Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

It has been a good weekend!

Got an early start Saturday morning with my 2 daughters and 2 grandaughters for a morning of yard-sale shopping. One daughter found the bed frame and dust ruffle she had hoped for, the other found an ornate iron bookstand/art stand to hold cookbooks or her latest painting. The grand-girls, ages 7 and 3, tried to purchase something at every stop, and came home with many toys, stuffed animals, fun keychains and hair accessories. I happily dragged home a wonderful old wooden
stepstool I'll use to display planters on; some rusty cast iron goodies - stars, keys, butterflies and coat hook; some brown drip pottery to feed that obsession; and a variety of colorful bowls, cups and plates that will hopefully go into my mosaic designs sometime this year. Oh, and an old portable typewriter that I can make jewelry from the keys, or sell the keys or complete typewriter on Ebay.

In the afternoon I got out in the garden and transplanted hyssop, and sowed more cilantro, nasturtiums, marigolds and basil. And enjoyed those wonderful Wisteria blooms that have been such a grand surprise this spring.
Sunday turned out cold, drizzly and gray, so I spent most of today indoors cleaning house, which was a very good thing. I started at 5:45 am and only quit because I was too darned tired to do anymore! Plus one of the boys and his son came out for the day and stayed for supper, and I fixed the Morel mushrooms we had found earlier in the week - yum!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Best in Show

That talented child of mine, was thrilled with the outcome of the Art Show/Competition that her recent work was entered in. She earned an honorable mention for her tree print ---

a 2nd place ribbon for her Cardinal
sculpture ---

a 1st place ribbon for her acrylic painting (which was also purchased for $50 - providing an even bigger boost to Fallan's confidence!)

And the hand tree I posted a few weeks ago? It took Best in Show for 3D works :) Needless to say she is on cloud 9 and Mom is bursting with pride for her!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Can't believe my eyes

Buds on the Wisteria - I can hardly believe it! I've been out and about in the garden for weeks now, but it would seem I never paid one iota of attention to the Wisteria located at the west end of the cellar. If I had, surely I would have noticed these buds. They are 3-4" long now! I was so sure it wasn't ever going to bloom, considering it has been growing for about 6-7 years without blooming, and now I've got this wonderful surprise. More photos to come once it flowers....

Monday, April 21, 2008

Around The Yard

Spring is bursting out all around the yard. My pink flowering almond is at the peak of its spring beauty. One of my favorite spring events is when the pink puffs of this wonderful bush bloom - they don't last long so I always make sure to capture them in a photo. If you click on the picture, you can see some great detail in the blown-up version.

The catnip is thick and green and will no doubt provide the kitties with plenty of their favorite herb.

And the Eunoymous I planted a couple of years ago is adding leaves daily and will make a nice variegated backdrop for all the annuals I plan to fill in around it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Full weekend

My weekend started on Thursday - I took 2 vacation days so I could help my oldest daughter with the garage sale. We set up, and put out signs on Thursday. Friday morning it rained, but we hung in there and opened about 7 am anyway. The rain stopped after 9 am, but the temps were so cool that we were miserable (even with long johns, gloves and lots of hot coffee!) the rest of the day. But, the turn out was good, considering, and we sold lots of junk. Saturday was better weather-wise, but we didn't sell nearly as much as on Friday. So, we closed up and I came home hoping to take a nap. BUT - heard a news report of the crash of a skydiving plane, where 2 people were killed. That was terrifying, because the daughter of dear friends of ours was going skydiving that day. After trying to contact our friends for over 2 hours, they finally returned our call and assured us that they and their daughter were fine. She had jumped only 2 hours before the accident - and from the very plane that later crashed. We were so relieved (to the point of tears) to learn she was alright - yet so saddened for the families of those who died. It was an emotionally draining evening to say the least. We have known Christen (on right in photo) since she was born, and she and our daughter (on left in photo) have been closer than many sisters.

Then today my daughter and I attended the inauguration of the 16th President of the university where I work, and where daughter will begin studies in the fall of this year. The ceremonies were very nice, and it was a gorgeous day for the celebration. We came home to enjoy the company of my son and his little boy for a couple of hours and prepare some grilled hamburgers for all of us before they had to leave. Then the skydiver girl and her mom came by and we got to hug her and tell her how much we loved her, so it was a great day, in many ways.

However, my beloved garden has been much-neglected this weekend. I am beginning to wonder if I'll get my new beds made in time to plant! I only logged about 4 hours total in the garden over the last 4 days. If the rains come that are predicted for this week, I probably won't get much more done before next weekend. Gotta get in turbo-mode if I'm going to grow all the things I've been dreaming of for the last 6+ months!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Birdhouse to help house people

Someone at the university where I work and daughter will be starting in the fall, came up with the idea for an artsy/fun fundraiser to help raise money for our local Habitat for Humanity. Simple birdhouses were built, then distributed to various departments across campus. The houses were to be decorated, then collected to be sold at auction, with proceeds to go to the charity.

I thought my daughter might want to take a crack at it, so I told her about the event and she agreed to take it on. And look what she created! Red paint, decorative nails (just a dome-shaped head, painted black) and a couple of pieces taken from a candle holder picked up for $1.17 at a thrift store, plus a few strokes of the brush to add some vines to the outer walls and voila!

She has had several compliments on it already, and we are of course hoping it will bring a good price at the auction.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Annual garage sale preparations

It's only a few days away - our annual yard sale! My oldest daughter lives next door and has the perfect place for a garage sale. So every year we fill up her garage with our items and those of a few other family and friends and then turn around the next weekend to go spend our earnings at the citywide yard sale in a town just 20 minutes from here. It's a lot of work (I spent most of today locating items and pricing them, and still have tons to do!), but it certainly helps get rid of some of the clutter, and allows us to shop without guilt the next weekend. My stuff is mostly clothes, but also some other good stuff, like the beautiful yellow quilt I bought last summer that my younger daughter didn't like. And the brick-red chenille bedspread I bought for our bedroom that my hubby disliked. And all the chenille spreads I bought at yard sales last summer because I was so sure I was going to create some wonderful things with them. But I had to make a decision about where I'm going to spend my very limited spare time, and the garden won, so out goes the chenille.
Maybe I'll buy flower pots or garden tools with my chenille profits.....

Sometimes it's just fate

Yes, sometimes fate is the only explanation. Why else would it be that I found the most wonderful of all yard sale finds this very weekend? A self-contained seed-starting setup complete with room on each of the 3 shelves for 2 seed trays, plus it has 2 fluorescent lights above each shelf. This thing is made of sturdy fiberglass, has rollers on the bottom making it easy to move around, and has just one electric cord connected to 3 switches that operate the lights. The purchase included 4 black plastic seed flats, the clear plastic covers for those plus 3-4 more, 2 sturdy metal doo-hickeys with holes to set flower pots in, and maybe best of all, 4 sturdy wooden trays that were handmade to put the plastic flats in so they were well supported when moving them around. And all for only $ is good! Some might argue that this bit of good luck was a little late since I've done nearly all my seed-starting already this year, but considering the challenges I was facing, I'm inclined to think it was perfect timing. The bigger tomatoes have outgrown the setup I had, so I was trying to figure out how to deal with them for the next 3-4 weeks, until I can get them transplanted into the outdoor garden. I was on my way to buy 1 or 2 more fluorescent lights at Wally world so I could create a new space of some sort (I didn't have any solid ideas on that part yet) for the taller plants. I spent all afternoon moving seedlings, taking down the old setup, and getting the new setup in place and loaded with the seedlings. Then I sat down to try to look up these plant carts on ebay and elsewhere. The only things I found that seem comparable cost over $300....and don't look to be as!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Big dog vs Baby Broccoli

I had noticed just yesterday that the Romanesco broccoli were looking great, and I made a mental note to try to transplant them into the garden beds this weekend. Then today happened. I came home from work to find our female Great Dane had managed to sneak into the garden – and had enjoyed herself thoroughly. Among other ‘changes’ she made, she had moved the one and only jug of Romanesco completely away from the garden and into “her” yard, where it appears she chewed on the jug, dropped it, rolled it, and generally tried her best to destroy the babies inside! They have been rescued, and thanks to the sturdy design of the jug, they weren’t broken and the roots were still in the soil. I took them out and transplanted each of the four into individual cups and then put them inside a plastic tub out in the carport for the night. Out of reach of sneaky big dogs. I may give them a few days to recover before I transplant them yet again.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Where'd the weekend go?

I blinked and it's another work week! Wow, did the weekend really fly by so quickly? It was gorgeous and sunshiny both Saturday and Sunday. And both days I stayed outside nearly all day. My nose and arms have a pink tinge (oops - forgot sunscreen) and my backside and legs don't want to move. But the good news is the ribbon grass is gone from my flower bed. I was going to leave two small mounds of it, but then I realized it was growing up and under the siding on the house - so bye-bye ribbon grass! I took the pieces I thought might survive and placed them around a huge tree where - if it grows - shouldn't do any harm. Pretty stuff - but very invasive!

I also drafted 'volunteers' to help. Daughter, Fallan, helped me start building my new garden beds by laying down cardboard and throwing some compost on top. We also put down some wood mulch for a walking path.

I grabbed one of my sons, Josh, when he came out on Sunday, and with his muscle we got the brown concrete landscaping blocks trenched into an outline around the flower bed on the east side of the house.
Good work - good weekend - just need to get more, more, more done!
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