Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Decorating for and by the Pets

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to make a round ottoman to go with the rectangular one that I made recently and to replace the old coffee table.  I found a round piece of wood at a fabric store's giveaway pile, so it's just a matter of making the frame and putting it all together.  And finding the right fabric.

I love Sarah Richardson's work, and she said somewhere that she averages 12 coordinating patterns per room.  So, I've set about adding more patterns to my living room.  I wanted something in a bold floral, but wasn't having a lot of luck.  I also had something darker in mind, maybe with a touch of red... but still coordinating with everything else in the room.  I took a chance today on this floral, but still wasn't sure.

I lay it out over an old chair in the living room, thinking I'd live with it for a while.



It seemed awfully light, compared to what I'd had in mind.

And it seems to me that ever since I got the dining room chairs, I've been introducing a lot of cream to the house.  Do I really want more?

And then Winter weighed in.



And I remembered that whatever I go with will soon be covered in white cat hairs.



Sold.

I think.

Feel free to pipe in - do you think it works?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Three weeks and change

This was the shade garden on June 3.


This was the shade garden yesterday.


I've always read that perennials take three years to settle in after they are planted, so I'm pretty happy with this garden early in the second year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Life Imitates Art

  Almost

Pavlov's Dog

I have the grand-daddy of all alarm clocks.  I hate waking up to the sound of sudden beeping from alarm clocks, or even clock radios.  It makes me cranky, before I even get out of bed.  On the flip side, I really do need a lot of help to wake up in the mornings.  I can reach over and smack a snooze button without even waking up.... have done so, more times than I can count.

I found the solution to my morning wake ups about five years ago.  I got it here, and never want to use anything else.

This clock wakes you up in a slow but persistant way.  First, a dim light turns on, to simulate sunlight (the heat of the light could also stimulate various scent beads - including roasted coffee - but I'm not a fan of scents, so I don't use this feature.)  After about 10-15 minutes with the light, it starts to play the sound of chirping birds.   If the birds chirp for another fifteen minutes - whether or not you hit the snooze button - before you get up and turn it off, then the annoying sound of the beeping alarm turns kicks in.  By that time, though, you've had 30 minutes to ease into your day and you better be prepared to get up.

I love this alarm.   The difference between waking up slowly with it, or waking up suddenly to the honking of most alarms is like night and day.    BUT.  I found a new use for this little gadget that makes it even more useful.

The Cotton Dog is terrified of the dishwasher.  He hates the dishwasher more than any other machine or appliance, but from time to time it's necessary.  He used to hide under the bed while it was running, but for the last year or so he has started a relentless pacing and panting... signs that he's working up to a full blown panic attack.  It's hard to see him like that, and the cycle of panic attacks is really hard to break once they start.  Luckily, I fell upon a solution.  My clock, in addition to having a progressive wake up, does the opposite at night to ease you to sleep.

There are 5 or 6 sounds that you can play, and after some trial and error, I've discovered that Cotton likes the sounds of the crickets chirping.  In fact, he's come to depend on them.  So, when I turn on the dish washer, Cotton comes to find me.  We go into my room, close the door and turn on the sound from the clock.  I grab a good book or my notebook, Cotton climbs under the covers, and we let the crickets chirp.

Dishes, done.
Panic attack, diverted.
Life is good.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy but Full

I had a BBQ for the family and their families yesterday.  It went really well, assisted in part by the fact that this was day two of our reunion.    Things were at a lower energy level by the time we congregated at my place, and I'm good with that.  I prefer to keep things casual and easy when I can.

Knowing that some of us had gotten our drinkin' on the night before and were likely still feeling it, I had a number of non-alcoholic options available.  I tried my hand at making fresh squeezed lemonade*, and it turned out so well that I ran out to the store at the last minute to get more lemons.  Otherwise, I'd have run out.  (That's not to say there wasn't any drinking going on last night, just in a more controlled manner than the night before.)

What I like best about hosting family is that there is no guilt involved or expectations to meet.  You don't need to ask for help.  My aunt and uncle arrived first and helped me set up.  The ones who stayed late helped me with the cleanup before they left.  When more people came than I expected and rain prevented eating outside, nobody batted an eye at the lack of seating.  Whoever didn't fit at the table sat at the island, on the couch or stood at the counter.

We had bison burgers with fresh corn on the cob and Potato salad**, black bean salsa salad and spinach salad on the side.    My aunt brought vietnamese salad rolls to start us all off, and my mom brought a lemon roll cake with fresh berries on top to wrap it up.  Needless to say, we ate a lot.




* I replaced half of the sugar in this lemonade with Splenda - nobody could tell.
** if you make this potato salad recipe, I recommend following the suggestion of one of the commenters on that page - replace half the mayo with sour cream and add shredded cheddar cheese.  I also reduced the amount of bacon by ~ 1/2.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What'cha doin, Winter?

(I posted this entry briefly last night, with the intention of delaying the publication until tonight.  
Sorry for any confusion that may have caused for those of you with eagle eyes.)

If you think about it, all Winter has to do all day is to sleep, harass the dogs or explore.
I guess it was only a matter of time before he set up a fortress in the dogs' toy box.



Then again, maybe he's assembling a new furry gang, and I've found the source of the tension between Tallulah and José.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

God Bless Glue Guns

I started to make an Ottoman, back in late February.  Then my dad worked on it some, to get it usable for me after my surgery.  Once I was more mobile, I brought it downstairs, stained and re-stained it until I found a colour I was happy with (espresso, with the right hint of brown).  Then I needed to clean up the edges and hide the screw holes, and that stumped me.  I had trim, but I waffled a lot on how to attach it.

My dad, now actively involved in the project, felt very strongly that I should use staples; but I was worried that they'd show.  After much contemplation, delay and general procrastination, I finally invested in a $3 glue gun tonight.  The clouds opened up, the sun finally started to shine and the angels did sing.

The Ottoman has trim!

That's Beatrix in the photo with Tallulah, not José.  José and Tallulah seem to have had a falling out of late (I think because he keeps trying to steal her limelight) so Beatrix has stepped in as the new BFF.










A local craft store was giving away round "table tops" (pieces of wood) that are about 3' in diameter.  I snapped up a couple of them.  As soon a I can find the right fabric, I'm going to make a matching round ottoman to go with this one and replace the old coffee table entirely.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Observations and workplace confessions

  • Sandwiches that have so much sauce that things slide out of them make me cranky.  I really can't enjoy food when it's messy like that.
  • My favorite food lately?  Lemons.  Anything with lemons is good, in my book.
  • I go through 3 times as much laundry during gardening season as I do during the winter.  Apparently, I really do love to play in the mud.
  • Through a comedy of errors and a general lack of planning, I've got no less than six tomato plants growing in my back yard.  I'm going to have a lot of tomatoes.
  • I did a presentation at work today, for about 15 people.  This is the 10th time that I've done this presentation, so there's probably been an audience of about 150 people.  Today, I noticed that the last slide in the presentation that says 'questions?  contact me here - '  lists my home phone number instead of my office phone number.
  • Along the "I screwed up at work" lines, over lunch today I was reading the "Damn You Auto Correct" blog (which is hilarious!).  Instead of closing it when I went back to work, I minimized it.  I then chaired a virtual meeting, which means that  I shared my desktop with the meeting participants and we talked on a conference call.  After the meeting, I noticed the minimized window button in my task bar.  It said "Damn You", and was visible to everybody in the meeting.  I'm such a professional.
  • I'm hosting a BBQ for about 18-20 at my house on the weekend.  A while ago, in a series of events that I won't get into, I dropped the BBQ down the stairs and it fell apart.  I've got it looking like it's in one piece again, but I'm still not sure if it still works.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As fast as a speeding warthog.

Because I really do want to be accountable here about my goal to start running again, I thought I'd give an update.

It's not going well.  I am continuing to persevere, but I have not made the progress I was hoping for.  First, there are some post-surgical complications that I didn't plan on.  If you've ever had a baby or lower abdominal surgery, I suspect you know of what I speak.  Needless to say, there are times when it really isn't advisable for me to be exercising without easy and fast access to home.

To get around that, I've been running around the close I live in.  It's a pretty big close, so it's better than running on a track, but this has its own complications.  The first time I run around, the neighbours give me a big wave with a smile.  The second time, I get a weird look and a small wave.  The third time, they pretend not to see me, and by the fifth lap, I've reinforced my reputation as the neighbourhood weirdo.

Today was a pretty good day, so I headed out on a bigger loop, out to the main road, and around the subdivision.  The first half of the run went pretty well, but I ended up walking home.  I really need to find some better stretching exercises, because my calves were killing me.    I used to have (but have since lost) a great list of stretches that had stick drawings and everything.  I remember pulling it out before and after I went for a run each time to make sure I was doing it right.  If nothing else, I became more flexible doing those than I was prior to taking up running; but holy cow, am I tied up in a knot lately.  Once I start getting too tired, my left foot starts slapping down as I run, and if I'm not careful, I'll start veering off to that side.  Elegant, I'm not.

But, I have to start somewhere, right?  Right now, I doubt I'm going to make my goal of 8km by August.  I'm reworking that goal now, to a few smaller goals.  1.  Keep jogging, aim to run three times every week, all summer and beyond.  2.  Try to get better and go further every week.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cheating?

If you buy a potted perennial that's already got a flower blooming, is it dishonest to snip off that bloom, stick it in a vase on the table, and claim that it came "from your garden"?


The plant may not be in the ground quite yet, but the pot is technically sitting in my garden.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Parenting Advice, from a non-mom

Today's thoughts come to you as a result of a conversation that I just had with a friend, who I don't think even knows about my blog.  She's a stay at home mom, with two young boys.  She's incredibly devoted to them, and pretty much spends every waking moment in their presence.  And yet, tonight she was telling me that she's worried that she doesn't play with them enough.

Being me, I didn't have anything wise or reassuring to tell her right away.  All I could think to say is that I think she's a wonderful mom, and of course her boys are going to have great memories of growing up with her.  pththtttt!  Yeah, right.  I'm not a mom, so what do I know?  I'm sure she bought every word that I said.

I'll tell you what, though - after I got off the phone with her, I realized that I know a lot.  I may not be a mom, but I was a kid once and I was lucky enough to have the most awesomest of dads.

My dad, back in the day, was a radiologist.  He worked really long hours, so he used to shake me awake in the mornings and then be gone by the time I was up and about.  He'd get home in the evenings, just before dinner, and then after we ate he usually went into his home office and spent the night studying medical journals.  He was a busy guy.

But.  He made time when he had to.  Whether he was at the office, the hospital or at home, there was always a spare chair near his desk.  There was never a time when I didn't feel as though I could park myself beside him and keep him company. I often went to work with him on the weekends, and I particularly liked going to the hospital.  He'd go through film after film, reading his diagnosises into a tape recorder and pointing out breaks and fractures to me as he'd go.  If I was lucky, he'd be working in the room at the hospital that had George - a human skeleton - in the closet.

My dad did other things for us too.  He took us on trips.  He built us stilts and bought us a unicycle (neither of which I ever mastered).  He used to shovel paths into the neighbourhood outdoor skating rink so that we could play a complicated, circular version of duck duck goose on skates.  He'd listen in when I played the piano or violin, and call me on it every time I was sharp or flat.  (I know, because I sometimes deliberately played off key to see if he was paying attention.)  When I was older, we gardened together.  We walked the dog.  In the winter, he shovelled the snow to the very edge of the driveway, and I followed behind to push it over the side.

You know what I don't remember doing?  I don't remember playing board games or cards with my dad.  I remember car rides as he drove me to music lessons or symphony practice.  Picking beans in the summer.  Swapping books with him, as early as grade 7 or 8.  Playing in the father-daughter tournament at the golf course.  Catching shit because I never did my homework.  I remember him walking the Calgary hospital grounds with me, holding my hand and keeping me company as I fought so damn hard to go home, and trying to explain to me why I had to stay.  I remember when he "discovered"  a mouse problem in the garage, which meant I got to keep the stray cat I'd found.  Trips to the mall, where Dad and I would take off and leave the rest of the family behind.  Going out for ribs at a seafood joint, before we went to hear the Edmonton Symphony.  All that was fun, but I think the best memories of all were those from that room at the local hospital, watching him work and hanging out with George.

So, if you're a mom - if you're dad - don't sweat so much about what you're doing with your kids.  Sure, you need to have fun together; but most of all, you just need to be with them.  Include them in what you're doing, and give them your time.  That's what my dad did for me, and I think he did a great job.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Friday, June 17, 2011

This Means War.

FYI - I'm typing this with a cat between my eyes and the monitor.  Please excuse the typos.

I have had lots of peony plants.  I don't have as many as I used to, because some ants moved in and  built a ginormous ant hill along the side of my house.  They killed three plants, and are wrecking havoc on the others.  Now, I know that if you have peonies, ants will come.  But.  There's a limit, folks.

If you've been reading this blog long, you know I'm going to avoid the chemical route.  I tried the Diatomaceous Earth.  I tried a mixture of borax and sugar, in liquid form and powder.  I tried spraying the bejeepers out of the ant hill with water, many nights in a row.  They won't go away.


And so, tonight I stopped off at the nursery.  They have a counter there where they keep a guy who is all-knowing about the garden.  He knows all about natural deterrents: the plants to buy, or the insects to introduce.  He also knows when to give up and to spray the living crap out of the buggers.


And so, I'm going to take his advice.  I bought ant spray, which I will use tonight.  Following his instructions, I'll wait about 5 days before I dig out the hill and replace my peonies.  THEN, I'll go back to the natural route and surround those baby plants with Penny Royal.    If that doesn't work, I think I'll invest in a blow torch.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hello, Darlings... Welcome back!

The poppies are back, looking like they're going to bloom like crazy.

Here's the first one to bloom:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From the Birds, Flip Me the Bird

I've got a few plants that I'm assuming the birds must have brought in - I certainly didn't plant them, but I'll let them stay as long as they behave.

Violas, which I know have a tendency to spread like stink.  They're on probation, because I like their cheerful faces.


Also, Columbine showed up last year and is blooming for the first time.  They're nothing spectacular from a distance (or even from the top) but if you look at the flower faces, they're kind of cool.


Also, please note that my hand appears larger in this photo than it actually is.

In other news, I discovered this morning that my freezer had gone from being an organized, fairly clean and frost free appliance to being a snow machine overnight.


What the heck caused it to do that, I don't know.  Whatever it is, I hope it can be fixed.  I'm not saying what you should or should not buy, but I'll tell you that I bought six appliances from Sears when I moved in here.  Five of them are Kenmores and one's a Bosch. Five of the six have had so many service calls I've lost count, and they still don't work right.  I'd replace them if I could afford to do so - I'll let you guess which five they are.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Random Monday

  • Tallulah's breeder checks in periodically, to see how she's doing.  I had expressed sadness earlier to know that my girl's getting close to becoming an old dog.  Her breeder told me that Tallulah's grandmother lived until she was 16, and that her mom has barely started to slow down at 11.  That makes me happy.
  • My dog is who is starting to get old has been waking up before 5:00am each morning for about a month.  He paces back and forth on the bed and stands on me to wake me up.  If it was a case of his bladder not being able to hold out all night, I wouldn't mind so much.  I'd fight it every morning, but I'd begrudgingly get up to let him out.  The only problem is, once he finally wakes me up and convinces me to get out of bed, he just wants to play.  
  • A friend was telling me about this great new gym.  There is no-charge babysitting.  There is somebody there who is responsible for watching them, but the kids aren't confined to a room. Apparently, the kids can mingle about the gym and stay near their mom the whole time.  I mean no offence to the moms out there, but as a non-mom, I can't think of anything worse than trying to work out while somebody else's kids are milling about, making noise and generally getting in the way.  
  • Home Depot (AKA the Messa)  has peonies on sale for $3.50.  I only needed one, but I bought three.  I'll find the room, somewhere.
  • If you haven't read The Hunger Games series yet, you should.  Great series, but I think you'll enjoy it more if you don't know what it's about before you start it.  I fought reading it for a long time because I didn't think I'd like the plot line, but I'm almost done the third book and loving it.
  • Baby Veda was born today!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

LOOK!

My new tree has baby apples!




I didn't think I'd get any this first year, so this is a great surprise.


In other gardening news, the perennials are starting to look pretty good. It's later in the season than usual but I'm happy to see them.   Except for the earliest of bloomers, it's too early for most to be showing off.  There are some stand outs in the back yard, though.

(I took these pics by holding the camera at flower level and blindly taking the shot.  Please excuse photo quality.)

The yarrow is starting to pop out.  It's not my preferred variety of yarrow, and usually this plant's flowers are bright, screaming yellow.  The fact that it looks like they flowers will be white this year may be a little unrealistic, but I'm hoping.



Blue phlox.  Can't go wrong with these flowers.  Love them.

The robins' strawberries.  I've given up getting any for myself.   At least the robins are sticking around the yard this year.  (I can hear one singing as I type this.)  In previous years, they've been all about the dine and dash - My strawberries would be gone, but I barely saw the birds at all.


The last of the tulips are still hanging on.  This is a bit of a relief, because the wild rabbits ate the tops off of all the tulips in the front yard.

The lilacs are starting to bloom.  I've got three bushes in different locations of the back yard.  They all seem to take turns blooming, which is really nice... It lets me enjoy the pretty flowers and the scent that much longer.

Is it weird that I love the chives flowers, almost as much as I like using fresh chives in my cooking?    I've got a bouquet of them sitting on my kitchen island right now.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

That didn't go so well

I had a garage sale this weekend.  Most of the stuff came from my parents' house, when they moved.  I stored everything in my garage and my basement over the winter, giving a lot away when I encountered people or groups who could use it.  What was left was in the sale this weekend.

Maybe it's because the best stuff had already been taken, but sales did not go so well.

I started preparing last weekend, sorting through and organizing the garage.  Then I spent a few hours each evening, cleaning the garage some more and carrying things up from the basement.  I took Friday afternoon off work to organize, clean and price everything.

What's with the Early Birds who show up 2 hours before the sale, expect me to have everything ready, complain about the lack of selection and then ask me to cut my prices in half - before anybody else has a chance to look?

In all, traffic of people through the sale yesterday was steady, but people didn't buy much.  I probably made about 15 or 20 sales.  Mostly it was kids dragging their parents to visit Tallulah, who was camped out at the back of the garage.  This morning, I woke up to discover it was raining.  It spit or sprinkled all through the morning - I made $3 between 9-12, and decided to pack it in early at noon.

I made a total of $91.05.  If you count up the hours that I spent on this sale, I think I made a whopping $4.79/hour.  If you count the time I spent not working at my real job yesterday afternoon, I actually lost money.  AND, I have at least three carloads of stuff that I now need to drop off at various charities.

This is not my first garage sale.  I've done two before that were actually really quite successful.  Today, though, I'm thinking that this could very well be my last.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out, Birders

Look who has been hanging out Where the Fur Flies!




I can't find a nest, but I hear somebody tweeting and singing most of the time.  This guy tends to spend a fair amount of time yanking worms out of my gardens, or surveying the land from the corner of my roof.

It's time to dust off the telephoto lens, because I HAVE BIRDS!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Listing to the Left

I've got a few favorite clothing stores.  They generally cost more than other stores, but I justify that by buying quality, classic clothes that should last quite a while.  Lately, however, it seems like I'm spending the money and getting junk that needs to be thrown out after a season.  And so, I decided that if I'm going to get junk, I should at least shop in stores that don't claim to sell - or charge for - high quality.

Last week, I went to a store that I have avoided for years because their quality is not as high.  I found a few shirts that I really like.  Today I put together an outfit with the new tops, and left the house feeling pretty good about my rubenesque self.

The only problem was, every time I looked down, I realized that my shirt was listing to the left.  I had three layers... a sleeveless blouse that's quite sheer and has a built in camisole underneath, and a crocheted sweater over top.  I don't know why, because they seem to fit when I don't move; but for some reason, the camisole kept yanking over to one side.

I left the house looking like this:
wrinkled pants not withstanding...

I spent most of the day looking like this:





I think I'm going to have to remove the attached camisole, and wear a different one instead.

I also think that maybe it's worth the extra $10 to get a shirt that stays where it belongs.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Outside Cat, Inside Dog

I believe quite strongly that cats should live indoors only - especially long haired white cats who want to stay clean - but Winter would be an outside cat if I let him.  If there's an open window, he'll be there.  He's a sucker for the fresh air.  Since there's a direct line from the front door to the back door in this house, you can get a serious breeze blowing through when all the windows and doors are opened.  Himself loves the breeze.

I opened up the windows mid-afternoon today, and he hasn't moved since.

No, I still haven't figured out how to make that cat bed less tacky.



In other news, I started running again last week.  I figure that since I'm not sick anymore, I don't have any more excuses.  I'm going to get back into shape, and I'm going to lose a lot of weight.  I tell you this for two reasons:  one is that the more people who know about my attempts to become a jogger again, the more pressure I'll feel to keep it up.  The other reason is because I can't decide what to do with Cotton.

Cotton has definitely become an "old" dog this year.  He's going blind, and he's less active.  But.  he's only 10 1/2.  Maltese can live into their late teens, so I'm not ready to give up on him yet.    A few years ago, based on his size, I left him at home when I took up jogging.  Except, he did go with me one night for about 3km.  I expected that I'd have to carry him, but he actually did very well.  He was happy as a clam the entire time.

This time, I'm not yet able to run straight through the 25-30 minutes that I'm out.  I run for a few minutes, walk for a bit and then go back to running; and will work up to running straight through.  The first time I went out, I had both dogs and wasn't intending to jog.  (I talked myself into it mid-walk.)  Cotton did fairly well, but dragged a bit at the end.  Last night, against my better judgement, I took Cotton with me again.   We jogged most of the 25 minutes that we were out there, and Cotton struggled.  At one point, I had to pick him up and carry him... which really didn't work well for me.  But, after he had been carried for a few minutes and had the break he needed, he went back onto the ground and very happily ran ahead of me until we got home.

So, now I'm torn.  I know that Cotton can't come with me when it gets hot outside, or when I work up to my goal of 5 and then 8km.  But, I wonder if I'm doing him good or harm to bring him with me while I'm at my slowest, and running the shorter distances.  Will it get easier for him, the way it gets easier for me, or am I putting undue stress on his aging body?

Common senses tells me to take him for a short walk before I go jogging, and then take Tallulah for the run and leave him at home.  The problem is telling him no, when he so clearly wants to come along.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What I did on my vacation

Normally, I don't like to show the gardens until late June or early July when they start to fill in, but there's talk of possible snow this weekend.  If that happens, this is as good as the gardens are going to be, so I figure I might as well show them off now.

Plants still need to mature and grow, and hardly anything is blooming yet.  Please use your imagination.

First, the biggest garden in the back.


Notice the baby apple tree, which I'm very sad to say has become a memory tree for my sister and her boys.  Their dog Maddie died this week at 15 1/2 years old and will be sadly missed.  They're getting ready to move, and since I expect to be here a long time, I told them that Maddie could have this tree in my yard.


The shade garden that I planted last year lost some hostas over the winter... still deciding whether to replace them.  Also, the red bench that used to be there rotted out after many years of sitting outside.  I liked having a sitting place there, though, so I think I'll save the spot.  Not sure if I'll buy or make the new sitter.


The "annual" garden, which houses my favorite flowers... sweet peas and cosmos.
It'll be pretty when they grow up.

The "cat crap" garden was as solution to a problem.   I planted it there to prevent the neighbourhood cats from pooping along the side of the house.  When it fills in, it's going to be a favorite: spring tulips, then peonies, and lilacs.  When I find the right bird house, I'll put it up between the lilac tree and the fence at the end.


In the front, there's the biggest garden


The part of the big garden that's in front of the deck is quite shaded, so I am trying something new there... shade loving plants.


And, the front corner garden.  It was planted specifically to stop Alberta drivers from taking short cuts and cutting across my yard.  (Damn 4 wheel drives.. the red necks around here don't understand that just because you have them doesn't mean you have to use them all the time.)  So far, it's working.


And, if you've managed to slog through all that, I've got one more for you:
Last weekend was bath day for Tallulah's pet rats.

Good Things

  • There are birds in the yard!  Not constantly, but I've seen and heard sparrows multiple times over the last week or so.  I've been trying to attract birds to my yard for more than 5 years, so I'm happy to start with sparrows.
  • At my request, the natural gas company came out to inspect the natural gas lines and appliances in the house.  This was a scary but necessary undertaking for me because nothing (!) that has been uncovered or inspected in the house previously has been done properly.  Happy, I got a good surprise.  There are no leaks.  In fact, for the first time ever, I was told that everything (relating to the gas line) is in excellent condition.
  • What isn't in excellent condition is the lack of a fire break between my garage and my house.  Building codes require that the wall between the garage and the house is built to prevent fires or CO2 from spreading between the garage to the house.  I discovered last  year that my house doesn't have a proper fire break, and have been sweating about finding (and paying!) somebody to fix this for me.  When one of the guys from the Wednesday night group I usually go out with heard this, he offered to come do it for me.  He used to be a foreman for one of the major builders in town, so I trust that he'll get it done right.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Great Day in the Yard

The cat woke me up, bright and early.  This probably isn't necessary anymore, but I tie my door shut with a curtain tieback, looped over the door handle and a little hook beside the door.  It holds the door closed tightly enough that a certain poodle can't wander around at night, but leaves it open enough that the cat can come and go.

This morning, starting at about four, Himself went back and forth through the door for hours. It makes a small bump noise when he pushes the door with his nose, a small bump when his shoulders go through,  a small bump when his hips go through, and then a quiet squeak as the door pulls back shut.

Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.
Bump, bump, bump - squeak.

Normally, it's so quiet that I don't even notice him coming and going when I'm awake, but after this went on forever, I finally got up and closed the door.  Himself then sat at the door and yowled for over a half an hour, until I decided that 6:00am isn't really that awful of a time to get up when you're on vacation - especially if you have something to do.

So, I got up and dug in the gardens.  It was the perfect weather for it, overcast with enough wind to keep the pesky mosquitos away.  I finished cutting back last year's perennials and pulling the weeds from all of the gardens.  I planted four tomato plants.  I discovered that the little bit of rain that we've had was what the rose bushes were waiting for.  Most of them are starting to show signs of life, so I whacked them back to remove the dead wood and let them focus their energy on new growth.

Just about the time that I was starting to think I'd had enough gardening, the skies opened up mid-afternoon and it poured.  So, I got cleaned up and went into town to exchange the clothes I'd bought yesterday for smaller sizes, picked up some groceries and then came home to make a fresh fruit smoothie to tie myself over until my friends and I head out for dinner later.

Days like this are why I always book off gardening time in June.

Except for the cat's early morning wake up call.  That, I could do without.