Friday, February 29, 2008

Gazing Ball

Went to First Monday in Canton today. First Monday claims to be the biggest flea market in the world. Bought that pretty blue gazing ball, some hand cranked sewing machine attachments, and some linens. Had a great time. Should I paint the milk can red?Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Stop No Go Really Really Fast.

We spent from Christmas until now just sitting here being cold and complaining. Now spring is here and everything starts at once. Soccer, baseball, and band concerts. My yard, my friends yard, my families yards, and all my clients yards need attention NOW. It won't slow down until July. Here we go.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Erosion Control

We have been trying to get my bests friends front yard to grow grass for three years. It looks like the soil is dead. We have put out compost and other organic fertilizer twice. The first year it dried out during our water restrictions. Last year it washed away in the flood. The yard is very small and has a pretty steep grade. There is also a live oak on one side and a maple of some kind on the other. I called my landscaper brother who told me about seed mats. The stuff is actually excelsior with a biodegradable netting attached to it. We put out compost and green sand again then put the stuff over that. When the time is right we will seed Bermuda right into the seed mat. Hopefully, this will stop most of, if not all the erosion. Let me know if any of you have used this with any success.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It happens Every Winter.

I cratered two days ago and spent most of the last two days in bed. It happens every single winter. I try and try to stay positive and not succumb to the cold wet depression of our weather. North Texas weather teases us. It is pretty one day, cold the next, cold and wet the next, and then so windy you can't stand up, rinse repeat. As a gardener, I can only take the yoyo weather, thus yoyo moods so long. Every single year I end up sleeping two of my days away. I get up and try to clean. I wash enough laundry so the monkeys can get an education. Then I go back to bed. I get up again and read. Then I get sleepy and decide it would be easier to read in bed. Of course, once in the bed, I fall back to sleep. I wake up at about 2:00 in the afternoon feel guilty and get up and do things. Tonight I went out in the cold, cold night and took a walk. I feel better and I don't think I will need to sleep so much tomorrow. What should we all do until spring arrives to keep us awake?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Quilt Show

Okay, I got kind of snarky yesterday about there being a label on my sidebar for these pictures. I felt bad about being snarky so I dug through my picasa stuff and put them together again.
The quilt blocks are a block of the month thing and the star is for my spring master gardener seminar as a silent auction item. The blue jean blanket is um, well its a blue jean blanket. Posted by Picasa

Quilt Show

The first one Middle Monkey is holding belongs to a niece. The next one is something our great grandmother pieced. We found it while going through Grandma Margaret's fabric. I finished it and gave it to sister #3 for her baby boy. Next is this year's Notthingham family Christmas party quilt. They go into a white elephant kind of thing and generally get fought over. Finally, is a picture of my sewing corner. Yes, I really sew on that hand cranked machine. It can sew through wood.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This Will Explain A Lot

She gave an Oscar Party and made me put on a dress.
She wanted it to be fun. I think a picture tells a thousand words.
Love you Mamala
Posted by Picasa

Block of the Month

I started my blocks for this month. The newest one is on the bottom right hand side. Before we are finished we will have twelve twelve inch squares, twelve nine inch squares, and twenty-four six inch squares. This quilt is going to be a monster. Maybe I will split them up and make more than one quilt. The fabrics are 1930's reprints.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It Was Warm Enough For This

It was a beautiful day in our neighborhood. Here are two of my monkeys with two neighbor monkeys. There was a busted lip and a dangling incident, but they took care of each other and had fun. They even took a break and toured my garden. One of them asked in amazement "You can grow broccoli?" My middle monkey answered "Of course, where did you think it came from?"
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 22, 2008

Grateful For Good Company

Well here it is at 1:30 am and I have unfortunately been blog hopping. I found a lot of unhappy people. ( I wasn't cruising gardening blogs). There seems to be a large number of negative, unhappy, victimized and hopeless bloggers out there. I will happily begin cruising gardening blogs again tomorrow. At least we know spring is coming and the seasons change. Life gives us yen and yang. I trust that there will be flowers.

Paul Neyron

Here is one of my first antique roses. I bought it about twelve years ago from Mr. Foster in Kaufman. This variety is Paul Neyron a hybrid perpetual developed in 1869. This is most likely the rose that was spoken of when our grandmothers said cabbage rose. This is a late summer picture. The blooms are much bigger in the spring. It is a reliable repeat bloomer, but it does get some black spot.

Posted by Picasa

My Peeping Tom; A Rose Bush Story

About twelve years ago I was a 32-year-old divorcee trying to take care of my 18-month-0ld and myself. I bought the little house we live in now and set about creating a new life for us. The very first thing I did was start making flower beds. I was able to afford just a few antique roses. So anyway, I was making flower beds and taking care of my baby and working and jogging and in general just living my life minding my own business.

One night in July I came home a little late and still needed to water my new lovely roses. So I get the monkey to bed and go outside in the dark. I was watering and watering and dragging my only hose around the house from the front flower beds to the back. I came around the corner and saw a tall man looking in my bathroom window. Now a smart woman living by herself would have run back inside and called the police. I am not that woman. Instead I say, "What the hell are you looking at?" He turns and looks at me, takes a couple of steps towards me and says, "What are you looking at?" Again, I should have run away. BUT NO, I decide to spray my peeping Tom down with the water hose. He says, "DAMN GIRL!!!" and runs away.

Now I get smart go inside and call not 911, but my parents. They tell me to DUH CALL 911. So I call 911. My younger sister was a senior in high school and she calls one of her guy friends who is on the football team. Within about 45 seconds of the first phone call I have half the small town football team and all of the small town police in my front yard.

Here is what the first officer had to say to the dispatcher. "The suspect is a young white male age 18 to 25, and, um, he is soaking wet."

Later that week, I had a fence built and brought my shepherd home from the exes. At that point, my peeping Tom had no choice but to go to the front windows. He came back about three more times. The next time, my dog growled and he ran away. The third time Manly Man, then Manly Boyfriend, ran him off. The fourth time I let the dog out, she chased him away, and he never came back.

We all lived happily ever after.

The End.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Last Police Story To Date

Okay, I have one more law enforcement story. Its about the peeping tom. Believe it or not it is a gardening story. Stay tuned. I may post it tomorrow, unless I get embarrassed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How I Almost Got Arrested for Growing a Hibiscus

I started growing hardy hibiscus about three or four years ago. These are my favorite plants and also Middle Monkey's. He claims all of our plants as "his". The first plant I purchased was a Texas Star Hibiscus . I grew it in a large container on our deck. It grew to be about six feet tall. Now we live on a corner lot in a small town. If you have never seen the Texas Star Hibiscus click right there. Now you have an idea why our small town police officer pulled over on our side street, rolled down his window and asked, "Mrs. M. what kinda plants are you growing up there?" Seriously, I would not grow marijuana on my open deck for every person in small town Texas to see. I'm goofy, but not that goofy.

PS. He knew me by name for several reasons.
1. I used to have a peeping tom.
2. My kid called 911 and told on me.
3. My Manly Man was on the volunteer fire department with him.
4. We have had bicycles stolen.
5. It's a small town and we are a nosey lot.

Daffodil Question

Last year my mom's lawn guy mowed down all her daffodils before they bloomed. Someone told her that they will never bloom again. I think they will. Her Ice Follies are blooming and I am pretty sure they were mowed too. Hopefully, the others are just later blooming varieties. She is not sure what they are. My Minnows and Nancy's Little Sweety are already in bloom but none ot the others are(Erlicher, Geranium, Texas Star). What do ya'll think?

Ya'll should check back tomorrow when I tell the story of something really funny that happened because of a Texas Star Hibiscus. There will be more law enforcement.

I Would Ask You to Help Me , But He has it Under Control

Okay, it happened before this blogs time but I have to share. I was driving down the road and I get a call on my new awsome Chocolate phone. It is Manly Man. He says, " Where is your license?" I say, "I don't know." He says, "Well the police are here and apparently you left your license on the table and baby monkey called 911 and told on you. You should come home now." Maybe I should have taken the hint and run away, far far away.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today I got to be a girly girl. I went shopping with mamala, and sisters #2&4. I bought shoes. Well, baby sister(my favorite sister today) bought me the heels for my birthday, but I bought the sandals and the pretty blue pillow that the shoes are on and that butterfly magnet, and a butterfly windchime. Well, really I bought two butterfly magnets and two hummingbird magnets. We ate a big-ol-burrito. Can you see the butterflies on the sandals? They are actually a kids size 4 ( I have little feet), but I think I can pull it off. Just wait until summer, ya'll are going to be really sick and tired of me and the butterflies. Good times.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 18, 2008

I was just wondering?

Has anyone else ever found an eight year-old asleep in your coat closet?

Late Winter Gardening Day

It was a beautiful day. Sunny and cool with just a little breeze. Here is what I managed to accomplish in the garden.
1. Potted up the Duchess de Brabrant (rose bush) cuttings that had taken root. 10 out of 14 rooted.
2. Sat in the garden and weeded hen bit and chick weed.
3. Tore apart and rebuilt the compost pile layering the old compost with the hen bit and chick weed.
4. Saw that both of my thymes, the lemon verbena, and the spider wort are all coming back. Finally, signs of spring other than daffs.
5. I found a cold not moving geco in an old container. Put it on the grill, did not cook it, the grill was just black and warm from the sun (not on fire) and the little geco warmed right up and ran away.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I just needed to add one more thing today. Two year-old L-Monkey Girl is learning to use the potty. We had a birthday party for #1 brother or "The King of all Monkeys." Our family consists of Opa and Grammy, seven brothers and sisters, six spouses of brothers and sisters, and eleven monkeys ages 15 to 6 months. During dinner Brother #3 dashed throught the the house carrying his only monkey, L-Monkey Girl, trying to make it to the bathroom. They made it. A few minutes later L-Monkey girl comes out and announces "I did it, I used the potty." 25 people burst into applause and L-Monkey girl was very proud.

Explain This to Me.

Why in the world would he do this?
What happened to his left middle finger?
When did his hands get so dirty?
Where did that stain come from?
How in the world did he think of it?
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What I Did on a Cold Wet Day

It was too cold and wet to do any gardening today. I spent most of the day trying to keep my feet warm and cutting up old blue jeans to make another blue jean blanket. The one above is Middle Monkey's. The one I worked on today is for Baby Monkey. Teenage Monkey has a beutiful log cabin quilt I made with Mom. Well she pieced the top and I quilted it. We have a big bag of old worn out blue jeans the boys have outgrown and torn up so bad they cannot be handed on. Manly Man goes through a lot of jeans also. He has to wear a knee brace that rubs holes in his pants. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 15, 2008

Here we go again

Look down see Middle Monkey sitting on the floor with his foot in his mouth. "Dude, do not chew your toenails."

Winter Pictures Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Abby, Internet Police Dog, getting ready to bully the neighbors Boxer.

Baby tomatoes off the dryer and in the sewing window. Move them to the green house in 5 to 10 days.

I know, I know there are a million pictures of daffodils on garden blogs right now, but what else is this pretty right now. This is the best I can do for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Still have plenty of cabbage
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Valentine

Posted by Picasa Look what he did. He slipped out in the middle of the night and brought this to me. This man has given me diamonds, pearls, saphires, a chain saw, tiller, blower, flowers, candy, boys, and love. He has accepted a dixie cup full of worms without asking any questions. He then built a home for the worms. He is not a gardener. Do not take any gardening advise from this man. He does not know and he will make something up. He loves banana trees and will bring them in the kitchen if you don't watch him. I am one lucky woman.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Manly Man with Tailless Cats

Here is Manly Man with both of the tailless cats. It's cold outside and they are all trying to stay warm. Ignore our unfinished window, we are still remodeling. These are the cats that chase my butterflys in the summer. They will also pop you on the bohiny when you walk past them without a proper petting. He is the manly man who makes all of my garden hardscapes. Life is good.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Abby Internet Police Dog

I wasn't going to post, I really wasn't. I am a night person. I generally get the monkeys to bed and play on the internet until at least 11:30 or maybe 1:00 am. I may have some wine or beer until I get sleepy. Well I am trying to change my evil ways and go to bed early say 10:30, after the news. I will not waste any more of my time watching entertainment news shows. How many famous people trashing their lives can I watch after all?

So I make a cup of herbal tea and get ready to wind this party down (not much of a party without beer). Hopefully, I will get up early like a good little gardener. I get myself into my pj's and look for Abby. Oops, I left her outside. Part of my stay up late ritual is bringing in the dog for her dinner, then search for gardening blogs until it is late late late.

Tonight was the night I changed and she was having none of it. I tried to feed her and just leave the bedroom door open so she could come in at her leisure. Nope, she paced up and down the hall. So I got up. She ran into my office and spun in circle beating me with her baseball bat sized tail until I sat down on my ball (yes, I sit on a stability ball). Then she got up about every thirty seconds to poke me with her nose to make sure I was going to stay on the ball and do my job (play on the computer). Her job, apparently, is to make sure I do this every night. Now she is happy and laying down in the living room, her usual habit.

This is a German Shepherd and she is taking her job way too seriously. I can't have her in the house and walk from room to room without her trying to walk in front of me to make sure something does not get me. This causes tripping (still not graceful) and hollering "ABBY LAY DOWN," or "ABBY KENNEL." She also drops a huge chew bone on my feet about three times a week. It hurts. I am safer with this dog than ever before, except for the bruises.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sad State of Affairs.

I get a phone call from my manly man. He is in a big box home improvement store. Some poor woman was bringing back her third dead rosemary to get yet another replacement. She could not figure out why they kept dying and there was no one on the stores staff who had any plant knowledge at all. So he felt bad for her and called me and put her on the phone. Turns out she was trying to grow it in container on a covered porch and was watering it every single day. Death by overwatering and lack of light. So I did that stupid stores work for them and answered her questions. Now here is my problem. Why the hell don't these stores hire some one who actually knows something about plants or train the people they have hired. I won't buy plants from them because they are so poorly cared for in the stores that I have had a hard time getting them to thrive after I transplant them. Ask a simple question say "Sun or shade?" The response is generally a blank stare. Even the plant varieities they sell may or may not be appropriate for our zone. This is why I try to always buy my plants from an independent nursery or even a chain that specializes in plants. Better yet are shared plants from other gardeners. Stupid big box store.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Isnt She Lovely/Sorry About the Cat

Posted by Picasa

Dyed the Cat Blue

Apparently, when I was about 16, I dyed my sisiter's cat blue. I don't remember this, but about 100 of my family members confirmed it at Gracie's birthday party yesterday. Mamala said I was busted by the blue food coloring stains on my hands. I was really mean to this sister. I didn't like her getting any of the attention. Sorry sister. I will not dye any of your critters blue ever again, unless they ask me to.

Compost and Buck Roses

The compost pile topped out at 92 degrees this afternoon. I added blood meal and more water. This is one boring compost pile. I am definitely losing interest.

Remember the Buck rose cuttings? About half of them are already putting out new growth. That is a record for cuttings taking in my experience. I don't use rooting hormone. These maybe the easiest to propagate yet. Yes, Meme, they are just sticks I stuck in the dirt. Yes, the lived. Yes, they will be full sized rose bushes in about three years. Yes, if you are nice to me you may have some. You also have to protect me from the rest of the sisters.

I guess now is a good time to explain the Meme. In our house Meme is not a list of questions we answer about ourselves. It is such a good friend that I would pick her as a sister. She is an expert monkey handler. She can leave the real sisters standing there with their mouths open in disbelief. She once picked me up after I ran into a tree. This was after I saved her life when she punched a frat boy. We did that in 5 inch heels in 1984 in the rain. I am pretty sure she broke the frat boy's nose - Good times. Years later she would help me get monkey #1 to latch on when we were having nursing issues. She is a "feed the baby champion" as she exclusively breast fed twin girls her first time as a mom. Yes they lived. Yes, they now have babies of their own. I would post a picture of her, but her beauty would blind you. Meme is appropriate as she has very healthy self esteem. So, you don't need to send me a meme, I already have one. Oh, and the real deal sealer, I CAN WEAR HER SHOES!!!!!!!!

Balmy Compost Pile

It is 3:30 in the a.m. The compost pile is at 85 degrees.

As you may have read yesterday, I added bunny poo tea and liquid fish to the pile. The only thing I have left to add is blood meal and tears.

I have recieved several suggestions advising to "just to leave it alone and let compost happen." This is very Zen and rock solid advice, however, I am late in the winter season and don't want to have to buy compost for spring planting. Plus, it just makes me crazy when I don't get my way. I was an only child until age 4 when Mom decided to have 6 more babies over the next fourteen years. I frequently have "a fit and fall in it," as my dear mother would say. This may explain the neediness and control freak aspects of my gardening personality, or maybe I am just crazy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Luke Warm Compost

4:00 this afternoon the compost pile was 80 degrees after adding the bunny poo tea earlier. Added some liquid fish and more water. My last shot is some blood meal. If that doesn't work, I guess we are going to tear it apart and start over.


It's about 5:20 a.m. and the compost pile only came up to 70 degrees. This is not hot. So I guess the next step is the bunny poo tea. Or should I just nuke it with everything I thought of using yesterday and hope for the best? The pile is right next to the bunny pen and they may not like the smell of ammonia in the morning. I think I am in the first stage of grief - denial.

What do you do at 5:20 in the morning? Does it involve wind-up flashlights and a bathrobe? Do the neighbors think you are crazy?

Keep Middle Monkey in your prayers. He has the flu.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Beautful Day

The perfect gardening day showed up today. Sunshine and just a little breezy. The temp was in the high 60's. I weeded the onions and found some French Hollyhock seedlings coming up. I put them in pots to save for friends or our Spring Seminar plant sale.

The compost pile Middle Monkey and I made yesterday did not heat up. I added some spoiled milk and a lot more water. If it is not heating up by tomorrow I am going to add rabbit poop tea. If that doesn't work fish emulsion. If that doesn't work, I'll just cry. I really need this compost pile to heat up or I am not going to have compost for spring planting.

I am going to start the tomatoes TODAY. I am about a week late.

Hey, I actually posted about gardening on my gardening blog instead of silliness about boys. Is anybody else unable to spell check?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Additional Observations

1. Apparently you should not ask your loving husband if you have hay in your hair.
2. A ten year old and a middle aged woman can build a compost pile about 10 times faster than the middle aged woman can by herself.
3. Compact florecent light bulbs are great for saving energy, but they cast more light on dirt. I have made my best friend crazy cleaning her baseboards - good times.
4. An eight year old will try to wash his plastic flip flops in the washing machine.
5. I am really bad at matching socks.

If you would like to add any observations feel free to share. Please don't use this blog to pick on a sister. Oh, never mind go for it.

This outfit

Wear this and :
1. Monkeys will shun you.
2. Manly man will not cuddle you hoping for nookie.
3. You will be declaired ridiculous, embarassing, and the weakest link Goodbye.

I have found the path to peace and quiet. Pink bathrobe, fuzzy socks, frog pajamas, and red crocs. Not one of my men will be seen with me.
Posted by Picasa


Okay, remember the giant cabbage. Turns out that it wasn't so big after I removed the dark outer leaves. I shredded the thing, added sea salt, and put it in one of my white plastic mixing bowls. I did have to add a little water to cover the shredded cabbage. Then I put a dinner plate over it with a mason jar full of water to weigh it all down. Finally, I covered it with a dish towel and left is sitting on the back of the kitchen counter. That was Saturday. Yesterday it started to bubble (like my pet sour dough starter). This morning I checked it and I have sauerkraut. It is crunchy and gooooood. So much better than the canned stuff. I don't want to process it because I have read that it is a probiotic food, so I want to keep those good for me critters alive. Maybe I should put it in the fridge. Need to read more.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008



January Block of the Month

Four of these five blocks are for the block of the month trap. I finished the big one at the last minute, as per usual. The star is something else I'm working on. I am not sure how these colors are going to go together. This is supposed to be a 30's inspired quilt. We'll see how it turns out.

January Block of the Month

Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 4, 2008

This is What I have to Put up With

Baby monkey - Why did Tigger look in the toilet.
Me - Why
Baby monkey - He was looking for Pooh

Help me. Somebody please come save me.
Look up at the top picture, the cardoon came back. Look down at the lower picture, the minnow daffodil bloomed.
Posted by Picasa

Rainwater Harvesting.

Spent the morning with my MG group. We had a lively meeting and a great educational program. We have a rainwater harvesting demonstration at the Xeric Garden in Forney, Tx. Our president showed us the ins and outs of installing, using, and maintaining a 550 gallon tank. It is fed from the guttering of the building. It has a bypass that takes the first run off of a rain and puts it into another tube essentially washing out the leaves and such. This keeps gunk out of the tank. Only one half an inch of rain will fill our tank. The water is distributed by gavity feed with a hose attached. There is also a pump that creates water pressure. This eventually will feed soaker hoses or drip irrigation. As bad as the drought was two years ago, we are all looking for ways to be better stewards of our water. I still need to take a picture of Nancy's hillbilly rainwater collection system.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Okay. I joined this group today and it is fun. Really interesting blogs. I even found one with great music.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Okay, here is a repeat of my greenhouse monkey. This is the monkey picture of all monkey pictures. This proves I am not making this stuff up.

Green house monkey

Posted by Picasa
Okay, I grew that giant cabbage. Now what do I do with it. I am tempted to try to make sauerkraut again, but I have failed more than once. I was trying to use the tougher outer leaves that are really green instead of light inner leaves. I will make cabbage soup then I may shredd it for kraut. Any suggestions? Yes there is more where that came from.

Look what I grew

Posted by Picasa
Okay. This is the last day to participate in my sad little poll. Again here is the map. Take pitty on this poor nosy gardener and give me your zone.