Saturday, May 31, 2014

I feel so efficient

I accomplished a fair amount today. I met a friend in Birch Bay for breakfast. The road between Lynden and Birch Bay has a construction area where the road is closed, and I figured out an efficient way to get around it. On my way home again, I stopped at Van Wingerden nursery and made some satisfactory purchases of flowers and a hanging pot. I remembered to go to the drug store and pick up my prescription refills. (My insurance plan changes tomorrow, June 1, and I will not immediately have a new card, which would complicate my pharmacy purchases.) I visited with my folks. I took out the garbage. I planted some flowers. I did several loads of laundry. I washed my hair.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Another paving stone

Well, and today when I came home I abandoned my intention to mow the lawn. I decided to wait until Saturday. It's supposed to rain tonight but stop by the weekend.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Good intentions

Every spring a big job out on the deck is to empty out the little pool, clean it, and refill it with clean water so that the little manneken pis can, well, pis.

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Every winter the pool fills up with leaves that decompose, so the water-leaf mixture becomes black and sludgy. When I empty it out, I take the water-leaves out bucket by bucket and dump them over the retaining wall onto the lawn. Later the messy leaves get picked up by the lawn mower.

This weekend is Memorial Day, and my family will come over on Monday. I want the deck and yard to be nice. I want to empty the pond, then mow the lawn so that everything is tidy.

The lawn is ready to be mowed, so I decided that when I got home this evening I would empty and clean the pool, then tomorrow I can mow. That was my firm plan all day, right until I came home from work and, as I was approaching my door, I looked at the pool and thought, "No way."

So maybe I'll just have to mow tomorrow and do the pool on Friday and just have messy leaves or bring the mower out for just that little bit of cleanup.

Oh, dear. We all know what place is paved with good intentions. I'd better justify myself. I was just sick for two days. I don't have the strength. It will just have to wait. No one is harmed by my leafy pool of dirty water.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sick day

Today I am home sick (not homesick) again. My dog got a walk around the back yard this morning instead of a walk around the neighborhood, which bewildered him somewhat, but then he is no stranger to bewilderment.

Mid-morning, I did a little therapeutic sitting in the sun:

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I wore a hat to shade my face, but I deliberately exposed my arms and shins to the sun. The deck is still quite messy, unswept, weedy, but fortunately sitting in the sun does not require tidiness.

Before I came back inside, I decided to take some pictures to show the difference between calibrachoa and double calibrachoa, which I mentioned the other day. Here is calibrachoa:

And very pretty it is. Here is double calibrachoa:

And here:

And since the double calibrachoa is in with the strawberries, I took some pictures of berries in progress.

Here are some blossoms:

And some very green and immature berries:

So there you go.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mildly ill

I was just checking the weather. I would like to mow the lawn again in the next couple days, and, fortunately, I don't see rain in the forecast until possibly Friday. I have to wait until I feel up to it.

Yesterday I was having intestinal symptoms of an unspecified nature and also developed a mild headache. I made sure to go to bed on time so I could get a good night's sleep, and I felt okay this morning, except tired. But as the morning went on at work the mildly aching head, waves of nausea, and a sense of dizziness crept up on me and before lunch I came home. This afternoon I slept well over three hours straight. I feel better than this morning, but not tip-top. I hope to get another good night's sleep and I hope that will complete the cure.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Strawberries and things

Last night I planted the creeping jenny around the edge of these barrels, as is my tradition. Usually the interior is double impatiens, but I haven't seen many of those this year and didn't want the colors I did see. I was going to just buy regular impatiens and was opting for all white, but the store I was at didn't have enough white impatiens. Later I saw these white begonias so got them instead.

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Now that I see them together, I'm not sure it's a great match, with the begonias' dark leaves and the bright green creeping jenny. We'll see how it looks as they mature.

For a couple years, I've had a hanging basket of strawberries. A couple made it through the winter, and I bought some more, and decided to mix flowers in, too. These purple double calibrachoa were so pretty, I couldn't resist. Ordinary calibrachoa is like a miniature petunia, a trumpet-shaped flower, but these have the extra petals. I do have some ordinary calibrachoa as well, for other pots, in other colors.

Obviously I have not yet hung this hanging pot.

Yard work and gardening

While the lawnmower was being serviced, the grass got very long. On Monday I mowed it, but in the back yard I left the grass catcher assembly off, so that I would not have to keep stopping to dump out the heavy, damp grass. That was something my dad used to do: mow one day without catching the grass, let it dry out on the yard a couple days, then drive the mower over the yard with the grass catcher on and the mower blades up high -- not to cut but to spin and pull the grass in -- and pick up the grass. That way you had less and lighter, dryer grass to deal with. Because the grass this time had gotten so long, I still had a lot to deal with, even though it was dry and light. On Wednesday, I think it was, I did the picking up. Now the law looks quite respectable -- for now.

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In a few days it will need to be mowed again, but it will not be so meadow-like as before.

These are the red begonias I planted on Thursday:

And these are flowers still waiting to be planted:

In the black tray on the left in front are eleven French lavender (lavendula dentata). I didn't think I would find any this year, so when I found these in front of Rite-Aid, of all places, I was so excited I picked up the whole tray and put it in my cart.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Coffee, please, please, please

This morning I poured water into the coffee maker, and it immediately overflowed. Apparently at some previous time--I'm guessing yesterday morning--I put coffee in, filled it with water, but forgot to ever turn it on. So I turned it on now, and I cleaned up the water that was pooling in the counter and dripping down the fronts of the drawers to the floor.

Once again, proof that I am incapable of making coffee until I have had some coffee.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A few thoughts

My computer has been wonky. I think I have it resolved.

All my red begonias are planted.

Last night I was reminded of the fact that I am incapable of handling a garden hose without getting my own feet wet.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cutting remark

Today after work, I mowed the lawn. Kind of a soothing task when you have a riding mower.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Morning and evening

Every workday morning I look at some piece of my home and yard and think, "When I get home this evening, I'll take care of that. I'll do this or that task." Almost every workday evening I think, "I'm too tired. The world won't end if that waits another day."

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pym pleasure

I didn't plant anything last night because I was exceptionally tired and went to bed early. Today and tomorrow, rain is forecast. Do you say "forecast" or "forecasted"? It is not raining yet.

I'm trying to thing what else to write about besides the weather and my own sleep patterns, which are frequently recurring, yet intrinsically uninteresting, topics in my blog.

Yesterday I found out a co-worker of mine is a fan of Barbara Pym. It is unusual to come across someone who even knows about her. My co-worker has not read all of Pym's novels, however, so I am bringing in Some Tame Gazelle for her to read.

I love Barbara Pym. There is a Barbara Pym Society.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

First planting

Yesterday, after I got home from work, and after I walked the dog, and after I ate some dinner, and after I chatted with my folks on the phone, then I did some planting. I planted a calla lily, six red begonias, and six white bacopas in a barrel on the shady side of my deck.

Here is a blurry, through-the-screen picture. The other four begonias on the ground are destined for hanging pots.

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After planting, I was a little worried that the bacopa will overwhelm the begonias. The red begonia blooms are so beautiful. In the past I've had just the begonias and lily in this pot. But I figured, oh, well. That's what you do in gardening. Try something and if you don't like it then next year do it differently.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

More flowers, one less lilac

Well, by afternoon yesterday the sun was out and it was beautiful. I stopped at two places on the way home to get more flowers. Since double impatiens seem to be rare I thought I'd settle for ordinary impatiens, but I wanted it white. Garden Spot had pink impatiens but a lot of pretty white begonias, so I bought those. I also picked up sage and thyme for my herb barrel. Then I went to Haggen, where I had seen some healthy, big calla lilies last Friday, and I bought one.

When I got home, I walked my dog around the back yard and found that a white lilac tree had fallen down. It had been growing on a slope by the creek, and a few years back my dad had it staked to grow more upright. Now the plastic ties to the stake had broken and was lying on the ground with the top dangling in the creek. It fell at the roots, so my theory is that the ground is so saturated that it could not hold the tree firmly at that angle, and when the full weight of the tree pulled against the straps they broke.

I was kind of sad because I remember that my sister-in-law had given my dad the plant as a gift some years ago.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Even more

Yesterday I bought even a few more plants, but I didn't plant anything yesterday because I had places to go and it rained.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Plants to plant

I have a lot of plants to plant. There are the plants I bought last week, still waiting to be transplanted:

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And in my car are many more that I bought yesterday at the Barkley Haggen. Red begonias, purple verbena, a couple of wall flowers, two red and one yellow nicotiana, a marigold, some parsley, a couple of pansies, and perhaps more that I can't remember right now. Those are in my car, in cardboard flats, waiting for me to carry them down to the deck.

Oh, yes, lemon balm.

Anyway, I hope to at least get started planting today. We'll see what the weather does. It's not raining right now, but it is overcast, and the paving stones in the deck are damp.

There's a big crow walking around the lawn. Crows are so big compared to some of the little twitterers we get around here that when I catch sight of their movement from the corner of my eye, I expect to see a squirrel or a cat when I look, but no, it's a crow.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Waiting for the walk

I woke up extra early this morning, so my dog thinks it's time for his walk, but it's not. He hangs around me, puts his chin on my lap, wanders over to the couch and jumps on it but stares at me and, when I make some move that could be misinterpreted as being about to get up, comes running over and puts his paws on my lap, gets pushed away, lies down, sighs audibly, etc. Lots of noise of nails going clickety click on the floor.

It's a bit overcast outside. It looks like it may have rained a little bit overnight, but it's not raining now.

I have had a cup of coffee. That is important.

It's Friday. One more day of the work week, then the weekend. That will be a pleasant change. It's good when both your workplace and your home are places you like to be. I'm blessed.

Well, now it's getting closer to the actual time for my dog's walk. He'll be beside himself with joy. He is every morning. He's pretty cute.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Soft in the evening

Today was our Very Warm Day. In the morning, the temperature was so lovely that I wished I could stay home and putter* around the yard and my deck. The late afternoon was almost too warm for me. The low 70s are perfect for me; the high 70s begin to become oppressive. Right now, though, it's lovely again. It's about 8:00 p.m. and the temperature is just cool. I have windows open and the air is fresh but not cold.

*I think someone at the Festival of Faith & Writing talked about "the sacrament of puttering." And I've quoted this before, from Elizabeth von Arnim's The Solitary Summer: "Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds, from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what, in this world, is worth bothering about, and what is not."