Monday, June 30, 2008

Blending in

Little by little, my yard is becoming a little place of peace and earth-friendliness. I've tried hard to reduce my water usage by planting large areas with drought tolerant plants. Finished spreading the bark which has made the plants stand out and appear even more striking and beautiful. Everything is trying to bloom now. The deer repellent spray and/or cayenne pepper seems to be keeping the deer out of my patio pots. Sunday it was down to doing a little weeding in the front gardens and enjoying the cool morning air, when a bird landed on my back! That was the strangest thing. It startled me, of course, and I brushed it away not having any idea what could possible be standing on my back. It flew up into a tree - a large bird, either a robin or a blue jay, I couldn't see it clearly with the sun in my eyes. How very odd to have a bird land on you. Have I become like the trees, blending in with the landscape? Maybe so when I'm in the yard. I think the birds and the deer are no longer afraid of me.

Oh the yard is looking pretty. So pretty.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Try a Little Tenderness Reprise

Watching SATC tonight (getting my daily dose of dating pointers), at the end they were playing this fantastic tune. I know I posted it back in March, but this calls for a reprise:

An incredible selection from a great movie. The Commitments: Try a Little Tenderness. If you like this, click on the links to Mustang Sally and Dark End of the Street also by the Commitments.


Where does the time go? It's nearly July and I don't think I've really gotten into summer mode. I've been working so hard, I barely notice all the wonderful things going on.

The mulch project is coming along. Brittany and I have moved 30 wheelbarrow loads in three evenings. We have a two-hour limit per evening. The results really are nice. The remaining pile is probably only six or so wheelbarrow loads. It won't quite cover the area I wanted, but almost. I've decided to finish up with bags of mulch which are easier to manage and which allow me to get just what I need. So 10 yards doesn't quite cover the area, but nearly. Fifteen yards would have done it plus the backyard. So now I have an idea of how much a yard of mulch is.

What I'd really like to do is to wake up early on a Saturday morning with really no plans whatsoever, and spend some hours working on my oil painting, visit some family, shop, go out to dinner, watch a delicious movie, and end the day sitting in the cool night air with a glass of red wine enjoying the view from my deck. That's what I'd really like to do. Oh, and maybe stick a couple of plants in the ground somewhere.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Accidents

Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting, remember? Dab a little paint in the wrong place, there are no mistakes, just happy accidents. I suppose what was intended to be a bush might end up a tree, but no matter.

I have a similar approach to the plants in my yard. Many little volunteers show up and I haven't the heart to pull them up. The Russian Sage and Jupiter's Beard are particularly prolific. Left to their own devices, I'd have a yard full of just them in a couple of years. So some of them do get pulled up by the roots. And some get repotted and given away. My rule, as I explained to my granddaughter while weeding earlier this week, if it encroaches on another plant, it has to come up as neither will do well. A second rule is if it really is in a bad place, blocks a view or pathway, it comes up. Even some weeds I allow to grow. While spreading mulch, we spared two ordinary sunflowers as they were both in places where they could enhance the color and texture of the garden. But morning glory always gets pulled up, as does Virginia Creeper. And if only I knew how to get rid of what I call barnyard grass - what a demon.

My granddaughter really gets it. "It all about boundaries," Grandma, she said. So succinct and exactly right.

The yucca that volunteered in the wrong place a couple of years ago, I tried to save by moving to another location, but it turned black and died. So I pulled it up. But this year is has volunteered in its new spot. So encouraged am I by this, I will retrieve the other one that has volunteered in the middle of the myrtle. I'll not worry if it turns black--there's a chance it will survive. I'd like to devote a section just to yuccas and maybe some other desert-like plants.

I'm going to lose one of my favorite bee balms. Is it snails? Is it fungus? I just don't know, but it's not doing well at all. A not so happy accident. But I surrounded it with black-eyed susans and penstemon that volunteered once again in those old broken pots that had to be thrown out this year. I hurriedly stuck those in the ground around the bee balm just to save them. It's turned into a very special and lovely spot after all. I'll try to save the bee balm.

Live and let live is my approach to my yard and to people, too. Opinionated and out-spoken as I am, I so hate it when I discover I've stepped on toes, hurt feelings. But I speak out when I feel I must. It's sort of like the encroachment rule with my garden. I have to defend the little space around me that allows me to thrive.

Friday, June 20, 2008

LDOTY - tomorrow

Longest day of the year. Summer solstice. Something's afoot. Can't you just feel it in the air?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sometimes, all I need

Ah the 60's.

There's nothing left to be desired.

Had to add this one by Phil Everly (am I on an Everly kick?). Arranged by Warren Zevon.

Leaves me peaceful, warm, and tired.

Real Progress

UPDATE; The mulch is here. Six yards is about half of a dump truck load. It might be enough, I might need more. But I'll definitely use this, and it seems manageable. Can't wait to dig in. But must finish work-work first.

I ordered six yards of mulch to be delivered today. How much is six yards? I have no idea, but it sounds like a quantity I could use. We'll see.

Granddaughter called up night before last wanting to help me in order to earn money to pay for a new laptop. Now I would probably have given her the couple hundred she needs, but her dad wants her to earn it, so I said yes, let's do it. I didn't expect to get that much help from a 13-year old girl, but she really surprised me. We weeded for two and a half hours last evening and completed a whole area that would have taken me two days to do. She's as hard a worker as her grandma. And the bonus is we get all that time together to talk about school, boyfriends, and her internet business venture. She is quite the entrepreneur--a writer and an artist--she sells her drawings and designs web pages for other kids on the internet (with payment in an internet currency for the kids' site). It's such a delight to talk and hear about all her ideas and plans. And to have so much real help that I hadn't expected.

The boys in the ward have offered to come over and help move the mulch, and she will be here to help me too, so that may be done in short order. Then I'll have her help me with washing windows and some of the other household tasks that have been waiting. She will earn the money she needs, I will have some relief from all this work.

Then I am truly into maintenance mode, watering, mowing, weeding. Maybe occasionally planting something new if I see something irresistable. But no more projects for the rest of the summer. But then there's the garage. Ah. That will just have to wait awhile.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sex and the City

A bonus June movie, SATC will not replace our foreign film of the month, but several of us wanted to see this as well. Since it's a girlfriends flick, it makes sense to see it with girlfriends. In fact, nearly all the groups in the theater were women (very few men among us). The man I'm dating sent me an email with his "Get out of SATC free" card because "No man should have to see this movie."

I have to say, if you are already a fan of SATC, you will like the movie. If this is your first exposure to Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte, you may not like it. We had both reactions among our group. I'll admit, the characters in the movie, like the television series, are shallow, self-absorbed, and one dimensional, not to mention living a very expensive and top-shelf but not-so-believable existence.

But years of watching SATC through all the ups and downs of lives and relationships, makes you just want everything to turn out - happily ever after. Okay, the movie was pretty predictable in that regard, too. But as with the TV series, every once in awhile they toss you a nugget of truth that just hits you - at least it did me.

This "episode" was about Carrie and Mr. Big's wedding. And, of course, there were sub-plots going on with each of the other "girls" (now in their 40's). The common thread was genuine hurt that happens between couples, and the unwillingness of individuals, often, to forgive. With lots of fashion, shoes, luncheons, drinking, and general giddiness. you expect from SATC.

In one scene Carrie and Big are reading in bed, she with a book called "Love Letters of Great Men". Letters by Voltaire, Beethoven, Lord Byron, etc. Beautiful words. I determined to look up the book on the Internet later. I wasn't the only one:

If you have been scouring the Internet for a copy of Love Letters of Great Men, the book that Carrie and Mr. Big read while lounging in bed in the Sex and the City movie, you can stop now. It doesn't exist. The Associated Press reports that online retailers have been flooded with requests for the book, but the closest thing to it is a title originally published in the 1920s called Love Letters of Great Men and Women: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day.
However, I did find just such a book, much smaller in size, when we were browsing in Tabula Rasa last month. I read one of the letters aloud to my friends. I'm going back and buy the book.

Being single in SLC myself, I sometimes relate to the single angst of these young women. I, too, would like to receive a real love letter (what woman wouldn't).

Ever Yours,
Ever Mine,
Ever Ours.
So it was fun for us. We met at My Left Fork for breakfast and a long, leisurely girlfriend chat. Those four Manhatten girls have nothing on us--except expensive shoes!

Deer again

Ok, I may be noticing a pattern. I'm getting a refill on coffee and I surprised a doe with her nose in my patio pots. With the kitchen window open, she heard me enter the room. We both froze. I wanted to grab my camera which was inches away, but she was watching me and I didn't want to scare her away. I had put moth balls in the pots last night before bed. I don't know if they worked or not as my timing surprised her before she had a chance to nibble. She left quickly. Last night as I continued weeding along the sidewalk, the neighbor's dog took off chasing a deer down the street. I was pretty mad to see they had eaten my geraniums in the Mexican pot - I'd missed that earlier.

What to do! The yard is getting pretty, but I'm wondering if I'll have any flowers for long this year.

But I may at least know what time they are visiting. I may start taking my coffee on the patio every day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

They're all weeds, after all

Finally tackled the weeds on that very top level by the upper sidewalk. I was pleasantly surprised to find among the tall grasses that the Mexican Primrose I planted last year not only survived but thrived. Mom gave me a lovely 5-gallon plant that was intended for my brother's new home which was nowhere near finished (I admit I persuaded her the plant would be better off with me). Being the thrifty gardener I am, and knowing how hardy they are, I divided the large plant into quarters. It was during a hot spell, and the four plants just lived but never did much all year. But all four are back, growing strong, and there are now dozens of baby plants all around them! The three complementary plants I put with them (called Blue Clips?) also survived and look like they will do well this year.

As I'm weeding, I always note the plants that seem to flourish and spread and wonder if I shouldn't just cultivate those true native plants as ground cover.

I had one striking weed that I simply did not have the heart to remove. It was large and simply covered with purplish flowers. I'll let it live for now and see what the plant does. I suspect all those little flowers will turn into burrs. In which case, out it goes. I'll snap a picture tomorrow as I think it will be more fully in bloom. I also preserved one lovely volunteer sage - so soft and silvery right now. It, too, will get ugly later, and out it goes.

I finished the section with the Mexican Primoses. What remains is the worst-of-all myrtle hill. It does seem to be easier, though if I weed early in the morning right after watering. I'll probably work on that one Sunday morning. Tomorrow it's fun, fun, fun with the Reel Women meeting for breakfast and a bonus movie this month, Sex and the City. Then probably visit my dad in the afternoon.

The deer finally discovered the patio pots and ate about half the blooms from my lovely annuals. I knew I couldn't have annuals. Well, I'm putting out the moth balls tonight, like my dad suggested. Let's see if it makes a difference.

And, I did a little work on my oil painting. I wish now I had taken pictures of various stages along the way, as I think it helps me to see what I did that improved it each time. But it's coming along nicely, and I love working on it. Feels so natural to me.

It's just about 3:30 now, so maybe after a couple of hours of rest, I'll go finish up the path with the remaining 12 bricks, put down six more bags of mulch, and then put Roundup on weeds in the parking strip and driveway. If I actually get all that done today, I will be one VERY happy girl.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Worst Book Ever Written--The Shadow God

The Shadow God
by Aaron Rayburn
(no stars)

I didn't read this book. I just read the review of it on I sincerely enjoyed the reviewer's writing at least, and from the excerpts provided, I'd have to say he's probably close to right in his estimation.

For a chuckle, click this link and read the review for yourself.

Here are a couple of my favorites from the excerpts provided:

"Spiers's eyes popped extraneously from their sockets, as his face turned from a deep red to a sickly purple."

"Of all the things to think, he never thought he'd think that."

"Eubanks looked annoyed. He exhaled annoyingly and said..."
As our reviewer said, "It's enough to make aspiring writers want to give up . . . "

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Heavy Lifting

Woke up in the middle of the night with just about everything hurting. I lifted too many heavy things yesterday. The day was productive with a number of new check marks on my LOTTD. I think, though, this will be the last major project of the summer. I need to switch to maintenance mode. And no more heavy lifting. It has about done me in.

Time to hang up the patio lights and have a party!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The next time I'll be ready with my camera

Refilling my cup of coffee this morning,I looked out the window to see a doe and a yearling buck enjoying my new bird feeder in the backyard. I thought I had outsmarted them: a new location, higher up, harder to reach the seed unless you're a little bird. Not even a challenge for them. They didn't touch my pots of colorful flowers on the patio -- they just go for that bird seed. What to do?! I love to feed the birds, but I can't afford to support my four-legged friends' unfortunate addiction to the same. This is putting a crimp in my birdwatching.

Next time I'll grab a picture. They are bold.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Singing works just fine for me . . .

James Taylor, "Sweet Baby James", 2007

. . . just as if maybe someone could hear

Couldn't resist throwing this one in, Art Garfunkel and James Taylor doing classic Everly Brothers. So nice.

Feeling lazy tonight

Sometime ago, watching a program discussing divorce, I heard a therapist say a true thing to a woman: No-one is coming to rescue you. I took that advice to heart myself and have forced myself to rise to the challenges of living alone, caring for a large home and yard, and managing finances, without assistance. It hasn't been easy, but I've learned you can do surprising things when you decide to. But I feel very tired today after too much work yesterday, and yet my list is long and those projects await. Is it so bad to just sit here and watch the news and post a little blog without guilt? That's the thing. I give myself no slack. So in a minute or two I'll pull myself together and get outside.

I think it would be nice to be rescued. Even just a little.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June the First

I almost finished the May LOTTD. The pathway and steps have shaped up pretty nicely but I need a few more bricks and blocks to really finish it up. Very carefully carried those heavy blocks two at a time down the railroad tie steps and then one at a time down the slippery slope, stepping very gingerly. I know it was risky and I needed to take extra care so as not to reinjure my ankle or anything else. Very hard work it was. But success! Yay!

Now to go shopping and see Brandon for his 1-year birthday! If I'm not too tired, I'll mow the lawn and whack some weeds this evening. Much progress being made.

Ready to make the June LOTTD.

9:30 p.m.
Didn't make it to Brandon's. Halfway there, something starting banging on the roof of the car. Pulled over and discovered it was the rubber trim at the top of my new windshield peeled nearly away. I pushed it back in as best I could and drove home the back roads to keep my speed low. They are coming tomorrow to fix it.

Mowed the lawn, got six bags of mulch and did a little other shopping. Planned to watch a movie since I couldn't go to Layton, but fell asleep and had a long nap. Feel stiff now from so much lifting today, but otherwise feel okay.

I did write the June LOTTD. It's very long.