Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer Beauties

Salvia guaranitica "Black and Blue"

I have no excuse for not blogging about the garden. The garden has exploded with color, scents, and in some cases, food! Black and Blue Salvia probably has its name from the cool blue and black flowers. But I hear that it can be a thug in the flowerbed. For me it does spread a bit, but (so far) it's not out of hand at all. I'm awaiting the yellow blooms of my Goldenrod growing next to the Salvia to really make that Black and Blue pop.

Lobelia cardinalis "Cardinal Flower"

Cardinal Flower is a glorious native plant. It likes some moisture, so I've been lucky that it's so happy, as our rain supply has not been up to snuff lately. I had thought that in my springtime privet chopping, I had killed my Cardinal Flower. I flattened something that turned out to be another Lobelia...Great Blue. When I went back to get a replacement plant, I picked up another Cardinal flower. Now that they are blooming, I see that it was the Great Blue. Funnily enough (is funnily a word?!), the blue lobelia I planted last year and thought didn't come back...came back! So, I've got some blue, too.

Rudbeckia fulgida "Black Eyed Susan"

Here's good ole Black Eyed Susan. She's been magnificent this year. All of my Rudbeckias have just been beautiful. I love that pop of color that you get with yellow flowers.

More Tomatoes!

I've been blessed with maters, and beans, more basil than I know what to do with, some cukes, a zucchini (and more coming), and some other stuff. My first year doing the veggie thing has been pretty good. I have to admit I've been lazy with the beans. I pick them and let them dry. I figure I'll shell them and cook them when I have enough to cook for the whole family. Next year I'll try to plant enough plants that I'll have more coming in. Chalk it up to a learning experience, right?


I have several different color sunflowers back behind my vegetable bed. The one in the picture has been the most popular with wildlife. Every morning at breakfast we watch bees, birds (goldfinches!), and various insects snacking. Yesterday Duncan and I watched a squirrel tearing into a sunflower munching on those delectable seeds. And as Duncan said, the squirrel, "made a mess." These flowers and many others have made my yard bee-central, even the endangered honeybee! It's been an absolute pleasure being in the middle of my very own wildlife preserve.


Do you ever have one of those days (or nights) when you just can't keep your eyes open? You do everything you can to stay awake for that lecture you're attending, but your head keeps resting on your arms, and you find that the snoring you keep hearing is coming from you?

Or maybe you have to crank up the AC in the car just to make it the rest of the way home.

But sometimes it's ok to just let go and snooze, because...

you're in a safe place.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just Too Cute Not to Share

Duncan sings into his "microphone"

Just a few minutes ago, Duncan and I sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" together. He played his guitar (pronounced gee-tar), which was actually a toy mini-rake. He plucked the instrument like it had strings while I sang the tune. With each note he struck, he sang, "Bow." So, think of "Bow Bow Bow Bow Bow Bow Bow...." to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. And then he "strummed" the geetar really fast for the finale. Then we did the ABC song. It was great!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Maybe Next Time We'll Just Stay Home

Justin Plays Peek A Boo

We generally play in our own yard, because a) it's just right outside the door, and b) food and drinks and AC are just a few steps away. With some heavy rain on recent days and the humidity level at what can only be called "sticky," we've spent more time indoors lately. And after a week of poorly sleeping kids (which also means poorly sleeping parents!), I decided fresh air is what these kids need. I decided to take the kids to the park, because our yard is distinctly more mosquito-y. We got there, and went to the big kid playground where there were other kids. We played, had a good time, and were only moderately irratated by a VERY loud little girl. She kept asking me if I wanted to play Dora. I said, "No, but my little boy, Duncan, might." Didn't happen. No worries, she found some other kids to play with, and then ended up going to the little kid playground. Shortly after, she seemed to be in some sort of an altercation with another child. Parents were involved.

We played a while longer, and I thought it would be nice to let Miranda swing in the little kid area. We strolled over, and got to playing. The loud girl had gone off with some kids her own age in another part of the park. There were four kids at the little kid area-three on the 2 rocking horse toys, and one on the swing. The little girl on the horsey got down, and Duncan ran right over and hopped on. Naturally, she started to fuss, because that kid just got on her horsey. Her older brother (probably no more than 3) got all hot under the collar, because his sister was upset, and came over and started barking, that's right, barking at Duncan. His mom chuckled and said that he was just trying to protect his sister. Duncan thought it was funny, too.

I asked what had happened earlier with the loud little girl and the altercation. She said the girl was very aggressive. She took the ball that the kids were playing with and ran off. Her son followed, and the little girl (probably 5-6) started punching him. And he punched back. While she was telling me this, my attention had been drawn away from Duncan. I turned to see this lady's son (and another kid) rocking Duncan so hard on the horsey, that he was about to fall off! I ran over with the usual, "Whoa whoa!" sort of talk. The lady told her son to take turns. Blah blah blah. "Bark Bark Bark", said the Dog-Boy. But Duncan was really upset this time, and needed to be consoled. He ran off a little ways by himself, and the Dog-Boy followed him! I had already decided to leave, but this kid's behavior was just so weird, I said to myself, "OK, now's the time." I collected Miranda, got Duncan, and headed to the car. The Dog-Boy followed us, saying, "Stay!" until we got to the edge of the playground! The mother was chit chatting with the other mom this whole time, with the occasional, "Come back, so and so." I'm thinking that Dog-Boy probably barked at the "aggressive" girl and was probably the one that started that altercation. One fun day at the park, huh!

Only One Night?!

Only one night this week have both kids slept through the night. Duncan is having a little bit of a tough time with the transfer to his big boy room. He's slept in there every night. He just wakes up and wants some company for a little while. And Miranda woke up one night that Duncan didn't. And, to coin a phrase, I'm pooped.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July Blooms

Lilium lancifolium "Flore Pleno"/Double Tiger Lily

June showers didn't bring the July flowers (because it barely rained in June), but the flowers came anyway. I planted this Tiger Lily Bulb last fall in Evan's Zoo Garden, and waited. The foliage came up, and it's finally flowering. And boy was it worth the wait! What a spectacular bloom! The foliage suffered being stepped on or knocked over, so it's pretty horizontal, so I'm happy to have a bloom at all!

Echinacea purpurea "White Swan"

I have several White Swans in Evan's Garden. Here and everywhere in my yard the Coneflowers are having a great year. Such a classic beauty. I need to get out there and do some deadheading, and maybe I'll have blooms into Autumn.

Dahlia "Evan Matthew"

I'm very pleased my Evan Matthew Dahlia is up and blooming. It only grew to about 12" and never bloomed last year. I moved it, and hoped for the best, but didn't expect it to come up at all. Obviously, I have been rewarded! hopefully, it'll come back next year. This is one that I'll just have to wait and see.


I've been oooing and ahhing over the lovely sunflowers in my veggie garden. I have the one in the picture and a lovely small pale yellow kind. I sit at the breakfast table, and watch all the bees and birds, and insects checking them out. I was so proud of my contribution to the honeybee population, until...I got stung! Yesterday I went out to water something. I bent down because the heavy rains of last week have made the tops heavy. I brushed up against a bloom, and thought, "That sunflower has a poky cone." But then it really hurt. "Ow ow ow!" And maybe an expletive or two. I need to stake the blooms back up, so they're not leaning over the path. Don't want the kiddies to get stung!

Echinacea purpurea "Purple Coneflower"

And more Echinacea.

Sleeping Update

The sleeping situation has gone better than expected with Duncan! The first two nights he slept in his own room, and only needed a little company during the night. Last night he flat refused to sleep in his own room. We thought it might be a setback, but on reflection, I think it was probably the thunder and lightning outside. Because tonight? He is willingly sleeping in his own little bed again. We tried to get the potty training going this weekend, too. Perhaps we shouldn't try to start too many things at once. He's definitely fighting the potty. We have "naked time" for a few hours each day. Hopefully, this will get him more motivated!

What's going on with Miranda, you ask?

Oh, she's climbing on EVERYTHING!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Canal

You may remember this pile of stone. I purchased it to do a border around the kids' playground, but then changed my mind. I wanted a Path! A path beside Evan's memorial garden. So, on June 27 I started digging. I had read all sorts of books with directions on laying a stone path. I watched a video online. I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on the situation. So, I began digging. And the whole not raining more than two tenths of an inch for the previous few weeks didn't make it easy. The ground was hard.

But I managed to dig what Justin referred to as "The Canal." It was about 13 feet long, 3 feet wide, and I thought 6 inches deep. When I got the tape measure out, it was more like 12 inches! So, I had to put some dirt back! There was rain in the forcast for July 5, and I really didn't want a mud pit in the backyard, so I decided on July 4 to "get 'er done." We got the sand and some paver dust, and got to work.

And I think it looks pretty darn good. I used up most of my big stone, because I was trying to get rocks that were a good size to step on. I obviously didn't tamp down the sand enough (um...hardly at all!), because after the heavy rains we've had this week, the path is not quite flat.

To be honest, it wasn't flat in the beginning. It's just less so now. I'm hoping adding some pea gravel or more sand will help. Overall, I'm pleased.

The project is not complete. Besides the not being flat part, I encountered a tree root back near the woodland garden. I've been trying to decide if I should start the curve there, or cut the root. I've read that roots bigger than one inch should be left alone. This one is probably right about one inch. Now that we've had some rain, the ground should be soft enough that I can dig around to see what may be the best way to go.

We hope to do more paths and a stone patio. Big plans! And a lot of work!

Fly Little Birdie, Fly!

For the first time in months, Duncan is in his own room tonight. Well, I guess he is. That's where we put him to bed, at least. We cleaned all the junk out of there over the last few days, put the guest room stuff back in the guest room, and a miracle occurred, and both rooms look much better. Maybe it's the hardwood floors. Duncan did seem a little upset about being in his room at first. But then he started to play and wander around, and he told us, "Night night," which meant, "Get out." And now it's quiet. I won't be surprised if he wants some company in the middle of the night.

I just hope that he doesn't want any more midnight piggy back rides!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is it July Already?!

The furnace outside has been set to scorching (add in extra sticky for the humidity level), so we've been busy hanging around doing the lazy Summer thing inside. We've received a pitiful amount of rain in the last month, despite the announcement that the drought is over. Probably should have waited on that one, eh? I am pleased that we actually did have a good soaker today, however. I need to get myself a rain gauge to have an idea of how much we're getting.

Daylily "Justin Brent"

In my eagerness to fill my garden with family named plants (Evan, Duncan, Miranda for the kids), I found this beautiful Daylily called Justin Brent offered by Ellie's Daylilies. Just lovely! Justin is, of course, my hubby's name. Now, I need to get a Pam plant for me. I had some Pam Howden Dahlia's, but they never came up. So, I may try again. And then maybe I can move on to other family member's names. Fun!


I've gotten a couple of red maters lately. There are dozens of fruits on the plant, and I was wondering when I would actually be able to eat any of them. Now! Yeah!


My first success of a flower from seed! Woohoo!

Rudbeckia "Early Bird Gold"

I just can't get over how great these Rudbeckias have done. I think I may get some more (or divide the ones I have) to put in Evan's Zoo Garden. Weeks and weeks of those wonderful bright yellow flowers. How perfect for a little boy's memorial garden.

Echinacea purpurea "Purple Coneflower"

And the always lovely and always reliable Coneflower. They are looking fabulous this year. They are considered to be drought tolerant, but they, like most plants, like the better rain conditions we've had this year.

Stay tuned for the next installment about how my "canal" is transformed.

"I Love Technology...

But not as much as you, you see."

Kids are always the ones to embrace new technology. They're eager to learn all there is to know. And it's the older folks, the ones who thought that old TV with the bunny ears would last forever, who curl up in a ball at the thought of programming some new device.

And, oftentimes, it's the young people, the children, that end up teaching their parents how to use the new: computer, cell phone, gadget. But that's not what's going on here.

Justin is a nerd, and totally into learning all that new technology himself. Maybe when he's older and crotchety-er, he may need Duncan to help him figure things out. But for now, Justin is generally willing to share his ipod with Duncan, as long as he (Justin) is in control.

Because, you know, those electronic toys are pretty expensive.

And, you wouldn't just want anyone to get his little chocolaty fingers on them. Would you?