Friday, May 31, 2013

Gray and Rainy

It's both easier and more difficult to get my steps in when it rains.  I can't do anything with my flowers and because the wind is blowing the rain onto the porch.  But I don't have anything else on my list of things to do that involves moving about.  So I can walk a short distance on the porch to get my steps in.  My inside list includes cutting up onions for the freezer and strawberries for refrigerator snacks.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Asparagus and Day Lilies

This morning we replanted asparagus. We planted some several weeks ago.  Only a couple came up.  So Larry ordered some from a seed company called Jung.  These looked better and had planting directions.  Following the directions took both of us.  Larry prepared the planting furrow with his tiller and an attachment.  Well, it was very deep.  I am the lucky one that had to bend over and put them in, spreading the roots.
I do not wake up happily.  He managed to leave me alone long enough to get one mug of coffee in.  But standing on my head in a trench on one mug of coffee almost had me rolling down into the trench!  Head rush.  Maybe I should have found breakfast before planting but I really hate breakfast.
Anyway, this morning we planted the asparagus.
This afternoon I planted some of the daylilies I've been stashing around.  I can't believe how quickly the clay dries out.  So we watered the two lilacs we'd planted.  I hope they live.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Conference with the Doctor

We had our lab work done last Thursday.  We got our results in the mail Friday morning.  Today we went to see what he had to tell us.
He told me he was impressed.  He'd recommended I take statin and I had refused it.  He said bringing my cholesterol down through diet was very unusual and most people couldn't do it:)
He asked Larry if he had any idea why his A1c went up.  Larry said no and I said I didn't understand why his triglycerides went down and his A1c went up.  He started looking at the medications Larry in on and asked who prescribed one of them and why.  Larry knew who but not why.  He said it is a steroid and can run up blood sugar.  He has been on that medication for years!  The doctor said he wants Larry to reduce the dosage on a schedule with the plan of eliminating it all together.  That is wonderful news and may help more than just our budget.  If his blood sugar could respond more appropriately to his diet, Larry may be more particular about his diet.
On another topic, I asked about my knee.  I'm scheduled for an mri next Tuesday.  It freaks Larry out to have one.  I've never had one and don't know how I'll react.

That's Disappointing

That hole is where my pepper plant was.  The green leaves show all that is left.  I don't know what did it.  The hole doesn't go down to the ground.  My neighbor thinks an armadillo did it.  Larry thinks a bird did it.  I don't have a clue.  I hope whatever it was doesn't want the rest of them!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Green Weed Suppression

I put cardboard down and covered it with mulch inside my tire garden.  Today I decided to plant three gardenia cuttings I rooted.  Well, digging a hole through the cardboard was about as much fun as I expected it to be.  But it can be done.  I think it might be easier because the cardboard was still moist from our last rain.
A friend said she was using the idea of cardboard or newspaper under mulch for weed suppression.  I hope she watered it.  I put mine down where I wasn't trying to grow anything, I just didn't want to use the lawnmower and a hoe.  I didn't put the cardboard close to plants.  What I planted today, however, will require watering occasionally.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Snack Idea

I like Cajun Trail Mix (WalMart) but it's kind of high in carbs.  I also like almonds (Wonderful brand at Sam's Club).  I mixed them, heavier on the almonds, so I get a bit of the Cajun Trail Mix and mostly almonds.

5 Sections Sprayed with Miracle-Gro

I did not get my 10,000 steps in today.  I still might.  I have 9,400 so far.  But I did go to the store (check, one thing down) and spray all five sections with miracle gro.  I bought the x-hoses so dragging the hoses around wouldn't be such a weighty problem.  As advertised, they don't kink or tangle up.  Now my only problem is trying to get the hoses connected to the sprayer.  Actually, that is easy.  I can't get them loose again.  I need to use different faucets to get to different areas.  I already have hoses in some places so it is not a case of just connecting to the faucet and disconnecting.  I have to take the wand off in two places and put the sprayer on.  All of that worked for me today except right at the end...I couldn't get the sprayer off of the double x-hose that I used on the knockout rose strip that is parallel to the road.  It came off the hose just fine.  It wouldn't come off the x-hose itself.  I think I have solved it for now because I bought an extra sprayer.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

T Shirts

Joann's had a sale on t-shirts.  I went to buy white t-shirts there on Saturday and walked in on the sale. Wow! 4 for $10.  I thought they were a good deal when not on sale but four for ten dollars?  The last time I bought them, I bought one white and some other colors.  This time I went back on purpose to buy more white ones because summer is finally coming and I like to wear white when gardening or whatever it is I do and get so dirty doing. The t-shirts are long enough and hold their shape.  The feel of them isn't silky and dressy, but I'm not wearing them to dress up.  These t-shirts are for printing on, but nobody checks to see if I decorate them. 

Thought They Were Finished

Two more irises I haven't seen before.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Diet and... well, Diet

I keep hearing about diet and exercise.  I am convinced of the efficacy of diet, but I really am not a fan of exercise.  My doctor is willing to consider walking as exercise but since nothing hurts and I can breathe, I may not be doing it right.  But I'm not planning on having joints replaced if I can help it.  Larry did all kinds of sports and was thin.  He hit a certain age and wham!  Bad health hit.  I wasn't thin and did as little as possible.  I hit a certain age and wham!  The type 2 diabetes monster started stalking me.  I think maybe exercise is a lie from people who own gyms and sell fitness equipment.  Or not.  I don't know. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

First Strawberries from Tire Garden

I don't know if we'll get all that many this year, but I'm pretty excited about it.
The knock out roses are wonderful but have no fragrance.  The hybrid tea roses are not gorgeous right now.  The perpetual rain we've had has been a problem although the cool weather has held the blooms longer.  The fragrance, however, is heavenly.

Lunch on the River

 It is a beautiful day for lunch on the river.
The proprietor said the sign didn't lie today.  We've been there when it said closed and was open as well as when it said it was open but it wasn't.
My lab work was yesterday and was wonderful.  Today I had a hot fudge cake for dessert and no lunch at all.  Larry was much more reasonable.  His results were better in every aspect except A1c.  But his numbers still weren't great.

Rural Hello

Cars and trucks wave and/or honk.  The Amish buggies wave.  The guys riding crotch rockets goose them as they drive by.  

Yea, Me!

I had my lab work done yesterday and got the results in the mail today.  My triglycerides were 63, my A1c 6.0, my cholesterol was 183.  The hdl was 72 and ldl 97. I actually have the paper in front of me so these numbers are accurate.
I've been trying to bring down my cholesterol.  Getting the total under 200 and the ldl under 100 was the goal.  The doctor didn't think I could do it because my triglycerides were already low.  But what I had done was leave off fiber because that's where the carbs were.  I am not a big fan of vegetables so it wasn't a hardship to forgo them. So I've tried to put salads and low-carb vegetables back in and have been using nut and seed flours for baking and bread.  I also tweaked my supplements after reading the efficacy of supplements site.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quieter Than a Cat

A lady at the hospital was complaining about the scratches on her arms she'd gotten trimming her roses.
I looked at her arms and said, "Well, roses are quieter than a cat."  She looked as if she'd tried to bathe a cat.

Looked Forward to Being Old

For years I've anticipated being old.  My picture of it was me sitting in a rocking chair on the porch whiling away my time.
Well, I'm retired now.  I guess if I'd thought about it, I'd have known somebody would have to do all the stuff that needs to be done around here!
But I am getting in my rocking chair time:) I wasn't picturing me on a ladder holding screen taut so Larry could staple it, etc.

She's Got a Way With Words

A friend was telling about visiting her future mother-in-law.  The mother-in-law commented in my friend's hearing about how big my friend's backside was.
On their way home, my friend said, "Your mother's got a way with words."
He said, "She got away with those."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Shoveling Counts as Steps

 I've dug a trench around a little over 1/4 of the outside of the tire garden.  I was happy that my fitbit counted it as steps.  It did NOT count it as high level activity.  I wonder how it determines that because I honestly felt that it was pretty high level for me.  I guess I should have shoveled faster.  Right.
Here are some of the day lilies I plan to put in the trenches.

New Little Gem

 We planted this Little Gem Magnolia a couple of years ago.  The first year it had a few blooms.  But last year it had a lot.
We planted this one today.  The nursery guy said it is a dwarf.  I really thought all Little Gems were dwarfed (Little).  But anyway, this one has ten buds on it!  We planted it very near the bird feeder so the birds will have another one to perch in.  Cardinals are lovely against the foliage.


I really like dichondra planted in hanging baskets and flower boxes.  It's kind of pricy to buy as much of it as I want.
I've tried bringing it into the greenhouse over the winter.  It dies.  Once in a while some of it survives, but very little. Then it has long trailing strands that are kind of dead.  Sometimes they make little new plants partway down a strand.
I tried fastening a live strand across potting soil.  I bent florist wire to hold the strand down on the soil.  That kind of worked.
I tried getting the seeds out of the long strands.  I've bought seeds so there must be a way to do it.
Anyway, with the various ways I've tried, another possibility is planting the long dead strand under a little soil.  The seeds in the strand may sprout.  It's important to cover it with a bit of soil or birds grab an huge mass of it and try to fly back to include it in their nests.
So I'm treating the dead strands like a seed tape.  I hope it works.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fitbit Spurs Me On

I have to say that it is difficult to get my 10,000 steps in when I spend time on the ladder holding screen so Larry can staple it.  Weeding isn't very mobile, either.  But fertilizing my roses and tire garden got some steps in.  Deadheading irises gave me a few more.  I still ended up walking on the porch and in the house trying to get to 10,000.

Chartreuse Iris?

It looks more green than yellow in real life.


I've seen spiderwort before, but my mother-in-law called it bluegrass. I didn't realize it came in different colors.  I now have at least three colors.  I also didn't know that it is edible.  It was used in the past as a medicine, too.  The article I was looking at yesterday said that if a blue spiderwort started to turn pink in the center (stamen?), it is a sign of radiation or chemical pollution.  That is interesting but I'll go back and read about it when I'm pretty sure that mine live.
 This strip next to the porch looks as if it will provide morning sun and water when I water my flower boxes and baskets.  It is covered with leaves.  I raked the leaves out and planted the spiderwort.  I planted two more things that I have no idea what they are.
 Below is the pile of leaves I raked from next to the porch.  I used the leaf vac to shred them and then dumped the shredded leaves back around the things I planted this morning.  The pine bark nuggets kept stopping up the leaf vac until I figured out what was doing it. They are heavier than the leaves so I stopped trying to vacuum all the way to the grass.  I just upsucked the leaves and then raked the pine bark nuggets (pine nark buggets when I'm in a hurry) back into the flowerbed.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

It's Our Turn to Give Irises Away

My husband was concerned with how many irises we have and this morning we went to a friend's house and dug up more.
My husband said, "I know you don't want straight rows of irises, but I could till a row and you could put them there."
I said, "I'm going to keep the ones I got today and give away duplicates of what we already have." 
All of our irises were given to us by people thinning theirs or moving.  It's our turn to give some away.  I already have a person scheduled to come pick them up tomorrow:)  She's new in the neighborhood and is anxious to start establishing her yard.

Flowers in the Bank

 A friend is moving from a lawn of several acres to one of part of an acre.  She has many lovely plants, including irises:)  She is very generous about sharing.  I said it will be like having plants in the bank.  If there is something she especially likes that doesn't survive the move, her friends will have enough to give her another start.  She said, "If I could remember who I gave what to." 
 A couple of the irises had blooms on them which was wonderful...I knew I wouldn't be moving some I already have.  After an hour in the back of the truck, the bloom isn't gorgeous, but it was before it was beaten to death by the wind.
This one survived better.
It took a while to get up my nerve to get the plants out of the back of the truck.  Somebody's dog made itself comfortable under the truck and refused to leave.  It did not object to vinegar in a spray bottle, a broom, or loud, mean shouts.
Finally I moved the truck and it wandered off.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tiring and Tiresome

This morning we started out by driving an hour to pick up 50 lbs. of videlia onions somebody was selling as a fundraiser.  We also went to Sam's Club and ate at Cracker Barrel.
When we got home, Larry went to pick up the kid who helps me with yard work.  Well, sometimes he just does it and I watch.  But today I had him digging up day lilies we'd stashed beside the heating unit last year when he dug them up from other places in the yard.  They were taking over my rose bed.  While he was digging up the lilies, I took a hay fork and some buckets down to the tire garden because that was where I wanted him to work next.  I had cardboard and papers ready to spread on the ground.
He dug through the electric cable and gas pipe.  So Larry turned everything off and I called the guy who knows how to do everything.  He came right over and fixed both.
Then I put down cardboard (rip them so they would lay flat.  Jake put a thick coat of mulch on top of that.
When I ran out of paper and cardboard, I filled the buckets and he dumped them...for a while.  Then I watched him do both.
It looks pretty well finished, but it is the angle from the porch.  It is really only about half done.  But it was a long day.
Then I deadheaded irises and spray fertilized two more sections.  That's three out of five sections finished for this week.  I need to do the other two sections tomorrow if I plan to fertilize once a week.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Vacation Idea Long Ago

Once after a couple of weeks in Spain, I came home relaxed and calm.  I decided to try to identify what parts of the vacation had given me that calm.  I decided that I enjoyed walking some.  I enjoyed being outside.  And I enjoyed spending a little money.  I seriously despise shopping, but walking to the store and buying a can of olives or a couple of pieces of fruit didn't stress me.
Trying to implement a few of the things I enjoyed every single day was my next decision.  I didn't want to just enjoy two or three weeks a year. 
I loved hotels with flowers.  I decided that surrounding my home with flowers would be good.  I'm pretty sure most people don't look at vacations as a way to improve their homes, but that has worked for me.
I can't put the beach at my home and I really don't want to live on a beach.  I'm ok with visiting beaches.  But I want calm and flowers at home.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Busy Thursday

Today we went to an outlet and I had good luck.  Usually I go when they have absolutely nothing  for the upcoming season.  But they had shorts and that was what I wanted.  I have to try each and every one on because sometimes they are obviously not made for me...all those low riders are somebody else's. Sometimes the tag indicates that they aren't for me, but sometimes not.  I can also pick up the wrong size if it happens to be a particularly nice color.  So I just have to try stuff on.
Then we ate at a restaurant and had the buffet.  It wasn't the Golden Corral, but it was good.  Too bad about no chocolate fountain.
We stopped at rural king on the way home and they had dichondra, silver falls, which I've been looking for:)
When we got home, Larry started cutting grass and I started planting things. Then fertilized one of the sections (There are about five sections).
It was busy. But it was good.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Next for Strawberry Tire Garden

The weeds are taller than the garlic inside the tire garden.  The blackberries are okay so far but I have figured out a plan for weed control.
Yesterday and today I brought home cardboard from the trash bins of the hospital.  Today mulch was delivered.  The pile is in the back on the right.  I'm going to spread a layer of paper and cardboard over the weeds and then put a nice layer of mulch over that.
I also intend to do it around the outside of the tires, too.

Iris #22

Iris #22

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Next Spring Things

 This is a Mardi Gras rose with a background of Japanese Maple.
 I put these tires at the top edge of my hybrid tea rose strip to keep people from running their four-wheelers in it.  Then I decided to put screen wire, newspaper, mulch and potting soil in them and plant a couple of cherry tomatoes and banana peppers.
 The knockout roses are blooming now.
 One of the clematis vines has started to bloom.
The azaleas are blooming, too.  This one has two different kinds of blooms, solid and variegated.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Iris # 19 and #20

 This one is #20.  It is a delicate light gray.
#19: dark burgundy on top and bottom.
I put about fifty markers out today so I'll have a clue which ones are which when they are no longer blooming.  Forty of them are wooden and about a dozen were plastic knives.

At Your Age

Why do doctors assume being old means I have arthritis instead of a pinched nerve?  I'm not that much older than I was yesterday.

Nice Together

I bought very small knockout roses a couple of years ago for this strip.  But the crepe myrtle (not blooming yet but supposed to be about the same pink as the knockout roses) I rooted to be sure of the color.  They seed readily but if I just dig one up, I plant it in a nearby wooded area.  I want these to match the roses so I root them. The irises were given to me by various people and so were the daylilies.  I mulch, but I still have a bit of weeding to do.

Identification Stakes

The little blue stake has an identification number on it that matches the number of the iris as I've posted it.  The one I've shown here has a 3 on it that identifies it when no longer blooming as a lovely salmon color.

Strawberry Vandal

I think I have a strawberry vandal. 
 Many of the tires' strawberries look as they should.
 But some look as if something has chomped everything off next to the soil. Maybe deer are the culprit.

 But some of them have round holes coming up from the bottom.  Moles make round holes but don't eat leaves.  Voles use mole tunnels but eat the entire plant, leaving nothing.  I don't know what is destroying them.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ring of Fire Series by Eric Flint and Others

Baen Publishing Company has a free library of ebooks.  They are science fiction and fantasy books.  I like several of their authors a lot.  The Ring of Fire Series begins with 1632 and is an alternative history.  I like the idea, also, that fans have become so involved with the series that they've written stories that go with the basic series...and they're good!  I don't usually care for short stories, but these fit into the series somewhat like chapters in a book.  The Grantville Gazettes are the short stories. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Single-serving Tuna Pouch

I'm not a big fan of salads but I decided to have a salad for dinner and put one of the single-serving pouches of tuna on it.  It's the first time I've tried it... the tuna pouch, not salad...I've had that before.  I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't have any salad dressing so I used one of the packages of Ranch dressing I had in the cabinet.  I followed the directions (add one cup mayonnaise and one cup of milk...well, I had half and half) and was very pleased with that, also.

Summer Kitchen May, 2013

 Half of it is screened in now with a ceiling.

Iris #17

Iris #17

Friday, May 10, 2013


The full glory of iris blooms is past although we still have a lot of blooms.  The roses are about ready to bloom, the azaleas, and peonies, also. I don't usually cut flowers but I was afraid the rain would destroy the blooms.  The fragrance is very pleasant, too. As usual, my camera doesn't do them justice.  They are white tinged with pink.

Hoping for Something Cuter

I've been looking for a way to identify plants and colors.  I've looked at catalogs, online, and a hardware store's garden department.  At the garden department a very helpful clerk showed me what they had.  But really, I was looking for something cuter.
So my husband said he could get treated 2x4s and I could paint them and write whatever I wanted to on them.  So I thought about some wooden templates I had gotten from Hobby Lobby when I was painting them for Christmas mementos for students.  I don't know how many I have, but a good many.  So I dug them out and thought they would be cute attached to the tops of the stakes.  My husband agreed that they will be cute, but doesn't think they will be durable even if they are painted with exterior gloss.  But I already have them and exterior paint so I thought I'd try them.
We've had 4.4 inches of rain and it was still raining when I got all my stuff out onto the porch.
The wind caught the light wooden templates and lofted them off of the little bottles of paint when I had put them to dry.  Maybe later.

Tennessee #1 for Retirees

This morning it was announced that Tennessee is #1 in the nation for retirees for purposes of taxes, cost of living, and access to health care.  I've noticed people from northern states like Massachusetts and Michigan moving here...more than one family just in our little area.

Iris # 15 & 16

#16 This is actually a deep, glossy purple.  The variation in color is evidently my camera and the light.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Mind's Eye

It was dusk today but the setting sun's rays where shining on the cardinals on the platform bird feeder, the ground beneath it and two on the Little Gem Magnolia tree nearby.  One of the cardinals on the Little Gem was perched right on top.
I asked my husband if he saw it and he said, "The angel on top of the tree?"  That was what I was thinking, too.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Big Girl Panties

I'm going to change the names in this. 
The principal told Betty that she had to teach a different grade level next year because the teachers on that grade weren't getting along.
Betty said that she'd taught four years with Lou who didn't get along with anybody and she just had to put on her big-girl panties and suck it up.
The next day the principal say Betty in the hall and asked if she had her big-girl panties on.
Betty said she'd spent a lot of time the night before hoping she'd said "big-girl pants."
The principal said, "No, panties!"

Roadside Flowerbed

 This end of the strip of flowerbed beside the road was started a year ago.  The irises are doing well and the knockout roses are still small.
This is part of the same strip but I started this end two years ago.  I love how the strip is coming along.  The knockout roses are just starting to bloom, but it is lush and healthy-looking.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Flower Bed Sections

I'm trying to note which colors of irises I have where so I can group the colors on purpose rather than randomly.  I like white and yellow, but really I want some darker colors mixed with them.
I've been painting numbers on them as they bloom but it has rained for a couple of days and painting wet foliage doesn't sound good besides I would be wet.
So I decided I could take pictures of the sections.  Then I could just count which section is which, look at the pictures and decide what is needed.
 The sections are divided by double pink knockout roses.  Between them I've put a pink crepe myrtle.  All around in the sections in addition to the crepe myrtle bushes, I've put irises and daylilies.
 I rooted the crepe myrtles and I'm not finished (There are twenty sections).
 Thissection doesn't have a crepe myrtle yet.  When it gets one, it will still look like this for a while because the cuttings are just twigs.  But they grow fast.
This section is finished except I may add another color of iris.  Over half of the sections are finished except for adding a different color iris if all they have is yellow and white.

Who's Cutting Grass?

My husband asked who was cutting grass so I went to look.  I didn't know who it was but he was cutting our grass.

14th Iris Color

I guess the light was too harsh.  I'll try to get a better shot later.  This is a lovely purple with lime green Iris.
I don't remember seeing it before so I guess somebody gave it to me when it wasn't blooming and it didn't bloom last year.  I keep looking at Iris Identification sites without much luck trying to determine what the names are of what we have.  A friend said they hybridize readily so it is possible to have something that wasn't what it started out to be.  I don't understand how that would happen unless I were growing from seed.