Archive for the 'Gardening' Category

Almost Here!
 

IMG_3141[1] So only a week left till the new baby comes home! We are so excited, but a name still hasn’t been decided on. I’m hoping when we get her home something will just feel right.

The bunny finally seems to be on the mend. I spent the last two weeks taking him into the vet every other day for fluids via an IV and then pumping him full of green goop. I finally had to get him a new cage cause the old one was toast. I am hoping he will be back to normal by time the new pup gets here this Friday. Otherwise I’ll just be running around ragged dealing with them both.

My garden is doing well. Lots of big bushes with green peppers and tomatoes, now if they’d just turn red. My flower beds have also managed to stay, for the most part, rodent free. One of the chipmunks is digging there, but hasn’t munched on the plants. I may have finally chased off groundhog, as I haven’t seen him in ages. I kept dumping my old coals from my grill down his hole. However we do have a rabbit and what may be a big ole rat that have moved into his hole. I saw something grey with a long tail rush down it today. It could be a small opossum too. Ick! They all need to go.

Finally we have since the 4th finally had 3 nice days of sun and heat. The heat kinda sucks, but so far we have not had any rain. We had almost two weeks of just rain rain and more rain. The ground is so wet that it can’t take anymore water at this point. Our entire driveway is invested with weeds because of it, and I gave up trying to spray them to kill them until the rain stopped. I think our nice weather streak may be ending this week with, you guessed it, more rain!

May Kinda Sucked Too!
 

I know I say it all the time, but I’m gunna try and make an effort to blog more. Ironically I started this post over a week ago . . . So yeah that says a lot! In part though I’ve been waiting on news about the dog to finish it. Yes Princess was back at the vet again recently. She began peeing during her afternoon naps . . . Not a flood of pee, but she’d be wet in the back, and I found a spot on the sofa where she sleeps too. So back to the doctor she went, especially after all the elevated kidney levels and tests she just went through. So we did more tests, the vet found no signs of infections or stones, which means it could simply be age related and a lack of estrogen. It’s most common for this to happen in spayed older female dogs. So he prescribed her some meds, which she’s on daily now. Of course by time all the tests were done and back, the problem seemed to have stopped . . . She was only peeing in the late afternoon, no other time. It was all very bizarre. Maybe it was psychological? The meds are thankfully cheap enough though. If it starts up again and they fail, we have to move on to other medications or possibly hormone injections.

Here in the Mid-Atlantic/Philadelphia area we are in our first official heat wave of the Summer, though it’s still Spring. Fortunately unlike the previous two years, our air-conditioner hasn’t died . . . yet. I’m not convinced it’s keeping up and will likely conk out at some point. My guess is though that will be the next go around, or when we start getting near the 100 mark. We only got up to 93 this time. Massive thunderstorms on Sunday are supposed to break this heat.

I finally got my gardens started. After a rainy and cold Memorial Day weekend I was able to get the vegetable garden all cleaned out and planted. I thought I’d never get it done! First we had bizarre cold nights, then rain, and now heat waves. Go home Mother Nature, you are drunk! This year I’m growing tomatoes (3 varieties), peppers (2 kinds) and eggplant. I also elevated all my plants this year on cinderblocks. Hopefully this will keep Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Groundhog from nibbling them to death. I also have set up 2 motion detectors with really loud sonic alarms (along with birds of prey sounds and strobe lights). PLUS I sprayed critter ridder down to keep them away . . . . and I’m dumping all my cold charcoal from the grill into Mr. Groundhog’s house. I will beat him!

I also got the flowerbeds outside of backdoor planted this week in between the heat. Well no, I did it in the heat a portion at a time. Fortunately they are in the shade most of the day, but it was still hot as hell out. All that’s left is to clean up the side porch again. Every fall the leaves pile up there along with downed branches from the tree next to our house. This ends up resulting in a nice layer of muck, that at least makes good fertilizer. The ivy I cut back a few years ago is creeping back in and I need to nip it in the bud before it overtakes the whole porch again. There is also a third flower bed there I may finally plant some things in, and we are gunna eventually need a new bird fountain. Mr. Pan has lost a leg and a head . . .

Spring Has Sprung!
 

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So I know I know, it’s been forever since I’ve blogged. The past few weeks have been chaotic, I’ve just been drowning in work. This is the first weekend I’ve had to actually breath and relax a little for a long time.

I think winter has finally ended for us, even though we once again got jack squat in terms of snow. We had a few days in the 80s recently, but now we are back to more springlike temps in the high 50s. Hopefully we will stay with nice weather. I’m sick of cloudy rainy skies, which we’ve had way too much of as of late.

Now that spring is here I’m already thinking about my yard and garden, which of course is a mess as I let it get out of control in the fall. I’ve already sprayed weed killer, and mowed today. My entire garden area will have to be weed-whacked when everything dies out. I think I’m also going to lay mulch down in it this year to keep weeds from growing there this and next year.

The grass I so desperately tried to plant last year was a partial success. It did keep in the backyard, but in the front yard the summer heat just killed it last year. I’m going to have to start seeding now so it’s strong enough by time summer hits this year.

Perhaps this year I’ll finally get a nice looking front and backyard? That would be nice. Then one day I’ll also get those guest rooms in my house finally cleaned out and arranged too . . . Actually that should be a major priority this summer as the dresser I use is collapsing and it’s time to get new ones and throw it out. Unfortunately I have more than just clothes in it. It and the closet in that room have a lot that just need to be junked . . . I predict a lot of trips to the town dump this summer.

Another Year Older . . .
 

Another birthday is here, and soon will be gone. We’ve been having some crazy storms here, and a tornado touched down about 5 miles from us yesterday. Anyway, this was my birthday gift from John this year . . . it’s huge and HEAVY! The thing is totally cast iron! I assembled it in the dining room as it was the only place with enough space . . . only to realize I couldn’t get it moved anywhere afterwards. So I had to take it apart again. Fortunately it’s only 3 pieces, and it’s easy to do. I’m trying to figure out where I can safely put the thing in my yard and secure it. The storms like to come in during October and the wind whips the hell out of my decorations as is. I don’t need this thing blowing over! I do think though after the season is done I’ll use it in the garden. Next spring I could plant some nice trellising plants at the base.

Oh yeah, what am I holding? That was a gift from a friend. It’s a piece of a tombstone dated 1927. They got it years ago in a not so nice way . . . . and just recently found it while cleaning out storage. I said I would put it in the garden as well to appease the angry ghost who was upset his (or her) grave got desecrated.

August Come And Gone . . . .
 

Damn this summer flew by! Seriously, I want it back! Where did it go? Some updates on various parts of my life . . .

My vegetable garden seems to have been a craptacular failure this year. I guess I just had too many good years, so I was due for this. I am pretty sure I know what I did wrong. I reused a lot of my soils from last year this year. I thought I had prepared it in a way, with fertilizers and mulch, that would make it okay. I don’t think it really worked out. The plants I grew using new soil did amazing, the reused soil failed. Next year I plan to buy all new soil, and the old soil I will spread on my lawn while using to just reseed it.

My garden wasn’t a complete failure, but two of my tomato plants were. Nothing could save them, they just died slowly. The other three grew huge, but only just now am I getting tomatoes. It’s the end of August, this is getting a bit late! Cold snaps will start, and that will kill the tomatoes that are just now growing. Perhaps I also need to plant earlier next year as well . . .

Oddly enough, my pepper plant, a first for me, did amazing . . . @!#$@%@$#%@$# I would rather have had tomatoes! Last year I had so many tomatoes I was throwing them out because I couldn’t use them fast enough. Oh well, I have live and learned!

With the summer over, work will be starting up again soon. I don’t know how I feel about this. I will be glad for the paycheck, but every semester you don’t know what you will end up with in terms of a class. I am very happy to be teaching my favorite class, “Magic and Religion,” for the first time ever this fall. It became so popular the department added it to every semester (it used to only be in the spring). I love that I’ll be able to cover Halloween in depth! Also it looks like there is a good shot for one of my adjunct jobs to become more permanent in the future . . . we shall see!

For a complete change of topic, in a week I will be enjoying Madonna . . . live in concert! I can’t wait! This is a week before my birthday, and is basically my birthday present to myself. I won’t lie, I have cheated and been watching fan uploaded videos to YouTube a lot this summer. Still, I can’t wait! I think I’m most excited about seeing her do “Express Yourself” again . . . even if it is a controversial “Born This Way” mash-up that’s been fueling fan wars with Lady Gaga. This song along with “Like A Prayer” are up there with my most favorite Madonna songs ever. Oh yes, and we can’t forget “Vogue.”



Finally, for another complete change of topic . . . I have made friends with a local paranormal investigation society. I’ve done several investigations with them over the past year. At some point I really want them to come to my house to check out my own ghosts, but I have to figure out what to do with the dogs. Having two exiting yappy dogs not leaving people alone would not aid in an investigation into ghosts. To get back to the point at hand, in September I will be accompanying them for my first overnight trip to a haunted location . . . Fort Mifflin! This is a local Revolutionary War fort that has been featured on countless “Haunted History” shows on TV. I can’t wait!



Birthdays, Gardens, Health and More . . .
 

So yet another year passed, and I forgot poor Princess’ birthday again! She just turned 8 years young on July 12th. I originally thought it was the 8th, looked it up and found out it was the 12th. Then by the 14th I remembered I had forgotten it! She was of course devastated . . . . okay not really. I need to put this in my iPhone calendar with an alarm set though, along with Nikko, who is in October.

My garden hasn’t been doing so hot this year. I don’t know what’s going on. I guess I had a few good years, now I’m do for a bad one. I put three tomatoes in topsy turvies, two in pots, and one pepper plant in a pot. The one tomato plant in the topsy turvy that I thought wouldn’t amount to much is now doing the best of the three, while the other two seem to be hanging on. I think the heat has been a little too much, and those two get the most sun out of all the plants because of where they are.

Then I had a vermin problem. The groundhogs are back! They devoured half of the best tomato plant that I put in a pot. It has come back, but it probably would have been twice the size it is now. I have since put my halloween zombies out, attached tin foil pans to the tomato ladders to make noise, and have been spraying my plants with various internet remedies to keep the buggers away. So far so good . . . but I just for the first time in a long time saw a groundhog today. Grrrrr!

I have not even touched the two rooms in the house that I said I’d start packing up. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I won’t get to them until the fall at this point. I have a lot of stuff going on. I have taken on a few projects, which are right now only in the planning stages. Nothing huge yet, but come fall it will become some added work for me. Of course it pays nothing right now, the hope is for a future payoff from them and a better job for me in the long run. I’ll discuss all these is a future blog at some point. Hey I gotta keep something to blog about since I have so little to blog about as of late!

I have been keeping up with my diet and fitness regime, and am down about ten pounds! I’ve been doing a lot of classes at my gym in the evenings: Zumba, Step, Boot Camp and Body Blast. This has become all the more important as of late, as it turns out I have high blood pressure. I probably have for years now honestly, but it’s just slowly gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I think this probably explains why I’ve felt so run down and blah for awhile now, as well as the increase in my headaches. I just thought it was the result of stress and the long commutes to and from work. I am now on medication, and it’s wait and see if it works. I am actually waiting for my doctor to return my call as I write this, as I was supposed to check in with her as to how it’s going. So far it’s down slightly, but it’s still high. Boo! Then I have another appointment at the end of the month to review everything and decide whether to try something else or change dosages. Fun fun! John is also being the food police. Actually no he’s just being a brat, telling me how all I’ll be able to eat on the cruises from now on are the bland spa selected meals on the menu.

Strawberry Season!
 

So it’s strawberry season here at the farm. I have to say, I’ve never been a real strawberry fan. I can eat them if they are in something, like cake. On their own however, I don’t just crave eating a strawberry. I did go out with friends this weekend to the fields and pick some. I plan on making a strawberry cheesecake with the giant tub I picked. I posted a few of my Lytro photos of the berries and field below.

In other garden news, I finally got 3 tomato plants started in the “Topsy Turveys.” I’m waiting on some tomato halos that I ordered to arrive to try the a few more in the big ground pots. I’m hoping these and the ladders I bought will keep my garden from becoming the insane tomato jungle it did last year. I might also give green or red peppers a try this year. Last year I ended up with more tomatoes than I could possibly eat. I was giving them away. I was making sauces every week. It was nuts.

The yard is slowly coming together. I’ve raked up leaves and pine needles from many places were they piled up over several years. I have the garden areas by the side of the house cleaned up. I attempted planting some things there . . . but nothing is happening. I’m going to have to just buy well established plants to put in there. I actually have some grass growing in the bare spots of the yard too. John keeps asking why I wanna grow grass because then I just have to cut it. I told him because I want it to look like respectable people live in our house, not trash!

My nemesis, the ground hog, apparently got knocked up over the winter. We have three groundhog babies running around the yard now. Noooooo! I am certain the groundhog is what ate all the flowers I tried to grow last summer. I’ve also fallen into their holes a few times. At some point I’m going to break my ankle I’m sure. The groundhog family has unfortunately got to go.



It
 

So I finally went out and tilled the land in my garden area. Last year I planted tomato plants in above ground pots and in a topsy turvey planter (which finally dry rotted and needs to be trashed). This year I might try a few in the actually ground and see how they fair. I have a few new topsy turvys to use as well. I killed all the weeds a few weeks ago, and finally removed them the other day. I think this weekend should be safe to plant!

I am also trying to “repair” parts of our yard. Over the years weeds took over, and grass died out. I really just want to call a landscaper up, but I’m not working thing summer (by choice), so that’s not another bill I need right now. Plus the satisfaction of doing it myself is something I’d also like. I can do other things than just kill plants . . . . John! There are however piles of crap/branches and trees John sawed down this winter than do need to be carted off, and those will require hiring someone.

This past winter we finally got my old bed out of one of the spare rooms and down to my mom who wanted it for her guest room. That has cleared up a lot of space in that room. John also went through some of his crap piled up in there, and cleaned many parts of the basement out over his break. So one of the other tasks to do this summer (which was in fact on the list for LAST summer) is to get both rooms downstairs cleaned out and organized! One will be a guest room, the other is going to be a study for me to do work and store my books, DVDs, video games, etc . . . . I however need to buy a new dresser for my clothes (the one in there is falling apart), pack up a ton of stuff and move into the basement, and of course throw a ton more of stuff out . . . oh and paint one of the rooms.

Hmmm, something tells me a lot of this still won’t be done till next summer! I will try my best. As I said, with the rooms opened up, it’s a lot easier. Also ONE of the people storing stuff in our basement has actually expressed an interest in coming to collect it finally. That’s progress. John told me “See, aren’t you glad you didn’t throw it out?” Actually no, because I could have told the person “Oh I thought you forgot about it, it’s been years!”

I have other things to blog about. But since I have so few to blog about these days, I’ll save it for later. That and I don’t want to jinx things!

An April Update! Cats, Dirt and Soaps!
 

Cleaning Off The Porch I’m checking in with a long overdue post, because it’s been so long, and because my mother thinks there must be something wrong. I’m just busy. That plus the fact that I feel like I don’t have much to talk about. I guess I could do movie reviews? I did just read all the Hunger Games book and went to see the film.

Once May hits, I’m sure I’ll have more posts. Work will be done for the summer, and I have a few trips on schedule. One to see my friend Heidi in Colorado. I’ve never been there, so it should be fun! Another trip is back to Williamsburg to ride the new coaster at Busch Gardens. Though I may postpone this till fall honestly. I really want to go there for Halloween as they do it up.

I have been meaning to work in my garden and yard area the past 3 weekends. But I haven’t had the time or energy. This is not good, as it’s almost time to plant tomatoes! I finally made myself take a break from grading today to do so. The porch I worked so hard to recover a few years back needed attention in a bad way. The fountain I cleaned out and got working again years ago, has fallen into disrepair. I cleaned it out, but haven’t got working again yet. Sadly the little naked pan that was the fountain fell off this winter and his head broke off :( I have to find a way to glue or cement him back together. He’ll still run, he’ll just be headless.

MewMew . . . 1 Year Old! In other news, MewMew is about a year old now. How did this year go by so fast? She’s a very small cat, confirming what we thought, that she was the runt. Unfortunately all she eats is the dry food, so she’s become a porker. This I must nip in the bud before I have MooMoo 2.0 on my hands. Their names were too similar, I guess it’s a curse! John even “weighed in” last night that she was getting heavy. We have to stop this before it hits the point of no return as it has with Moo Kitty.

A final bit of info to leave you with. My old soap page has asked me to write some blogs for them from time to time on my thoughts on “Days.” I wrote one about a month ago. The second will be up sometime this week! You can also find my snarky little thoughts about the show on FaceBook!

Till my next update . . . .

A March Update . . .
 

So yes, once again a LONG time has passed since a blog update. My life has just been very busy as of late. I’ve been teaching three classes this semester, a first for me. All three are different classes too. I’ve taught them all before, which silly me, thought that would mean it would be easy! NOT!

The farm has started back up, so once again I’m seeing less of John. I also had to get their webpage up to date, a newsletter out, oh and I made them a mobile phone page! That was fun . . . NOT! WHo knew it could be so tricky?

I have, however, started killing the weeds in my garden area :) Tomato planting time is just around the corner! I now just remembered I wanted to save seeds from last year to plant seedlings this year. I guess that’s a year too late. I’m not, however, planting as much as I did last year. By the end of the summer I had so many tomatoes that just went to rot/waste because I couldn’t use them all.

Annnnnnd that’s about all I have to say for now!