Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hanging planters on the porch

One of the great side effects of taking two weeks off work to heal after surgery was reading about a million magazines.  Mostly the content was green this and green that (kinda getting annoyed by it all as it basically feels like marketing ploys), but there were some good tidbits every now and then.

A great tip I found was to put a saucer (like you would put under a pot) inside your hanging basket to help retain water.

HUH???  Every year, I hang my coconut lined planters with flowers. I water them and the water just goes right through them.  So usually mid-summer, I slack off with the watering and everything gets crispy pretty quickly.  

This morning I set up my hanging baskets, but included a nice saucer (what do you call those things?  saucer's not quite right.) and I mixed in some SoilMoist.  Perhaps I'll go longer than a month or two before letting things dry up, especially since I won't be fighting an uphill battle.  I can't believe I never thought of the saucer idea.  Duh!

My basket this year is a combination of periwinkle and white petunias. My brother and I used to call each other Patunya and Buttercup, so I always have petunias somewhere in the yarden (yard/garden).

Mary Frances

I'm not sure why, but there is a big bee that loves to hang out on my back patio.  She likes to stay in helicopter mode right at my eye level. When she's not dive bombing me, that is. 

I have named her Mary Frances.  That was my grandmother's name, but  her nickname was Bea (Beasley).  You do the math.

I am not sure, but I think she's a carpenter bee.  I've seen holes in my fence in the past--perfectly round holes with a tiny pile of sawdust beneath.  So that's why I think the bee is not a traditional bumble bee.  Fortunately, they're not particularly aggressive.  The males don't sting, though the females can.

The problem is that when Mary Frances flies low, the dogs like to jump and try to snatch her right out of the air!  It's quite funny to watch, but I really don't want to have to deal with an emergency vet bill when the inside of their mouths get stung!

Ooops.  Mary Frances is a boy.  S/he has a patch of yellow on his/her head, which means male.  Females have all black faces.  Gotta love wikipedia.  Anyway, I'm still calling it Mary Frances, the tranny bee, and now I'm not going to worry as much if one of the dogs eats it.  Not that I'll encourage it.

Oh, another reason for the neighbors to think I'm insane:  when the bee dive bombs me, I usually mutter, "Damn it, Mary Frances!  Get away from me!"  Yeah, the white coats (or yellow and black striped coats) will be coming for me shortly!

Here's a short video clip of me and the bee, chillin' in the yard.

The Sausage Tube

Millie is a woman now.  She's about halfway through her very first heat cycle.  Because she is a show dog and I co-own her with Carra, she will stay intact.  Should we give up on her show career for some unforseen reason, she'll be spayed like my other gals.  But for now I have to deal with her messy, icky doggie periods.

I've never had a pup with a first cycle.  I got Ms. Tuesday at 14 months, so she had already had a few cycles.  Map was spayed before she ever had one.  So I was quite oblivious to the fact that the first cycle is a bit traumatic for all involved.

Millie is moody.  I mean seriously moody.  She'll bark at seemingly nothing for half an hour.  She'll pace bark on the patio.  She snaps at Map just for looking at her.  After a few weeks, it's getting rather tedious.  

The gross part is her cha cha is ridiculously swollen.  I affectionately refer to it as her Sausage Tube.  She walks like she's saddle sore, she's so swelled up back there.  I'd post a picture of her from behind, but it might be flagged as doggy porn!

All I know is I wish either someone would invent doggy Midol or this heat cycle would end!

Being on my period makes me tired and crabby!

Pet Peeve-Parking Edition

Ya ever encounter things that just stick in your craw?  Why do people do this kinda stuff? Here's one of mine:  people who back into diagonal parking spots on one way streets.  WTF?

There's this one little lot on my way to work that usually has at least one person who has done this.  Either a.) they have gone the wrong way down the one way driveway or b.) they have done some kind of 20-point turn to maneuver into this spot.

Why?  To brag about your backing up prowess?  Granted, we saw a chick yesterday who could not drive in reverse to save her life.  But is parking backwards like this really necessary?

I don't carry this around all day with me--WHY ARE THEY RUINING MY LIFE BY PARKING BACKWARDS??  But I do note it every time I walk by and am greatly amused.  Especially when there are many cars parked like this.  

How important is it to these people that they get to pull out when they leave?  Planning a quick getaway?  Now, they're gonna have to again drive the wrong way down that street or spend 10 minutes trying to do a donut getting out of there correctly.  

I guess it falls into the category of why make something more difficult than it needs to be? 

Oh yeah, this pet peeve also includes those who do this in grocery store parking lots with one way lanes.  I'm a huge proponent of those giant, curved, sharp needle curb things they have in some big cities. Caution!  Severe tire damage!  If you go the wrong way down an alley, your tires get shredded.  Love that!  That's what you get for ignoring the signs!  Have a nice day! Hee hee!

I love Spring!

Though it is a bit warm outside, the weather is otherwise gorgeous and I have spent most of today working on the yard.  Dabble a bit, come in and rest.  I've done that about 30 times so far today!  Well, maybe not that much.  I'm waiting for late afternoon until I mow the lawn, as it's a tad hot out there for me right now.

Things are really coming along out in the backyard.  I'm almost to the point where I wouldn't be humiliated if I had company over!  My grass in back had gone to seed.  Yikes!  So I got out there with my weed eater and hacked it down, then edged around the fence and the deck.  I'll go over the yard later with the mower, but at least now the tall grass shouldn't clog the mower.  Please!  I can't really yank the starter too many times.  Don't want my pork to protest.

My little veggie babies are also coming along well--I'm so pleased!  Then again, this is only the beginning of spring.  There's plenty of time for me to slack and let everyone dry out and weed up.  But I'm going to try to be really good this year and tend to my garden.  Then I'll have plenty of veggies to grill in a few month.  And what I don't eat, I'll share with friends at work.

I have seedlings for pretty much everything I planted seeds for:  cucumber, sugar snap peas, chives, basil, eggplant and cilantro.  Lots of cilantro.  Mmmmmmmm.  Now I just have to take care of my little babies so they'll grow up to be big yummy plants!

I need to wander off to find out how I can post several pictures here.  

Actually, the easiest thing for me is to link you to my personal website, where it's really easy to have photo albums.   You can go to for the opening page or go here to go straight to my photo albums.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mr. Toad

Hee hee!  Here's another picture of Mr. Toad.  I found a terra cotta pot and buried it on its side with less than half of the opening exposed.  Gotta love the internet!  So now he has a home.  

I didn't realize at the time that he was sitting right at the base of the tree while I was digging his new home.  Note:  probably not the best for pork healing!  I almost couldn't get up after. Anyway, the duppy came by to see what I was doing and had an encounter.  Fortunately when he leaped, he startled her, so she wasn't as inclined to just eat him.

He ducked out behind the tree, so I ran and grabbed the camera. Hopefully he'll enjoy the shelter in the pot and I also hope it won't make him a sitting duck.  One that is dug up and eaten, i.e., toad snack trap for the dogs.  

Jack has already peed on the toad house.  Maybe that'll be as bad as it gets.  I really need Mr. Toad to eat slugs and bugs, as we have plenty!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Welcome to the jungle

I have really been bitten by spring fever this year!  I come in, blog or read online, then meander back outside to putter in the yard in band-healing-worthy spurts.  I just went out to cut a woody weed plant that I thought I had cut last year.  I saw leaves and was like, yikes!  Let's kill it now!

While I was climbing through the high grass to get to it, something leaped at my feet!  After stifling my girl scream, I was able to get a look at what startled me.  A little toad!  Between bunnies (most frequent hit put out by the mob, with a total kill of about 11), birds galore and now my toad buddy, it seems like an episode of Wild Kingdom out in my yard.  Well, minus Marlin Perkins standing a safe distance away from the wild pack of corgwyn while Jim moves in for a closer look.

I was able to get in, grab my camera and take several (mostly blurry) shots of Mr. Toad.  He is only alive by the grace of God and the fact he has some kick ass camouflage.  Unlike the dumb bunnies who bounce around--here I am!--Mr. Toad has enough sense to stay still and out of the line of sight of the dogs.  Jack was out with me and I was sure he was going to eat the toad in one gulp.  But no.  He totally ignored it, if he even noticed it at all.  Good.  I have no idea if eating a toad will make him sick or not.  And still not very bendy from my surgery recovery, I'm not in a huge mood to pick up dog vomit.

So Mr. Toad goes on to live another day.  Hopefully he'll find a safer place to be than my back yard.  Or maybe I could buy him a nice toad house to live in. Yay, any excuse to spend money on gardening stuff!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Holy Peony!

About 5 years ago, I planted a bulb-y thingie for a peony.  I expected it to just explode with growth and be busy and blooming immediately. Yeah, new homeowner and virgin gardener. Needless to say, that didn't happen.

Year after year, a thing would pop up in that spot.  I just figured it was a weed.  Until yesterday!  

I was out in the yard before Jane came over, when I realized that there was a FLOWER BUD on the plant and it actually IS my peony!

I guess all good things come to those who wait.  Of course now I have spring fever and can't do much about it because of the whole healing from surgery deal.  Meh.  I actually have done way too much today and am sure I'll pay for it in the long run.  But I am excited to be outside and hope my weight loss and improved health will give me the energy and stamina to be the gardener I've always wanted to be.

I'll get back to you on how that goes. : )

We love Jane!

I had lap band surgery on the 6th (see my other blog).  I'm doing a pretty good job of taking it easy and allowing myself to heal.  But my grass was getting high.  The neighbors on either side are twice a week mowers.  I'm once every week (um, or two!).  I don't mind taking care of the yard, but I certainly can't yank the starter on my mower to get it going.  Plus when my grass is semi-tall, it stalls on mulching mode. Which means I have to start it about 2539038 times.  It took me nearly two hours to mow my yard last time because I'd go two feet, it'd stall on the tall grass, restart, go two feet.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

My good friend Jane from work is such a champ.  She has come to visit twice since my surgery. First time she brought by a bunch of magazines (spurring my replace grocery spending with magazine spending) and the second time we went for a walk with two of the mafia kids.

I had asked her for the number of her yard service to see if I could get someone to come cut my grass.  She sent me an email the next day and actually volunteered to do it!  I feel bad for accepting her offer, but I did take her up on it.  In return for watering her tomatoes when she and her hubby go on vacation.  Hee hee.

She came by after work and nearly scared the piss out of me!  I had left the door to the garage ajar in case she came when I was in with the dogs.  That way I could hear her.  But I had been in the bathroom, came into the dining room and screamed like a girl when I saw her standing there!  Oh, it made my pork hurt from laughing after I quit screaming!  Funny!

We got the mower out, topped off the gas and she went at it.  And of course, it stalled about 30 times.  I didn't mind her helping with the yard, but I didn't want her to throw out her shoulder starting the mower 100 times!  Jane, always the good sport, said that it was just going to make her arms buff.

After about the 30th stall she asked if there was the chute thingie to make it push out the grass.  I had it in mulch mode, where it chewed the grass up a few times and just dropped it in place.  Oh Lord, have you seen my garage?  I'm sure I have it but who knows where.

We stood in front of the garage and lo and behold after about 2 minutes, Jane found it!  I bet she's good at word search puzzles.  It only took a minute of tinkering before she figured out how to attach it.  And once that was done, all went well!  It only stalled maybe 3 times after that.  Yippeee!

Of course there was grass everywhere!  After nearly having to strangle her with an extension cord to keep her from weed eating, I did agree to let her clean up the grass off the sidewalk and driveway. We started out sweeping but the grass was too wet.  Eventually we opted for the leaf blower.

Again, I felt bad because I felt like she was doing waaaay too much. But she claimed to be having fun, especially once she was dashing up and down the walk blowing away the grass like she was shooting at annoying people in the lab!  I must admit it looked like she was enjoying it.  And it all looked good, too!

I'm just grateful to have a friend like Jane--she's such a great person and so thoughtful to help out when her friends are in need.  Plus I just want to state it publicly that she is always guaranteed a free ride home from work when her hubby's car is in the shop!  ALWAYS!

Thank you, dear Jane!!!