Thursday, May 30, 2013

I'm Thinking Of A Bathroom Remodel Now

Not really.

Sigh.  Someday we'll do "something" to the master bath.  It's a mess.  The sinks in this picture are ridiculous.  I know.  A friend had something like this in her new bath and water bounced off the sink--all over her and the floor.  And, really, could I wash my sweaters in that sink????

G and I dragged lots and lots (him more than me) of wood chips from the huge wood chip pile in the woods over to the island surrounding the crab tree ( I had planned to take a picture but didn't).  It looks nice and we can actually notice that we have a lilac (in blossom) which also smells really nice. Wood chips bring out the best in a landscape. I know every where else has been finished with lilacs for a week or more.  Not here on the tundra where I live.  Next street over in all directions---warmer.

While dragging chips we got bitten by all sorts of flying insects.  Mosquitos.  Black flies.  Regular flies.
If it can fly and bite--it's here and full of our blood.

We took showers and went out to eat.  The hot summer day is cooling off nicely.  G may install the bedroom AC unit (in the sewing room) to keep the bedroom wing chilled.  I think it will be quieter having the machine in another room.  Not the bedroom like last summer.

Remember the new employee who had the exact same yogurt for lunch as I did on the first day we met?  We got on like old friends.  Tried to have the same lunch break.  She got offered $3 more an hour by a former employer and is leaving.  Next Wednesday will be our last lunch together.  One of the other newbies also left for a better job and more money last Sunday.  Started with four and now there are two.  Guess which two are still here????  Sigh.

We went to Home Depot to look at the Garden Center.  Things were dry and wilted.  But they had the vegetable stuff I wanted to treat my Citrus Trees with.  No bugs on them this summer.  I hope.  The Bayer stuff I put on the roses seems to be working.  They look perky.  We'll know if it works when the Japanese Beetles show up in July. I got two cans of OFF! to spray myself with next time.

Saturday I have to plant my potatoes, my pole beans and my corn.  Also my winter squash. ( I thought I would do all that today but the bugs beat me up)  My tomato plants are looking amazing.  Not so happy with the peppers.  And FINALLY my tiny escarole plants look like something I can transplant.  Still no beets.  12 carrots.  Not a rousing success story and the fennel transplants are still thin.  I have radishes.  All top and no bottoms.  Rhubarb is finally growing. Only been in the garden 15 years.  Why hurry?

How's your garden growing?

Monday, May 27, 2013

What If I Had This At Home?

G has always wanted a greenhouse.  He's a botanist at heart (and by degree) even if he only briefly worked in the field.  At a greenhouse.  I think the best spot for something like this is the garage wall. The wall that needs windows.  My citrus would love it.  As would my turkey brown fig tree.

Now, I just need to purchase a winning lottery ticket.  Not for millions.  But for "just" enough to build one of these.  See the shelf on the left side.  That's where my tomatoes would be right now.

Work today--on a holiday, when the sun was shining for the first time in forever--we were VERY busy. Like the old days of six years ago.  The tables are messed up and half empty.  The floor in the greenhouse was littered with petals and awash in water from the hoses.  It felt WONDERFUL.  We even had an "iced coffee run".  So delicious.

My daughter and I spent our joint day off (Saturday) at Trader Joe's (even with a list I forgot to get one of the most important things I wanted to try- California Estate olive oil ) but I did buy a tub of dark chocolate covered almonds.  And we had lunch at Red Robin.  I had the burger with cheese, bacon, and a fried egg wrapped in what looked like a half head of iceberg.  I ate it with knife and fork and enjoyed every smidgen of it.  With sweet potato fries.

My weekly "cheat" day has made me very happy.  And, amazingly, there are some things that are just not worth the cheat.  Really.  There are things (food groups) that I thought I would love having again and I was not impressed when I had them.  Not worth the cheat.  What a concept.

After work, I filled four wheelbarrow-fuls with wood chips, pushed the wheelbarrow up a hill, over to the crab tree area where I had laid out lots of cardboard boxes.  The cardboard and wood chips will smother the grass and weeds around the crab---- an island of weeds in the midst of the lawn-- and it will just look like a "landscaped" island.  We are NOT going to plant anything there.

G is working on the back "stoop".  Replacing the cedar decking with composite.  The wood was shredding.  No bare feet unless you wanted to pick splinters out of your feet.  Before work we lifted the two planter boxes off the stoop with the aid of a large heavy board.  If that didn't dislocate both our backs nothing would.  We lifted but didn't do any turning.  Then I went to WORK.

Now I am going to eat something and settle in to watch two recorded episodes of Longmire from last season.  And, if possible, watch the season 2 premiere tonight.  Next week The Killing starts.  I love summer on cable.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Everywhere I Look---Geraniums

The ones on my porch haven't set many buds yet.  Still busy making roots (I made cuttings off a deep red plant) and it would seem, from the loose inventory I took, that the magenta up here--kicked the bucket.  This photo is from last year.  I am including at least one geranium in all boxes I plant for customers.  But the pickings are slim.  The salmon and silvery pink are the best looking.  Reds are terrible.

G remembered to take the sheets off the bed and now they are in the washer.  I have to decide what new color to put on the bed.

I didn't work as much as usual, but I did have four heavy carts of perennials to unload and put away. I guess I did work as much as usual.  Then I decided to start reorganizing a few rows of tables.  The ABC order wasn't quite right.  Too much "close enough" in the putting things away department.  I managed to open some spaces for future deliveries and close some spaces up.  Table 9 finally has stuff on it.  It sat there bare for SO LONG that I was starting to question WHY.  I mean, a bare table in the middle of the yard, it just was wrong.  Now it has Dianthus and Garden Mums. At last.

Yesterday I had a slice of rhubarb pie on top of my lunchtime yogurt. (what a sinful thing to do) And today I had the regular frozen peach slices and raspberries.  My co-worker had fresh apricots.  I think they were smashed up. My dinner last night was a "chemistry" Muffin In A Minute (low carb flax meal) with cream cheese.  I ate it while watching a recorded episode of DCI Banks.

I had a visit, today, from the employee who trained me at this job I have in the greenhouse.  She came to see if I had actually followed thru and PAINTED.  I said no.  I admitted to having difficulty cooking a meal these days let alone paint something.  Even something small.  We are going to paint together.  When I start.  Riley found and chewed up the box I was making for Art Club.  At least it wasn't my journal which was also in the bag.  On the floor.  The floor belongs to Riley.

So, tomorrow, a day off.  A haircut.  Perhaps dinner out.  Or not.  I have a few things to plant in the garden.  A few things to repot into larger pots.  A bed to cover in cardboard and then cover in wood chips.  I hope I can sleep a little later than usual.  Drink my coffee and read the papers stacked next to my placemat.  Have a lovely day, too, won't you?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Seeing With Fresh Eyes

My house.  My home.  My dog.

In the next few months the bay window will be gone, the tarp will be gone and the back of the house will be a wall of windows letting in the sunshine.  Even the body of the house (the paint) seems to look good in this picture.  Not so shortbread cookie.  I think the garage needs more windows.

Seems odd not to see the chimney taking up space.  Nice clouds.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Retired Handyman's Work

This is the view from my back deck out to the vegetable garden.  Isn't the grass GREEN?  It's the Bayer Grub Control.  You can see my orange 30 gallon garbage cans.

This is the pergola that G built over the back four raised beds.  I can train pole beans and cucumbers up and over the top this year and no worries that everything will fall over.  Nice and sturdy and it is fun to walk under it.  Like playing house.  You can see (if you look close) that he also built in a hose holder for the green hose.  The can to the far left is my compost "tea" can.  And, the canoe oar worked a "treat" on stirring the "tea".  Thank you, Sam for the perfect Mother's Day Gift.

And, not to be left out of the gardening post, is Riley.  Always ready to come in and sniff things.  Here he is looking at the peas just beyond the pergola wall.  Wondering when they are going to pop out  the ground.  They are going to climb that little lattice support at the bottom of the picture above this one.

I have more pictures for the next time I post.  Sorry it's not more often, but I am so exhausted most days that I haven't even been COOKING.  Today, after work, I managed to go to the grocery with a list and four menu ideas.  We had corn and fried chicken tenders tonight.  Tomorrow it's pork in a spicy Chinese marinade (sherry, ginger, garlic, soy and ketchup) on the grill with steamed rice.  There is also a pork ragu with mushrooms and hot Italian sausage with cheese tortellini somewhere this week and steaks with baked potatoes.  I also bought the deli roast chicken breasts.  They are so delicious.  And if I don't cook it, I can eat chicken.  Which is why I buy the fried tenders.

Yesterday (my day off) G and I worked in the front garden.  Must take pictures of that.  And G was digging up the rocks that outline the front island bed and he needed more rocks.  I have a rock pile that I begged from a farmer.  They plow the fields and turn up rocks and were happy to give them to me.  Some were very large and I used them to build a small rock wall.  Still standing!  Yeah!  So, I went to the pile with a shovel and wedged a few ( 7 or 8) of the biggest and then carried them over to G.  I was wearing shorts and tank top and it was cloudy.  I seemed to have gotten an uncomfortable sunburn on the back of my neck and the tops of my shoulders.  It hurt at work today when I was outside in the sun.  Ouchie!!!  Doesn't feel good when I take a shower either.

Well, it's time to watch Masterpiece on PBS and then go to bed.  Hope you are enjoying the nice weather.  Well, it's nice here in Maine.  How often can I say that and be telling the truth?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Instead of the soil less mix I use at work, tomorrow, I will be digging in the real dirt at home.  G transplanted the plum tree from the garden behind our bedroom to the corner on the south east side of the garage.  It already looks happier.  And it's raining.

The Bayer Grub Control (with fertilizer) has killed the grubs (hopefully) and also turned the lawn into a dark green velvet wonder to behold.  I have to read the bag and find out what sort of fertilizer this is.  Because this is the only fertilizer I ever want to use.  Extra Ordinary.

I just finished a seven day run at work without a day off.  Tomorrow is it.  My day off.  I upgraded one of the two new hires to "like" today.  We worked together and she was very easy to work with.  The other one is not.  I have a third new hire.  Started Monday.  My age.  Same haircut.  Master Gardener.  We ate lunch together the first day and unpacked the exact same lunch with only a few differences.  She had blueberries with her yogurt and I had raspberries.  Too funny.  We'll be working together 3 days a week.

Made G pizza after work today.  He was happy.  I have a zucchini crust pizza cooling in the kitchen and will have some as soon as I am done with the internet.  I've already inhaled a chicken tender, some peanuts, some almonds.  I (with help) unloaded several heavy carts filled with perennials today.  A very good workout.  Yesterday, I did the same.  Tomorrow they will have to do it without me.

I am going to bed at 10 pm and waking up just before 5 am.  I don't want to wake up at 5 am.  It just happens.  I wish it wouldn't.  But once I wake up, I start to hear all the birds talking.  And then I hear the dog snuffling.  I stay in bed until 6, hoping I will fall asleep.  But I don't.  I hope I sleep later tomorrow.  I have so much to do tomorrow in the garden.  Dirt.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Nice Greenhouse

But why you would fill it with furniture is beyond me.  Greenhouses are HOT.  Even with the door open.  Today the temp in the greenhouse at work was perfect.  If you were wearing a heavy hooded sweatshirt.  Today it rained. (and it was cold)  Finally.  G had put the grub killing treatment on the lawn and was waiting for the rain to soak it into the grass and on to it's final destination--into the grubs.  Who eventually, if allowed to live, turn into Japanese beetles.  I do not like JB's.

Work today.  Another in a long and, often, annoying day.  So many long distance calls to order things, at the very last minute, for the "dearly loved" mom.  And the oft repeated "make anything that you think she might like".  Because I know your mom so well.

I had repeat customers on the long distance calls. (go figure) I guess I did know what mom wanted.  Because I made up things I WANTED.  That's the secret to my success at work.  I tell people what I wish I had known about gardening, lawns etc.  I select gifts I would buy myself.  I make up containers and window boxes with flowers I like, and would buy, if I wasn't so cheap.

My daughter called me at work to joyfully let me know she had succeeded in buying me what I wanted for Mother's Day.  An old canoe paddle.  For stirring manure tea in my 30 gallon garbage can in the garden. The proof that we don't always know what mom might like.

I hope there is someone out there choosing something wonderful for you tomorrow.  And hoping your Mother's Day is filled with love and some sunshine.  I will be at work.  Earning time and a half. (smile)

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

It's Supposed To Rain Tomorrow

I can't wait.  I feel so dry from constant sunshine.  And I am always covered in dusty dirt at work.  I have help now--and they water things, leaving me to do other, heavier tasks.  The greenhouse is LOADED with plants.

I selected two doors for the house.  One for the front and one for the back.  They are in a direct line from each other.  Now you come in the front door and see the brick wall and the wood stove thru the barrel roofed arched doorway.  In a few months, you will see French doors.  We are purchasing the screen doors along with the interior doors.  The front door is very sturdy and "thermal" so it will not as freezing cold in the foyer (I hope).

Work is rough.  Getting all the plant material into the greenhouses is hard work.  And we have so few veterans.  With old hands we all knew what to do and we did it.  With new hands, they do it and then we have to redo it.  Even if we explain.  Even if we show them.  New hands always think "we have a better idea".  It was true of me the first month or so I worked here and then I just gave up and gave in.  It's easier than being stubborn.  One stubborn employee quit yesterday.  A customer remarked "well, he's acting like a silly girl, isn't he?"  Well, yes, he was.  And I think when a 40 year old man gets that angry at a 16 year old girl (angry enough to quit in the middle of a shift) ---- well, I have to say, I'm glad he's gone.  Made her cry.

After work I had another short, volunteer, speaking engagement.  At the Adventist Hospital near my house.  On container gardening.  Quite a large gathering.  A few will be coming to see me at work.  So, good for business.

The VERY BEST part of going to the meeting, was seeing a "famous" quilting teacher and book author who lives nearby.  I was her room mother when she taught at Maine Quilts in 2000.  And I took a class from her and we enjoy chatting.  She had come to the meeting and ran after me to share a hug and some conversation.  She has the 12x12 book and wants to see my pieces from "playing along".  So, we will manage to find a time to do just that.  We are both wearing our hair very short.  Me because it's easier to care for.  She, because of chemo.  I hugged her as we parted saying I was very happy she was well and still here.

There really are so many people who take the time to stop and see me and have conversation.  It makes me feel good but then I wonder why I don't make more of an effort to reach out to people.  Do they see me because they are shopping?  And if I worked elsewhere, would we not see each other.  Am I just a natural loner?  A friendly, helpful loner but not a "gatherer" of friends.

Anyway, these are my thoughts today.  I have meatloaf in the oven and potatoes peeled and cut up for mashed potatoes.  I think green peas for the vegetable.  I had a piece of cold fried chicken for dinner at 8 pm yesterday (after the meeting).  So a good dinner.  And right now, a good shower.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Work In Progress From Thursday

G made me slats to rest the Citrus Trees on when they come outside for the summer.  This way the pots will be able to drain and not sit in water on the cement porch.  I think plants like to have a bit of air under their feet.  We'll see if I am right.

The chimney is down.  The outside portions.  Now we wait for construction to break open the back wall and open a large six foot wide whole in the back of the house.  I went to the building supply to select the door for the opening and also chose a new front door.  It is "cottage" in style but made sense to me.  The top of the door and the one side light will have "lights".  Six in the door and six going vertical in the side.  The French Door will have "lights" also.

I have already made a STYLE mistake but I really don't care.  The sunroom has French Door style casements and the bedrooms have double hung windows with four over none.  Eventually, the front windows will all have French Door style casements.  I will live with the four double hung windows in the bedrooms as I did not want casements there.  And, really, who cares?

This is my "Project" even though G is helping me with it.  This entire bed filled up with grass when I neglected it 5 years ago by returning to full time work.  More of this is now gone as I worked long and hard on it Thursday.  The entire grassy area in front of that little brownish shrub is now bare dirt.  I also dug up and moved that little brown shrub, two peonies and a bunch of lady's mantle and geranium.  G is working on digging up the Siberian Iris (ugh) that are really thick and hard to pull up.  They are the things behind the little brown shrub. We are moving the clumps of iris to the low, soggy area (vernal pool when it rains in Spring, which it isn't doing this year) in hopes they will colonize down there.  If not, they can provide "mulch" to the area.  After working all day, we went out for Chinese and as I sat in the booth I realized my butt muscles really "hurt".  Like doing squats for a few hours.

Friday at work was something I prefer to forget.  I arrived to find a list of projects that had been "saved" just for me by the people who worked on my day off.  Sweet, huh?  Two very large planters and an anniversary order.  Plus, when customers asked if we had pre planted containers I just replied, pick out what you like and I will plant a custom container for you.  Really????  Well, yes, I said.  We do that, here.  And I did.

Today?  My second day off?  Well, I intend to finally start my tomato seeds.  Nearly three weeks late. Plant peas in my garden after scooping up the "too many" leaves I added to each raised bed, plant onions and get my potatoes planted.  Seems the variety I chose is the best one.  Good for me.  Oh, and take pictures, for you, of the trellis that G built for me.

The Black Bean Bisque didn't turn out.  The dry black beans never got soft.  So the bisque has got these hard bits in it.  Not nice.

My diet is changing.  I am going back to the 2007 diet of 1200 calories a day of just about anything I want to eat.  Written down and counted.  Every day. It will be different from 2007 because I don't eat sugar now and very little made with wheat flour.  I will still not eat bread, cake or cookies but will eat shredded wheat cereal again.  And oatmeal. And rice once in awhile.  And more vegetables and fruit.  And one day a week I will eat something completely "forbidden".  A Cheat Day.  And feel no guilt whatsoever.  Eating a high fat diet and being a pear shaped woman equals an increasingly large butt.  I think I even read some research on this.  So, the high fat portion of this life is over for this woman.  It was okay.  But not really "me".  And it wasn't working.

I have three pairs of work pants I can wear.  I have worn them most of the five years I worked.  In fact, the only things that don't fit are the pants I purchased last spring and summer.  And the pants I wore all last summer that I purchased in 2008.  I felt good about myself last summer.  Not so chipper this spring. I know that most Readers don't care about this portion of my life, but I do have to mention it--just so you know what else is going on.  Why I am sometimes not as cheerful.  Why I am frustrated.

Good news is that I already have a great suntan and that always makes me happy.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Day

There was no sweet basket of flowers hanging from my doorknob today.  I don't think anyone does that anymore?  I could have if I had any flowers here at home.  Instead, I was out the door at 7 am.

Work.  Work.  So many flowers on the truck today.  The floors were lined with containers of flowers and I had to organize and find them places to "be" on the wall of Proven Winners.  Customers today were testy.  Proven Whiners.

My right arm is covered in bruises from balancing trays of flowers on the side of my wrist.  My skin is already tanned so the blue black purple of the bruises doesn't stand out as much as it could.

Tomorrow G and I must choose a French Door and a new front door.  On another day we will choose the new windows.  The chimney is down to the poured cement footing.  In 4 to 6 weeks the carpenter, roofer and window people will be tearing the south wall of my house apart and then putting it back together.  I wish I had a CLEAR vision of what this will LOOK like.  I have tried looking for images of renovations with French Doors with windows on each side.  They all look like multi-million dollar homes--not mine.  I want what we do to look amazing.  But I want it to look like it was always like this.

This is deep water for G and I.  We have never renovated (or even changed) anything in any house we have ever owned.  I hope the catalogs at the building supply has images for us to look at.  The choice of door has to co-ordinate with the windows--- all 6 or 8 of them.  A wall of windows.  Floor to ceiling. Any ideas?