Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Faux Spring

The fantastic late spring-like weather continues. The past weekend was absolutely beautiful. I even warmed up the grill and cooked outside. I wasn't able to do much more, because I was recovering from working in the office that drives my allergies insane. But still, 60s in January is pretty sweet. Sunday was a bit rainy, and Monday had early fog. But Monday we dodged the snow warning by staying in the 40s. But rain and fog continue into today.

In addition to the cherry blossoms at work, the forcythia are starting to bloom. I must not have any bulbs in the garden at home, I don't see anything popping up, just those little bushes by the shed. I almost want to see if the garden centers have any of those hardy pansies to plant. The ones at work are going gangbusters.

I just have a fear deep in my gut that snow is coming this month. I mean it can't be spring already? Can it?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Gale Force

Well, it's another breezy day here. National Weather Service has a wind advisory up for at least another half an hour, if they haven't increased it. There are even little white flakes being blown around, but it's more on the scale of flurries than actual snow.

The siding is still not fixed, but it does not appear to have lost any more pieces in this latest windstorm. So there is good news.

The sad thing is that I used to like listening to the wind "wuther" around the house. Something so satisfying about listening to the wind being foiled and being snug inside. Eh, at least I'm not a home owner and worrying about how much this will cost me, or if it will last until I could get the house completely resided. (I vote for getting it done right, instead of slapping on top of shoddy workmanship every time.)

Ah well, weatherman says it will all be gone by Friday. And Friday will be sunny and warm. And I'll be off Friday..... :)

Monday, January 23, 2006


Well, I was hoping I could report that the siding had been fixed by today, but it isn't. Sunday afternoon the guy hired by my landlord showed up to check it out and see the pieces of siding I had. I left them out this morning. But it was one of those gray drippy days, so it didn't get done.

Instead, I'll report how I finally took my hose that I got for Christmas down to the shed. And outside the shed, the little ornamental bushes were blooming. The flowers were a little ragged from exposure, but another pair of plants fooled by temperatures in the 60s.

A set of flowers not fooled by the temperatures are the lantana cuttings. The white ones are flowering. I really need to pinch them off, the plant doesn't need to be expending that energy. On the other hand, it's kinda neat to have them blooming. Pictures first.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Unhappy Day

Last night there was a really ferocious wind storm. Stuff on the ground doesn't appear to be disturbed, but it ripped two pieces of siding off of my house. And to make matters worse, it scuffed the neighbor's car. So, I have two pieces of siding sitting in my house and I have to call the rental agency tomorrow, or Tuesday if they're closed for the holiday, and make a report. Ick, ick, ick. I hope this will be painless for me. Still does not make me a happy camper. No, not at all.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Looking Back

Summer of 2002. I had started this job and was very depressed. The work is not the kind of work that suits me, but it's laid back enough. And some of the "personalities" that were in the office at the time wore at me. We were eating lunch in the cafeteria, because the patio was still under construction. The bright sunshine outside didn't seem to penetrate the building.

That's when I saw it, a bright happy yellow tigerswallowtail as bigger than the palm of your hand flapping along the window. I immediately perked up. I was enchanted, as my friends would say. The next several days also saw that butterfly and some of the dark phase swallowtails flitting on the patio as well. It really perked me up immensely.

That's why I was planned, that once I got a yard, I was going to turn it into a butterfly paradise. The tiger swallowtails like the cafeteria patio for the petunias that are in the planters. Any butterfly garden needs milkweed, because there isn't enough milkweed in the world. Buckeyes lay their eggs on snapdragons, and there should be some in this portion of the country. Cosmos and sunflowers, especially mexican sunflowers provide plenty of nectar. I'd love a butterfly bush, but I'm not certain whether I should plant a bush, because I'm renting. That's a little more permanent than the landlord might appreciate, or certainly more trouble to remove after I'm gone.

But thank you little butterfly for brightening my day. Even in the depths of winter.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


So, this is the time of year when gardeners turn indoors. It is also the time of year that my mother's orchids seem to love. She first started with some moth orchids prior to the "Sweet Sixteen Move" to CT. I remember, because my dad took them up early and kept them in his office. That was the first time they rebloomed and my mom missed it. I'm not sure if she still has those particular plants.

She, like many people, saw them in the grocery store severely marked down and took them home. I think she was looking for something more hardy, for her, than African Violets. She really only has luck with phals. My uncle got her a different type one time, and while the plant itself is barely hanging on, it hasn't rebloomed.

Oh, she's had her fair share of losses. And there were a few that are in perpetual states of dying. But the hardiest ones seem to be the ones I've bought for her. (Aside from that pesky white one.) And the interesting thing is, that the ones I had bought for her were from Home Depot and the like. Why is this important? Because they were all yellow ones. Yellow is my favorite color, and I got her yellow ones. Although, that was more because I knew she wouldn't buy yellow ones and I could never remember which pink ones she had. We have a running joke that the yellow cultivars are just come from a more hardy parent.

Her orchids love winter. She keeps them in the front window where they get the best sunlight. And the winter chill through the window. But they seem to adore the cold. Even if they couldn't survive on the other side of the window. She had several flower stalks starting to come up at Christmas. Including the two most recent ones that had to get a little more growing time in before flowering. She's at the point where she only gets replacements if she loses one. That's a lot of orchids to water!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


From the want list:

Tulips are weird. The concept of a tulips is very appealing and wonderful. Especially those peony tulips and the lily-flowered tulips are quite nice too. However, the flower always tends to open up to show that ho-hum stamen, and the leaves just don't do anything afterwards. Granted, you can hide the foliage afterwards with later plants, but you can't smother them completely or risk next year's display.

But tulips are my quilting motif. I always hide at least one in my quilts. Or at least since the third one where I started using it.

Oh, and this weather madness has to stop. I could have sworn I heard spring peepers as I was falling asleep last night.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Startling January

Well, it seems like the cherry blossoms weren't entirely wrong. After a weekend cold snap, we're flirting with 60 degrees today. Might make it too, the forecast is for 59. And this trend continues throughout the entire week! And lest we think this is a current trend, the record set back in 1932 was 75, 76 and 77. Yikes!

In other startling news, I am eating vegetables. Not only am I eating them, I am cooking them! This might not seem like much, but seeing as how I've maintained for years that the only healthy green food is green icing, it's a radical shift for me.

It traces back to a particularly strung out weekend in August. It was early August, I had just completed a miserable evening class, and still had not found a place to live after August 31. Worse, with my impending eviction because I didn't want to buy the cheap place I was living in, I couldn't even find something worth looking at! So, my buddy googled a lot of places and drove down to take me to dinner, then to go looking at a few. However, he didn't email the list, so he forced me to google a few. And I found my Little Blue House! But before we drove over to check out the place, he took me for a very nice dinner. I said Italian, and we went to Carrabba's for real Italian. There's the typical soup or salad with the entree, and for a lark, instead of taking the salad and not eating it, I ordered soup. I figured I could pick at it. It was the most wonderful soup I've ever eaten. Chicken Vegetable soup. I practically haunt the place now to get more. But, it got me into soup, particularly vegetable soup.

So, this weekend, I had a pot of cheesy lasagna soup. Not great, but I didn't grind it in the garbage disposal either. In fact, I'm looking forward to having some more for dinner tonight! Gee, I might have to take up vegetable gardening! Well, maybe not, I need a bigger yard first....

Friday, January 06, 2006


After two weeks of cold dreary drizzle, with periods of drenching rain, I find myself staring January right in the face. January is a long month, with nothing much to look forward too, other than snow and cold. The springlike temperatures that have the cherry blossoms confused nonwithstanding. So, how do I cope?

1) Look at pretty pictures on the web nearly every single day. I make it my mission, at least on weekdays to search out some new flower on a picture website. I generally use Webshots.com since it has the most robust galleries for non-mainstream flowers.

2) Sometimes look at slideshows on Flickr.com. This has the benefit of being able to do two things at once with a long enough delay on the slideshow. And if you pick the right topic, there are hundreds of photos.

3) Buy fresh flowers. Especially ones that perfume the entire house.

4) Leave the Christmas greenery up. Even if the other decorations come down (Twelveth Night tonight), leave the greenery up. It's got a nifty odor to it and generally is a tree in your house for awhile. Although, adding it to your compost pile is a nice gardening activity. And I must remember to put more limbs in the turtle's enclosure for them to hide under.

5) Catalogs and magazines. The magazines should be putting out their spring issues soon. And there's nothing like pretty bright colored pictures to make you bring one home.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Well, I was going to write about coping with the long winter ahead, but that changed walking into work this morning. It seems that the lovely 40s and 50s of the last few weeks has tricked some cherry blossoms into opening early. I mean I was stunned, there were little pale pink buds starting to unfurl.

I mean the pansies in bloom are to be expected with the new hardy varieties, but cherry blossoms! Wow! Of course, this is not good news. This might ruin the spring display. Those buds won't be there to open in April and May. And that's a lot of stress on the trees. Especially since the almanacs and winter forecasts call for another period of cold snowy weather coming our way. Yikes!

Poor cherry trees.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Nothing like taking time off to get you completely off schedule. I did get a little bit of indoor gardening done last week. I repotted my philodendron. I swear the gnomes must have been stealing dirt from that pot. It was the original pot and it wasn't full any more. But it was root bound anyway. So, I stuck it into a nice "new" planter my dad had picked up in his wanderings. (Thankfully my mom only likes round planters.) Besides, I needed a heavier base. The phil hangs into my turtle box and they tend to pull it over from time to time.

My lantana cuttings are doing okay. I lost another stalk. But the ones that are left are thriving. I'm going to let it dry out now between waterings. I should probably see about repotting it as well out of the wet pot.