Friday, June 10, 2011

The rain barrel works!

We got a shot of rain this AM which I didn't think amounted to much, until I was puttering around the gardens this evening and decided to give the rain barrel a knock.  It seemed about 2/3 full.  The water was warm and ran from the spigot wonderfully.  I think that I 5-tripped it around the gardens with the watering can and all went well. 


Smiles in my day:
-  My migraine was a three hour tour today.  It could have been worse. 
-  The green bean seeds that I planted to replace the ones that didn't come up are starting to shoot up out of the ground.  I was so happy to see that! 
-  The garden is weeded.
-  My neighbor gave me a Potentilla that she purchased to replace a plant that didn't die.  I had never heard of a Potentilla, but it now has a cozy home in the butterfly garden.  I moved one of the ground cherries to make room, but believe me, we're running a little spacious after the recent rip and flip of that bed.  I was thankful to have a new addition. 
-  Sprinkling organic food throughout my beds, hoping that the scent makes Chuck (the resident chipmunk) or Chuck's friends stop eating my marigolds.  I seriously don't know if the marigolds are going to make it, but my hope was that the powdered manure stink will turn the critters away.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Two rights and still nothing is right.

The people that I work for are used to being surrounded by an motley crew of people.  They don't have many clothing restrictions for us, but there are a few things that they would like us to adhere to:

No rips or tears.
No spaghetti strap tank tops and please make sure that all of your parts and particles are properly covered all the way.
No open toed shoes.

This morning, I was running around trying to get some things done before work.  I was running in and out and since we don't wear shoes in the house, I had flip flops on.  Time ran short, I didn't have time to change my shoes so I grabbed some shoes from the shoe pile at the bottom of the steps and ran off and away.  I got half way to work and I noticed something.

I had two different Birkenstocks.  I had a black shoe and a gray t-strap.  (Both look the same from the back, especially since I was grabbing them from basically under the stairs.)

Both shoes were the right shoes only. 

I decided to risk it and go ahead with my illegal footwear.  Surprisingly, I wasn't questioned about it, but I did tell a few people what I did.  I am display staff, am used to twirling things around on the top of my feet (display boxes, large glass shelves, product), so wearing full shoes is something that is definitely necessary for me anyhow.  I had a display to finish, but nothing that involved anything heavy.  Still, I hung out behind the counter and tried my best to keep my feet out of sight. 


Smiles in my day:
-  Despite the 93 F temperature for K-'s 1st grade picnic today, she had a great time.
-  A/C.
-  K- got a 100% on her quarterly vocabulary quiz!  HOORAY!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It was the equivalent of Match Day for the elementary.

(Just in case you don't know what Match Day is, please click here.)

When I called K- after school, as I always do, she was so excited.  "Mom!  I got Mrs. B- and we got to visit with her in class and she read us a book.  And guess what?  E- is in my class!  (The neighbor girl.)  And so is Mackenzie and Lauren!" 

We found out that Mrs. S- did a bit of a shake-up with her class and as I suspected, the children who appeared to have hooked up through the year were split off in different classes from each other.  K- is one of those split pairs, but in this case, we are very happy about it.  K- had palled around with a girl who, in the end, made K- really pull up her boot straps, toss away her only-childness and really make her dig in and confirm that she is good enough, smart enough and people DO like her.  This is a triumph for K-, as the first mention of "I won't be your friend if . . . " at the beginning of the year turned my child to an instant pile of submissiveness.  K- has learned that she is confident enough not to be shaken by the idol threat and is quite happy to move on to be friendly with other children, regardless of gender.  This was confirmed to me when we had our hike the other day.  Her hiking buddy decided to buddy up with another child.  K- was fine with that, walked arm-in-arm and hand-in-hand (yes, all at the same time with three girls and I wished I could have gotten a picture) with two other girls that giggled, laughed and talked the whole remainder of the way together.  Her initial walking buddy decided to hop back to K-, but at this point, K- had moved on.  The original walking buddy was chaffed by the experience and was rather visually and audibly put out by it.  I was glad that I was at the back of the pack to be able to watch the event unfold and to see my child handle it all on her own, and with complete confidence.  She wasn't rude, but she had moved on and effectively and politely handled herself.  She wasn't rattled.  A.M.E.N. 

Match Day?  A success for us.  K- is with the teacher that we hoped for, though trusted the system and didn't put in a formal written request for, and she's excited about the change of classmates for the following year.  Second grade, here we come!

Smiles in my day:
-  K-'s excitement for next year. 
-  K- had a make-up soccer game this evening, which went very well, but confirmed that our child is not one geared to be able to do extra-curriculars during the week.  We knew this, but this small test confirmed our suspicions.  A full day of school, a couple of hours of soccer and not hitting the home front for more than 12 hours took a lot out of all of us.  How is this a smile?  We know our family ability and we confirmed that we need to stick to that for maximum family happiness.
-  Finding out that the hose on the rain barrel was crimped, but I was able to move it so that the next time that it decides to rain, she should fill up just fine.  It rained torrentially for hours and I would have had that whole thing filled, but lesson learned.  It was an easy fix!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: Items of an irritative nature.

1.  Exactly why do people feel the need to tote their dogs along to the soccer field in 90 degree heat to sit out in the blazing sun with them for a few hours?  That can't be that comfortable for them.  I especially love it when the owner has complete disregard for the neighboring parentals trying to watch the practice/game while she is sitting so close to the field that the dog was actually ON the field, in the way of the children as they were trying to do drills and in the end when she decided to move, she moved right behind me so that the dog could continue sniffing my arm and back and God knows what else.  Yeah.  Good times.

2.  PMS.  Rrrrr.  Nuff said.

3.  The week previous at soccer, I had one parent sit so close to me that I could have put sun block on her arms without stretching to do so.  No, I don't know the woman.  They are the same parents that are out ON the soccer field with their son and they bring a complete entourage with them.  I think 10 people came to see him play this past week.  I have no problem with that.  Truly, they seemed like lovely people, but obviously they don't have personal space issues like I do.  Might I add that in both cases, there was probably about 20-30 feet of empty sideline, but for some reason, these folks felt the need to snuggle right up to me.  In 90 degree heat, I'm not that pretty and I'm certain that my natural deodorant does have a certain failure point.  While I'm sure that the flies aren't exactly buzzing about my airspace, I'm certain that I'm not as spring fresh as when the day started.  BACK UP PEOPLE!

4.  Someone at church pulled in cock-eyed and so close to my vehicle, that K- actually had to enter from the passenger side to get to her seat.  I widged my way in, but geeze o' Pete people, DON'T PARK ON TOP OF ME!  I'm not as thin as I used to be, but would like to return to my previous happy number.  Until then, I need a regular amount of space, please.

5.  I have a swimming pass that was renewed as a gift.  Last year, the swimming pass came with a perk card to use at the treat stand.  We hadn't gotten one this year.  As a surprise, I'll be taking K- to swim after school on Friday, so I called to check on the status of the perk card.  "Oh, we haven't gotten those out yet.  We're backlogged.  When was the membership renewed?"  "End of March or early April."  "Oh."  "Will you be getting that out soon?  As I hate to be that lady, we'll be visiting the pool and would really love to use it."  (We get three free sodas, three free slushes and a free admission.)  The gentleman is sending the card out in the mail today. 

6.  Something is eating my marigolds.  Yes, the marigolds, but the dianthus are left alone.  It makes no sense to me. 

Smiles in my day:
-  The chocolate/chocolate cake that I baked for my mom's birthday was wonderful. 
-  K- is loving the Summer of the Sea Serpent.  Rest assured, when she can, she'll be belting out Harry Potter.  Still a bit above her reading level right now. 
-  K- brought her soccer ball and net to my parents house this evening.  The kids got running and playing soccer in their own way, my 2 year old nephew included.  I love that the kids can get together and have great fun together.  My brother's girlfriend used to play soccer, so she was out there with the kids, too.
-  It is the last week of school.  It is a full week involving a math test, vocabulary quiz and a spelling test.  No rest for the weary, but it'll be over soon.  The cherry on the top of the end of Friday is that I'm going to be taking K- to have a cook out with her siblings after swimming.  She'll be so surprised! 

Have a great day!

Monday, June 6, 2011

If you want rain to stop, install a rain barrel.

I promise that I'm not kidding!  We installed the rain barrel a week ago and have only seen a few drops of rain since.  We were supposed to get rain yesterday and there was lightning and thunder, but it passed south of us.  Frankly, we've been just short of putting our oars to water, so being able to dry everything out is a great thing. 

Onward to the major picture post!  I'm sure that you just can't wait.
Finally.  The back yard is complete.  (The cage bits off to the side are part of Spikes outdoor cage.  He loved being outdoors and being fed fresh greens from the garden.)

My little garden.  I had to replant a row of green beans that didn't come up and yes, I realize that there are some weeds around the onions.  All will be well.  At the top of the garden, you'll see the angel that my brother, Billy, gave to us when Bailey died.  She has been our garden angel ever since.  Right now, she watches over the vegetable garden and nesting chickadees right behind her.

This is the bed that we thought was going to kill us.  Over the last few years, it had become overrun with Obedient plant, which killed off my echinacea, daisies and a variety of other things.  We also had gild over the ground, baby locust trees, some field grass and a couple of dandelions that had made their home in there.  I admitted to Hubs that I looked at that bed and instantly felt overwhelmed.  Between the two of us, and in the 90 + degree heat, we tackled the beast.  We're left here with sedum, a volunteer red oak, columbine and a volunteer Rose of Sharon that made the cut.  I planted ground cherries with tomato cages.  Last year, I found that they flopped and dropped.  I'm thinking that the cages will correct that problem.  I've also planted black whirl hollyhocks, cup flower, New England aster and rough blazing star.  It's a little sparse now, but it'll pick up soon enough.

The other portion of the beastly bed.  We moved a chunk of the coreopsis and the yarrow over to this side of the bed.  The wide open space in front of the butterfly bush may get filled with some annuals.  It may not.  I haven't figured that out yet.

The clematis has finally started to climb!  Geeze!  It has taken a few years. 

The other bed.  Notice Hubs' awesome edging job.  He'd want me to point that out along with his excellent mulch spreading skills. 

The butterfly bush that took a middle hit this past winter.  It looks like it wants to fly, but the middle will catch up soon enough.  Normally, this butterfly bush grows to about 10 feet tall.  Until it fills in, we'll deal with the slight hideousness for now. 

The geranium that I wintered over in the basement.  I've never been successful in wintering anything over, and was pleased that this orphaned geranium that Julia gave me pulled through okay.  I did have it hanging at the front corner of the house, but that proved to be a bit too much for it.  I flipped it with the portulaca basket I made.  Both baskets are much happier.  In case you are wondering, the laundry lines got quite a nice workout this weekend.

K-'s favorite flower is the black and yellow striped petunia.  We call it the bumblebee flower and we thought it was pretty spiffy. 

Finally, we have one of my herb garden beds that are right next to the house.  I do have some bits of extraneous plants in and out of the bed.  The driveway plants are butterfly host plants we've found caterpillars on and the ones in the beds are either volunteer snapdragons or volunteer tomatoes.  I'll see if anyone needs the tomatoes before I give them the pitch.  So far, I have three tomato plants purposely planted.  That's enough for us.  One of my intentionally grown tomatoes was broken by 70 MPH winds, so it was replaced with a volunteer.   So far, I've passed three volunteers on to the neighbors. 
Smiles in my weekend:
-  Nathan's skinless beef hot dogs, Bush's baked beans and grocery macaroni salad.  Hubs doesn't eat "normal" food that often (he generally exists on soy burgers), so the fact that he was able to safely eat these things last week led him to ask me to do a repeat on our Memorial Day picnic items.  Since we were doing the exact same thing on Memorial Day, the easy-peasy menu seemed fitting.
-  Line dried laundry.  Now, if I can just get it put away.
-  Hubs and I being able to work together to get a lot done.
-  Getting mom's birthday cake baked, iced and delivered whole.
-  K- had a really great soccer game today.
-  Field day went well, the weather was beautiful and the kids had a great time!

Have a great day!