Hi there! Welcome to my very miscellaneous blog. Here, I write about everything from mis-used words to gardening, to bad habits in society to going places and seeing things! Enjoy my ramblings.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

In Another Garden

Today brought more pleasant weather.  So much to to, but took a small break from the veggie garden side, as it is pretty much as prepped as we need...just a few minor weeds.  All that remains is to stay on top of it, and wait for the rainy season to taper off, so cloudbursts don't wash away newly planted seeds.

So, we turned our focus to some deferred and neglected items in the front yard.  There were dandelions approaching 2 feet tall in the landscape plantings, and they had to go.  My Chrysanthemums are sporting new growth, so all the dead wood from last year had to be cut back.

Whew!  Next,  after I finish taking this breather, I'll be going back out to refill/overflow my backyard fountain to get rid of the accumulated algae that has the water all green.  It is right oustide my bedroom window, and makes a very pleasant type of music to which I can fall asleep, imagining myself out camping by a babbling brook.

The cats also enjoy the fountain, as it is frequented by birds coming to drink or bathe, and they watch out the window, lash their tails, and dream futile kitty dreams of catching one.  It is not to be, as they are not allowed outdoors for their own safety, as well as that of the wild birds.  But, they seem to enjoy watching the world go by out the window.  They are so comfortable being exclusively indoor kitties that they don't much try to head out the door if it is opened. 

The front and back lawns...or, more accurately, front lawn and backyard weed patch, have been mowed, thanks to hubby, so all is neat and tidy looking once again.  Unfortunately, our robo-gopher is still active, so we will have to keep a very close eye on the veggie patch.  So far (knock wood), there has been no evidence of gopher activity in that area.

For those of you in other areas or other countries, a gopher is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as follows:

 "go·pher NOUN:  1.) Any of various short-tailed, burrowing rodents of the family Geomyidae of North America, having fur-lined external cheek pouches. Also called pocket gopher."

 You can see a photo of one here.  They are marginally cute, but horrifically destructive of plant materials of many types.  Someone asked me if it was another name for a woodchuck. No, it is not. Those are much larger. (op.cit.): 

"wood·chuck NOUN:  A common burrowing rodent (Marmota monax) of northern and eastern North America, having a short-legged, heavy-set body and grizzled brownish fur. Also called groundhog,** also called regionally whistle pig."  (Italics are mine.) 

**a la "Punxatawney Phil"   ;-)  Photo of one here.  I do not think we have woodchucks/groundhogs in our part of the country, but I cannot swear to that...I simply have never seen one, or heard of anyone else seeing one locally.

Back to the fountain--the current issue will be to try and keep it free of falling almond blossoms, as it sits right beneath one of the almond trees on the property.  They are very old, and were here when we bought the house.  Ironically, we have all these almond crops and neither of us particularly care for almonds.  Nor to we know the first thing about their harvest and drying or roasting.  So, it is a bounty for the squirrels and birds, and they are welcome to them.  We enjoy watching them scamper about in the trees.

However, keeping the fountain clear of debris is an endless task.  It feels as if "The Borg" are in charge.  I hear their phrase, "Resistance is futile," echoing in my head on a daily basis all spring, summer and fall.  I have worn out 2 fish nets so far, and the 3rd one has been patched together with cable ties.  The fine mesh is best for scooping out debris, as much of it is very small.  The fish net even succeeds in grabbing some of the algae.

There---this is much better:

And see--more almond blossom petals have already fallen in!

The last photo shows the 'back 40' and one of the other almond trees, as well as our 'view.'  It isn't very impressive.  In fact, it makes me angry every time I see it.  There used to be an abandoned orchard back there, and it housed rabbits, raccoons, skunks, (well, ok we don't much miss the skunks), all kinds of birds, and was much more pleasant to look at.  Then, along came an outfit that wanted to build homes, and they bulldozed the orchard, added many feet of fill dirt to 'store' on the site...and then the bottom fell out of the housing market, the deal fell through, they backed out, and we are left with this unsightly scene, and the animals are all gone.

Eventually, we want to plant a row of trees along the back as something better to look at, but, we cannot at the moment--as we do not yet have city sewer service, and the area is right behind the septic tank.  Besides, there are no funds to buy trees now, anyway.  Sigh.

And that is it for today--posted quite late in the evening, due to a series of things, starting with an accident involving a glass of iced tea and my keyboard just when I was about to upload these photos. 

 By the time that was cleaned up and the keyboard dried out, {computer is ok...keyboard has a minor issue--I cannot type a capital 'c.'  Nothing happpens at all..spot stays empty waiting for input.  :-(  },  it was dinnertime, and then, time to watch the closing ceremonies for the Olympics.  (I don't know why I watch that stuff, when I know it's going to make me cry!) 

So, here I am, getting my Sunday post up on Sun-night.

This was, obviously, a bit of a digression from my vegetable garden...but still, dealt (mostly) with gardening, so it's all good, right?  ;-)


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ah, Sunshine!

Well, today finally brought some much-awaited sun and pleasant temperatures.  Perfect for working out-of-doors.  I took the opportunity to clean out the piles of leaves from the dead-limb removal project.  My goodness, those were good-sized piles of leaves, considering the tree in question has small leaves!  The rest of the branches, I just moved over to another part of the yard, where they will sit for 2 weeks until it is again "green week" on the trash pickup day. 

The leaves, well, I confess--we were 'naughty,' and dumped them into the normal trash. I know, I know... mulch, compost, etc. I've tried composting in the past. I just don't have the energy to keep up with it. It seems to be (for me, anyway) much more labor-intensive than the proponents would have you believe.

Note to self: grab and put on gloves prior to starting such a project, to avoid getting zapped with fiberglass splinters from mean, nasty old rake!

This is what is left of the former "patio" area from the pool days. I plan to clean it up and leave it, as a place to 'sit and think for a spell' while watching the garden grow. This particular end of the area gets full-on sun only between high noon and about 3 p.m., otherwise, it is more in the shade. Further away from this end, though, it gets sunlight most of the day from mid-morning until almost sunset all summer long. Perfect for crops!   On each end of the long axis of this area are the 2 sprinkler heads that will water the garden.  They don't show up in this photo, however, as one is behind the camera position, and the other is a bit buried in dirt.

As a final prep project, the bush seen below, Miss Podocarpus Gracilior, will need to be trimmed and tidied up quite a bit, as the bottom limbs are dragging the ground.  Not good for the plant.  Although, I often wonder about that kind of statement.  Mother Nature certainly does not go around with clippers 'tidying' up her plants...they remain rather wild and rag-a-muffin looking.  ;-)

Behind this Podocarpus, you can see the fence-staining project--halted when we ran out of stain and had no funds to get more.  Can not believe the price of that stuff these days!!  Oh, well, it's on the inside--not the "show" side, so no worries.

Oh, boy, oh boy!  Now, to determine the exact time to plant!  Coming, soon, I'm sure, as March is only a few days away.  Perhaps I shall spend my birthday installing my vegetable garden.  (Weather permitting, of course!)

More to come.....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Weather Delays!

Well, wouldn't you know!  Just because I'm all ready to go, geared up and excited to start my new veggie garden, the weather keeps halting my progress.

It poured rain again all day yesterday, and today is off and on.  The sun is trying-- but I need it to try harder!  Today, I was working alone on the ceramics bisque orders, cleaning the green ware.  Because of being alone, I worked 2 hours extra than normal.  Oh, well.  It is getting done, and I will probably have to work on that some more later on.

Meanwhile, just for a spark of visual interest, here are the seed packets I have ready and waiting:

They are on the kitchen island, within a one-step grabbing distance of the back door.  We bought them while grocery shopping.  I was mildly surprised to find seeds at the grocery store, and even more surprised  (and pleased!) when a perusal of my receipt showed vegetable seeds to be food-stamps eligible.  Good to know.  Every little bit helps in these days of financial struggles.

I also need to go grocery shopping again...(seems like we just did that--the day we bought our seeds!)..but all of that is also taking time from my garden project. There are just not enough hours in the day, especially for me, a very decidedly non-morning person. No matter how hard I try, I just cannot seem to get it together and accomplish anything useful much before noon.  Work or putter around on things until midnight or after?  Sure.  No problem!  That means the gardening will have to come first, and everything else (indoor tasks) relegated to later in the day, when and where artificial light is avaialble.

More to come....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday in the Garden

   Actually, not. This is an update of sorts, only to report that I was stalled by the weather.  It poured rain today, so I was unable to be outside chopping up dead branches.

  Ok, call me a wimp, if you must, but I only have 1 pair of tennis shoes that fit, and no rainboots.  It's not sandal weather yet, so that was not a viable option.

  Oh, sure...I guess I could have brought the branches indoors, and chopped them up in the living room.  NOT!  So, I wait upon the pleasure of Mom Nature for the next dry day.

  Meanwhile, I can explain the very 'beachy' appearance of the area in yesterday's photos.  The area actually was a 'beach' of sorts a couple of summers in a row.  It does get hot here, and we have one of those 10-foot-across by 3-foot-deep pools that can be set up seasonally.  There was a lot of construction-grade clean sand sitting in a huge pile in the yard.  This was leftover from the process of building our shop back in 2004; someone, it seems, (not mentioning any names...), calculated incorrectly how much we'd need for the stucco.

  Since we have an annual BBQ around the 4th of July each year, we decided to cover up the existing dirt with the excess sand, making a 'beach' in the pool area.  It worked well, as it did not adhere to the kids' feet as much as the 'normal' dirt underneath.  Our dirt here is a sandy soil, but is much, much finer, and very much 'dirt colored.'  This makes a mess if tracked into the pool. With an astro-turf mat, a foot bath pan, and the clean coarse sand, the pool stayed nice and clean.

  Not so much the house, though.  The normal sandy dirt is so fine that it blows in through the very tiniest of crevices, and keeping the house dusted is a losing battle.  Therefore, I will probably have to till in some soil amendments such as peat to prepare for the garden.  Between that and the coarse sand, it should be a very nice growing medium.

   And that's all I was able to do today--make further plans. 

Meanwhile, for your further reading entertainment, you might want to check out my other blogs, featured in the right-hand sidebar. 


Saturday, February 20, 2010


Spring is on the near horizon, and my thoughts turn once again to the garden and being out-of-doors.  I have always loved a beautiful garden, but never seem to have the time or, frankly, the inclination to spend hours pulling weeds, fertilizing and watering.

As a child, I had assorted 'gardens' in the backyard, dutifully tended by my mother.  I tended them fitfully at best, usually by watering, and then getting sidetracked playing in the water.  (After all, isn't that what you'd expect from a Pisces?!)

My mother struggled some with trying to grow plants she liked, but did not have a great deal of success (in her 'young mother' years, anyway); she claimed a "brown thumb."  All I had to do was say, "Oh, don't rip out that plant.  I want it!"  Mother would leave the plant in the ground, continue to tend it, but now that it was in my name, it would flourish.  It vexed Mother, and amused me!

As a retired senior citizen, however, the tables turned for Mom.  She had me design and lay out a beautiful bulb garden for her.  By this time, I was long since married and out of the house, and Mother was a widow of long-standing.  She cherished the hours spent tending her beloved bulbs, and indeed, they flourished, and her spring and summer garden was a delight to behold. 

At the time, I was living in an area not at all well-suited for a garden of any kind, either weather-wise or soil-wise.  I often joked that we could easily go into business selling ballast, as it was impossible to dig down more than an inch or two without hitting fist-sized rocks.  Digging a fence post hole required rental of a jackhammer!  I tried in vain to grow some vegetables for the family while living there.  Alas--one year, I got a three-pronged carrot with a rock in the middle, and my tomatoes never ripened.  I ended up seeking out an old family recipe for picallili--a type of relish made from green tomatoes.  After that, I gave up, and let the gophers and the dog have run of the yard--always marveling that the gophers managed to dig their way through!

Fast-forward to the present day.  Our finances are not in such great shape, thanks to the economy at large, and in seeking out ways to help, I have once again turned to the idea of a vegetable garden.  Where we live now, however, is a suburban community, with a long-standing history as a farming area.  Both the weather and the soil are near perfect.  And we have our own well on the premises, so watering will not affect my water bill.  Yay!

I have selected an area of the yard that is sheltered and shhhh!!!  (say it in a whisper--not frequented by the gophers that seem to plague the rest of our acreage). 

 For my first crops, I have selected corn, eggplant ( both first attempts for me), radishes (old friends), and green onions.  My first experience with onions was not so good--we'll see what happens this time.

So, today and tomorrow, I am clearing the area of the dead tree limbs lost in a winter storm.  Next will be the chore of raking up all the resulting leaves, pulling weeds, and tilling the soil.  Then, I'll be ready to plant.  Check back here often to read up on the progress, and see photos, too.  I will be using this blog as my 'garden journal,' in addition to my other 'stray thoughts' which appear here from time to time.

The photo above shows the planned garden area.  Unfortunately, I dug to the project in before remembering to take my 'before' photo, so a large pile of branches up against the fence at the right side had already been cleared, although you can see some of the resulting leaves still there.   The fence to the right is the West side; the fence facing the camera is South, and when we moved here, that was open to the street, with a goofy cyclone fence on the inside edge, about at the camera position in this photo.

The photo at right shows the valve for the sprinklers.  See?  We had always planned to plant something out here.  We installed the sprinklers in 2008, and they only await crops to water.


Now, we shall see whether or not I can garden on my own, or if it will be once again 'by proxy' because hubby enjoys gardening. ... ... ... stay tuned.


Monday, February 8, 2010

This is Too, Too Funny!


I readily admit that I am neither the author nor the compiler of this collection of hilarity. It came to me in a multi-forwarded e-mail, and is purportedly from an article that appeared in the Washington Post newspaper.

All attempts to research this piece and trace it to the source have failed. It does not actually seem to exist on that site. Google search came up with either no results, or irrelevant ones.

It is not my intention to take credit for another's work. If anyone knows where to contact the original source, please let me know, as my intention to start with was to simply publish a link, but that did not pan out.


These are about as humorous as they get by someone who has a way with words. The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting,or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the 2009 winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer, right?

12. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.) : Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee , n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted , adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate , v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade , v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly , adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent , adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle , n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence , n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash , n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle , n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude , n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon , n... A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster , n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism , n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent , n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Hope you had a good chuckle!!