Friday, July 30, 2010

A Wild Time In The Old Town Tonight


Not an evening to be on the golf course..... Posted by Picasa

"The lightning flashes through my skull; mine eyeballs ache and ache; my whole beaten brain seems as beheaded, and rolling on some stunning ground." ~ Herman Melville (American Novelist from Moby Dick. 1819-1891)
OK, so the evening was not as dramatic as fighting the huge white whale, but it was unusual to say the least. It was hot today... again... and humid, again. We had a chance of thunderstorms but until 5 PM, nothing really looked like it would materialize. Then the clouds rolled in and darkened and thickened up. Lightning was seen in the distance and a very mild rolling thunder. On radar, it seemed that red and yellow on green was popping up all around us, but here.. on the little "x" representing our house, it was cloudy but not dark. We moved a few plants to shelter and secured several loose objects and a few sprinkles started and just as quickly stopped. We were in a proverbial doughnut hole... storms to the east, west, north and south, but none overhead.

Then around 7:30 the doughnut seemed to start collapsing all around... a reported tornado over near Oceana and a thunderstorm warning.... but it came right when the skies seemed to be starting to clear. Then quickly it began to rain.. big droplets, then more and thunder and lightning in the north and east with a wall cloud dropping down. The winds blew rain from the east, then from the north and west and the local weathermen began to notice circulation in the clouds right over our area. The trees in the preserve were bent over, thankfully away from the house. Sustained winds lifted the hot tub cover partially off and started moving one of the deck chairs around. It rained over an inch in the span of a half an hour and Virginia Beach received even more... almost 5 inches. The wind blown rain worked its way into the brick and a small drip in the sunroom started and then stopped just as quickly.

The rain and wind stopped and we breathed a sigh of relief... Daisy took quite a while to calm down and stop trembling. The biggest casualty was my bird feeder system. I should have taken the individual feeders off, but didn't think about it and the wind bent it over into the rose garden and snapped the metal pole off about 18 inches out of the ground. Bird seed is everywhere and one of the roses is broken, but will survive. I didn't look at the rest of the flowers, but most on the patio were fine. Our neighbors had a tree branch fall and hit their back fence and it broke one section out but I think that is the only tree down back in our little nook.

We had another round of rousing lightning fireworks and thunder with rain come through a bit later, but thankfully, without the wind. Stephen wanted to view a storm from the sunroom, but I don't think he had one this bad in mind. Now, perhaps my personal meteorologist, Nyssa, could explain exactly what this doughnut thing was all about....

PS: There were some crazy golfers out on the course while the wall cloud with lightning got closer and closer. Some people have more passion for golf than sense.

(end of post)

Skywatch Friday Post

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Monarch Happy Dance

video
Losing one form to gain another.... the Monarch "happy dance"
(Press the arrow to play slideshow)

"Know thyself! A maxim as pernicious as it is ugly. Whoever obsessively observes himself arrests his own development. A caterpillar who wanted to know itself well would never become a butterfly." ~ Andre Gide
Part One: When What To My Wondering Eyes Did Appear

Six Monarch caterpillars out of fifteen were saved. They ate and ate and ate the milkweed leaves offered and just when I thought they would devour all the milkweed I had planted, they stopped. As with the swallowtail, they wandered around the mesh enclosure and chose a place to rest. Five chose the same general area, which made for quite the show... one caterpillar touching another already attached at the hind end and all the squirming and bumping; one could only think of a couple of young siblings and the typical... "You touched me! Did not! Did too! Don't touch me! Mommmmm!"

Finally, all six were in their J-shaped hanging stance ... and one by one the fun began. The antennae were the first to change, taking on a jagged zig-zag appearance as the caterpillar seemed to stretch long and straight for one last time. Very suddenly, the skin along the head simply split and the wriggling back and forth began in earnest. Side to side, the "happy dance" continued as the skin slipped slowly up, crinkling to a small mass up at the attached hind end. With one last circular pump, it falls and an emerald green chrysalis remains. The show is not over for the chrysalis still moves and starts to shorten and smooth as the attachment becomes thicker and darker in color. The initial shedding of skin takes only a couple of minutes, but the maturing takes several hours. And then, there is motionless rest... an acorn shaped smooth emerald with tiny dots of gold... yes, metallic dots of gold adorn these jewels.

And once again.... we wait.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tickseed


Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tickseed.... Coreopsis verticillata 'Creme Brulee'
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Flowers have a mysterious and subtle influence upon the feelings, not unlike some strains of music. They relax the tenseness of the mind. They dissolve its vigor." ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Well, Stephen has seen the "garden" and has been busy helping with additional plantings in large pots around the patio and on the deck stairs. The space is really coming together and looking more like a nursery every day. He likes my "ordered chaos" method of landscaping and with most areas planted... I think it looks pretty good. Of course there is the constant task of weeding that would be so much easier if the temperature and humidity were not at the same 99% level all the time. And that pesky drainage problem that will be better but will not likely go completely away... so now to find a small shrub that loves swampy soil. Oh, and that mint that keeps getting out of hand and the black swallowtail butterfly that simply will not leave the fennel alone. I really should say the "former" fennel... as it is now but a skeleton (literally) of its former self after one night with 35 large caterpillars on it. That story is for another post.

These are my calming, mellow yellow flowers for this week. Coreopsis... tickseed... the common name given because the seeds resemble ticks. Hmm.. that isn't very comforting here with all the real ticks in the preserve. The leaves are fine and delicate in texture, almost like an asparagus fern and this contrast is wonderful next to the coneflowers and the butterfly weed. We have four varieties... Creme Brulee (above), Sienna Sunset (an apricot - peachy color), Autumn Blush (pale yellow with burgundy centers) and Moonbeam (pale yellow and slightly smaller bloom). They bloom from April through to frost, but to keep them going strong requires the deadheading of spent blossoms. This is tedious... so I simply shear them back.. wait a few days and they spring back into action. I did try the little snip, snip, snip but lost interest in that pursuit really quickly when the burning sun came over the roofline and the temperature soared. Yes, shear and get in the house to some of that peach ice tea and air conditioning. Yes, they are perennials.. I like to garden and plant, but do not care to do it every year.. so for me the perennials are the way to go. Butterflies love them as do the dragonflies and bees. They add so much to the space... texture, color and a little fun.

(end of post)

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

When What To My Wondering Eyes Did Appear!


Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
(Click pictures to enlarge)

"The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough." ~ Rabindranath Tagore
A rare freeze in the Monarch butterfly wintering habitat in Mexico severely depleted the population that would return to our area this spring. The expert at the botanical garden told us this was why they seemed late this year. Of course, this is the first year we have planned for butterflies with the new garden beds, so I really hadn't noticed. Butterfly weed, milkweed... these are the ONLY food that the Monarch caterpillars eat. So, I started plants from seed and also obtained roots as well. I planted groupings in six areas of the flower beds and four additional areas along the preserve. Several garden blogs told of Monarch laying their eggs on the butterfly weed seedlings before they were even put in the ground. I watched and searched the leaves and waited... but nothing; not even so much as a sighting of a Monarch.


A Monarch... rare for our yard.

Then one day in early July, we saw a lone Monarch fluttering out over the preserve. It came to rest just at the edge, on my blooming butterfly weed. I was delighted but perplexed... where were the rest? All the other butterflies come to the flowers in droves... the black swallowtail is trying to cover the poor fennel plant with caterpillars and eggs... (I counted 35 caterpillars there today). So, where are the Monarch caterpillars? Where are the Monarch eggs?


Monarchs drink the milkweed nectar and the caterpillars eat the leaves.
They are "pooping" machines... see the black frass.

I missed the black balls of "frass" (caterpillar poop) when I snapped the picture of the Monarch, but later as I looked out over the fennel, I saw to my surprise on the butterfly weed... a caterpillar... a Monarch caterpillar... and a big one at that! Then I looked closely and found another and another and another. Most were large and plump and I couldn't figure out how we missed them. The leaves of the plants were ragged and the caterpillars had obviously been there for some time. How did I miss them? All in all, I counted fifteen Monarch caterpillars. I knew they were poisonous to birds from eating the milkweed so I didn't worry too much about the extra day it would take to get the habitat inside set up for them.


Monarch butterfly caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) Posted by Picasa

But I should have worried; when I went out to gather them, most were gone. Out of fifteen caterpillars, I found only six to take inside. What happened to them? Probably other predators that are not affected by the noxious poisons they store in their bodies... wasps or spiders or small lizards ate them. It seems that almost all Monarch caterpillars left outside in the garden, disappear or are eaten by something. I brought the six I found inside where they went through whole sprigs of milkweed leaves in a few hours. Fortunately, they did not finish off ALL the milkweed before the time came for them to settle down for their metamorphosis. Funny though, even with all that leaf destruction, I still see new tiny leaves coming out on the sides of the bare stems again already.

Next stop.... the Happy Dance. (to be continued)

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Coming In For A Landing


Black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) ready to feed.... Candy Lily (Pardancanda norrisii 'Dazzler') Posted by Picasa

"The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly."
~ Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun
What would summer be without butterflies? This year we have more than ever with the new garden. Three black swallowtail caterpillars have emerged and taken flight and we have seven currently in chrysalides, three more still growing in the butterfly house and more than twenty outside on the fennel. They are so graceful... and prolific. Next year, I will be planting at least three or four fennel plants to take care of them as two large caterpillars can decimate a large lacy cutting of fennel in two or three hours... they are eating machines! But seeing the adults return and flutter effortlessly around the deck and over the rooftop is amazing. They don't seem to mind the hot and humid weather.... 95℉ with 89% humidity ... but it really does me in. Then again, it wouldn't be a summer in the South without heat.. and humidity.

Carmi's theme this week has been "summer". His photos have been gloriously cool, I can almost feel the wonderful waters... if I don't step outside that is. Oh, if only just a bit of that cooler air from Canada or the North Pole or.. well, from somewhere... would slide down to Virginia just a bit... maybe next week.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garden From Scratch...A Work In Progress


And a lot of work went in even before October...
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration." ~ Lou Erickson
This is only a fraction of the garden flower beds I have put in around the new sunroom, down the side of the deck and around the arch of the patio. Over 100 bags of top soil (40 lbs each), 40 bags of amended top soil (2 cu ft each), 35 bags of Nutri-Green compost (40 pounds each) and 30 bags of pea pebbles (40 lbs each). This doesn't include the soil and compost that went into the rose garden. It would have probably been easier to have the topsoil and compost delivered in bulk... but then I would have had to have tarps and covers and such and we had quite a bit of rain in the early spring as well as Nor'Ida last fall and it would have been a mess.

See my little tiller... I love my tiller... but after six hours of tilling in clay, you tend to vibrate for several hours even while sitting quietly. It is like a little humming buzz inside your muscles that just won't quit. I tilled down ten to twelve inches, tilled in the soil and compost, dug out the rocks and brick and sticks.. even a huge batch of construction concrete from the original building of the house. It was buried 12 inches deep and the edge extended under the ground beneath the new patio. I could hardly move it.. it weighed more than 50 pounds and I had to break it up to toss it out.

I built the beds up about 5 inches and put an edging down, but will probably take the edging out after getting all the plants in. It is a bit wavy and difficult to use the weed eater along the beds and the plants can hold the soil together. I thought the landscaping material was a brilliant idea and if you are planting shrubs and only a few flowers you can do well with it. But if you want lots of flowers it just gets in the way... not to mention the fact that the weeds simply grow under the fabric and do so quite vigorously. I ended up cutting out a lot of the fabric. I have placed a soaker hose around the plants and down the entire length of the beds and generously mulched.

So far we have only a few drainage problems.. hopefully to be fixed by Friday... and more plants needed. I have only lost a few, most are growing well, exceeding expectations. We have a butterfly, bird and bee garden.. which isn't the best plan if you think about it. The birds eat the butterflies and caterpillars... but seem to leave the Japanese beetles alone. It is definitely NOT formal... Stephen says it reminds him of an English garden.... but, I think it is best described as "organized chaos".

(end of post)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waterdance Or Birds Of A Feather, Dance Together


Birds of a feather, dance together. Mt. Trashmore Park, Virginia Beach.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Light quirks of music, broken and uneven,
Make the soul dance upon a jig to Heav'n."
~ Alexander Pope, Moral Essays
Sometimes, even the squawking, selfish, obnoxious seagulls fighting over a crust of bread thrown into the air by a child, can create a beautiful moment in time. Hovering just above the water, their wings and feet stir the water and throw tiny droplets into the air. They seem frozen in a crazy dance....a waterdance....more serenely beautiful from below than the fracas in progress above.

Watery Wednesday #96
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Going Bananas In More Ways Than One


"Going Bananas" daylily. (Click picture to enlarge)

"Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance.' ~ Author Unknown
Ah.. the heat is back... and the humidity. This morning 85% humidity... and now 91℉. Stephen, my brother, is here for almost two months and he wanted to clean off the black sponge liners they put in the gutters. So out comes the ladder and the round brush and off he goes. Worked quite well, I must say, and we also got rid of a lot of the spider webs as well. Now we are off to the nursery and Lowes and a few other stops in our pursuit of the ultimate gardening experience... ok, so we need some mundane things.

This is one of my daylily species... called "Going Bananas". I love the pale yellow color. It is planted next to a more vibrant golden yellow daylily with a deep maroon throat and this really sets of this pastel look. I've even seen butterflies flitting up to this flower. In the background there is yarrow growing.... the variety called "Pomegranate". This is my Mellow Yellow, trying to be calming, entry for this Monday.

And away we go!!!

(end of post)

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Caterpillar Chronicles: Part 3 ~ We Birthed A Butterfly!


An empty shroud.....

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." ~ Maya Angelou
Well, it took two weeks, a few days longer than advertised; probably this was due to the lower temperatures in the sunroom. I asked the lady at the botanical garden's butterfly room if this might be a problem. She said I could set the box outside for a bit during the day so I did, but kept it out of the hot sun. She also told us that only one or two eggs out of a thousand would make it through the caterpillar stages into the chrysalis and to a mature adult. Most fall victim to being eaten by spiders or birds at other stages.

Monday, July 5th was just another day. Stephen had arrived and we had much to do, so I set the box out and went about getting ready to go out. I was taking Daisy out for a potty stop before we left and saw this black swallowtail on the outside of the mesh enclosed box. At first I thought it was another butterfly that saw the fennel inside and was stopping to visit, but then I saw the empty chrysalis. How could this have happened so fast? And how did it crawl out through the folded mesh on top?


Drying time... resting from the ordeal.

The brilliantly colored butterfly was quietly sitting or hanging on the mesh, drying the wings. Daisy ignored it as she passed by and the butterfly didn't move. It was a perfect moment to capture the magical painted wings at rest as they usually flit and flutter so as to make it nearly impossible to focus in for a clear close-up shot.


Brilliant colors... may fade with time.

The splashes of yellow, orange and blue on the underwings and the perfectly placed yellow spots on the black body... so different, so unlike the caterpillar that preceded the transformation, yet both so beautiful in their own right. We watched for a while... waiting for that first stretch of the wing... and then...


Testing the wings.... female black swallowtail butterfly
(Papilio polyxenes asterius)
Posted by Picasa

She opened her wings wide to the sun and kept them there to dry. Yes, a female... she has only a small dusting of yellow above the patches of blue, which are more prominent than those of the male. We left for our errands and when we returned, she was gone... but I think she visits us on occasion. I have seen a female black swallowtail flit up to the glass sunroom doors and hover... perhaps just saying "hello" and "thank you".

As for our butterfly nursery... we already had two more caterpillars munching and growing. They have since interred themselves, both doing so within ten minutes of each other, but not without some drama...(pictures to come later) I also found more eggs and tiny caterpillars and now there are five more working on the dill, fennel and parsley. I guess we are doing our part to increase the population around here. Now, I might have to get a couple of those more sturdy houses.. one for the caterpillars to grow and one for the chrysalides to mature. Perhaps even getting some monarch eggs to try. I have their favorite food... milkweed.. ready and waiting for them, but so far.. no Monarchs.

Previous related posts: What A Difference A Day Makes
The Caterpillar Chronicles: Part 2 ~ And He Has Just Settled Down For A Long Summer's Nap

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Friday's Ark

Friday, July 09, 2010

All Hummers Don't Guzzle Gas


One of our resident hummers....July 8th.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Have you ever observed a humming-bird moving about in an aerial dance among the flowers - a living prismatic gem.... it is a creature of such fairy-like loveliness as to mock all description." ~ W.H. Hudson, Green Mansions
They appear out of nowhere, speeding by your ear and you catch the sound first; the hum of the wings against the air, louder than the bee or the dragonfly and you can't sense the direction with much accuracy. But then, they hover at the feeder or even by the petunias or lantana and there you can see them, so tiny and green, some with a splash of red. They sample our offerings... first the nectar in the flat pancake feeders, then the larger glass feeder and even sampling the birdberry jelly in the oriole feeder that the mockingbirds also love. Then as quickly as they come.. they are gone. Back into the trees in our yard, if we are lucky, or back to the forest preserve. I know they have nests there. If the sun is just right, you can see them chasing each other through the brush and high up in between the large oaks and pines.

I was trying to photograph a Cloudless Sulfur butterfly that landed on flowers off the deck. They flit so much, hardly ever landing, so I grabbed my camera and opened the sunroom door to step out. That is when I saw him there by the feeder.... I managed to get two shots off before he took off to the forest and only one was in focus, though the light could have been better. Not the best, but hopefully the hummers will be around more often... when I do have the camera ready.

(end of post)
Friday's Ark

Thursday, July 08, 2010

How To Keep Cool On A Hot Summer Day


Keeping cool with a dip and a bit of showing off. Mt. Trashmore, Virginia Beach.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa
"What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance." ~ (Jane Austen (1775-1817), British novelist. letter, Sept. 18, 1796.)

Yesterday, the temperature topped out at 108℉ in Williamsburg and here the official Chesapeake temperature was 102℉. Increased humidity was advertised but did not materialize as it stayed below 50%... but this simply created a hot, dry oven effect. An air quality alert was issued for older people, children and those with respiratory difficulty and there was a distinct haze to the sky that normally does not occur here. Today is a bit cooler, if you can count 90℉ as cooler.... but the humidity is well into the 60% range and going up. It is still a day that is too hot for hard physical outside labor.

This white goose knows how to keep cool on a hot summer day.... they all do. The ponds in the neighborhood are crowded with geese, sitting at the edge of the water... quietly preening or sleeping or not doing anything at all. After a dip, then spread the wings and shake off the excess water... and show off a bit. Yes, sir goose, your wings are magnificent... yes, a bit like angel wings... but don't let it go to your head.... you still look a lot like that silly Aflac goose. The water, the wings and the reflections of the clouds have made me feel cooler already. OK, being inside with air conditioning helps too!

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Dotted, Spotted Bug Is Not Always What It Seems


Spotted Cucumber Beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

A little beetle passed me by.
He didn't make much fuss,
He ran around my garden
Like a tiny yellow bus.
~ Slyvia Gerditz
I love ladybugs. They are so tiny and cute and so helpful in the garden. This year my new roses had aphids and I bought a container of ladybugs and released them in the garden. Then I watched and they chased the aphids and ate the aphids and within a couple of days, the aphids were either dead or had moved on to happier ground. Of course, without the primary food source, the ladybugs quickly followed. But, every once in a while I see them back and smile.

This fellow looked like a yellow-green ladybug. So I took his picture and smiled and said "hello". Then I "Googled" him and to my surprise, this insect is a real and dangerous pest! Also known as the 12 spotted cucumber beetle and the southern corn rootworm (in the larval stage), as an adult beetle he eats cotton, beans, cucumbers, soybeans and others. Even worse, in the larval stage, the worm eats through the roots of corn plants killing them. They are a widespread agricultural menace. Apparently, they were even banned in labs in Europe because it is so hard to get rid of them... and yet... they still managed to migrate on planes and such. OH! MY! I looked as his picture and saw that indeed, he was eating the daylily flower. If they have no flowers, they will make do with the leaves. Where are the birds to eat these pests? The cucumber beetle does not have many natural enemies. I did find a suggestion about a "cucumber beetle death repellent" that sounded strangely similar to the one for Japanese beetles. If you collect the beetles, drown them and blend them up with water into a solution (this sounds really gross) and then spray the solution on your plants they will not bother them. Hmm.. they aren't drawn to the smell of dead beetles? No surprise here, neither am I.

Since I don't relish bug mush in my blender, I quickly ran back outside and was going to collect this pest and squash him flat, even though the dotted cuteness made this difficult. Of course, he was gone and the daylily had this wedge eaten out of the flower... but now I know. And though cute and spotted... the spotted cucumber beetle is now on my list of bugs to squash and not feel bad about it. Who knew cute could be so deadly?

Almost didn't make it but Carmi's theme this week has been "spotty",no excuse me... "dotty". I am sure there are much better examples in his visitor's posts.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Sunrise


Coneflower Big Sky Sunrise, Echinaceae purpurea 'Sunrise'
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"As I work among my flowers, I find myself talking to them, reasoning and remonstrating with them, and adoring them as if they were human beings. Much laughter I provoke among my friends by so doing, but that is of no consequence. We are on such good terms, my flowers and I." ~ Celia Thaxter, 1835-1894
I am trying to rise earlier, perhaps not as early as the day my brother arrived and I smoked a Boston butt roast; that day it was 4AM. I started the coals in the dark, watching the temperature rise on the smoker with a tiny flashlight and finally after an hour and a half, I saw the tinge of color in the morning sky... just a lighter shade of darkness at first but then, blue and streaks of red and finally the yellow sun.

It's another world in the early morning... the humming insects and the tiny tree frogs are getting ready for bed and the birds are just beginning to wake. I saw a hummingbird come to the feeder, then turn and head for the Lantana 'Miss Huff', where it hovered and drank deeply from the nectar of the blooms. I had never seen them feed on the flowers before, what a wonderful sight. The bees were already happily flocking to the hyssop but the butterflies are a lot like us, they would rather wait a bit until the sun is out to make an appearance. The coneflowers, however, don't seem to care about the time... they carry the sun's rays in their petals and the sun's fire in their cone.

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel May Be An Oncoming Train... But At Least It Is The End Of The Tunnel


Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY (Click picture to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

"Light at the end of the tunnel? We don't even have a tunnel; we don't even know where the tunnel is."
~ Lyndon B. Johnson
Well, it is July 1st and I will have 18 hours to get the rest of my list done.....
  1. Clean fan blades and reverse fan direction in den, living room and master bedroom. (This requires dragging the gargantuan ladder in from the garage.)
  2. Vacuum garage... for the tenth time. (Have I ever mentioned my obsessive compulsive thing about garages?)
  3. Clean up the patio...picking up the thousands of safflower seeds that the stupid black birds threw on the ground to be spiteful and then the yard guy came along and blew them all into the flowerbeds where they will germinate and I will be plucking tiny safflower plants until the end of time.
  4. Add compost and mulch to the shade garden... and clean off the gutter where the rain overflowed because the pine needles are stuck and won't let the water go into the gutter so it pours onto my beautiful large fern and breaks 80% of its fronds so that I have to cut it back to a stupid looking round mound of, well green stuff. (This may require said ladder again or hanging from an upstairs window with the grab it device Mom uses to get stuff off the floor.... hmm... hauling ladder down stairs vs. hanging out the window. I may opt for hanging out the window, easier on the knees.)
  5. Clean off the deck. Hmm. It rained last night and this morning... crossing fingers that that will take care of the deck.
  6. Clean the steps and porch of the sunroom. Yes, I put the hanging basket for the strawberries whose seeds never germinated out there and the rain ran off the copper roof into the potting soil and splattered it up on the door that I just cleaned last Saturday.
  7. Fix the hinge on the back gate... no, I have no idea how it got broken... it just fell apart and that is the story I am sticking to. I have to fix it so that I don't have to tell Stephen it broke but he will read this and know it anyway. Oh, well.
  8. Put plastic plant carriers in the car... I DON"T KNOW WHY... just to get them out of the garage, OK?! (See #2)
  9. Pick up poop in yard. I have Daisy. Daisy is a dog. Self-explanatory.
  10. Plant plants.... why did I buy more plants today. My Euphorbia kicked the bucket so I got some more to replace it. But, I probably shouldn't plant it in the same place because I have no idea as to why it kicked the bucket when all around things are growing fine. I have a big planter in the back of my van to drag to the back deck and plant a tomato plant, a bell pepper, some sage and (if I can find just one) a marigold. Marigolds are supposed to be great companion plants and ward off evil bugs. I would rather plant borage or lovage, but no one has them here and I really don't know exactly what they are anyway. This will entail dragging pebbles and potting soil to the back deck and will likely negate the cleaning the rain did last night... so I will have to keep the cleaning of the back deck on the list.
  11. Keep an eye on the black swallowtail chrysalis... any day now it should open... but please not until Friday.....
  12. Iron. I am always behind on ironing. I don't like to iron. It makes me hot and with the hot weather and trying to keep the air conditioning at a higher level... well, as Jane Austen said... "the heat keeps me in such a state off inelegance."
  13. Smoke a Boston butt roast. I've never done this before. Apparently, there are as many ways to do it as stars in the sky. I have already massaged it with yellow mustard and put on a rub that was supposed to follow a recipe but ended up being whatever I found in the spice rack along with some already mixed up steak rub. It sits in the refrigerator overnight or in this case until 3 am when I will drag myself up and set it out for an hour while I try to get some coals going in the smoker and throw in cherry or hickory or whatever I have in the garage... I forgot to look. When the smoker gets to 225℉, hopefully before 4 AM, I will insert the remote temperature probe into the roast and put it on the grate and let it start smoking; that is, of course if I can figure out how to set the time and timer on this gadget. Then after two hours, or however long it takes to get to 140℉, I will start spritzing it with apple juice... or apple cider in this case... I couldn't find any apple juice in the pantry. Then we put it in aluminum foil tightly with more apple cider and put it back in the smoker to cook until the temperature reaches 205℉. We wrap it in a towel and put it in a cooler for an hour or so... hmm.. do I have a cooler in the garage? I forgot to look for that too. What was I thinking? I hope it gets done before I have to go to the airport to pick up my brother at 6PM..... What WAS I thinking.... I could have stopped by the barbecue place and picked it up already done..... AARG!!!! I just hope it doesn't turn out like my Christmas turkey..... it was a real turkey.. in more ways than one.
Look this turned into a Thursday Thirteen.... and believe it or not... the things I ALREADY have marked off my list would amaze you... but I am not going to hold my breath that all of this will get done by 6 PM.

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Thursday Thirteen posts here.