Thursday, April 28, 2011


Lady Diana became a princess when I was old enough to know better.  Still, I liked the idea that I could one day grow up to be a princess myself.  I got my never-a-morning-person self out of bed at some insane hour, missed the actual wedding but saw her in her glass coach.  And saw so many replays of the wedding that I remember wishing I'd just stayed in bed.
While never having become a princess, I realize that I have had the better life. It wouldn't have taken much.  This new princess-to-be seems very down to earth.  William cooks ramen noodles, they want no staff and they seems to be trying to avoid being worthy of paparazzi.

But it won't stop me from watching this latest royal wedding.  I'll bet Bug will get into it with me too. And I have a tivo, so there will be no waking up early for me.

Monday, April 25, 2011

promises, promises

There is a lot of sugar around here.  And (almost) all of it is calling my name. Loudly.  (I seem to be resistant to marshmallow peeps.  Or else they're peeping quietly.)

I discovered a few weeks ago that the hand-dipped chocolates given by CD to me for my birthday in January were still hiding behind the always present Dove Promises in my secret stash kitchen cabinet.  I must have overdone it on the Christmas candy because those are some really good chocolates he gave me and it is unlike me to forget about chocolate.  The Promises were shoved to the back so I wouldn't have to let the good stuff wait any longer.  But then Easter came.

I intended to take it pretty easy with the Easter candy this year.  Bug seems to think that there is "lusually a present in our baskets, don't you think?" but there were no complaints about the candy.  Maybe I'll try to do even less next year.  Because while the kids say things like "it will take me ages to eat it all", I seem not to be having this same problem.

The Easter bunny gave them small but solid chocolate bunnies, a long candy necklace seen right after Valentines Day, several marshmallow peeps, a couple small candy bars possibly left from Halloween or maybe just Christmas, and some silly putty (which comes in a little egg and is not apparently a good enough "present".)  My mom added small bags of gummy bears to their baskets and a huge bag of dark chocolate covered pomegranates for me.

The egg hunt which Mama thought could be skipped this year but "Oh no!" could not be skipped contained coins ($1.12 found by Bug and 87¢ by Pook), a few more peeps, jelly beans and robin's malted milk eggs. Oh, and some Starbursts probably left from Christmas.  If the bags of candy had come smaller, there would be less, but the Easter Bunny and Santa both like to offer variety and variety seems to mean too much quantity.  (I see the same problem when I make Chinese stir fry dishes.)

There was a bit of testing for quality control before allowing the Easter Bunny to fill the plastic eggs, then a need to set aside a baggie of the red, orange and yellow jelly beans (purple and green are not worthy) and a portion of the robin's eggs just so as to avoid having ten thousand plastic eggs in the hunt.  Then there was the nibbling from the children's baskets because it wasn't practical to pull out the secret stash in front of the naive ones.  (One of whom saw "peeps" on the grocery list and both of whom saw candy necklaces in the gift pile a  month ago and are therefore not really "naive" but more like "unwilling to acknowledge the truth because the candy might go away if they do.")

And really, the red jelly beans by Starbursts are pretty amazing as far as jelly beans go.  Not better than the chocolate covered pomegranates, but pretty good nonetheless.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

good stuff too

I didn't include a photo of the good parts of my garden.  The parts that actually show and matter.  Here is the front, Spring Garden.  The thick layer of mulch left from the tree cutting prevented many plants from finding sunlight. I removed at least four inches from parts of the area and some plants are coming through, even though they are past bloom.  (One bit of phlox made it out to bloom, the rest is barely making it.)

The azaleas took a hit and many branches were broken off. I've seen them have much better years, but I do love the color. The native (and wonderfully smelling) azalea is golden yellow, barely seen behind the reds.  Here is a close up of the lovely branches.  It is lanky and awkward looking, so I may prune it in a few weeks and try to propagate from those cuttings.  I'd love to have more of them.

The colombine are open and lovely.  I have four of the palest purple and two in vivid purple.  None of the (stolen) seeds have appeared.  Maybe I should buy plants in red and yellow.  (Or, if you have one, I'd trade you seeds since they were easy to collect.)

The roses are actually past their prime now (the photo was taken about ten days ago). They may not bloom for long, but I adore them.  Lady Banks roses.  No thorns and a wonderful climber.

Friday, April 15, 2011

know thine enemy

I'm all about the garden right now.  My kids are back at school after a relaxing and relatively uneventful spring break.  I'm less stressed out and trying to prepare for the treadmill which will run me into summer.  Seems like it all moves quickly this time of year.

But my garden!  Is blooming! And the weeds!  Are taking over!

pine seedlings
It is true that if left untouched, Georgia would revert to a pine forest.  I chose a random area, one foot square, and counted the number of pine seedlings as I removed them.  24.  I saw thicker areas as I looked around, but with that many I can't pull them.  I'll let Mother Nature kill them off (if she's willing) and I'll get the survivors as they annoy me.

flowering something others must like
I found lots of other uninvited guests.  If I knew weeds by sight I'd have seen more, but many plants are getting a pass because I'm not sure of their intent.  I don't know the names of many.

Apparently some of the ones I pull are plants others enjoy.  I just saw this in bloom at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. If they want more, I have dozens.

seedling which turns into stubborn bush
seedling left around
I guess that's my definition of a weed.  If I didn't plant it, but it grows and prospers, seeds prolifically and comes back from a stump, I assume I want it dead. 
Except the trillium.  And now the mayapples in the same area.  And some trees I'm allowing to stick around- we have redbud seedlings all over the front and I think I'll keep a few and move them to the back yard. Here are a few of the plants I regularly pull or kill around here (besides the English ivy):
ivy and grapevine
sunflower seedlings under the birdfeeder
privit- I know this one

Thursday, April 14, 2011

giving our kids some street cred

CD and I spent dinner last night teaching our children swear words.  They know nothing!  (Or they were really good fakes.)

I started it by saying, as I scratched a bug bite, that some booger had bitten me (in April--I had a right to be angry!)  They boys both fell apart in squeals of laughter.

"What did you call the bug?!"
"I called it a booger.  A booger bug!"

We all enjoyed laughing, then I pointed out that I'd thought to call it something else but I wasn't sure what swear words they'd heard before.  (And as a mature adult had not wanted to be the one to teach them.)

"So, what cuss words do you know?"

"Uh.  None."
"What's a cuss word?"

We had to push them.  Pressure them even, to get them to tell us any swear words at all.  Bug never did in fact.  Do first graders not swear on the playground at all?  

Pook had heard "um, I think it sounds like crab" and "um, I think it sounds like beach."

"What does that mean?"

CD and I dutifully gave them the dictionary definition of each one Pook came up with (a sure way to make the word meaningless) but also explained how the word was used as a swear.  I even used bitch as a verb, a noun and an adjective for them to demonstrate.  Because I am such a good parent.

And then, remembering that I was supposed to be a good, mature parent, I told them that they couldn't use these words in front of teachers, other adults or me.  And CD told them not to hurt someone's feelings by calling them a bad name.  And I kind of diluted that by saying that if it came to it, I'd rather that they got in a fight that was verbal and not physical.  --But to not use these words.

(Oh, and he also knew "hell" and "damn," so the bug that bit me (in April!) could have been a damn bug after all.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

look what I did today!

  • three wheelbarrows of wet leaf mulch removed
  • four wheelbarrows of damp red clay dug out
  • 15 feet of landscape fabric placed down
  • 500 lbs of pebbles spread around
  • nine old stepping stones and pieces of stones placed just so
  • one back aching tired

Sunday, April 3, 2011


The garden is ready to burst open.  The bulbs are about finished, but the next phase is ready to go.

Dogwood buds with redbud trees in background. Oddly, I have tons of redbud in the neighborhood but none in my yard. I think it would look great in our ivy-cleared backyard.

Flowering kale, purchased for winter color, not dinner. Next year I might plan for both.

The transplanted Beautyberry bushes aren't dead! They have small (blurry) leaves!

Tea olive smells great, but I've never noticed it blooming before. It sustained a lot of damage when the trees were cut down.

Azaleas all over town are busting out. Ours are a bit subdued still, but just about there.

I stole columbine seeds from at least four locations, in at least three states, in all sorts of colors. I already had a few in palest pink and vivid purple.  We'll see if my seed-stealing pays off with more colors.  I can't have enough!

Woodland poppies have their yellow flowers already. There are at least two good sized plants in my front wooded area.

The climbing rose, Lady Banks, is smothered in tiny yellow buds.

 I can't wait to see all this next week!