Saturday, May 31, 2008

DANG! IT IS FRIGGIN' HOT!

May 31. It's just May 31st. This time last year, the spring had been long, wet and cool. This year, spring is over and summer just slapped us in the face. It feels as if it were about 105 (that's Fahrenheit) out there and that's hot even for me. I worked this morning, and went to Lowe's to pick up a garden wagon. I am not going to injure myself again by trying to carry things too heavy for me. I'm stubborn, but not an idiot. Well, not mostly.

It was more than I wanted to spend, but I'm thinking of it as an early birthday present. Oh, my birthday is next Saturday, btw. Feel free to buy yourself a birthday present under the Cafe Press button over yonder>>>>>

Yah, that one over there>>>>>>

When it gets cooler this evening, I'll work in the garden. Just now, I think I need a nap.

By the way, has anyone ever had an allergy that made your nose run and then you sneeze and then you throw up, and then no more sneezing or runny nose?

It ain't no fun.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harvesting Vegetables from My Front Yard....Hang the Rules

We had about an inch of rain yesterday afternoon and it looks like we might be getting some more. I like rain. I hate watering.

Most of the rain must have come all at once, as there were drifts of Ash seeds where the water flows.

The first zucchini is ready to eat and one yellow squash is big enough. I think I'll be eating them tonight. The yellow squash has 4 or 5 more that might be ready tomorrow. The zucchini is a little slower, but I'll have enough to share with my neighbor.


In the back yard, the area around the pond is filling up as I've potted up more plants. Best of all, the Checkerboard Fuschia is re blooming. The impatiens are from last summer, they overwintered under the pond cover.






The pond is also filling up. The goldfish are doing well and the tadpoles that hatched the other day, aren't affecting the pond's ph too badly. I'll just add a little more fish food for them.

All in all, things are going pretty well.
I went to the doctor yesterday about the pain I was having. He thinks I might have some bursitis in the hip, so he gave me a shot of cortisone in my hip joint. I didn't know they made needles that long...
It hurt going in, but I am feeling better today. I'm still a little sore, but the steroids have given me a boost of energy and I got some things done around the yard today. I picked the squash, carried a bag of potting soil to the backyard, planted the okra in a bed I'd planted tomatoes in...(nematodes!! I weep!) hopefully they will do better than the tomatoes. I might go and get a couple of more starts, or I might use one end to grow some lettuce. It's a little shadier there, so the lettuce, a mesclun mix might do well.
Before I'd planted the last tomatoes in that bed, I'd taken out about three quarters of the old soil and put in new. The tomato sets I put in there were some I'd started from seed and I just think I waited too long to put them in larger quarters. They didn't do anything for the 10 days they had been in there. So, okra has a chance. Next I think I'll plant some beans.

Zoo-Too



If you have pets, I've found a place, a community for you to look at and participate in to talk about your pet or pets. It provides forums for discussing pet behavior and training, problems and cute stories and even gives you a place to rate different services like Vets, groomers, boarding facilities, breeders, products, pet friendly hotels, walkers, bark parks and pet stores.

You can even upload pictures of your pet or pets and journal about them. There are places on the site to read news about pets and to comment there about it. If you have adopted a pet from a shelter or are affiliated with a shelter, members of Zootoo can earn "points" for participating and work towards getting your local shelter a makeover.

There are places to ask advice from other pet owners about training and behavior problems, and medical problems. I think the rating system for services like groomers and boarders and Vets could provide a good way to find a service you needed. When I put in my zip code, they listed an emergency medical provider near my home that I wasn't even aware of until I found it on the list. You can bet, that number and address are going into my phone and on the cork board in case we need it. We have a good vet, but the clinic closes...and emergencies happen.

All in all, I think I'm going to be pleased to be part of this forum. It looks like a good place.

Aaaa-CHEW!

My allergies have been acting up a little, and that's actually good news. Acting up a little means that they've not been acting up a LOT. I know I'm allergic to some molds that grow on oak leaves, and I'm allergic to strawberries (I know---tragic), and I'm allergic to whatever is in the air in great quantities when they're harvesting cotton. I know I feel best when there is less dust in the house (not that it makes me want to dust more, I'd rather be outside.) And I know that some vacuums are a torment to use because they let more dust out than keep in the bag. I've looked atMiele vacuums, but I think I'll keep the Dyson I have. It does a pretty good job and I don't have to change bags at all, just vacuum and dump.

But there are a few allergies that I can't seem to pin down. Every once in a while, my eyes start watering, my nose starts running, and then I start to sneeze. Not long afterwards, I throw up. Oddly enough, after I throw up, my nose stops running and my eyes are dry and, except for a headache that lasts the rest of the day, I'm fine. This has happened several times the last couple of months.

I thought it was a food allergy at first, but it happens after meals I have eaten before with no trouble, but then happens again when I have eaten other things that haven't been any part of a meal or the day's food in previous attacks. I honestly can't figure it out. So now, I just recognize the onset, and wait it out, and then go on with my life, head ache and all.

Eh... it's not like it's a Brain Tumor

Time Passing

Father's Day is coming up next month and it is hard. My dad is gone, but my Pa-in-law is still going strong . (Psst P-i-l, go read something else for a bit) Now, my P-i-l is a good man. He's charming, intelligent and handsome. I believe he has several of the ladies in the Senior's complex he lives in, who light up when he comes into the room. In fact, it seems everyone is happy to see him coming. He's a good conversationalist, and enjoys socializing.

The one thing he doesn't ever want to do is go to another meeting. He made his living going to meetings. When he retired, he didn't join several of the clubs that were involved in other things he liked to do because he didn't want to go to ....yep...meetings.

The other thing he doesn't want to do is live by the clock. Now, he'll keep an eye on the time, as he does have some medications that have to be taken at certain times, but otherwise? Things take as long as they take.....or don't.

So, what to get him for Father's Day? Well, watches, even nice ones like Ulysse Nardin, while nice, aren't going to go over well. And this guy, y'all. When he wants something, he gets it. And he manages to get it at a great deal. I don't know if it's because he can talk a cat out of its meow, or he's just got good luck, but he gets things for a lot less than most would pay. I swear, when we go to buy our next car, he's coming with us. I want to learn how he does it.

'Pup inherited his dad's ability to flirt, but not his luck. On the other hand, he was lucky enough to meet me and smart enough to negotiate a proposal...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

So, What Else Is New?


This doesn't look like much, but it is a hydrangea that 'Pup and I bought last year. Back then, it was blooming blue. I didn't think it would oversummer last year, and I sure didn't think it would over winter. Fooled me both ways, and now it's trying to bloom. I might just have to repot the two plants in some bigger pots and new soil and see what they want to do with that. They've been snuggled under some coleus, Peppermint, and my big geranium and next to some sage, and a pot with some mealy sage. Oh, also in that little 4 foot by 4 foot square tucked by my front door are some more pots of sage, a pot of stevia that I thought was dead when I stuck some plumeria cuttings I was given in that pot (the cuttings are doing well and the stevia is revived--talk about an odd pairing!), and a nice pot of lemon verbena. The mint is the only thing in the ground, unless you also count the wild onions (dormant now) and a few odd Mexican Heather plants.

It's a busy plot.


Growing next to the squash, (which I need to go outside and pick) is this day lily. It was a gift, and I don't know it's name. This is the first year since I've planted it that it has really bloomed (I've had the silly thing for 3 years now!) Something is different at that end of the bed this year. I think it has to be the compost we used for mulch earlier this spring. Everything at that end has been revived and boosted.

Even the pink Frangranza roses have responded. They're still fighting a little black spot, but seem to be winning.
More later.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pssst!!..An Illicit Harvest Report

Psst.

Anyone remember the squash that I was going to sneak into my front flower beds? And I did? And it grew?
It's grown well, hasn't it? They've become some quite lovely plants. I've been checking every day or so, and had seen blossoms, but no squash.

That changed today.
There be squash in them thar beds!

Then, I looked at the zucchini.

Now, notice. This zucchini still has it's blossom stuck on the end. I'd swear it wasn't there yesterday. It's about 7 inches long. I'll pick it tomorrow.
Luckily, the one neighbor who knows about the squash is easily bribed by the promise of a share of the crop.
Oh, and thar be tadpoles in the pond...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Amphibian Valentine's Day

That flat trill is back again. Only, he's not alone now. Oh no. There is a veritable chorus of flat trills calling out for love in wet places.

And then, there are the ratchety croaks and breeek-breeeks. There are groups of them singing too. The amphibians in my yard seem to think that now might be a good time to hook up.

No eggs yet, but I'm still checking. I need to set up the tadpole nursery pretty quick, as I suspect I will have large groups of the little wigglers.

If the eggs all hatch at once in the pond or water barrel gardens, they'll throw the water's chemical balance off and use up a lot of the oxygen. That tends to kill fish.

They've been very loud the last few nights. Usually they do this after a good rainstorm, but we've not had a good gully washer for a couple of weeks. I suppose that they could be waiting for it to rain. It is humid enough, but we just aren't going to have any for at least another week.

So now, I guess the amphibians are sending out love notes.

An orgy is being planned.

And here you all thought I had a G rated blog...
.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Love My American Gothic Chicks

I was whining to one of my American Gothic Chicks today about my pain and she mentioned that ever since her brain tumor, that anytime something might go wrong, she hears a little voice in her head that says "It ain't no brain tumor!". She also said this a lot before it was taken care of.

We all have our own coping mechanisms.

I've known her for several years now. We talk a lot on line, sometimes on the phone and someday we hope to have a ...humm can't be REunion....nor blogmeet........so..........OnlineMeet?

I met her through another online friend, V. V. is someone I met while playing pool. She'd just had a baby. There is a lot more to this than I've said just here, and things have gone worse for her, but they've gone on the upturn now....

Let's just say for now? We've seen each other through quite a lot of stuff. Enough stuff to fill several potboiler, 4 hankie Gothic novels....hell they'd even qualify as SOUTHERN Gothic, which has even more melodrama.

'Course the melodrama is real, so it really qualifies as Drama. Suffice it to say just now, that all three of us have gone through some major shit. Luckily a tripod is a lot more stable than a single leg. Even better, we've got another part-time member, P. She's not as into chatting online, but she's real life for Val. She's also going through bad stuff. She may be the most stable of us all.

So. Four legs to support a bunch'a STUFF we're going through. I've felt very fortunate to have had this support system.

So, my friend calls V. V. is an artist. She did the graphic here:


Please, don't copy this graphic. If you'd like to share it, please do a link back. We've got possible plans for this...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh...hell

I've been in pain since Sunday...well, Saturday, really.

Tonight 'Pup and I went to the movies (Narnia, Prince Caspian, well worth the price of the ticket!). As we sat in the seats, I was in pain. As I walked out of the theater, I was in pain. 'Pup saw I was having to struggle to walk and went ahead quickly to get the van. As I waited for him, I leaned on a post and had a sudden realization.

I recognized this pain.

It's the same pain I had before the surgery in December of 2004. Back then, I couldn't walk, stand, sit or lay down without a lot of pain. It was a memorable pain. The surgery got rid of that particular pain...for the most part. The radiculopathy pain is a little different. Not less, but qualitatively and quantitatively different. I can live with the radiculopathy pain. I sit down, and it goes away, mostly. This pain isn't going away.

The neurologists told me the spinal stenosis could happen again.

This does not make me happy.

Truth is, it scares me silly.

Frog Song

It is close to 2 am and there is a frog singing outside my window. And by frog, I mean probably a toad, and by singing I mean a really loud monotone trill. A trill, I tell you, and yet, I do believe that trill is flat.

(This is not to be confused with a certain Star Trek Trill, who was most assuredly many things, but not flat.)

I suppose this amorous amphibian is advertising for a lady love. Which means that tomorrow, I need to go check the fountains and the pond to make sure the water hasn't been displaced by an equal amount and number of amphibian eggs. Not that I mind tadpoles. I like the little critters, and I'll even set them up a special nursery pond, aka: a kiddie pool (snerks...kiddie pool...get it?) for them to live in and grow up in. Heck, I'll even feed them goldfish food. I like toads and frogs. They pay their way in a garden, eating up a lot of the skeeters and other bugs that might plague me.

It's just that... well... I do wish he weren't tone deaf, and I REALLY wish he'd get an answer to his call and just be quiet long enough for me to get to sleep. And I really wish he'd get his trill tuned.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Dinner Engagement

I had dinner with three nice men tonight. One was 'Pup...okay, I usually have dinner with him. But I also got to spend a very nice couple of hours with Ellison, who is in town for a couple of days of meetings, and with El Capitan. I'd met both these gents at past blog meets, and was happy to see them again. We met at a New York style Deli, and the food was very good. It was surpassed, in fact, only by the company we shared it with.

I hope to see these gents again at future blog meets.

Pay It Forward

Okay folks, a new meme is upon us. However, unlike other memes, this one brings you a present.

Here’s how it works: I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but it will be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.
I will now Pay It Forward to you THREE, I wonder who you will be?! Please, be a PIF! You will enjoy it just as much as we do!
And, remember…you have 6 months to get your gifts done! Come on, you know you would love to be one of my angels. Then, one day, when you least expect it, you will get a gift that I have made especially for YOU!
Please remember, you don’t have to knit or crochet to participate, anyone who can make a nice handmade gift is welcome to join.


The first three to volunteer will get a gift from me, handmade (maybe hand grown?) and in return will post an invitation to three others to play.

I can't wait to see who wants to play.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Incandescent


Light through the Morning Glories....
Calmness...

OH %$^&^$#%^&&^##$^(!!!!!! UNCOMPOSTED MANURE BRAINS!!

The tree in our side yard needed a trim. Let me repeat that: it needed a TRIM!!

A neighbor down the way said he had 15 years of experience in pruning and trimming trees.

Saturday morning I went to work. The neighbor showed up and quoted a (fair) price. 'Pup agreed to it.

This is the result:


They left as I was coming home. It may have been the smartest thing they did all morning.

Yes, I am weeping for this lovely tree--and it really was lovely. In bringing down all those healthy, nicely formed branches, they smushed my hibiscus, damaged my monster sized split-leaved philodendron, messed up my tomatoes (dragging out full sized limbs past the pots of tomato plants) damaged several other plants, broke my variegated ginger (!!!) and left an unholy mess.


The six spiky things sticking out of the philodendron (which is about eye level to my 5 feet) are some unopened blooms. When open, they look like...uhmmm...well...........bananas. Yah, bananas. Let's stick with that. Bananas.

I know, most everything will recover...but the tree will never look good again.

But the ultimate loss was the growing end of this Gloriosa Rothchildiana flame lily. With it mashed up, the plant will not grow any buds or new leaves. It might, MIGHT(!) grow a lateral branch and bloom from there, but I've not had much luck with that.


I'm so mad I could just SPIT.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Snail Cotillion: Garden Blogger's Bloom Day Part 2 and 1/2


As I was taking the pictures for bloom day....


I kept running into

somewhat voracious and altogether unwelcomed


denizens of my garden.

Now, I must tell you,

that I do not recall extending

Such a nonexclusive invitation

to what these critters seemed to think was an all you can eat buffet.
I did a lot of pickin', kickin', chunkin', throwin', and cussin' that day.
Not a whole lot of grinnin'....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloom Day Part TWO



Mostly pictures for today. I have a lot blooming, even more than I've posted. Houston is a good place to grow a lot of plants. I have trouble with roses and some thymes, but most things, you just stick outside and they grow grow grow.



The last of the Confederate or Star Jasmine.


I planted this Iron (? I've also had it referred to as a closet plant) plant directly into the ground last summer. It languished in a slightly too sunny place, but since the water taro has escaped the pond and has encroached upon this strip, the taro leaves give the plant just enough protection for it to bloom. Not bad for a plant that is an indoor plant everywhere else.

The Mexican Heather is blooming. There aren't as many bees on it as there usually are...I have been seeing bees in the back yard, as they come for water.


The Apple blossom Yarrow is having a very good year.

The blue Hibiscus is doing okay...but I think I need to get some larger pots for it.



Geraniums and a mystery plant. I've had the blue flowering plant for a few years, and it was a 25 cent rescue. It often dies down and I think I've lost it, only for it to tenaciously hang on and come back.


Most of my roses are taking a break now. There are buds, but only Belinda and the Honey Dijon are blooming just now.



This is the first year I've had success with petunias. I think they like the better drainage of the citrus pot.


Daylilies. The yellow pass downs are blooming and putting on more and more scapes. They'll keep blooming all summer.

Can't remember what this one is called. It was a gift.

If I remember correctly, this is called "Little Prince". It did not like getting rained on. The raindrops left sad little white spots on the blooms. It likes sunny, hot weather.

My marjoram is blooming. And I need to pull out the cross vines. Again.

The fennel is continuing to bloom. I've not seen any caterpillars on it yet.


Lavender colored Lantana. This is one of my favorite little plants. If I ever planted it in the ground it would probably get a lot bigger....
As it was raining, the Moss Rose, or Portulaca wasn't very happy. It blooms better on dry days.


Two of the canna are blooming.


The Hyacinth bean is blooming. This is actually a plant that overwintered!


Two odd blooms. The bottom is the bloom from the Root Beer plant.




Okay, out of time. Looks like there will be a Bloom Day part 3.....