Monday, October 26, 2009

What Are you Going to be For Halloween?

I've been asking Duncan this all month. At first he gave me the "what are you talking about, lady?" sort of look, and went back to whatever he was doing. Finally, lately he's started to seem interested. I've asked him, "Do you want to be a robot for Halloween?" "No" or "uh ah." He seemed pretty certain about this one from the start. Which had me surprised, and more than a little bummed. He's pretended to be a robot off and on for the last year. And finally, I find a cool do it yourself robot costume, and...he's not interested. Typical! He's been interested in firefighters and fire emergencies for a while, and talked a little about being a fireman. This had me worried a little. Evan's last Halloween he dressed as a fire fighter. I was afraid of just completely losing it, I guess. But it seems now that Duncan's settled on being a cowboy. Which is actually going to be kind of easy. he's got the flannel shirt, he's got the blue jeans. I thought I could make a little vest. I still have to find a hat. And, after being pressured by my mother in law, maybe some boots. Of course, she also thinks I should give him guns. I think she may be pressing my buttons. And, like last year, we plan to do a companion costume for Miranda. I'm thinking Indian princess (or Native American princess, if you prefer.) I thought I could make her a little dress and headband. Who knows if she'll leave something on her head. I guess I better get to work!

I Actually Did Some Gardening!

So, mild weather and drier weather has got me back outdoors. It's been cool, but pleasant. The ground is still kind of like a wet sponge, but hopefully that will get better in time. It's probable that it will rain tomorrow, so maybe not for a long time! I did acquire some new planties for Evan's zoo garden recently. I bought some Ligularia, commonly referred to as Leopard Plant. This variety has purply green leaves and yellow chrysanthemum sort of flowers. I don't know which cultivar it is, because the label simply said, "Ligularia." whatever. I like it! I also picked up and planted (thanks to some muddy help with my mom!) part of what I hope to be my living mulch--Mazus. I hope to interplant some daffodils, as they bloom around the same time. I had a couple of Heuchera "Autumn Bride" that I dug up a month ago that looked really nice with the Ligularia. So, Evan's garden is starting to look like a garden again, instead of just a mud pit.

Yesterday I dug up most of the stone from the path and carried over to the new stone patio area. I also carried the stones from my veggie garden path (I'll replace the path with mulch.) So, I got a good workout yesterday! The patio will need more stones, and filling material, but it's already looking good. (no pictures, of course!) I hope to carry on with the zoo garden theme on the other side of the path (this is the path by Evan's garden). so it would be Evan's garden-path-more animal plants-patio-playground. So, hopefully it will turn out great. It will be a lot of work (don't I say that every time?!), but I will be so happy to be in the garden again!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I've Got Nothin'

To say, that is. I've been feeling the emotional upheaval that comes with the anniversary of Evan's death. The anniversary is about a month away, and I'm a mess. I cry at the drop of a hat. I don't want to talk, because I'll break down. So, instead of talking, I'm thinking about the little boy that I lost and the memorial garden I created for him. And where to go from here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sporks and Foons

When Justin and I got married, we left the 100 degree heat of the Southern US and flew to the much more comfortable climate of summertime Canada. We honeymooned in British Columbia. We checked out Vancouver, and we also explored Vancouver Island. I remember one evening we ate at a pub. They served traditional pub food, and I remember thinking it was good at the time. I'm not sure what we ate. I'm not sure what we drank. The one thing I do remember is as we left the cashier, she said to each customer, "Don't forget your tools!" You'd think we were going out to dig a hole in the backyard or something. But she was talking about the eating know, spoons and forks. And sure enough, we didn't forget them! This little scene has been on my mind lately, because little Miranda has turned into a Chatty Cathy. She's been saying spoon for awhile. It started off as "Boon!" And for a while she called spoons and forks: Boon! She's started to incorporate an "Sss" sound lately. Now it's: "sss...boon!" But it's the recent introduction of "fork" that has been somewhat scandalous. She excitedly exclaims, "Fork!" but that's not quite the pronunciation. Little kids don't always get the "r" pronunciation. And, at first, it sound like "Fock." But somehow lately our little angel has managed to make dinner a more colorful four letter affair. There we are saying, "Foerrrrrrrrrk" with extra emphasis on the "r," but she smiles back and says...well, you know. So, maybe we should start calling them tools instead!

Just Frustrated

So, it rained the day after I did all that work moving dirt around and digging up stones from the path. Which means, the back 40 is more pond than yard. And the stone path is once more covered in silt. Oh well. I'll just dig it all up again. If it ever dries out! Ugh! I'm tired of the water. I've started looking for plants that don't mind wet feet, while I wait for the water to drain. So, at least I feel like I'm doing something. I'm itching to get out there, especially now that the weather isn't hot and humid. I feel like I've missed the best weather, because it's been too wet. One day...hopefully soon!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Can You Dig It?

Duncan did a little digging in the front yard (he was looking for treasure), while I put down the rest of the pine straw that I'd purchased before the flood washed the rest away. He wandered around to the back 40, and I followed. It's still quite muddy and puddly in places. Duncan wanted to explore the remains of his poor, broken playset. Justin pulled most of it out of the creek yesterday. He needed the chainsaw to break it up. The playground is dump bound, I'm afraid. But it certainly has been a subject of interest for Duncan since we watched it float away the night of the flood. While he explored, I decided to do some digging myself. I started moving silt and filling up the puddles...the low spots created by the raging flood waters. I decided to scrape around and see if the path by Evan's garden was still there. The stone path I built in July. I dug down a good 4-6" and found stone! I scraped until most of the stone was exposed, moving the excess silt/dirt/gravel over to the low spots. So, I'm happy the stones are still there. I'm going to have to dig them out, and build up that area. Maybe do better drainage this time! We're still thinking of putting a patio and some pathways back there. And we're thinking a new playground may be in order.

Of course, this all flies in the face of the decision I made earlier this week. I decided to embrace the fact that the back 40 is, for all intents and purposes, a flood plain. I decided that I would plant things that could handle periodic flooding and standing water. I figured I would leave Evan's garden as is, for the most part. I would plant "living" mulch--a groundcover like mazus, blue star creeper, or something that can deal with shade (or some sun) and moisture. And the grassy/weedy areas I planned to use a dwarf acorus. It's a relative to iris. It likes moisture, even boggy conditions. And in the places that are better drained maybe dwarf mondo grass. Of course, that's a couple of different shades of green for the grass. So, has this all fallen by the wayside? Probably not. I think we'll have plenty of space for the hardscaping and the new planties. And, as I seem to say often, it's going to be a lot of work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not So Still Lifes

Duncan asked for the real camera again the other day. And within five minutes he'd already taken 50 pictures! It's not completely random, either. I can tell that he was thinking about his subject. Well, maybe for a few seconds, at least! He took three shots of this bowl of cereal, each one closer than the one before.

Duncan took a few pictures of "Mwanda," as he calls her. This shows just how tough it is to get a moving target! It amuses me how excited they are to see each other sometimes. "Mwanda!" he cries every once in a while. Or, "where's Mwanda?" Or even, "Let's get Mwanda!" With Miranda it's always, "It's Duncan!" No matter that she saw him 30 seconds earlier, because right now, There he is!! Oh my goodness!

My favorite out of the bunch. I watched him look through the view finder, find his little foot, and click!

Duncan is still a little obsessed with the flooding that took place in our backyard in September. He still talks about all the water in the creek and how it went round and round, and "where's my playground?" (sounds more like draygwound) "My playground is broken!" "Turn off the water!" sort of comments. So, here he's captured a photo of the damage, along with a reflection of his efforts.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The line for those of us in General Admission. We were the sea of people on the floor of the stadium. Justin and I didn't get to the line until about 30 minutes before the gates open, and we were, oh about 800+ people back!

I show my true colors! Yes, I look like a complete buffoon with my homemade sign. This concert was really a treat for me, because Muse and U2 are in my Top 5 Favorite Bands List.

The enormous claw like stage. By the time we got into the stadium, the inner circle was pretty much full. We ended up being about 5 rows of people deep from the outer circle. So, not bad except for all of the heads in front of us. And why is it that there's always some 8 ft guy up in front of all the shorties? Hmm? So then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. Some lame touchy feely fans muscled their way closer, and ended up right in front of yours truly. I leaned over to Justin and said, "If there's a mosh pit, I know who I'm taking down first!" But once the music started, it didn't matter.

Matt Bellamy, frontman for Muse, singing with passion!

Unfortunately, I didn't get any great pictures during the show. I'll share the few decent ones I got. But honestly, I was more interested in rockin' than taking perfect pictures.

Chris Wolstenholme, bassist for Muse

My one good picture!

The Muse logo circles the claw screen.

I handed over the camera to Justin, and he actually got some great shots of U2. We decided to stand a little further back, and we were both surprised that the view was much better. No 8 ft guy right in front me, no Muse mom doing the white chick dance, no claustrophobia! Yeah! Although, having more space around me, I started doing more people watching. I saw Brooke Shields (yes, she's beautiful in person!) and I swear Robert Duvall was there, too! Some fan was dancing like a chicken (you know, the neck thing that chickens do when they walk.) And another fan had her own groove going on. She's was clearly having a great time. Just not so talented in the dance department. I asked Justin if he'd ever seen that Seinfeld episode about Elaine dancing and pointed to the lady. He cracked up.

Bono, frontman for U2, singing his heart out.

We enjoyed the programs for both bands...they both did a mix of old and new material. I felt like the performances were excellent. There have been some complaints from previous shows about Bono talking too much about his charitable endeavors, but I didn't feel like it was all that much. They performed for a full hour before he mentioned peaceful protestors. Muse didn't talk much at all, which is actually ok, considering they only played for 30-45 minutes as the opening act.

Larry Mullen, drummer for U2

So now I guess I'll have the Post Concert Depression until the next show, which happens to be The Kings Singers! Hahaha! A nice a capella mostly classical group. But they are fantastic, so yeah, I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Late Summer Fun

Last week we decided to enjoy a late summer outing at the park.

There was a cute little playground.

The kids had a ton of fun on the Choo Choo...

And yelling into the...the...whatever that thing is.

It was a little cool and windy, but we decided to brave the fountain (and by we, I mean Miranda!)

They both ended up soaked!

And very happy!

Miranda on the run after stealing this little boy's chalk box.

You can imagine how hard it was to make these two get in the car to go home! With fluffy towels and promises of french fries, chocolate cookies, and a return trip, I managed to tear them away.

Starting over

Pink Turtlehead, Chelone lyonii

I finally decided to do a little work in the back 40 yesterday. It's still wet and muddy, and with rain all night, I'm sure the previously shrinking puddles are all back. In spite of difficult feelings about the flood damage, I was inspired to get my hands dirty. Although, it would have been better to have gloves! My mom gave me a couple of plants that needed planting right away. I put my new Turtlehead in Evan's Garden. I looked at the damage there again, trying to determine what I may need to purchase in the future. It's hard to tell. I guess I won't really know until Spring arrives.

Coneflower "Evan Saul," Echinacea pupurea

I replaced the Evan Saul Coneflower in the Shrub Island (am I still calling it that? Maybe I should call it the Family Garden, because it's filled with plants with cultivar names of family members.) I need to get one more and that garden will be in good shape. It's the one garden in back that did not take a beating in the recent flooding.

Virginia Sweetspire "Saturnalia," Itea

I propped up this Itea a week or so ago, and it's actually still standing! And looking great. It looks so good, that I've thought about buying more! The other Itea I have (Henry's Garnet) is also in good shape. I have to find the little things in life that make me happy, eh? Because then I walk over to my poor hydrangea...

Oakleaf Hydrangea "Sikes Dwarf," Hydrangea quercifolia

This is one of the plants that I just don't know if it's going to make it. It's ironic, really. I have two hydrangeas that look like they could be on Death's door. One killed by flood, one killed by drought. It was dry for a good bit of the summer, and then September brought over 15" of rain. I will wait till Spring for both of them. If they don't come back...well, then I'll know what to do. Here's a picture of this Oakleaf Hydrangea in all her summer glory: