Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Grumpy Gardener

I have a new favorite Garden blog, The Grumpy Gardener. Hilarious and informative. I highly recommend. He even has a contest for who sends in the best picture of a badly pruned ("murdered") crape myrtle every year. Garden humor, gotta love it.

Kitten Love

 Well not all of us love the new kitten.
 This is what I look up on when at my desk.
 This sleeping spot charms us all. 
 So cute and little.
Nothing like homeschooling with a kitten on your lap.
We are now pretty sure Pepper is a boy not a girl but we are keeping the name Pepper.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Painting My New Office Space

 I finished painting as much as I could reach in my new office nook and stair wall. I chose a high gloss white.
 Clean white wall. I know this is not exciting for you to see but it was so dirty and gross on this wall I am jumping for joy at it's cleanness. I decided to only use high gloss paint for my house. It is so much easier to clean.
This corner is still a bit of a mess.


 Hibiscus and begonias on the porch.


My flower bed. I have a very sophisticated way of planning my flower beds. I go to Lowes and pick out plants on clearance with no tags and no blooms and plant them. Usually in the fall. Then in spring I try to figure out what I have planted. I also pick out things I really love (knock out roses and butterfly bush) and put them in praying they will look ok to together. I seriously do pray that things will make sense later and i can move things as they don't work . So far God has blessed me . I like how it's coming along. I do tend to pack the plants in because I want as few weeds as possible.  

 Knock out roses, sedum, mum, aster
 anise hyssop?, phlox

 This is the unfinished side of the flower plot. I planted a few veggies till I figure out what to put in it. 

lemon balm, celosia , knock out roses

I like nasturtiums.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


George and Joffre were getting ready for a pool party the other day and putting on bathing suits. George looks over at Joffre and noticed they were both had Hawaiian flowered patterns on their suits. So George says, "Hey, we both have Hawaiian flowers on our bathing suits."And then with a slight smirk on his face, "The girls will like that. They like flowers."

Reviving Chairs for the Porch

Our porch chairs were cute once a long time ago but are now poking and showing their stuffing immodestly. So I decided to try to revive their lost souls with cherry patterned oilcloth. They are very sturdy so I didn't want to get rid of them.

To do it I cut a pattern out of craft paper till it seemed like it would fit and cut out a piece. (This is the hardest part and I did it with a decent loss of material  as I folded and tried and cut and tried again.)  Then for the bottom part I folded corners and started stapling one side of each corner to the bottom. Then I stapled the middle of each side , slowly rotating after each staple to a new side. I worked from the middle out to the corners and pulling tightly for each staple. At the other side of each corner I folded again and stapled (this is the other tricky part.) It's like stretching a canvas if you have ever done that.

For the top part I traced the outline of the shape on craft paper and added a seam allowance of 1/2". Then made two pieces for each chair. Sewed them together right sides together and clipped with triangles along curves. Turned them inside out and slipped them over the top. That was it. The top was super easy.

Friday, May 18, 2012

An Update on My Life

Whew!We've been having a lot going on lately. We had company all last month. Which was good and bad. Good because we got too see a bunch of fun relatives. Bad because Joffre's Grandmother broke her hip while here. It was really nice to get to be with her for a long time but obviously not under the best circumstances. I got sick in the middle of that time, planned a ball and tried to finish the new wall in my house.

This month I got sick again with strep throat. Went on antibiotics and got better. Then it was Mother's Day and our Anniversary on the same day. So Joffre came home and said we would celebrate all weekend. He came home Friday night with groceries and a new kitten. The kitten was not part of the plan but my 6'9", 300 lbs husband is susceptible to people with boxes of free kittens at the grocery. Sweet. Then he made dinner, took me out the next day to Lowe's, bought me a bunch of plants (including a pomegranate!), and took me out to dinner. Super nice. Next day we went to church, ate a great meal and then started throwing up.

Yep, We got sick again!! with a nasty rotovirus type thing. All of us puking. AAArgh. So earlier this week all of were down but we have risen again. Now we are pulling ourselves back together to enjoy a visit from my mom next week. Here's hoping for a boring June.

 Meet Pepper, the kitten.
 My new pomegranate. I hope it can last the winter! I got a bunch of other new plants (including a cherry tree) but I will wait to post later about those.

Garden Update

 I packed my beds pretty tightly this  year and I am starting to think a bit too tight. This one above is herbs, swiss chard and lettuce.
 Peas, beets, turnips, and zucchini
 Green beans, herbs and peppers
 Garlic, asparagus, rhubarb and nastruiums
 onions, leeks
 My new artichoke is establishing, yea! (cucumbers behind)

 raspberries and strawberries

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cats and Baby Birds

For a few years now a robin has made a nest above our backdoor on the light there. I haven't noticed much except the birds always fly off the nest when we open the door. This year it was traumatic to find fledging robins hopping on the ground while my favorite cat stalked them from a few feet away. I decided to keep my cat inside for a few days while these baby birds hopped away. Except that proved very difficult. The cat was obnoxiously meowing and running to the door every time we opened. it. So I let her out. I came home to find her playing with one of the live robin fledglings on our porch so we could see her "catch".

I freaked out. Joffre's advice was "close your eyes and walk through the door".  I couldn't do it. So I put it way out  on the other side of the fence in our yard. I went to check on it and found that it wasn't attacked by the cat. It had just hopped into the middle of the road! I moved it into the field across the street where something else will eat it and did not look for it again. I was determined not to mettle any longer....till today.

I saw June ( the favorite cat) carrying a baby Blue Jay in her mouth to the backyard to play with it. AAArgh! The mom Jay was dive bombing her the whole time but she had that bird. So yes, I rescued it. This time I immediately took it to the field across the street and only checked on it once. It was a lot cuter than the robins. It had a fuzzy head that started to have that finlike point on top and it's pretty blue feathers where coming in... but I will not check on it again. Spring is getting stressful with the cats.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gardening for Gen X and Yers

I read these two articles, Greening Up the Slackers and Where Are the Gen X& Y Gardeners , about the lack of Gen X and Y gardeners. It was interesting to think about this and try to think about what our Generation is like.

I agree with the criticism of the Greening Up guy about the laziness of our Generation. I think we don't like to work even though most of us are at "work" a lot of the time.  Most are working to make money not because we are satisfied by our work. We don't know how to enjoy work (like gardening). We are also spending lots of time at work because so much of work today is inefficient.

A lot of the "Where are the gardeners" article's comments mention that they are in apartments. I think a lot of our generation lives in apartments or is renting . We also move a lot. People buy a house and want to create a garden but you have commit to staying in a place for a while to slowly create a garden. You have to have a 5 to 10 year plan with gardening. I don't think patience and "settling" are virtues of our generation.

There is also the issue of having to deal with the last generation's ideas of gardening. Tearing up entire lawns and trying to find ways to get rid of grass is difficult, and not well enough explored yet. We don't know what to do with what we've got . One thing that irritated me a little in the Greening Up article was his assumption that what a lot of our generation likes are ornamental grasses and succulents, etc. That's a very modern look (not even postmodern if you ask me) which I dislike. I still like roses and hydrangeas mixed with some succulents etc. I don't want to paint my walls purple and plant cactus next to it. We haven't figured out a more balanced aesthetic to replace lawns. We also haven't figured out how to go back to keeping plants healthy without chemicals.

Lastly, we are broke. We don't have our parent's income to work with and that makes it a slower and more difficult process. Add things like new copyright laws on plants that are disease resistant and easier to care for that you aren't even allowed to propagate for free and it makes buying plants expensive. (Ridiculous that you can copyright an organism.) There is a trend to grow your own food and do square foot gardening because of food ethics and smaller incomes. Honestly I haven't seen that much earnestness from my generation even about that. The enthusiasm wanes when problems arise like pests.

I personally just decided to experiment on my own and see if I could rid myself of the gardening work I don't like (weed wacking, applying weed killer, and  most of the lawn mowing). I will have to do this work till a lot of my plants get bigger  and shade out weeds etc. but hopefully I am replacing that work with weeding raised beds and pruning that I don't mind. I don't plant needy plants ( I only plant the disease resistant landscape roses and hydrangeas) and I am looking for ways to get rid of lawn. I have decided not to care about having grass in my lawn vs. weed lawn. I do love landscaping with edibles and raised beds with weed barrier beneath them like many of our generation. Hopefully more of my generation will learn a love for gardening and better ways to garden.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Garden Update

Sorry about how blurry a few of these are.