Sunday, December 30, 2007

After-Christmas Sales Rock

Oh, man! Talk about a deal. Almost as good as the sale I got way back when.

4 Poinsettias (pots of 3 - red, white, salmon) = .50 cents each.
My grandmother had one she kept coming back for years and years, so for 2 bucks, what the hay, I'll give it a shot! Besides, the large pots themselves were worth the 50 cents. And the hubs makes cardboard boxes, so shouldn't be hard to get some for their 'dark' phase. lol.

5 Cyclamens = .50 cents each. And with pretty, hot pink and gold, woven pot covers! Yeah, another you have to diddle with to come back, but I'm game for the try. My problem is going to be letting them go dormant, I can see it now.

4 Christmas Cactus = .25 cents each. Can you believe I've never had one? Yes, I am hanging my head in shame. What kind of a gardener am I, anyway? Gave one to the oldest daughter to try.

$5.50 for $215.00 worth of plants! Yeah, us geeks actually figured out what they would have been at normal price. Ha! I'm ecstatic!

So, then we hit Kmart's 50% off sale. And . . . I am almost done with my parents for next Christmas! Unreal! I've never been this far ahead. Ever. I've found things here and there sometimes at after Christmas sales, but this was a wicked hit when they still had good stuff left. And I only spent 40 bucks. 40 bucks! I'll still have to get them a few more things, like some Charlie for my step-mom, but dang!

Ran into AC Moore's quick to see if I could find some Christmas stamps for the seedcards next year, and lo and behold - a whole stamp set, ink and all, for 4 bucks! And the hubs actually found it! Good thing he did because some guy came up behind him about twenty seconds later and took ever single one that was still on the shelf!
Oh, and cute little ornament kits for the kids to make as a gift for step-mom for .40 cents. The youngest and I try to find something cool and 'crafty' to do for her every year, so this was perfect.

What a great weekend.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Well, Shut My Mouth!

Yes, literally . . . I need to shut my mouth.
Ever notice how clamping your jaw really hard really hurts?
The forced nod and smile, not so much, but dang, jaw-cramp sucks.

You see, my niece just bought a house. An old house. With land. Lots. And old flowerbeds. With perennials. With fab trees. With space for a veg garden. With a cute ancient barn. With a mature berry patch. With a huge apple tree. With an honest-to-God-how-could-she-have-lucked-out-so-perfectly white picket fence.

Can you see where this is headed?

Of course you can, if you're a gardener. And it isn't a good place. Cause . . . well . . . it's not my place, now, is it? It's K's.

She. Doesn't. Garden.
And isn't interested in starting.
Plans on ripping stuff out.

UGH! ~sigh~

Shut. My. Mouth.

Pffffft! Non-Gardeners Just Don't Understand!

Christmas was cool.
All the children showed up for Christmas Eve din-din. OK, so it was under the threat of penalty of death, but that's besides the point. After Church service with the grandparents, I stuffed their faces and plied them with wine, then watched as they all sprawled across the couch groaning with swollen bellies. It doesn't matter that they couldn't move for 3 hours cause I was happy, and when the Mom is happy, all is well, you know!

But, come Christmas morning there was much head-shaking and eye-rolling in my direction.
What?! So I got some bulbs to force as a gift. So? So - All unwrapping (at least mine) must cease and dirt be immediately strewn across the kitchen counters. Yes, now.
Right. Freaking. Now.
I do not care what is in the next box with the perfect red paper and glorious white bow. These bulbs must meet soil and water post-haste!

Oh, and this afternoon, since it's above freezing and not snowing, you can all help me finish shoveling compost onto the new flowerbed. Yes, on Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

20 Grains At A Time

One person dies of hunger every 3.5 seconds.
Free went live 10/7/07 , was created by John Breen and is the sister site of Free Rice and United Nations' World Food Program donate to the hungry by YOU playing a simple vocabulary game. It's free, fun and NOT a hoax. Please play-

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Day In The Life...

You know how you can be meandering along in an ordinary day and everything seems normal, routine, dull and then something out of the blue sparks a memory or feeling and it changes the entire ambiance and tone of that day?
This was the changer for me today:

Part 1 Small Town Cop
Part 2 Ambulance Driver
Part 3 Small Town ER Nurse

Time For Starting Marts

Yay! It's time to start more martagon lilies.
Obviously, I have more patience than I thought. They do take 5 or more years to bloom from seed, you know.

Last winter I only started about a dozen or so seed that I received from The Willow Garden to see exactly how successful I'd end up being. I think almost every single one germed and put out the cutest little bulb! So this year I decided I might as well give the rest of the package a try.

I've found that I have a very odd habit when it comes to seeds = I can't bring myself to start them all! I'll sow maybe half of the package and leave the rest, usually stored in the fridge. (yeah, drives the household nuts). Then, whether they germ or not, I'll sow half of that half. Cause, if it failed the first time, well, must have been something I did wrong. If the do germ, yay, I need to sow more. But, if I do it wrong again, I better have some held back. You know - just in case.

What is my problem? Seriously, I need to stop this 'halvesies' thing! I have seed envelopes everywhere, all partially empty (or full - are you an optimist or a pessimist?)

I need to just sow the damn things and be done with it. But I can't seem to make myself do it! What if I screw up and it's my fault that I end up with none of that certain plant that I think is way cool? If I throw them all in the soil, I won't have any held back to give it another try. And, see, that would be bad. Very, very bad. Failure. UGH!

And it's even more stress if I only have 5 or 10 of that 'special' seed. Ok, OK - yes, they're all special! I am soooo going to make myself do the whole envelope this year. (Just ignore that growing nose poking you in the eye). And yes, I held back half of the half of the martagon seed. Sigh.

Hi. My name is Tina and I have a seed problem.
Many problems...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Kissing Balls - Done

And they look maar-vel-oos, darling. Simply maar-vel-oos.
The youngest suddenly wanted to help (yeah, I felt her forehead to be sure she wasn't sick) so I let her go at-it finishing a couple. She done good! Well, she was much more careful after I showed her the burn hole in my finger. Damn, that hot glue gun is friggin' HOT. (Hmmm, wonder if that's why they call it hot glue gun? Duh!) Of course, it is a big industrial one ( read: about 1000 degrees!) of the hubby's.

Annnnyway, they really did come out beautiful. The colors seemed to preserve really well using the kitty litter. It took me a few minutes to remember how to make the tassel - I haven't done one in years, but after a couple tries I got it and I did a good job.

Oh! And I've gotten tons of great feedback from the seed cards. People are loving them! The only problem is that they're refusing to plant them because they're too pretty. Sigh. Plant the dang things people...that was the point!

Ok, so I guess I'm stuck making them again next year. I was thinking about it before, but that clinches it. All right, I'm really not 'stuck'. I loved doing them. They were mucho fun! And I'm extremely happy with people enjoying something different for a change. I just have to remember to grab some fern fronds next time. Those Cosmos leaves for filler were a real PITA! Never again.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Free Seed

I adore Burt's Bees. They sell all natural items, of which I've received free samples, and loved them! If I could, I'd buy everything from them exclusively and skip the drug store entirely.

And now they are trying to do something good for the bees by giving away free seed. Go request yours!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sorta Garden Blog Thieves?

I really hesitate to mention them, but it's getting very, very annoying to see how many gardeners' blogs I read on a daily basis being reposted shorts with an author who is obviously NOT the author of said blog.

Ok, so they list a link back to the blog to read the entire content, but honestly, I don't even get the point of this site! There isn't even a search function to find any specific info if you wanted to! Is it simply to get hits?

I found out mine was being re-listed by sticking a post feed footer on my blog and setting a google alerts for that phrase.

I simply don't get the point of this site. It's kind of like a ridiculously sucky copy of 'Garden Voices' titled 'Seeds and Bulbs Blog Stories Today'.

I'm not going to put a direct link to them. You can do the work if you want to plow through pages and pages of content at upzee (just stick it in google and it should pop up first on the list) and see if your blog is listed. I'm betting it is, since as I've already said, I've found tons I read daily, including mine.

It's not that I disagree with the concept or the 'submitted by'. It just rubs my fur the wrong way to see 'Author' signed as a person who obviously isn't.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pillsbury, You Big Bully!

Say what?!

Group can't use the term 'bake off'Updated: 12/7/2007 9:04 PMBy: Katie Morse

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- For the past nine years, the Potsdam Food Co-op has held an annual "Holiday Bake Off" benefiting the local neighborhood center. But the Co-op recently received a letter from General Mills, which said Pillsbury patented the phrase bake-off, and they couldn't use it. So they called General Mills.

"By the end of the conversation, I was pretty amused. They're very serious about the term bake-off, and to me it seems rather petty," said Scott Miller, the Potsdam Food Co-op General Manager.

Miller said he told General Mills the bake-off was for charity, but still couldn't use the phrase.

Holiday Bake OffFor the past nine years, the Potsdam Food Co-op has held an annual "Holiday Bake Off" benefiting the local neighborhood center.

"have this multi-national corporation that is taking on little Potsdam Food Co-op and bullying us around, telling us not to use two little words for a charitable organization during the holiday season. It's simply ludicrous," said Miller.

"It's not like we're making any money. This is for charity in a place that really needs it. And it's very upsetting. And all the people I've talked to can't believe it," said Kimberly Sherman, who is baking the contest.

With not much advanced notice that they'd have to change the name, the people here at the Co-op decided to call the event a baking contest for this year, but next year, they're promising to be a little bit more creative.

"I'm also taking suggestions from all of our customers and visitors to the bake-off on Sunday as to what we may want to change the name to, and I have a very wonderful suggestion box," said Miller.

The suggestion box is in the shape of the Pillsbury Dough-Boy.
"That a company that large can't allow something that is this good and beneficial for the community to occur, I can't believe that," said Sherman.

The Co-op is hoping that they'll not only raise money, but plenty of name suggestions in their dough-boy.

The baking contest will still be held at the Co-op on Sunday. Anyone can participate, all you have to do is bring two desserts, one for people to taste, and one for people to bid on.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Night Plants Saved Christmas

Tis the season of stress- (sung to the tune of 'Oh, Christmas tree')

Oh, the time is here
should be lots of cheer
what do I buy
for everyone?

And now the snoooow
is thick and deep
I couldn't get oooout
even with a jeep

Oh, Christmas cheer
stress time is here
please hand me
aaaaaanother valium!

I like Christmas. Really, I do. Ok, sorta.

I start with a list, but it never quite pans out.

Damn people everywhere. Move the cart OUT of the middle of the aisle, will ya? Do you not even have a shred of consciousness about cart etiquette, woman?! Sheesh. Ohhh, a sale! Clearance even. But are the sleeves the right length? Hmmm, maybe it shows too much cleavage. What about the color? A little too 'bright'? And I wonder about the hem length. But it's so expensive looking...and on clearance! I should stop worrying and just get it already. Put it in the cart, damnnit, and move on.

But what if it fits wrong? What if they don't like the fabric? OMG - what if they want to return it? They'll know how cheap I am! They'll think I didn't put any thought into their gift at all, but am some cheap, Scroogey, penny-pinching miser. Ok, so I am, but they don't have to know that.

Lady, will you stop crowding me? And again - move your damn cart! Can you not see eighteen people trying to get around that thing with the screeching wheel? Ut-oh, feeling a bit light-headed. What is that smell? Ahhh, the old lady wearing the whole bottle of perfume. And not even a nice perfume.

Where did all these people suddenly come from? Oh. My. God. They are after my clearance finds! No, no, no!

Buddy, I feel for ya. I can see the fear in your eyes. Careful with that elbow, a few of these women look like they may actually bite. Here, I'll make room. Lady, for the tenth time, move that friggin cart or my ass is literally going to move it for you! I will not be pleased when I get home and look in the mirror at the stamped impression of 'cart' on my derriere.

Put the shirt in the cart. Maybe keep one hand on it while it's actually IN the cart because people have been known to snatch-n-grab. There is no politeness in the clearance section, you know.

OK, keep skimming the rack before everything but that gawd-awful hot pink paisley is gone.

Ummm, girly, get your hand off mine. My fingers touched that hanger first. You snooze, you lose, babe. Don't you even dare give me that look! I touched it first, you can't deny it. Curl that lip all you want. I have 4 kids, 2 in their teens- nothing scares me!

Crap! Wrong size. What is with people putting a size twenty-two in the size twelves? They are not interchangeable, you know. Start moving the hanger back to the rack, only to have it snatched outta the hand before it can get within inches of it's previous hanging space. Well, snarling girl is now smiling with triumph with wrong-size shirt in ring-covered hand. Subconsciously, I hope she trips over it on the way to the register, but I give her my brightest toothpaste-whitened smile.

Lordy, the crowd just doubled in size! I swallow the whine in my throat as I hurriedly finger-walk the hangers. I feel the lady to my left tense up. Yeah, honey, I'm moving into your territory. Don't you even try to stop those hanger-flippin' fingers of mine. You're moving to the right - my fingers are flicking left, why not swap my square foot of floor space for yours? Then you can be next to the no-etiquette-won't-move-her-damn-blocking-the-aisle-screechy-cart-lady.

My goodness! A flicker of hope in all the madness. She smiles, nods and gets my drift, as with a wag of my finger we squeeze by each other.

Crap! My cart. It has been left unattended on the opposite side of swap-lady. Well, there's nothing I can do about it now, I must rely on the generosity of fellower pusher-shovers not to five-finger it out of my small square of metal mesh on wheels. I am so trusting!

I'm feeling so much more cheery. I glance at scared-guy, now directly to my left. It's still there: That look of feral-cat-trapped-up-a-tree-by-twenty-ankle-biting-yapping-snarling-pull-you-apart-with-my-teeth christmas shopping women. I feel a little generosity swelling in my tense gut and I give him my brightest grin. "Looking for a certain size?"

He nods, tentatively. "Zero."

Zero? Size freaking zero? Who the hell wears a zero? OK, I don't like him anymore. He's somehow attached to a woman who wears a zero. All right, re-sheath the claws. Maybe it's his poor, shrunken, malnourished mother.

Sadly, I point to the opposite side of the rack. "The smaller sizes are over there," I tell him.
His body falls as a look of devastation washes over his face.
"Sorry," I mumble as he begins to squeeze his way through the pushing, growling throng of women. Hey, he'll be all right - there aren't nearly as many shopping-zombies groping the zero side.

Shoot. There's nothing good at this side of the rack. Reluctant, I distance myself from the beautiful clearance rack and begin to back out of the malay. Yes, my finger tips are no longer within range of the drooping fabrics. It is over. Squeaky-cart-lady finally moves the damn thing as she budges into my vacated space.

I move on, sideswiping three or four don't-know-the-rules-of-the-aisle-cart-drivers. What IS it with people? Is this how they drive their cars too? Maybe I should wander to the camping section and plan on spending the night in a borrowed tent because I certainly don't want to be on the same roads as these uncouth cart drivers. Hey, if a girl can live for weeks in a Wally-world, I can get through one night here.

I must destress and suppress the angst building slowly up from my toes. So, of course, off to the the garden section!

Why has it become so compressed? Do they think people don't garden in winter? For shame! I shake my head sadly, but rejoice in the glow of the few items that do remain on the shelves.

And then my unbelieving eyes spy something much too good to be true. OMG! Paper Whites. A beautifully packaged trio with wonderful, colorful, hand-blown glass vases.

I can't help it, my hands suddenly have a mind of their own as they snatch a box from the shelf.


My eyes narrow as they slide from clearance shirt still folded neatly in cold-mesh-on-wheels to glowing vases pressed against my chest. The Paper Whites cost more.

Clearance shirt - glorious vases.
Clearance shirt - fabulous Paper Whites.

The decision making process inside my head takes but mere milliseconds, though my left brain tells me I'm blocking the aisle to the garden center, so hurry the silent argument up.

Ok, the shirt is a prize. An award. Something I won fair and square. There was much more thought put into it than simply plucking a box with alluring hand-blown vases off the shelf. What to do, what to do?

Stop debating! Flowers are much more fun than a shirt, any day. But I fought so hard for the shirt. And if anyone thinks I'm fighting my way back to the clearance rack to replace that shirt, they are nutballs! Nutballs, I tell you!

Casually, I place the shirt in the recently vacated box spot.

I feel a tingle of Christmas cheer. The perfect gift for the person it will be given to. I can wheel my way through the throngs of people buying things for people who don't need them and don't want them to begin with, with money they don't have to spare, cradling my perfect gift.

And plants save Christmas - again.

And Speaking Of Garden Porn

Check out Ewa's garden blog from Poland.
OMG! Droooool...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Next Up On The Garden Crafts List

The kissing ball ornaments.

I can't decide whether to just paint the styro balls or dye the corn husks and cover them that way. Maybe I should just leave the husks as are to cover the styro? Hmmm...

I have lots of flowers dried and ready, including goldenrod for filler.

I still haven't decided on ribbon color yet, for pete sake!

Maybe I'll start with the bottom tassles and go from there on ribbon colors. I don't know. Red is probably out as it would clash with the dried flower colors. I have a nice earthy green. I love a nice navy I have, but not so good for Christmas?

Honestly, I've never been this indecisive on a craft project before! Anyone done these and have any tips?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Seed Paper - Pressed Flower - Rubber Stamped - Christmas Cards

Pictures removed because they are being stolen and used by Polyvore!!

Yup, that's exactly what they are!
Handmade paper.
Seed paper.
Pressed flowers.
Rubber stamped.
Christmas cards.

And they came out better than I ever expected I would get for my first try.

It felt sooo darn good to be doing a new craft. Ok, 3 new crafts I've never done. I just had to try them all at once! :)

When I finished the paper, I wasn't so sure I'd like the ragged edges, but now that they're actual cards , I think they go with the pressed flowers nicely.

Dried seed paper
I added some globe amaranth petals for just a touch of color. I didn't want too much bling competing with the flowers.

Inside card

I ended up gluing a 4-leaf clover inside each card, too. I had to do something with that mountain! Maybe they'll bring everyone else some Christmas luck. :)

Below are a few examples of the finished cards. I did 20. Maybe I should do a few more...just in case.

Front of cards

And here are the cute little hedgehog envelopes they'll make the mail trip in. I hope the delicate flowers survive! The postal system can be brutal.

I am so darn glad I gave this a try this year. I hope the recipients enjoy getting something other than the normal Christmas card! If I'm lucky, They'll actually plant them and enjoy the flowers, but I'm not holding my breath. lol.

Hmmm, I had so much fun doing these, maybe I'll make this a yearly tradition! Ooooo, must grow new, interesting flowers to press! Wow, could I enable myself a little more?

(EDIT: They looked much neater - flatter, smoother - after I pressed them and cleaned up the edges! I wonder how those patterned edging scissors would make them look. hmmm...)

Jim Cramer Advises Investment In Seed

No, Jim! Please don't be pimping GM seed.

From Today show, msnbc.

One of Jim Cramer's 5 simple ways you could make a lot of money in the stock market:

Agriculture is becoming a big growth area as we look for alternative energy resources, much like natural gas. Seed producers have become the new oil-drilling companies, since seeds are where all this new energy comes from. Moreover, they’re producing the plants that retain the most energy.
In fact, this might be the new biotech market. In particular, corn and soy, since they’re going to provide fuel for the future.
A recent article in BusinessWeek highlighted the great fortune of Monsanto, an agricultural company with a stock that has soared as investors anticipate years of double-digit growth from innovative seeds. The company has spent years funneling billions of dollars into research and development, coming up with new seeds to help farmers grow more corn, soybeans and other crops. Now, it's harvesting the benefits of this investment. Monsanto, and many analysts, predict a steady stream of innovative new seeds coming out of the company well into the next decade.

The part in bold is what I have so much trouble coming to terms with.
Ok, so I realize GM seed are everywhere, but it doesn't make it right, and it certainly doesn't make it good!

And as for Monsanto-an example, from biotech-info:

"When the world's leading bio-technology company, Monsanto, bid for permission to market the first genetically modified agricultural crop, Roundup Ready soybean, it was sure it knew what it had created. The bean, the company told US regulators in 1993, contained a single new strand of DNA designed to make it resistant to Monsanto's brand of weed killer, Roundup.
Seven years on, however, Monsanto has realised it was wrong. New research by the company, due to be published in the next few weeks, will reveal the discovery of two rogue fragments of DNA in the soybean, the world's most widespread GM crop. The disclosure has already prompted concern among genetic scientists and alarm from environmentalists.
They point out that such surprise pieces of genetic material could have unknown effects on human health and the environment. There could also be similar unexpected bits of DNA in the related, genetically modified, contaminated oilseed rape inadvertently planted by hundreds of Scottish farmers this spring. "

And they wonder why so many people are suddenly sticking strictly to unmessed-with heirloom seed?

Keep messing with Mother Nature, guys. One of these days she's going to give you a good, swift kick in the ass that'll leave more than just a bruise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An Empty Bowl

Tomorrow, while gathered around the table with friends and family and way too much food to possibly consume, please place an empty bowl in the center of that table to remember all those who will still be hungry at the end of the day and how much you really are thankful for what you do have. Even if it isn't much, it's more than what's in that bowl.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

First Real Snow

Well, this is rather depressing. I know I should expect it, but it still stinks when it finally starts to accumulate in earnest.

Other parts of the country are gazing out their windows and spying bright spots of autumn color here and there - I'm glancing out the window and thinking of 'A Christmas Carol'. It always bums me out. Had at least 2" overnight and still coming down.

Black ice and accidents everywhere. I shouldn't be surprised about that either. People forget how to drive on the white crap, so with the first good snowfall that sticks to the road, or the appearance of the damn black ice makes for lots of slipping and sliding and slamming on the brakes. Which, of course, is the totally wrong thing to do. But people forget it's so very different to drive in these conditions. They'll get better as the weather gets worse, but for now, the rollover, ditch plops and fender-bender reports keep rolling in.

The static across the 'weather-know' airways is that we may get slammed pretty good starting the night before Thanksgiving. Man, I hope not! There are way too many people on the roads then.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gardenscape Tools Contest

Gardenscape Tools is having another contest.

Who can enter? "If you can dig and type, you can enter!"

Just give them an answer to this question: "My favourite thing about gardeing with my kids is ... "
The prizes:
First PrizeA pair of Felco ergonomic pruners - choice of F8 (right-handed) or F9 (left-handed) - the Cadillac of pruners
Second PrizeA Felco Folding Saw - new handle design makes it the most comfortable saw on the market.
Third PrizeFiskars MicroTip Shears - perfect for deadheading.

The answers to some of the previous contest questions really got me giggling.

Q; "I won't do that again! (garden related please)"
A: -"I won't roto-till the garden without the wife's permission, especially when she already planted it.

Q: "My idea of art in the garden is ... "
A: " the fine profile of my husband's behind, as he bends to pull a weed or two.

Lots of those contest questions would make great topic starters this winter. Hmmmm....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Our Missing Person

It has been 21 years since anyone last saw my sister-in-law, Ronnieta. I've never even had the chance to meet her.

She failed to show up at the airport for a flight from Hawaii to Texas. It's as if she fell off the face of the earth.

No one can fully understand the pain and frustration of a family when someone they care about disappears until it happens to one of their own loved ones. 21 years is a long time, but we aren't going to give up on her. Ever.

It has been one heck of a journey with many disappointments along the way. You get a hint of a lead and it ends up at a dead end. It's a new heartbreak every time we hit a wall.

Someone out there knows something, and they may not even know they know.

We think this picture was taken sometime around 1982 and she'd be 39 now. Take a good, long look at this cute face. Have you seen a woman who may have looked like her as a teenager? Maybe you know someone who would have known, or knows her?

Maiden name: Ronnieta Sue Kitchen

Birth Date: 7/31/1968

Eyes: Blue
Hair: Dirty blond
Height: Unknown
Weight: Unknown
Last seen: Near Hickam Air Force base O'ahu, Hawaii in 1986
Age now: 39
We're still looking, Ronnie! We won't give up on you. We understand if you don't want to be found, but please let one of us know you're OK. We all miss you and think of you every day.

Update: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

That's For The Birds

I made a couple birdseed wreaths yesterday. They turned out very nice and make great gifts!

Here's my recipe:

Use a pan large enough to hold at least 7 cups.

Bring 1 1/4 cup of water to boiling.

Remove from heat and add 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin.

Stir until dissolved completely.

Slowly stir in 6 cups birdseed and decorative items (I used some dried flowers. You can use anything that won't hurt the birds and that they'll like - cranberries, nuts, small interesting sticks, etc.) I've found that a 50/50 mix of regular birdseed and black oil sunflower seed is what draws a bigger crowd. After all, what's the point of making these and then the birds won't touch them?

Press into bundt pan well greased with vegetable shortening. Or you can use any interestingly shaped pan. Bread pans also work great - just put a toilet paper tube toward one end (make sure to leave plenty of room between the tp roll and the end of the pan you're using!) and fill around the tube.

Refrigerate for a few hours until firmed. (I leave them in overnight).

Remove onto a wired rack to dry for a day or two. (may take a bit of tapping on the pan to get them out).

String decorative ribbons through hole to hang in tree or place on a door. (you can hang them anywhere you'd like). You can add more decorations to the outside if you wish - nothing that will hurt the birds!

Since I had some extra globe amaranth hanging around, I added half of it to the pan before pressing the seed in so it would show more, then just stirred the rest into the birdseed mix. Turned out beautiful!

Since Thanksgiving is so close, why not set some cranberries aside to share with your feathered winter entertainers? :) They look beautiful in these wreaths, as do small pieces of apple (I stick these to the outside afterwords) and oranges or their peels. I suppose if you used one of those curly rind gizmos for the oranges or even lemons it would look very festive!

The second one I added some nuts and that came out pretty cool too.

Have fun with them. The birds sure will. Just don't expect them to last too long once they find them!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Free Candy Bar

I hate chocolate, but for all you weirdo people who like it here's the link for A Free Nestlé Crunch Crisp

Offer good daily between 9:00am-5:00pm (PT) whilesupplies last.

Watching The Snow Fly & The Blogs Roll By

I could watch for hours. NOT good:

"Blogger Play will show you a never-ending stream of images that were just uploaded to public Blogger blogs. You can click the image to be taken directly to the blog post it was uploaded to, or click “show info” to see an overlay with the post title, a snippet of the body, and some profile information about the blogger who uploaded it."

Damn you blogger...damn you!

And it also serves to remind me that I asked child #4 to please take a pic of a couple caorrots I pulled the other day that were so twisted together they looked as if they were hugging. (my commitment to thinning leaves much to be desired). But did she? Nooooo. Couldn't be bothered. So now they're just withered strips of dull orange that aren't quite garden blog worthy any more. ~sigh~

We've had our first snow. Very depressing. Then again, we've had snow in October some years, so I guess I shouldn't complain. November and December are our cloudiest months of the year around here. I can feel the SAD coming on now. Ugh!

I have SO got to get my butt out there and collect some more calendula to stuff in some kitty litter to dry. They've made it through many freezes and a few bouts with the white crap, but how much more can they take? I'd best get them today - I don't think I'll push the envelope. Strange how it seemed I was drying all these flowers (and the cosmos drieded perfectly with this method!) and when I have them all done and piled together, it doesn't seem like I've done many at all! Maybe I won't have enough for the kissing ball/tree ornaments. I best get crackin'.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Now why didn't they have stuff like this when my kids were little?

Garden Girlz

Ah, that's right...mine wouldn't have had the patience.

Perfectionist Gardening

Hobbies - there's tons. But exactly what is it with beginning gardeners that seems to make them think they have to have the perfect garden right off the bat?

Beginner knitters don't go for a fair isle sweater pattern, they try scarves.

Starter crocheters don't grab beadspread directions first, they try hats or potholders.

People who have never picked up a scrap of fabric before don't go gungho on starting with a wedding gown.

Beginner quilters don't try for a Baltimore album, they go for bears paw, nine patch or split rail.

So why do beginner gardeners think they have to have something yesterday that would rival the nearest public or botanical garden?

Gardening is a long slow learning process. Emphesis on long here. Honestly, I think it's part of what holds my fascination with gardening. I can only go so far with the sewing, knitting, quilting (yes, there are usually some little tricks or tips for the repertoire) - but there's always something to learn as you go with gardening.

That's exactly what flips my skirt, floats by boat, suits my fancy. Learning. I get to absorb something new every day.

And I make mistakes. 40 years of gardening and I still make lots of them. But, like knitting or sewing, you rip, tear, unweave and begin again.

Beginning gardening is no different than beginning any other hobby. You don't put together a 6 foot model of a DC-10 when you start fiddleing with airplane models. Unless, of course, you're only there for the fumes.

Maybe that's why I dislike all these 2 day garden programs. What happens when those hosts walk away? Are they conveying anything about how much water or other care these plants are going to need before the poor victims see thier backsides slide into a rig and wave buh-bye?

Maybe it's all the garden porn available. Come on - everyone drools over the porn! Look at the catalogs oozing with fabulous velvety leaves, plump blooms, glossy foliage, achingly sensuous colors splashed across the pages. Modesty be damned! And that a government agency actually delivers this luscious porn straight to your mailbox, without even a blush of embarrassment, is a total plus. Say it - you know you want it. You want it all.

Everyone wants it in their yard. Rows of alluring color. Fanciful silver foliage. Tempting, glowing softness dancing appealingly in warm summer breezes, tickled slightly with dabs of sunlight through rich, full, powerful trees.

And it used to drive me nuts that everyone else's garden looked so much better than mine. This is where I get to blame you bloggers. What IS wrong with you people, smattering porn all willy-nilly across the net and making the rest of us feel so totally inadequate? For shame!

I remember watching a garden show a while ago that had the most perfect garden. Or so I thought. Rows of grand flowers bending their blooms in the warm sun, fabulous color and design aspects, a different but electric feel in every part of that sucker. Until they got to the courtyard with a paver floor, all space between gloriously rich and full with baby tears. And then the host bent over and plucked a weed from the center of that green, lush, perfect garden. I felt so vindicated! Even perfect gardens have weeds! Even perfect gardeners aren't so perfect after all. Ah-ha!

Sorry people, but that 'perfect' garden that you drool over? You're not going to have it yesterday. Hell, you probably won't even have it in five years. I'm quite sure it only exists in our own gardening-warped minds. Relax, take a breath, stare at the porn and plan about what you will someday have. Don't feel overwhelmed, just start with that first patch of bare earth and a plant you love.

Gardening starts with that first spark of excitement. It expands, but it never ends!

And, by the way, there's no such thing as a perfect garden.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Seed To Try, First Frost

A lady from Kentucky sent me some interesting seed to try for next year. Well, probably more interesting to me than to people that grow them every year.

BES vine
Cypress vine
Picotee MG

Thanks barnbatt! She also sent me some Nicotiana, which isn't new since Kim sent me some last year, but they never seeded for some reason. I loved them though, so am so glad I have some more to grow next year. I'm going to try them in a different spot, I think.

We had our first hard frost last night. I haven't been out yet to check on damages, but thought I'd record it so I can look back on the date in future.

I finally cleaned out the mailbox bed. Sad to see it so bare.

I can't imagine if I could afford to do seed exchanges all the time. I dunno, maybe no lawn would be a good thing!

I don't know why I keep watching gardening shows so I can drool. I'll never have beautiful rows of azaleas, perfectly clipped hedges, enough spectacular flowering trees to divide my garden into 'rooms'. Why, oh why do I punish myself with garden porn?

In reality, I know it's nothing but a dream anyway. Who could manage to take care of that much garden? Being surrounded by farm fields, I have enough trouble keeping the weeds out as it is! Hmmm, the one downfall to living in the middle of nowhere? Not so funny when the air is so full of puffy weed seed that it looks as if it's snowing in August. And guess where they all land?

Kitty Litter Is A Wonderful Thing

Well, for cats and drying flowers it is. lol. Ok, and for planting pond plants (but only a certain kind!), and soaking up oil, and for slippery sidewalks, and, and...

I never tried flower drying that way before so thought I'd give it a wing. It worked great! I got much better results than I figured I would. Two weeks and voila! They came out perfect.

Well, maybe I'll just have to give some kissing balls a try.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

A New Tops On The Want List

Growing kiwi in Canada? Who knew!

Well, honestly, it isn't solely the novelty of the fact you can grow something towards tropical way up here in the great white north of Central NY, it's more about the form of this (vine) tree. It's fantastic! I wish I could find a decent pic somewhere on the web that really shows it off. Alas.

"A. arguta-Once established, they require minimal care. Vines are very hardy and can be grown northward into Canada and south to Zone 8. The plants are relatively insect- and disease-resistant."

Now, tell me, what's not to love about that?

"The fruits taste similar to those sold in food stores, but are much smaller, have smooth skin, and do not store well. Unlike A. chinensis, the fruit of hardy kiwi may be eaten skin and all."


Besides, it even tickles my crafty side:

"Cut vines can be fashioned into decorative wreaths much like those made from grape vines."


"Large, dark-green, oval leaves that are very hairy underneath adorn the vines. Fragrant, white flowers make it an asset in the spring landscape."

I can sooo picture three of these little darlings lined up beside the driveway, trunks surrounded by heaps of fabulous tulips in the spring. Sigh.

Why, oh why, wouldn't this be sold at every nursery to replace those God-awful problem children like Bradford pears that are seen in every landscape from here to Timbucktoo. It looks so wonderful when pruned into a tree form.

Really, would a little once-a-year pruning be too much trouble? Ok, so you have to have room enough for 2 - one male and one female. But, for the life of me, I can't really find a downside to this (vine) tree.

Why do I always seem to find the perfect plant I can't have? lol. Ahhh, well, it's definitely still on the top of the want list!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

There's Hope For Our Future Yet

Ever look around where kids hang out (like the mall-yuck!) and get that sinking feeling of, "We are so screwed if we leave the environment in the care of these kids?"

There's still hope!

“Operation Green” :

America’s Top Young Scientist of the Year- youngest winner ever

Erik, congrats, good for you. You go boy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hurry, Hurry!

The tree rats are getting pushy with their fall hunter-gatherer behavior. Not a good sign.


Today I guess I'll grab some hardy geranium cuttings to start new plants during winter.

I'm all seed gathered out. Man, that can get exhausting after a while. A sweater box jam packed full of flower seed should be plenty for winter sowing, right?

The new flower beds aren't getting anywhere. With D working weekends, my fall schedule has been thrown completely out of wack. The only good thing is that at this delay rate we'll be able to mow the leaves instead of rake. The clippings will be fantastic for the compost bin, too.

They finally chopped the corn field across the street. Yay! I have a view of the neighbors woods again.

I really should get out there and weed out the beds, but I just don't have the gumption.

The mums are looking fantastic, as are the snaps that rebloomed and the zinniaa are still going strong. The calendula have slowed, but are still hanging in. I've ripped all my containers and dragged the rest in for the winter.

The ponds are netted, but with the warm weather, the water is staying warm enough that the koi still wait for their meals every day.

I ripped out a lot of spurge that had gone bonkers, so the rock edges look neat and clean again. We got the rest of the stepping stone laid down through the pond walkways. Looks nice.

I transplanted a lot of thyme to the edges of the arbor pathway - regular and variegated. The contrast against the stone looks better, even though they're small yet.

I planted a few blanket flower sprouts in the half of the pond flowerbed that did get finished. I think I'll complement them with some black eyed susans, some verbena, lupine, maybe marigolds along the outer edge (lamium was a thought, but that's doing fantastic spillage on the opposite side of the path) and some zinnia on the inside edge. And a few drifts of cosmos - gotta have cosmos.

Hmmm ... maybe some purple coneflower. Nahhh, too clashy. Possibly gloriosa daisy. Iffy.

Amazingly, the mailbox bed is still doing well, so I'm holding off on ripping anything out of there yet.

I still need to clean off the front arbor and decide what will be climbing there next year. Someone offered me black eyed susan vine and some cypress vine, so maybe I'll give those a try at either end and put the pink hyacinth bean that did so well in the center. I don't know, I'll have to think on it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Complaint Of The Day

Menopause sucks. There's no other way to say it. Is just sucks.

I used to complain when Aunt Flo showed up once a month for a few days, but dang, now she's here at least twice a month lately, and unpacking her suitcase!

Maybe that wouldn't be too bad by itself, but the scrunching me in the gut and cranking the freaking thermostat up to 120ish is absolutely going to far there, Mrs.!

Oh, and please stop making silent noises so I can sleep a whole night through. Pretty please? 8 hours of continuous sleep would be delicious.

Ya know what? I think you need to pack that bag of yours and just git!

The least she could do is whip out that wallet and pony up for the extra expense she's causing me in the femininities aisle every week.

It's ok, she just altered my mood with her smart remarks, but that'll only last 5 seconds and I'll be on cloud 9 (er, maybe 7) in no time. Start those stop watches now - may last a whole 15 minutes before I want to smack her again!

Relatives can be such a royal pain in the ... uterus.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Can't Imagine

I have a creative mind. I think outside the box a lot ... sometimes too far. But there are just some things I can't manage to wrap my brain around. I'm not a judgemantal person. In fact, it's the thing I try hardest to steer clear of in my life.

Until I bump into 'those' people. And they are everywhere! I choose to call 'em Chemies. And they have absolutely no qualms about giving you the long-assed list of crap they throw on their property! Amazing!

You know - those people who dump mounds of chems on their yards - the fact that 80% of them are postage stamps doesn't seem to matter. To destroy the symptoms of the first round of chems, well, a second and third must be applied. Ugh! And if it happens to rain at a most inopportune time - apply more!

But what does happen to all those chems when it rains? Hmmmm ... Chemical cocktail anyone? Shaken or stirred. Lemon wedge with that, or 2 olives maybe?

Your well water tasting any different these days? Fertilize that ridiculously emerald green island that surrounds that house and watch the nearest stream turn the same damn color - only with algae instead of grass.

I know, blah, blah, blah, everyone has heard it all before. But why, oh why, don't people freaking listen? Maybe they've formed some sort of unconscious degree of deafness. Honestly, I think the dismissal hand wave is the universal sign of "I'm a Chemie and you ain't changing my mind with all that eco-friendly talkin'."

The things I can't imagine:

Digging in the soil and finding not one sign of life.

Having to scrub every inch of fresh picked veg to within an inch of its vitamin enriched life to get all the poisons off.

No birds in my yard because there's nothing safe for them to eat.

Not being able to throw a worm or slug to the koi from freshly turned soil without fear of giving them some type of fishy-cancer or killing them outright.

Not bending to sniff a flower in the early dawn light for fear of inhaling poison along with the flower's fragrance.

Being afraid for the health of my children rolling on the lawn during a game of tag.

Running to the store instead of the compost pile for fertalizer.

Not being able to garden bare-handed.

Having to filter my drinking water.

Not being able to pick-n-pop anything from the garden.

Being a bad example of a steward of the earth to my children.

And finally - just not caring about what goes on our property or in our bodies!

Possibly that's really a list of my subconscious fears.

I just don't get it. I simply don't. Maybe it's some sort of keeping up with the Jones'. My yard has to be greener than yours - make more veg than yours - have brighter flowers than yours. Beautiful yards and gardens take work, physical labor (yours and nature's), not chems.

Ahhh, but, you see, there's the rub! Chem free is always more beautiful and bountiful. It simply takes work. When will people finally get that?

Maybe if we weren't a world in such a rush and want instant gratification (2 day garden shows? Pulleezze!) it would be easier to knock some sense into these people. But they want fabulous yards and they want them NOW and God forbid they should have to pull a weed. Unfortunately, chems are marketed to give them just that dream. What a pity.

Imagine if chem labels had to list all the side effects - like meds? Oh my! Wanna bet people would still use them? The culture now is so self-medicating, it probably wouldn't matter anyway - saw an ad for a medical problem? - go tell your doctor you need a prescription, cause damn it, the med company said you do! Ever read Jeff Foxworthy's side effects bit? :

Jeff Foxworthy: I remember when I was a kid, there were two medicines: aspirin and Campho-Phenique, that was it. But they advertise these prescriptions, and half the time, the side effects are 50 times worse than what the thing cures! It's like, "Try new Flor-A-Flor. For itchy, watery eyes, it's Flor-A-Flor. Side effects may include: nausea, vomiting, water weight gain, lower back pain, receding hairline, eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis, itchy chafing clothing, liver spots, blood clots, ringworm, excessive body odor, uneven tire wear, pyorrhea, gonorrhea, diarrhea, halitosis, scoliosis, loss of bladder control, hammertoes, the shanks, low sperm count, warped floors, cluttered drawers, hunchback, heart attack, low resale value on your home, feline leukemia, athlete's foot, head lice, club foot, MS, MD, VD, fleas, anxiety, sleeplessness, drowsiness, poor gas mileage, tooth decay, split ends, parvo, warts, unibrow, lazy eye, fruit flies, chest pains, clogged drains, hemorrhoids, dry heaving, and sexual dysfunction." I'm like, "I'll just have itchy, watery eyes!"

He should do one for yard chems.

But, who'd read that long list of reprecussions on chems? They don't have time!

I simply don't have time to smack 'em all ... I have gardening to do.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Daughter Found A Deal

My oldest daughter knows how much I covet seeds. I know, bad, bad.

She was in a Dollar Shop at Sylvan Beach (who knew Sylvan Beach had a Dollar Shop?!) when she noticed this guy buying boxes and boxes of their leftover seed.

She kind of gasped and stared at him for a minute once she realized he took every last packet in the store. He looked up and said, "Oh, do you want some? Here." And threw a bunch in a bag for her.

.02 cents a piece! It was mostly zinnia seeds he gave up, (but who cares - I adore zinnia) but there was a packet of Roma tomato, some Okra and an Indian Mustard.

Hmmmm ... I've never had okra and no one can seem to describe to me exactly what it tastes like. Guess I'm just gonna have to try it!

We figured the guy that grabbed all of the rest of them would probably repackage them and either sell them outright or put them on ebay. Pretty good friggin' profit!

Well, I ended up with almost 50 packs of seed that didn't even cost my daughter 2 bucks! I think I taught her well.

Busy Hands

My niece just bought a house not too far from me, and with the house came a huge apple tree.
She's so busy moving in that all those beautiful apples were dropping to the ground and rotting, so she told me to come pick them...

Oh, boy, did we!

I've been hectic for the last week putting bags of pie filling, chunked, sliced, diced and applesauce in the freezer. I've made bread, pie, muffins and baked apples. I think we're appled out!

The growers were right if her apples are anything to go by - so ridiculously sweet it almost hurts your teeth.

Thank goodness my neighbor had a food mill I could borrow to do the applesauce. I used it to do the last batches of tomato sauce while I had it in my hot little hand, too.

It feels so good to have a full freezer! One less thing to stress about this winter. At least we won't starve. We might have the trots, but won't go hungry. lol.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Still Harvesting In October

Usually we're done pulling zucchini and cucumber out of the garden by mid-Septemberish (at the very latest). But, this is what we harvested this morning:

While most people are complaining about the heat lasting this long, I'm quite happy about it. No cold = no need for fuel. I know darn well that we'll get paid back for all this warmth keeping the temps of the lakes up when we end up with ridiculous amounts of lake effect snows this winter, but I'm still happy it's not cold! Besides, a nice snow cover will protect everything, right? Yeah, that's what I thought! And no...I don't need to be reminded that 10 feet is just too much. lol.

I don't think we've ever had a year when we've harvested zucchini and cukes after we've harvested pumpkins. Strange.

Today I'll be making more spaghetti sauce with a lot of the tomatoes still being produced, and maybe some zucchini bread now! The tomato plants just won't quit, and with temps not forcasted to drop too much any time soon, I may still be making sauce in November!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Don't Trust Her Anymore

Every Tuesday on the noon news they have a guest on newstalk: Dottie White from the Strawberry Geranium.

For years its been the orderly schedule of being in front of the boob tube at 12:17 with remote in hand ready to punch that volume button up enough to drown out sibling rivaly at the first sign of a raised voice - eyes and ears glued to that glowing screen, ready to catch every syllable of golden wisdom dripping from those knowledegable lips.

Now, it's not that I no longer like Dottie, because I do, she's a very likable person. I just don't think I can trust all her advice so much anymore which, honestly, makes me very sad.

I don't know why, but for some reason she's decide that the whole region is a zone 4, when it isn't anything of the sort. The channel 2 viewing area ranges all the way from 4b to 6a, with most of us stuck somewhere in the 5's. Hence, what will work in some areas croaks at the first wacked weather in another. Granted, with all the hills and valleys in central NY, there are bound to be unbelievable amounts of microclimates too, so generalizing makes me nuts! For instance:

She advises in (our) area to treat buddleia as an annual - rip it up in the fall and buy new in the spring because they will not overwinter here. Uh, soooo not true! Mine have had no problems at all, even with winters with no snow to speak of and wicked desiccateing winds.

Why not just say - depending on your area and the harshness (or not) of the coming winter, they may not return in spring?

Just like yesterday when she said hardy chrysanthemums are not hardy and will not make it through our winters. (ok, so lots of people have problems with so-called hardy mums not being so hardy) But I beg to differ - mine make it through just fine in my 'zone'.

There are many little tidbits of her advice I haven't agreed with over the years, but not enough to make me think she doesn't know her stuff - quite the opposite.

But, not so easy to say we're all a zone 4, and I don't think she should, because, well ... we aren't!

I really, really hate to say it, but maybe she just wants to sell more plants. After all, selling is her business. Have I been blinded by the electric glow all these years?

The Opposite Problem

Susan, over at Garden Rant, says she's "been known to give up on plants before they've had a chance to really show me their stuff."

I just can't do it! Even if I've decided I hate a certain plant, I'll still give it the benefit of the doubt - for years. I might move them around, but they always get a chance at making me go, "Ooohhh!"

Honestly, I don't think I've ripped out anything, nothing, nada until I've given it, at the very least, 3 years worth of growth to show me what its got.

Sometimes it takes that long for them to get that far. You know: sleep - creep - leap.

Seriously, I never thought about it before, but a lot of people will point at things in my yard and say, "Mine never looked like that." Well, yeah, because you ripped it out before it even had a chance to look that good!

Patience, oh gardening one, patience!

But, this then also results in problems. Lots of them. Why live with a plant you detest for 3 years? Wouldn't you rather stick in something that you adore? Something that makes you go 'oooooh' right now? Why take up prime garden bed real estate with crap when you can have a knee-jerker in that spot?

Well ... because.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Weather Woes Continue

A water emergency was declared this month - for the first time ever - new water restrictions have popped up everywhere, Hinckley (Lake) Reservoir is at the lowest point anyone can ever remember and now stands at only 17 percent of capacity.

Peoples' wells have been dry for weeks on end and many farmers are having to truck in water for their livestock (.01 per gallon at 50 gallon increments) or pay huge bucks to have it delivered.

NY's pumpkin crop has seen much better years. Lets just say they aren't going to see a bumper crop, if a crop even worthy of harvest, and get the wallet ready for the rise in price. Man, my pumpkin bread and pies are going to seem like a kings bounty this winter!

The changing of the leaves is almost 2 weeks behind schedule. The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is probably going to have to shuffle their schedule around a bit for 'peak' leaf peeping. Strange - the youngest maples on our property had peaked and dropped their leaves weeks ago and the older 'wiser' maples have barely a tinge of color. Obviously they weren't fooled by the frost that arrived much too early.

My brussel sprouts are suffering even though I tried to keep on top of the watering.

It will be back in the 80's next week (in October for pete sake!) with no rain forecasted for at least the next 8 days.

The upside:
The apples are awesome! The growers have pronounced this the best crop they've ever seen. Compact, but ridiculously sweet.

I don't think that kind of trade-off is anywhere near equal.

I'm just thankful it really isn't as bad as it sounds - several sections of the country have had it much worse than us this year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Like Him

Jamie Durie is the new host of The Victory Garden, and after a few shows I've decided I really, really like him!

What an improvement over Michael WeishYaMeanIGottaGetMyHandsDirty.

Mr. Durie actually has a personality. Heh, and that accent ain't too shabby either. And he touches things. With his bare hands! And gets dirt on himself. Dang, The Victory Garden now has sex appeal. Exactly what else have our Australian friends been hiding, eh? Good Lord, the man even has his own publishing company. I bet Micheal is cringing. lol.

Major kudos to The Victory Garden!

They did this really cool sculpture/tree thing with rebar and bouganvilla today. Yes, I want one for my patio! Obviously, I can't grow the bouganvilla, but I bet I can find something else that would look just as cool. Maybe Heavenly Blue morning glories, (a whole tree of blue!) or hyacinth bean.
Maybe both.
Ooooohhhh, the possibilities!

Muahahaha...the project list gets longer, and I'm enjoying this particular show again. Life is pretty good.

I Only Wanted To Frame Some Flowers!

I think I just had the worst day ever. Well, not really, but it felt like it.

My karma got warped while I slumbered, I think. Maybe I rolled over the wrong way.

Making coffee in the dark before dawn and step in a puddle of dog pee. Grrrr. I should have known right then to go directly back to bed, do not pass go, do not collect a good day! It's her way of protesting if we all leave the house at once and she actually has to be here alone. Woosie.

Turn on the kitchen light, clean up pee while still half asleep, throw the rug in the washer, I'll deal with laundry later anyway. Turn off light, finish getting cup of coffee, step in dog poo in the dining room. Great! Fabulous! Freaking peachy! I get it, honestly, I get her point - she's pissed we left her all alone yesterday. UGH! Another clean up session, back to my ever-loving cup of coffee I haven't even gotten a sip of yet.

I decided my happy flower year needed to be preserved for prosperity. Ha, ok, I wanted to press and frame some flowers. Wow, sounds boring when I type it that way.

Anyway, I got out the old frames and decided to start with the four leaf clovers. I needed to do something to reduce the piles hanging around anyway.

Yeah, I drop the frame and break the glass. Sigh. It's ok, you really can't notice the break too bad, it's at the bottom. (denial is a wonderful virtue?)

I reach to pick up the glass and slice the palm of my hand. Of course. Why not? Took forever to get the bleeding to stop, but I'll live.

I'm gonna get these flowers in these frames today if it kills me. I've waited a month while they pressed and I want to get it done and get that heavy-assed pile of 1970's car mechanic books stored back where they belong. Of course, the hubster has no idea the place I think the should be stored is 'the garbage'.

Hmmm ... easy enough to print out some white background paper with the latin names of all the flowers on 'em. Oooo, how artsie fartsy! And I can do them in pretty colors!

I get the color (perfect!) to match the flowers. Doesn't look right, but there are 8 frames, so I'll do 2 of each. Dang, I'm smart today! Have one all ready to print. Wait, the frames are cheap and the little stand thingy hangs lower than the frame. Looks terrible peeking out, so I'll tape it.

Yeah, as if. Kid has broken off the metal-tape-cutter-thingy and the dispenser goes flying - right into my computer, and 2 glorious karma seconds later - right into my computer 'off' button.

Well, there goes my custom color I'd picked. Sigh. Ok, so 2 of them won't exactly match in color. Don't tell, no one will ever know. I'll hang them waaaay away from each other.

Why did I only press one globe amaranth? I need more, the frame looks a bit empty. It's ok, they dry beautifully and will press right in the hanging frame, so I'll just pop outside 5 feet and cut a couple more...

...and step on a wasp. Sigh. Ignore the sting and grab the damn flowers! This is getting ridiculous!

Cut 'em quick and run back in the house, praying the whole time that I can make it all the way back in the door without something else happening.

Locate the stinger (well of course it had to be right between the toes), yank it out and watch the middle toe turn an angry red and swell 3 times it's size. Sigh.

Disregard the pain and get the frames done. Done, done, done!

Ok, they're on the wall. Admire them as you back into the table, slip, fall on the floor and spill a full cup of coffee. Uh-huh.

Rub sore butt, clean up coffee, and promptly smash the other foot into a table leg. What, was it jealous of the one with the sting?

I'm bruised, bleeding and swollen all over, and I'm not even telling what happened with dinner...


That's really all there is to say about this time of year.

I call it the 'inbetweener' season. Time to clean up the garden and flowerbeds and get out all those half finished quilts. Yet, the temps aren't playing fair and there are still things going strong, pushing away the urge to tidy up. There's still time. Summer hasn't vanished yet. But, it will. Soon. And that white shit will be everywhere. Soon. Ugh - the inbetweener.

The Toad Flax has had a second flush of bloom, so I'm glad I didn't get scissor-happy and shear everything off. The zinnias (of course) are happy, toms are still overflowing, and the peppers are ignoring the fact they aren't in a nice tropical environ - nevermind, it will be mid to upper 80's today, so let 'em go on thinking it. Buddleia are absurdly weighted with new blooms, petunias are still pushing on, as well as the snaps, marigolds and cosmos. The asters are spectacular.

I really should get out there and collect some bean seed for next year and rip the plants up. But it's so nice out. It's not time! Not yet. And I will continue to refuse to acknowledge that it is until I need to dig out my woolens.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tiny Tom Envy

Ok, so it might not be the smallest, but it is pretty tiny for a Rutgers. I waited and waited to see if we ever got a small one and yesterday, bam, there it was. I was excited to get to play too! :)

So, Carol, I'll see your tiny tom and raise you 3 teensy carrots!

I wonder what other unusually teensy veg everyone got. Hmmm...maybe I should check the peppers...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Change Shmange

I'm one of those people who dislikes change. Very much.

I've gotten used to getting up, grabbing a cup of coffee and wandering around outside with that steaming cup while, with the other hand, fingering flowers and leaves and jabbering to the koi (yes, they can distinguish between people) as the sun peeks over the edge of the horizon, throwing gorgeous rays of color over everything and the birds peep from the feeder while a warm breeze blows softly across the dew and tree leaves rustle. Ahhhhh.

Now...well, it's damn cold out there!

I have this awful twinge of regret and anxiety now that summer is heading off to ... somewhere.

Lordy, I need to move.

Everything in my house has a place, and it has all been it that same place for 25 years. (yeah, and probably some of that dust has had its 25th birthday as well). I still have the same dishes and silverware I had when we got married. New furniture is only aquired as a 'have to' because someone has fallen on the floor for the fifth time. Bills are always paid by check, none of this new-fangled online pay for me, by goobers! Cash at the register. Ancient, cracked and crumbling Christmas decorations hang on the same old, 'see the wire branches' tree, some held together with taped strings of lights. Hey, it is electrical tape! Maybe the cheap stuff, but still. And it comes in colors! Charlie Brown would be so proud.

Have I mentioned I don't like change?

Yet, I find it strange that the one thing I'm overly motivated to constantly change is my garden. I've just finished one corner and wham! I'll be darned, but the next bed has a few plants that aren't happy with their location. So, get out their little suitcases and move them and their dirt 3 feet to the left. Ahem.

Oooo, see, now there's a hole and a big empty spot there. Well, something else will just have to pack up their roots and move in.

Geeps...they're like bad, bad rental tenants with wanderlust. Heh, I wonder if I can start charging them rental space.

Nah, not worth it. Although, with all those wild parties they throw with the Japanese beetles and aphids, I bet I get to keep the security deposits.

Fall seems to be persistantly knocking at the front door with his suitcases piled on the steps behind. If he isn't careful he's going to bust out my glass with all that bangin' ... and then there'll be some-kinda-trouble.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fall Buys

I found some .99 clearance deals at Lowe's.

I actually won at bingo, so splurged a little, but still felt guilty. Of course, I had to reverse that by buying pants on sale for my youngest daughter. She needed them and they were only 6.99 AND buy one get one free. Hah, I love sales!

Anyway, I got 2 Ipomoea, Sweet Caroline Purple.
2 Setcreasea purpurea, Purple Queen
1 Mayapple
1 Trout Liliy
1 Virginia Blue Bell
1 Jack-In-The-Pulpit

And some packages of wildflower seed (for our wild patch) at the dollar store for .06! That's pretty much all they had left. The rest of the dollar stores were completely cleaned out. I don't know what I'm going to do about onion seed this year now. I have some veg seed left from last year and I've saved some of my own, so I'm hoping it'll be enough and they have a high germ rate or we're screwed.

The Purple Queen and the Ipomoea will go in the twin pots of spike plant. I'll have to 'pinch and poke' to get the pots full inside over the winter, (already in as it's 34 degrees!) but they both propagate pretty readily. I'm not quite as sure the Trout Lily will do as well. The packing media seemed really dry. Not good since they aren't supposed to be allowed to dry out - ever. We'll see.

My oldest daughter's ex-boyfriends grandmother (whew, mouthful) stopped up to collect some seed from the flowerbeds. Oh, I soooo hope the wintersowing goes well for her! She's such a sweet elderly lady. She's the one that asked if we'd like the plants from her mother's property when she finally had to go to the nursing home. The woman is almost 100 and was pretty devestated when a very young couple bought her house and could have given a rats a** about the plants when they plowed over everything to make an ATV and snowmobile track. And they cut all her lovely trees down. Ugh!

Anyway, I gave her seeds for everything in my yard that she didn't already have. Now I have my fingers crossed that all goes well for her.

Poor Peacocks

I forgot to plant my peacock orchids this spring.

Grrr! What was I thinking?

Or, rather, not thinking? Sigh.

All that business about getting them to grow last fall and ... well, frig.

I wonder if those neglected little bulbs will be ok until next spring? Yeah, when I can maybe remember to actually plant them!

Patio Power

We finished the patio this past weekend. Yay! I'm doing the happy dance.

We ended up resorting to getting the red shale by bucketfuls. Ugh!

But yes, it's finally finished. It took all summer, but done. And all for free. How much better does it get than that?

Now, I can't make up my mind exactly what to do plant material wise. Dig beds right along the outside edges? Build planters along the inside edges (along the walls of the house) and leave the outside edges clean cut? Lots of pots spread all over?

Well, we must at least have something climby on the little shed wall that is the cellar entrance. That thing is squat and ugly and must be covered with something, but NO ivy. Ick. That'd be one of my additions to Kim's Not In My Garden list. Love it in other peoples gardens, just never in mine. Hmmm ... what to put there?

Now, if we could just get the foundation planters finished before winter. Me thinks we biteth off more than we can cheweth. But no snow drifts under the walls will be worth it!

I Wish They Weren't Weeds

We've left a piece of land to do as it pleases. It's on a very steep slope (ok, cliff) that is simply impossible to mow, nevermind that it drops to a boot-sucking bog at the bottom.

And right now it's in its glory.

All summer long it has looked like nothing more than an unmanagable briar and wild things patch with a few phlox and queen ann's lace poking around here and there, but we've refused to cut it as it's such a grand wild things haven. Good thing I don't have any of those 'Turn You In' sort of neighbors, eh?

But right now that little untended plot is spectacular! Drifts of goldenrod are interspersed with wild aster, both with outrageously deep color this year, and peeking through on occasion is a splash of bright, glowing white bind weed.

Oh, how I wish they weren't such invasive weeds. I'd have them smack-dab in a front flowerbed. Just because.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kim's Blue Moon

So, I grew it, but we all think of it as Kim's since she's the one that sent me the seed for it.

:) Thanks again, Kim!

Just after I sliced it in half, I realized my daughter could have taken a pic of it with her web cam. Duh! Obviously it wasn't going to take any award winning pictures, but you get the jist. So I held it back together while she snapped a pic. lol. Look at that color! Isn't that something?

There is another one still on the vine, but we're going to leave it be for a while.

33" around! It got much bigger than I thought it would, and the smell! Oh, my! Everyone was busy sniffing - it smelled just like watermelon! I swear! It was very strange - your brain knowing you're looking at a pumpkin, yet smelling watermelon. Of course, now cooked, pureed and frozen, it smells like yummy pumpkin. Look how gorgeous this thing was inside-

I cooked pureed and froze 1 regular orange pumpkin too, so pies, bread and cookies galore this winter. Well, I'll be processing another one today and making cookies, as I think the kids feel a bit cheated since they keep smelling it cooking, but never get to taste any of the spoils.
I roasted most of the seeds and held back a few to see if we could grow some more next year. Hey, with pumpkins this good, it's worth a try at coming out close to the parent!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Emotional Times

My birth mother passed on from cancer the morning of the 5th and with 9/11 coming it has been one huge emotional rollercoaster this week.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Thought I Was Losing It

Yesterday, I honestly thought I was losing my one true talent in life.

That'd be finding genetic anomalies in my lawn, as in, 4 leaf clovers.

I know, I'm a freak. I can be just walking along, look down and pluck a 4 leafer from the ground. Drives people nuts, especially the family.

A few years ago, I sat on the lawn at a picnic we were having for my eldest daughters birthday, and while everyone was playing croquet, I plucked 22 in about 18 minutes.

Now, you'd think that'd be something cool, right? Ahhh, but they all already knew I could do this, so it was no big deal. Besides, the luck thing? SO not true! If finding them really was lucky, I'd have either won the lottery fifty times by now, or Donald Trump would have sent me a blank check.

I have a lot of old picture frames hanging around, so I thought I'd maybe press some flowers from the flowerbeds this year and fill the frames. You know, the old fashioned way - in books.

So, I set out across the lawn yesterday to find some 4 leaf clovers for one of the frames. Figured it'd look cool having a bunch clustered together across a white background.

Well! Do you think I could find the damn things? 45 minutes later and I'd found 2. A lousy 2!!

Ugh! Of course, I immediately blamed the hubby for mowing them all down. He absolutely hates the fact that I can find them at all, since he's never found a one. Not even when I've pointed them out to him can he find them, then if he does see it, says, "No good. It's not lucky. I didn't find it, you did!" Well, at least he admitted to mowing them all down on purpose. :)

So today I was on a mission. I was going to find the damn things if it took all day!

Well, it didn't! Yay!

In 30 minutes I found 17, 4 leaf - 4, 5 leaf - and 1, 6 leaf!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm A Seed Snatcher

Is there a 12 step program for that?

Ok, so I guess I don't deserve a badge. It's not like I snatch from places I'm not suppose to. For instance, I would never think about just going into someone's yard and grabbing seed without asking, or from a public or botanical garden.

But, ditches, meadows, neglected pots at gas stations, mall strips? Mine! Just a few, mind you, and enough left to let fall where they may.

I think this seed saving thing is an addiction of some sort. Like, I'm not happy unless there are fifty plates sitting around the house covered with drying seed. There's something very primeval about running a fingertip through those little balls and sticks.

Alright, I'm really not even close to being in the big leagues with some's not like I have a closet or fridge filled with boxes and file cabinets full. My plastic food containers are actually used for, well, food! I know, I know, I'm such a slacker!

My husband seems to be appalled, and yet, at the same time intrigued with this behavior. Kind of a, "You go long as they don't think I know you." lol.

I'm on a mission at the moment. The gas station has these beautiful (and of course neglected) red daylily. Yeah, i know they probably won't come true, but...

must have!

One of these days I'll get up the nerve to ask someone at the college if I can have some seed from Root Glen public gardens. Now that would be hitting the motherload!

I Hope The Government Is Right

There, I've said it!
Yes, I said it and then promptly slapped my own wrist.

The Farmers Almanac says this winter (for Upstate NY) will be colder than normal and with much more snow.

The government weather geeks are predicting warmer temps with less snow.

See? Now how could I not say it...though, with a grimace?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yard Pics, August 2007

My eldest daughter stopped up today and took some pictures of the yard for me. Yay!

The impatiens I overwintered as house
plants now surround the base of the big maple

My creative effort of bathroom sink
and vanity chair planters :)

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory
My daughter thought this one looked
like it had a glowing star in the center

Water Lily

Gloriosa Daisy

Last of the Baby Blue Eyes (thanks Kim!)


Ponds & bog
(veg garden in the distance-
look how tall that corn is!)

shade bed

Front flower bed

Front arbor bed.
My youngest daughter chose
the fab color : Florida Bay Blue.
Everyone loves it!

Even though it's winding down now, I still love how everything looks this year. Thanks so much to Sissy, Kim and Don for making it look so fab! Without you guys sending me seeds, well, it certainly wouldn't have looked anything like this!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Well, This Is Just Not Cool

30 degrees in Saranac Lake Sunday night, August 19.

I ventured out to the gardens yesterday and needed a coat. A brisk wind and 62 degrees for a high feels mighty cold to my summer warmed skin. Both my body and brain are not ready for this.

That 'fall panic' feeling hits me like a wet, smothering blanket "Must get food in the freezer. Now!"

It takes a lot of mental force and deep breathing to push that panic away. I finally convince myself there's still plenty of time.

And then I see our young maples already colored up with their fall oranges and reds and immediately return to panic mode.

"But it's still August," I try harder to convince myself. The butterflies and hummingbird moths are still adding to the bright colors of the buddleias. Huh, I thought I read somewhere that butterflies needed to have air temps of at least 70 degrees to fly. Well, blows that fact all to hell, if it was even a fact to begin with.

"Ah, see, hummers and monarchs are still here, plenty of time."

And then my eyes scan the sky for the source of that echoing, depressing sound. The recognizable 'V' honks gracefully by overhead, their dark wings seemingly made a few shades darker against the deep mottled gray of the clouds hanging low above them.

I sigh and frown as that panic feeling washes over me once again.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Intense Summer

And I can see it's going to be a crazy fall.

They're talking frost warnings for Saturday night to the north, in freaking August.

Lake effect rain expected. Yeah, "lake effect"! Ugh...I'm not ready to start saying those words in any capacity!

We got pounded on from storms last night - we lost power once and had wicked straight line winds - but thank goodness we didn't get the golf ball and ping pong ball sized hail they got just to the north and east of us. Lots of cars lost glass. I'll take the deluges of rain and lightning instead, thanks. Ok, so the lightning took a few trees out, but still better than hail that size!

This whole years worth of weather has just been nuts. I know I keep saying it's been like that, but in all of my years growing up on the farm, I never saw a whole years worth of mess like this. Extremes, yeah, but never all in the same year.

It was bad enough that things got shredded with the last round of downpour and hail. I wonder how my melons are gonna handle this next jolt?