, and husbandry, isn't it? sigh.

I have wondered about Mary, too. It will be fun to get the complete update on the trip to the home of the bean and the cod.

I liked Woody's "range" theme. Bustin' sod and playing with the deer and the antelope. I see opinions on stoves range widely...

I did finish the sanding yesterday. And then I cleaned up the Salon (listening to Sinatra) and thought about the best way to get the pickling done. I made a terrific kerbside score yesterday morning, you guys. It's an old TV stand on casters (complete with applied handsome "woodgrain"), but very sturdy, definitley too useful for the landfill. I put it in the back of the car and now it's the storage place for all my painting supplies. Hmmm... now if I could just figure out how to pickle vinyl woodgrain... ;)

It's time to gather up my snacking items and giddyap on outta here to Chaos Gulch. T minus 9 hrs. and counting...

(tap tap tap!) where the hell is that kid, anyway? At what point does "fashionably late" turn into just plain, "late"?

Do some smilin' today, my friends.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 5:32AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)


Yesterday DH did the school run with Skyler while DSIL and I scampered about warming the hot tub, heating the back room, phoning the midwife. We bought groceries, took Skyler to Tai Kwon Do, did homework, made burritos...then called off the midwife. :( So no activity as of now.

Skyler has a slew of activities today: swimming, choir, etc...

I think a good long shower and some laundry are on my agenda.

What a great Idyll catch up here this morning! Nice to share with 'old' friends.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 11:19AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Wow, I am so impressed by your powers of recall, Norma!! maybe we could make you the "IU synopsis" daily poster for those of us who do fly-by visits, LOL.... sounds like you're feeling better and things are really getting underway in your garden.

Drema - so nice to hear from you and about the new potager - it sounds lovely and I hope we get to see some photos of it this year! Im so sorry about your loverly lab -- it's so hard to let them go, isnt it? I got the chuckle about the $200 and relief that it was "only gas" -- sometimes we're happy to pay that when we get "happy news" - isnt it ridiculous? I hope it stays like that for many years....

It's been really busy - both at home and awfice -- Im really looking forward to the temps falling back to where they should be for this time of year -- altho it may not be in time to save some things; I just havent had the stamina to hose haul last nite as I should have and some things were definitely looking sad -- the ranunculus look like toast; the pansies may survive; the dutch iris and alliums that are budded up were fried on their tips - c'est la vie. Sometimes we just have to take what Mother Nature is throwing our way dont we? I guess I'll even welcome forecasts of rain for the next 4 days here at this

Woody -- I like your sod pounding efforts - I think they are likely most productive both emotionally and physically; you've certainly made a lot of progress re new borders and I look forward to seeing them come into better shape. Congrats on the grade in the class; it sounds like there was a lot of drawing needed for it; I never would have done so well. I salute you!

Ok, back to being a "dependable employee" -- gotta stay employed...


    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 1:50PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I'm hot. lol I'll be back when it cools off. :-)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 2:27PM
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Saucy -- at some point could you explain bee swarming [again] since if you did I don't remember.


1,400 miles over 24 in 96 hours through Pennsylvania farm country (280 mi each way) during fertilizing season with Rich. Saw DB more three days than in last 10 years and it was good.

Jewel of a place in middle of Columbus, Franklin Park, will be subject of separate thread at some point.

Waiting along with everyone for Surprise, glad to see Marian out and about, ~~~~~~Jen and Kate~~~~~~, anticipating lovely morning WALAT through everyone's pics and posts, and want Chelone to know that I didn't need to kick DB's shepard/chow mix even once and I was terribly disappointed ;-)

Keep'em smiling.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 5:36PM
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Good evening Friends, from the mythical land west o the Rockies. Chelone had it spot on, although this was a nighttime baseball game and I didnt hit the sheets till almost midnight. Note to self and other interested parties: next time dont try to maintain anything close to a regular morning schedule after an uncharacteristic late night I was about as unproductive as hell today, along with other office mates. We would have gotten more done if we had just kept sleeping and come to work late. As it is, I had reduced capacity all day. Ill be surprised if I make it past 9 tonight. We had a great time though (even though my team lost ) and our seats were the best I can ever remember having- I could call balls and strikes accurately and we were in the fancy section where waiters come and take your orders and then bring them to you. (for a price) so you need not miss a minute of the game except for a restroom run. It was bitterly cold but we all knew that up front and wore football game gear- San Francisco is a beautiful unique city , but the weather sucks almost all year round . If you want to visit there , come in September or October.

Cindy, so glad to see you post some pics at last ! How pretty and lush everything looks. I didnt realize your front garden area was so large ( I say this from my own postage stamp perspective) and I would be strategizing on removing lawn along the walkway to the entry for additional plants if need be ! I hope things improve for Miss Chloe, who is endearing even when naughtily foraging in the garden. By the way I found a pic of the Sedum in Scarsdale and have posted below.

Lol , PM, I can just imagine Ted and Doobies reaction to having ducks living in my back yard ! I have done some veggies in pots- I used wine barrels and put them in the utility area on barrel movers so they could catch available sun-my house is 2 story and casts a shadow. The barrels now have been moved to other areas and are full of flowers It would not be hard for me to get more barrels , but other plants have continued to occupy my attention. I have had chronic issues with snapdragons for years, every year swearing to never grow them again. I am so pleased with these , so far no sign of rust . I also planted the old fashioned rocket mix which is budded but not in bloom yet , and they seem pretty clean too. Have you ever thought about thinning out or limbing up some of the trees on your spread to let in more sun ? The bronze fennel was a pleasant surprise , it over wintered just fine and makes a nice contrast with the broad-leaved plants.

Drema, nice to hear from you! Hope you are still on-board for IU . I love your choice of veggies- its fun to make the veggie garden as beautiful as the flower garden-so many fabu cultivars are available.

So Saucy, what color is the beehive ? Is the choice dictated by bee- preferences?

Marian, no wonder you have been so busy with all those plants to move out. Looks like you wont even have a bench to sit on to observe the flora-it too is filled with plants.

Hi Martie, Hi Norma see yall tomorrow .

Kathy in Napa

Sedum from IU5. From Idyllunion 5 July 2008

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:21PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Chelone, the plants you see on the deck are about half of them! The hanging plants are elsewhere; and the two pots of banana plants; and 3 pots of hibiscus; and a peacelily; and a few others; plus quite a few still to go out! Am I nuts or what?

The calves of my legs were really hurting this afternoon, and I came to the conclusion it was the new flatsoled canvas shoes I was wearing while toting out the plants. I am used to wearing shoes with an arch suport and more of a heel.

Kathy, the plants containers on the porch swing are the peas. In front are the earlier started ones that I have stick brush in for them to climb on. In the back of them are/were the rewly sprouted ones. They were almost all either dug up and eaten, or eaten off, last night! I had placed a set mouse trap in both containers. They were unsprung! So, I guess that will be my last attempt at doing that!
I was hoping all the potted plants would distract the culprits, but they were untouched.

You gals are causing me to spend money on plants that I probably would not have bought. I brought home a red verbena, and a multi-colored lantana today. :-)

Marie, I think the waiting is harder on you than it is Sarah??? How thrilling to feel the babe. I am so thankful that Sarah did no harm to herself on the ravine trip. That concerned me....

Nice showers for us, and cooler weather. Pleasant for sleeping....which I am 'fixing' to do...:-)


    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 10:04PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Well, the briefest of scans caught Cindy mentioning fly-by visits, and this is a true fly-by. Work has been very busy, and when I get home I've been busy downstairs, trying to get ready to paint the extra bedroom this weekend.

I have to credit Mary for a great idea. One of the bookshelves in the family room has been put back in color sequence. I did it by shelf rather than by the entire bookcase, because each shelf has a different type of book, but I like the end result. There will be photos when this grand project is all done, I promise. It's just going to take some time to get one room put back together, the second room torn apart, rinse and repeat.

I delivered the wedding invitations to my favorite little post office yesterday. The first invitations were received today - hand-canceled and in wonderful shape. I knew it was worth being picky about the post office I used!

Chelone, I managed to watch the Bulls game on Sunday with a gaggle of Celtics fans. They were not happy with the outcome. It was a fun game to watch, though.

I'd better go hose down the kitchen before I go to bed. And I will continue to patiently wait for baby news!


    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 10:37PM
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Well Marian, I say you can't take it with you, and spending 20 or 30 bucks on some plants that will give you pleasure seems like a worthy pursuit to me. It's easy for me to give up other stuff to make this happen-it seems easiest to manipulate the grocery budget !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 11:27PM
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The outcome of last night's Celtics/Bulls matchup was better than Sunday's. But at this rate who wins the series is anyone's guess. I'm sorry you didn't get to see your beloved Dogders whip the Giants, Kathy.

Marian, as one who's been on a bit of money spending junket lately allow me to assure you that flowers and plants are a most worthy investment. I've always been a fan of "good sensible shoes" and from the time I was a little kid Mum would repeatedly remind me, "now dear, cheap shoes are no bargain". To this day my preferred footwear is a pair of sturdy shoes that lace. I have some pull on shoes by a company called Merrill that are very comfortable and offer good support, but without laces there is no way to really adjust the snugness and guarantee good support as they've aged and loosene up. It's time to replace them and I'll be looking for laces! There is an old saying in horsemanship, "no foot, no horse" and I think it applies to people as well.

It was eerily warm yesterday, mid-80s with a dry, stout breeze all day long. There is a very high fire warning up, too. I spent a long time outdoors WALATing with the pride and that fool dog. I added a ton of pictures to the camera's memory, mostly the emerging ferns and the narcissus. I added several clumps of "King Alfred" (a tall bright yellow narcissus) a couple of years ago and I just love them. I noted with glee what I BELIEVE are going to be blossoms on the yellow Magnolia, too. I took some pictures of the buds and will keep an eagle eye trained on them in the coming week. We've had the shrub for the best part of 5 seasons now and last year was the first year it did anything... one piddly flower, lol. The helpmeet remarked that we must've jostled it from its complacent existence when we moved it last August. I need to come up with an attractive groundcover to plant beneath it. Any ideas?

I thought I'd add this for Deanne, too. One of the pride caught a very big, fat (read: well fed) vole yesterday afternoon. I took a picture of it to mark the occasion. The gardens on the south side of the house were riddled with vole "half pipes" and several plants have had their roots pruned by them (they seem to love Astilbe), but that one won't live to munch another day. Maybe I should desecrate the body as a warning to others?

I hear Foxy Loxy in the distance and the cats are on full alert in the windows.

My schedule this week is confusing. I'm not sure if I'll have a day off tomorrow or not, personally I'd prefer to just work but that may not be in the offing. The phone is beginning to ring off the hook and repairs are piling up, 'tis the season. Chaos abounds. (need to get the pickling done).

Surprise will arrive when good and ready and everyone else has just about given up hope. I hope they're keeping the tub water heated in preparation for the blessed event. It must be hard to patient... just like Christmas eve... that goes on and on and on. :)

I want to hear about the hip color for beehives, too.

And I'd rather not go to work.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 5:17AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

50 degrees on the back porch this morning. Ahhhh! No rain, though. More hose dragging today then. We are pretty dry. Fortunately, our daffs are early bloomers and had a pretty good run before yesterday. One day of 93 degree temps and all the 'Ice Follies' were toast. 'Flower Record' was looking fine. I have a variety called 'Ceylon' in two locations, one looked perfectly fine and the other was all shriveled up by the end of the day. Both areas had been watered for an hour the day before. I figured it out, the shriveled group was in more sun. I spent an hour yesterday trying to ID all my Daffs. I finally found a record of what I had purchased four years ago and how many and I was very happy to see some had doubled and tripled in amount of blooms. I want to order more daffs this fall.

Cindy....Your poor Chloe. I think it is so wrong that dogs end up with some of the same disorders we do. I hope they can get it under control. Not being able to eat is very trying, but with patience, it is amazing how the body can heal. I looked up your Clematis 'Etoile Violette' and noticed Clematis is in the Ranunculaceae family. What a surprise. It is supposed to bloom from June to Sept and reach 10-12 feet. I would assume yours would have the climate to reach it's full potential, does yours perform to expectations?

Drema....Potagers are a favorite of mine. I don't have the conditions to do one, or the energy. [g] I will enjoy seeing what you come up with this year. My vegetable efforts are touch and go for some. I don't have enough sun. Cherry tomatoes do very well, but I have a harder time with the larger tomatoes. Peppers and Eggplant are slow to get going here but will give me a few. String beans are great of course, and greens do fine. Zuchinni always produces something. I am trying a Purple Cauliflower this year. I look forward to lots of pics. .... Very sorry about your Lab. Maggie must miss him/her too. What was the lab's name?

Marian...that is a huge amount of land! You've done a lot of work there. Catfish tastes pretty good, do you fish and cook it? Very sorry to hear about your peas. I am so surprised it was mice. I always blame the squirrels for everything, but I do actually see them. I was watching out the window a few days ago, and saw a squirrel hop onto my newly planted Whiskey Barrel and pull off a fresh new stem from the strawberry plant. When I got outside, the plant was uprooted and I had to replant it. He had sat there eating whatever he pulled out, but when I got there it was lying on the ground. So evidently he didn't enjoy it. [g] I placed an upside down milk crate over the top, but I doubt that will keep anything out. .... Nice pics of your plants! Glad to see a 'two wheeler' on the porch. :-)

Saucy... did you round up the straggler bees? Second hive painted the same color as the first? What are you buying for your containers this year and are you going to the Tower Hill Plant sale? I thought I remembered you had a conflict?

Norma....We couldn't live without a 'Two Wheeler' [dolly] at our house. We use it all the time. I have been delighted to see how fast little green leaves have appeared on those dead looking brown roots. Your weeds are already going to seed? Are you really a zone 5? [g] I have had to start dragging the hose already, everything was so dry. I have plenty of foliage but no buds on my Iris yet. Hmmm....

Woody....Tendinitis flare...I've never had that one. I looked up alternative treatments out of curiosity and found it interesting. Transverse Friction Massage, which I had never heard of. Link below. I hope that settles down soon for you and that Barb's daughter was able to help you in the garden. Our loss when you are missing in action. :-) have pet birds? I'm surprised I don't remember hearing much about birds. Except for a previous parrot, wasn't it? Sad about Sally...very cute name. How long since she was with you?

Gardenbug....Have you been able to follow your new schedule while you are visiting? I've always found a disruption in my routine puts me off track entirely. It sounds like you are getting plenty of exercise though! lol Sort of like interval training.

Kathy...So, where was Manny when you needed him? Geez. :-) 'Ted and Doobie and the Ducks' sounds like a rock band. [g] I would like to see photos of that, are you sure you don't want to? :-) ... So I take it your snaps are growing in full sun and that is the difference, or is it a variety that doesn't get rust? No, unfortunately, the trees shading my property are in other people's yards. I took a photo of my pathetic sedum, I don't know why it doesn't perform. It has good drainage and full sun.... was 93 here yesterday and I saw it was 92 in Portland. Both record breaking. You are lucky to be so close to the water there. We saw yellow magnolias blooming in the next town over after dinner last night. So pretty. We got out to escape the heat with the A/C in the car. [g] How about Epimediums with small spring bulbs underneath it? They seem to tolerate the shade and dryness.

Hello Martie. :-)

Rest of the week is supposed to be comfortable temps, time to finish up the bulk of the garden chores, quick, before the next heat wave.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:16AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gee...not enough baby photos! :-)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:18AM
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Yahoo Idylls!!

What a whirlwind the last week has been. Boston was a blast. The kids did get to see their Red Sox game - it was rain delayed an hour but they went on to win to much cheering. I even navigated the streets of Boston on my own to deliver them all and pick up from Fenway. We loved the Museum of Fine Arts, wheeled David's wheelchair along the freedom trail and has a lovely evening at the symphony. What a neat city Boston is to visit. I waved at all the nearby Idylls.

The day we returned home I was picking up produce at the market where one of my favourite farmers had year old chickens for sale. Red Betty came home with me in a box and I spent the weekend building her coop and run. I made her coop out of a packing crate, adding doors, windows, roof and roost, and her run is a converted guinea pig run. The only thing I had to buy was some netting and hinges - everything else was salvaged. DH (who was far from enthusiastic about the whole idea) thinks having Betty is the coolest thing and was impressed with her hen house (which I must admit is rather awesome). We pick up baby chicks this afternoon and have already been enjoying beautiful, large brown eggs. Thanks Betty!

At the weekend I also did a bit of a Babs as I had volunteered (shoot me now) to help with costumes for David's play and had 7 skirts to make. I got them done late Sunday night and it has been non-stop since with the first performance today. Instead of the walker David is able to get across stage with a crutch and take part in the red knight's fight scene. His trio with Alice went well and I think he'll have a great time performing to an audience.

I'm also doing the indoor/outdoor dance with seedlings and baby plants and trying to keep on top of things in the garden. Our pool is open and we all enjoyed a bracing swim during the hot spell. No heat in the pool so it was a tad cold (freezing) but mighty refreshing. Since company left the inside of the house looks as though a bomb went off and I'm out of milk and clean socks. Lets hope no one drops by unexpectedly. One day I'll get caught up.

A big wave to everyone with fingers crossed for the next baby news.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 8:02AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Another rainy morning, with much more in the forecast. That is fine with me, but will hinder Nolon's activities. He has all of the woods up close to our back yard cleared of damaged trees, and is now considering the woods on the left of our yard. I had suggested that he work on that, and he is willing. :-) Then he can go on around to the front, which doesn't have that much up close to work on.

LOL, Kathy, "20 or 30 bucks"? I only spent $12.82 on the two plants that I got yesterday! I worded my announcement incorrectly yesterday. I should have used the word "enabler" , that is the word others have used here,in such situations. :-(
And I was jesting!

Chelone, I agree on the plants and flowers, as long as they do not end up varmint fodder!
As for shoes, my more comfortable shoes came from one of the local thrift stores. I think from the Human Society thrift shop. They cost me even less than the canvas shoes!I suspect they would have been very expensive at a shoe store.I find most of my shoes at thrift stores. Wealthy people donate their cast offs there. I have no qualms in wearing them. :-)
Houseslippers are generally pretty flat, and I consider the canvas shoes more as house shoes. They 'are' cute....
Thank goodness we are not in danger of a wild fire due to the recent rains. The very great possibility of that, because of all the downed limbs, is the main reason I suggested Nolon work on the left woods. I would like to get the debris moved farther away from our yard and buildings.
Our cat's 'gift' a couple of days ago , was a chipmunk. It was deposited in front of the front porch. They will not eat them. Calliecat did. I took a cople of pics of it , as you did, to document it.
I am thinking we need another 'calliecat'. She was so good at patrolling the yard for varmints. I am thinking of visiting the Animal Shelter and see what they have. I want one that is strictly an outdoor cat. The two we have indoors is plenty!

Pm2, only a few people in this area have as little land as we do. Mostly it is only town people who have less. Yes, we have done a lot of work on it. Nolon did all the building, I did all the planting. We hired the pond digging.
I bought the hand truck (two-wheeler, dolly) at WalMart a few years ago. It is a real back saver. An even larger one would be nice.

I will be afraid to sow any other kind of seeds in the boxes the peas were in. I think the scent of the peas would still attract the marauders. So...I will have to use that soil elsewhere, and start over from scratch with those planters. :-(

Yey! Mary is back!


    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 8:35AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I will not gross anyone out whith the chipmunk pics, but here are a couple that I think you will enjoy:

The first is four of the catfish. It was very hard to get a good pic. They move around too fast, and my silly camera takes too long between pics. :-(

The next is 'Myrtle' the turtle.

It was not very cooperative either. :-)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 9:43AM
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Sneaky Awfice Post:

Yo, Mary . where the heck are the pics of the henhouse and Betty, damm*t !!?????!

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 10:05AM
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Anyone else having log-in issues? I've had to log in every time I've wanted to read this afternoon. I miss Spike!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 4:04PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Thought I'd come visit. No log in issues here, just NOTHING to say! :(

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 4:22PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

No log in issues for me today either. Supper is in the oven so I have a minute, but looks like I have nothing much to say Made minor progress in the garden today. Another clematis planted and all the cool weather crops planted in the veggie garden, compost added to the asparagus. That's it. So I take it Gardenbug, that you are just waiting at this point? Sarah's due date is coming up on Sunday, yes? I hope she is feeling well, though difficult to imagine the last few weeks of pregnancy could be. I hope the snow has stopped at least. When does it warm up around there? Oh, I did have something to ask you, Does DD and DSIL know a singer called, Tyler Hamilton who is from their neck of the woods? I saw him on a David Foster special on PBS.

Ok...that's all I got. :-)


    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 6:27PM
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Well, things seemed to have resolved themselves. I'm no longer being inundated by advertisements for crap I'd never buy and logging in seems to "stick". It wasn't before.

Well 'bug, I'm indeed sorry you have nothing to say or report from the great White North. I hope they have the equivilent of a giant tea cozy for the hot tub! And I'm quite sure DD and DSIL are more than ready for the big event and can't wait to meet Surprise face to face... finally! How's Skyler holding up?

Mary, I can't wait to see the chicken coop and the run. Nice goin' on the salavaged items! don't you just love it when a plan comes together. Now, how long will Red Betty supply you with eggs until it's time for her to keep her date with the stew pot? The chicks are going to be just too cute for words. Please show us pictures of them! Did you know that for many years brown eggs were only really common in New England? When I was a kid I was amazed to learn that eggs actually came with white shells, too. We had some fresh eggs the other week that had lovely tourquoise-y/blue shells. Lovely! Boston is a lovely city. It was great growing up outside it and later, going to college there. The oldest public park in the country is there, too; the Boston Common. If memory serves me correctly the law that permitted public grazing is still on the books.

Wow, Marian... don't get too close to that pond, those catfish look like they'd gobble you right up if they were able. How big are they? In New England they call catfish "Hornpouts". And yeah, they wouldn't win any beauty contests. But Myrtle would. ;)

Back to seasonable temperatures today. I didn't feel like getting too dirty so I baked a cake instead. "Delicate Chocolate Cake" with orange frosting. It was a nightmare... the oven is really failing fast and I have my doubts about how well it's going to turn out for a lot of effort. I sure hope my selection of the new RANGE is going to make the next baking escapade more enjoyable! It took longer than 35 minutes to bake the cakes thoroughly, I suspect the temperature is very uneven. And I have doubts that it won't be dry on the outer edges. But I'm sure it will be eaten nonetheless. ;)

I don't know about Epimedium under the Magnolia, PM. I love the plant, but it has nearly choked the life out of the Rhodo. that it presently carpets and so I'm naturally leery of it in that capacity. I have tons of Asarum europaeum (I can't kill it and it grows like topsy here) but again, I'm not so sure. Ajuga reptans came to mind, too (I love the flowers) but I'm not sure I want it escaping into the lawn area... so I don't know. I also have a ton of Galium odoratum to "rehome", too. The Magnolia develops large leaves and will cast some decent shade so whatever I plant is going to have be able to deal with that and I'm not sure how deeply rooted the shrub is and therefore how dry the area will be. I suppose mulch will buy me some time to decide, huh?

OK, time to see what's on the docket for dinner (which is late because it's really busy where the chef works). I know what's for dessert!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 6:59PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

This afternoon we bought some flower seeds and a hanging basket. DD & I split up an 'antique' spider plant and potted it up in two pots. They are no doubt in shock from being watered and given new soil. Got some potato starts and also sunflower, lettuce, beet and zucchini seeds. Lots of tiny annuals to be bought there too, which would be fun if I were at home. (Things like lablab vines.) Yesterday we bought baby a "Sophie the giraffe" and a new outfit for when s/he is older.

The hot tub has insulation and thermometer etc. The required temperature is 100 degrees F and that is easy to maintain. The amount of chlorine is the tricky part. The weather should be fantastic this coming week too.

Waiting is tough on DD who is always in control of things...and now can't be. DSIL is antsy and eager to meet his baby too. Skyler is always excitable, but this time he is excited about a weekend with his Mom at the Edmonton Mall where there is lots of water play etc. Tomorrow is his Mom's birthday, so some of us are eager for a May baby to avoid awkwardness. It doesn't really matter though.

Good to see news from Drema, Mary and the turtles of the Ozarks too! Love the spring garden at Cindy's, Kathy's clematis too. (Saw quite a few nice clematis for sale here too, but I'm not about to carry them home on a plane!)

Time to check up on the roast chicken and vegetables now.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:19PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Chelone...I think you are right. I forgot how thickly matted their roots get. Well, I was originally going to ask, why not just mulch under it to give the roots no competition? Isn't it fairly low to the ground? I have a Japanese Maple that I added Viola Labradorica under and I really like the way that is working out. I doubt it gives much competition at all. The foliage is a nice color and briefly you get very pretty bloom. Add some crocus or galanthus maybe.

Marian... Myrtle has nice spots on her head.

Mary...sure sounds busy at your house and a nice fun busy too. :-)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:47PM
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Marian, those catfish are huge.

Mary, good to have you back. Can't wait to meet Red Betty and see the coop you built.

I'm really tuckered out tonight. Planted some veggies and moved two clems this morning and weeded all afternoon.
It's raining again now and supposed to off and on the next two days. I don't care if it rains tromorrow because I need to grocery shop and will be meeting up with my guitar buddies to play a little music. I hope I will be able to play, all this weeding has my fingers stiff. I think I better put some flexall on them before I go to bed.

Hi Bug, A couple of my kids were two weeks late so I know how Sarah is feeling I think. At least you are having some quality time together.

To tired to think , so goodnight all. Norma

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 9:19PM
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Checking in here between WALAT and baseball it has surely been cool the last few days. We had frost on the rooftops this morning, but the tender annuals were untouched. Tomorrow is my Friday , and on the real Friday I will journey to the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek , if the predicted rain is called off. If not, another day will be selected. I will be ordering myself a new birdbath for my front garden tomorrow , via the employee discount. It will be a few weeks before I get it , but Ive been looking for one for a year and finally found one liked.

Just a few comments before I hit the baseball chair- PM , I bet that Sedum will look better in a few weeks, the one I planted in the ground vanished over the winter but is now putting on some nice growth. I always put snapdragons in full sun. Here we plant them in fall since they are considered cool season annuals. They kind of hang out over winter and really start to shoot up when the soil starts to warm. Our wet winters of course lead to the rust issues. I pulled out all the Sonnets I planted this fall before they even bloomed, they were just covered with rust. I wont plant that variety again.

Marian, Myrtle is quite lovely ! Do you know where she hibernates ?

All for me tonightwaves to all

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 10:34PM
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I am happy to report that my patience as a baker has paid off. I was freaked out that the cakes required 43 minutes to bake (9"ers), instead of the recommended 35! I kept an eagle eye on them and when they passed the spring back test and the cake tester insertion out they came. I frosted it and had it under the dome and everything cleaned up before the helpmeet returned home. My casual mention of "dessert" was greeted with delight... cake is moist and very good, orange buttercream was well received, as well. May 9th. is the big day.

I looked at birdbaths the other day, Kathy! the helpmeet has a blue one in Vegetable World and I saw one that was quite tall and very large (4'H w/about a 3'D) and had a strongly classical element to it. It really struck my fancy, but since I didn't have a place in mind for it, I kept walking. But I keep thinking about it...

Norma, how fun that you get together with friends to "jam", bet you guys have a blast. I need to get some of the more menial garden chores tended to, as well. Must feel good to have it all tidied up. Do Rebel and Jasmine help you out a lot while you're crawling around on the ground? (our's do).

After the baking session I took that fool dog outside and played "ball". My favorite! then we went on a forced march to practice our "good boy manners". It's always gratifying to drag him around by his neck. ;) When we returned home we WALATed for some time and I discovered a cache of "rescue" ferns that had been plucked from the path of destruction when the bahn was built. They've been happily makin' a living in the leaf mulch area for about 2 yrs. now! So today I think I'll move the brush from the tree removal and begin plunking them into that shadey, very moist corner of what used to be lawn. It will extend the present fern dell (Osmunda cinnamomea) and that area doesn't want to be lawn anyway if the moss growth is any indication. I also have several Osmunda claytoniana ("Interrupted ferns") to interr over in the drier, bahn area and there are also a few Osmunda regalis (Royal ferns) in that stash! I will feel particularly gratified if I get those little "messes" cleaned up; nothing says spring and summer to me more than the stands of ferns. They really are some of my favorite plants here on the Compound.

I'll bet managing the chlorine level is a bit tricky. Poor little Surprise surely doesn't need to be "sanitized for his protection" so soon. What a dreadful way that would be to be introduced to the beauty of our world... . Enjoy this time with your family, 'bug. It's been a long hard haul and you're deserving of the joy this special time holds. I'll bet there are times when it feels as though time is standing still and certain feelings and moments are frozen in time.

I wonder if Kate is walking or babbling yet? ;)

Time to salley forthe, I fear. Waving!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 5:28AM
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A view of the dogwoods in the woods

The Japanese Maple has finally recovered from the two years ago freeze damage

Clematis unknown and dogwood

This little angel always makes me smile

Clematis Elsa Spath


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 9:48AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Gorgeous Norma - especially the dogwood in the woods! I'm anxiously awaiting my first dogwood flowers....

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:07AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Oh wow! Norma, your dogwoods are so 'thick' from your deck view! And your red japanese maple is wonderful! Mine was frozen down to the ground, but has a swarm of sprouts coming up. They are about 3' tall now.
Your clems are beautiful. Mine have large buds, but no open blooms yet...why are you so far ahead of me???
Your angels is cute. I have no garden ornaments, except natural rocks. :-)
And I love the primrose. That is another plant I have not tried.
All of your pics are excellent!

Okay, back to the continuing saga of the mice and the peas. I brought the three planters into the utilityroom yesterday, and replanted all tha blank spaces. This morning all the newly sown peas have been removed!!!
This has become a battle of the wits (perhaps one of 'us' is a nitwit' ?). Anyways....I still had plenty of seeds, and have replanted AGAIN and set the three boxes on top of my old Toyota! I suspect the mice can no loneger get to them, but now it will probably be the crows!
Actually, I am beginning to be amused, except I hate the thought that the mice/mouse is inside the house also! I have seen no traces of it other than the dug up peas.

Chelone, there would be no danger from the catfish if I fell into the pond. I would be more concerned about the snapping turtles, and the fact that I cannot swim!
They are very big and ugly. I do not know how much the biggest weigh. We have never fished for them ( we are both too 'lazy' to attempt dressing one out.) We do allow friends to fish for them, but so far the only 'takers' we have had is our GDs and a friend and his grandson from Florida. The 12 year old GS caught one, weighed it, and threw it back. I do not remember how much it weighed, but they were quite proud of it, and took pics to share with folks in Florida.
Anyway, my hand would fit into the mouth of the largest ones.
The hollow place where I took the pics is where they have been fed so often that it is getting deeper and deeper into the bank. It has even underdug the bank! I am not happy that Nolon has encouraged that!

As for the turtle, I am not sure it is a 'Myrtle', it may be a 'Burt'?? And I have no idea where it hibernates, or if is the same one every year, but I imagine it is.
Yesterday when I walked up to the end of our driveway with Tommy, There was another box turtle coming across the county road . It was headed to the ditch that had a small stream of water in it. As soon as Tommy saw it, he sat down at a respectable distance and watched it. :-)

Chelone, I am glad your cake turned out okay. I wish I had a slice of it...yum! And on the subject of cook stoves....I sm shocked at the price of yours. Mine that I ended up with 2-3 years ago, was only over $400. It is electric with no bells and whistle, but the ones I started out purchasing 'had' bells and whistles, and cost very little more!
The first one I payed for, but never got, was from Home Depot, the second one was from the locally owned appliance store.
The one I ended up with is a Whirlpool.
Frankly, I consider it a piece of junk, but after returning the first, I was ashamed to return it...besides there would have been an additional charge. Ranges are just not made like they used to be, as is nothing else!

I am trying to remember how I knew when to go for the births of each of my GDs. I was never there any more than a day before the delivery. With the second and third I acted more as the baby sitter for the others while she was in the hospital. Of course, I was at the hospital when they arrived each time. I returned home as soon as she, and the baby, returned home.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:39AM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

as usual, gotta wait til tonite for the photo venture from Norma - Im looking forward to it...

Grey/showery day -- complain, complain.... just like Goldilocks; weather's seldom perfect.

Chelone -- re your Magnolia and groundcovers -- I was researching possibility of planting one a couple years ago and one thing that I recall is that most books/factoids say they have extremely shallow root systems and it's very hard to really plant things beneath them - that was one factor among a few others that made me decide not to plant one in the middle of my front bed as I really wanted to have other things too. So you may want to do a little reading on that. I frankly cant recall seeing any photos of magnolias w/ plants under them...

Im feeling optimistic today as we got good report from the new vet that Chloe's bloodwork came back much improved and showed that the treatment and new diet seems to be working and she's digesting her food, among other things. So I will hope we continue on this course; I do hope we can get her off the steroids/antibiotics as soon as possible but I cant complain about them right now if they're doing what they need to do....Yeeha for the present.

PM, I think you asked about my Clem Etoile Violette? It is a very strong grower for me; I whacked it back to the first bud sets/ about 10-12 inches and it's already over 5 to 6 feet tall - it will likely start to bloom within the next month and keeps going til October.

Here it is last year, late May I think (not a terribly attractive photo) but you get the idea -- it's already into the Chamaecyparis Blvd. in this shot - by summer end it was more than 15 feet I think.

Here's a better shot of it in the background - you'll see how it runs along the fence (this was 2007):

Looking forward to pics from Mary w/ her new pets and residences!


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 12:51PM
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I am beat - but it's a good tired! I have been shopping up a storm with my neighbor. She's going to sell retail this year, and she's hosting the plant sale where I'm going to sell my concrete garden art - so we have been gathering plants from every wholesaler in the state. Tomorrow she goes out to western MA, but has another passenger, so I'm off the hook with her, but on the hook making more garden art!

Norma, that's what I remember the woods looking like in TN! Gorgeous garden shots!

Cindy, I bought two clematis today: Jack Rubra and Polish Spirit. Yours is a beauty!

Marian, my dad used to scare me with tales of catfish as big as Volkswagon's....he'd tell me that's how big they were at the bottom of "my" lake. Have you seen the Dirty Jobs episode where they catch catfish with their fists? YUCK!

I ran over a baby turtle the other day. I was informed by Sarah.

I'm just so tired. I'm going to go lay down a bit before Sarah gets home and then I have to run to the grocery. I hope to pop in sooner rather than later.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 3:12PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I had not ventured around the soggy yard, when I last posted and told Norma that I had no clems blooming. I was mistaken, there are 2 open, and an iris!

It has rained off and on all day, but nothing heavy. I did get the 3 boxes replanted with peas, And they are on top of the Toyota Corolla station wagon now. LOL

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 4:37PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Beautiful clematis Cindy! I've somehow never got around to finding a place for that one although gb has recommended it several times. I need to think of somewhere to put it... Do you know the name of the two that are flowering for you Marian?

It was a productive day in the garden here today - The new bed sod is now all removed so the bed's ready for the next stage. This weekend Randy has to help me remove some of the metal edge from the current beds that are at either end of the new bed. Barb's daughter, Laurie, is working out great so far! (Oh to have the energy and strength of a twenty-something again.... :- )

Laurie is very observant too - she was sitting on the loveseat in the office this morning, looking out the window and poited out that there's a new resident on the property:

A closer view...:

Barb and I were ripping down clematis off that fence on Monday - either we narrowly avoided ripping down the nest too or it was built since Monday! I told Laurie about the robin that kept watch while we dug the rose bed a few years ago, and how it collected all the white grubs we dug out. So this morning Laurie collected all the white grubs we came across, put them on a plastic lid and left it on the fence at lunch. By the time we went back out after lunch, the grubs were gone....

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 6:23PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Woody, the clem on the left is Carnaby. The one on the right is Proteus. I like Carnaby the best of the two.
Great pic of Mrs. Robin. How nice that your new help is working out so good, and observant also. :-)


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 6:33PM
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Woody, just what we need around here. Another expectant mother waiting for her babies :) You do know you're going to have to give us updates until the babies hatch now don't you?


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 6:52PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

LOL Eden!

Look at all the great spring photos!

Norma, that first photo of your porch with the hammock looks so inviting! Perfect place to read a book. With all the dogwoods in a wooded setting like that, it looks very dreamlike. Your Japanese Maple looks so full and healthy, hard to believe it was ever damaged. Did you have to prune it hard? Very sweet looking angel and huge hosta and fern in the background look so healthy. Nice dark soil too. I am curious about the trellis I see in the photo of your Japanese Maple, does it have butterflies on it? Did someone make that for you? .... How was the guitar get together?

Everyone has some beautiful clematis! Cindy, why would you say that is not an attractive photo? I love the way you have grown yours into the shrubbery and the dark color with your Hydrangea is a very attractive pairing. Norma, that is one huge Clematis bloom! Marian, I like your striped one. Look forward to more Clematis photos. That is so neat that they bloom so early. I like that you can get one that blooms at all different times.

Marian, you are I will be surprised if those peas are not gone tomorrow morning again. [g] that is a very cheerful sight to see a Robin nesting out in the open like that! Is there any overhead protection there? Really neat! Very happy to hear that you have a new garden helper to keep your spring schedule on track, too. :-)

I am always looking at birdbaths too, Kathy. Even when they are on sale, I seem to balk at the price. Besides, since my garden isn't finished and doesn't look as good as I want it, a very pretty bird bath just looks out of place...One of these years, I am going to ask for a nice expensive one for Mother's Day. I think I would like a nice large one. We have group bathing out ....Frost, Kathy? Tomorrow is your garden trip, have a great time!! Take lots of pics! BTW, did you tell me the variety of that wonderful apricot snapdragon?

Chelone, I don't have an area for a large stand of ferns, but I do enjoy them. I seem to pick up a few every year. I have a fairly dry garden, so I am sticking to Japanese Painted ferns for the time being, which I stick in here and there. I had sensitive ferns, but I have to avoid ferns that spread too much. You're very lucky to have such a large property and it sounds like you have some native habitat there.

Saucy, when is the plant sale? Is it just her own sale, not a town wide sale? Is this the first time you are selling your tufa pieces?

Nothing to report here today at all. Taking some time off from the garden with rain due off and on for a few days. The Viburnum carlesii's just opened, and I wonder if the rain will have the blossoms on the ground by the end of the weekend. Happy to finally get some much needed rain.

Friday tomorrow, I wonder if Sue will be here?


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 7:17PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Sarah & family are out playing baseball after our yummy shrimp Thai dinner made by DSIL. The diet is pretty much out the window for now PM! I have a book I am reading as well as forums to check. ;)

Not much except sedum poking up in the gardens, but a small mock orange is budding up. I just love Norma's woods! I could easily finish my book in your hammock!!! This afternoon I pruned back 2 clematis for DD and even planted a small old package of crocuses!

Skyler wrote a story for homework...about a cowboy named Sky who rode a two headed bull at the Calgary Stampede. I hope his teacher is big on imaginative work and imperfect spelling. My son's teacher criticized his imaginative efforts which I believe was a mistake. He refused to write a single word for YEARS afterwards.

Tomorrow DH and I leave for a few days in Jasper. Do you think that will help baby decide to come? Poor DSIL is agitated because he hates to go to work, is missing out on plans and work for the Reed Stage up north and tree planting there, and wants to be withing 10 minutes of DD...

Supposed to be warmer with each passing day! YES!


    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 9:58PM
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Marian, those were my first clems open too, I almost didn't see them. I love the surprises. I think I bought Carnaby once. Guess it didn't make it.

Cindy, Thanks for posting Etoile Violette. I just bought that one in one of those little boxes. It is growing. Can't wait till it puts on a show like yours. I have read that you shouldn't let them grow away on a single stem. Any one know if I should clip it right away or let it go for awhile? GB do you know?

Woody, nice shot of the robin. What a nice surprise.

Saucy, you are just having to much fun. No wonder you are tired.

Well I was interupted with a phone call and I can't do two things at once so Ill just try to post this. Norma

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:05PM
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Pm, We did have to prune the smaller limb tips back about 20 inches. Those are butterflies on the trellis. It was just a standard trellis that I had DH attach to two 2x2s to make it taller.

Maybe Surprise is shy and wants to be born while everybody is busy elsewhere. LOL

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:16PM
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Chelone, Rebel usually finds a cool spot to lie down nearby when I work in the garden. He is so funny though. If he senses rain coming he comes and roust me out, as if to say its time to quit.

The jam session was fun, but I was definitely rusty from lack of practice lately.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:33PM
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4 day weekend is launched here, but it looks like I will be dodging rain most of the time. I will likely have to postpone my trip to the Bancroft Garden unless things clear up for Monday. It should be nice for gardening though , off and on , and all the new plantings will enjoy the rain, hopefully enough to actually do some good.

How fun to see such lovely photos from Norma ! Dogwoods are marginal here , the dry heat and the lack of summer rain I think stresses them quite a bit. They do well as understory trees in our coastal forests, growing under firs and redwoods. What a pretty sight off that deck.

Marian, I sure hope Nolan isnt sneaking out at night and plucking the peas! What if you were to put something solid over them a night, a cut-off milk jug or something? A conversation with Tommie and Trubbie might be in order too.

PM, all the snapdragons are Bella mix,(Ive seen them referred to a LaBella as well) bought in 6 paks, but know they are available in seed form too. They are the azalea flowered type no snapping' function, Ill take some pics of the different colors and post them this weekend.

Cindy looks like Im going to add Etloile V. to my gotta have it list, along with Arabella. Maybe we need a 2009 photo of the same view ?

Saucy, you are getting to be quite the entrepreneur ! Perhaps we will get line cards and a power point presentation of Saucy Inc at IU6, lol.

Woody, how exposed that bird seems , and yet she bravely continues to sit on her nest. Im in agreement with Eden, I hope you will keep us informed of the progress.
Time for me to have some dinner and watch some baseballsee yall tomorrow!

Kathy in Napa

Eden From Garden 2009

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:38PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Norma, I'd prune it back now to encourage root growth and multiple stems. Etoile Violette is a very dense bloomer and loved by many for that reason.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:47AM
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Norma, the dogwoods in your woods are just breathtaking! you really do have a lovely property. I love that the "wild" is such a big part of your whole garden plan. I try to do the same thing, here. Only I have the ground "canopy" of ferns and little wild flowers, no flowering trees to rival your dogwoods.

I have Etoile Violette and Polish Spirit here. I've been very bad about fertilizing them over the years (still haven't done it this year) but they're still hangin' on. I just love that dark color against the grey of the house. Cindy, your's is just beautiful rambling over the adjacent plants... like a purple studded veil!

I like the idea of a power point presentation from Saucy. Mostly though I just love the enthusiastic way you go about the business of life. :) I can't wait to see more pictures of your cement creations. You ought to be a real ball of fire today with a solid night's rest.

Woody, Mrs. Robin is just darling on her nest. Look at her all hunkered down protectively brooding her clutch. Lucky you to be able to keep an eye on her progress... AND no hot tub to monitor or bottles to administer! I do, however, think you'd better get the rest of your lawn turned over to keep her well supplied with grubs (loved that story). I'm glad to hear things are working out nicely with Barb's daughter. It must take a weight off your shoulders.

There have been several articles on rooftop gardening in the NY Times and several other publications that have ended up next to the toilet over the past few months. I've read several with great interest. However, Marian, I've yet to come across gardening on the roof a Toyota Corolla. I've gotta hand it to you, you are inventive and well possessed of a certain "never say die" spirit that is downright inspirational. ;) Speaking of catfish, I once saw a TV thing on a southern phenomenon called "noodling", I think. It's when those wack jobs decide to go hunting for them with their bare hands. I suppose you pour enough moonshine into a group of bubbas and that's what you get. Power to 'em, I say! (ever tried that on Nolon?).

It's barely getting light (5 AM) and I've just heard the birds start up for the day. Not sure, but I think there may be some rain today.

I failed miserably in my attempt to purchase new "foundation garments" yesterday. I figured I'd try Kohl's (to use the coupons I received when I bought the KA) and struck out totally. I found the size selection not very good unless you have "major league yabos" and gave up after 45 minutes. I'll go to the lingerie store next and fork over major pork but waste no more time on a fruitless search that prove irritating. ;) I have to do something very soon... or quit wearing one since they no longer do what they're supposed to do very effectively.

It was chilly yesterday, very stout breeze that had me running back inside in search of polar fleece. It was a big afternoon out in the yard. I'm working my way around Sanitary Ridge now and cleaned up 2 Echinops and began thinning another "Annabelle" hydrangea which is huge. The cats were milling around and Rex was alternately guarding me or trying to incite a game of "ball". I saw him take off toward the driveway and saw him pounce on a big, fat vole who's been the scourge of that particular area. I called him off with, "leave it!" and he did!! then I came to my senses and said, "OK!", allowing him to have his way with it. Mr. Voley ran in frantic circles and tried to get back under the Juniper but the Jaws of Death were too quick. He was flipped into the air several times and then was carried off to Vegetable World where he was likely eaten. I was OK with it, one more problem solved and Rex had a good time. Not 20 minutes later Polly had a fat Chippie that escaped her grasp only to attract Rex's attention. "Out of the frying pan and into the fire"... another problem solved, but he didn't get to eat that one. ;) Yup, friends, everyone on the Compound has a job... everyone works.

I'm going to have get the lawn mower out in a week, I think. It's very green here.

Cindy, thanks for the thoughts on the Magnolia. The M. stellata has some grass and moss under it, right up to the trunk, and there is some Lamium under there, too. I'll ask around and do some reading and go from there. Mulch can be a very good friend, can't it?

Time to think about the trip to Chaos, I think. I'm glad it's the end of the week. I'm looking forward to more dead vegetative splinters, dirty fingernails, and misplaced pruners. And lots of quiet time to think and commune with the resident animals. May your day be a pleasant one, too.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 5:28AM
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PM, I'm going to send you an email with the details, because I'm not sure how much I should advertise here.

The robin is very sweet, and timely to this Idyll as Eden pointed out!

Yes, Chelone, "noodling" was what I was describing. Yuck!

Kathy, I'd be happy to give you a tour of the Corporate Headquarters and the Manufacturing Plant. Sadly, we still only have one employee, so I am the CEO and Head Messmaker as well as taking on all janitorial duties.

I nailed down the garden installation job, too, to be installed asap. I don't know when I'm going to find time to fit it all in, but I know it will work itself out whether I worry about it or not. She went for the bigger "showier" perennial garden, and I couldn't be happier.

GB, have fun in Jasper! How fun to hide garden surprises that will be enjoyed later.

I walated for the first time in a week, and I found some nice surprises:

My yellow Magnolia (or Mongolian Tree, as Jake callled it when we planted it 5 years ago) bloomed for the first time. The scent is heavenly (I can smell it at my front door - 20 feet away!):

and I need an id on this one, I've never seen it before:

Have a great day, all!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 7:08AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Saucy - it's Fritillaria (see link) It sounds like you've got a new business on your hands with the garden installation and the garden ornament castings!

Mrs. Robin is still on her nest this morning. I conclude that the nest must have been built in the tangle of 'Paul Farges' clematis vines and escaped being torn down along with the vines on Monday. I'm conderned with how the nest and contents will survive - the fence is a major squirrel highway once the vines are down. Mrs Robin will be very worried about leaving the nest to find food. I'm not sure we're up to providing a regular grub and worm food supply but will try to provide regular snack at least :-) I will take pictures if she remains on the nest and the eggs hatch.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 7:51AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Saucy, it is a Fritillaria, probably F. Poseidon.I am pretty sure there is a common name, but I cannot think of it right now.....

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 8:03AM
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Good morning

Saucy - That's a Fritillaria meleagris or Snake's Head Fritillary, one of my favorite spring bulbs. I just love the checker pattern. I also have some cream ones. Good luck selling the Tufas.

What lovely spring pictures we have, both flora and fauna. Marian - the cat fish is really cool - soemthing Annie and David would love to see!

My camera is on the fritz so I will have to wait for DH to return before taking pictures of Red Betty, henhouse and baby chicks. Betty seems nicely settled into her new digs and the children have prounounced the babies the prettiest thing we've ever had in the house. They are so tiny and delicate and don't seem to mind being held.

Talk of roast chicken or drumsticks is suddenly making me a little uneasy and I wonder if we are not slipping down the path to becoming vegetarian. Better for the environment I'm sure, but less so for the taste buds.

David's play went beautifully last night and it was such a fun evening of singing and dancing. David managed the fight scene very well though when he fell to the floor as part of his role it was all I could do not to jump up and help him. In the chase scene he hopped on his good leg across the stage to much applause. I heard one of David's friends telling their music teacher after it was the most fun thing he had done in his life! The director had all the kids take their bow at the end alphabetically, rather than in order of importance of role. He told the audience this was a real team effort, and wanted the acknowledge them as a whole. A different but very egalitarian approach to the curtain call.

We celebrated after with neighbors with ice cream, and David then had to spend an hour doing homework - how mean is that to set work the night of a production? I could get going on the whole hoemwork thing but time is too short to drag out my soapbox.

Swine flu continues to be something of a worry here. A boy in David's class had spent last week in Mexico and was sent home yesterday with fever and cough. I'm not one to be alarmist, but with all the sickness we've had this year I really hope we can duck this one.

Have a good Friday everyone. The end of the week never seems complete without Sue's TGIF so I have fingers crossed today's will appear


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 8:11AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Both Woody and Mary beat me too it!
I had found a link on a Fritillaria like Saucy posted, and I will still post it...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 8:18AM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)


Just checking to see if Marie and family have welcomed the new addition yet...guess not.

Love all the pictures! Cindy and Norma, you've been holding out on us. Most of the pictures I've taken this year have come out horrible. Last night I tried to get a picture of my yellow Magnolia 'Sunspire' and it was a no-go. Too sparse or maybe just a lousy

I thought the robins in my yard were dumb when it came to choosing their nesting spots! I've never seen one out in the open like that.

My garden is in almost a total state of reconstruction right now. After a two year hiatus I'm back at it with a goal of simplifying the front yard and improving the woody structure and design in the back and side gardens. Hopefully we'll start getting some regular rain soon so I won't have to worry about watering all the new shrub additions and transplants. Soon it will be time to start designing and planting all the annuals and containers so I need to get this moving and dividing campaign over and done with. On Wednesday I had eight yards of mulch delivered. With any luck I'll get the majority of it down this weekend. By June I hope to be able to just sit back and enjoy. Yeah, right!

OK, work calls. Enjoy your day!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:11AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Woody, robin nests are an execise in sadness. They build them in the dumbest places only to get rained out and attacked. Other birds destroy the eggs and the young. They also kick their babes out of the nest early and can't protect them from dogs even! I hate robins the way Chelone hates dogs...

I love fritillaria Saucy! Mine grow in lots of shade even. Never enough of them though.

Mary, I think the vegetarian issue needs to be well thought out. Of course there's a difference between loving animals & pets and nourishing the body. Each of us needs to weigh the pros and cons though. There are other reasons for abandoning meat in the menu too. Personally I waver. I'll post a vegetarian recipe for you when I return that is just so yummy...

It is now morning chaos hour at the homestead. SKYLER! Find your hearing aid. Pack your Tai Kwon Do uniform! Put your homework in the backpack! Eat your breakfast! Pack your lunch! Move it! Is the dog fed yet? Did you take your pills? Brush your teeth! Your grandfather is waiting in the limo... Have fun at your Mom's...etc. (Yesterday it was DSIL. He couldn't locate his tax materials and it was the last day for filing. Never did find them. His filing "system" must be one reason for his divorce from S's mom.)

Off to Jasper today where we are promised sun and 15C temperatures.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:40AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

From Sarah-

Hi all,

I thought I'd give you a brief update on what's going on with the money people donated for Reed. Through generosity all around (donations and a benefits concert) we have managed to raise over $5000 which has been put towards building a stage and a children's playground at the annual North Country Fair music festival. In terms of paying for this to be made, it doesn't sound like so much, but if you consider that most labour is free (many trades people volunteer their time, tools and equipment), and that much of the supplies can be bought at discount, it will likely go very far!

This weekend is the first work bee of 3 or 4. This weekend the plan is to plant about 400 trees (8" seedlings). We aren't going up (despite the fact that I made the plans and got the seedlings because it's 3.5 hours from here and I've been having labour pains periodically for the last 1.5 weeks!).

Plans have been made for building the stage. Next weekend is going to be stage building weekend. I don't know if everything will get done, but hopefully the lumber will be delivered, and volunteers will show up for the building. We were hoping that baby would be here by now, because I don't think I'll be up there camping next weekend with a 0-1wk old baby!

In terms of the playground, DH managed to find some old but good playground equipment (the fair has tons of kids but only an old banned merry-go-round thing) from a playground that was being re-modeled and we've acquired a slide, monkey bars, a 30-40' bridge, as well as a couple other things for the playground. There's also some grand plan to put all those together in the shape of a pirate ship - but I haven't seen any real plans for that yet, just heard a lot of talk! On the other hand, these things tend to pan out if you allow them with this crew!

Anyway, I just thought I'd give you an update and thank you all again for your support!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:37AM
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No morning WALAT today, as it is raining, a perfect excuse to Idyll with my coffee. I did manage to run about and pick a nice bouquet of roses, since many flowers will be ruined by the rain if it persists-the only down side to rain in spring. Yesterday the Nat Weather Service predicted that the rain would arrive after 11 and I had plans to high tail it over to the nursery this morning to see if a 6-pack of Sanvitalia is available. Even though its classified as an annual, all mine from last year are coming back. They are a great edging plant and great in containers too.

Saucy, wouldnt I love to have space for a nice Magnolia. The neighbor behind me has a large southern Magnolia that appears to be dying- the tree s right next to the fence where our back yards meet. Southern Mags are nice if you happen to live at Tara, but they seen out of proportion for a small back yard such as we have in this neighborhood. Many of the deciduous varieties do stay a nice size though. There are some beautiful specimens around our town.

Looks like there is abreak in the rain, so Im going to gulp down some coffee and see if I can perform a speedy targeted strike at the garden center

Back Later..

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:44AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well, Friday again and there's Sue! Nice to see you. :-)
I laughed reading your post Sue. Every year, I have the goal of being done by June and being able to sit back and enjoy it. I'm still waiting for that year that it actually happens. [g]

Norma...that was a clever way to get that tall trellis. I like it. My Duchess of Edinberg came in a box and did fine.

Gardenbug...Thai shrimp sounds delish. .... I had to laugh at your rendition of morning chaos. It's been awhile, but I remember it well. Time for a cup of coffee in peace after everyone is out of the house. Jasper sounds like a pleasant diversion and how far away will you be if baby does decide to make his/her escape? [g]

How fun to hear all about the North Country Fair! It's too bad S & W could not be there, I'm sure they are really disappointed about the timing. But soon enough, they will be able to visit with Baby 'S'. Very happy to have had the opportunity to have even a small hand in it. Thanks for the update Sarah. :-)

Kathy...I had to look for a photo of Arabella Clematis to see why you liked it so well and I really like it. I can see I am going to have to look around for more places to put Clematis. Kathy, my experiment with my two shrub roses last year seems to be doing okay. Last year they looked great early on and they both bloomed very nicely, but even though they are supposed to repeat bloom, I didn't get much rebloom and then some thripe made a mess of the foliage. I was ready to rip them out for good, they are in the front yard. But then I thought, why not just allow them the one bloom and then cut them all the way back and keep them for next year. Which I did. Both roses are back and I will just be happy to get a first flush of bloom before the rest of the plants take over. I just gave them a nice compost mulch and they are leafing out. I wonder though, I have some TomatoTone, which someone recommended for roses last year and I am thinking of giving them some of that. What do you think? Here is how far along they are right now....

Chelone, mentioned not getting around to fertilizing her clematis and it reminded me that I finally got around to fertilizing my Hollies this year. I have not gotten to it in the past, but I bought a Blue Princess for $15. in the sale section last fall and it really needs some help. [g] I am sprinkling Hollytone under all of them and the Pieris and Rhododendrons and Azaleas, so I am expecting great things. Which had me wondering how many of you consistently fertilize your shrubs and trees? I take the approach of trying to keep the soil in good shape and letting the shrubs and trees fend for themselves, but I wonder if I would see better and faster growth if I were fertilizing more. Any opinions?

All these Yellow Magnolias! I don't know where I was when the interest in these was beginning, but I am very jealous. I drive by one around here in the spring and it is just one of my favorite spring treats. I didn't realize they were that fragrant.

Congratulations on the Garden Installation job, Saucy!!

Another day of no progress in the garden. I tried patching a couple of small spots on the lawn, before it rained, but I quickly got discouraged at how many I could do. I may just take my time and do a few every time I get the chance. Two down and umpteen to go. Nothing exciting to report...oh wait, DS put a new coat of stain on the garden gate, that was exciting! Plus, I discovered a sedum that I thought was dead last year, came back. It is a new variegated one, called 'Autumn Charm' that instead of the stark white of Frosty Morn, it is a yellow variegation. You can see that like FM, it reverts on some of the branches, but I like the way it does it with the yellow. It really catches my eye....

That's it from here. Nice comfortable weather here and the whole weekend ahead. Happy Weekend! :-)


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:22PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I forgot...Michelle, I run down the photos every time I pull up the thread and your Pulsatilla keeps catching my eye. I am going to have to try to find a place for that. :-)

Cindy...I am so happy to hear that Chloe is doing better! I hope she keeps up the good work! :-)

Waiting for photos of the chicken quarters at Mary's house and the front stoop at Julie's house, more photos of Baby Kate, at least a couple of photos of Sue's garden, Michelle's front walk garden, Deanne's garden, more roses from Kathy's house and a garden tour, Woody and Barb's daughter working hard, Drema's potager, Chelone's ferns, some photos 'while waiting' from up North, Saucy's garden if she ever slows down, Marian's mice running away with the peas and double points for any Yellow Magnolias. :-)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:54PM
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Life has been so busy lately, I dont seem to find time to post. I havent even read everything. The weather has been cool and rainy for the last 4-5 days. It appears to be shaping up, so hopefully there will be some gardening time this weekend. The big news from here is that someone looked at my parents house and made an offer the same day. This was the first lookers after we did all the painting.

Im continuing to wintersow or maybe it should now be called spring sow. I actually do most of mine in the spring. The only problem is I dont have any more milk jugs etc. So as we use one up I plant one more. Things are really starting to sprout including, ornamental kale, Bright Lights chard, ammi, several kinds of amaranths,

Cindy, thanks for the clematis suggestions. I ordered 3 Polish Spirit for the patio trellises.

Drema, the flowers are 1. Scilla 2. Chionodoxa 3. Pulsatilla

Eden, thanks for the garden sign idea. Somehow I knew you would come through. I do have a double headboard very similar that is just hanging out in the garden shed.
Kathy, the wall words are vinyl and 18" long.

PM, you should try Arabella. For me its the longest bloomer I have .

I thought Id try a post from work, but we are now open during lunch hour so if I try to use my computer, people think Im working and its been ridiculously busy here these days.

Back at it.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Another rainy day on tap here. So I ran errands again. Picked up jeans and shoes foe DH and a couple new summer shirts for me. I noticed the other day that the ones I usually where to town were looking pretty tired.

Of course I went by the nursery. I bought a trellis I had been eyeballing for a couple of years now and a Clematis HAKU OOKAN for the trellis I made on the back corner of the garden. It now will have Asao, Candidia or Henryi not sure which it is and HAKU OOKAN. I hope it will be a good combo.
At another stop I bought another trellis and some bedding flowers. I should be well stocked on trellis for now. I also bought a new ergonomic weeding tool.
And I should be done shopping for awhile.
I wish I had had a video camera in hand this morning as I watched Rebel from the deck. He was at least twenty feet away from a spot in the yard but on alert. He pussyfooted over to the spot(very funny watching a big lug like him do that)and stood on point more or less. I quitely urged him to "get it". He waited a bit and then pounced, dug a little and flipped out a mole. GOOD BOY! says I. I immediately thought about Rex and his captures Chelone.

Nice to hear Sarahs update on the Reed Stage.

Also Nice to hear of Sue's endeveors. Hope we get to see pictures later. Your pictures are fine Sue. But you can always invite Deanne over when things start to peak, if you are not happy with yours.

Hey Julie, where are you?

Still raining but I think I'll go start some more seeds.

Oh yes, one of the dogs dug in the garden (probaly to bury something, easy digging) and scattered the mesculan seed I planted so it is coming up all over the place.LOL

And Mary, I stood and looked at the baby chicks at the farm store, and they were very pretty little things. There were several varietys.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 5:09PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Ta da! Boxes of peas made it through the night unscathed, on the roof of the Toyota. I wish I had thought of that before. LOL at what Chelone said, and I apprecate the compliment, but bullheaded might fit me better. ;-0

Re: "noodling", I had frequently heard Nolon speaking of doing that,so I asked him. With catfish, they used a hook and line fastened to a 3-4 foot stick . They'd poke around with the stick until they found the fish, and ran it into a 'corner' between rocks, where they would get the hook into it's mouth, and give it a jerk, snagging it. The whole contraption was fastened to a tree so it could not 'run' away with it. There was no 'moonshine' associated with the least in his case.LOL

Pm2, no peas to 'pluck' and it will be awhile for that. :-)
It is the seeds and small plants that the mice are devouring.
I am wondering if I cut my pitiful roses back to a stub, would they come back as nice as yours. I certainly doubt it. I imagine I am even worse than you about fertilizing. I buy the recommended stuff, and then never use it!

Saucy, I wonder if that magnolia would survive our late freezes. That is the biggest drawback to growing them here.It is very pretty.

Woody, I don't guess you could erect some sort of protection over Mrs. Robin's nest? I have witnessed their ignorance in chosing where they build. I don't think we have any nesting ones this year. One year they would build a nest, then desert it. Build another, and desert it. They did that at least 3 times before staying put.

Mary, I wish Annie and David were here so they could go out with Nolon when he feeds the catfish. It is quite a sight! There are a gob of them.....I started out with 50, and have no idea how many there are now. I suspect the snappers get some. They would be welcome to fish for them, too.
It is great that David enjoyed the play so much. I don't think our GDs are into plays. I need to ask them. They used to be in sports, but I don't think they are now.
I sure hope the swine flu has not hit in that area.

Yes! Sue's TGIF is back! Sue is back!

Marie, I am envious over the good eating that you all are having.It was great that Sarah sent us that report. I am so happy we were all able to help.

Kathy, It would be nice if I could share part of my space with you....I was thinking, if all that I have planted was placed on a city lot, it would be very crowded. When we moved from Idaho we had 2 and 1/2 acres. We did not stay there long enough for me to do much planting. I 'did' have a large vegetable garden, and a nursery bed full of plants that I had moved from our town lot. The last place in town was two large lots, then we sold one of the lots, before selling the rest of it.

Guess what...since one of my GDs and their mother requested my being a friend on their facebook sites, I have developed quite a 'wall', and have an album with a bunch of pics in it. I would be very happy to have any of you who are interested to be added to my friends list. Even if all you want to do is see what I am doing. :-) I am registered under my real name. I am enjoying it now.
Don't worry, I will not be leaving here. :-)


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 5:21PM
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Good news on the house Michelle. I hope it's a go.

I know how it is sometimes to find time to post. Especially if it's evening and you are tired. I hope you will get nicer weather and more garden time soon.

I have noticed that lots of my plants and shrubs are doing much better this year. I think because we had record breaking amounts of rain last year things were able to put roots down a little farther, then we have had more sun this spring.

I'm thinking Surprise doesn't want to steel Kates thunder and wants a thread of ones own. LOL

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 5:22PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Everyone! Wow! What a busy bunch of people you all are!

Can I manage a comment for everyone? Maybe yes, I hope so, but if you are left out, my apologies - there is just so much to read/see/say!

Cindy: Your yard looks beautiful! I will jump on the bandwagon to recommend Etoil Violette - I have two (one was a mislabelled something else) and they do wonders here. Our house is grey and I have the mislabelled one on our front post - it works wonders there. I will try to post a photo of my new front step, of which I am justifiably proud, still.

The clem is on the post at the left; although it is early here, it is well budded up and will grow to the roof, blooming all the while. This will be its third summer....

Chelone - I hear ya about the "range" - I cooked on an old one of my mother's for 20 years before I bought a new one - in order to spruce up our old house for sale!! The one I have here is pretty new and actually works. I was surprised to hear about all of the pets. The real estate they occupy - is it, um, subterranian? An indelicate question, I know, it's just that I've really only actually "seen" Wrecks.

Marian - did I mention the "pour off"? It is magnificent! Your property looks fabulous. I cannot imagine how wonderful it must be to have catfish and turtles of your own in their natural state. *LOL* about the peas on top of the car - sounds good to me! A dolly is a must for me with the big stuff - but yours is so pretty! And I got a chuckle out of the bag of Miraclegrow - a familiar bag for me for sure! What a sisterhood we gardeners have!

Saucy - I haven't said anything about the bees because I have to keep my ice and Benadryl right by my side all summer - if I don't treat a sting within five minutes, it's off to Emerg. for me! And I get stung every year - there's always some poor bee/wasp/yellowjacket/ in my way! The allergist tells me I am not allergic to why do I swell up like a balloon and breathe funny? Ice and Benadryl, always at the ready. No problem! I love the frittalaria. I bet I have planted those snakeheads five times and never have I had one emerge. Maybe I will try again - they are just so beautiful and different. I know Marie has had luck - maybe it is just too cold here...

Mary, glad to hear the play went so well and David emerged unscathed! Scary, isn't it? But he has done so well (and so have you!). Boston sounds great!.

Norma, your woods, dogwood, and Japanese Maple are stupendous! I would love to be sitting right there, right now.

If that is not possible, I want to be sitting on Kathy's patio, right there, right now.

Woody - Marie is right - robins are attractive but dumb. There is one that builds her nest right on top of our back porch light every day, all Spring. Right over the hang-out of dogs and cat. I knock it down every morning and she rebuilds it evey afternoon. Poor thing. But it is just the worst place imaginable for a bird nest. I hope yours fares better.

Sue - I grinned at the aspect of planning gardens and pots. I try - but to no avail. I see stuff, I buy it, I stick it in, I move it, sometimes I kill it - no planning ability whatsoever. Maybe that's why I have such weird gardens...

PM2 - I hear you about the fertiliser and the lawn. I always start out with these great intentions but my gardens are lucky to get a shot of MiracleGro once or twice at the beginning of the year and then I fall behind...Fertilize the lawn? Hey that's what I have dogs for. What are those dead brown patches in my backyard anyway?

Well, again my apologies to those I missed - I love reading the Idylls chat - even if I get behind - I really appreciate what all you guys post!


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 5:49PM
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The rain has started up again, and is watering all my newly planted green kids from this morning. I managed to get a couple hours of gardening done between the storms. The snails are going to be having a hey day too, so I need to take preventative measures I would surely be POd if all my lovingly tended Old Mexico Zinnias got chomped down overnite. I bought some basil this morning and hope to get it planted out tomorrow, weather permitting. It was also great light conditions to take photos , with a bright overcast so I played with the camera a bit..
I was wondering where youd been lately Michelle .. Its kind of reassuring to be busy at work these days- Lucky you on the homeselling front Theres nothing going on in that arena around here, people arent even brothering to list houses unless they have too, and that will likely stay that way until the foreclosures and short sells are gone.

bug, thanks for the update from DD, hope you enjoy your time in Jasper as baby surprise continues to simmer.

Mary, glad to hear that David is really starting to resume some normal activities, your stress level must be way down at this point. I lold when reading of DHs about face on the subject of chickens did Betty win him over with charm or was it the eggs ?

PM, I never fertilize trees and shrubs , and my bush roses get some alfalfa meal when they start to leaf out and Dr Earth organic rose and flower food once or maybe twice during the summer. The climbers get zilch dont need them to be any more vigorous than they already are ! The only thing I fertilize with any regularity are the containers. Really like that Autumn Charm sedum , Ill have to see if I can scare one up !

Just refreshed and saw that Marian has triumphed at last over the night maraudersI guess those peas will be living on the corolla for awhile huh ?

And Julie, really your new steps look terrific-they even match the house ! Would that be the wine terrace on the left ??

Ok, here are some pics from todayI think Ill do a separate thread tomorrow , Ive gone into pic-snapping overload !

Kathy in Napa

Snapdragons From End of April 09 in the Garden

Sally Holmes From End of April 09 in the Garden From End of April 09 in the Garden

My Friend Ted From End of April 09 in the Garden

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 6:55PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Here are a few shots I attempted tonight.

Virginia bluebells, a hosta and Eleutherococcus 'Variegata'

Cercis 'Forest Pansy'

Looking across the front yard-Fothergilla gardenii and another Cercis 'Silver Cloud'.

Still can't get a decent shot of that yellow Magnolia...the holy grail of spring pictures I


    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:30PM
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Nice Sue ! My lone Hosta has exactly one leaf ( snails) so zone 6 wins the day on this one. Is that a Crown Imperial I see in pic 2 ? Never grown one and never seen one 'in person' ..don't suppose it will still be blooming in July?
White wine here too.

Kathy in Napa..

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:04PM
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Another quicky since its late. For some reason I couldnt get the Idyll thread to load on either computer. I could go to other pages on GW.

Its hard to believe how far along some of your gardens are. My hostas are just poking out of the ground. The asparagus is 1 ½ inches tall. The fern leaf peonies will be blooming soon though.

As I was weeding tonight I noticed a seedling of heliopsis Lorraine Sunshine that had the nicest pink edges. I think Ill keep that one and see how it develops. None of the others have pink on them.

Cindy, your garden is really quite wonderful. Just be glad you have a peanut of a dog tip toeing through it rather than one like mine who likes to lay in the beds and smash things.

Norma, what a wonderful spot your hammock is. The dogwoods are so pretty.

Sue, your garden looks loverly.

Kathy, that snapdragon has such a tropical look to it.

Julie, your project looks great.

Saucy, the yellow magnolia is such a nice soft color.

Brushwood was out of Etoile Violette so Ill keep it on the "wish list"

Good night all


This is from last year, but these are the trellises where I plan on putting the 'Polish Spirits'

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:39PM
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Michelle, is that geranium in the foreground of the above photo the same one you gave a start of to Deanne? Very pretty; I love variEgated leaves and the shade of pink is very appealing... I'd polish my toenails that color. It's a lovely seating area, very inviting. And Polish Spirit is going to look great on those trellises! Busy for me at work, too. And I concur with Kathy that it's a reassuring thing. But the offer on your parents' home is the best news yet... bet they're some glad their kids did the white tornado thing and spiffed the joint up, huh? I'll be crossing my fingers for you.

And very nice to see some shots from you, Sue. Your garden is lovely and I'm amazed at how much farther along in its development it is compared to my own. My hostas have been making a very steady move but their leaves are still in thw whorled stage, though some out back are beginning to unfurl. And the slugs are probably licking their little slug chops in gleeful anticipation... lol. If I had a lick of sense I'd serve 'em up a double shot of Sluggo. I particularly love the Cercis, they are the prettiest things. What have you planted around the base of your yellow Magnolia?

Aren't Crown Imperials and Frittilaria on the preferred snacking list of the dreaded Lily Leaf Beetle, too? I've been keeping my eyes peeled for their arrival, so far none, but it's only a question of time and the little gnawed areas indicate either slug or snail damage, so a prophylactic application of diotomaceaous earth at their feet is definitely in order, too.

Saucy, I laughed at the "Mongolian tree", I'd forgotten that but remembered it as soon as I read it. What have you planted beneath your's? (this is going to be the question I repeat often this season, I fear). So far, in nearly 5 years I've had exactly ONE blossom on "Butterflies" and I nearly missed it so I had no idea there was the possibility of scent... M. stellata smells wonderful; lemon-y and very delicate.

I love all cats (MUCH prefer them to dogs), Kathy, but I have to say that your Ted is particularly beautiful. His color is quite similar to Polly, though her coat is broken with white accessories. His "gumdrop" has the same trim package that Vera's does... love the delicate dark outline to accent the basic color. How did he get his name?

Julie, OUTSTANDING work on the newly improved entrance! I know exactly what you mean about the grousing when something like that comes up in conversation. I maintain that there is usually more time wasted on "reasons" (read: excuses) than is required to put together the basic plan and list the materials! You too, have a very inviting seating area and I find the monochromatic color palette very soothing and very pleasing. How is Tucker settling in at your house? has mayhem taken over completely? :)

I had to get to the bank yesterday afternoon and decided I'd take the Huge One along. He was an excellent boy, we passed several dogs walking their humans and he didn't let out a peep at the sight of them. (I will note that he still does that when he's out with the helpmeet, hehehe). I decided, on the spur of the moment, to take him into the bank with me. There wasn't any sign prohibiting it, after all, and we do have a goodly sum of money in their establishment. ;) So, in we walked, bold as brass. I had him "Down" next to me while I filled out the slips and got all the banking business in order. Then we went to the counter where he was required to do the same thing. He was beautifully behaved and earned his cookie. One of the patrons even commented that he was very well behaved (if they only knew). After that we went to see Daddy and practice our "Sunday go to meetin' manners" in another busy place. He was a hit with several of the shoppers there, too. One woman looked at him nervously and I smiled at her and said he "just looked scarey" but was in fact very gentle. Poor thing had been bitten before and after watching him for a bit asked if she might pat him. He was a perfect gentleman and I hope he did his small part in rehabilitating the somewhat fearsome reputation of large dogs in dark colors. We played "ball" when we came home; it's a great way to burn off all the energy accumulated while practicing "good boy manners", lol. No voles or moles, though. ;) (I like that Rebel keeps a close eye on his territory, too).

And that's very exciting news about the Reed stage. There is much planning and more effort that goes into a project like that and I'm sure it will be gratifying to note its progress. The practicality of the project appeals to my yankee sensibility; life is filled with ups and downs and something that brings joy to the living is the best sort of memorial.

Today is the day I will conquer the world of "ladies foundations", with a stopover at a nursery on the way home. I plan to be there when they unlock the front door and make my shopping junket a "surgical strike".

Now, however, I plan to tackle the dishes and kitchen clean up, toss a load of laundry in the washing machine and get this show on the road. May your day be fruitfully productive and enjoyable my friends.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 6:50AM
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Being the century post in this Idyll is a bit intimidating given all the wonders it includes. Didn't have enough good pics for a thread of its own, but did want to share some pics from last week's jaunt to Columbus, OH and the Franklin Park Conservatory.

No, we didn't go in as it was closing and there was a private affair going on that evening that necessitated clearing out the mortals :-)

The enormity of the place is shown here -- see the family enjoying the day??

And here, every seedling going damped off given the abrupt rise in temp and sporadic watering during four days. So, stock has been replenished and will be started again with the thought that it may have been early, anyway :-)

Have a great Saturday, everyone! Such good things for so many, and all good thoughts for those in need......


    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 10:29AM
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