Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
I forgot to put this little guy up as part of my last post, so thought I'd let him introduce today's. I cropped this down from a wider angle, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how well it came out.
Today's post is going to be an easy one for me. I'm just going to ask you to do all the work! It's election day in Flartopia, due to two pertinent facts, as follows:
1) Miss Chef and I finally replaced our old color printer last month. Since last summer, we had been limping along on my ancient, but incredibly reliable, black and white printer from 1997. Most of the time it doesn't matter, but having a digital camera and no way to print photos just sucks. Thanks to Circuit City's going out of business, we got quite a deal!
2) Last weekend I got some really great pictures of Rosie. As you may remember, she's very camera shy, looking away whenever she hears it whirring into action. It's even harder to get a shot of her ears perked up. Add to that the general difficulty in photographing black dogs, and the typical eyeglow from a flash, and there are many factors working against me.
But as I finished my latest round of spring pictures, and headed to the front stoop, Rosie stood there distracted by the neighbors across the street. As my mind started to say, "I wish I had a camera," I suddenly realized that a miracle had occured, and I actually DID!
So I managed to get off four shots before the neighbors went inside and Rosie gave me that "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" look. When I loaded them onto the computer, I couldn't decide which one I liked the best.
That's where you all come in--I want to print out one picture for the doggy frame on my desk at work, and I want you to vote on which one I should use! I'm very interested in what you'll like best, since you've never seen her in person. My main focus is in trying to capture what I know of her personality; I wonder which one captures her best for you?
Do me a favor and only vote for one--though you can change your mind if you want. I know which one I like least; please don't pick that one. (j/k) Oh, and don't think I am an amazing technical photographer--most of these were cropped, and every one was run through a photo editor to fix some lighting issues. You can click on them to biggerize them, if you feel the need.
Alrighty, and the candidates are (drumroll):
Thursday, March 26, 2009
She did admit that it was very pretty, since the limp foliage was absent. See, compromise is a wonderful thing! I can't believe how well the camera captured the deep blue of these flowers; this must be my favorite color.
So, let's see what else has been growing out there. My peas are coming up enthusiastically:
They are even more and bigger since I took this picture. I now have over 20 little ones coming up. I'm a little concerned about training them to the trellis, but it should be a fun learning experience.
So far, no rabbit invasions (knock wood!), though today Rosie and I spotted a pair over by the pond in the common area. I kind of wished I didn't have to hold her back. I mean, I don't want her to think she's not allowed to chase them out of our yard! Don't worry, animal lovers, she's not fast enough to catch them, in spite of her fascination with them.
Miss Chef finally planted the herb bed she's been working on for the better part of a year.
She had to do battle with some fire ants that had moved in over the winter, but she was tired of looking at this half-done pile. Looks much better now! Let's see, starting clockwise at noon, we have sage (transplanted from last year's garden), cilantro, marjoram, flat-leaf parsley in the middle, oregano in front, then more marjoram, curly parsley, and a small lavender plant hiding between that and the sage. There's more cilantro and oregano in the back, and there's thyme in there somewhere. Maybe it's the dark stuff I thought was oregano. Huh. I obviously have a few things to learn here.
Now, we have no idea how some of this stuff will do, but surely some of it will prosper. I've already mentioned our great success with basil last year; we planted it with the tomatoes, as Miss Chef read somewhere that they support each other, I think by chasing away each others' pests. Or something. I dunno, but it worked well for us. We also have some chives in a planter, which come back every year to our continuing surprise. And the rosemary bush has had a tough winter, but is still joining the springtime bloom!
My cheap little camera doesn't do up-close focus very well, but those are very pale lavender blooms there, not bits of toilet paper stuck in a bush. Honest.
Well, Wednesday the rains began, and Miss Chef and I spent part of the evening at the library. We were both getting hungry while we were out, and Miss Chef kind of wanted to just eat out quickly somewhere. I got a little Mom-ish on her, and we finally agreed to go home to cook our own meal. After all, she had already thawed out a package of that great grass-fed beef we got at the farmers' market. We would betray our principals to go spend money on industrially-raised meat! Not that we don't do that often enough...but, one step at a time, right?
Anyway, when we got home, she said something along the lines of "I cooked last night, so you're gonna cook tonight, right?" I objected at first, but it's true that I am fully capable in the kitchen, and could certainly use the practice! It was easy, since Miss Chef had already decided the menu--burgers, roasted potatoes and "some kind of vegetable you can nuke."
So I leave you with Flartus' own version of dinner. It's much less glamorous than a Miss Chef creation, but as she says, she's the last one to complain when somebody else is doing the cooking for her!
(That dimple in the middle of the burger is how Miss Chef told me how well-done it was--she can tell the "temp" of any kind of meat by pressing it with her finger. How cool is that?)
Bonus shot: Ooo, I just stepped into the backyard in the rain and the dark, and the jasmine smells AMAZING! So here's a picture of it in brighter, drier times.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, where I will ask you to vote on something near and dear to my heart!
In the meantime, things keep growing. Imagine that!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Lovely Hyacinth has stopped by, thanks to Miss Chef's fall planning. She says she made this cutting bed for me, though I had to finish it off to make it as perfect and organized as I like things to be. The planting, however, is all to her credit. I teased her about planting hyacinths when she is on a campaign to yank up all the lovely little wild ones that populate our yard. However, I will admit that these are a completely different experience. Plus, their perfume will knock you over from ten paces, if you crouch down low to the ground (as I do every evening while looking for new sprouts in the garden...more on that in a bit).
Ah, tulips...we've heard they can be tricky; failing to come up the second year. But this is the first year, and here they come. I planted a few out front, to follow the daffodils; they are coming in a bit slower.
Now, back to the sprouting things in the garden. Lovely, eh? This was as close as I could get to my teeny arugula sprouts. The only reason I know they are arugula, and not carrots or dandelions, is because A) I planted them there, and B) they're growing in straight rows. Otherwise, they look like a million other plants at this point.
After a cold, rainy weekend, which halted the arugula in their double-leafed tracks and made me fear for our little unsprouted seeds, we're finally starting to see more shoots outside. Spinach, beets and peas are popping their little fronds up, though the carrots seem shy. Not at all sure what the asparagus is supposed to do this year; it takes 3 years before they are harvestable, so that's going to be sort of a long-term experiment.
This is a bit of what Miss Chef's been cooking up inside. I believe these are October beans she saved from the farmers' market last year. I took this picture about two days ago, and the plants are already over 6" high. They're sitting outside now, getting rained on, or I'd take a picture for comparison. We don't know if they're pole beans or bush beans, but they're looking a lot like viners so far!
And I'm sorry, but that's all that Flartus has time for today. I've noticed the comments have dropped off, so either my tales of tunafish are not very inspiring, or you all have your own spring happenings going on. I'll assume the latter, for my ego's sake.
Happy growing, y'all!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The following is a collection of stuff from inside my brain...pick and choose, or enjoy them all!
I feel the need to respond to those of you who complimented us on our motivation and stamina in the garden. Don't be impressed. Just wait until things start heating up, and then I will find lots of excuses to stay inside. Be prepared to read lots of "I was going to mow today, but..." and "I really need to weed..." Fortunately, tomatoes and squash seem to do pretty well all on their own. And we learned last year the importance of fresh mulch ('cause we didn't bother)!
Oh, and we now have teeny little arugula seedlings emerging (no pictures, 'cause it's been too dark when I get home). Miss Chef left me a note that she "planted the rest of the seeds." I'm not sure what that covers, and I'm a little nervous, because she gets pretty darned ambitious come planting time! I suspect there are beans and Swiss chard in some dirt around here somewhere...but I'm not sure. She's got a seed starter tray filled in the living room window, and I don't really know where she plans to put them all. Should be interesting.
Last week, Miss Chef got a speeding ticket on the way home from work. She was steamed, not about the ticket--she was speeding, she got caught, that's life. She's not even steamed about the fine--I think the officer was lenient, because he only gave her a $50 fine. No, she's pissed about the $170 court costs. Not about the costs, themselves, but about the fact that she has to pay them even if she doesn't go to court. She doesn't like things that don't make sense, when there's nobody to address her dissatisfaction to. Can't say I blame her, though after having dealt with both French & Russian bureaucracies, I'm a little less surprised at these kinds of ridiculosities.
Oh, and then two days later, she got a letter from a law firm offering their services. She was also steamed that the county was giving her information to lawyers. "It's public record, honey." I can't tell you how many times I said it that afternoon.
On Monday, she got seven more.
As of today, she's gotten a total of sixteen. Unbelievable. I'm just glad she didn't murder somebody.
Two of my friends' pets have died in the last week. I didn't actually know either pet, but I ache for my friends. In my few decades, I've lost two family dogs and four cats, not to mention my 4H rabbit Dad accidentally killed on butchering day. (That's a tale likely as traumatic for him as for me!) The loss of a pet is indescribable; they reach into us in ways that no human can. I can't help but think of the day down the road when I will have to say goodbye to Rosie, and I wonder how the hell I will survive it. It amazes me that we are willing to step into this pet relationship, knowing how it will inevitably end. And we do it over and over again. Are we stupid, or noble, or addicted?
Charlie, my parents' dog, is 14. He's nearly blind, nearly deaf, and is having nervous system issues that cause him to fall easily. But he is still playful and wants to interact as much as he can. My parents are both adamant about not getting another dog when Charlie is gone, but I wonder how they will deal with it. I'm as worried about them as I am about good ol' Charlie. I mean, who will they talk to? Each other??
Oh yeah, a little update: Mason was scheduled to go to his forever home today! It's rare that something I do directly results in a pet's adoption, but I remember very clearly the woman who ended up adopting him. I got a good, responsible vibe off of her, so I am very happy to have been able to help them both out.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her, you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Meredith.We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith, and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope, because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed "To Meredith," in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, When a Pet Dies. Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.
Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog.
Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day, and remember that I love you very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.
Monday, March 2, 2009
This morning, our snowman had collected even more snow. You may notice his mouth disappeared; his head fell off after we went inside and I had to re-do it. I suspect foul play, but since he didn't seem to mind, we won't pursue it.
The daffodils were a little less happy with the snow...
"Gee Hon, how much snow did we get?"
Every branch covered with snow. Actually, a lot of it had plopped off by the time I took these pictures.
Then the sun came out and turned icy branches into lacy diamonds...only the camera didn't do a great job of capturing the sparkle. My pea-trellis-in-progress was totally transformed into modern art.
The sun came out again in the afternoon, so, as usual, most of the snow melted. But there's still a nice layer on the east-facing rooftops and north-facing hills. I haven't heard the scrunch of snow under my boots in 8 years, so I actually got pretty excited about this snowfall. Pretty weird for someone who grew up in the snow belt! It's true; snow is better in the south. 'Cause it goes away so quickly!