Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cold week in May

I had such high hopes of getting plants into ground this past week.  

After all, we've had such a nice seasonably warm month so far, an earlier-than-usual last frost (May 14th) and then mildness all around.

This week really went south, though.  The wind has been relentless from the north, the skies have been gloomy, daytimes temps on several days never got out of the 40s and the nights - well, the thermometer this morning says it all. I've been wearing my heavy clothes, eating hot soup and listening to the furnace run.  *sheesh*

I brought in the plants Tuesday evening and didn't even take them out again until yesterday (Friday) just so I could water them.  

Had to bring them in again last night.  It's been so freaking COLD!  I barely went outside this week except to mow the grass and that was no picnic in that wind.  I did get juuust a bit of a project done, but I sure didn't enjoy it.

Should be upper 60s here today with 40s tonight.  I think I'll take the kids out today but bring them in again tonight.  After that the forecasts look better for full-time outside again.

Hopefully we'll get some of the rains they promised this weekend.  I look forward to planting out these babies soon.

PT grad - cap & certificate
No plans here for the holiday although Mom will be here for one day for lunch.  She's just graduated her 12 sessions of PT (for weakness).  She's done very well, really enjoyed the workouts, gained strength and flexibility, did her homework exercises regularly, and liked the therapists so much that we've decided to continue with more exercising in the health center there at Mercy.  She'll have access to the equipment she's used to and the therapists she's worked with.  It's taking up a lot of my time, travelling to the center, also helping her with home exercises, but she's doing so well I'd rather give up some things around here to accomodate her.  Still, I wish she'd come live with me.  It would make things so much easier... Oh well.

Remember your loved ones, this Memorial Day.  Hold them close.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Crabs et al

It's been a terrific year for the crab trees - we had no ice/snow/sleet/freeze/frost on the blossoms this year.  By the time the last (very light & no freezing) on the 14th, the blooms had been mostly gone anyway (persistent heavy winds).

It's just wonderful to watch the crab bed fill in with all those shade perennials I installed last year.  They could sure use some rain though.  We've only gotten 3/4" this May and only 4" all April - less than half what we got in 2014. 

I was admiring the bed this morning and realized that the crab trees are getting heavy.  They needed a trim to keep them in shape and (ironically) to allow light and air circulation for the shade plants.

Here's the before and after pics.  You can see that the arbor bed can now be seen in the background and there is a bit more light under the trees.  I'm keeping the crabs in check - I've seen how rangy these things can get.

On a sad note, the yoshino cherry tree planted in the front lawn 3 years ago is dead - the deer just kept at the poor thing.

I pulled it out yesterday and cut it up.  It made such a sad little pile.  It never had a chance.  RIP

Then I went to Marcs for some groceries and right there, outside the door amongst their spring plant selections, was an 8-foot-tall potted SNOWDRIFT CRABAPPLE tree.  My favorite crab!!  And only $20!!!  Be still my heart.

With the help of a willing stock associate, we tenderly loaded up the the tree into my hatchback.  (Gotta love a hatchback!) 

I'll plant it where the cherry used to be.  Hopefully this one will have better luck.  I'll be diligent and beef up defenses.

While I was on a roll, I tried out the new pump on the rain barrels.  Here's the post on the Garden Projects page.

And, finally, a sad tale.  There is a lonely male mallard duck frequenting the feeder these days.  He's obviously lost his mate since a couple weeks agao and will be 'batch-ing' it until he finds a willing hen (although this time of the mating season, I doubt he'll have any luck).  At least he's cleaning up the spilled seed.

Meanwhile, up in the attic, I'm replacing a vent screen.  Check out the story on the Household Adventures page.

Monday, May 11, 2015

May update - 2015

The last post on the Plant Propagation page had me bemoaning the fact that I had started all those annuals way too early.  But now, I'm sooo glad I did!

This May has been as far above average in temps as April was below.  

I brought out the basement starts onto the deck on May 1st, brought them into the sunroom only the 1st 2 nights but since then they've been on the deck 24/7.

And they are flourishing.  Check out the new banner.  There are buds on the Zahara zins.  Marigolds are blooming.  The still-unidentified annuals from last year's seeds are blooming.  The over-wintered geraniums and B&B salvias are thriving (as are the cuttings taken from both).

Tomato & pepper plants are nice and today I'm going to put some cuke seeds into cells to get them going.

There is good potention for frosty/cold nights mid-week so a couple trips to the sunroom will be in order, but otherwise this Spring has been the easiest transition ever from the basement to outside.

I'm looking forward to early plant out of the 3 kinds of zins and the marigolds.  

What I'm REALLY looking foward to is some RAIN.  May has only given us 1/10" so far.  (Michigan is getting all our stuff!)

And all the forecasts for rain all this past weekend has come to naught.  The rain barrels are empty.  We need at least an inch or two for me to fill those barrels.

How about you?  Spring going along as expected?  Or more curves for you?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

We now return....

.... to our regularly scheduled meals.

Yay!

Found a reasonably priced Sharp carousel (no inverter) at BJs yesterday.

Had warmed up Chinese food for supper.  Happy happy joy joy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Five days in May....

... and counting!

Back in the mid/late '80s, I was writing up a storm and selling as a freelancer.  It took me a while to get that first sale and I was thrilled beyond belief.

I was living on my savings at that point, so every $ counted.  That first piece I sold was called "When the Zap loses its Zip", a humorous/sad tale of woe recounting when my microwave oven died.

It sold to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newpaper for its Sunday supplement magazine.  The $ from the sale almost paid for the repairs on the microwave!  (Back when there were more repair shops and folks used them!) LOL

So its with a sad and heavy heart I have to tell you that on May 1st, this year my current microwave died.  Sheesh.  And it was only 14 years old.  *sob*  So young, so young.

The whole tale is recounted on the "Household Adventures" sidebar blog.  Check it out.

Meanwhile, without a microwave, I'm eating a lot of .... this:

Thank goodness for the Forman grill and the 'fridge. I try not to fire up the stove unless I'm making a vat of something.

What is REALLY a pain these days is hot beverages and my morning oatmeal.  *sigh*

How about you?  Could YOU live without a microwave (or some other kitchen convenience)?  :-/

Monday, May 4, 2015

Treasure!

I am checking out the crabapple bed to see which (if any) last year's newly planted perennials are coming up.

One astilbe doing well, the other, not so much.  The June hostas are okay.  And while the Japanese painted fern in front of the front bay window is going gangbusters, the 2 in the crab bed barely register.  (So much so that I trample down one of the clumps.  *whine*)

But then I spy something - odd.  What are these?  Some kind of fungus to be sure.  I think at first they might be 'stink horns', but no.  Really different.

Maybe tiny cooling towers for itty bitty nuclear power plants?  Dunno.

I step back and see if I can salvage the trampled fern.  And lo!  There.  Beside the fern - the source of the hollow towers.

A morel mushroom!  I brush aside more leaves and hey!  Another!

Are they around the ferns?  I check the other clump of Japanese painted and yep!  More morels.  I count 4 right now (and the twin towers).    

Now I KNOW they are morels.  They look like morels.  They are the same as ones I find on the web.  Where did they come from?  Why here?  Why now?

And why am I too darn chicken to pick them to eat?   What would you do? LOL

Bottom line - bigfoot here is keeping out of the beds and watching from the sidelines from now on!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Now THAT's Spring!

After a cold start, the afternoon was bright (albeit breezy) and blue.  I took the opportunity to mow the lawns.  The grass is at it's peak - all thick and green.

Good thing I did.  It's cold again this morning (34F) and raining.

Looks like a warm-up coming next week.  'Bout time!