Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where is Miss E?

Are you ready to be envious?
I mean greeeeen? Really, really, really green?
Look what I stumbled upon when FinnigantheCurious and I were downtown...

EEEK! Could you die? I know you could, but say so anyway. OH. MAH. GAWD. y'all.
Every Tuesday Finny and I take the bus downtown to eat out, and sight-see, and whatnot. This week, for some reason, he asked to go into Urban Outfitters (Oh, please no, don't make me go into Urban Outfitters! Oh, very well. I'll do it for you, darling, and only for you.). We moseyed up the stairs because those are some fun stairs for a 6-year old boy (and his mama) to where all the trendy and fun housewares are. I found the clearance wall and there. they. were! Clearance, honey, clearance. Clearance as in 4 bucks each. I had to sit down to stop from passing out with joy. All the "E"s were gone, but I don't care. I'll find something cool, I just know it. I seriously thought about just buying everything they had. Oh, the "C"s were awesome...tangerine colored! Oh, and the "H"s were the palest robin's egg blue. Drool and sigh. Damn, was this good shopping karma or whut? Look at those colors! Oh, colorcolorcolorcolor...I love color. I can't stop taking them out of the bag and stroking them, cooing over them, adoring them, obsessing over them.
Just so you don't think I am totally a woman of leisure, and a spendthrift to boot, I can report that I have also been working like a spring yardening madwoman. That's why the blog posts have been so few and far's spring, dammit! No time for computers. All available time must be spent in garden. Here's some little stuff to show you:

Isn't that cute as pie? That stuff is some kind of car parts. I think. I got them at this crazy bone yard thing place in California. I love the juxtaposition of the metal and the plant. Tres wabi-sabi, if I do say so myself.

Natural Gardener got all my allowance in one fell swoop. All of it. On payday, no less. I'll be whining in a few weeks when I really want something else, but today it was oh so fun. I had a little splurge on this plant called, Fairy Duster (Calliandra). I'd never seen this before and I just fell in love with it. With a name like that, who could resist? I'll have to keep it pruned in the spot that I put it in, and it's cold hardy only about 25, but even I, of high-level laziness can prune and cover every now and then. Fingers crossed I get a fairy visit soon.

I. love. them. I scour Craigslist and yard sales for them all the time, but those suckers don't come cheap. I have such a fantasy of lining a whole bed with colored bowling balls. Guess how much these were? Just guess. Freeeeeeeeeee. Now you're really cursing my name with envy, aren't you? Jackdaddy was in the dog house about something. I can't remember now exactly why, although I'm sure I was right and he was wrong. Anyway, I was fully enjoying being cross when home he comes with a fried avocado taco from Torchy's AND some bowling balls that were on the side of the road. I *%& you not. Dog house closed! What a man, what a man. I'm on an amazing run!
Y'all lemme know if you see an E, OK? Not an O or a K, but an E.

PS I'd almost forgotten how impossible it is to type with a small kitten running amok on the keyboard. Almost as impossible as typing with a small child running amok.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Interlopers, succulents, and a castle garden.

Look who showed up today! Isn't she lovely?

And this guy...every morning I find him in the pond. Baffles me to no end. Does he want to be in the pond? Why doesn't he sink? Is he "swimming?" Every morning...same dude. I want to Google it..."snails swimming"...but then I'd know and I kinda like not knowing. Sometimes the information age bums me out. Do I really need to know the answer to everything? Then again, sometimes I feel so relieved that I can just walk over to the computer (The Oracle, my friend Michael calls it) and find out whatever I want to know. For now, I'm liking the mystery of the snail in the pond.

Speaking of I took the old cement rings from around the trees in the front, we moved them to the STBBBFO, and there they've waited. I've been hemming and hawing about what to put in them. I had just about decided they were to be herb gardens or wildflower beds, but then I got all fired up about succulents and that's my final decision. I think. I'm pretty sure. I moved all the crap out of them and then faced the old, dead compost pile that was never turned or watered and moved that dirt into the rounds. I think this was a mistake.

See? Looks like things are going well, right?

Doesn't that little sedum and ghost plant (I'm sure the plant police will correct me...I have no idea what these succulents are really called) and Buddha (I'm clear on that one) look sooo cute? Look closer. Just look at all those little somethings popping up out of that supposedly clean composty soil mound. Looks like shoveling it from one spot to another just woke everybody up. I'm pretty sure there might even be some melons coming up. Crap, crap, crap. Over there I've got a damn fruit and veggie garden that I treat like a baby, and it hardly produces a thing. Over here I've got a ratty old dirt pile with old dried-up composting in it that I never touch and I'm growing melons. Sigh. Sometimes I feel we are at odds with each other, this garden and I.

See all these interlopers? These aren't the melony ones, these are just grass or dandelions or some of that chernobyl sticky plant stuff. I just made this bed a week ago and the thing is full of junk. And so it goes.
My castle garden story...I have this dear, dear friend who lives on the other side of town and every now and then she just pops by when she has something to do around these parts. Now this woman has less than no interest in gardening or yardening. None. But she is sweet as pie and a good friend so she tries really hard to act interested. I drug her out back and was showing her The Big Ugly - the part of the yard all covered with cardboard and city mulch that is awaiting The Big Makeover. She listened to me blather on and on for lord knows how long. She did all the right things...nodding at appropriate times, giving a little "uh huh" every now and then. Finally, I see (or at least notice) her eyes glazing over and I wrap it up. She then says real sweetly, "Well, don't you worry. I know how you like to change your mind a lot and before you know it, you won't want a prairie look, you'll want a beautiful castle garden." I drew a big blank here cuz I have no idea what a castle garden is, but I don't want to appear to not know because she thinks I know what the hell I'm doing, and because she's about the only one, I don't wanna blow my cover so I just kinda play along like I know what a castle garden is. She's going on and on about how pretty my yard would look as a castle garden, and how it would really suit my personality and whatnot. Well, finally I just can't stand it anymore, and I admit that have no idea what she's talking about. She starts to act all uppity and says, "What, you really don't know? YOU, Missy Gardener of the garden blog? Why I just can't believe you don't know what a castle garden is, silly. Why, it's a garden with all those climbing English roses and trellises and stuff."
Cottage garden. She's thinking cottage garden.
Hoohaha...I finally picked myself up off the mulch and stopped laughing, and she finally stopped sulking, and we patched it all up. I told her I was going to out her. And so I just did.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

And Now We Are Six.

You'll indulge me just a tad, won't you? Poor wabi-sabi home and garden have been severely neglected this week as my baby turned 6. Six! Oh, the bittersweet taste of a child growing up. Isn't he just the most precious thing you've ever, ever seen? My boy.

Birthday mornings around here always start with cake, chocolate cake, and our sweet family celebrations ring. I've been waiting years to get that little gnome carrying a 6, and now it's finally here. I was very happysad ordering it. The big present of the day was the long-awaited, much begged-for kitty. That cute little black kitten just had to make an appearance on the six-year cake, don't you think? Here is the new kitty in real life:

Oooo, could you just do some serious kitty squeezin' or what? He came fresh from the Town Lake Animal Shelter and he is just the best cat. Very confident, smart as a whip, "talks" like a maniac (good luck getting a word in edgewise around here), and holds his own around the dogs with no problemo. Good, good cat. Tibbs is the name. You would have been proud of me not controlling the naming of the cat. I love to name things and I have a long list of "perfect" names just waiting to be used. Apparently, the birthday boy has a list of his own, thank you very much. I was able to dissuade him from the name Snardu. I'm a nice mama, but not that nice.

Lucky little boy had a tee-ball game on his birthday and you know what that means, don't you? Baseball cake! High fructose corn syrup, red dye #4, baked at HEB baseball cake! Mmm, mmm. They got that and a Sprite (from the league). I know my name was being cursed all night long by 13 mamas and/or daddies trying to get their very hyper little boys to bed. Some of them were lucky enough to have two kids eating cake and drinking Sprite. Good times, y'all.

I just had to show you a picture of my Finn's favorite present. A new chess set, but not just any chess set...a PIRATES vs the English navy chess set. Honeychild, I coveted this thing at Terra Toys forever. I talked it up so much that Finn finally believed he wanted it himself (clever mama's are good at that kinda stuff). I tricked him too for a big birthday whammy. I got him all into it and then told him I couldn't find one. I think he was truly disappointed. Big thrills when he opened it up. His grandma gave it to him so he was extra surprised and jazzed. I ended up buying it at the greatest store in the world ever! This store that I have driven by 10,000 times and never bothered to go in: Great Hall Games up here on Lamar at 2222. Dude...I never. I mean I never! I am smitten, bowled over, in love, swooning, delirious... I. love. this. store. You gotta go, you just gotta. Bring only as much money as you can spend because if you go with a credit card you just might be in big trouble. Like me. We're eating ramen around here for the rest of the month if you know what I'm sayin'.
Thanks for letting me go on and on about my boy. I promise to go back to home and garden tomorrow with a funny story for you about my new "castle garden." Oh, and I use the word tomorrow lightly.
PS Don't be too impressed (a little would be just fine). Playing chess is not hard, really. Playing good chess is another thing altogether.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring!

We're busy getting ready for some little boy's birthday, but I just wanted to wish you a happy, happy equinox.
Keep calm and carry on.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I just cannot believe how quickly things grow in the spring. I never, ever, ever cease to just be thrilled at every new leaf and shoot. Ever since it warmed up, I have been checking the yard habitually to see what's coming up and what's gonna get ripped out. I swear, I mean, really, really swear that stuff is growing right before my very eyes! Magnificent!

This asparagus was barely visible just a few days ago. Just teensy, tiny little sproutolas, and now look! You can really see them. I can't believe they made it through the big freeze as I just planted them on a lark in the fall. They were in the "sucka" bin at the-nursery-that-I-don't-really-like-which-shall-not-be-named. I give them a big Huzzah whenever I walk by.

I am not joking when I tell you that yesterday there was nothing showing on this butterfly plant thingee. NOTHING. I stood and stared at this thing for probably 10 minutes today to see if I could actually see it growing. How could this come up in one day? How, I ask you?

Cross vine, cross vine, I loves my cross vine. I simply cannot say that name without envisioning a grouchy vine hurling obscenities at the rest of the garden (or at me, heaven forbid). I love the word cross. My mama always used it instead of grouchy or crabby or whatever, and now I use it too. Course, I rarely have occasion to use because no one in my family is ever cross, you know. Anyhoo, this thing is growing like a ...well, a vine. A weed! A bamboo! A little boy that I love soooo much! It is growing faster than I can photograph it. If you want some hot showy color and you want it to climb and you want it fast, this baby is just the thing. It survived the frost, it survived last summer's drought and it's one of the first things going crazy now. It almost creeps me out though. I've seen too many horror films, read too much Stephen King, altered the much-younger version of my brain too much. (Whose creepy old pterodactyl hand is that?)

These buds were. not. there. yesterday. EEK! EEK or WEEE, or both, I guess.
I'm secretly hoping that some of my stuff won't come back so I can go blow my whole allowance next month on new stuff. Girl, that is some fun to fill up the old wagon with tons of the little 4" plants. You really can get a lot for your money with the little plants. I have to steer clear of the pricey stuff because I still don't quite know what the hell I'm doing. I can afford to kill a plant that costs $2.99, but not one that costs $9.99 or $24.99 or the one I really want which is $200! (Yes, I am still saving.)
Speaking of some fun - I had FinnigantheCurious and couple of his little friends out for pizza the other day. I was telling them a very short version of Charlotte's Web (which they already know, but clamor for anyway), and I was sayin' how Charlotte wrote "Some Pig" in her web. Well, then we got to talking about what that meant, and how most people don't use that expression anymore (sadly), and they just thought it was a hoot, and so we spent the rest of the day saying that everything was some thing.
That was some pizza.
That was some ice cream.
That was some toy store.
The day ended with Finn claiming the final some victory: "That was some fart."
Kids, spring, gardens, allowance money - they are all some wonderful.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


At last! At last! Spring has sprung. Oh, I know not to put the sweaters up yet, but who can resist the warmth? The sun? The bees and the tiny buds? The weeds.
Jackdaddy was resigned kind enough to break down the old raised beds which were not getting enough sun, reconfigure them, and help move them into a new spot. This is my last try at a spring/summer garden. If sun is not the issue, I am just going to be a fall veggie girl for good. I can do nothing more than I have done: raised beds, $400 per yard soil, $500 per yard compost, water timers, blah, blah, blah. I'm pretty sure sun is the culprit though (pleasepleaseplease). This is one of the old beds. This one was spared by a few days as it still has some yummy lettuce and broccoli in it.

Old bed carcass. Mmm, manly man leg and crowbar.

Ooo pretty, pretty! Aren't they gorgeous? Finally, something to sit on top of the mulch which is sitting on top of the cardboard which is sitting on top of a yard full of weeds which is sitting on top of a yard full of formerly dead soil.

THIS is the product of my third year of trying to grow carrots. As I was moving the soil from the old bed to the new beds, I found these tiny things. WHY can everyone else grow carrots? Why, I ask you, why? I'm going to bribe Iris from Society Garlic to come over and make mine grow like hers. If she doesn't I will pout and kvetch and whine until someone does so, watch out.

Plants from the Sunshine Garden's Plant Sale. Is that the cutest place in the world? Every time I go there I get all teary at the sweetness and beauty and earthiness of it all. Makes me love the world so ... all those babies and old people and young people trying to make the Earth a better place. Sniff.

First casualty. See the empty tomato cage? There was a tomato in there. I emphasize the word was. I don't know who got it, but my money is on a squirrel. Ratbastard. Warthog. Villain. Poopyhead.

My new herb bed. When I broke down the old veggie bed, I had this Shangri-Lah patch of yummy earth left behind so I decided to put the herbs in there. I had a bunch of branches and stones in my crap pile and they made a sweet, natural looking border for it.

Can anyone tell me what this stuff is? Is this what they call duckweed? I really like it. I let it grow wild. I have a feeling it is taking over, but I still like far.

*Note* My dear neighbor, friend, and Master Gardener, Elaine says this about the mystery plant: Your mystery plant is Dichondra (don't know what species). It's a little
ground cover that reproduces by stolons. It always stays small but can make
an attractive clump in a season. It doesn't seem to be bothered by drought,
cold, a little foot traffic, or regular watering. It looks quite nice in
between paving stones. I have some growing at the corner of one of my front
beds and I like the look of it, so I refer to it as groundcover instead of a
weed. It's related to pony foot.
Thanks Ms. E!

Last, but not least, a word to the wise - proofreading is valuable in the garden as well as on the blog. Or maybe I was just feeling some love for the beautiful rocket gate that Jackdaddy made so many years ago when the dogs were babies. Keeping it close, like a Mama should.
(I think it might be hard to says: KEEP GATE CLOSE)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Little Boxes Everywhere.

Isn't that just the most precious thing you've ever seen, ever? This is my favorite thing in my boy's room. I just painted his room this crazy electric baby blue color, and the "Finn Box" looks soooo amazing yup against it. When Finn was a baby he was fascinated with this box. He just loved to hold it and stare at it (and try to pry the train off it). I added that little Peter Pan/Robin Hood boy that I found at Savers because, well, who can resist a little Peter Pan all alone at a thrift store? This sweet box was just the spot for him.

Here's the view from the other side so you can see the compass. I. love. compasses. And the maps as the background! How perfect is that for a curious boy? I tried to make one of these boxes because I love them so, and mine looked like an angry 4-year-old had designed it. It was all wrong. How does she do it?

And this one! I do not think that anyone has ever come into my home without stopping to look at this piece and ask about it. Who would ever think to put a tiny, red fox underground like that? I mean, would you ever think of that? And a chandelier? A fox and a chandelier! I have always called this piece, "The Fantastic Mr. Fox Box." Being a Roald Dahl fanatic and all, you know.
These delicious pieces of art are made by my delicious friend Lynell. She has a new blog called 365making, and it is sooooo cool. I just drool over every little thing she creates. She recently RETIRED and the art is flowing, lemme tell ya. She also has a dreamy house that she is decorating to the nines (as she always does cuz she has the best taste) and she'll show you some of that too.
I can't type too much today because my hands are still throbbing from sawing all weekend. (ME, sawing!) Gardening uses muscles I never even knew existed.
If I just had a new little box, I'm sure I would feel better pronto. Or maybe a new shirt with a bird on it. I know that would help my poor hands. (Hint, hint and hee, hee.)