Sunday, May 31, 2009

home safe -

I finished the novel home safe by Elizabeth Berg in approximately 24 hours. It was that good. I need to go think about it. More later.

Okay, I'm back. The reason this book was easy for me to read so quickly was the flow. The plot moved along very well and there just never seemed to be a good place to say, "Okay, I can put that down for a day or two." Second, my Mom could read it. Mom does not like to be scared and she wants a happy ending. I love to be scared and could care less about a happy ending. This is a happy compromise. There is sadness, grief, a little mystery and, if not a happy ending, a reasonable ending for the main character. Not at all like a romance novel, thankyouverymuch can't read those. I made several guesses as to were the plot would lead and got them all wrong, which is a good thing.

I suggest it. I will also seek out other books by this author to place on my reading list.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Where I Exploit My Blog

My easy breezy library lady job just got a little more complicated. Because I shared this blog with my coworkers, somebody thought I could handle publishing the news letter. Moral of story, be careful who you share your blog with. Right now the newsletter is a little blurb about our schedule and the kids events. They want it to be a little more. Ideas that were tossed around included interviewing patrons and volunteers. That's where you come in. I need to practice interviewing. So, if you are open to being examined under a microscope interviewed on this here blog, leave me a comment.

Some of you are getting direct emails, as I feel you owe me or I am just needy and you seem receptive.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Watering - It's That Time of Year Again

The temperatures are going over 80 everyday and the rains are long gone. It is that time of year again. I've got to water everyday. There is only about 1/2 a barrel of rainwater left. That needs to be saved for the fish and the pitcher plants. I have to use city water now, which I hate to use on plants. Necessary evil though. To use the least amount of water I have to pay for possible, I do the following.
1. Water deep.
2. Water in the late afternoon
3. Use watering pots
4. Mulch Mulch Mulch
Water deep is pretty self explanatory. An inch at least. Deep roots in cooler soil better for plants.
The "experts" will tell you to water in the morning to avoid fungal problems. Here in Texas during the summer that is pretty much retarded advice. The plants will dry out during the day stay dry all night and pretty much quit growing. Water in the late afternoon, just keep the water off of the foliage. Water the soil not the leaves. Using the watering pot helps with this.
Watering pots are 6" plant containers buried about two inches in the soil. You can see one in the picture of the yellow pear tomato. There is about 2 inches of compost in the bottom of the pot. Fill the pots with water, which then slowly seeps into the ground without running off. I also put liquid fertilizer in them once a week while foliar feeding. Works great.
Mulch, again, is self explanatory. I use half composted hay. Cheap and effective.
Do you have any watering tips?
No, OFB, dragging milk cartoons full of water all over the place is not a tip:)
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gardening With Toddlers - The Advanced Class

My sister, raised bed gardener sister, has installed two raised beds made from Austin stone. Last year she had just one raised bed and actually grew more food than I did. Sad. So I changed my garden over to raised beds this winter and I am reaping the rewards.
Raised bed gardener sister has four children. The oldest is 16 and the youngest is 2. I know, I know, but she really likes babies. They were all cute babies looking like purebred puppies. Seriously, they had the same baby four times.

She came up with the most excellent idea for toddler wrangling while gardening. Check out the toddler containment facility between the two raised beds. Smart sister. Very smart.

That Wasn't Funny

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Bag, Nicknames, Cheap Wine, Nice Glass, Seeds

I figured naming one more blog post random was getting a little redundant thus the crazy title.
Here is the bag that I won over at Anna's blog Flower Garden Girl. That I actually won something is so stunning to me that I might take it as a sign my luck is changing.

I would like to call Anna - Anna Banana as a term of endearment, but she may have had bad childhood experiences with that and might not appreciate it. I will now share - as a painfully tiny, thin child I was dubbed Debbi Spaghetti and I never have gotten over it. Seriously, be nice. I trust you with my inner secrets.

The point of the wine? Linda asked if my poison ivy remedy was putting the alcohol on the rash or drinking it. The answer is - Yes. Really, all I am after is that blue bottle. Can't you just see my lovely blue bottle tree. Hope Manly doesn't read this. He hates bottle trees.

Why does cheap wine taste so much better in an expensive glass?

Now I have to make something right. Remember that post where I promised seeds. They are still on the way. I have a really good reason why I have not mailed them yet. Well, really, two good reasons. I wanted to send some lettuce and blanket flower seeds, and they are not quite ready yet. I have added a surprise to try to make up for the delay. Soon, my patient gardening friends, very soon. Posted by Picasa

Missed a Spot

So Technu Soap is from heaven, but it only works if you get it exactly where the poison ivy touches you. Well, I missed a spot. On the inside of my left elbow is a red, raised, itchy rash. Now what? My home remedy is 1/2 cup alcohol, 2 aspirin, and 2 table spoons Vick's Vapor Rub. Mix them together and apply to rashy spot every you have the urge to scratch. Over a period of time it dries out the poison ivy and it cools down the itch quite nicely.

Do you have a poison ivy remedy?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Noodle War

Here they are trying to beat each other unconscious with noodles. Thankfully, noodles do little bodily damage. One of the monkeys put muddy shoes in my dryer. Somebody help me. Please help me.
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Melancholy Day

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I've been feeling a little sad and tearful. These are just symptoms of some mild loneliness, which is crazy in my crowd of siblings and our progeny. Still, I just can't seem to shake it. This too shall pass. I just need to hang on a couple of days.

I went outside and visited my roses to try to lift my spirits. Maggie, Abraham Darby, and Paul Neyron all looked very healthy and happy. The amaryllis is still going strong. This must be it's third set of blooms, awesome. The Shasta daisies are putting on a show. Isn't that curly elephant garlic scape a trip?

Sorry to be such a bummer.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tomato Trouble

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There appears to be a little crop rotation problem here at Aunt Debbi's garden. The garden is little and everything must take turns. Unfortunately, sometimes one veggie is not done before it is time for another to go into the ground. I end up with some weird companion plants. This year it is lettuce, coriander, collards, and tomatoes. The tomoto plants are big, but have suffered a bit from crowding. Oh yeah, they were also a little poison ivy infested. Technu soap to the rescue once again. (seriously, they need to pay me for advertising).

The pictures above are of the before variety. I have cleaned up a little more than half of my wall of tomatoes. The yellow leaves were removed and partially composted hay has been put down as mulch to keep the soil from splashing up on the leaves during rain and watering. The yellowing may have been caused by a fungus, and we don't want any more of that. There are plenty of little tomatoes. Several of them look like cherries. Weird, I only planted one cherry tomato, or so I thought. Maybe someone switched tags on me. Maybe I am retarded and can't read the tags. Maybe there is a plot against me.

Thanks to Michael Nolan who tweeted me advise on rescuing yellowing tomatoes. (sorry link button is busted).

Have a happy Memorial Day.

Oh yeah, trying to find a bunch of tweeting gardeners to follow. You on twitter?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Laundry Monster

Tisha took over the laundry. Tried to get her to move and was attacked. Win Win - she sleeps, I don't do laundry.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Mine All Mine

I found these in the side yard this afternoon. After the boys had their fruit orgy earlier this week, I decided these were mine, ALL MINE.
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Dumb Dog

Anybody want a German Shepherd? Anybody?
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where's the Fruit?

So, I put myself on a diet. It is not some silly little "you will use lose 20 lbs in 2 days diet" nope this is a diet to help lower my blood pressure. The plan calls for lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low fat dairy. Sweets, simple carbs, and alcohol are limited. Right now I am not ingesting the three bad boys at all. My blood pressure dropped into a low normal range pretty quickly on this plan. As it continues to drop, I hope to get off of my medication.

I am not a very strong willed person. In order to follow this plan, I need all that healthy food right at my fingertips or I am going to make a bad choice. Here is where it gets difficult. Sunday I bought a big bag of grapefruit, a large bunch of bananas, a bunch of mixed lettuce greens, a bag of apples, and a pineapple. When I got home from work tonight, there was not a fruit in the house. They ate it all, every bit of it. There was just enough lettuce to make myself a salad for dinner.

I'm not sure I can afford to stay on this diet. Apparently, my kids can hold five pounds of fruit per kid per day. Yikes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monkey Photography

Give a child a crayon, finger paints, or chalk and see what they will come up with. It is often sweet, sometimes pretty, and often surprising. I was once depicted as a pregnant stick figure. As stick figures are transparent, the stick figure baby was visible inside of my triangle shaped stick belly. At least he didn't ask how it got in there.

I took Baby Monkey to a meeting at the extension office this evening. He brought a Rubik's cube to play with, which kept him busy about 35 seconds. I let him have my cell phone and answer the eleventy billion phone calls his brothers made wanting stuff. He is an excellent secretary. He stopped just short of saying, "I'm sorry, she is unavailable. May I take a message?" He ran interference for me for over an hour. I had several, less than positive, messages when the meeting was over. Things like, "The computer won't work." "Can we make flambe?" and "Billy Bob and Bubba want to come over and play jump from the roof to the trampoline." Baby Monkey's instructions were to answer all questions with "No, Mom said to stay in the house and eat peanut butter."

After the meeting, I gave a few new master gardener hopefuls a quick tour of our Earthkind Rose trial. While I was yammering about roses, he said he had found some wild flowers and could he use the camera.
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Here are the pictures he took. I think he puts his mother's photography skills to shame. Still, I wish he had not attempted to get a picture of my backside. I am the the short one in the blue shirt.

So give a kid a camera and see what they capture.

Sorry, no squirrels.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Monday Everyone.

Welcome to another edition of Aunt Debbi can't take a freaking decent picture to save her life but is really having fun in the garden. I know, being happy about Monday is just about crazy, but today is gorgeous and I managed to get a lot done before it was time to go to work.
I potted up some plants for Butterfly Gardener Sister's little pond. The plants are elephant ear, Curly Whirly Juncus, horse tail reed, and umbrella sedge.
Here are the same plants in my little water garden.
This is a picture of the pitcher plant Paul gave me. The plant in the tall blue vase is another pitcher plant I divided from the bog garden at the Outdoor Education Center (also from the Texas Triffid Ranch)
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Finally, garlic harvest. These will stay out on the table for a few days until the cure and then I will bring them inside and figure out some place to store them. While pulling them, I got into some poison ivy. This will another test of Technu soap. Wish me luck.

Happy gardening everybody.

Off to the library to check you out some books.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Copy Cat Killer Strikes

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A killer stalked and murdered an unsuspecting pineapple late this afternoon. This attack was much like the previous crime spree of 2008 targeting vegetables and pumpkins.

There is widespread panic among the peach trees in Tiny Town Texas.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Ditch of Misfit Plants

Here is our ditch. You might call this the ditch of misfit plants. If they didn't fit in anywhere else in our yard, I put them in the ditch. I have big plans for this narrow strip of dirt. Purple cone flowers, Shasta daisies, bronze fennel, and a candle stick tree. I know, I know yellow and pink is a horrible color combination, but what do you except from the ditch of misfit plants?
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Sorry No GBBD Post. We Have Swimming

We interrupt our usual monthly Garden Bloggers Blooms Day post to bring you the first day of swimming here in north Texas. The water was still cold. No I didn't go in. Instead, I documented their fun and winter tans. Go over and see Carol at May Dreams Gardens to see the real Garden Bloggers Blooms Day Posts.

Happy Summer Y'all.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Noise Pollution

So I go outside tonight to spend a little down time with a cup of herbal tea to enjoy the night sounds. Well, guess what? The night sounds are a band at the Cotton Gin performing an awful rendition of Dead or Alive and racket from the new race track many miles down the road from us. No cricket chirps and froggy singing. Just awful noise. Where was Manly? At the race track having a grand ole time. Hope he enjoyed himself. I really do.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First Carrot, Not pretty

Well lookie there. One of the first carrots of the year is bifurcated. Yes, I know how to avoid this. No, I am not going to replace all our soil with sandy loam. Not unless we win the lottery. Doesn't it look like it is doing high kicks?
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Have it Under Control. Really I Do

My wall of tomatoes is a mess. You see, I am letting my lettuce go to seed so I can save them for next year. There is also a cilantro going to seed in there. Of course coriander is absolutely essential and I must let it go to seed. What I am not leaving in on purpose is a tree trying to grow, some poison ivy, morning glory, dandelions, and a couple of tennis balls somebody planted for me. Then, oh the horror, it looks like there may be a pumpkin vine. What will I do. Do you remember what happened last year?
I spent a lovely hour at butterfly gardening sister's house this afternoon. She has asked us to help her remove some volunteer plants from the butterfly garden. Much like her big sister, she just does not want to pull up baby plants. Which brings us right back to what happened last year.

I came home with Texas star hibiscus. Hopefully, the police will not become involved. I also got purple cone flowers, cow pen daisies, bronze fennel, a candle stick tree, and gomphrena. Gomphrena brought about a truly hilarious tweet by foolery on twitter.
I don't remember planting this amaryllis, but isn't it cool?
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I also have a raised bed gardening sister. Maybe I will visit her next week.

To all of you who commented for seeds, they should be in the mail at the end of the week with a surprise.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Help There is a Monkey on My Roof


Never mind, false alarm. He is just cleaning out my gutters.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Here They Are in all Their Glory: Grammy and Opa

Here they are, the parental and grand parental units. This should explain everything. Seven kids a dozen grand kids. These two are playing with her mothers' day hat. Weeeeeee.
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