Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mobs of Robins

Well, we get one more day of wonderful weather before the monster cold front rolls over us. Although, that wonderful weather includes dense fog advisories.

The shrub roses at work are still blooming. It won't last past this weekend, but it is nice. There are also reports of cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin.

I saw a swarm of robins in the little bit of wooded area at work last night. There had to be at least three dozen of them, most likely more. They usually form flocks in winter, but are secretive berry eaters rather than earthworm munchers. But there they were, out in the open.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Decorating Woes

Well, I still had off on Monday, so I decided to get a headstart on Chirstmas tree decorations. I decided this year to add some silk flowers to the tree, in addition to garland. It would be rustic and natural. I had decided on chyrsanthemums, since I think of them as festive. Plus, I had seen a lot of nice ones at JoAnn's back in the Halloween timeframe. Silly me. My JoAnn's is too tiny to accomidate the massive Christmas displays and the normal array of silk plants. (I couldn't find the normal candles either.) Gah!

Disappointed, and hatching feverish thoughts of trekking off to a distant JoAnn's that is bigger, I settled for across town to the Michael's. Their display of other than Christmas florals was decent, but I still cannot figure out where all the chrysanthemums went. I found a few stems, but I had to pick up some carnations to fill out the colorways.

Adding insult to injury, I drove past the stand where I got my Christmas tree last year. It was not set up. There was construction on all sides of it. Some guys were stringing up lights, so I hope it does open, just later after the curb work is done. I mean, I got THE absolute perfect tree there last year. I was looking forward to another one. I hope they open by next week.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Holiday Finds

I had a good visit with my family over the holiday. I ended up going out antiquing with my dad. Or rather looking for good bargins in previously owned, Made in the USA category. Picked up a rug for my entryway, a nice pine table for my plants, a ceramic crock to help weight down my snake plant, and two ceramic planters for my poor plants still stuck in the 3.5 inch pots they came in. All in all, a good haul. Even if I am in the middle of making a crochet runner to protect the new table from the flower pot bottoms.

Weather was beautiful. I managed to stay ahead of the storm system on Wednesday. I actually saw blue sky and had to break out the sunglasses. Then beautiful 60s all of the shopping days. Traffic was voluminous on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Heavy Coat

Well, winter weather has finally arrived. Yesterday it didn't get out of the 40s. I really needed my winter jacket yesterday. But somehow, 30s don't feel as cold before dawn, as they do in the evening. So, I broke out my winter jacket this morning. It is not going to be any warmer today.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

No Drying Here

Well, after two beautiful days, it is back to grey and drippy, and it seems that it will continue that way for the next week. Not a good thing for my sniffles.

More leaves have fallen, but there's still a few left on the tree next door. I'm still trying to decide whether I want to rake up what is down now, or wait and get them all with the lawnmower.

Some of the shrub roses at work are still blooming. It is nice to see. Even if their pansy plantings are better looking than mine. My poor pansies.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mild and Wild

So, the weather has been wonderfully mild the last few days. Daylilies are even sneaking in an extra flowering for the year. Which is good, one burnt dinner means I need to air out the house, and air out the house and buy tons of air freshners.

Unfortunately, that changes today. There is a wicked storm system heading up the coast to combine with something coming across from Ohio. Downpours and wind advisories are forecast. Birdfeeder and pansies were brought in. Everything else should be low enough or heavy enough not to go flying. I really need to plant those new pansies. But then we're good here until Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Japanese Beetles

Eighty years ago a smallish coppery beetle with greenish highlights and white tufts around the edges arrived in Southern New Jersey. The Japanese Beetle voratious flower pest and destroyer of roses. Nothing much likes to eat them, so they mulitply rapidly. The common scent traps generally draw more beetles to your yard, especially if you don't empty your trap often enough and they cannot get in to be trapped. They also do not always make it into the trap itself, but hang around outside. Only about 75% of beetles attracted get trapped. And that's still a lot to munch in your yard. And pesticides, well, we all know about pesticides. About the only way to get rid of the beetles, is to go out and pick them off of your plants. Drowning or smushing work well. My mom always used popsicle sticks to knock them into a deli container with water in it. The lid made sure they couldn't escape if they avoided the water on the first go.

As annoying as the adult beetle is, the grub is just as destructive. It lurks under the lawn, munching away at actual grass roots. But, this is when those beetles are the most vulnerable. Applications of benificial nematodes and milky spore in the correct times of the year introduce natural enemies that attack and kill the larva. Also, dancing on your lawn with cleats or spikey sandals when the grubs are closest to the surface kill them directly, but also aerate your lawn to improve air flow to the roots which makes healthier grass.

Preventitive measures involve not making your lawn attractive to egg laying females. These take restraint as well. Grubs appreciate well, even overwatered lawns in summer. Refraining from doing more than spot watering, will wipe out the grubs. Remember, cool season grasses normally go brown anyway in summer, so watering will not green them up. Warm season grasses are genically prepared for dry summers. Also, if you set your lawnmower on the highest(tallest) level, it will discourage the females from laying in your yard. Plus, that keeps the weeks from seeing the light of day, literally, so they won't grow. Or if they do, your neighbor's won't see them as much.

Mike McGrath's article from May for the DC metro region, and the Government information site are good references.

New Blogger Beta

Okay, I gave into the hype and switched over. Only after I switched, it warned me that I can't post comments on non-Beta blogs. Bummer. Well, so it goes.

Edit: Eeeek! Sorry Blogline and other feed users!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Falling Leaves

Well, I winterized my garden Friday, which basically means I raked leaves off of my front yard and dumped them in piles on my gardens. Still plenty of leaves to spread over the hostas when I get around to it. I wish there was some activity that let you limber up all year long so that raking would not be a hassel. Hips hated me and I got a blister on my thumb webbing, despite wearing my nice gloves.

But it was beautiful and in the seventies on Friday and Saturday, I opened up the house and aired it out again. Sunday was all dreary drizzle. Gray days.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Visit Highlights

It was a good visit. It was a long visit. I think I'll suggest shorter next time. There just was not enough that we were interested in doing, that we hadn't already done before. Weather stayed dry and cool the whole time. Rain didn't start up until after he left, so we got lots of walking in.

A couple highlights though, the Smithsonean Castle had about a dozen old seed cataloges on display. Lots of neat fossile seeds and plants in Natural History Museum. I found two nice parks to visit in the future. One was the C&O Canal National Park at Great Falls. The falls on the Potomac are lovely. And the Black Hill Regional Park. Nice lake and boating there. Maybe I need to buy a one person canoe or kayak too. It would be one way to build upper body strength. Of course, I shudder to think of boating alone. My dad just trained me too well as a kid. *grin*

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Okay, so my brother emailed last night asking for directions. Then he called when I added a confirmation. It seems that I flaked out big time. His email, from a couple weeks ago, said this weekend, not next weekend. EEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!

Thankfully, the house is still in reasonable shape, although, there are things that I don't want to leave out with his dog around that I didn't worry about with my parents'. So, I spent last night frantically doing laundry and picking up the junk. Short day and more laundry before he arrives tonight. Yes, that is really frightening.

But leave has been shifted and all arrangements have been made. The only problem is I got up normal time today, I'm going to fall over tonight. Must enforce bedtime.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Make the Light On

It was a good Halloween. Less kids than last year, but more kids that probably shouldn't be out again next year if you know what I mean. I'm going to need at least another bag of candy next year, despite the fact that I only got rid of it all by letting the last three kids have double handfuls. (They were going around after 8, they weren't going to get much candy, so I took pity.) I'm just afraid that we might get in more out of development kids next year with the new elementary school across the way.

And, as luck would have it, my porch light chose last night to burn out. So, there I was, perched precariously on a folding chair, trying to get the top off of the fixture. Lost one of the little nuts too. I'll have to see if I can find that today after work, but it went straight down beside the holly bush, I don't have much hope.