Idyll # 435 ...Spring Fever

dodgerdudetteApril 12, 2009

"Its spring don't know quite what it is you DO want ,but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so !"

Mark Twain

Carry on Idylls !

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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

The Daffodils want it so; they've burst into bloom despite the cooler temps.

And if you need more color and are lucky enough to have a Trader Joe's nearby, you can get an orchid fix for only $8.99. Have I mentioned that I love TJ's?

And in spring, a young man's fancy turns to his fiance, and in honor of the second anniversary of their engagement he gives her an "upgraded" ring.

Yes, it is unusual to give a second engagement ring, but DS was a student when he bought the first ring and now works full time for the jewelry store. He had a hand in the design and manufacture of the second ring, so it's even more special.

So what do you think of the new camera? It's a Nikon D60, and I have a nice zoom lens and a roomy camera bag and a couple of DVDs to watch. I didn't have too much time to play with it since I also was hosting Easter dinner, but I am thrilled beyond words with the camera and its possibilities!

We had a very nice Easter here. I managed to get myself committed to helping in one form or another with the Maundy Thursday service, the Good Friday service, the Saturday evening Easter Vigil service and the 7:00 Sunrise service. While it was a big chunk of time, it was a very nice series of services and rather nice to go through the full cycle.

Sadly, our grocery store sold out of Peeps sometime on Friday, and I did not do my candy shopping until Saturday. So not a Peep was heard at our house today.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:19PM
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I hope all my imaginary friends had an enjoyable Easter, doing what ever it is you like to do on that particular day.. I spent the day in the garden , with intermittent inside the house visits to check on the baseball game. If I open up all the windows and turn the volume up I can hear the game pretty well in the back yard-but sometimes you just have to see whats going on yÂknow ? What a great weekend we had here , perfect gardening weather as it never really got too hot . I dug up a mature Spirea today, that has worn out itÂs welcome, which involved a hatchet , loppers, and a rest time after the deed was done. This will open up room for one of the Tithonias that is waiting in the wings.

Eden , upon viewing the pics of the glamorous Bella industriously searching out the eggs, I couldnÂt help but notice the felines , each with their own Âcubby on the bottom of the bookcase ! I also saw a galvanized tub called into service as a planter , very similar to one I brought home from the Âawfice a couple of weeks ago as it had been damaged in shipping  I drilled holes in the bottom and it will be one of my Zinnia pots when they are ready to go outdoorsÂand did I see eeny-weeny garden clogs in Kates basket ? Lime green no less !

And thanks to Martie, Mary and Julie for the great B-day pics , almost like having another one ! That Frances Williams is so lovely Julie, I have real challenges with Hostas here because of the da*m snails and I am presently down to two. Mary , the tulips are exceedingly festive , and Martie very clever of you to give a nod to the year of the Zinnia here on the Idylls.

Glad to see Norma check in, and wonder what the pond is like right now ?

Âbug, that clip of  The Lion King was just fabulous. This is a play IÂve always wanted to see , but somehow have missed the boat several times.

All for me tonight, IÂll leave you with Abraham DarbyÂas much as this rose frustrates me , the first flower is so pretty , he redeems himself for another year. From Garden Sept 08 From Garden Sept 08

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:43PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good evening... :-)

DH is driving DD home and I finally got into my PJs. :-) We had a very pleasant day. Quiet but nice. Dinner was simple but scrumptious. Leg of Lamb, mashed potatoes, gravy and glazed carrots. I used to be the family gravy maker, but have passed the baton to DD who fusses over it appropriately. It came out very well. DS always likes things either spicy or full of herbs and DH and I like things plain and simple most of the time, so we compromised and half of the lamb had fresh mint and oil slathered over it and half was plain. Everyone takes turns cooking a holiday dinner and it was DH's turn by default this time around. We were all very happy with the outcome. Tender and moist lamb, the gravy was perfect. DS and I are just getting started seriously watching the calories, so per agreement, we calculated it so there would be no leftovers. [g]

DD brought a lovely pot of unopened pink Hyacinths, which DH and I both love. He had already brought home a bouquet of open Hyacinths that were heavily perfuming the whole downstairs for the past two days to everyone's delight. We played it very low key with the candy this year and both kids received one small solid chocolate egg, which they were very happy with. DD turned the tables on us and brought bags of Hershey miniatures and kisses and hid them all over the yard for us to We did have a fun time doing that. She forgot to count how many, so I won't be surprised if the squirrels get a treat. [g]

For her BD a few weeks ago, we had given DD a 22" pot for the deck of her new apartment. With pansies and pea seedlings along with a bamboo tripod and watering can. She showed enough disinterest in having a tripod of peas on her deck, that I had decided to keep it for myself. Two days ago, she told me on the phone, that she had thought it over and decided it might be neat to have, so we potted it up today and it went home with her tonight. So I hope she will enjoy it. :-) We all watched the Masters tournament and enjoyed it very much. Both boys had to work in the evening, but DS #1 was able to enjoy an early dinner with us and we did get to talk to DS #2 in New York by phone and had a nice conversation with him. So all and all, not a blemish on the day.

V...I love the Nikon camera you have! Just what I might want someday down the road. Already taking excellent point and shoot shots!

Gee, Norma....I'm very sorry to hear you are still not feeling well. Such awful timing! Wish there were something you could do to speed things up. :-)

Glad you were able to get into the garden, Michelle. After last week, you deserve it!

I take it no special Easter 'arrival', Eden?! [g] Well...looks like you all were busy enough not to notice and now you are another day closer. Bella had quite a dress up weekend. Love her Easter dress. I see it was cool but sunny for you today too. Same here. LOVED the Easter cake!

Martie...very nice to see you pop in. I take it lots going on with you for awhile now? Glad you are getting ready for another gardening season. Your lavender should be filling out nicely this year. Wish you were able to join us more often!

How fun Deanne and Sue and MJ spent the day together!

I hope it works out for Skyler to go to the Lion King, Gardenbug. Yes, a live performance would be great fun. That was one of our two youngest kids' favorite Disney movies. They knew many of the songs by heart. I have a couple of favorites too. :-)

Kathy...Loving your roses and that pot of succulents! Wow! Keep them coming. :-)

Ok...that's a wrap! :-) Hellos all around to all I've missed. Thinking of Denise and would love to hear from any of the missing.

Happy Easter!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 8:50PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Amazing ring, V!! Such a lucky DIL to be!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 9:01PM
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V, my Cool New Camera is also a Nikon D60, though reconditioned- no case yet. I'm going to take a class at either our adult school or the college this summer, since I am still on auto settings. Next year a macro-lens ! Your pics look great !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 9:12PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Thanks Kathy! I thought yours might be the same and couldn't remember for sure.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 9:36PM
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V, the ring is lovely. I know she will treasure it.

I think that is the same camera my GD got for graduation. She loves it. She took her cousins seinor pictures with it and they turned out great.

Kathy, I hoiked a couple of spireas recently and have another I want to do. I like the Limemounds because they will grow right next to a tree and lighten up the area. Some of the others are ok, but the little Princess ones just are ugly two thirds of the time and not worth the real estate. I've been thinking I need to take a picture of the pond before it gets overgrown. So maybe I will.

PM, your family really knows how to work well with each other. Sounds like you had a nice day.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 6:23AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA


Well today is the big day for Jen and Kate and family! I am going to send positive energy your way all day today, Eden, that Kate will decide, today is the day! I can see your baskets now, How festive they were! The TeddyBear blanket? and the Mr Potato head were nice additions. I loved Mr Potato Head when I was a kid. :-) I forget these things until the Idyll grandchildren remind me, which is fun.

Norma....Thanks, for pointing that out, I hadn't thought about it, but I guess our family does try to make a team effort. I appreciate that, because sometimes I get caught up looking at just the problems. :-) I forgot to ask, which family member was the funeral for? It has been so cold here for March and April, that I am barely gardening yet either. I was just checking the Weather Data to date and we have only had 4 days in April that were lower temperatures than average. On the other hand, March actually had 17 days that the temperatures were lower than average and quite a few that were in double digits. Snowfall was 22 inches above normal, year to date. that your Easter Haiku? [g] I didn't realize that you play the flute, do you play other instruments as well?

Saucy....DH used to love those boxed scallop potatoes, lol.

Sue....I never was a fan of Whoopie pies, but photos of yours at the TYNAW party must have sent subliminal messages to my brain and then transferred to DS because he came home from Whole Foods with a box of them one Saturday. They were too delicious, with buttercream frosting in the middle. Something else for me to avoid. [g] that photo from this year?

Julie...glad your garlic is coming back for you.

Chelone....I looked up that news story on the woman in the Polar Bear enclosure, evidently she is suspected of being mentally ill and was very lucky that she wasn't killed. You never know what you are going to see on the news these days. I was very happy to see the Ship Captain was rescued! How was the Chocolate Almond Tapioca Pudding?

Congrats on your begonia survivors, Kathy!

Deanne...very discouraging about the voles. I saw one last year and I am concerned that the better my garden gets, the more interesting it will be to the voles. :-(

35 on the back porch but the sky looks blue and the sun is coming out. Cultivating a very quiet Monday here with plenty of time to send energy to Jen and Kate today. [g]

Happy Monday!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 6:42AM
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V., I figured you'd be very involved with all things liturgical. I believe it was on Maundy Thursday that the Tudors used to wash the feet of the poor in a carefully scripted public appearance. The helpmeet returned home with an Easter lily that now perfumes the house.

I had a very nice, surprise visit from some friends of our's yesterday. They were on their way elsewhere and stopped by for a "quickie". I was reminded how large Wrecks is in comparison to a 4-5ish yr. old boy. I was also reminded that he is a very good boy, and requiring him to wait before crossing a threshold or going up/down stairs is a very handy thing when small children (the human equivilent of bowling pins) are involved.

We had pizza for dinner. But leg of lamb is my personal favorite, PM.

I have received confirmation that my choice of casters was spot on and will place the order today. I was really surprised at the amount of information provided for the decision making process. But, like anything, the more you make the time to read about it the more there is to learn. The plan is to come up with the remaining parts list and purchase the lumber for the frames, so it can be cut to length and I'll be able to finish it before assemby. It will be nice to get this project at least underway, a few evening hours spent in the Salon will be much easier than trying to finish a completed table base. I foresee static about this approach, however.

Today we are going to spend some quality time on the lumberin' operation and more intensive clean-up of the front of the house. I just couldn't get it out of first gear yesterday and did nothing outdoors.

V., the camera is wonderful, you must be so excited. And I applaud DS's taste in rings... very pretty. Was DIL-to be thrilled with it, too?

Time to think about some slop for myself and get moving toward something productive.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 6:54AM
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Good morning

A whirl of activity kept me from the computer over the weekend but it was enjoyable and productive (swimming pool now opened - brrr...) Easter was particularly fun - we had an Easter egg hunt with neighbors, roasted ham and scalloped potatoes for lunch and went to our new friends for dessert and music. It was the first time DH had met the husband of the family and what was perfect was he got on as well with the other hubbie as we all do. (Men's friendships need different catalysts to women's don't you think?) After wine and an orange almond cake I'd made the instruments came out - 3 violins, 3 guitars, harmonica, double bass and flute. We took turns jamming together and hearing each other play. DH was provided with a box of percussion instruments. We reluctantly came away at 10PM but had it not been a school day today we'd have played till well into the night.

V - the ring is just beautiful. I'll have fingers crossed for baby news and hope to catch up some more with you all this week.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 7:58AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good Monday morning all!

Great quote, Kathy! Mark Twain had an amazing depth of understanding of human nature, and the ability to put it into words so well!

I really enjoyed reading about the variety of Easter celebrations - some quiet, some busy, some in the gardens, some in church, some just enjoying life...but a pervading sense of peace throughout.

PM2 - your men and mine seem to have similar tastes. DS's cornish hen today will be a little spicier than DH's. DH has been diabetic most of his life, and for him, food is a simple necessity born of the need to balance insulin injections, from childhood. So simply lingering over an exotic meal is just not in his mind-set, even though now, with the advent of the insulin pump, he is pretty much free of his previous restrictions. DH and DS sat in front of the t.v. glued to the Master's all afternoon, and it did me good to see them enjoying themselves so much together.

V. I was transported back in time with your description of the liturgical (thanks for the word, Chelone) activities. DH has long been a singer, and in our other place of residence, he was the soloist in the Catholic church choir for twenty years. Easter was his big time, as he sang the whole service by candlelight every year, Good Friday, Saturday night, Sunday morning, whatever, he was always there. And as a family, we were there en masse (joke, sorry, couldn't resist) for it all. I must say it was a big shock to that community when the "For Sale" sign went up on our house. In fact, he was asked to come back our first Easter here to sing, but he was pretty occupied with his new hip, and simply wasn't able to assist. Here he has steadfastly refused to even consider choir membership - doesn't wish to be so committed again.

I agree that the Little Princess spirea isn't very nice. The one concession to landscaping that the previous owners here made was to plant a little row of these babies beside the front door. I chucked two of them and transplanted two others into my new gardens, but they are going to get shovel pruned this year too. I don't have room or patience for non-performers.

Chelone, I cracked up about the "human bowling pins". Too funny - because it is too true. What a hoot!

Norma, thanks for the comments about TCS - I recall him seeing a picture of Wyatt playing with some Lego on a long ago post, and he immediately said "I want to meet that kid!". He is a neat kid, although I think that most of the little children I know are pretty neat.

Well, off to get my new glasses today - 9 a.m. on Easter Monday - good grief! and then I will make an effort to provide a speical meal for the troops, most of whom were gainfully occupied for various portions of the holiday week-end.

I would really enjoy a new camera and some training....maybe I should get the training first so I know what to look for in a for thought.



    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 8:00AM
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Good morning!

What a flurry of activity on Idyll! All the Peeps over at Kathy's gave me a good laugh. I still can't believe people eat those things....

Speaking of eating, I had my fill of Cadbury Creme Eggs :) My MIL found them in mini form, so that was a fun change - more to eat!

Today I am going to play outside all day. I have to make one stop to pick up ingredients, and then it's on to leaf casting.

The ring is a classic! I love it.

I have the D60 also! They have a "for dummies" book that I have in my possession, and it's pretty good. I just need more practice, and I'm thinking a class would be good, too. might be helpful if I could find the other battery that I bought so that I could always have a charged one....

Mary, I can't imagine a swim in your pool - brr! What a fun time it sounds like you had. I do find that husbands bond differently.

Babies come when babies come :) It's like the watched pot theory :)

Julie, the name of the canna is C. Thalia Dealbata, and I'll include a link. It's blooms are pretty, but not significant - it's the blue-ish leaves that are so pretty!

I think I'll walk over to the greenhouse with my camera this morning! It's hard to photo in the sun, plus we've got such a mess going on around it :)

Have a great day, all!


    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 8:16AM
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Good Monday morning,

I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever warm up this spring. We wake up to frozen bird baths every morning. It's gotta break 70 soon, though I'd be happy with a day in the 60s.

Saucy, yep, Kate will be here when she's ready. Soon enough. I haven't heard anything this morning so I'm thinking probably not today. You never know though...
I'd love to see some pictures taken at the greenhouse.

Mary, what a nice, relaxing Easter day you described. It sounds like things are settling down and getting back to normal a bit for your family. I'm glad!

V, the ring is beautiful! DIL must be so happy with it. Jen and Randy had a hand in designing her engagement/wedding rings. Seems that more jewelers are offering that option now.

Michelle, I keep meaning to ask if the zinnia seeds I sent ever arrived?

I've got a long list of things to get accomplished around the house today so keeping this short. Have a good Monday!


    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 9:08AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

I'm not concentrating very well these days with all sorts of uncertainties around me...So I began my scarf this morning with the new wool. I'm glad I made a prototype first and ironed out the problems there.

DH is off grading exams today. I should accomplish a lot outdoors but it has not warmed up enough for that yet. Sunny though!

Tonight is Book Club. It was scheduled for tonight rather than next week because it was hoped I'd still be in town. We will discuss our first science fiction book. It was mighty interesting, but just not my thing. One of our members knows the author.

I'm working through some problems of Skyler's, and gardening will be good for that. How to deal with a mother who puts emotional burdens on him? Oh how angry I can become with that!!! I wish there were ways to explain to him that those are HER issues and not for him to worry about...Unfortunately his mother tells him things and then says he is not allowed to talk to others about them. Secrets can be terrible things for a little boy.

DD has been playing cards a good deal, and enjoying the company of friends. It must be pretty boring for DSIL though as she is not her usual active self. They had good times hiding Easter eggs and such. DSIL and Skyler had a good bike ride together too in summer like weather.

The talk of rings and blooms and gifts and neat little kids ...all part of why it is fun to come share with everyone here!

Happy Monday to all!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 10:14AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hrmph! I hiked across town to the eye clinic to get my new lenses that I didn't want but was told I needed, arrived promptly at 9, and the receptionist said "Oh, you need an appointment for that, DEAR." Of course, I had an appointment, and I just love being called "DEAR". I even questionned the fact that the appointment was for Easter Monday when many things would be closed, and was told "Oh, regular Monday for us". So I cooled my already cool heels for 40 minutes while they tracked down their technician to come in and fit these glasses.

Then I asked about getting the lenses changed in my prescription sunglasses, only to be told that my new lenses were coated ones to change with the light conditions. A feature that I expressly told them I DID NOT WANT! Gave up, took them, and walked home.

Arrived to find message from DD: her car is "broken" and she can't get here from Brockville for Easeter dinner, unless Daddy comes to pick her up. If he doesn't want to drive her home later she can stay over but she will have to bring her dog. DS loves our dog, but not hers, because her dog is hyper. But we didn't have Easter dinner earlier this week-end because she had to work, so I now want to go ahead and have the dinner with us all tonight.

If DH is going to drive to Brockville, I think it would be a good idea for us all to go so that Ajax can have a nice long visit in the dog park there. I also want to get TCS away for part of the day because the NDN kids are at loose ends with both parents working, and I do not want to spend my day providing the close supervision that these particular children require. DS, of course, is working until 5 p.m. so he can't come, so we will all troop back here, cook the food, and have our dinner - much busier day than I had planned.

The best laid plans....I'd better get going.



    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 10:38AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh Julie, there are too many days like this. So much for retirement, eh?

Just spent an hour and a half tidying up outdoors. Raked leaves out of a large island bed, cut back three clematis, cleared out major branches from 'the flats gardens', hauled off a HUGE fallen tree from my Hepatica garden area, and found two large piles of branches that DH dumped on top of my snowdrops. Geeez! There is still loads more cleanup to attend to, but later I think. It is a bit like cleaning up before the cleaning lady arrives, because I intend to actually pay my two friends to come work in the gardens while I am away. Hope they are available for it!

Time for a bit of exercise with Ms Phoebe.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:02PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Sounds like most celebrated Easter and/or spring weekend in many lovely fashions - celebrating in events of our own choosing, now nice!

V-- that ring is a stunner -- so art deco and classic. I am also much impressed with your new camera -- next thing we know you folks w/ the professional cameras are going to be having contests -- and it will be hard to judge a winner. They're all standouts. Im having difficulties getting my own camera out to shoot anything; it's sitting in the kitchen area ready to go but I've been too busy cleaning up and getting dirty out there to do much SALATing...

Deanne -- that's so frustrating to hear about your vole marauders -- I think Chelone should definitely bring Rex to visit and clear them out. Do you think they have a permanent winter home somewhere down that driveway allee to do the annual munching? That grass is a bit hard to find too and doesnt increase as quickly as the other cultivars. MAjor bummer...

I managed to find a few new pots for things I need to contain; Im going to try a few more clems in them this year to see how they do; my Asao is already fulled budded up and looks like anotehr week or so will bring blooms -- pretty amazing considering how windy and cold it's been on the patio.

Michelle - I laughed when I read your thing about looking for your Arabella cuttings -- Im still waiting for a lot of things to show themselves or I've forgotten where they are, so Im uncertain if they're "history" or just sleeping. There are numerous clems that are being very slow this spring -- but it likely has something to do with the cool weather too I guess. Hence, Im loathe to plant some new things till I know the other stuff is a goner. No matter what little markers or other things I lay down, I cant recall later what is supposed to be there!

Well, today is Monday for me, tomorrow Weds., and Weds will be my Friday -- heeya... boy am I looking for days off even if I have to do housecleaning on them, LOL. How's that for desperate for time off?

I guess April this year is the year of count-downs -- we're counting the days/weeks til the latest idyll arrivals -- even First Dog "Bo" has finally made his appearance, LOL....



    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 1:36PM
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Heres something I love about spring: every day when you come home from the awfice there is invariably something new to look at the awfice dissolves and you are in a garden, and that garden is your very own creation I know you all understand what Im talking about . I also begin to grasp Deannes feelings about her bird pics, it is really, really fun to take photos of something you feel passionately about, and I am having a great time taking photos of my roses this spring with CNC..I hope you guys all like pics of roses, because Im on a roll ! Some selections from today below.

Well bug, Im pretty impressed with the idea of a proptotype scarf ! As talented as you are , I bet its totally serviceable for winter wear. I surely have no answers for you on the Skylar front- this woman will always be his mother, and one can only hope that he will emerge from childhood able to understand the dis-information he has been subject to , and get along with his life. What a lot he has gone through in his short life !

All the mentions of Arabella I want that Clem ! Think Ill seek one out this spring. And Yay for you Cindy, with time-off on the agenda. I am considering a 3 or 4 day WE preceding Sat the 25th. We shall see.

Saucy, I may have to get a For Dummies book, it may be a few months before I can get into a class. I was going to goof around with my tripod last weekend but garden chores got the best of me

Norma , glad to see you - I have 2 Limemound Spireas -I really like them , and had avery excellent deadheading suggestion from PM last year which I plan to execute this summer...

Time for some baseball..later my friends !

Abe Darby today From Roses 2009

Charlotte Armstrong-I love how her petals re-curve. From Roses 2009

Honey Perfume From Roses 2009

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 9:01PM
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Such pretty roses for me to enjoy this morning. There is indeed something new to discover every day at this time of year, isn't there?

I ordered casters yesterday and then we went to the lumber yard to get the wood for the benches. We're using 4x4" hemlock for the legs and regular dimensional lumber for the rest of the base frames. It's all cut to length and my mission this afternoon is to set up my pickling station and get busy on that. The Hemlock is green, so it's very heavy. We've decided to put it in our very own kiln (the boiler room) for the coming week to take some of the moisture out of it. I'm now trying to figure out the difference between MDO and MDF (I think I have both of those abbreviations right), anyway I want to use one of them for the bench tops as they're covered with melamine and can be edged with the same stuff. My initial research landed me on discussion board of cabinet makers, very interesting.

I know it's spring, you guys. I saw my first garter snake yesterday, rather I saw Rex acting suspiciously and saw the poor little thing trying to get away from him. I told Rex to "leave it" and helped the little guy back to the safety of the helpmeet's garden. He was only about 15-18" long and I can only imagine what a drag it must've been to encounter such a large menace, esp. when you're solar powered and it was still pretty chilly (low 50s). You are a brave soul, Mary, if you're contemplating a dip in the pool this early!

I love the evening jam session after dessert. What a nice way to entertain yourselves. I heard a little blurb about auditions for a You Tube orchestra that's going to play at Carnegie Hall very soon. One of the guys auditioned on a cello (I think) playing something by Metallica. That cracked me up.

Cindy, nice move on the extended weekend. You definitely deserve it and will make excellent use of it. "Cleaning" should definitely extend to the garden, as well. :)

Time to get rollin' here, much as I don't wish to. Yesteday's adventures and some quality time cleaning up a Hydrangea that was flattened when we lost the big maple branch was more satisfying than a day in Chaosland is going to be. But it won't last forever and there is much to be gleaned by watching, thinking, and planning.

Maybe there'll be baby news this afternoon. Not that I really care, mind you, since I agree wholeheartedly with W. C. Fields that "anyone who hates kids and dogs can't be all bad.".

If you're able, have some fun outdoors for me, willya?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 5:32AM
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Oh my neck is so stiff this morning, but I think it was worth it. I was able to lay out 3 large creations and a couple of small ones. Nick fired up the woodstove for me and that made the day in the garage pleasant, since it was awfully windy and chilly yesterday (but sunny!).

I do love it when we get to see pictures from the garden! Your roses are beautiful, Kathy. The first one is my favorite in this round :)

Cindy, I saw a clip of Bo on the news yesterday - he's cute - but how will they keep those white "socks" clean?

A tray of my zinnias dried up, but the soil is moist. I knew enough about my seed growing abilities to start two trays. I think I'm ready to transplant and move them to the greenhouse :)

I never did get a picture because I ended up potting up my bumper crop of elephant ears. I had lots of little babies this year that I will donate to the plant sale for the water garden section.

I heard a nice little bit of information from my neighbor as we talked bees. She said that when the bees bring in pollen it means the queen is laying. That type of information hits home with me. My bees are bringing in lots of pollen!

We plan on getting into all the hives later this week. I'm so happy that my neighbor's shoulder is healed and we're back to our having fun ways! I wish I had more energy....

Time to get ready to take Jake to the orthodontist for a tune-up :)


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 7:44AM
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Sneaking in...Chelone, our supplier for MDO and MDF tells me that MDO (medium density overlay) is used more often for vertical applications (sign boards for example) in our region..

Kathy at the Awfice

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 9:44AM
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Quick update...rainy and chilly here so no gardening today and no sign of Kate yet. Guess I'll take a nap :)


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 10:16AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

To paraphrase....

Quick update...rainy and chilly here so no gardening today and no sign of "Surprise" yet. Guess I'll knit. ;) I'll try to attach photos later. Today is DD's last day at work for a while.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 10:26AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Here's the prototype, made with blue wool and borders on the left and right. There wasn't enough yarn for the full scarf, so some beige was added.

For the variegated yarn, I now was familiar with the design and realized I did not need the edges, so the scarf would be a bit narrower, which I wanted. I also used slightly smaller needles.

Last night's book club was especially nice. First of all the dinner was excellent, a Moroccan soup. YUM! I hope the recipe arrives by email soon. I'd love to make this at DD's house. There was also a delicious lemon cake for dessert. Obviously I abandoned my diet for the evening! The book discussion was fun too.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 10:56AM
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Lots of pretty things to see this morning - rings, flowers and scarves.

Yesterday was especially nice and after a swim I spent some time in the garden shed trying to organize it. A few small garden tasks were accomplished as well. I see a mouse was in my gourd seeds that I had on newspaper to dry. Yuck!

Break time is almost too short to post much. Back at it.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 12:00PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Hi gang! Finally a nice sunny and warmish day here, but, one full of surprises!

DD, when working the night shift, has time to browse the net for all sorts of things. She came across an ad for a Boston Terrier needing a good home because he is jealous of his owner's new baby. So of course I couldn't resist and got in touch, and, after some negotiations, we agreed that today we would take a three hour drive (one way!) to get this little fella. We decided to keep TCS out of school as we had no one available to meet his bus after school, so he was to come. Then this morning there was a tearful message that they simply couldn't part with the dog so the deal was off. TCS went to school, somewhat reluctantly, although his part as an ice-cream cone in the school musical cheered him a bit - today is the first dress rehearsal. Just now, I got an e-mail: we had a bad time yesterday but do you still want him! So DH is off to drive for at least six hours to pick up the pup. He will see the vet at 1 tomorrow. Interestingly, this is a francophone dog and all of the ups and downs have been conducted in French. Good for my ego to be able to actually do that after not using the language for several years.

His name is Buddy, but we will be calling him Tucker, as there are already two Buddies on this street...Jeez we are crazy people....

Last night we did the family dinner. At about 9 p.m. I glanced out the front window and said "Oh look, there's a deer". DD had never seen one here, and had teased us a lot about our imaginary deer. So we turned out the lights and watched: She strolled through the front garden, ambled through the park about three feet from our house, stopped and carefully emptied all of the birdfeeders (this just blew DD away, she never believed that deer did that), we went out on the deck, five feet from her and she just looked at us then she wandered over to my largest back garden and ATE EVERYTHING!!! I spent this morning making up my home-made deer and rabbit repellant and spraying everything that's left.

Hey, no Kate and no Surprise yet. They need to get a move on! We are all waiting!

Nice scarves, 'Bug. I think the prototype, while not as elegant as the real thing, would be a nice warm addition to someone's wardrobe. Maybe your DH's? It's not all that fancy...

Well, I'm off to look up some episodes of the Dog Whisperer. I'm gonna need all the help that I can get.



    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 1:03PM
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Thanks Kathy! that info. is a big help.

The old maple has been cut down and there are more rounds to haul to the splitting area. More firewood!

Pretty scarf, 'bug.

I have to set up the painting station now.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 3:45PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I just woke up from a nap. *yawn* A little late in the day for me, I hope I will sleep tonight. I was out in the garden this morning and went back out after lunch. I really didn't do that much, but then again it doesn't take that much. Collard greens, lettuce, more pansies are in. My peas are up! It's going to be nice all week here, supposedly and I have an appointment with DS in the morning to move a raised veggie bed, fix two whiskey barrels, move all the good compost so I can start building a new pile in the bin and other good stuff.

Had an eye appointment this morning because my 'floaters' have been worse than usual and yes, I do have more of them, but nothing else is wrong, so that was a good thing.

Julie...we had a dog that jealously guarded my Mom when I was young. We loved that dog and didn't want to give him up, even though he would go for your feet under the table and I had 5 stitches in my upper lip when I got too close and leaned down to talk to him as an 8 year old. Then my sister had a new baby and when they were visiting and the baby was just starting to walk, he bit her on the face. That was the end of the dog. My brother was heartbroken, as we all were. They didn't have Dog Whisperers in those days. Since then, it has been a requirement for every dog we've had, that he not be the jealous type.

Cool scarves, Gardenbug! Glad you had a productive day yesterday Saucy. :-) And that you are swimming again Michelle. Love that Abraham Darby, Kathy and would love to see photos of your Clems, Cindy.

Well, since there is no 'Surprise' and no Kate...dinner is about ready...


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 5:17PM
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It is windy as h*ll out this evening, and Im driven indoors, hoping I still have a fence in the morning. Seedlings have been returned to the garage for fear that they would dry out and blow away. They have however spent 2 nights outside, with temps dipping into the high 30s last night and no damage observed. Some of them will be ready for installation this coming weekend.

Chelone, we will require a photo log of the table construction-something will have to offset the unacceptable level of baby pics that I feel are poised on the horizon .

Saucy, speaking of pics ?? and by the way what do you use as a colorant for the leaf castings ?

Marie, the scarf is fabu-fabu ! Love the colors, Im sure you will look very jaunty in your scarf hat ensemble

Im going to duck out and post this, the wind is getting worse and is the power out type , so just in case Ill be glad when its gone.

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 9:07PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Julie - un nouveau chien! Does the dog speak French as well? I hope your DH has a safe trip.

Kate and Surprise must be waiting for my DD's birthday. She turns 21 tomorrow. Right about now 21 years ago, my water was breaking! A few hours later, Tony Danza appeared on the Tonight Show and talked about how the birth of his daughter was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to him. I've harbored a little grudge against him ever since that night, because I'm pretty sure he never experienced labor pains like I was experiencing. DD made her appearance at 1:45 am, weighing in at an impressive 10 pounds, 13 ounces.

'bug, the scarf looks great!

I decided to delete the rest of my grumpy stuff and just wish everyone a good evening!


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 9:33PM
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Hmm...I really want to know what the grumpy stuff was now!

Kathy, I use concrete colorant, "Buff" to be exact. I had another long day with a computer person sitting at my desk trying to figure out why my printer leaves the network without letting me know (SunnyD said I had abandonment issues :) no pictures.

Tomorrow I do a garden consultation. Good thing I can dream them up :) It'll be fun.

A new addition, Julie! Can't wait to meet him :)


    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 9:51PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

DSIL says Friday is the day....
Who knows? It is snowing there today, so not great for a hot tub experience I'd say...

V, sorry about grumpy stuff....Maybe tomorrow you can take some fabu-fabu photos for us? Here I have seen flickers, but not been able to capture them. Also saw a kingfisher and several blue herons. are you the brave one! A bi-lingual canine household...all male. Thank goodness for the occasional visiting daughter! Poor baby will require a while to settle in I'm sure! He'll be all "Tuckered out!"

A demain!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 9:56PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Meet Tucker: Ajax on the left, Tucker on the right. I think he will fit in here just fine, although he is not yet neutered and is very, well, let's just say "hormone driven".

Also, here is Ajax and DD's dog Raia after a day at the dog park:

They were tuckered!



    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 10:04PM
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A quick good morning here. I'm running a bit behind and have just finished shovelling my egg into the hole under my nose and am swilling my coffee. Whoa! need to slow down a dite, methinks.

I set up the pickling station last night and was reminded of what a pleasant space the Salon is. I've not spent much time in there since the completion of the floor and had sort of forgotten. Anyway, the views out the windows and over the Compound are nice. Indeed Kathy, someone has to offset the coming blizzard of pickled infant photographs. ;) Do you think today will kick off the storm?

Red Wing blackbirds have been trilling up a storm, and there is the occasional Wood Frog in the pond, and I heard Peepers way off in the distance over the weekend, but none close by. I am reminded that it's time to begin getting the window screens out of the attic, because we'll need them soon enough. And I think I may safely put up the deck canopy any time now. A sure sign of spring.

Julie, remember this about dogs:
1.) discipline
2.) exercise
3.) love
In that order. Love, love, love is a recipe for failure. And I'll wager the "jealousy" thing is more a lack of discipline... a dog who doesn't know where he fits in the household pecking order is doomed by genetics to attempt to increase his "status" any way he can in a newly increased "pack", and aggression is usually the "go to" tool in their arsenal. Any dog should be at the bottom of the pecking order, the sooner they learn that humans, all humans are dominant the better off they'll be. Safety in a human centred world is important and knowing his "place" makes that easier. I assume by your comment that Tucker is "hormone driven" that he "humps" Jaxie? it's not so much hormonal as it's canine domination in action. Rex is neutered and he will still attempt to do that to other dogs who'll tolerate it; as soon as they complain he backs right off and behaves in a more gentlemanly manner. Good luck with your new friend, he's a fortunate little dog. Do Bostons snore?

I am looking forward to seeing Saucy's leaf castings. I'll bet you were tired after all that mixing. I well recall how sore I was after my assualt on the block chimney and how my respect for the mason's trade increased after I'd finished! It must've been a very cozy place to work with the woodstove radiating heat. Nothing like one of those to take the chill off, is there?

Nothing like a good vent about "grumpy stuff", I say. It's a drag carrying that crap around with you, isn't it? Ask me how I know, lol. And now it's time for me to head on outta here and stock up on more grumpy stuff. :) But I'll shed that backpack as soon as I pull into the driveway later this very afternoon.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 5:36AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Julie...I wonder, how did Tucker respond to strangers taking him for a ride in the car? Maybe it's an adventure for him? :-) Adorable photo of Ajax and Raia! Have they been together since they were small? They have very shiny coats, what do you feed them?

I have to agree with Chelone. When I was young, in our household, both my parents were trying to manage a business that was open 24/7 and was very demanding. They didn't have time to think straight most of the time. I don't think we ever had a pet that was actually chosen, but was usually from someone we knew or a stray that one of us would come home with. My mother was a real animal lover and I think my Dad was too to a lesser degree, maybe. As I remember it, our pets would get love, love, and inconsistent discipline and structure. We really didn't understand what dogs needed. When we received the particular dog we had a problem with, he had some history of someone kicking him. He was part Pekinese, and the literature describes them as 'stubborn and jealous'. When I had my own home, our whole family spent a lot of time training our Golden Lab from a puppy. What a pleasure he was. But I was a stay at home Mom and could afford the time to do it. I'm so glad now they have those TV shows like the Dog Whisperer and the other one we get is, 'It's either me or the dog!' [g] They are great! Good luck with Tucker! I am sure it will all work out and he is very lucky!

Saucy...we were having the same problem with our printer when my DH used his laptop. We have the Apple and an IBM laptop on the same wireless system. We have arrived at a 'truce' with the IBM. [g] My laptop was set up with it first, so I have no problem at all with it. When DH wants to print, he has to go back and disconnect his laptop from the setup it is on and then it automatically picks up the right wireless network that the printer works with. As soon as he shuts the computer, it goes right back to the wrong one for some reason. But now that we know that, it just takes a couple of clicks when he wants to use the printer, which is rarely. .... Would really love photos of your projects. Are these for you to sell locally? When do you have to have them ready for?

That's it for me this morning. Hellos to all and have a great day! :-)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:00AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good morning all!

Thanks for the comments about dogs and their lives. Our DD is a great believer in being the head pack thing, and her dog, absolutely impossible when she got her, is now a sweetheart, still kind of hyper but very well behaved. I have taken many cues from her with Ajax, and have noted already that Tucker responds well to someone else being the boss! Taking his face in my hands and delivering a stong "No!" has already worked on several things, just basic ground rules here. I think the issue with this pup is that his family, while they loved him to peices, had little time and no money to spend. He arrived with a tattered blankey and a choke collar (that will be ditched today!) a vet record that showed he has not had any shots etc. since the age 6 weeks - so that regimen will be starting from scratch today, and the information that he eats "people food" and macaroni and cheese is his favourite. Tucker is about to enter into a profound lifestyle change!

His previous family said that his expression of jealousy was to leap up into the lady's lap whenever she held her baby. After three months of this, they decided to let this dog go. They have two tiny kids plus a large Boxer, and I think the Boston was simply trying to assert his place as second from the bottom of the pack! He is not aggressive , doesn't growl or snap or bite, seems like a misguided big baby trying to defend his spot.

Morning demands are upon me so I will check back later - after we see the vet!



    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:32AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Julie, I shouldn't try French when I am tired - that should be "un chien nouveau". Also, he is un chien cute. I love the photo of the two dogs sleeping together.

OK, you asked for it, here's the grumpy stuff. First, my son's boss is redesigning my engagement ring and a month ago he said he would have an updated design in a week. No update, no response to an email, two months until the wedding.

Second, for those who are wondering why I haven't posted pics of the new carpet, of course that has not arrived either. The Saturday phone call was that it would be in early this week. I'm thinking that early has just gone by the wayside. The family room has been in a state of disruption since the end of February waiting for the carpet. I know as soon as I move everything back, the carpet will arrive. And of course, the wedding is in two months. I still have another room to paint, but all the stuff from the family room is in there. The only other option would be to cart everything upstairs, which in my book is NOT an option.

And just to keep life interesting, there is the situation with DH and garden maintenance. Last year he thought we should get some help with the weeding, etc. and we got a recommendation from a friend. Well, I found the guy very difficult to work with. We got off to a bad start because he mailed the first bill to the wrong address, and of course silly me, I never paid a bill that I did not receive. He always made it seem like an imposition when I called him to come out, and would never put us on a regular schedule despite many requests. And every bit of my Veronica 'Waterperry Blue' was weeded out.

So I made arrangements with a friend in the landscaping business. He is professional, works on a set schedule but costs more. DH is not pleased. We had a long discussion last night and we are back at square one. I am not calling in the guy from last year, but DH does not want to continue with the new guy. And the wedding is in two months?

So I'm grumpy.

Remember, you asked for it!


    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 11:10AM
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Hey V, we all need to vent once in awhile and this is a great place for it :) It'll all come together...eventually. Just what you don't want to hear, huh? I hope everything falls into place for you soon. Large events like a wedding always equal some stress even though they're such happy occasions.

Julie, you're new addition is a cutey and I bet he and Ajax will become great buddies! He's a lucky pup to have found such a great home!

Doesn't look like there'll be a baby today. Jennifer had a Drs. appointment this morning. They did a non-stress test to make sure Kate's doing ok in there. She's fine so we'll just keep waiting for her :)


    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 11:30AM
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V., did you argue the angle that the guy who costs a little more will likely be more efficient and know not to the weed the veronica (waterperry blue is one of my favorite!)? Of course you did.....

The ring would bug me because I'd feel funny with the son involved - tough spot to be in.

The carpet had better come soon....haven't they heard about this economy? You gotta be on top of your game where the customer is concerned, because these are the customers that will buy from you when the going is good, too!

Tucker is too cute :) He's lucky to have landed you and TCS.

Eden, it must be hard to wait. You need a nice garden day as a diversion :)

I had my garden consultation this morning. No problem - it's an island bed in the front yard (5'X25') flanked by a j. maple and a dogwood. She picked out all perennials in an English cottage style garden, so that's what I'll lean my drawing towards. I hope I get the thumbs up!

I'm going to poke around the garden and see what I can do. Pictures later, Kathy! It's a big production to get them from the camera to online for guys seem to be instant!


    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 2:32PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

V. I am confused about the wedding plans - who exactly is getting married? Just fill me in on the general picture...I am slow sometimes...Gee Whiz I hate these complications that life tosses in....You know the wedding will happen anyway, but golly, let's just get the show on the road!!! You, and everyone else, knows that everything will happen in the last week...

We have visited the vet. We are very healthy and Ajax weighs in at 19 pounds and Tucker at 18.5. The vet wants me to beef them up to 20 pounds each. We have had our shots, been to the pet store and have nice new collars and harnesses and even bought a present for Paws. InterPhil is now walking Tucker - getting to know the "new family member". Ajax is tuckered. All is well.

Beautiful warm day and I didn't even get to look at the garden. There's always tomorrow.

Mary, has David heard of an eleven year old guitarist named Sungha Jung? He (and the rest of you) might find him interesting. Just google him.

No Kate or surprise yet...tap, tap, tap. Can't justify posting a slew of doggie shots unless there are baby pics to offset!



    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 4:33PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Hello, Idylls! babies yet??
Kathy, those roses are gorgeous! I could almost smell them!

V, I love the ring! DD's ring is square and old fashioned looking. She and DSIL had a minor skirmish because he wanted her to have a band, also, and all she wants is the one ring. I SO feel for you with the wedding. Thank GOODNESS our house was not involved in any way. Amazing how grumpy a wedding can make a person, isn't it?? ((V))
I have to say I'd be pretty cranky about the garden help, too. DH and I have had MANY rounds over paying a little more for something and being happy. The idea of paying someone to get my blood pressure up just seems ridiculous.

Julie, congrats on the new member of the family! A couple of years ago, I was addicted to watching the Dog Whisperer. The guy knows his stuff, and it works. As has been said, consistency is key. Just ask the tubby dufus snoring in the kitchen. Gus, I mean...Jim is out playing in the mud ;)

Bug, the scarves are great. Every time you post pics of your projects, I want to drag all my knitting stuff out and start something. I need to get back into the habit of working on my cross stitch. I've got quilt blocks and a picture for DS going. For whatever reason, we've watched very little TV this winter, and that's when I usually work on it.

In the never-ending drama that seems to be farm life these days....DS's job fell through :( It was in quality control, and someone popped up with more experience. I don't really blame the company, training is expensive, and with the pool of workers available now, I was kind of surprised when DS said it sounded like he had it. Oh, well, something else will come along, or a little bird will come back to the nest, or...whatever happens next will happen ;)
DB went yesterday for his PET scan, and will get the results of that tomorrow. Needless to say, I'm on pins and needles. I'm going up to spend the day with him on Friday. It's supposed to be a beautiful day, so I hope we'll be able to spend it on the deck in the sun. He is savoring every minute of time in his gardens.
I took a shower at an odd time today, and am in the midst of deciding if it makes any sense to get dressed, or if I should stay in my robe for the duration. Sure as the world, if I don't get dressed, my MIL will show up..while I'm sitting here at the computer ignoring the dog hair all over the floor. I guess the bigger question is, "Do I really care?"
Hope everyone has/gets some blue sky and sunshine, and some time to enjoy them!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:10PM
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Hello Idylls

V - I think you have just cause to feel grumpy. Our shoulders are broad so vent as much as it helps. Did you ever hear back from the writing instructor? Hope things start to resolve themselves soon and DH springs for the experienced gardener.

Julie - the new family member is adorable:0) I love the pictures of the two dogs together. I did google the young guitarist who is amazing.

Kathy - I can almost smell the roses and their colors are a real pick-me-up.

GB - the scarf pattern and wool are both gorgeous. I bet knitting with rainbow wool is fun.

Brenda - I so hope your DB has good news from his scan. What a hard time it must be for you all. Here's hoping DS finds another job quickly as it will be one less thing to worry about.

The week is flying by and we are getting excited about next week's break. DSIL flys in Saturday then she and I will drive Annie and David to Boston where we are meeting my nephew and spending the week sightseeing, visiting musuems, at a ball game and the symphony. Fun, fun, fun. DH has to stay home and work and for the first time ever will be entrusted with the job of watering my seedlings. Hmmm.......

Waving to those I missed


    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 8:56PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Oops! I posted more than I should have on the other thread. Most of it should have been here!
I could copy and paste it here, but I guess it is okay.;-)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 9:03PM
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I was lurking over on the garden junk forum and thought of Eden and Bella. Also Kenzies secret garden Michelle.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 9:28PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Julie, my son is getting married June 13th. The wedding will not be held here, but we are hosting brunch for everyone on the day after the wedding, so I'm trying to get the house fixed up a bit.

I called the carpet store today and I should have an installation date tomorrow.

Mary, no, I never had a direct response. Some more praise but no direct answer to "what next?" So I am exploring some other alternatives on my own.

Back to addressing invites - Julie, I volunteered to do them in calligraphy for the bride. Yeah, I don't know when to shut my mouth!


    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 9:31PM
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The cold snap continues here, with frost warnings again for tonight-glad I didnt push the envelope too far with the Zinnias..Ive actually had to use the heater tonight in the house, and last night moved some of the succulents back inside as well. Thinking tonight will be the end of the road for the cold stuff-

Marian, my BILS had to fashion a rigged up a fence and gate for their rose and veggie area when they lived at the coast ( deer are plentiful) and they used plastic deer fence with lodge poles. The fencing was stapled to the lodge poles and they just rolled it open when they went into the garden. I wish had a pic to show you, but I had no digital camera in those days !

Carry on with the venting V ! I wonder if your DH is experiencing the elevated sense of caution that our economic woes seen to createwe are so bombarded by bad news every day , we cant helpbut become abit more timid about the personal budget. Of course it does no good to waste money on a cheaper alternative if the results are inferior- and having no confidence or connection with an individual who is secured to be intimately involved with something you have created and feel passionate about is just not good-

Julie, we will expect frequent photo updates on the progress of your four-legged boys- perhaps a nice pose at your feet when the Wine Deck opens back up for business ?

Brenda, you kill me .. I am enjoying the vision of the bathrobe, dog-hair-ish slatternly environment, and the MIL strolling imperiously onto the scene. ..sorry about that DS job issue. So many people wandering around looking for work. We have actually hired back a few individuals that were laid off over the winter at my company. It gave all of us a bit of a mental pick-me-up--- watching wave after wave of lay-offs is so depressing.

Hi Mary ! I bet David will enjoy getting out and about on your trip to Boston.

Chelone, I dont blame you for forgetting about the Salon with all the other projects you have in the pipeline.. you dont seem to have too much spare time at the moment.

Ive got a baseball game to watch-catch yall tomorrow

Kathy in Napa.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:39PM
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Brenda, sorry about the job situation for DS - hopefully something will come along soon. I hope your DB gets a good report.

Norma, the bunny hutch is adorable. Some people are so creative.

Julie, I think Tucker is one lucky pooch.

No looking at the garden here today either. It was a nice day but we went to help my parents check the gutters on the old house. I should say I went along and Rick checked the gutters. We ate supper with them also. Then I tried to give my mom a lesson making DVD's. Some what like the blind leading the blind.

That's all for tonight.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 11:34PM
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Norma, I also go over and lurk at the Garden Junk Forum. How impressed they would be if they knew Idylls were hanging about there !

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 11:40PM
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Oh I can't sleep. Yesterday at lunch Randy noticed that Jen's mouth looked a bit strange. By evening the left side of her face was drooping. They called the Dr. and he sent them to the hospital around 8pm. They think she has Bell's Palsy but are doing an MRI and consulting with a neurologist to be sure that's what it is. I'm home worrying.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:21AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well, I was on a roll there for awhile, sleeping straight through the night. Suddenly I am back to waking up at 2:30am every night for the last four. It was fun while it lasted.

Just checked the back porch and it is 31 degrees out there. *sigh* Of course, the first year I have gotten the pansies and cool weather crops in the ground so early. I wasn't paying attention yesterday and could have added some horticultural fleece overnight, but didn't. Keeping my fingers crossed everything is surviving out there. We are supposed to hit 70 degrees on Friday. The weather person pointed out that mid November is the last time we saw 70 degree temps around here. I believe it!

DS helped me to relocate a raised veggie bed yesterday. Very happy to get that done. Now I can pull out the edge of my long border! When, I don't know. [g] But all 4 of my raised veggie beds are ready to go now. Cover crop turned, compost added. Today I plan on adding some black plastic to warm up two of them for tomatoes.

V...I would feel the stress of wanting my house to be in order well before the wedding, so that I could relax and enjoy it. My sympathies. All of a sudden, these issues will resolve themselves. I have been practicing stress reduction. As much as I didn't want to, I am trying to stop a few times during the day and close my eyes and breathe and relax. I've started to realize how tense my muscles are, when I don't even realize it.

I just ordered three Veronica Waterperry Blue from Bluestone. They have it on sale for 3/$6.97. I wonder now if I should have ordered three more? [g] I have the 'Georgia Blue' and it is looking very full and almost ready to bloom. I've turned to Veronicas instead of Campanulas to avoid attracting Groundhogs who love it.

Saucy...I have a camera case, that I keep the cord I need for uploading in and the camera strap hangs over the chair near my bed. I upload into my iPhoto program, from there, there is a choice of 'export' on the dropdown file menu. Then I export what I want to post to the desktop in a smaller size and head over to where I can choose them from the desktop all ready to go. Very quick. Alternately, since Kathy explained Picasa to me, I don't even have to export, Picasa does that for me. .... I haven't seen a bee yet. Hearing about your bees out and about already, I am wondering if there is a shortage of them here this year. What plants can your bees find pollen on this time of year?

Chelone, DH has been treating me to a lamb rib chop once a week, recently. No one else in the family seems to prefer it over other meats, so DH gets it just for me. :-) Have to have a teaspoon of mint jelly with it, and a lamb chop can be broiled, so no gravy and mashed potatoes to pack on the pounds. exciting you will be in Boston for awhile. We will be within shouting distance for a few days! [g] Sounds like David is doing well. Your 'jam session' the other night sounded like so much fun!

Julie...DD and I were just as happy to watch the Masters with DH and DS. lol I seem to have developed enough of an interest to watch the last day of it. I just couldn't bring myself to start watching on Thursday through the rest of the weekend, though. Besides, whatever happens on the first three days often gets all turned around on the last three holes anyway. [g] .... I'm glad to know that your DH has found having the insulin pump is making his life easier. Wonderful that it helps. Commendable that he keeps himself on track with his eating. Not every diabetic does and it can't be easy. is your spring garden doing? Have you been able to get out and do very much? I haven't seen photos lately and would love some. is DS doing? Is he still working with the computers for kids? What kind of cards does DD play? Great that you will have garden help this spring! .... How is the scarf coming? Will you be teaching a masters class in knitting at IU6? :-)

Speaking of IU6, I haven't seen another post on that. Has a date been decided on yet?

Kathy...hope that is the last of your cold weather. When I was out in the garden yesterday, as I looked around at the bare branches everywhere still, I was thinking of you and your roses and how they are blooming in the spring season. We just don't see rose blooms until Summer is starting here. It must be so much fun to start getting bloom right away.

Brenda...such a bright and cheerful post from you! :-) I so hope that DB will have good news today! DS must be so disappointed! You are doing a good job staying positive and supportive, Brenda, with everything going on around you. Maybe MIL will notice that the next time she pops in?!

Norma...I shld check out the garden junk forum once in awhile. Cute hutch! Feeling any better?

Michelle...your Mom is so lucky to have such caring children!

Wondering how Doug's new job is going? Thinking about Denise and wondering how her Dad is doing? Sue must be still moving plants in her spare time.

Supposed to be another sunny day here today and high of 49 so out to the garden to get a few more things done. I don't mind 50s and sweaters as long as it is sunny.

Hope all of you have a sunny day too, in one way or another!


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:41AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gosh Eden, I didn't refresh thinking I was the only one up. What a worry. The husband of a friend of mine went through that about 3 months ago. His face was looking droopy for a few weeks and then came back to normal and he is fine now. Not exactly the excitement you were hoping for. Poor Jen. Are they still taking tests?


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:44AM
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Eden, hang tough. As long as you've not advanced on your fingernails I guess you're OK. Not fair to have such a worry at such a happy time.

I'll be thinking good thoughts for Brenda and her brother today, too. We have a good friend who's in his 5th or 6th round of chemo right now and it's not looking good for him. I hope his apparent bad luck diverts it from your DB. The image of you "caught" in your bathrobe brought a smile to my face, too. I had visions of that crabby cartoon woman with the glasses... can't remember her name, but we have a Christmas ornament of her looking crabby.

I've overslept this morning and rather than race out the door in a feeble attempt to make up the lost time I've said, "--ck it" and I'm continuing on with my usual pre-sunrise pace. Chaos can wait. :)

Rex and I gardened yesterday afternoon under the heavy supervision of the pride. There was a lot of silliness, racing up and down trees, climbing the arbor, shuffling through rakes leaves, etc.. Rex did a lot of rolling and sunning in between bringing me the ball when he needed some action. I cleaned up another hydrangea and noticed that some of the branches have layered themselves, so I may have more of them. They really took a hit when the maple branch broke and landed on them, but there are distinct signs of life, so they'll live to fight another day. Dunno about flowers, though. :(

I cut back the Siberian iris (probably my least favorite garden chore) and was really going at it when I noticed something sort of rubbery next to the crown of the plant. I squealed but recovered quickly and found my first salamander of the year! One of those big black jobs with the yellow dots on the sides of its body. He was easily the length of my hand, about 6", and moving very s l o w l y. I held him for a minute or so and inspected him carefully; what a beautiful little creature. Delicate little feet and eyes, and his mouth almost looked as though he was grinning. The heat from my hand started to activate him so I put him back in his iris bed and covered him back up. And left the bed unraked. :). Note to self: be very careful raking and trimming back plants as this is the time they begin their migration to the pond to breed. I am very proud of our salamanders, frogs, and even the resident snakes. It tells me there is something very right about the level of health on the Compound.

That's it for me, time to get to work. Hi everyone. I can't wait to get back home and do something fun and fulfilling.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 5:58AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Eden, I' m hoping the best for Jen!

Many years ago my Mom had Bell's palsy and while there was no serious implication it took a long time for her face to recover.

I can only imagine how much you are worrying after all that Meg went through.

Good thoughts and prayers for your family!


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 6:59AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh Eden, I'm thinking of Jen and you today....and of course hoping for good news soon. And baby news too. After a quick search on Google for Bell's Palsy and pregnancy, I am feeling much more hopeful.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 7:50AM
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Greetings, all! Today my car is my office so actually have some time to do more than skim Idylls.

Cornfield Park is definitively taking shape and the lawn will rival any country estate around. Rich's interest in all things grass has elevated to the point of two new lawn equipment additions and a stern warning from him to me to not be concerned after he aerates with his 6" spiky wheels with 100 lbs on top to really sink them in.

At this point it's easier to go along with it than argue against time and energy being put into such a resource sucker when it would be far more lovely to dig the whole thing up and put in more shrubs :-)

Jen's name is squarely in front me on my list of people to think about more than usual today. I know nothing about Bell's Palsy, but it must be frightening beyond belief.

Brenda, you crack me up. Stay in the nighties and enjoy a bon bon to boot!!

So Saucy and Mary are both now designing gardens for others. How cool is it to earn $$ doing something you love!

I'm not talking to Kathy until it gets warm enough here to actually swell the rose buds ;-)

'bug, have you ever tried spinning your own yarn? On Easter day my niece showed me how with a little hand-held spinner and I made a lumpy mess but can see where there would be great satisfaction of taking a garment from carded wool to needles to body.

Given prior pics, 'bug, I don't think a blizzard will keep DD and DSiL out of the tub for the birth. Will Skyler be there, too?

Julie -- I LOVE YOUR DOGS!! My less than educated guess is that Tucker will actually enjoy being in a house where he knows what's what. Much like children....

Good grief Chelone!! Will be projects never cease? Have learned that Hydrangeas are a lot tougher than they appear. Please keep the snakes in Maine :-)

Michelle: I'm forgetting where you find comfort in the pool. Physical activity without weight bearing may need to become a part of my life a lot more, and any suggestions would be helpful.

Thinking that Sue is still raking leaves?????

And a hearty HELLO to everyone!

"Me" goings on: DB's hospital is destined to stay open. Something about the State really not wanting anyone to think that they're going to save money by shipping mentally ill people off to prison.....wonder where they got that idea?

Work is havoc. Even in this economy advertisers are realizing that if no one knows they're there, no one will purchase stuff from them. Ahhhhhh, the concept! So, there's been lots of creativity involved with making dollars effectively stretch and it's been a fun challenge. Still feel incredibly fortunate to have a job that I love on most days and actually get paid to do it.

Rich resumed a teeny ad in the local paper and has had three calls for appts. Everything that can be crossed is crossed.

Ky is looking forward to hearing from UConn about his official acceptance into the Forestry Conservation program. The big question is how long he'll need to be there, as he's hoping to get in as a first semester Senior but thinks it'll probably be a second semester Junior. He's just plain excited, and so am I to see the light in his eyes when he talks about the possibilities.

No major gardening, yet. Plants are at an absolute standstill waiting for warmer weather. Seed starting has been delayed given the temps, too. Peppers simply won't pop in 50deg air even with a heating mat.

Enough from this corner :-) Everyone find something good in their lives today!


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:06AM
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Eden - I'll be thinking of you and Jen today. I know how scary anything neurological is and how hard it is not to fixate on those worries.

For others like me who might not be familiar with the condition I did a little googling and found this somewhat reassuring article:

"For reasons not completely understood, women may develop Bell's palsy during pregnancy more frequently than the general population. The risk of Bell's palsy during pregnancy is thought to be greatest during the third trimester, or within several weeks of delivery. The prognosis for women with Bell's palsy during pregnancy is generally good. Bell's palsy does not appear to have any effect on the growing fetus".

I'll still keep my fingers crossed.

Thoughts going out to Brenda too. And GB's family. I hope the end of the week brings good news all round.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that David's hip can now bear full weight though it will take weeks of therapy and exercise to get him back to normal motion. Yesterday he took the first steps on his own and he was over the moon. He has a funky chicken like gait, lifiting his elbows for balance. But what a way to raise his spirits. His foot is also responding a little more each week and now has a definite small motion rather than just a flicker. It's been such a long road but I feel we are finally emerging from the dark woods (is that a mixed metaphor?)


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:07AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

The plan is now to depart for Alberta on Tuesday, baby or no baby! Skyler's birthday is on Wednesday. We will need to combine our departure with a trip to Woody's in the evening, as our tickets are a special inexpensive late late LATE flight.. So although I expect baby will arrive before we do, and that disappoints me, at least we can PLAN. We have no return trip plans made yet.

Today my garden friends arrive and the weather promises to be wonderful. I hope some major cleanup takes place.

Nope, never have spun my yarn. Reminds me of sleeping beauty though...

Love your posts Brenda and your outlook on life. Thinking of you and your DB as well!

PM, our DS is planning a European jaunt in May, at his own expense, (he's a serious miser too) for the OLPC cause. He will also be visiting the famous Laura, the lady made famous with her horrid knit scarf which I was asked to complete years ago, and also with the fact that she has multiple boyfriends on the go at all times. I'm sure there will be more on that escapade later.

V, what can I say? Weddings bring out people's personalities. There are more "last minute" types around than I can cope with. It just is not my style and I think is rude to everyone it affects. (Am I referring to my own husband here?) So my sympathies are with you. Are you ladies at the fittings stage with your wardrobes?

OK, I must prepare for a trip to the dump now, and lots more.

Happy Sunshine!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 8:50AM
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Eden, you must be worried about Jen....

I had Bell's Palsy and some of the things that brought me comfort were an eye patch (with the gauze eye strips underneath) - because I couldn't close my eye to sleep, and lip balm. Keeping her eye protected is important since she can't blink.

I was very scared when I had it because I was new in the Navy and felt all alone, but the doctor assured me that all of my symptoms were normal. My mom sent me a care package with the eye patch - she always took good care of me.

I have read (because I think I've had this happen to me) that Bell's Palsy sticks with you for life (much like chicken pox) so that you can suffer a much milder attack. When I've had it, it has been a dull ache on the same side of the face, but never the full paralysis.

I hope you're all feeling better soon.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 9:31AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Just in from the garden. Gorgeous day out there. Perfect! First day I put on a short sleeve shirt under a fleece jacket. Take the jacket off, put it back on, and repeat. [g] Still trimming and working on spring clean up. Put the soaker hoses and black plastic on the veggie beds. If I just had enough energy to start about 6am and go until sundown and get it all ready to go, I would be so happy! :-) But I just keep chipping away at it. It is shaping up out there and I think there will be a lot to be very happy about this year. I see lupine reseeded all over the bed it was in. Viola seeds have sprouted. Leaves are opening on the Japanese Maple and the Viburnum carlesii look like they have a bumper crop of buds this year. The spring bulbs are almost at their peak but it will be a few years before I have the spring display the way I want it. It's getting there!

Wish you all had the time and the weather to have had the same kinda morning. :-) Hoping for some reassuring news about Jen for Eden and family.

Great news about David's progress, Mary! He must be so relieved and thrilled. Imagine what a difference a day makes. Spring is a great time of year to be turning a corner into blue skies.

Gardenbug, I am SO excited for you to have your ticket to head West! DH must be excited too. How much time can he take off from work? DD & SIL must be thrilled, and let's not forget Skyler too! How exciting for DS to be heading to Europe soon! You must be very happy that he is following his passion. Now who is this Laura? I must have missed some previous story, which sounds very interesting. [g] Will DS be able to head West with all of you for the 'arrival'?


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:23PM
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Crisis over. MRI came back neg. and they let her come home. Thanks for all of your reassuring words. I wish I had time to comment on all I just read but I'm heading over to Jen's. Still no sign of Kate :) Wonder if Baby Surprise will get here first?


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:58PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Happy news, Eden! Jen will be glad to see you, I'm sure. Thanks for letting us know. Hope you get some sleep later. :-)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:22PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Eden, I am so happy that Jen does not have Bell's Palsy.
A friend had it many years ago and still has residual affects.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:34PM
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Whew! Eden what a relief.

Mary , Davids progress is reasuring too.

Hi all I need to get caught up with you all, but need to get back outside right now.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 2:14PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Good afternoon, Idylls!

Eden, wonderful news about Jen. Any idea what was going on? Pinched nerve or something, perhaps?

Kathy, it's encouraging to hear that your company is calling back some people. There are very small signs of economic optomism locally, but it's going to take some time.

Chelone, you always make me laugh! The cartoon woman's name is Maxine, and I admire her greatly...she says what I think. Although, as I get older I tend to not only think, but say :)

Bug, have a wonderful trip! I had to smile that Skyler's birthday is Wednesday. That is also my skidiving buddy's birthday, and he has been affectionately dubbed Skyboy. DH even sings a little song about him. I will spare you that, as DH tends to be an a$$ sometimes, lol!

This morning was supposed to begin with a fresh shipment of pigs. Due to arrive at 10:00. That works...I'll have time to have my coffee, do yoga, and putter around without being in too big a hurry. Be careful what you wish for. By the time I finished yoga, the updated version of the day was....the pigs will be arriving sometime in the next couple of hours. Don't know for sure when, so don't get too involved in anything. Grrr! Putz around some more. It ended up being 3:00 or so by the time they got here and got put in their pens. Nobody can blow a day for you like a pack of farmers!
While waiting for the pigs DB called with his results. Not so good. The cancer has spread more in his bones and lungs, and there is now a spot on one of his kidneys. He said the doc didn't mention the brain cancer, so he's assuming that it's behaving fairly well. He will go Monday for some different form of chemo. I was supposed to go hang out with him tomorrow. Now, this is my brother.....he just breaks my heart sometimes. He told me he doesn't want me to come up tomorrow. It's supposed to be 65 and a beautiful day, and he wants me to stay home, leave the phone in the house, and spend the day in the yard. He said he knows how much I need a day like that, and he knows I haven't had any yet this spring. He's worried about me with everything going on, and it being time to get in the fields. He says we'll just wait for a rainy day. I truly do not know what I will do without that man. There were people I needed to call, who were waiting to hear his results, and I've done that. DS drove over to give me a hug :), and I am now officially tapped out. I'll be taking ANOTHER shower at an odd time of day, only this time there is NO question...I will NOT be getting dressed. I'm going to spend a little more time in the yoga fort, open a bottle of wine, and do as I damn well please the rest of the day. Tomorrow, I am taking my big brother's adivce, and cutting all ties to the world. I would not want to be the person that tries to foul up my day in the sun.
I can no longer stand the smell of hog that has permeated my clothes, hair and skin, so I'm gonna hit the showers.
Take care, to ya later!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:25PM
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PM, it sounds like you had a lovely day in the garden. Im envious. We are supposed to have rain on the weekend.

Eden, what a relief. My sister had Bells Palsy after giving birth but it was short lived scary though.

My, how the excitement is mounting for the Idyll babies.

Mary, what great news about Davids progress.

Martie, weve been missing you. Good to hear that Rich has some prospects. As for swimming its been great for me. The Dr. has ordered some aquatic therapy so I hope to learn some things that might be beneficial to continue into the future.

Chelone, "beautiful" is not a word Id use in the same sentence with salamanders. LOL

Where is Deanne these days?

Got to run.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Here is the account of what I did yesterday:
( Copied from the "Entertaining Diversion thread.)
"I got quite a bit done outside today. I planted two of my potted plants, a Catalpa tree, and a Weigela Java Red. Then I did a little weedeating, and put up a fence around the flowerbed back of the house. I noticed the deer and/or rabbits had snacked on a lot of what is in it, but thank goodness they did not get the little forget-me-not. I found a forget-me-not in the front yard bed also. I am so happy about them. They have to be from the seed EI sent me. They are both in bloom.
I need to relocate the tacky fence from around the front bed, and have Nolon help me install the new fencing there. I will put the tacky fencing around the side bed.
The problem with my fence around the back bed is it is not only deer and rabbit proof, but it is also people proof! In order to get into it, I will have to take down part of it. I need to create a gate.
I was surprised and pleased that I was able to dig the holes for the potted plants, with not much effort. Now if I am able to move tomorrow, I hope to do more. "

Today I put 5 more of my potted shrubs into the ground. There are at least 12 more to go! Then there will be all the plants for deck pots! Two more weeks and all the indoor ones will go out! Whoopie!
I put fencing around all the shrubs and perennials that the deer like. I have about ran out of fencing, except for the new roll.

I am keeping up with all the news from you all, but there is so much....I will pass on commenting on it all. Everyone else says it so much better than I do, anyway.....


    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 5:10PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Now Brenda, I only know a bit about pigs, but I DO know that the guy next door can still smell them in our barn. I can't. They were last there in the late 1960s! I think you can scrub and scrub and you'll still smell them! Maybe you also want to ask for a day at the spa?
I sympathize with those who must wait around for delivery people. I find it insulting that they can't even tell you whether they'll arrive morning or afternoon. I'm sure we've all experienced taking a day off from work to have the phone connected only to have the %@#$!~* ! not show.
Oh Brenda, it is so hard to lose a parent, but a sibling or child just seems so very wrong. HUGS.

Well, handsome might be a word I'd use for salamanders. I loved them as a child and got into trouble for rescuing one and bringing it into a hotel restaurant in France one day. An older woman screamed bloody murder and i had to take my baby outdoors. I stayed with it and refused dinner. I "hated" that lady for making a scene that involved me. Since those days, DD wrote her Bachelor's thesis on salamanders in New Hampshire. I think they are mighty "cool" and colourful!

Marian, I'm glad you felt up to all your work with shrubs today. We got a lot accomplished here too, but it only points out how much there is left to do! ;) I brought out some hoses and DH said he'd turn on the water again for them. More grasses were cleaned up and loads of weeds and leaves removed. I collected some snowdrops to take to DD next week.

For those of you unfamiliar with bloodroot, it really is fun to study them. They grow like small cigars at first, unfurl their leaves to reveal a bud which blooms when in direct sun, then closes for the night and opens again the next day. They don't last very long, but they certainly say SPRING to me!

Saucy, once again I think you're such a treat of a lady! First your helpful comments this morning to Eden about your experiences with palsy, then your sweet words about spring bulbs at the farm. I love hearing about your "doin's".

PM, you asked about the Idyllunion. That information is off line because the specifics are for attendees. There will be a gathering this summer though for sure and likely photos afterwards.

I think dinner OUT sounds like a fabulous idea tonight! Must wait for DH who is installing new windshield wipers on my car. :)


PS:Tomorrow is the day that baby would be born if Surprise were to match Reed's birth day. But who knows??? Yes, the excitement builds.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 5:59PM
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flowerluvr(Z5 IN)

Yeah, that looks about right, Chelone ;)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 7:39PM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Brenda, so sorry to hear the news on your brother. Been there, done that and I do not recommend the experience to anyone else.

I'm deep into addressing the wedding invitations. You may not hear much from me until Sunday night (go ahead, breathe a sigh of relief!). I'll check in for baby news but otherwise will have the nose to the grindstone. Except, of course, we head off to DD's school to hear Verdi's Requiem tomorrow. Her choir is singing.

Ker-rack! back to work, V!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 10:24PM
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Just a quick wave to everyone tonight and a couple more roses-newly opened today, Amber Queen. From Roses 2009 From Roses 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 11:11PM
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That's her, Brenda! she's wearing bunny slippers and that wonderfully grumpy face on our Christmas ornament, too. She has a string of lights around her neck, too. :)

I'm very sorry to learn the news for your brother is not great. Sigh. It must be hard to face tests knowing that the news may wind up being what you don't want to hear. Take today all for yourself. No telephone (aka "electronic leash"). I'll be thinking of you today and what a thoughtful brother he is to know that you need some garden time. (((Brenda)))

I'll also be thinking of V. and her generous contribution of calligraphy. I'm sure you'll feel a weight lifted from your shoulders when the task is completed, but what a special gesture it is. As for "help" that really isn't... doubly galling when you have paid for it. I hope you and DH come to consensus on the subject, stick to your guns. My unpleasant experience with the electrician leaves me in sympathy with you about contractors who don't return calls or don't meet promised deadlines and do so with no explanation. Like you really need the headache of a prduction "log jam" about now? It will all come out in the wash, but that's not much help right now. Enjoy the concert, I know I would!

Nice to see Martie drop in with a cheery update. I agree with Brenda in that the economy is going to take time to get back underway. Let's hope some things come in for Rich!

And Marian, you're some little bundle of energy and productivity these days, aren't you? I could use a gal like you to help me move firewood... doesn't that sound appealing? I have some daffodils just beginning to bloom and the ferns are JUST starting to send up nubs of fronds, but the maple flowers haven't opened, neither has the For Cynthia, or Magnolia stellata. Today is supposed to be very warm so I may find some increased activity when I get home. I hope you're able to move as far as the chair in front of the computer today, lol. ;)

NO baby news? Kathy, you'd better hold off on the rose shots and Julie, too, with the Tucker shots... if there will be any way to neutralize the coming onslaught. :) Eden, you must be mightily relieved at Jen's test results, and I agree that Saucy's words must have been a comfort.

As I was moving wood yesterday afternoon I was thinking that Woody's microclimate is almost precisely what mine is. About the lowest temperature we ever see here is -5F, and that's pretty unusual. And autumn is long and usually very, very pleasant.

I will leave you with this anonymous quote that sums up my feelings nicely and explains why, yes, I do believe salamanders and snakes are beautiful, Michelle. Are you a "sissy" about clammy animals" ;) ?

"All who breathe mean more to the true eye than their shapes show. For all were made in love and made to be beloved."

May your day be profitable, my friends.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 5:29AM
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Brenda - I hope today's gardening will be peaceful and theraputic. You have the kindest brother imaginable - what sadness you must have felt hearing his recent test results. Many big hugs going your way.

Eden - that is wonderful news about Jen. Perhaps there will be more good tidings before the day is out.

Marian - it sounds as though you are accomplishing many tasks. Don't you love forget-me-knots? I underplant my tulips with them. The tulips soemtimes only last 5 days but the little foget-me-knots go on blooming for weeks and are delightful. I have let them self-seed rampantly in one bed this year and I'm looking forward to a pale blue ocean.

V - is your hand cramping up yet?

My head is buzzing with ideas right now as I've decided this will be the year to pursue something I've long dreamt of - some backyard chickens!!! I've been doing a lot of research and yesterday called our town hall to check on zoning laws. They gave me the thumbs up (no special requirements other than keeping them in our yard) and am having fun choosing which breed. A local farmer has rare breed chicks available 4/28, and during the time they will be indoors I'll be able to complete their coop. I figured if I can build a bathroom vanity I can make a basic hen house.

An area behind our pool fence will be fenced off to keep Clousseau out and birds in. They will have a nice size area to wander, and a safe home at night to keep them safe from foxy woxy. I think 3 will be a good number to start with. DH thinks I'm nuts but I'm sure once I wow him with some beautiful, pale blue organic eggs I'll win him over. Of course, the cost of building the coop, fencing, water dishes and feed will make them some of the msot expenisve eggs we've ever eaten.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 8:24AM
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Good Morning, We had a beautiful, warm, sunny day yesterday and today's supposed to be even better. Best of all I had a bit of time to wander around the garden pulling weeds and pruning a few roses.

Sorry, you guys, my last post was confusing. Chalk it up to lack of sleep :) Jen does have Bell's Palsy. The MRI came back negative for something more serious. She's taking it in stride well though. Her eye's bothering her because it won't blink properly. She has drops for that. I suggested an eye patch like Saucy mentioned but the Dr. said no. They want her to use that "eye muscle", I guess you'd call it. She's also having trouble eating as she has little control of that side of her mouth. Kind of like after a trip to the dentist when your mouth is numb.

Marie, how exciting that you're leaving for your visit in just a few days. I hope you get there in time for baby's arrival. I can't wait to see that little "surprise"!

Mary, great news that David is progressing so well. So glad to hear that!

Chelone, I grew up "in the country" where we had all manner of little creatures. We were fascinated with them as children like you are now :)

I'm picturing V chained to desk for the weekend with a calligraphy pen and a stack of invitations. Seriously, what a special touch you're adding to the invitations. Calligraphy is on my list of things I want to learn someday. I think it's very cool!

Norma, the bunny hutch is darling. I like the purple color too! I'm mulling over ideas on how I want to decorate up the little conservatory for the summer.

Marty, great to hear that there are job prospects for Rich. Fingers crossed that they come through.

Brenda, I'm so sorry about your brother's news. Like V, I've been there more times than I want to remember. It's hard stuff that you just get through moment by moment the best you can.

I'm headed to the vet with one of my cats this morning and then over to Jen's to deliver the nursery lamp. Bella will be here with me this afternoon too. I may have her help me plant some of those zinnia seeds I've been procrasting on. Maybe baby news later too?? She' got to get here eventually, right? I'm beginning to wonder :) Have a great day everyone!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 8:26AM
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Mary, I just read your post and had to comment on the chickens! How exciting! Something I would love to do too but we're not allowed them here. We always had chickens when I was growing up. I'll be looking forward to hearing all about this new adventure at your house!


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 8:31AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good morning all! A bright, warm and beautiful day dawning here. And what am I doing? Cooking and serving 288 hot dogs *sigh*

Brenda, you have had a few hard knocks lately - DS's job evaporating, and DB's unsettling test results. Sometimes the skies are cloudy even when they're sunny...

V. thanks for clarifying the wedding thing. Wow, hadwritten invites! What a beautiful thing to do for the happy couple . Special memories for sure! Glad the carpet guys are coming today, one more detail taken care of !

Eden, I don't think the Bells Palsy is particularly dangerous, but it sure doesn't sound pleasant, and poor Jen: the last little bit of pregnancy is just crummy. We are all hopeful for baby news today!

And 'Bug, you're getting away on Tuesday! Would it be a neat thing for Skyler to welcome "Surprise" on his birthday?

PM2, I am a 2:30 a.m. waker too. And then I don't get back to sleep. The doctor gave me some meds, and If I take a half of one when I wake in the night, I go right back to sleep. If I do that for a few nights, then the cycle is broken and I sleep through without assistance. I resisted the meds for many years but finally just gave in. It is working for me. I find that I worry needlessly about things in the night. This way I am much more rational about things and the Phils say I am much less like Maxine if I have slept *LOL*

My raised beds are ready too, topped up with 3 way mix and sitting blissfully in the sun. My seedlings are close to ready; I may move them from under the lights to sunny windows to start preparing them for the great outdoors. I can crack the windows open a touch for the air circulation...Last year my tomatoes were monsters by the middle of May.

Mary! Yea for David! It's a long haul but he is doing it! Good for him.

And Marian - what a ton of work you have completed! Our Hort. Society could use someone like you!

Wow, pigs and chickens, dogs and salmanders, even kids. We could rival Kratt's Kreature's here (also known as Zoboomafoo).

Well, the hot dogs and the real dogs are calling. Happy Friday everyone!



    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:26AM
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I am excited for you Mary! Think of all the chicken-doo you'll have for the garden - another way to offset the expense of the coop :)

Eden, I thought that's what you meant with the MRI results. I think I only wore the patch at night so that my eye would stay closed. My eye did not close all the way. I hope she feels better soon.

Kathy, you are becoming quite the photographer with your new camera - of course it doesn't hurt that you have such willing subjects in all their glory! I love the peachy yellows!

It is nice to hear from Cornfield Park! Glad to hear Rich's news.

Chelone, I am proud to have diverse wildlife on my little slice of land, too, and find beauty in everyday things. I found a black frog yesterday in the neighbor's pond. The kids always find salamanders around here, but I don't know where they look.

Well, I think I'm going to play in the cement again today. I need to tweak my formula a bit, because I'm not happy with the color that I used (not strong enough....too much gray still showing through), but here is a little taste:

A giant elephant ear.... cast to last:

A look at how it is cupped (so you could use it for a water garden, having the water pump over the leaf and run off:

I'm going to work on some more ideas today. I am not terribly excited about putting my "wares" out there for the whole world to critique at the plant sale, and am kind of feeling like I don't like to sell my stuff. This will be a good learning experience. I think I would rather teach other people....

Hope you all have a great day.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:33AM
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Marian, meant to comment on your day of gardening. What alot you got accomplished. It's tiring but a good tired I think. Now that you have the Forget Me Nots (Myosotis) let them go to seed and you'll never be without them. I love them in my garden!

Julie, correct, Bell's Palsy is mostly just uncomfortable. We were glad to know that's what it was and not something more serious :)

Saucy, I'll suggest to Jen to wear a patch at night. Her eye's the same as you describe, it won't close all the way and it's what's bothering her most. I love that casting! Yes it would be a beautiful addition to a water garden. Haven't I seen where they're sometimes painted after the fact? I think so...


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:42AM
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mon dieu, it's Friday! (where's Sue?) As if Jen weren't uncomfortable enough in the last trimester, now Bell's palsy? I was hoping for some different news! My mom currently has a bad case of shingles, no doubt due to the recent health crisis of my dad, who seems to be improving day by day. I wonder how Deanne's case of shingles is coming along.

Brenda, have a nice, decompressing day in the fort and/or garden, no pigs to vex you. What a special relationship you have with your brother. Best wishes to your family.

Saucy the leaf cast is fabulous. I saw some smaller ones at a nursery yesterday but still pricey ($145!) Ever do the ligularias, with that nice ruffly edge? I swore that I wouldn't bring home any coleus this year, cutting way back on pots/watering, but amended that pledge yesterday, bringing home just one..and it was the mighty Kong!

Chelone, did you buy the lumber for the work tables? Old doors can sometimes be repurposed for something like that, if there's a salvage yard nearby. Good wood and cheap. Joseph the tabby has brought two lizards to the porch, and yesterday's lizard's tail was nipped off quite high. I saved the poor fellow and put him under a big rosemary but survival odds don't look good.

I hope those shots do the trick for your knees, Michelle. Waving to Marian, Julie, Kathy, PM, Mary, 'bug, and all I've missed and glad to see a report from Cornfield Park. The screened-in bath porch absorbs most of our time and energy when not more gainfully employed and the end is, knock wood, in sight.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 12:22PM
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The infernal wind has finally relented and we are to get temps in the 80s in its place..a good couple of days for puttering- I did all the heavy manual labor last weekend.

Saucy, that leaf casting is tres fabu fabu ! I love it! Wish I could fit one in my suitcase

Mary, support here for your plans for backyard chickens-they are becoming quite popular out here on the left coast , where zoning allows. They can be so beautiful too..great news on the David front too! The resiliency of youth always seems to win out in the end !

Eden, Mr Baby was within one day of being induced when DD went into labor-her issues had to do with high blood pressure. We await news, but of course I am far more interested in the vision of the periwinkle blue conservatory. Im certain Chelone would concur.

Thinking about PM and Julies sleep issues, something I have never had a problem with till recently . I think its probably stress related in my case. I actually bought some over the counter sleep aid tablets a couple of weeks ago, but have only used them twice. Im the type who is out like a light with a shot of Nyquil so these things were very effective indeed. Hoping that the stress level will abate at the awfice- the challenge is to shut off the brain at night, or at least direct it elsewhere-baseball, trashy novels, whatever ! Brendas yoga fort comes to mind.

And speaking of Brenda, I hope your garden day was all you wished for and that you remain strong for the road ahead with DB. There are some things that are just out of our control yknow ?

Julie, your hot-dog tasks never fail to remind me of my elementary school (St Eugenes) in Los Angeles- Catholic schools did not have cafeterias but every Friday was Hot Dog Day and the moms would serve us up out of a makeshift kitchen in the auditorium. And I also will comment on your DH and the choir-at St Eugenes the choir was always the 7th and 8th grade classes- I still have some pretty good Latin skills ! Pange lingua gloriosi etc

Denise, good tidings there with the Dad stuff, nice to see a post from you..

Okay todays rose Sombreuil, one of my faves From Roses 2009 From Roses 2009

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:35PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

I went out behind the storage shed where Nolon was cutting wood this morning. I heard a rather loud buzz of wings past my head. It was the season's first hummingbird! Nolon had already been seeing it back there. I need to wash out my feeder and fill it with nectar. There isn't much in the line of hummingbird flowers yet. The Honeysuckle by the front door is just now opening.

I planted 4 more of my potted plants today. I ran into a job that I was unable to complete, and had to enlist Nolon's help. It was the digging out of an old grapevine root. I had managed to pull one of the two posts where the grapevines used to be, after removing the wire the grapes grew on, but was unable to pull the second post. Nolon 'pulled' it also. I now have 4 shrubs planted in that area.....a new shrub row. I left the third post because I have a clematis growing on it. Now there is a Summer Snowflake Viburnum, an old fashioned Lilac, a Cornelian Cherry, and a Ninebark. I left them quite far apart to account for their mature sizes. I need to fill in between them with some lowgrowing plants. Maybe I will use Flowering Currants. I love them, and have lots of available sprouts.

Naturally most everything I plant requires deer protection. I succeeded in finding more fencing.

I planted a Goldmound Spiraea in front of the frontyard Honeylocust. There was a bed of creeping Phlox there, but it had almost all died out. I encountered three Gladiola bulbs while digging the hole. Two were transplanted elsewhere. The third was destroyed in the digging. They never bloomed last year, anyway.
Back of the house, I planted a dwarf red-leaved Nandina, by the utilityroom door. I have aways wanted one, so when I saw them at Wal Mart last tues, naturally I had to buy one. :-)
I planted a rosebush there also.Maybe the deer will not be so bold as to eat it there.

At the far end on the old garden spot, I planted a purple smoketree. I have wanted one of them for years too.

I set out two differant varieties of red-leaved weigela,W.Dark House, and W. Java Red.

I am pretty disappointed to realize that the two potted plants from Vernon Barnes and Son, that I bought as Japanese Viburnums, were mislabeled. I am pretty sure they are Mockoranges instead. I already have mockoranges running out of my ears! :-(

Now, to some of the more serious happenings in your lives:

Brenda, I am so very sorry about your DB. The only consolation that I can see is that you are where you can get together with him. I did not have that option when my brother suffered the heart attack 2-3 years ago, and had triple bypass. Your brother sounds like a real gem.

Eden, I did misunderstand your report about Jen. I hope it will be a short lived bout with the Bell's Palsy.

Marie, I can almost imagine how excited you are about your trip to Sarah's. I hope you will get there in time for the arrival of the dear baby. I was at the hospital when each one of my three GDs arrived.

Mary, that is wonderful news about David's progress. Although it will still be a long drawn out process, in a year or so it will be just a bad memory.
Only 3 baby chicks? That isn't enough. We had 40+ to begin with, and ours were already laying. It was a mix. I enjoyed them. I am afraid you will not get much fertlizer from only 3!

Chelone, I will pass on moving firewood. Carrying in each day's supply is enough of that for me. Maybe I can put up some welded wire fencing for you instead? ;-)

Saucy, that Elephant's ear is going to be a beautiful cement container. I never was involved in creating such things. Sounds like a lot of work, but something to be proud of.

I hope the forget-me-nots will do a lot of reseeding. This makes the third year for them, and so far I have only seen the two plants. I am afraid they may be varmint food also.:-(

Rainy weather is to move in tonight, and last until monday. It will be good for my transplants. It is more seasonal temps too, so I will not need to have heat at night, and only fire up the stove in the mornings to take the chill off.

I hope all are looking forward to a lovely weekend.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 10:09PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

We've had gorgeous weather for several days now. I'm in scrambling mode, trying to get everything accomplished.

We seem to be having issues with Phoebe, namely many people wanting to care for her! Woody has had trouble with her aid and it just isn't the right time for them to deal with our dog. I have a friend from French Club who has been begging to walk her, so this will work out quite well I hope. The kennel also said they'd like her (for big bucks ;)) and a woman I've never met wants to keep her and see how her kids respond to a big dog as they hope to get one. I'm nervous about them though since I've never met them, even though they are friends of friends. Anyway, when it rains it pours! So I think Denis will be the one visiting Phoebe for lunch and evenings. The cat sitters will deal with mornings. The gardener friends also love her.

I spoke at length to DD today. Today would be the birth day if the pattern with Reed were to be repeated. She is a bit disappointed as the 17th is a kind of magic day for her. DSIL is once again quitting smoking and is crabby and nervous now. He is anxious about preparing a scavenger hunt for Skyler's birthday on the weekend of the 26-7th and is annoyed that he is being sent to Calgary on business on Wednesday. I think he'll be feeling better in a couple of days.
DD said:
"I sure hope that Baby 2 doesn't look at all like Reed did... that might be a bit too much for me (and everyone else who misses him).

DH and I were sure Reed would have black/really dark hair like both of us (did - DH is pretty gray and balding), and Reed was a blondie! Maybe this baby will have a dark head of hair?"

OK, tomorrow is haircut day and a bridal shower, then company from Toronto and out for dinner. Still packing etc to complete, then lists for the pet care givers to make up. DH has shoes to buy and a haircut as well. So it is getting down to the wire! Better not forget my camera, you think? LOL.

I'll be looking for Jen's photos while I'm away! OK, and some puppy, kitty and rose pics too! Maybe some salon cutting surfaces too?


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 10:45PM
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I have a few hours of sewing in the Lab. this morning. It's a charity job for our neighbor, one that will ensure access to his impressive variety of landscaping/excavating machinery. He's the one with the OOC (out of control) dogs that love to romp with Wrecks. After that I have some remainning rounds of firewood to move and that will give the huge one plenty of time to do what dogs do in their territory.

What nice, cheerful things to read from my far-flung Idyll friends this morning. Mary, I am delighted by the progress David is making and can only imagine the relief it brings to everyone in your family. It's been a very long haul, I know. And hens! how very exciting. I have every confidence you'll be able to make a very respectable coop and enclosure for them. Do you think 3 will be enough? I was thinking more like 5-6. :)

Saucy, your leaf casting is gorgeous! I really want to try that now. I don't have a clear notion of what sort of tint you were aiming for in the concrete, though. The grey doesn't bother me particularly... do you have another casting with a tint that is more pleasing to your eye? Something tells me you are going to sell out of your "wares" in no time flat and end up with enough money to hire all manner of help for the GG. :) We used to find salamanders all the time when I was a kid in Massachusetts, but they were the small reddish ones ((2-3"). Here, the predominant "finds" are the big black ones with the yellow dot trim package; I've found them in the large size (5-6") and also as little tykes (1-3"). I've only found one of the reddish numbers and that was last fall when we were splitting wood.

Wow, Marian! there's no stopping you these days, it seems. Nice to read about it. Nothing like nice weather and the promise of more to come to fill a gardener with zeal and energy to dig more holes. ;) If ever I need assistance with welded wire fence I know you'll be my girl. You and Saucy have really gotten me thinking about Viburnums. My daffodils are just now starting to open and the Magnolia blossoms started to open in yesterday's warmth but today and tomorrow are to be chilly so maybe they'll go "on hold". No sight of any hummingbirds yet, but the bats were quite active at dusk yesterday. The helpmeet and I sat and watched them for a long time, they put on quite an air show.

Will today be the day for Kate's much anticipated arrival? or will the countdown continue? It's a shame the zoning prohibits poultry in your area, Eden. I can see you with a flock following you around your "back forty". And I like the idea of periwinkle blue conservatory very much... time to get Brad workin' on that, don't you think? I have been contemplating my next cake, too, Eden. I've wanted to make a Lord Baltimore cake for some time now, but will have to attempt a boiled frosting to complete it. I've never made that before, but how hard can it be since I have a candy thermometer and the KITCHEN AID mixer... dum de dum dum.

'bug, are you down to counting the minutes 'til departure? :) No matter what Surprise looks like it will be perfect; and if there is some of Reed included I think that will be right and just fine, too, a gentle reminder that he'll be with you always and everything will be OK. :) I'm not sure I'd be so willing to turn my dog over to a family I've never met, either. Seems a little too risky, not because their hearts aren't in the right place but because it takes a lot of thought and time to take care of a dog, especially when it's someone else's! Phoebe is going to miss you. But she'll be fine. There are clusters of eggs attached to the decayed vegetation in the little pond, but if they're salamander, frog, or toad eggs is a mystery to me. But a joy, nonetheless. ;)

Nice to hear from you, too, Denise. I'm glad your Dad seems to be making a recovery and sorry that your Mom has shingles. She must be worried sick about your Dad. No good comes from worry, does it? Screened in outdoor bath sounds pretty luxurious... it will be fun to see pictures of it. California cats really have it good... sunshine and leapin' lizards. Salamanders don't move very quickly and are therefore of no interest to our pride. Thank heavens for rodents!

I wonder if we'll hear from Deanne soon? I miss the updates from her vole-infested acreage and we could definitely use some of her bird and garden pictures to offset the coming avalanche of pickled baby shots... ;)

Yes, wood for the tabling is in the Salon awaiting pickling. Maybe today? tonight? dunno. The casters were shipped yesterday I think. And the 4x4s are still in the "kiln", "dryer" boiler room drying for at least a few more days. I haven't checked the butt ends to see if the moisture is retreating to the very centres of the posts, but they'll be drier than when they were put in there. The more time they have to dry the easier it will be for the helpmeet to plane them and put the chamfered edge on them. And they'll be a lot lighter to move around.

OK, I have to deal with that nasty canvas now. Talkatcha later. Maybe. :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 7:07AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Quickly before I have to go...

Chelone, DD used to lay down boards in moist woodsy areas, then return later, flip them, and then count the salamanders. Mostly the orange ones were there. Some years were better than others for the poor critters. Also snakes are often found sunning on wood piles, or nesting within the wood pile.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 7:55AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Opps, I missed a piece of info I was going to give Denise. The lizard should be fine. They pop off their tail as a defense messure. While the predator is concentrating on the still moving tail, they make their escape. The lizard will grow a new tail.
I am glad to hear that your dad is improving daily, but sorry that your mom has shingles. That is an affliction that I have far.

The planting of all my potted shrubs is a job that I had put off much too long. I have always had a tendency to be like the Everready bunny, once I get started on an outside job. Between the loosening of my muscles, and the meds that I seem to have properly adjusted, I am doing okay. I do rest a lot more than I used to. I have found that following Nolon's example, and keeping a chair close, is a good idea. :-)
It won't be long until there are chiggers and biting flies to contend with. So far is is only ticks. So far I have removed 4 or 5 that were embeded on my body, and 'caught' others that were still unattached.

The rains have not arrived yet....and it is to be about 70 today, and overcast.

Chelone, how nice to have access to the neighbor's machinery. How nice it would be if we still had a tractor and a trailer. Of course we have the riding mower, but it does not serve the need for hauling stuff.
I haven't thought to look for bats in the evenings. They are surely out now.

Marie, sorry about all the anxieties with you and the rest of the family.I hope all smooths out soon.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 8:27AM
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My heated seed mats are working! I have 2 varieties of castor bean up, and salvia argentea "artemis"! Cardoon hasn't made an appearance yet, but what can you expect in 3 days? (I know I said I'd sow seeds two weeks ago, but it takes me longer than I expect with all the shennanigans of everyone else in this house!)

Deanne, not one thing you shared has moved on to the compost pile:

Deanne gave me these cuttings on a Saturday, and by Tuesday they had roots!

Into the tray:

And under the lights:

Even the abutilon and iresine cuttings in the window sill have roots now!

Thank you so much, Deanne!

I'm going to water my bananas in the greenhouse - how many people can say that?


    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 8:31AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Gb - I feel so bad that things are so topsy-turvy here at the moment that we can't take Phoebe this time. I was looking forward to seeing her in her silver coat and seeing how much she has matured. It sounds like she's a very popular girl so hopefully will get all the attention and care she needs and deserves.

Marian - can you send me some of your energy please ?! That's an impressive amount of garden work you've motored through!

Mary - great news about David's progress. Summer must be looking much more attractive/positive for him these days....

Saucy - great leaf cast - is there a post or something under the leaf to make it easy to set up as a birdbath?

Eden - poor Jen! I hope that the Bell's Palsy passes quickly... I am all too familiar with the problems and inconveniences of an eye that won't close properly and the difficulties of eating with facial paralysis. As others have said and as, I'm sure, the doctors have emphasized, protecting the eye is the priority. Is the tear production affected in that eye? If she still has tears, that will help mitigate the problem a bit but regular, generous application of artificial tears/lubricants is still necessary to protect the cornea from dryness. One alternative for night-time protection is swim goggles... (look a bit funny - but works well...) Get some CIBA Software contact lens saline (which has no preservatives or other chemicals that could damage her eyes) and put some in the goggles before putting the goggles on - the saline will provide a high-humidity, moist environment that, combined with an eye lubricant such as Lacrilube (causes blurrieness so best for night-time use primarily) will ease night time discomfort. But both the lubricant and the saline would need to be reapplied a couple of times in the night (e.g. whenever she gets up to go to the bathroom...)

Looks like a nice day coming up here today so I hope to get some time in the garden to work on cleaning sod out of the new bed.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 9:12AM
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Last night I planted the shrub I bought in the front yard. Ive been pondering that area trying to decide what should go in there. A friend surprised me with a lovely trellis that will look good against the garage wall. Im thinking it will need a clematis.

Kathy, I was wondering what Mr. Baby was up to these days. Doing lots of adorable things Im sure.

Saucy, Ive seen the leaf castings where they were painted with iridescent paints in blues and greens that I thought was so pretty.

Mary, chickens will be so fun. Ive often thought of them but never get around to it. Plus my chicken coop is now my garden shed.

bug, enjoy your time with family.

Brenda, what a disappointment for your brother. What a sweetheart he must be.

Chelone, I admit Im a sissy. No salamanders, snakes, rats, mice etc.

Denise, I can hardly wait to see the completed bath porch.

Id best get going. I want to run to town for seeds and some other necessities like food. This afternoon I have a bridal shower I need to attend. They do call for rain so I wont feel so bad sitting indoors. Interesting that Colorado which is only about 8 hours from here is having a snowstorm and we hit the mid 70s yesterday.



    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 10:31AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

A quick IQ test for you:

See if you can figure out what these words have in common. I'll check back later to give you the answer. ;)

  1. Banana
  2. Dresser
  3. Grammar
  4. Potato
  5. Revive
  6. Uneven
  7. Assess

busy busy busy....

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 12:41PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Hi all,

Well I had a nasty surprise this AM. Came down with a horrible stomach virus that kept me in bed half the day. Id not had a cold or flu all winter and dont remember the last time I was this sick. Im feeling a lot better now thank heavens.

The really great news is that Doug finished his first week at the new job and he really likes the company and the people he is working with. The other bonus is that its only a half hour commute for him.

The gardens are unbelievably dry at the moment and Im hoping we get some of the predicted rain. We could really use an inch or more at the moment. I still have to get the driveway garden cleaned out. I havent touched it since I discovered the vole damage to the Hakone grass.

Mary, thats terrific news about David! Im so happy to hear hes improving so much. He must be thrilled to be back on his feet. Love it that you are going to get chickens.

Denise, Glad to hear your Dad is improving but sorry to hear about your Moms shingles. They really are pretty awful. I hope she gets over them soon. ~~~ Im completely healed up now and only have a few scars but they are on my bum so no one will ever see them ! LOL

Saucy, I LOVE that leaf casting!!!!! Im going to have to learn to do those also. Thats just beautiful. ~~~ How wonderful that all the cuttings rooted up and are thriving! Fantastic! Im so pleased you were able to come up and get them. Im hoping Wendy has the same success.

Brenda, big HUGS. I'm so very sorry to hear the news about your brother.

OK Im running out of steam hear and need to go and have a nap or something. Waving hello to everyone!


    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 5:27PM
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88 degrees here in the Kathy garden, so Ive retreated inside for awhile. This is the time of year that it seems to stay very pleasant in the house even with all doors and window opened. I decided to try planting out one of my Amaranth Viridis seedlings today- there are no temps under 40 predicted for the next several days, and it would be very unusual to have frost in May. Im going to plant out some of my Old Mexico Zinnias tomorrow as well. Pushin the envelope here !

bugdouble double letters !

Deanne, glad to hear that things are positive for Doug-I hope you arent letting those d**m voles and the incident with the Hakone grass discourage you . Think of it as an opportunity to try something new. In answer to your question over yonder I scored my first Ipomea today-Bleak Heart along with a few succulents and some Calibrachoa- I was looking for Lantana but it seems to be a little early. Some of mine will come back . but we had cold temps this winter so I lost the majority. Have you ever tried propagating them ? I also got a very cool golden Millet which will be part of a container combo featuring my "Deanne" Plectranthus , and Coleus Jungle Fever.

Im going to head over to Target early in the am , and check out their 2" succulents I want to plant up one of my moss baskets tomorrow too.

Saucy, just love those seedling heat mats ! Ive put mine away for the year, but they allowed me to use the garage instead of the house to start seeds this winter.

Wave to everyone- seems like many Idylls have nice weather this weekend aint it fun to go out and play ?

The potting bench was a busy place today... From Roses 2009

The seedlings learn to cope with 85 degrees From Roses 2009

Doobie takes a nap under Graham Thomas From Roses 2009

Later ! Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 7:42PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Are you peeking or have you already given up? Give it another try....
Look at each word carefully. You'll kick yourself when you discover the
. .
. .
. .

Answer: No, it is not that they all have at least 2 double letters....
. .
. .
. .

Answer: In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell the word backwards, it will be the same word.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 8:49PM
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That's great news about Doug's new job. What a relief.

Michelle, a trellis is the best kind of surprise from a friend.

Culinary non sequitur: This is one of the best artichoke seasons I've seen in a couple years. Last year was a miserable artichoke year, but this one stands to make up for it, so spring cooking is off to a good start on that score.

Thanks for the input on our lizard friends, Marian. I know the tail can take some damage, but this little guy was bit pretty close to the torso. Rescued another one yesterday, big as a tokay gecko but tail still intact. (Duncan kept geckos for many years, consumers of vast quantities of crickets and mealworms.)

I can fritter a day away with the best of 'em. Work deadlines loom but attention was focused on the garden all day. Still contemplating baking a lemon cake if I can twist a driver's arm to fetch half a dozen lemons or, god forbid, I'd have to change into clean street clothes. Long Beach's Grand Prix is in full swing, access blocked near the shoreline where the cars will whiz through city streets, roar of the engines the constant background noise.

Very much enjoying your photos and garden reports, Kathy. I watched the old Scorcese movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore couple nights ago, wondering if it's become dated. Have to say Ellen Burstyn's performance is still simply amazing. I kept hearing shouts from behind closed bedroom doors demanding to know what I was cackling over. Nothing clears a room in a house full of men like a chick flick...

In keeping with the West Coast photo marathon, sweet peas are almost over, getting shorter and shorter stems due to increasingly warm temps. Some vines were pulled to make way for Moulin Rouge sunflowers, started in small pots but already 6 inches high with good root systems. Too lazy to resize so excuse gigantor photo.

Have a great Sunday.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 9:21PM
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Nice one Marie ! You got me ...

Kathy in Napa

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 9:23PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Marie, you got me too. I studied and studied, and decided it was that all of them had six letters!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2009 at 10:15PM
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Happy Patriot's Day! April 19, 1775. Have any of you read, "April Morning" (Howard Fast, I think)

I ruminated on the puzzler while moving more rounds of firewood, noting the advance of spring, clipping back some brambles, and watching the line of cars pass my house. I came to the realization that the minus the first letter the remaining letters read the same forward and backward. But I lacked the presence of mind to move the first letter to end! Guess the CIA won't be calling to put me on code cracking duty any time soon. :)

And spring is advancing on the Compound. I've finished getting the rounds out of the woods just in time, the ferns are beginning to send up the fronds and I'm holding out hope that not too many of them have been trampled by zealous arborists! The ferns are probably my most favorite feature, so easy, so reliable, so hardy... and they make a perfect clubhouse for kitties and curs on very hot days. The little Trout Lilies are sending up mottled leaves and the wild LOV and some other darling spring ephemerals will be up soon. I concur with Deanne that we are in dire need of rain. It's been well over a week since the last soaking and it's amazing how quickly things dry out when there are brisk winds and plants are starting to put on lots of seasonal growth.

The big tree that was taken down (the one I've moved piece by piece, lol) was largely rotten and had voluntarily shed a few big branches last year. I was unsure what to do with large pieces of pretty dead wood and then it hit me: soak them in the pond and then place them in and around the old tree as "reefs" for moss colonies and possibly housing units for salamanders! My goal is the clean up the surrounding woodland areas to a moderate degree, removing piles of brush that have been started and abandonned by the spousal mess-maker so the lay of the land and natural flora can be enjoyed with relative ease. I hope my idea works, I'll definitely be out there collecting spores and mixing up a potion of moss and butter milk to pour over the soaked wood. :)

BIL came over for a walk about yesterday afternoon and casually remarked that Rex doesn't run off on me nearly as much as he does the helpmeet. Hehehe, no kidding. He wondered why. I spend lots more time on basic obedience with that fool dog than does the helpmeet. And interestingly, in general I'm much more engaged with the dog when we're outdoors. I talk to him, call him over to me frequently, put him through his paces, and give him a microscopic treat as a reward. I keep a ball at my side and periodically toss it for him and then call him back to my side, before releasing him and allowing him to carry it off to Sanitary Ridge to "guard" it. Last week we had what I'm chosing to regard as a minor success. I was in the woods, the dog was in the circle watching the road. I should have insisted he was closer to me but I wasn't paying full attention (bad me!). Anyway, a neighbor walked by with her Pug. Rex got up, grew the Mohawk and barked once. I told him to stay and he looked at me for a long moment before succumbing to temptation and trotting over for an unescorted "looky-see". I waved and called to her and began walking over to collect the dog. Now, he didn't do what I'd commanded, but he DID look to me when I called to him (this is huge), AND he didn't take off at a gallop barking wildly, either. He simply sniffed the Pug gently and sniffed her offered hand. And happily followed me back into the yard when we'd finished chatting. On her return trip he remained in a down/stay in the circle while I continued working some 40' away. And there is no more explosive barking when he's in the car and sees a dog on the side of the road. At least when he's in the car with me. ;) I would definitely throw in the towel if I didn't measure success in incremental units.

And lastly, lovely to see some sign of life from Deanne. Good to know the assault on your stomach has abated and you've emerged none the worse for wear. I hear ya on the dry conditions and there is vole damage here, but the extent of it is still largely unknown. I'll be thinking of you next to your driveway when I'm uncovering the back gardens. What's new in the painting world these days? And I'm delighted that Doug is finding his new job acceptable and enjoys the people. That's a big plus!

Doobie under the rose is the picture of relaxation. There is nothing I like more than working around the yard and having the pride come by for a visit every so often. Even when they're "bearing gifts".

The Sweet Peas are so delicate and pretty in the jaunty blue and white vases. Something on that order will really look great next to a claw footed tub in the outdoor bath area. ;)

I agree that a trellis is a perfect gift. And a clematis will be the perfect way to decorate it, Michelle. Oh and I found a garter snake (about 18" long) yesterday and picked him up just for you. I am really working hard to get over that insanely foolish fear of them since none of the native species are venomous. I confess, though, I'd be hard pressed to pick up one that's pushing garden hose diameter. ;)

The helpmeet is watching "Wall E" and has remarked that he bears an uncanny resemblance to his wife in his dedication to "cleaning up". I can see I'll have to watch that one later on!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 6:45AM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

How I wish this were artichoke country! You California ladies are so lucky! You get avocados too! The sweet peas are special too of course, especially in their pretty blue and white pots.

For V and other interested parties, a few wedding shower photos:
The bride-to-be.

Friends...The 2 bridesmaids are on the left.

Future MIL collected the bows from gifts to make a "hat".

The most adorable cheesecake...with real violets for decoration!

And today we "interview" a family about assisting with visiting Phoebe. I really hope having 5&6 year old friends works out! I'd love for her to play well with all ages.

Yesterday DD & DSIL had a very good relaxing day together after weeks of stress. They now feel much more prepared for baby #2. We enjoyed an Indian meal out with friends last night as well.

Back to zillions of odd jobs!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 7:57AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Good morning in Idylland!

Well it looks like a Severe Clear day of sunshine in the 50s PERFECT gardening weather. Im going to tackle the Driveway Garden today. Doug answered the question as to what to do with the mat of Hakone grass that the voles ate. It turned out that it was still alive and I was going to replant parts of it, but alas, when Doug made the dump run yesterday he thought that 2 x 2 foot dead looking thing was dead and he took it to the dump with the rest of the yard waste. Oh well, now I do have to be creative and Im thinking about how to change things around now. I will miss that beautiful grass but time to move on.

I had a ball last week watching my garden birds in their spring courtship rituals. Soooo cute! The male birds feed the females. I got a pic of the Cardinals at it and they are darling! A sweet pair of Chickadees is inspecting one of the nest boxes I have up in the back and Im hoping they find it to their liking. There is a pair of Blue Jays making a nest in the hemlocks and it turns out that they use sticks from living trees and shrubs and not dead sticks on the ground. Both of the Jays have been industriously snapping branches off the lilac and the birch trees. It takes quite a bit of effort for those birds to break them off and it seems such a waste of time and effort as there are billions of broken bits on the ground after the ice storm last Dec. Im thinking that they want the green wood though as it would be much easier to bend into a nest? Something I never knew or thought about before that I found interesting.

Kathy, yes indeed I was horribly depressed and discouraged about the vole damage but Im now over it and ready to move on. ~~~ How fantastic that youve got Ipomea and Calibrachoa. I wont be able to get those tender plants for another month. ~~~ I did try to propagate lantana a few years ago but it really got buggy over winter. Now I just prune them back and strip off the foliage and winter them over dormant like I do the fuchsias. Ive got that enormous Lantana Tropical Fruit that is four years old now and youll get to see it this summer! Woohoo!!!!~~~ Couldnt see you pics this AM?

Oh my Denise!!! Those sweet peas are GORGEOUS! ~~~ I love artichokes but have never cooked a fresh one. How do you fix them?

Chelone, nothing much new in the painting world at the moment. I have to get my bum in the studio next week and start painting the piece for the June class. The next plate will have a Swallowtail butterfly. Something Ive wanted to paint for a while. Im also contemplating painting a piece for the garden. Id like to have a garden painting to hang on the back of the house in the patio area. Im trying to figure out how to weather proof it.

OK Im ready to hit the gardens. Have a great day everyone!!!!


PS here are a few birdie pics

Blue Jay


And Mr. Cardinal

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 8:11AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Good morning everyone! It is a beautiful sunny day here with a predicted high of 13C (55F) and, after yesterdays day of gentle rain, everything will pop in my garden I am certain! The men are golfing.

Kathy, I couldn't see your photos, or Deanne's, this morning, but experience tells me that I will be able to later in the day (I don't know why this happens). I had a dream last night that I dropped in on you. I don't remember much of it, but I do recall that you were having breakfast and that I was disappointed that I couldn't bring my dogs over the border. Funny, as I have never "seen" you and have absolutely no idea what you look like....I'll have to compare the real you to my dream girl at IU6! Also, dropping in on someone in California when your own residence is in Eastern Ontario, Canada, is really not too easily done!

Wow, Denise, what beautiful sweet peas! Nothing even approaching that here yet. Blue and white is one of my favourite combinations, those are gorgeous vases.

Deanne, sorry you are sick; might be a response to a sudden reduction in stress as things seem to be on the bright side for you and Doug now. Interesting about the Jays nest-building. I have seen a few here too pecking and pulling at the twigs - now I know why! Learn something interesting every day...

'Bug, that is a cool puzzle. I will send it on to DD, who loves things like this. She can solve the most difficult Sudoku's, upside down (really!) in her head...I bet she psychs this out in jig time! Have a great trip - and I agree how nice it will be for Pheobes to make some new little friends. Nice shower photos - and nice looking house too!

Chelone: You are my inspiration for these dogs. And kids too, to some extent! Although I know you hate both (grin). The use of the old wood sounds great - I am looking forward to seeing the compound as a backdrop for my imaginary friends!

After a bit of back-and-forth the Ontario government has finally agreed that I was born at sometime and sent me my new birth certificate, which I need to get a passport. My name is not spelled the same way I have spelled it all my life, go figure. I even attached my original birth certificate, albeit in four pieces, and have been told that my name on that certificate is spelled differently from that on my birth registration so the new one now is coincident. My parents had a battle over what to name me at my birth some 60+ years ago, so that might account for the discrepancy (My mother picked a name and my father did the registration with his mother's middle name as my first name and my mother's first name, which she hated, as my middle name. Lucky maybe that he spelled my mother's first name worngly - she would probably have been doubly furious if she saw that name on my birth certrificate!) Family history can be such a hoot!

So, now on to the passport office. I hope tomorrow to get the photos, I know they will be dreadful, and then I am taking the forms to my MPP for expedition. What a circus!

Off to do doggy doo clean up (I know, too much information) and then taking TCS to church, and a big lunch at the chip wagon!

Cheers, all, and garden your hearts out!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 9:00AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Good morning...
A gorgeous day here too. Clear skies after a very light rain last night. We are off to DD's for dinner soon and spent a couple of hours in the garden this morning. All of our spring bulbs are open at this point and the veggie garden is now ready to plant completely. Very satisfied with the way the yard is shaping up. Not that there are not a lot of projects waiting in the wings, but I imagine there always will be. [g]

I'm feeling talked out lately and seem to have lost my place. I do remember Julie's advice about trying to get a better night's sleep. Thanks for that Julie. I'll have to keep that in mind. I do on occasion take Melatonin which has helped getting me back on track at times, as you use the sleep meds.

Brenda...I feel very sad that your DB had less than happy news. He sounds like such a wonderful person, it just doesn't seem fair. I hope you are taking care of yourself.

Hoping that Jen is doing okay and that the BP will be improving in short order. I went two weeks late with my first and I was under the impression that with a first child, being late is very common. I hope they are getting as much sleep at night as they can, for as long as they can. [g]

Very happy to hear that your Dad is improving, Denise and what cheerful vases of sweet peas!

Yay for Doug, Deanne. Very interesting about how the Jays build nests.

Exciting that Gardenbug will soon be on her way and amazed at how much you've been able to do in the garden, Marian. Saucy, your leaf casting is so interesting. It really does look like the shape and texture of the leaf. Can't get enough of your rose photos, Kathy and impressed with the health and vigor of your seedlings.

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday. :-)


    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 11:23AM
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shar2926(z8 Or)

I do not know why but your "spring fever"is the only entry that shows up when I search for "Tokay Grape starts"
I am really wanting a rooted start of a Tokay grape......any ideas?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 11:50AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Maybe this time I will get the new thread start right....

Spring has sprung,
The gras is riz
I wonder where
The birdies is...

All over at Deanne's, I bet!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 12:38PM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Shar, if you type " Tokay Grape starts" into a Google search you will get thousands of sites!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 1:55PM
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