Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Splash

I got splashed. Also, very nicely complimented. Thank you
  • Rob
  • !

    Now, some of y'all who are just visiting... leave a note or two would you please?

    Thank you again!

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    So Close I Can Almost Taste It. But I Won't.

    It was a very beautiful day early, but it got a little cloudy later. We even had a misty rain for a few moments. Sigh.. but only for a few moments.

    We need a good hard soaker for a day or four. Then we'd green up quick! It's amazing really, what a good spring rain will do. I always look forward to the one rain that really changes it from "winter" to SPRING!

    The grass gets so green I have to restrain myself from taking a big bite out of it. (It doesn't taste as good as it looks, really. No, I'm not telling you how I know that. Nor when I found that out.) (Really)

    Some of the trees are already budding out. This is early even for us. We're about a month early.

    This tree is in my side yard. The other ash trees aren't budding, but this one is. It's on the most sheltered part of the house, but it lost it's leaves in December with the others (yah! we only had leaf fall in DECEMBER).






    The bigger green leaves are from a morning glory vine that is invading the universe. It's blooming too. Nice blue, huh?


    This has been a very strange year.



    I'm ready to start planting things, and some of the beds are ready for the seeds. I'm just waiting for them to be delivered.

    Oh, the loose dirt on the bricks? Well, Brain-Dog decided that digging around the dirt looked like so much fun, he did a little himself.

    The back yard is slowly getting back into shape. The little bed I made (well, Sr. M made, but I pointed) was repaired and we planted some pretty begonias. Here are some closeups:

    Spitty approves of the planting.





    I've got an asparagus fern that I planted two years ago. It did almost nothing except survive for those first two years, but this year, it's just bust'n out!

    I know this is an asparagus fern, but I've always thought of it as a fox-tail fern. Don't you think my name is more appropriate?

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Things are Starting


    'Pup finally got a firm date for his gastric by-pass surgery. February 2. As he said "Groundhog's Day will never be the same again.

    The hole is filled in again, but it's still kinda squishy. I've got to take a better picture, because we planted some really pretty begonias there. Now, I just have to be home during daylight hours....




    I promised to post a picture of some blue sky for Lori, but of course today was cloudy. No rain though, dang it!

    So I went back into the past. There. With just enough cloud to be interesting.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Ooops.. and YUMMMM

    YIKES!!!

    We got some rain last night. Looks like we're gonna need some more dirt dang-it!!

    That, or that dang sewer is just cursed!






    YUMMMM!!

    On a lighter note: Anyone out there picking tomatoes on January 17? Only answers in the Northern Hemisphere count! LOL

    Hummm

    Ten Top Trivia Tips about Nancy!

    1. Europe is the only continent that lacks Nancy!
    2. Some birds use Nancy to orientate themselves during migration.
    3. Nancy will become gaseous if her temperature rises above -42°C!
    4. Nancy can taste with her feet!
    5. The state nickname of Iowa is 'The Nancy state'!
    6. Contrary to popular belief, Nancy is not successful at sobering up a drunk person, and in many cases she may actually increase the adverse effects of alcohol.
    7. Nancy kept at the window will keep vampires at bay.
    8. While sleeping, fifteen percent of men snore, and ten percent grind their Nancy!
    9. Snow White's coffin was made of Nancy.
    10. The original nineteenth-century Coca-Cola formula contained Nancy.
    I am interested in - do tell me about


    Thanks !
  • Dana! You know, number 6 seems rather a shame, huh DM? And number 7... well. But number 3!!!!
  • Shut up 'PUP!!

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    ARRGGHH


    Ahoy there mateys....

    No Dana, it wasn't buried treasure.

    It WAS a surprise.

    Someone or somehow or sometime as the house was being built, the sewage pipe was either broken, or perhaps patched together from two shorter pieces. For some, inexplicable reason, the piece to bridge those two pieces was a piece of cowling with a DRAIN on top. It wasn't even glued together. The real mystery is why we hadn't gotten backups all the time.

    The hole ended up being about 4 and 1/2 feet deep. Notice, on the right hand side of the hole? There is a whitish roundish thing. That is not another pipe. That is a root. This is the rest (well, a chunk of it) the root:

    Note my foot. This isn't a branch. It is part of a ROOT!

    The pipe was about 2 feet under this root.

    'Pup and I started digging the hole. The first 4 days we were digging (and resting, and digging and resting) we got about 2 and 1/2 feet down and had cut the root out. 'Pup cut the fat end with an axe and I got smart and used our reciprocating saw on the other end. This was after I'd finished cutting through the middle with a little hatchet. Hey... 'Pup could swing the double headed axe, but I had the smaller, sharper and more controllable hatchet.

    Only then did I get smart. I wish I'd been smarter earlier. We're both tired and sore.

    The rest of the hole was dug by our good Sr. M. He is the gentleman who helps with the yard work. He doubled the depth and length of the hole we'd taken 4 days to dig.... in the first hour he worked. The man is very strong, and a little shy.
















    Remember my pretty little garden around the ash tree? This is what it looked like in April of last year.

    Oh, so pretty!







    Unfortunately, it was a victim of the search for the mystery "box".

    But, not to worry. Sr. Medina helped me make that bed and he wasn't about to leave it messed up.

    He rebuilt it, and it's ready for replanting. I saved the plants still growing. The ferns were still greenish, though half dormant, and one or two other plants were almost fully dormant under the leaf mulch I put over them to protect their tender leaves from the (admittedly mild) winter so far. I'll replant them later and reseed the bare ground left from the hole and it's detrius. Luckily, the grass hadn't really been growing well there anyway.











    Well, Y'all stay warm. Spring is almost sprung here, unless we get a nasty cold front or three. We're due for some rain tomorrow, we hope!!

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    No Chinese Yet

    But I swear that last grub I threw on the dirt pile might have had an Aussie accent.

    Seriously folks? The hole is 4 feet deep and we've not yet uncovered the pipe, nor the box. I'll have pictures tomorrow. One root we had to cut was a good 5 inches in diameter. I hope it doesn't discombobulate the happy ash tree too much, as I rather like the tree, in spite of it's very tough and persistant roots. Ah well, it's a big tree, and should be able to handle it.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Things Are Still Blooming...



    Things are still growing here. It's been cooler, but no serious freezes so far this year. Brain is happy. He likes cooler weather. He likes a lot of things.






    The roses are still blooming and setting new buds. Not as many as that last spectacular bloom, but it's still a happy sight.

    The pansy's are doing well. They prefer cooler weather. I suspect I'd have more blooms had I been watering the lawn, and them. Well... one can't have everything.




    I've some lovely blue flowers in the shady garden. I cannot for the LIFE of me remember what the plants are called. I planted them two years ago, but this is the first time they've done a lot of blooming. The soil where I planted them was challenging and I think it took a while for them to really get established. The good news is that they seem to like dryer as opposed to wetter. That's a real advantage at a time we'd not had any rain for 5 or 6 weeks. Oh... and the morning glory vines are still blooming too.


    Surprisingly, there's the aloe vera. I've several of them blooming! They've a nice tall spike, with an reddish orange bloom. I'd have expected them to like the hotter weather, but they're taking advantage of the warmish temperatures this winter. I've a lot of new little aloe plants too. I'll be dividing and sharing a few with some friends later in the spring.



    Ahhhh. Lettuce and tomatoes. The tomato plants have defied expectation and continued to survive (not thrive--that would be asking too much!) and the tomatoes are still setting!!! Ripening is taking a bit longer. At this rate, when I put in my new plants next month, I'll have to rip out some still living plants. Yes. In Houston, we plant our first spring crop of tomatoes in February. Some years, that's too optimistic, and it has to be done over, but the gamble has a better than 50/50 chance of getting early tomatoes.

    I've a few herbs still herbing along.


    Parsley


    Sage,



    Rosemary,

    And thyme. Of course.

    I've a nice stand of sweet marjoram and a very
    robust chervil. Under the chervil hides some more
    thymes and some garlic chives.



    The pothos Ivy that escaped it's pot is making a stand on the back fence. I'm looking forward to what it will do this summer. The leaves are beautifully variegated and BIG! I suspect that it and the passion flower vine will be competing for trellis space. I might have to help both of them by refereeing, and adding more trellis.





    And life still goes on in the butterfly weed. It's blooming and spreading seed at the same time. If you look closely, you will also see that other life is cycling as well. Perhaps a flowery bower is not only an aphrodisiac for humans, but insects as well? I'm still seeing monarchs, fritillaries and I'd SWEAR I think I saw a zebra!

    No pictures of my bird feeders. I've been a little lax in getting them set up again, as I didn't want to commit to the money for the seed until we knew what our budget would be. We've decided that the feeders are affordable, and they're being set up. It'll take a few days for the birds to find us, then I'll take more pictures.

    I started this entry yesterday. Fiddling with the pictures took longer than I thought.

    My dad is still with us. He's having days of lucidity, and days of sleeping. My mom is still staying with him most of the daylight (and into the night) hours, but my sister S is making sure she eats by bringing her lunch and supper. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the nurses there at the nursing home (some of whom she's known for a couple of decades) are keeping an eye on her too.

    We're in the midst of another plumbing adventure as well. Sigh.

    'Pup WAS going to see his dad in Austin this week, as it might be the last time for a few weeks that he'd have a chance to do so. The test results from his last blood draw came back normal (YES!!!) and now we can proceed with the gastric bypass. Now, we just need to wait for the insurance company and the clinic. Instead, he has to stay home and help deal with our plumbing adventure.

    We had the plumbers use a camera to inspect the sewage line leading from the house to the main. There were several interesting discoveries made. There is a crack in the line, with some roots growing in (not unexpected, as there is a very happy ash tree growing on top of the line) and then there is : the box.

    Seems when the house was built, (back in the early 80's) they put, for some unknown reason, a mystery box on the sewage line leading from the house to the main. The camera showed a large squarish area with straight sides and edges, with the pipe leading out of it. The crack in the line is actually just past this mystery box.

    The result of this somewhat unorthodox plumbing is that periodically we would suffer from back ups into the house. This is why we've had two brand new carpets within the last 5 years. Luckily, we were home for this back up and were able to catch it before we needed new carpet. That's lucky, as I don't think State Farm would pay for a third carpet.

    We've elected to help dig up this inscrutable box. I just hope it doesn't totally destroy the flower bed I made last spring. I think we can avoid complete destruction, but I'm not looking forward to digging.

    Yes. I like gardening. I don't like digging holes deeper than required to plant. This hole is already two feet deep and we've not found the box yet. The line seems to slant down rather drastically from the house. We're going to be digging for a while.

    If I hear Chinese... we're stopping!

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Interesting Times


    I heard once, that a way to curse someone was to say: "May you live in interesting times." Supposedly, it is a Chinese curse.

    Smart people, those Chinese.

    We are living in interesting times. It's what our grandchildren will be learning about in school. Perhaps it will be known as a time of troubles, and hopefully, our grandchildren, or our grandchildren's grandchildren will only be able to wonder "How and WHY did they go through all that?"

    That's the hope for the future I have. That, someday, all this trouble and strife and tragedy will be seen as a historical blip.... and not the beginning of the end of all things.

    I'm an optimist at heart. Unfortunately, I seem to have a rather logical, analytical head that says "BAH!" and lists all the bad things that COULD happen.

    All in all, it's not a bad combination.

    My head prepares for the worst, and my heart hopes and expects the best. That means I'm open to the wonderful things that CAN happen, but prepared to defend myself against the worst.

    The world is a big place though, and more things than one person can bear can overwhelm anyone. Too much joy (not my problem lately) or too much disaster can bring an individual to his or her knees. Not a bad place to be, by the way, as long as one knows what to do while down there.

    Yes. I'm one of those people that believes we're not alone in the universe.

    Sometimes, this Person sends a people-type person to help you when you need it. Sometimes, that Person just gives you the strength to come through the interesting times.

    You don't even have to ask. Just be willing to take the Hand extended to you.

    Peace be upon all of my friends and loved ones....and most especially...............my enemies.