Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A weekend of things and an update of sorts.

K- wanted to catch a caterpillar.  She wanted to bring it inside.  I told her that we had to leave them out in their proper creature home.  She figured that if they walked into the bug house, that would be fair game.  Just to let you know, the caterpillar remained on the dill.  In fact, it is still there tonight.

This tube dealie may not seem like anything significant, but it is attached to  . . .

Our new rain barrel!  :)!!!  We have it tucked in behind our fence, in our back yard.  We thought that if we had it visible, people might goof with it.  We live in the city.  We're not a bad part of town, mind you, but we still live in the city.  We feel better about having it in the back and besides, it's closer to the garden. 

An interesting thing that I didn't know until we were trying to install the rain barrel, is that they want you to have a pad underneath it.  Crud!  We had a stone step that Hubs either dug up in the yard or found or something, but it wasn't big enough just on its own.  I told Hubs that I was going to go next door to the neighbor's fill pile (he's trying to fill a big depression in his yard) to see what he had that might work.  When I went, I found a concrete drain for a downspout.  It was perfect.  I called, got permission to pick this lovely from his pile, then off we went.  I was so happy that we didn't have to go out to spend more money.  We were able to re-purpose junk from the neighbor's fill pile and the funny thing is that he said he doesn't even know where that drain piece even came from.  It was in perfect condition! 

It came with a hose and a spiffy end so that you can shut the water off.  Hubs pulled a hook just a little wider so that I could hang the hose to keep it out of the way.

The rain barrel (AKA water urn) that I bought has a 4" deep planting depression in the top with a lovely weep hole, so that your flowers don't rot to death.  Very nice.  The combo I have going (please keep in mind that it was 90 F that day and these were in need of some water) are some volunteer Lime Green Nicotiana (purchased from Baker Creek seeds probably 5 years ago and they STILL! come back), a million bells petunia (has perked up since) and multiple colors of dianthus.  I'm excited to see how the plants will look once they are all grown up!

These are peonies from Hubs' grandmother's plant.  Aunt Debbie shared these with me right after we moved here.  I had them on the shade side of the house and they didn't do anything.  I moved them to a spot next to the drive (I really don't know why I put them where I put them) and they seem to be very happy.  Aunt Debbie shared the story about these this past weekend.  Her mother lived next door to a woman that moved here from Czechoslovakia.  Before coming to the states, she packed some of these in her bag.  She had them in her yard and shared them with Hubs' grandmother.  Aunt Debbie got some from her and once we purchased our home, some were passed down to me.  She asked me how ours are doing and I reported that they are doing wonderfully!  I should send a photo off to her.

I am so excited.  Hubs edged and mulched the front beds for the first time in a few years.  I was able to plant a mixture of dianthus (Strawberry Parfait, Diana Scarlet and Raspberry), as well as some mixed marigolds.  I can't wait to see how the colors work together when everything is grown and blooming beautifully.  Eeee!

The hanging baskets.  The front basket was purchased at a mom and pop nursery.  Hubs and K- gave me a gift certificate for Mother's Day and I couldn't resist.  The three other hanging baskets we have, I've planted myself.  I'm okay with them needing a little longer to fill out.  It's a lot cheaper that way and they don't get leggy so quick.  This post is our bird feeding area post in the winter and in the planting season, we'll have hanging baskets.  Works for me!

Speaking of, here's one of my self-planted baskets.  I have $1.50 worth of plants in there and a 20 cent pack of seeds.  This basket is at the wind corner of the house.  It takes massive abuse, so much so that I actually had to switch the geranium basket that I had wintered over for this one.  The geranium wasn't taking the abuse of this particular corner that well at all.  It is much happier hanging out at the laundry line post.

Finally, we've finished the bottom portion of K-'s swing set tower.  Hubs and K- pulled the lawn up, I fit and pinned down some landscape fabric and dropped some pea pebbles on top.  Very nice!  Hubs dug in a little bed for K- to grow some sunflowers.  We're excited to see how tall they grow next to her tower.  What's nice is that I'll be able to tie them to the tower once they get big, heavy heads on them. 
Hubs and I weren't able to finish all of the weeding and mulching.  We have one more long bed to go.  On Memorial Day, it was 90 F, massively humid and we don't really have much for shade.  That's why at the hottest part of the day, we all huddled under the eaves to get the rain barrel installed. 

We hoofed it and we are thrilled with the progress that we've made so far.  Yes, I promise pictures when everything is finished.

My Memorial Day marathon gardening session started with my friend Kim calling me to say that our friend, Karen (the church secretary) had died.  She had been ill, but Karen had always triumphed over everything.  We all knew how sick she was, so in one sense, I'm not surprised.  In a totally different way, I was absolutely shocked.  I couldn't help but to think of sweet Karen and her family.  Oh, how my heart breaks for them.  Karen was a woman of faith, Jesus was her Lord and Savior and we absolutely know that with all of our hearts, she is looking down on us.  Still, Karen was a mom to many and a friend to all.  There are times that I had to tell her that she needed to remember that she could say no.  Still, Karen was everyone's go-to girl.  You might think something is impossible, but with Karen (and God at her side), nothing was impossible at all.  Needless to say, our church has been rocked.  One of our cornerstone members is gone.  We will move on, but until then, we all grieve her passing. 

Be warned, this is gross and you may want to skip it:
In an update in regard to my grandfather's condition, he is still pressing on.  Since Grandpa has nothing other than a sound mind, he decided to not have life support removed.  He wants to "breathe his last breath" and that for him is being done by machine.  For the lack of any other way to explain it, my grandfather is necrosing from the inside out.  A vent provides oxygen to your brain and your upper torso, but the way it was explained to me is that it isn't a major long term thing to keeping limbs and whatnot all pink and healthy.  Grandpa has a flesh-eating (from the vent and not contagious) wound on his backside that has left bone exposed.  His lungs can no longer be drained, since the fluid has turned into a pudding-like substance.  The lung doctor has already signed off and has removed himself from my grandfather's case.  The present doctor in charge has explained that eventually, the vent will stop working.  He also added that eventually, the kidney dialysis will stop working.  Family members asked about resuscitating grandpa and the doctor said that the vent is doing that continually.  He also stated that two doctors can "end a life" and if two sign off, that is a case where life support can be discontinued regardless of stipulations in papers.  (Mom told me this and don't get mad at me if I'm wrong.)  Fact of the matter is that Grandpa is alive by mechanical means.  If those mechanical means are removed (Grandpa will NOT be getting any better), he has 2-3 hours max.  He had us come in last Tuesday.  He wanted to see all of us.  I saw Grandpa.  I gave him goodbyes.  This is so hard. 

I didn't write the last part to bum anyone out.  Karen has been continually on my mind and I knew that y'all might be wondering about Grandpa's status.


Rach said...

Hooray! It all looks SO wonderful! That rain barrel is amazing! :o) I love it all. :o)

I'm so sorry about Karen and Grandpa. My prayers continue.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Everything looks lovely at your house. I've got almost everything done here except that we cutting down two trees this weekend (one is too big and causing roof issue and the other was damaged by ice) and mulching. I can't wait for everything to be done and I can relax.

I'm so sorry about your Grandpa. Prayers continue for him.

Michelle said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your dear friend Karen; what an emotional time this must have been for you with saying goodbyes.