Friday, April 30, 2010

the dark side of gardening


Death and Destruction.

It’s a savage world on the edges of civilization. Yes, the transition between the lawn (such as it is) and the woods is a beautiful zone of myrtle, daffodils, primrose, trout lily, and…drum roll please… wild raspberry. Who doesn’t like raspberries? Well, I have my limits. The carnage above represents twenty minutes of mayhem with the pruners.


While I was thus engaged, Kevin stained the new baseboard for the batcave, which is having new flooring put in some time next week. The original baseboard has been removed and reinstalled a couple of times too many, and it’s time for a fresh start. We opted to stain it to match the baseboard in the addition, which sorta doesn’t make sense, but, whatever.

In other gardening news, nobody’s germinated yet in the little containers that Arianna helped me with last weekend. She says not to worry.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

lettuce, snow, sun, nap

It was s.n.o.w.i.n.g this morning. Yes, snowing. It was above freezing, and we were running out the door for a doctor’s appointment (more on that in a minute), but when I realized that the snow was actually nearly a half inch deep on the lettuce leaves, I dragged the pots inside. 

By the time we were a handful of miles south of here, it was raining rather than snowing, but I have no regrets about bringing the lettuce in. I’m like a new mom, super vigilant and over protective, I guess.

your friend the knee

As for the doctor’s appointment, it was for Best Beloved – I went along to be of help. Turns out he has torn cartilage in his knee. Arthroscopic surgery’s scheduled for the week after next. It’s with the same guy who did Kevin’s shoulder surgery two years ago. They’re about the same age, and both went to school in Boston – the doc at BC, Kevin at BU – but at this appointment they did not reminisce about hockey games. They were all business. 

I will spare you the story of my afternoon. Suffice it to say that it required therapeutic napping, closely monitored and supervised by both cats. An additional follow-up treatment of Beacon Hill chocolate meringue cookies sealed the healing process. And post-recovery movie-watching – Sherlock Holmes, I believe – is up next.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The weirdest thing just happened…I created a blog post, using Windows Live Writer, and went to “preview” it…and some other random post, some other person ENTIRELY, came up on my screen. WTF?!

Let’s start over:


Basil and cilantro, napping after their afternoon outdoors in the sun.


Sigh. OK, this is a bad picture: it’s a big rock pile – three wheel barrows’ worth, that I picked up out of the lawn today.


And this is how I’m about to spend my evening: burning off the half pizza I just ate, while watching “House”.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

from idea to action, just like that!

My friend Arianna came over today – hooray! – we hadn’t seen each other since January, and before that, June. (How is this possible? We only live an hour apart.) She provided some much needed guidance on this whole “planting things in soil” concept. First, she suggested that I tickle – yes, tickle – the itty bitty roots on the lettuce starts. 


Here I am, tickling away. Can you hear the lettuce giggling?


We decided to intermingle the red lettuce with the green lettuce.


Just kinda mushing them all in here…


Ta Da! Pot o’ Lettuce. We put the last two green/red leaf lettuces in the middle of the second pot, and surrounded them with…. 




…and mesclun mix. .

Finally, Arianna put cilantro seeds in the now-empty lettuce starts, and I put basil in these cute little peat thingies.


Finally, it was time to water everybody. It took us a few tries to figure out how this hose caddy works – Kevin and I had not actually hooked it up right last year, so it wasn’t really operational as a caddy per se.


Yep, two master’s degrees between us, and we finally figured it out.

Next up: wait patiently for the itty bitties to germinate. The cilantro and basil are indoors now, on the concrete floor of the bump out. Stay tuned for boring pictures of Nothing Visible Happening!!

And a big shout out of thanks to Arianna!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

in which I decide to do container gardening

Little Miss Princess Groundy Pants (that’s me, in case you’re new to this blog) is taking the plunge into “gardening” with not one, but two, pots for the deck. I splurged, and got some lettuce starts as well.  Please admire the wheelbarrow in the background.


Let’s have a close-up view of the lettuce, since there’s no telling a) how big they might get or (gulp) b) how teensy they might get, once they realize they have been adopted by someone who doesn’t even have any house plants.


Hi guys!

Perhaps you noticed the wheelbarrow in the first shot? And the packet of grass seed? Yeah…the lawn is kind of a mess.

Here’s a view from the deck looking towards the garage. Mmm, mmm, good: dirt, gravel, little bits of wood left over from the construction of the deck…


Turning our attention towards the fire pit, we see a similar scene of devastation at the base of the stairs. That’s the chimney cap to the no-longer-extant chimney, sitting on the hearth stone of the fire pit, by the way. Eventually I’ll take it to Renew Salvage.


Last, but not least, let’s turn and look north, along the east side of the deck…yep, another quality lawn moment…


At least the magnolia tree’s pretty, right?


There’s Maggie, checking things out by the potting shed. Speaking of the potting shed, we rather like that little thing, even though we don’t “use” it. It provides a bit of privacy from our neighbors – whose cat actually has taken over the space, much to Charlie and Maggie’s collective chagrin – and hey, it’s cute. So we’ll probably spend some effort this summer getting the vines off the roof and, come to think of it, re-roofing it before it composts away.

In the meantime, the wheelbarrow and the seed will come in handy in cleaning up the yard and getting some grass re-established.

In addition to the lettuce starts, I have some seeds for…cilantro, arugula…how can I not have basil? What was I thinking? I have to go get some basil, OBVIOUSLY…what else do I have here…”seeds for a butterfly garden”, whatever that means…perhaps little butterflies grow from seeds, is that how that works? OH, here’s the basil, thank God…and a mesclun mix. I’ll need another pot or two, I forgot about the butterfly garden mix.

My green thumb friend Arianna is coming over tomorrow for a visit – she hasn’t seen the house since we added on to it – and I’ll ask her to provide moral support as I actually plant these things. I also got – not pictured – a bunch of those wee little peat pots, to start the basil seeds indoors.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I am not left handed.

Inigo Montoya: You are wonderful.
Man in Black: Thank you; I've worked hard to become so.
Inigo Montoya: I admit it, you are better than I am.
Man in Black: Then why are you smiling?
Inigo Montoya: Because I know something you don't know.
Man in Black: And what is that?
Inigo Montoya: I... am not left-handed.
[Moves his sword to his right hand and gains an advantage]
Man in Black: You are amazing.
Inigo Montoya: I ought to be, after 20 years.
Man in Black: Oh, there's something I ought to tell you.
Inigo Montoya: Tell me.
Man in Black: I'm not left-handed either.
[Moves his sword to his right hand and regains his advantage]

- The Princess Bride

A couple of years ago, I noticed that my beloved husband is not, in fact, right-handed. He writes with his right hand. He throws right-handed. He bats right-handed. He even golfs right-handed. But I had noticed that when using an axe to chop down a sapling, his whole body seemed more coordinated when he was using his left hand. We got to talking about it, and he mentioned that at some point in 5th grade, he stopped using cursive and lower case letters in school. He just went on strike. To this day, he only writes in capital letters.

Now when I was little, it took me a little while to accept that I was right-handed – both my father, and my two older siblings are left-handed, and I imitated them at first. But it wasn’t long before I accepted that nope, I’m like my mom – right-handed. During college, for no particular reason, I started writing with my left hand, just for the fun of it. That lasted for a couple of years. I write pretty legibly with my left hand. So, I picked up a pen and paper, and wrote Kevin a message, using my left hand. Try it, I said.

He took pen to hand, and wrote I am not left-handed. Using lower case letters. I looked at it and laughed. Uh huh, sure you aren’t.

The other day, I obtained further proof.

100_1486 These are the gloves Kevin uses to bring firewood into the house. Look at the finger tips. Need I say more?

In other news, spring has arrived in full force. In years past, we’d still have snow on the ground in the woods, and on north-facing slopes, up through the first week of May.


The magnolia tree finally let go and opened its blossoms yesterday, in honor of earth day.


And here we have some spring wildflowers along the driveway. On the left and center are blue cohosh. And there are two trillium in there as well, with the maroon flowers. Trillium rely on flies for pollination. Flies like rotting meat. Thus, these flowers smell god-awful, the better to attract flies. Yum!

Correction: I have been informed that beloved started off batting right-handed, but switched over to left-handed about eight years ago. Pretty devious of him.