Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cheap Seeds (For Winter Sowing?)

Buck a pack!

~nudge, nudge~

I found Teresa Daly's site- 'T's Flowers & Things' - ages ago, but never thought of passing it on...Duh!
Yeah, I'm slamming my head on the desk. Never thought of it cause, well, even at a dollar each, I can't afford to buy the seed, so...

Anyway, she's an independant seller, so if you need cheap seed, why not give her your support?
I can't vouch for her since I've never purchased from the site, but I imagine she would have been long gone by now if she wasn't up to par. Besides, the woman posts her home phone number for pete sake! Imagine if she gave bad seed or service? lol.

Ok, all done pushing the small business people :) But you can never, ever have enough Winter Sowing seeds, ya know!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Amaryllis For Christmas

Yup, yup. I got an amaryllis. Yay!
I was kind of shocked considering my SM has never really acknowledged the fact that I like plants and flowers.

Of course, it had to be planted immediately, which was a good thing since it already had nice plump buds and had sprouted a foot in the box. It's ghostly white from lack of light (getting a touch of greeness now) and bent in a curve from being in the box, but it should be fine if it can manage the cool temps a bit.

The kids were good and followed directions as far as not buying us anything. I thought for sure they'd try to sneak something. Although, I'm disappointed they didn't make me the cards. Boogers!

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I'll be able to start WSing this weekend. I'm toying with the idea of waiting a while since the temps have been so wacky, but I may explode with impatience before then! I must have handled the seed packs fifty times in the last week, grinning like a fool all the while. What IS it about seeds? Maybe I have some weird seed-obsessive disorder. Not a bad thing to have and I know I'm not alone in this as-yet-to-be-medically-proven disease. They should research what physical effect gardening has on people. I can imagine being hooked up to tons of wires and machines and someone sticking a packet of seeds or a beautiful plant in front of my nose - the machines would explode. lol.

I imagine I'll give in and do a few containers and hold off on the majority. I can't help it! :) It's awful - like being a kid that opened the toy they wanted most for Christmas, but not being able to touch it!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Here's looking forward to 2007 arriving and praying it will be much better than 2006 was. Hey, how could it not be? Thanks to Kim, I have seeds to play with! I'm making progress on coming to terms with what my mother did to me, and D and our kids are happy and healthy, so what more could I ask for?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!!!

Ho, Ho, Ho!
Click it and go have a jolly chuckle at my expense!

One Month of Free Club Pogo

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Real Global Warming

Many people are under the assumption that global warming means just that - warming. Unfortunately, it doesn't.

I know, strange topic considering this is the first time since sometime in the 1800's that Central Park hasn't seen snow this far into December.

What the term Global Warming does actually mean is a colder climate. Strangely, how cold it gets will depend on how warm it gets. If the ice caps continue to melt at the present rate, a mini ice age that could last hundreds of years may happen within the next decade.

As more and more fresh water is introduced, (which is less dense than salt water) the Atlantic's Great Ocean Conveyor which drives the Gulf Stream will move slower and slower, eventually possibly stopping, leaving tropical air and water where it is instead of pumping it north.
Studies have shown that the surface water of the Greenland sea is dropping 20% slower than it was 30 years ago, and warm ocean current flow toward northwest Europe has declined by 30% since the 1950s.

Some scientists believe that right now we are really out of what is a 'normal' climate for the earth, that it's regular cycle naturally has much colder climates and we are currently enjoying a warmth phenomenon. Aren't we the lucky ducks?

So, the term 'Global Warming' doesn't mean we'll get warmer, but it does mean we'll get colder.
The movie Day After Tomorrow wasn't so far-fetched after all, except that it will take decades instead of days.

Global Warming = ice. So, when someone says Global Warming, I get the urge to dig out the parka. I wish the scientists would stop talking about it and change the dang terminology already.


I knew there was something up with Twin Orchards, so I've been trying to keep up with the minutes of the New Hartford Town Board.

They approved development.
We've lost the orchard. They've already cut down the apple trees.

I feel so damn angry. They just built a new shopping center, now we need another 21 acres worth of retail/restaurants on the other side of the street?! Come on!

Twin Orchards has been a staple around here for... FOREVER!
If this is progress, they can keep it. Good Lord, this is one of the most depressed areas of the state. Like we can manage to keep more businesses in the area going? And they wonder why Mom & Pop can't keep up? Gimme a break!

Actually, I just want the damn trees back. At the rate they're wiping out any trace of vegetation, it'll be five years before I'll step out my front door and onto concrete as far as the eye can see. Do these people have any environmental clue? At all? Gimme trees, grass, flowers, something green for pete sake!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

My Awesome Sugar Cookies

Amy asked about posting the recipe for my (yes, it is my own recipe) sugar cookies, so here it is...

In first bowl, combine and mix:
2 1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
In a second bowl, combine all following ingredients. With mixer at medium
speed, mix until creamed. (approximately 2 minutes):
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
Slowly add contents of first bowl to second with mixer on slow speed.
Mix just until well blended.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls (I use a large serving spoon) onto ungreased
cookie sheet.
Using a glass with an interesting pattern on the bottom
(I actually use a crystal cat food dish that is too pretty to use for
cat food, but beautiful as a candy dish-you can use just about anything),
spread a few tablespoons of sugar on a small saucer. Dip bottom of glass in
water, shake off, dip in sugar on saucer, then use to press cookie to desired
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are just turning golden brown.
(The thicker the cookie, the longer the baking time). Size of yield will depend
on individual cookie size.
The less you cook them, the softer they will be. If you cook them long enough, they become very crisp, so make them whichever way you prefer your cookies. If anyone gives them a try, please let me know how you liked them!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy, Happy Birthday...Baby...

Happy Birthday to my baby! My youngest is 15 today.
Where did the time go?

I remember when she was only six months and a lady in the mall was chasing her toddler everywhere. She stopped at the stroller to peer in, muttered, "She's adorable," and continued to scurry. The next time her son came streaking by like lightening and giggling his little head off at the fact mom was unsuspectingly sucked into his game again, I mumbled how I couldn't wait for my daughter to start walking.

The woman gave me the most confused look, snickered and said, "You'll be sorry you said that!"
I simply smiled and didn't mention that I already had 3 at home that had been walking for quite a while.

I never understood that really. I never minded the chasing, putting things up high, keeping a sharp eye on the older childrens' toys less they end up in pieces on the floor from a youngers curiosity, locking cupboards with those childproof widgets that really never worked anyway.

I've enjoyed my children's childhoods immensely. Every single aspect of them. Ok, so the trip to the principle's office with my oldest wasn't so peachy-keen, or the runs to the emergency room, but you can't have everything.

So, happy, happy birthday D! May your life be everything you wish. You'll always be my baby!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Crazy, Crazy

This weather has been absolutey insane.

Besides the tulips assuming it's spring, the buddleias I got for Mothers Day have leafed (leaved?) out, as have the weigela that was transplanted from the moving lady's yard in August. Not good! Maybe I should go have a little talk with them and explain about the wacky weather.

The ranunculus on the front steps is still growing. Unbelievable. Maybe I should bring it in and see if I can nurse it through winter. The poor thing struggled all summer and never got big enough to flower, yet, here it is going gangbusters in December! What's up with that?

We did some last minute running around on Friday. It was a weird day...rain, sun, downpour, sun, sprinkle, sun...rainbow! Actually, it was a double within a double, and you could barely make out the very bottom of a third (4th if you count each as a single), which would make a double within a triple? Very, very strange for December 15. D commented that it was odd to see rainbows in the north since we usually see them a lot in summer, but to the south where they belong. Needless to say, no one on the road was really watching where they were driving since they were all way too busy staring at the December phenomenon. People were drifting and yanking their cars back into their own lanes on a consistant basis.

We ran out of fuel and it got cold enough in the house that I lost the rose cuttings. Man, when they decide to croak it only takes hours for them to turn black. Can't say as I blame 'em, we weren't too comfy either. Thank God it isn't snowing and 20 below.

I'll get to start WSing the weekend after Christmas. Woohoooo! I can't wait. I'm so excited to get started! Whoever said patience was a virtue needs to go sit on a pebble.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Continuing on with my 'mini-vacations', Bhutan is next.

This is a country that I really, really hope remains as untouched as it has. Why would I want to visit? It is one of the very few intact ecosystems left in the world.

Sandwiched between China and India, the Himalayas rule the north border. It posesses 3 distinct climates - obviously, severe winters in the mountains, a temperate central area and a tropical south. Imagine what you could grow!
More than 5,500 species of plants grow there, (and who knows how many yet to be discovered) with the main agricultural crop being rice.

The national flower is the Blue Poppy (Meconopsis grandis)

Is that not beautiful!?

The Blue Poppy is a perfect candidate for Winter Sowing and is a robust plant that's hardy to zone 4. The seeds need light to germinate, as with most poppies, but no sun as even the plants themselves will suffer if temps reach 80 degrees or above.

It's happy with harsh winters, with lots of snow cover, and cool summers. Grown in more alkaline soil, it's possible the petals may present as lavender or wine purple instead of blue. It prefers partial shade, preferably afternoon to protect from the hottest part of the day. Fertilize well and mulch to keep soil moist.

The plant gets 2 feet tall and the flowers are 3 to 5 inches wide, with four to five flowers per stem. Should be divided every 3rd year. If not deadheaded, will produce seed pods. Some have designated this a hard to germinate seed, while others have found it not difficult at all.

The seeds are available at Thompson & Morgan.

So, if anyone would like a real challenge, there ya go! Could there be a more fabulous flower to give a try?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Flying Fingers

I got the stockings finished and they came out perfect!
I found out I can cross-stitch as fast as the best of 'em. Whip out that needle - ready - set - go!

Of course, I couldn't just make plain ol' stockings with a cross-stitched cuff - oh no. I decided they needed to be puffy, and quilted, and have a liner, and have toe and heel contrast colors at 45s. Ugh!
I'm hopeless, but glad I did all the extra work. These are times I wish I had a camera, because even if the parents don't appreciate it, I'm proud of the detailed work I did, even on such a time crunch. It's amazing what I can find in my scrap basket that really works together!

Sissy is baking her little fingers off today, which is exactly what I should be doing, but I'm not.
It's going to be simple cookies only in the stockings. I'll make the typical melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies that I do every year (I mean really, what's Christmas without a good sugar cookie?) and Colleen suggested shortbreads, which I'm going to give a try.

All that's left is knitting slippers for two more children, the cookie baking, and getting everything wrapped.

I am such a procrastinator! I know I should start all this Christmas crafting in January, but I always think that maybe this year I'll be able to afford to buy more and make less of the gifts. It never happens, so why, oh why don't I just give in and start stuff when I should? Of course, to win the lottery, you actually have to play it. There's always a catch!

Someone give me a poke in Jan (Ha! try it - I'll be outside playing in seeds and dirt and milk jugs. lol). If I'm lucky, I'll get to some of the 'after' sales and find some good christmas crafting items. That only happened one year, but hey, a girl can hope! Just what the hell do you make (or buy, for that matter) for people who have everything and need nothing? I've done every craft I can think of, including tatting, for Pete sake. Ok, so the corn therapy bags were a fab idea.

I swear, I'm so going to start early next year! Well, if I can find something worth making, that is.

Friday, December 08, 2006


With lake effect snows and a windchill of -8 outside the window, I've decided to do a little dreaming through this winter.

There are lots of places I'd love to someday visit, so as the winter blues pile up and I feel more and more as if spring really will never arrive, I'm going to make myself feel better by taking virtual mini vacations. With a small limit - find out what the national flower of each place is and learn about it. What is better than gazing at beautiful flowers and ignoring all that white stuff, if only for a little while?

So Bali is first. It has an average temp of 86 degrees from November to March, with very high humidity. (Sounds fab to me right now!) I found out something rather interesting; Indonesia didn't even have a national flower until June 5, 1990 for World Environment Day. (Established in 1972 by the UN)
And then, they didn't choose one, but three.

Rafflesia arnoldi (How cool is that?) There are 16 known species of Rafflesia, the latest discovery was in 1988. It was first discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles and Dr. Joseph Arnold in 1818. It is the largest flower in the world and can weigh up to 15 pounds. It's also called the corpse flower of course, using flies as pollinators, but I think that's an awful name for such a beautiful flower. (No, I don't want to smell it.) On the opposite end, the smallest flower in the world is duckweed - which you can only see with a microscope.

Moon Orchid (anggrek bulan / Phalaenopsis amabilis) Ooooo, pretty! Maybe Carol should give it a go! :) Anggrek bulan is also the title of a song.

Melati (Jasminum sambac) Also known as Duke of Tuscany. Mmmmm. Can't you just smell it? A drink is made by soaking the flower in water. (Jasmin tea) Grows to 10' but will stay from 1' to 3' if grown in a container. The government nicknamed it 'people flower', puspa bangsa. Beautiful!

So, where would you like to go this winter?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cookie Help

With the corn therapy bags done, (and all those corn husks for the compost bin) I'm on to a cross-stitched stocking for my Dad. I certainly don't have time to do a complete stocking in cross-stitch, but I found some really cute patterns in some old magazine to do just a cuff with, and I'll make the rest from fabric.

I plan on filling it with cookies, and I have a really, really good sugar cookie recipe, but just one kind is sort of boring. Does anyone happen to have a good cookie recipe, or can point me to a good one? It has to be simple ingredients though, nothing extravagant that I'll have to buy. (ok, sorry, like you know what's in my cupboards!) Just no nuts, cream cheese, fruits or fancy extracts and stuff.

I know, I know...hard to make anything but sugar cookies with basic flour, sugar and eggs, but I'm hoping someone has something simple they've always made that's awesome.

Tall order. Why do men have to be so difficult when it comes to gifts?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sew Far Sew Good!

The corn therapy bags turned out awesome! They really, really work. And work great!
I can't believe I didn't try making some before. I'll make some for the kids since you can use them as ice packs also. Maybe I'll have a chat with the school nurse and see if they could put some to use. It certainly would give me something to do this winter and use up some scrap.

I guess I'll give in and try some of those 'cool ties' for gardening come spring. Well, if I'm not too busy with the actual garden itself to sew, and if I can find polymer crystals cheap enough.

So far so good on the rose cuttings, too. They've put out lots of leaves, which is a good thing, but not so good. I'd rather they put their energy into making roots instead of leaves, but at least I know they're still alive.

It just got light enough to see outside - snow. Figures.

Syracuse has been voted, by Dave Gilmartin, as one of the worst places in America to live in his new book.
Well, color me shocked...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My Kingdom For A Shed

We need a shed. Ok, so D needs a shed, I need a potting shed.

It's surprising how much stuff there is to put away come winter. Isn't it amazing how much you find you've collected when you finally have to clean, organize and store it?
With nowhere to stash it, it all sits behind a corner of the house covered with ugly blue tarp.

I saw a gorgeous potting shed on one of those shows a while ago. Oh, man, to die for! running water in a bathtub sized sink, full of fabulous cupboards and shelves, slide out soil bins, antique gardening stuff on the walls and even a small reading corner in a sunny window, complete with a small gardening book library. A place for everything, and certainly, everything in its place.

I couldn't be allowed one of those - I'd live in the thing!

But I do have something I think is just the cutest... a small bathroom sink and cabinet. I repainted the under-sink cabinet white (to match the planter benches D made for the ponds) and left the top alone, since it was white already. The brass faucet already had a tinge of vertigree, though I might rip it out if I can find a more antique-ee one.

There's enough storage space in the bottom for my small stuff; trowels, cultivator, etc. It also gave me somewhere to store a few excess pots and soil. I planted portulaca in it last year and it looked so cute! Maybe next year I'll try pansies since they bloom the longest. Wish I could take a pic of it. I only had one person give me the 'There's junk in their yard' look.

My poor tulips are confused with this weather. They've poked their little heads out of the ground an inch or two. I'm sure they'd realized their mistake once the temps dropped like a rock from 68 to 34. But the upside - the sun is out! Although it isn't expected to last the day, I'll enjoy it while it's here.

On another note-
A man in Glens Falls has had a fabulous lights display for Christmas at his house for years and years. People come for miles around to see it. This year, he had a car accident and couldn't do it. The community was so disappointed, they pitched in to put the display up and are paying the electric bill so everyone can enjoy it this year too. Yay for Christmas spirit! The full story.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I found some great deals at the coalition this month!

8 whole roasting chickens for $20 - they're the garlic butter flavor though, which makes them-not-so-great for chicken pot pies with the leftovers. Oh, well.

4 of the big bags of Dole salad - .25 each

4 12" cheese pizzas - $1 each

2 cabbages for .25 a pound

4lbs of cheese tortellini for $3.99

12lb roast for $23

5lbs of ground beef - $7.69

Of course, I had to stop at the 'bad store' for odds and ends (mostly stuff to do things with the leftovers, like barbequed beef sandwiches), but I can manage 3 weeks of meals out of what we got for $102. It'll be so good to have beef again! Boiled beef and cabbage sounds so great right now, but it'll have to wait until after I cook the roast. What kills me every time I walk in there is that you can get some things cheaper at the 'bad store'. For instance; mac & cheese - 3 for $1 there, .33 at the 'bad store'. Granted, it's only a penny, but still. Small bag of egg noodles - $1, big bag at 'bad store' is .89.

I dug through my older stash of scrap fabric and yarns and found enough to make my Dad and SM some more things for Christmas, so that makes me feel much better. They'll get mostly homemade things, but it's the best we can do this year. It's a catch-22 with them. I think one of those rice and herb filled heating pads would be cool for Dad, and I can make a matching eye one for SM. EDIT: Oooo! I just read that corn as filler is better: . (hmmm, my link button is missing, along with all my other buttons! Ut-oh!) I can sneak across the road and get some from the field they never bothered to cut and I won't have to use what rice I have in the cupboard. Shhhhh! ;)

D hasn't said a word about putting up any Christmas lights this year, which for him is a very, very strange thing. He has this 'beat the neighbors' compulsion. Our house simply must be seen from the moon. Is it no wonder one of his favorite movies has always been National Lampoons Christmas Vacation?? Maybe it's as simple as that when he was a kid they were lucky to have a tree some years, much less any lights hung.

I'm debating on how soon to put up the tree. I'm not really in the mood this year. Actually, no one I know is. My SIL is usually so cheery and full of Christmas spirit, oh, about Halloween time, but this year she's as down in the dumps as I am. Her husband lost his job in September and there isn't another to be found anywhere, so I can't blame her, and I know how he feels. She was hinting last week that they might skip Christmas all together, except for their grand-daughter.

My children have already been threatened that I'll never speak to them again if they buy us anything for Christmas. I'm not sure that the instructions of "Make me a card" got through their little heads. I'd rather they had money for things they need than spend it on me. Besides, what's better than a card from your child made with their own hands? I don't think they know that really WOULD be the first thing on my Christmas list. At 22, 20, 16 and 14, they think it's just dumb, but they'll always be my 'babies'. I might have to jot a note to Santa about it...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Latin Shmatin

If I know the Latin name of a plant will it make it grow better?
Of course not. Will it expand my knowledge of a certain plant? Probably.

Now, I don't mind people that use the Latin name for a plant instead of its common name, ( it more than not will give me something to research) but it really does bother me if people are pretentious about it.

My grandmother could rattle off the Latin genus and species of every plant in her garden, but she also knew when not to.

There appear to be three distinct groups of thinking on this:

1. If you have no idea what the common name is for the plant, but rattle off only with the Latin, you're a friggin' plant genius, scientist, just want to show how smart you are or really enjoy Latin.

2. If you're only concerned with the common name of a plant and could really give a fig what the Latin counterpart is, you're obviously not a serious gardener.

3. If you occasionally pick up a Latin name along with the common, good for you!

I'm an obvious 3rd in this race. Interestingly, it's the one gardening subject I'm not obsessive about. Go figure.

Being a garden snob is just not cool. When someone points to a plant and says, "That is a Lobularia maritima," well, ok, good. But I'm still calling it an alyssum, so quit looking down your nose at me.

If I walk into a garden center and ask for a certain plant using its common name and they look at me as if my eye just fell out of the socket and say, "Oh, did you mean (insert Latin shmatin here)," I'm gone.

Conversely, I want to know that garden center knows what they're talking about, so do they actually know the Latin name for that plant? Does it matter? If it's pretty, will grow in my zone and cheap, I'm leaving with it anyway. But it better have the Latin name on the tag so I can do some research.

It all boils down to the area you're most comfortable in. I want to enjoy gardening, not feel as if it's a test of how smart I am - had enough of that in school, thank you very much.

I've seen so many people be intimidated by garden snobs that it's no wonder they give up. Who wants to be made to feel stupid?

Get comfortable with how much you know, and how much you don't. No one knows everything and everyone started out knowing nothing. There's always room to learn.

If I can succeed at getting a plant to grow to its potential, I simply call it something that fits every plant in my garden: Bellus.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Red Delight

I was upset that we didn't have cranberries for Thanksgiving. They were an extra that just couldn't be worked into the meal budget and the kids voted candied carrots over cranberry sauce. So I started thinking. (Yeah, uh-oh!)

Why can't I just grow my own? Ok, so it may be years before we'll get a harvest, but they are a native and grow wild, so why not? And that started a river of research.

Really, they aren't that mysterious of a plant. They do require certain growing conditions, but they are all easily met; the main being a PH of 6 or lower. They're light on disease and pest problems, and can even be grown in partial shade. (I don't think I'd try it though. I have plenty of full sun). If given the right conditions, a vine can last indefinitely. Winter protection can be rigged. Heck, according to Grow Your Own Magazine, you can even grow them in hanging baskets.

What would be better than walking out in your yard and picking some red delight right from your own vine?, where to get some cuttings? It isn't like they're your basic sell at a big box, much less a garden center or nursery. If I'm a lucky duck, people will find them an interesting and easy to grow plant that'll become the next 'all-the-rage/gotta-have' item.

I thought the edge of the bog would be an ideal place (though I knew they didn't actually grow in water, I knew they had high moisture requirements) since it would provide all the moist soil their little roots could want. We already have the sand and winter flooding wouldn't be a problem.

If the bog idea didn't work out, there's always the creek.

Unfortunately for D, this is sounding more and more like it might actually be do-able. Poor guy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Angels Among Us

an·gel (njl)

A guardian spirit or guiding influence.
a. A kind and lovable person.
b. One who manifests goodness, purity, and selflessness.

Kim (Blackswamp_Girl) is exactly that.

Out of the mailbox yesterday afternoon came a most precious package. It was filled with flower, herb and vegetable seed packets - 30 of them! - with comments on how best to get some of the harder ones to grow.

She sent it simply out of the kindness of her heart, expecting nothing in return. Now, how do you say 'thank you' enough to someone for being that generous? It really meant so much to me and I can't even put it into words to express how grateful I am.

For the first time in my life I'll be able to have an herb garden! This may seem trifling to some, but to me it means more than I can say. I'm simply overwhelmed by her kindness.

So, Kim, from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you. Thank you for being so giving and generous to a stranger. Thank you for being kind to a fellow gardener. And, most of all, thank you for being an angel.

I'm Doomed

Chocolate is good for your health.

Ok, let me say that again...chocolate is good for your health.

Ummm, nope, no matter how much I say it, I still hate chocolate. Gross, Ick, Yuck! So, I'm doomed to die of a blood clot. I guess it's nice to know how I'll go, cause there is no way they are getting chocolate down my throat.

All right, all kidding aside, it's true. John Hopkins says so - see:



Chicago Tribune

Science News


Next they'll be telling me ice cream is good for you. Groooooossssss!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Simply Simple

The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.-- Edmund Burke

I believe him. I'm obviously more simple than the average bear. And sometimes (ok, 90% of the time) it's my downfall. I can't help it...I want to know why, when, where and how that plant grows. Ick, I sound like a garden reporter. At least, thanks to the internet, I don't have to haunt the library, only getting the 'experts' views on everything. I can get hands-on-been-there-done-that from real people. With pictures even!

I discovered a casualty in the front flowerbed this weekend; the white rose my SIL bought me at a Dollar Shop sale in the spring. Though the magnifying glass didn't uncover much forensic evidence, I suspect the local no-gooders. Why are they messing with me, for Pete sake? I'm not the one dressed in orange, stealing stealthily through the naked woods with gun slung across my back to have an 8 point trophy adorning my living room wall! I'm quite happy to leave their heads attatched to their bodies. Maybe just knock a few teeth out.

There was only one decimated cane, but still, it broke my heart. So, in it came and promptly got pruned into 3 cuttings, plopped into some potting soil, sealed in a soda bottle, wrapped in an enigma...

I'm crossing my fingers, though I don't hold out much hope. Hey, it's still sending out leaves, so there's hope, right? Right? (I am soooo ignoring you nay-sayers right now).

SIL informed me yesterday (yes, the same that buys me plants I love, which either get destroyed with no evidence of why, or defiantly croak on me, also with no evidence of why) that someone in town had a huge gob of potted mums in the trash pile for Monday's yard waste pickup.

Say what?
D gave her the 'Why do you have to tell her this stuff' look and sighed. Of course, she smiled triumphantly and proceeded to tell me where. Now, if I had been driving we would have made it in time, but no, D had to dawdle and I missed the pots. The neighbor dumped the mums upside down uncerimoniously and swiped them to use as protection for...something.

But - I got the mums! Happy dance! Woohooooo! All mine baby, all mine! Broken and trampled, but mine.
The bad, bad wasters (I can't help it - they are!) left a bunch of gourds and pumpkins too, in perfect condition no less, but I wasn't sure if they were the cooking kind or not. Can you cook and consume any pumpkin? See, now I think I should have snatched those too! And I could have made bird houses and feeders from the gourds!! Damn!! Can you hear me smashing my head on the desk? Well, there wasn't any more room in the trunk anyway?

I wonder what time the town starts the pickup in that area...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Point & Laugh

Ok, this is my best attempt at making you trash your yard. Well, part of it. Just a small piece, actually.

Oh, come on!
Don't you want the neighbors peering through their curtains with a look of total shock on their faces? Don't you envy the point and laugh that some of us get? The lips shielded with cupped hands as they whisper amongst themselves with contempt at what you've done? The wide, disbelieving eyes? The carefully avoided topic of plastic underfoot when met out and about by a neighbor?
Those suspicious sidelong glances? The quick slowing of cars as they stare with morbid curiosity at what is obviously your attempt to bring down property taxes in the area? The children's friends elbowing them and asking if their mom is really some secretly mad backyard scientist or something? The sister-in-law wondering how soon should she start filling out the commitment forms?
The appalled look on the hubsters face when you snatch the latest emptied treasure from the trash, and with foot stamping disbelief, ask who in the household deemed it necessary to throw out such a perfect jewel? The danger and adventure akin to 007 when slithering through the shadows to get to the perfect pile in the neighbors recyclable bin? The wonderment of passers-by who only shake their heads as you mutter and try to fill a container with water - that's full of holes? The children wondering if you cooed over them with as much overwhelming concern when they were mere sprouts?
The garden center owners shaking a fist at you as you drive by, smile and wave...instead of pulling in and dropping a wad? The parents wondering if you might have fallen and hit your head a bit too much when you were small? The friends confused because the first thing on your birthday and Christmas wish lists is always 'potting soil'?

Admit it, you're jealous of all those wonderful perks and you want to enjoy them too!

We are a force of thousands. Come along on the journey with us and be part of this wondeful pointed and laughed at group. Come join the revolution Trudi Davidoff started...well, I blame it all on her anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving! May each and every one of you be blessed with much to be thankful for.

Don't Eat The Squash


Birds Eye is recalling its frozen Cooked Winter Squash, also sold under other labels.

The brands and UPC codes included in the Cooked Squash recall are:

Birds Eye, UPC 014500005168;
Stop & Shop, UPC 688267009723;
Shaw, UPC 045674504829;
Price Chopper, UPC 041735303462;
Lafe, UPC 023545071755;
Shurfine, UPC 015400830621;
Hannaford, UPC 041268111459;
Flavorite, UPC 041130542541;
Market Basket, UPC 049705630402;
Wegmans, UPC 077890800874;
Giant, UPC 688267009723;
Tops, UPC 688267009723;
Safeway, UPC 021130090372;
IGA, UPC 041270497640;
Roundy's UPC 011150548304;
Remarkable, UPC 755566308618; and
Dominicks, UPC 038281906285.

Questions? Call the company at 1-800-807-8817.

For more: Recall

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fun Stuff

Woke up to skim ice this morning. Bah! Hubby, fantastic guy that he is, moved his old wagon over to the spot I plan on putting my WSing jugs to collect water come springish weather. It'll be much, much easier to dip the containers and bottom water than to try and water through the tops of the jugs and dislodge the seeds. He still doesn't really get it, but at least he's willing to experiment with me. I still can't imagine my flowerbeds actually being full for once, but we'll see.

Since there isn't much going on with my garden (ugh!) and I'll be quite the busy beaver this week (I'm not sure how I always end up being the one to cook Thanksgiving dinner every year-pushover), I thought I'd post some of my winter depression relievers.

Make your own virtual garden. This thing is awesome! You can save, rearrange, add, subtract or wipe it clean and start over.

Plant X-rays. Ok, it's for kids, but I still find it cool.

Spice pages. Everything and anything you've ever wanted to know about spices, including pics of the flowers and dried.

Bet The Farm. Think farming is a big paying easy job? try it!

Optical Illusions. Very freaky!

Scribbler. My kids like this one.

And of course, The Light Before Christmas. I'm sure you've all seen it before, especially if you've seen the commercial, but did you know he did a second one? Honestly, how can you be humbug watching that?

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Good, The Bad And What The Hell Is Going On?

Fleur-dis-monster is finished! Woohoo! Happy dance. Ha ha, I win.

Humans - 1
Mouse - o

The watercress in the pond has gone berserk. In November. Figures. It's loving the chill.
I'm not sure what perennials are going to end up making it through the winter between the odd warmth and all this water.

The koi are completely confused.

We definitely have a new leak in the roof.

We had 3 inches of rain in an hour last night, along with 60 mph winds. A lot of people that lost their homes to the flooding in June are getting hit again. This is the third time for some of them this year. I feel so bad for them.

What the hell is going on with this weather? It was a balmy 68 degrees yesterday. I'm not complaining! It was wonderful, but in November? This weather has been absolutley nutsy this year. Thank God, although it's the same storm system, that we aren't getting what they got in North Carolina.

It makes me wonder just how wacked our winter will be this year.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blast From The Past

I've been stuck on watching two shows lately; Take Home Chef and If Walls Could Talk. Can you imagine Take Home Gardener? Ha ha! Accosting an unsuspecting customer at a garden center, buying plants and then rushing home to their yard to redo it. I think the host should be able to ask only one question: "How much yard ya got?"

As for 'If Walls Could Talk', well, I like that one just because I have something really cool in common with it-the surprising things you find hiding inside really old houses. We found some! Really cool old things, that is.

The house we bought is over 200 years old and used to be an apple orchard way back when. We found a piece of old newspaper in the wall of a new addition. New as in an addition bedroom built onto the existing house in 1818!! The paper was really cool, and you just had to laugh when reading it; 'So-and-so visited so-and-so for tea at 2:00 in the afternoon on Sunday, June 8th.' My, my, my-gossip in the local paper. It also mentioned that ladies should stay away from a certain area of town since there would be prisoners working on the railroad on such-and-such days. And an 1818 advertisement for pantaloons! I would have assumed that to be a bit risque back then, what with having a picture and all. How very scandalous!

Anyway, since the scanner has decided to cooperate lately, I thought I'd save some of the other interesting things we've found in the walls through 20 years of DIY remodeling. (Don't try it yourself folks, not fun!)
Grocery bill for Henry Kitchen (previous owner of house and apple orchard) from 1891. Wow, notice how Pillsbury was on the advertising bandwagon even way back then?
The top of a box of harness snaps from Oneida Community Limited in Niagara Falls. (I have a sneaking suspicion that the 'Oneida Community' started in Niagara Falls and then moved to Oneida to make silverware, not directly from Vermont, though none of their history documents this)
In 1892 Henry hired a Harvesting company from Chicago for $123.00 (adjusted a few times to $124.29 on November 19th, then to $129.00 (no date noted). Interest sucked even back then! Wow, for 1892, that was a lot of money!)
In 1892, coal meant heat for the winter. I wish we had the price. The original furnace that burned this coal is still in our cellar!
Finally, this is what checks used to look like in the 1800's. Cool or what?! The bank is still there, well, sorta. I need to research it some more.

There was another store receipt found in a wall, but it was so fragile that even with us being as careful as humanly possible, it pretty much turned into confetti. But, it was either leave it there to be destroyed or take a chance, so we chose the latter.

Now that I've documented them, it's back to the fireproof box for our 'wall treasures.'

Ain't history cool?! I have a customer bill for apples too, so I'll have to check into the orchard a bit more. A few trees still exist on the neighbors property. Think I should snatch some seeds?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No Middle Ground

After a long thought process (If you only knew what screwy brain-maze my thoughts run in!) I've come to the conclusion that there really isn't one. A middle ground in the gardening and hunger conquest, that is. It makes me nuts.

There's the Plant A Row For The Hungry campaign from the Garden Writers Association. Ed Hume even sends free seeds for it. Many garden centers give free seeds, tools and soil at certain times of the year for it. Lots and lots of gardeners give their extras to the food banks. (Major kudos to those of you that do!)

But what about all those, like me, who are stuck in the middle? We have space, are willing to work at it (some of us have done it all our lives for pete sake!) and do it simply out of the necessity to have the produce to put in our freezers - or go hungry.

If I have enough change in my pocket to either buy vegetable seeds or milk, well, guess which will be the priority? We don't not buy seeds because we don't want to, we don't buy seeds because they are expensive.

Imagine all those seeds that get tossed from the stores and garden centers each year right into the garbage because they weren't sold. What a waste! A few of those seeds could result in feeding a family at least a couple of good meals. Maybe not instantly, but in the long run there's nothing better than opening a freezer and finding vegetables you never would have been able to afford to buy at the store.

I really wanted to grow some sweet corn last year, but the only seeds I could find around here were at Agway for 5 bucks a pop. 5 bucks? You know how many loaves of bread that will buy?

So, the thought process eventually got around to: Why aren't there places for all those stores, garden centers and gardeners that have all that leftover seed to send them to, instead of tossing them in the trash? They'd be a lot more work than ready produce, but just because people aren't well off doesn't mean they're slackers, or aren't willing to work hard for their food if they already have somewhere to grow it. A small plot of land can produce a large amount of food.

You know the old adage; Teach a man to fish...

Oh, and I think changing to blogger beta might not have been a good thing-I can't post comments to non beta blogs now. Figures there would be a catch.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Last-Ditch Effort

Dear Mother Nature,

Sorry to disturb you on your vacation, but I need a quick word. (Must be your vacation time, right? Because, otherwise, I'd rudely assume you were slacking off).

We've seen the sun a total of three days in the last month. What's with that? I personally find it a bit absurd.

If I wanted to live in Seattle with tons of rain and gray, why, I'd pick up my impatiens and move there. And I may be getting ahead of myself a bit, but come January, could you not assume I'd just absolutely adore a stint Alaska?

Honestly, you seem to be a little off-kilter these days, Sweety. You might want to get in line early for your flu shot this fall. (Oh, right, what fall? You seemed to have forgotten exactly what you used to make it). Don't you agree that almost nine inches of rain over what you provide in a normal year is a bit much? You can turn off the faucet now. Really. Should I find you a plumber? How about a cup of nice green tea to lift your mood?

Yes, Dear, the grass is green, but it has stopped growing, you know. In case you haven't noticed, everything is floating. Puddles are nice but ponds are an annoyance, as is my flooded cellar. Moss is lovely, but I honestly don't need it growing on my siding.

I apologize that I didn't get every single weed yanked from the flower beds this year. Really, I do. I promise to be more vigilant next year. My elderly neighbor just wasn't able to keep up with her's this year, but I helped her out a bit and shared some divisions with her, so it didn't look all that bad.

I do hope it wasn't the sunflowers that grumbled about my lack of care, but I know how fickle they can sometimes be. And, yes, the clematis (Those little back-stabbers!) might have had a little too much shade this summer, but I've already explained to them that it will be taken care of promptly come spring. (Oh, I do so hope that season is penciled in on your 2007 calendar, Sweety).

So, when your beach, daiquiri, red umbrella and cabana boy time in Aruba has expired, could you please see fit to put some sun on the schedule for the Northeast? I'd be eternally greatful!

Looking forward to your reply,

A pleading, mossy-thumbed gardener.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Crockett Rocked It

Anyone remember James Crockett? No? Alright young 'uns, how about Crockett's Victory Garden?

Ah, yes, drop the Crockett and voila - Victory Garden. Just isn't the same anymore, is it?

I found a bit of interesting history while mulling over my nostalgia for the show:

"The show debuted on April 16, 1975 was originally produced by James Underwood Crockett and was entitled Crockett's Victory Garden. The garden was located at WGBH's studios in Allston, Massachusetts. Crockett died July 11, 1979 soon after the show became successful. Bob Thompson hosted from Crockett's death until 1991 when failing eyesight prompted him to step down as host. He died on October 2, 2003, following a battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Roger Swain began appearing on the show in the mid 1980s, and hosted it from 1991 until 2001. In that year, longtime producer Russell Morash decided to end his tenure, leading to a complete turnover in the cast and crew. Swain has differentiated between the show he was on and the current Victory Garden show: "If you get rid of Ernie and Cookie Monster and Big Bird, you don't have Sesame Street anymore," he said. "So let's call the new show something else, because whatever it is, it ain't The Victory Garden." "

He wasn't kidding!

I so miss that show. Victory Garden has got to be one of the better gardening shows still on TV, though Michael Weishan doesn't really rock my socks. I wonder what it is about him that turns me off?

I like Erica Glasner, she's not afraid to admit she doesn't know a plant, but she's just so...boring.

Paul James, well, he gets points just for the fact my kids and D will sit still long enough to watch a gardening show. I take silent glee in the fact they are learning something and don't even realize it.

Garden Police, eh. I can take 'em or leave 'em. I don't like the fact they never mention exactly how much all those 'perfectly suited' plants are costing. Hope that show has a large budget.

Rebecca's Garden I consider my so-so gardening show. I'll watch if I'm in the mood. Rebecca Kolls does have personality, but I've finally faced the fact that some of her stuff is plain ole dumb. I gave up on her after the pond build. NOT nishikigoi friendly, Honey! In any way, shape or form!

There's one I can't quite remember the name of - it's on the tip of my tongue, but I've probably mentally blocked it because of my distaste for the host. Don't get me wrong, there's lots of good plant info and they do tell you how much all those plants cost, but the host is so dang condescending to the guests! I cringe every time he makes a rude remark or gives plant info as if they were five. Who does that to their friends, much less people they hardly know?

All right, rant over for the day. There's only whining left now and I'm feeling much like Veruca Salt. "I want Crockett's Victory Garden back. I want it nooooowwww!"

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Itching for dirty fingers

I'm feeling like a real slacker this fall.
My friends give me the leftover yarn from their projects every year and I make mittens for the Rescue Mission. There is usually enough scrap to make many pair. Last year I made and gave 22 pair, but this year = 0.

Ugh! No one seems to have done any knitting or crocheting this year. Maybe I'm not the only slacker! I'm not sure whether to be angry with me or them. Now, how rude is that to be mad at your friends for not buying yarn and having leftovers? Of course, if I'd had gotten the Fleur-Dis-Monster finished I'd have some leftover to use.

I keep staring and sifting through the few packs of Dollar Store seed I have for Winter Sowing this year.
A few months ago I was depressed because fall was rushing on, now I can't wait for January to get here so I can start playing in dirt and cutting up containers. No, Father Time, I am never satisfied! Either slow down or hurry up, would ya?

I had all the packs organized so I'd know what I was planting when, but I just can't leave well enough alone, so now I'm disorganized again from rifling through them and daydreaming. What is it that's so appealing about handling seed packets? It's almost as good as sex! Ok, I take that back, lost my mind for a second there.

I finally had a minute to thumb through the copy of Forest Farm catalog I got a while ago. Their pricing is odd. Some things are outrageously expensive, yet some things seem (to me) to be dirt cheap. I don't have the money to buy any of this stuff, but it's nice to read descriptions and dream all winter. I still haven't figured out where I signed up for the free copy, so I might have to go on a free catalog hunt again. Like I need more to drool over.

I just can't get the shock of this out of my mind. I was over reading EAL's blog the other day and she'd posted something I found very, very disturbing, to say the least. It was something I found so outrageous in this day and age I even had to ask her if it was a joke. Here's the complete story: Houston Chronicle . I honestly don't even know what to say about people like this.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's all about the bling, baby!

I saw a clip on a show (of course I can't remember which mentioned it) of this rose garden grown and tended completely by prison inmates and I've been thinking about it for quite a while. I think it's the grandest idea! I recall them talking to some former inmates that had been out a while and credited that garden for them staying out of trouble and leading a better life. No doubt. Plants do wonderful things to people. I wish they'd show more pics of it.

I've noticed a blog trend lately that I'm not sure I like all that well. Now, I know people use their garden blogs to record their garden progress, failure, success etc. And it is their blog after all, so why not do as they please. I hate conformity or constriction of any kind myself. But why all the bling on some of them? Granted, I get frustrated with slow loading blogs that have tons of pics on them, but I don't think the experience would be the same without them, and more than not, I'm glad I waited! I'm usually in awe of both their garden expertise and photography skills.

But I'm talking 'bling' here. I'll be the first to admit I'm guilty - I do have a ticker. I wonder if blogs are going the way of MySpace? Video clips, voice clips, pretty sparkly sidebars, music clips and floating backgrounds. My daughter's drives me nuts! Ok, granted, she's 20 and very bling oriented (I wonder if I was at 20?). It's her space, she's allowed to make it as blingy as she wants.

Have you ever been to a site that was so overwhelmed with bling that it was thoroughly confusing and mind-numbing? I hate wading through mishmashs of glittering stars, decorated cursors, pics up the wazoo and music that is more than likely something I don't even want to listen to for 3 seconds, much less the whole song. My brain reaches max overload before the page even gets loaded and I'll immediately click on to something else.

Whatever happened to basic, simple and easy on the eye? Now, mine just seems boring. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to go looking for a template with a little more interest or possibly a bit more bling...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Heebie-jeebies/screaming meemies

Ok, I can deal with a lot of things that don't gross me out at all ; spiders-no problemo, snakes-love 'em, even have a tattoo of one (surprises, eh?), grubs, worms, beetles, lizards, creepy crawlies-all no biggies. Ok, so I don't deal so well with leeches and maggots, who does? But MICE? No, no, no, no, NO!

Those beady eyed, evil clawed, swivel eared, disease carrying, mangy little scruffy fuzzballs can stay the hell outta my house! This is war!

Of course, my kids think I'm freaking out over nothing, but when you find chew holes in your houseplant fertilizer bag, there is definiltely one in this house=time to panic. I hope the little scruzzball poisoned himself! The curse of country living.

It'll be traps to the rescue tonight.

Now, don't go leaving me some "But they're so cute!" and, "But they're just trying to survive!" or "They don't deserve to be killed!" comments, cause in my world, they aren't welcome under any circumstances. Period. Or, I could just send them to you kind hearted souls. :) I'll make 'em little mousey backpacks and hand 'em a map.

God must have put them on this earth for some reason or other, I just can't figure out what. Maybe cat food...

Please take a second to do this. It's free and is well worth it to let our soldiers know we are thinking of them: Say Thanks

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pushing it

Yay! Garden Voices seems to be fixed.

Carol, over at May Dreams Gardens, is starting her Amaryllis early this year. I have to admit, I've never really had success with them. Ok, the one I got as a gift one year croaked on me and I haven't tried again since because they're suppose to be easy, right?

But, back in late September, I found some Peacock Orchids on clearance at Kmart for 50 cents. I couldn't help myself. 15 bulbs for 50 cents? I've never been able to afford these, so thought I'd best jump at that kind of deal!

So, home with me they came, under the delusion that they'd sit happily sleeping until spring. Then I peeked into the edge of the package. Poor things were already sending out shoots that were a good six or seven inches long and curling around the bulb with nowhere to go. And here I am thinking, "My God! They must be screaming in there with having had no light and no water for, what, almost 12 months or more?" If you figure they'd been packaged last fall for spring planting, well, that'd be about right.

After a quick weighing of choices, I figured there was no way they would make it to spring without just drying up into withered little balls. So here I was rushing through the house scouting out a doable pot, rustling up some suitable soil and mumbling about, "Those poor babies!" My kids roll their eyes at each other and twirl a finger close to their ears while D just sighs.

Well, as of now I think I'm really in trouble. It seemed they were so happy to be nestled back into some dirt that they've grown to 3 feet already! Some had a bit of a problem unwrapping themselves enough to find 'up' so a few leaves are a little curly, but they are otherwise happy campers. Now I'm stuck with what to do with them all the way through winter and into spring until plant out time. I wonder if they'll live that long or figure out I'm a complete idiot. I guess we'll see...

Monday, November 06, 2006

What Have I Done?

Ohhh! I got the old scanner to work!

This was an interesting weekend. I picked up my knitting again and did absolutely nothing else! No dishes, no laundry, no "yes" to "Mom could ya...". It was rather liberating, I must say. A bit like a mini-vacation.

But now it's Monday morning, and I'm being punished for being a slacker. ~sigh~ It was such a wonderful 'non-maid' weekend off, too! Now there's a pile of dishes, mountain of laundry and vaccuming to catch up on. And Des is home sick :( I so hate it when the kids are not feeling well. Like I said; I'm most definitely being punished. I'll just have to go a little faster with the chores today to catch up. (Yeah, I'm the idiot on here wasting time!)

I started a sweater for my SM two years ago. The pattern is, I believe, from an eighties MacCalls knitting pattern mag. It's called Spellbound, and I just couldn't resist the challenge. Ugh! What have I done? This thing is like a monster that won't die! It's a sort of vining Fleur-De-Lis pattern.

Here's the description: "Spellbound. Intricate color patterns are made subtly fascinating by using a variegated fuzzy yarn with a smooth solid."

Needless to say, I didn't invest in the yarns they expected you to use, it would have cost upwards of $80. I did end up spending 20 something though on light blue and white. Since with this type of yarn carry pattern it's like making 2 sweaters at once, I had to buy double amounts. (D and I both cringed. I know it's a lot to spend on yarn, but I really wanted to do this one for her, and I'm determined it will be finished and not a wasted 20 bucks.)

This thing was suppose to be finished for her for Christmas 2004. Ha! Yeah, right, I should have known I wouldn't find the time. So, here I am, still plugging along on the thing. (Now nicknamed Fleur-De-Monster). But, it WILL be done for this Christmas if they all have to eat sandwiches every night in December!

Oh, and I STILL can't get on Garden Voices! Damn! Thanks for the comments telling me that many of you can't get on either. I'm relieved it's not just me!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm Blind!

Ok, not really, but I don't remember the sun being so bright! Wow, has it been that long since I've seen it?

I can't get on Garden Voices for some reason, which means I can't get my daily fix. Ugh! 'page cannot be displayed, page cannot be displayed'. Just gimme the damn thing already!

One of the woodpeckers flew into my glass doors today. I thought he'd killed himself. I was so upset! Then D noticed he was breathing, so I quickly grabbed a shoe box and some tissue. The poor thing! He was so floppy, and I was trying to be so careful. I certainly didn't want him stabbing me with that beak of his. Of course, Des wanted me to bring him in the house and I had to explain to her that if he came-to in the house he'd just fly right into the window again trying to get out.

His poor mate was so confused! She wasn't sure whether to hang out and protect him or get while the getting was good. She didn't fly far and kept a vigilant eye on me while I was nestling him in the box.

It took him a while and a bit of head shaking to really come around, but he finaly did and flew a few feet away to the maple and his waiting mate. I think he was still a bit fuzzy and it took him quite a while, even with her prodding him, to get with the program.

Poor thing! I hope he wasn't too traumatized and will return soon. I bet he'll know better next time.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Zone Envy

The white stuff - it came sneakily in the night. Rats! The scientists lie. Global warming? Puh-leesse! They can skip up here and freeze their little nutters off, then give me the 'That's not what we mean' lecture.

I hate snow and cold. Hate it, loath it, wish it would slime itself permanently to the roasty realm beneath my feet.

You upper-zoners (I really want to call you something else, but that would be rude, now, wouldn't it?) really have it made. Sun, palms and 80 degrees in January. Ugh!

Snow isn't pretty, it's frozen (FROZEN!) freaking rain. It's the pits.

And then I start thinking, "But I can grow so much stuff they can't!" I guess this is suppose to make me feel better...

Can I say 'jealous'?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


All I can say to The Garden Car is: Ummmmm....?!

The Gift of Gardening

We all do it. We at least try to do it. We so want to do it. It is free after all and what is better to spread? We hope it's contagious and the person we infect goes on to infect someone else. We're fanatical about it. We want to take over the world. Muahahaha!

Ok, back to reality. Every gardener would love to give the gift of gardening to someone who doesn't, uh, wether they show interest or not. lol. We're not normally pushy people, we just like to share.

I'd love to start a 'pay it forward' campaign. Give someone 3 plants, they have to give one of those plus 2 more to someone else, who in turn gets to keep 2 and pass on one they were given plus 2 more. Ok, as schemeing goes, you can see how I pretty much stink at it, because really, what's in it for them? (We know the answer)

I really do wonder if I could suck more people in by giving them plants as gifts though. What would a non-gardener do with it? Would they let it shrivel up and die? Water it once a week but otherwise forget it exists? Or find they really can grow things and didn't know it? Everyone wants the freshest produce they can buy, but what if you showed them they can get the freshest thing there is right from their own back yard?

Nevermind, I already know the answer: "I don't have time to garden!"

Besides, who am I kidding - I can't even manage to get my own kids sick with that bug. (It's not like I haven't purposely tried to sneeze it on 'em!) Hey, it was just a thought.

Would you give a plant as a gift even if you knew the person didn't garden? Oh, the possibilities!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ragweed Woes & Woodpecker Wanderings

Ragweed - it's everywhere. For some reason it exploded in my flower beds this year, and you just can't get rid of the crap. Maybe it's the weather we've had, maybe its finally gotten the army coordinated enough to swallow the world. Obviously, its harassed the Goldenrod to fall into flank behind. I don't really mind the Goldenrod so much. It doesn't have nasty pollen, though that myth is well circulated, and it is kinda pretty.

I have a beautiful woodpecker that visits daily, but let me explain the visit; It consists of him first checking the bird feeder D made attatched to the side of the house beside the sliding glass door. Now, there better be something good in there for him or I'm going to hear about it! If he finds nothing to his liking, it's straight to the living room window to hang on the screen, give me a good view of his butt and stare at me for some length of time. (And I'm glad I can't speak bird because I'm betting he's getting out a long string of bird-cuss). If this doesn't produce my attention, well, maybe some banging on the window sill will!

D realized the other day that he's begun to bring friends, and lots of them! I must have at least 5 different species hanging on my half-maple every day now. Absolutely wonderful to watch, but God forbid he ever teach them the 'screen hang-and-moon' technique!

The really bizarre thing is that the purple finches and chickadees will not come near the feeders if the woodpeckers are hanging out. Maybe the red headed repeated some rude gossip.

On a way off subject: I was hanging out at UKBob's and something he wrote reminded me of the Fuller Brush Man. Do you remember him? No? Don't want to admit your age, eh? ;)
I remember my grandmother buying all sorts off cool things from his magic case. It seemed he could pack anything in that sucker! And the Charlie Chip Man! (you can actually still order Charlie Chips from the net!) I simply adored those tins, and the chips weren't too darn bad either. I haven't thought about either of those door to doorers in years. Thanks for bringing the memories back Bob! Ah, the good old days.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

TV Gardens

It started with peeping locally. Yes, I admit, I am a peeper!
Ok, ok I'm a starer. How can you not? People have the most interesting gardens.

There is a large property not too far from us that has the most beautiful pond. Granted, it was full of weeds and cattails and the owners had plopped a rickety porch swing on a dilapidated sort-of deck. But still, in my eyes, it was beautiful. I wished for years that they'd actually do something with it.

We passed that pond by accident this summer. I sucked in my breath so fast I almost choked. What they had done! Simply gorgeous! Pond cleaned, waterfall, new deck and furniture, trees, shrubs, sculptures, stone work, mulch, fountain - breathtaking! Absolutely breathtaking.

The car came to an immediate halt. The kids stared, D stared, my eyes got huge and all I could get out was a muttered, "Holy shit."

In one year it had become a magazine cover. Amazing. We've purposely taken the long route around a few times this summer just so we could sit and stare. I wish I had a camera. You really can't get across how absolutely fabulous it is with mere words.

Anyway, I've noticed how my attention has moved to seeing the gardens around me (possibly from sheer boredom?) to gardens on TV. Now, I don't mean those 'We'll show you how to transform your garden to one Cher would be happy with in only 30 minutes with a backhoe and fifty thousand dollars' shows. I mean shows like Wife Swap.

They flit a view of the front or back yards occasionally. My first thought is always, "Why don't they do something with all that space?" Maybe there's a shrub or mum here or there, but it seems mostly chain link fences, lawn or bare sculptures, boulders and water features.

Ok, so quit your screaming at me through the screen! I realize that everyone on earth doesn't share my gardening passions. Or maybe they don't have the time, money or energy. If you're a farmer, well, there just aren't enough hours in the day. One paycheck and 11 kids, not enough money. Laundry, dishes, housecleaning, job, cooking - not enough energy.

I notice people's lawns everywhere on TV now. And they really are everywhere. I love Junk Brothers, but I usually only notice peoples' lawns when they drop the stuff off. When did I really start paying attention?

But I get it. I really do get it. There is a certain element missing for these people that have bare lawns. But I still can't help wishing they'd just do something.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Tree trashing

Ok, so the blogger problems weren't me. Yay!

There's been a lot of chatter lately about how people seem to be in one camp or the other: Tree Hugger, or Tree Hater.

When I first moved into this house, some 20 odd years ago, there were 5 sugar maples in the yard, all over 100 years old. One succumbed to an ice storm; I cried. One cracked right straight up the trunk, from root to tip in a wind storm and had to be cut down; I weeped. Two were destroyed by the tornado; I was a blubbering mess. The one remaining (well, more of a half tree after the tornado) worries me. I know it will have to come down at some point, but I'll put a finger grasp of steel on it for a while yet.

I love trees, but there are obviously some that just don't belong in my yard or town, much less my country.

My hate tree: Sumac. I've seen people purposely plant that damn thing in their yard. Now WHY for God's sake?! Please give me one believable reason why it should be in anyone's yard? Is there some rare genus I'm not aware of that they're trying to save? Some specific insect or animal that only uses sumac to survive?

My love tree: White Birch. (But only in the correct environment for it) Is there anything else as lovely?

I really don't think people absolutley have to draw some invisible line between being a lover or hater of trees. I believe most of us hover somewhere in a happy medium between the two. Some trees must stay if we really expect to have a living planet for the continuation of life. For the same reason, some species must be contained to their natural habitat.

Lover/Hater/Middle Of The Roader. Which are you?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I knew it wouldn't last

Ok, now I think I've totally screwed up my blog. Figures. I just can't leave well enough alone!

A friend of D's asked him to bring me some dwarf douglas firs after their house burnt in late July. They were in a nice raised bed by the front door that was going to be bulldozed.

I wasn't sure they were going to make it.
The poor things were singed and completely dried out when we planted them. Wow, what a difference a little TLC can make! They've perked up nicely.
And they're so cute!

Friday, October 27, 2006

I THINK we can do it...

Well, I couldn't find any kind of law prohibiting it.
Maybe there is and I just can't find it, but it doesn't seem like something 'unlawful'.

Ok, get your minds outta the gutter!

There is a small cottage house in our town that sells their garden produce off of a small table placed right up by the road. The lady of the house even puts out her jams, jellies and preserves to sell. Unfortunately, this year they've had to padlock and bolt down the pay box since, as they noted: "Someone has been 'borrowing' the money in the box." What IS wrong with people? Granted, the house is beautiful, expensive and well cared for, but because they have money doesn't mean they'd not have a problem with someone pillaging their spare change! Thieves make me crazy! That's as bad as someone swiping someone else's carefully grown produce in a community garden!

Anyway, with Christmas coming (according to the stores, I should have had my shopping done in August for Pete sake!) my brain was whirling on how to get some extra change. (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm the dumbass that should have thought of this in like...March?) But why couldn't we do that? I just give away all my extras to friends and family after my freezing is done. (I don't can - I'm terrified of poisoning the fam by not doing it right.)

There's really nothing stopping us, except maybe all that work. But why not do something I enjoy and make some Christmas money doing it? Everyone has been on my butt about selling my quilts and cross stitch, but they just take so dang long to make. And when they're completely hand made, well, honestly - no one wants to pay you what they're worth. So, maybe gardening is the answer.

But, we're so rural, I don't know how that'll work out. We could give it to the food bank if nothing comes of it. We'll have to give it a bit more thought...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Scourge of the garden

Bishop's weed, gout weed, snow on the mountain, Aegopodium podograria.
It doesn't matter which alias it has decided to use to hide its hideousness from the unwary, it's still the variegated PLAGUE!
Eradicating this beast is Mission Impossible because it DOES irradicate.

One small sprig 20 years ago - still here. Leave one, tiny microscopic piece behind and you're doomed. Urghhh!

Don't even think it won't creep out of your rock garden. It will chuckle as the roots slip a foot deep beneath that boulder and pop its ugly head up on the other side. It's a curse!

NO, it isn't pretty.
NO, it doesn't brighten up a shady spot.
NO, it doesn't stay contained just because you're planting it in hardpan clay.
NO, it doesn't care if there's a drought (It will sacrafice the leaves to keep the roots alive).
NO, it doesn't care you popped it in a bog.
NO, it will NOT stay in a container (You might get lucky for a few years).
NO, it doesn't care you've planted it in the middle of a concrete contained, acre wide parking lot (Have seeds, will travel).
NO, it doesn't care your fingers are bloody from ripping the crap out of the ground.
NO, it doesn't care you're showering it lovingly with RoundUp.
NO, it doesn't care you've slaved over that perennial bush/shrub/vine/flower for 50 years, it will happily kill it.

Please people, please, for your own sanity - don't nicely send seeds, swap it, buy it, plant it, or even think this plant would look nice anywhere!

Personally, I think it's some kind of a sick, twisted Garden Gods joke. NOT funny.....

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Garden blog sickness/addiction

Disease, sickness, addiction, compulsion - obsession. (surprise, eh?)
I have it, I know I do! Where's the thermometer? I wonder if I should ask the doctor about it, or maybe a psychiatrist would be a better choice? Chicken soup is on the menu. Maybe I need the emergency room...

Don't laugh! You know what I'm talking about in my sarcastic way. Besides, you probably suffer from the same affliction...

It starts innocently enough with reading one interesting blog. (In my case, I blame Old Roses )

They mention an interesting link; click.
Wow, this person has some interesting photos, and another interesting link; click.
They mention someone elses blog they find interesting; click.
They talk about '__' being an expert on '___';click.
Wow, awesome gardens! Ooo! Their friend lives in my zone; click.
They thank so-and-so with the tips. TIPS?; click.
Odd plant. Ahh, from another blog; click.
Such-and-such grows WHAT?; click.
Never heard of that, but they got the cool garden craft idea from here; click.
Well! They left a rather interesting comment!; click

You know It's the truth! There are so many blogs and such interesting news and views. Virtual garden upon virtual garden. (What did we used to actually DO all winter?) They're all beautiful and interesting, and your 'favorites' list gets longer and longer. You have a special Garden Blog folder now to hold them all. You can't wait to explore again. You can't stop looking, reading, gasping, laughing and suddenly - you're addicted! Aha! It has happened! You've been sucked in! Want some chicken soup?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Who's hogging the sun?

Ugh! I can't imagine how they deal in the northwest.

I feel accomplished today: I figured out the email link. lol. Ahhh, small steps.

Des has been invited to a friends Halloween party on Saturday...then I got to the bottom of the invitation - 'costumes required.' Uhhhhh.....
Needless to say, she's freaking out about it. I came across some 'maybe do' costume ideas. Hard to find something to whip up out of nothing. One idea was a Trailer Trash/White Trash costume. (Deja Vu) White trash bag, attach trash.
Baseball cap with leaf hanging in face: Leaf blower. lol.
Don't know what Des will think of the ideas though. Oh, yes, I do: "Ick! Mom, are you nuts?"
At this point I'm thinking of just ripping up the dead tomato plants, pinning them on her and telling her to go as a compost heap. Well, it is original, right?

Any ideas for a quickie costume?

Dug up the elephant ears, paired them up in a container with some of the impatien cuttings. I waited too long and they look thoroughly peeved with me, but hopefully they'll bounce back. I swear, if I keep this procrastination up, the Garden Gods are going to get me! I was thinking about taking the impatiens out of the pond and waterfall and bringing them in too, but to where? Besides, they're so happy in the pond. (ok, so that's my excuse for not having to deal) But they are huge and still flowering their little heads off. It seems they're the only thing I can get to grow in the pond these days that the koi will leave be. Those and chocolate mint, which they completely ignore. I guess Des and I aren't the only ones that hate chocolate!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Trailer Trash Gardener

Exactly what I feel like some days. I read through seed swap lists, but know I can't afford the postage. Maybe for something really special I want. The only time I did, I stole the stamps that were suppose to mail bill payments.

I wonder about all those people that order off the net or take an expensive trip to the local nursery and comment that they spent tons on plants and seeds because they just couldn't resist. Do they ever really end up planting or growing them? Do they appreciate them as much as those of us less fortunate? Do they stare in wonder at their beauty, or do they just take them for granted because they didn't have to scrimp and save to obtain them?

I'm not complaining, just curious. It completely caught me off guard one day when I found myself sitting quietly by the pond gazing at the flowers and suddenly welled up with tears from the sheer beauty of it all. Granted, there's nothing super special about the flowers I was looking at, but it took me 24 years to get where I am, and I appreciate every single plant or flower I have.

There's just something so special about a garden. Maybe it's more of a spiritual thing for me, or then again, it may just be PMS. What do I know?

Do the people who can afford to throw money to the wind walk by their plants every day and not even look at them? I can't walk in my front door (not even with my hands loaded with heavy groceries) without stopping at the front garden to admire something, even at this time of year when there isn't really much to admire. There's something very sad about knowing that the people who can most afford it don't appreciate it. But, I suppose that's the way it is with most things in life.

I know there are more out there like me...gardeners on social security, disability, or simply down on their luck that read through plant and seed swap posts and wish they could, just once, ask for something they want.

I've read through tons of garden journals this weekend and am thoroughly humbled. There are so many awe inspiring gardens out there. But, I still wonder - what did it take for them to get there? Did they start out on nothing and slowly build up over the years, or did they have the means to order, plop in the ground and say, "Look what I did"?

The gist of this long, pointless rant: I feel like an outsider of sorts. And I'm positive I'm not alone.

The reason for this long, pointless rant: Someone asked me why I never post pics of my flowers. I don't have a cam, can't afford one, and if I could, the money would be spent on plants and seeds instead. So, now you know.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I've decided.

I want chaos! Why should I succumb to the organized, color themed, uppity, perfectly structured ways of fellow gardeners? I won't. I won't I say!

I WILL have an unorganized, colorwheel-be-damned garden! I want the plants I want, where I want them, flowering at the time they see fit and where they suit themselves most.

It so aggravates me when someone points out that my purple salvia most definitely should NOT be planted with my blazing red bee balm. Says who? Maybe I like clashing colors. Maybe just to tick these people off a bit more I'll plant orange calendula right smack-dab in the center of that bed next year and call it the 'tie-dye' garden! Take that Miss Nose In The Air Upper-Crusty Garden Maidens!

I sigh heavily and know that come spring I'll still worry about what my fellow hands-in-the-dirt peers will say. There's just no getting around it. It's a hopeless, yearly, spring garden dilemma.

This year I will simply do as I please. I will not give in to the norm. It's boring. Who likes boring? The butterflies, hummingbirds and hummingbird moths who visit daily could care what colors I put together, and neither does mother nature. Thus - neither do I!

My purple will stay snuggled next to the red, and maybe, just maybe...I will add some orange to my chaotic cottage gardens.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I tripped over some very cool beginner 'how to' gardening video today:

Awesome, or what?! Ok, so I'm easily amused...

That's what I get for staying out of the garden and on the net on a rainy day. ;-)


Angry gray clouds are moving across the sky today, dumping bucket upon bucket of uneeded rain. Our tiny little creek has turned into the rushing Colorado river once again, bringing back nightmarish memories of the June flood. Thankfully, they said the flooding won't be quite as bad this time.

It is a rather depressing garden day. The ravaging winds have stripped the maples bare, the ground is littered with dropped pears. Everything is yellowed and drab, preparing for it's long winter slumber. The corn across the road is brown and dead. I wish they'd cut it.

One lone holdout of color left: dianthus. They are insistant there is still time to bloom and show off their beautiful points of blaze pink.

I brought in the spike plants and transplanted them into containers I can just stick outside in the spring. They aren't happy about it (really, what did I expect?). There are a few volunteer sprouts of pink vinca emerging in the pots with the spikes. I'll baby them and just maybe they'll make it until spring.

Even in all the depressing grayness my mind turns toward planning spring plantings and WSing.
Roll on winter, roll on.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Data and more data

I decided a while ago to look around for some data on what will WS well and what won't in my zone. Ooo, might have been a mistake, but I am definitly now 'in the know'. Information overload! I'll still be doing a lot of experimenting of my own along the way, but I found an excellent database of just that very topic. I figured, "Hey, if it'll WS in zone 0, I shouldn't have a prob in zone 5, eh?"
I now have a nice little hand written booklet of what and when sitting on my desk awaiting winter thanks to this:

It still doesn't mean my kids don't think I'm nuts, but hubster seems to be getting a bit more interested as time goes we need another hobby...

Though the database doesn't list this, interestingly enough, the times for putting certain seeds out correlates pretty well with most of our birthdays! Guess it'll be a very good thing that it won't be hard to remember.

In case everyone just reading about Winter Sowing for the first time actually does think I'm nuts, this is the best site ever to learn about it:

So go ahead and get your free seeds from Trudi and give it a try! What have you got to lose?

Monday, October 16, 2006

I give in...

Actually, I give up. Why can't people just take a comment as a comment? There always has to be some deep seeded snipe or insinuation meant? Ugh! I just give up. I'll stay in my hole, make my quilts, grow my plants, and shut my mouth. None of these things ever seem to think you meant something other than you actually said when you said it to them! (Maybe the fact their inanimate has something to do with it?) lol.

It's continually cold out now, so it's almost puzzle season. :-) Yay! Though I really, really, really hate winter, there are some redeeming qualities.The report on pumpkin crop loss for NY is in: 25%. Bummer. But the apple harvest was more than doubled. What a weird growing season we've had. The fruit and veg farms around here are almost all closed due to the flood damage. I feel really sad for the loss of all that produce. Thank God they all had insurance! (And will be getting extra money from FEMA).

This weekend seemed to fly by. I got quite a bit done on the new Cathedral Window quilt. The last one took 2 years, but this one is sort of a 'do it as I feel like' so will probably take much, much longer. Besides, I hate ironing all those muslin squares. Des and I started a quilt for her teacher. I decided on a Bears Paw since it has a simple enough pattern for her to grasp. I'm secretly pleased that she wants to do this. Shhhh! Don't tell her I said, or she'll decide to quit just to spite me. Ahhh, the joys of being 14.

All the leaves have been off our trees for about a week now, yet the rest of the state is at peak color or just past. Kinda ticks me off that the valley has such wacko growing weather: first for some things, behind in others. A few of my plants have decided it is definitely winter while others are soldiering on as though it's going to warm back up soon enough. Maybe they just didn't get the memo. One stand of purple phlox faded almost a month ago, and yet another stand about 20 feet away decided to put out new blossoms this weekend. D just pointed at it confusedly and said, "Ummm?" Yeah, weird.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Seeds Galore

Another luck-out day Sunday! :-)
I found seeds at my local Dollar General for 6 cents a pack. Ok, so they aren't the greatest selection, but I got aster, bachelor button, cosmos, zinnia, baby's breath, calendula, marigold, wildflower mix and a few packs of veggies. I have quite a few of my own harvested seeds too. Not bad for winter sowing starters.
Oh! And I have a wsing email buddy! How great is that?! We'll get to learn together. She seems very nice and as excited as I am about trying this out. I hope I don't freak her out with my babbling...
Buffalo got slammed with a snowstorm last night - 2 feet. They can keep it, it's only October 13th for pete sake! My son thought it was funny that they got slammed on Friday the 13th. That'll learn 'em for living on the lake! lol.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What gives?

I've come to the conclusion that people will buy anything for any price if they want it (bad enough).
Why, in God's name, would anyone pay almost 100 bucks a yard for fabric? Why?
Why would they pay hundreds of dollars for a tree? Why?
Why do people pay outrageous prices for plants every year, mostly annuals, when you can grow them yourself for pennies. Why?
Why do people shell out billions of dollars every year for the crap on infomercials that usually never works anyway? Why?

We are a counrty of excess and a counrty that wastes that excess. Why? Why?
Almost every other country on earth recognizes our waste, yet we refuse to look in the mirror.

Maybe Glenn Beck is slowly seeping unknowingly into my brain more and more each day, but dang, he couldn't be more on the mark about the situation (at this moment) of this country.

I window webshop and am appalled at the prices of merchandise. Add shipping costs and you better be making a darn good buck to order anything on the web. I refuse to webshop. I honestly do NOT see the point. If I can't get what I need at a B&M, then I guess I don't need it that bad. There is a huge difference between need and want!

As a nation we've gone overboard in the want category. If it's new, shiney, cool, the neighbors have one, a relative wants one for Christmas, it serves no purpose but looks great on our lawn, our kids want one, everyone else has one, it makes life easier - we buy it - price be damned! Why? Life isn't suppose to be easy.

The only things we REALLY need are food, clothes, medicines (and half of the time there really isn't a need to take them-can you say viagra) and shelter. Everything else is window dressing or entertainment.

Are we really that bored? Can we find nothing to entertain us as a nation other than a big screen tv?

Even simple enjoyments, skiing for example, have gone nuts! You can't play any sports now without shelling out major moolah. What's up with that? We checked out prices for a new bike for my youngest son. $2019! I burst out laughing right in the store. Are they kidding??? It better be freaking made of gold! Come on! And yet, people pay it. WHY?

We need to stop the waste. We need to stop the over-the-top spending. We need to take a good long look in the mirror...

Monday, September 25, 2006

where's the sun

Even with all this eternal rain, I feel as if I'm getting at least a few steps forward toward winter.
The tulip and daf bulbs finally got into the ground.
The iris are divided, pinched and replanted. Wow, had they multiplied.
Wind chimes all in.
I still have to figure out something to do with the park bench. Maybe covered against the front wall. It would be protected from harsh winter and it could double for my WSing.
The spike plants still have to be repotted and brought in. I probably shouldn't bother, but I love them and don't want to pay 3 bucks a piece come spring again.
Made a new trade this morning: chocolate mint for money plant seeds. I know the money plants will spread and look messy and I'll probably be kicking myself next year, but ah, well.
I still have some seed collecting to do, phlox, clems, almost white sunflower, etc., but I'll get to it eventually.
M stopped up and got some impatien cuttings. I showed her how to make the newspaper pots. She's always so excited when she first starts out, but the enthusiasm seems to drop off fast and she never follows through. I'll bet anything that she ends up letting them rot instead of going through the hassle of having to make the pots. I mean, come on, they're a peach to make and what is better than free? Screw it, let her spend the money on new plants in the spring, cause I swear to God, she is so not getting any from me when I'm loaded with plants and she couldn't be bothered. Why do I let people do that to me every single spring? Just like the tomato plants I nurtured all spring-she didn't even plant them til August, then proceeded to mooch tomatos off me last weekend because hers never got any. Well, gee, wonder freaking why? What a waste!
It's as bad as with the sewing-why can't I just say no? These people are quite capable of doing it themselves!
I think I got blogger seed dissed. :( Offering seeds and then not even replying is pretty crappy....