Saturday, May 30, 2009
After a full day kneeling and sitting on the ground, I'm not nearly as stiff and sore as I might have been. Now I really will have to get mulch ordered. The de-grassed and de-weeded areas won't stay that way long without it. Remember how I tilled up the garden just last weekend? There are parts of it that are already pretty heavily infiltrated with grass. Ugh. Perhaps by Monday, the ground will be dry enough that I can hoe out the weeds. Things are still pretty soggy from the rain this past week.
As a "reward" for all the sweaty yard labor, I hopped into the pool. Well, that was technically work too. I got the steps re-assembled, vacuumed the whole pool and got the pool cover all the way off. I floated around for a bit on my floatie, but the water was still just a bit cool to be comfortable. Once I hopped out, I spread the pool cover out over the grass to dry. Tomorrow I'll flip it right side up, scrub it clean, let it dry again and put it away for the summer.
On a less laborious note, I did harvest 8 red raspberries today and the blackberry crop looks like it will be a big one. I'll have to dig up some of the volunteer blackberry canes and relocate them or the current bramble patch will be too dense to harvest well.
I also met some of my neighbors when I was digging things up in the front yard. They had noticed my motorcycle in the garage and asked me if I'd be interested in riding with them and a group of their friends. I said that would be great and the told me I'm welcome any time. I also had to tell them that I'm temporarily grounded due to a seized throttle cable, but that I would definitely join in on a ride once I'm back up and running again. They've got a Gold Wing, their son has a CBR about half the age of mine, and one of their friends has a Harley. They seem like nice folks to get to know.
I will need to mow the lawn yet again and I'd like to get at least some of the grass out of the blackberry brambles. If I'm still energetic after all that, I might work on re-shaping the planting area by the deck. I started working on that before the spring rains came, but didn't get it finished yet. I'd like to get it done before the summer heat arrives and the ground becomes hard as a rock.
Last weekend I woke up with a quilt pattern in my head. I would like to get it sketched out and have a go at writing up instructions too. That should be a nice break from all the hard labor. There's the usual odds and ends of housekeeping as well. I forgot some clothes in the dryer earlier this week so there is ironing to do. Not my favorite job, but it needs to be done just the same.
In the meantime, I'm going to put my feet up, have a bowl of strawberry shortcake and knit while I watch Eureka on Hulu.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Aw poo. I eviscerated a toad with the aforementioned weed whacker. I can only hope it was a quick death with little pain.
Hooray! I was given a new project to work on and was also asked if I'd be interested in moving to work at the central office, should a project grant be awarded.
Aw poo. My apple tree apparently got frost-bitten at/around blossom time, so there will be no apples this year. (There are no baby apples on said tree now and there should be, if there were going to be apples this fall.)
Hooray! I found the bolts to the pool steps in the bottom of the pool vacuum storage bin.
Aw poo. The water is still tool chilly to climb in there and fix the steps. The top of the ladder also fell into the pool, so I'll have to retrieve it before I can assemble everything.
Hooray! The weather will be non-rainy and in the 80s for the next four days so I can get the pool steps re-assembled AND plastic floats, so I can even get the ladder top back where it belongs without too much work.
Aw poo. My new pants really are about 1/2 inch too short, now that I've worn them a couple times.
Hooray! I discovered the joy of the elliptical machine today. I went three miles in 30 minutes, compared to 2.25 miles in 35 minutes on the treadmill. I may never go back to the treadmill.
Aw poo. Thanks to the aforementioned elliptical fun, I may end up getting smaller again, thus necessitating another clothes shopping trip.
Hooray! If I go pants shopping again, I'll be able to get pants which are the appropriate length.
Hooray! There is a fledgling mockingbird in my front yard, flapping his wings and squawking at his/her parent, who is watching from a nearby tree. Parent gets agitated when I go on the porch and junior is in the yard. Baby just hunkers down and watches, instead of squawking and flapping.
Hooray! I love the smell of cooking sweet potatoes. I have a nice recipe for sweet potatoes with kale that is delicious. The sweetness of the potatoes mellows the strong flavor of the kale, plus it's such a beautiful color contrast and healthy too!
Aw poo. There is a plastic container with a serving of sweet potatoes/kale in my refrigerator from at least two weeks ago. It's not exactly green and orange any more. I suspect it smells rather unpleasant too.
Hooray! I ate six red raspberries out of my garden yesterday when I finished mowing the lawn. I'll weed the berries this weekend in preparation for mulching them well.
Hooray! It looks to be a bumper crop of blackberries again this year.
Hooray! Strawberries on oatmeal are yummy!
Aw poo. My sliced strawberries froze into a giant strawberry glacier, instead of being easily separated from each other.
Hooray! Chunks of frozen strawberries work very well in smoothies.
Hooray! The day lilies are blooming. I would not have expected pink and orange blossoms to go so well together, but they do.
Hooray! Not only are the day lilies blooming, they're also attracting hummingbirds.
Hooray! The calla lilies are blooming very well this year. They are a deep fuschia color. I may have to make a bouquet for the house.
Hooray! Quacky says hello.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I have *got* to remember to buy healthy snacks for work when I go shopping this week. I'm done with the vending machine snack supply. For starters it's expensive. On top of that it's nothing healthy. I'd prefer a snack a bit lower in sugar content than Odwalla bars, but it's still a couple orders of magnitude better than Cheetos, which I'm convinced have negative nutritional value. Later this week I'll pick up boxes of Berries GoMega and Banana Nut bars.
Ideally, I'd make myself some energy bars, but then I would have to a) remember to cook them every week and b) remember to take them with me every day. I like the idea of having a stash of healthy snackies in my desk drawer. That's much more likely to be a successful solution for me at this time.
Here's the reward I gave myself yesterday for putting away my laundry, cleaning the house and getting other miscellaneous work done. Isn't it delicious?
Monday, May 25, 2009
I do, however, have recipes that I mostly only cook in winter or summer. Does that count?
Humidity Has Arrived
So, it rained yesterday. Then the sun came out and got the temperature up to 80+ degrees. Then it rained again while it was that warm. By the end of the day it was steamy. I broke down and turned on the air conditioning. I'd hoped to hold out until at least June, but alas it's not to be this year. The optimist in me says the humidity will drop a bit and I'll be able to turn the A/C off for a while. The realist points out that it's going to rain every day between now and Friday so the odds of humidity decreasing are pretty small.
I wrote up a nice long list of things to do this weekend, most of which involved working outside. Now the outdoor stuff is on hold due to rain and I am not terribly interested in working on the indoor stuff. Perhaps I'll start with a little knitting and brain melting mindless television, then move on to the ironing and folding of the laundry. I'll clean the shower when I'm in it cleaning myself. (I've always found that to be the easiest way to clean a bathtub since I always splash myself badly anyway.) Today's "frog" will be paying bills, cleaning the miscellaneous papers out of my backpack and then filing, throwing away or otherwise dealing with those papers. For now I just want to be a giant slug on the couch. Perhaps some strawberry shortcake will liven me up. Eventually I'll get bored of being a lazy slug and just get the work done, probably around lunchtime.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Update: A few photos posted, plus end of day update.
I'm headed outside shortly to start some marathon yardwork. Well, as much yardwork as I can do while the weather holds out. There is an 80% chance of rain for each of the next three days. I still haven't finished planting my garden because the rains came. Now the unplanted part of the garden has been taken over by grass and weeds. I'll go till it back up shortly and get it planted. It's been too wet to till the ground until the past day or two. Now I'll have to get it done today or I'll lose my window for dry ground.
Also on tap for yardwork is de-grassing the raspberry bushes by the
A woman at work gave me some excess monkey grass and hostas that she had, so I planted them around the bottom of the snake tree, behind the garden shed. Now that it's all mulched, it looks very nice. Much nicer than weeds. I was amazed at how much nicer the mulch makes everything look. I may have to get the nursery down the road to deliver a trailerload of mulch. I had been purchasing it by the bag from the home improvement store, but I'm now sold on the improved aesthetics of the mulch so I might as well buy in bulk and get it all done faster and cheaper.
The pool is nearly ready to go. I will need to find the bolts to attach the steps that go in the pool to the ladder that is outside the pool. I thought I'd left them attached to the steps, but apparently I did not. I'm sure they're in a safe place in the garage. I'll add some clarifier to the pool when I head out to the garden. That'll get the last of the dead algae removed and we'll be all ready to go. This evening I may have to hyperventilate myself/blow up my pool floatie, not that I'll be using it this weekend with the impending rain, but it's good to be prepared. I've already purchased my first 6-pack of beer for the summer. There's nothing more relaxing to do at my house after a loooooooong day of yard/housework than to lay on the floatie, listen to music or a book on tape and drink a cold beer.
Must Find New Pool Pet
My sharkie has developed an unfortunate habit of sinking. I don't currently have a pool pet. I have a couple of rubber duckies in the house, but I don't know that I want a duckie in the pool. I did find a small toy boat in the shed. Perhaps that will suffice. The floating solar-powered pool lights have finally crapped out too, which is fine (they were here when I bought the house). I could take them apart and clean them up, but I don't know that I'm that motivated.
There was a big fire to the west of my house today. It was a couple miles west of my place. At first I thought it was at the Amphibicow Farm, but once I got home I was able to figure out it was further west than that. The pumper from my little county fire station was headed out to the fire when I came home from running errands. I hope nobody got hurt and I hope the damage wasn't too bad.
Even though the weather may not cooperate, I'm going to have a picnic on Monday. Today at the farmer's market I purchased some green beans, new red potatoes and 12 pints of fresh strawberries. My picnic menu will be a fresh green salad with cucumber and green onions, potato salad, homemade baked beans, potato salad, steamed green beans and strawberry shortcake.
Obviously I won't eat all of the strawberries with my strawberry shortcake this weekend, but I will have plenty to slice and freeze for my oatmeal. That'll tide me over until the blackberries ripen. I may make some freezer jam too. I've still got pectin and jars from last summer, when I never quite worked up the nerve to try making jam. I've now decided that if I make jam and it doesn't set up right that I'll just have to make some strawberry (or blackberry) coffee cake or muffins or just call it strawberry syrupy stuff and put it on my oatmeal and pancakes. Remember, if it's edible, it's NOT a failure.
When the Weather Fails to Cooperate
I have just discovered that Turner Classic Movies is showing a 72 hour marathon of war movies. I don't think they've ever run three days of them before, just one or two days. American Movie Classics is showing westerns and today seems to be featuring the classic spaghetti western from Sergio Leone, with Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood. Tonight's prime time feature will be Pale Rider. My latest Hulu obsession is Eureka. So far I've only watched the first episode from season one. That leaves me the rest of season one and all of season three (season 2 isn't available for online streaming). I'll finish up my housecleaning errands, get the laundry folded/ironed and put away, then spend some quality time knitting.
End Of Day Update
(sorry for no yard/garden photos yet. I never did take any pics of the work I did)
I got the garden tilled up and planted. I ran out of sticks to mark where I planted cucumbers and squash. I also just realized that I have no zucchini plants this year. I'll have to fix that tomorrow or Monday. I can't go for a summer without growing zucchini. I've got just enough room for two plants.
There was, however, a tragic accident involving my tilling activities. I hit a toad. :-(( Said toad is now missing his left hind leg. I saw him hopping away after I went back over the freshly tilled area to plant it. If he hadn't been hopping funny, I wouldn't have noticed. I moved him to an area of the garden where I wouldn't accidentally step on him. I hope he does ok. I feel really bad about hurting him.
While I was tilling, I tilled up the far left corner of my yard. Technically this is part of the neighbor's yard, but it's been an overgrown weedy mess since I moved in (and had a different neighbor). Now it's been de-weeded, tilled up and overseeded with coreopsis. Tomorrow I'll overseed the lawn edge with grass seed and keep it watered well. There is a nice oak seedling growing in there too. I'll dig that up and transplant it tomorrow. I don't want it to accidentally get mowed over. I also tilled up some of the back lawn on the edge of where I overseeded things last fall. Slowly but surely I'm replacing the awful Bermuda grass with a bluegrass/fescue mix. It looks soooooo much better and feels great to walk upon. The main part of the front lawn is already mostly cool season grass. I just need to kill the weeds off and let the grass shine through.
When I talk to the local nursery about delivering some hardwood mulch to my house, I'll also inquire about the delivery of straw bales too. I could use about six square bales to mulch my garden and the areas of grass that I'm re-seeding.
I didn't quite get to the de-grassing of the raspberries by the shed. I did wave at them though. And I tilled up the bare, rocky ground on the opposite side of the shed, then spread bee balm, butterfly weed and coreopsis seed over it. I also planted some of the Rose of Sharon seeds I saved from last year's blooms. That whole bed could really use some mulch too, since I'll need to keep it well watered.
The pool is clarifying itself as we speak. I still cannot find the bolts for the ladder/steps. I have absolutely no idea where they are. I will look one more time in the pool vacuum storage bin, but I'm pretty sure they aren't in there. I was positive I had put them in my toolbox or on the blue wood bookshelf in the garage. Hmmm.....
And now I'm sitting in my comfy chair, having just finished up my first beer of the summer as well as two bean burritoes. I finally started buying sliced jalapeno peppers in the jumbo-sized 1.5 quart jar, rather than the little 12 oz jar, since I consume most of a jar each week. Made an interesting discovery. The peppers in the big jar are just a teensy bit hotter than the ones in the little jar. Ooooooh that was a nice flavorful burn. I'm glad I didn't put on as many peppers as I have been eating or I wouldn't have been able to eat my dinner.
All I have to do now is figure out whether to watch Pale Rider, CSI: Miami or Hulu while I work on my knitting for the next 30-60 minutes.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
First, urine is mostly water anyway, with some salts dissolved in it along with various water soluble metabolites. Your kidneys filtered it out of your blood and your blood got if from normal metabolic processes and what you ate/drank. Technically, I suppose the media could also announce that you're peeing urine made from blood, but that's beside the point.
Second, consider where the water in your home comes from. Given that the water from my tap comes from the city water system, that means it's come through the water treatment plant. Said water treatment plant gets at least some of its water from (gasp!) the sanitary sewer system. Additional water enters the system from surface water supplies (i.e. lakes and rivers), in which wildlife, birds and people are more than happy to pee, poop and die. Yes, sports fans, it's true. There was once urine, among other things, in my municipal water supply. And then it was filtered, settled, filtered, flocculated, filtered and either ozonated or chlorinated, then pumped through a relatively old (and non-sterile) delivery system to my house. Tastes pretty good straight out of the tap too.
Third, drinking water made from urine still tastes better than drinking Tang like the Gemini and Apollo astronauts supposedly did. (Hey, that's what the Tang marketing dweebs told us!)
Fourth, consider that there is a finite amount of hydrogen and oxygen on the planet Earth, not just in artificial environments like the International Space Station. That means that the hydrogen and oxygen in the water I am presently drinking from the aforementioned tap, has been used before. It's been inhaled before. Digested before. Pooped before. Ingested before. Fermented before. Urinated before. It's been in numerous inorganic and organic compounds. Heck, the last water molecule that crossed my lips a moment ago may once have been a part of Isaac Newton or Genghis Khan or a dung beetle in the Sahara or the dung beetle's dung collection. Doesn't it just boggle the mind to think that there might be an atom or two of Michaelangelo in you? Or a seahorse? Or an orchid? Not to mention the water made from urine. It really is a small world and it's been recycling raw materials since day one, or at least since the decomposers started working. It shouldn't be so amazing that astronauts are drinking water made from urine. We've been doing that on Earth since we started imbibing the stuff.
Monday, May 11, 2009
and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
At the suggestion of author Brian Tracy, I have been starting my day by choosing to do the biggest, nastiest, most unpleasant thing on my list of things to get done. Even if I accomplish nothing else all day, I have at least accomplished that one "bad" thing. If, on the other hand, I save the "worst" thing for last, I tend to do lots of other things that aren't even on the list in order to avoid the "worst" thing, so it keeps getting put off and put off. It is amazingly more productive to just jump in and get the nasty bad thing out of the way right up front. If it's a particularly large job, jump in and do 15, 30 or 60 minutes work on it, then move to something else for a few hours. When that time is up, go back and do another 15-60 minutes work. Repeat until the "bad" thing is done. Putting it off over and over again just causes the big bad frog to become larger and even more foul tasting. For me, it's much more productive and enjoyable to eat the frogs early, often and when they are small.
Over the past several months, I have been diligently eating frogs and also following the suggestions of FlyLady to do a little bit of cleaning every day. That's how I got through the decluttering and cleaning prior to having my aunt, uncle and grandma visit a few weekends back.
However, now that I accomplished my tasks, I am presently without frogs to eat. I think part of the reason why I have had no motivation lately is not because I'm burned out or don't want to do things. I just don't know where to start. I'm lacking structure and immediate goals at the moment. I need to spend a few hours and write out a list of things I need to work on, then prioritize them by degree of importance/urgency and also by "frogness". I certainly have a list of things I could be doing. Time to figure out what to do first, set myself some finite goals, and start making progress, one frog at a time. This sounds like a fine task for a leisurely breakfast at Perkins or a leisurely cup of coffee at the bookstore this weekend.
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Home Improvement Projects
When my aunt, uncle and grandma were visiting today, my aunt asked what was next on my home improvement project list. The only thing I could think of was painting the baseboards and trim inside the house. After everybody left, I remembered that I've been meaning to clean and stain the deck for some time. Both of these projects should probably wait until June or July, when it isn't raining every other hour. Certainly the deck cleaning/staining will have to wait until then. Other than that, I haven't got any projects planned for the house itself. Somehow that doesn't seem quite right. Surely there is *something* else that needs to be done that I can do.
I find myself in a rather unusual position. By early afternoon on Saturday, I had finished all the work I was going to do all weekend, leaving half of Saturday and all of Sunday with nothing particular to do. I'm completely at a loss for what to do now. At the moment, I'm just hanging out in my favorite chair, mentally reviewing a list of things I could do to see if anything in particular appeals to me. I'll probably end up watching a movie on Hulu and knitting. I could, of course, keep working on the decluttering or move data off the old (non-current computers), but somehow I think I've earned a weekend off from chores, given the recent busyness at work and cleaning accomplishments at home. Time to fix myself a snack and settle in for a nice movie.
On the other hand, this newfound extra time gained by getting ahead of the cleaning/putting away tasks means that I can now start tackling my goals lists--learning programming languagues, writing up knitting patterns, etc. That's definitely a good thing.
April Showers Bring May Flowers
Thursday, May 07, 2009
I have no idea what kind of snake this is other than shiny, sleeping and big. I do know it's not a rattlesnake since I can see the plain smooth end tip of its tail sticking out from under a fold of the landscape fabric. Last year, when I described the size of the snakeskin I found, a co-worker thought it might be a "chicken snake", aka a Gray Rat Snake.
Between the neighbor's dogs and the snake, I don't think the yard moles haven't much of a chance this year.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
The cupcake is by Gigi's Cupcakes. You can find their menu here. What was really cute was that the box of assorted cupcakes that showed up at work came with a full color picture menu so you could figure out what flavor cupcake you were selecting. I've had the Miss Princess before too. The strawberry cake was splendid. The strawberry buttercream on the Strawberry Shortcake is also very flavorful. I'd like to try the Pink Lemonade, Lemon Dream Supreme, Merry Margarita, Key Lime and Pumpkin Cream some time. If you like chocolate, any of the cupcakes made with Devil's food cake would be an excellent choice for you. They are seriously darkly chocolate, but with just the right amount of sweetness.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Speaking of Roses....
All the leaves fell off one of the rose bushes last night. Now, it did rain quite hard a couple days ago, but this is a bit excessive, especially for the one bush that's protected by the house and fence. The plants further out (and less protected) look a whole lot better. That's not a good sign. It'll still bloom nicely this summer (based on past summers), but it'll be pretty much nekkid except for the blossoms. *sigh*
Hopefully the fungicide I bought today will help keep the black spot and spider mites from killing the leaves on the rest of the rosebushes. Other than the lack of leaves, the roses are gorgeous. Now I just need it to stop raining for a few days so I can get the spray put on.
Elsewhere in the Garden
It looks to be another excellent year for blackberries. The brambles are once again covered with blossoms. I wasn't sure I'd get heavy production again this year since I actually cut back the brambles like you're supposed to do, but I was wrong and all the gardening books were right. I'll have a freezer full of berries again this summer.
Even the raspberries are setting fruit this year. This is the first season I'll have fruit from them. I brought them with me three years ago as seedlings.
The neighbor's dog pack has dug a few holes in my yard and garden. As much as a nuisance as it can be, they don't do it maliciously or without reason.
They're hunting down the mole population. I wonder if the local chicken snake is still hanging around also stalking the rodents. I've even seen the neighbor's cat snag a mole out of my yard.
The irises bloomed well this year. The daisies started to bloom just after the irises hit their peak, which made for some lovely color contrast.
Random Photos Just Because
Here's Quacky the Porch Duck in his new home
And the golden glow of a new sunrise
Saturday, May 02, 2009
I am racking up some serious comp time hours though, so that's good. Part of me would rather just have the cash since having things calm down enough to take time off is tricky and I don't really have anything to do with extra time off anyway. I'd probably just end up running errands, working out or mowing the lawn.
At any rate, I have managed to spend the entire morning sitting in my comfy chair when I should be cleaning the house or could be knitting. I was just about ready to get up and take a shower but then I found that the Oxygen channel was once again showing The Lake House. I don't know what it is about this movie, but I have a hard time walking away from it. I'll have to give that some more thought. Right after I take a shower.