Saturday, May 27, 2006

Check, Check, and Check

This one is going to be a long one and it has a gazillion pictures, so if you're on dial-up, go get a pop or something while the page loads. I did resize the pics for once, so maybe they won't take up so long to load. Maybe.

Yesterday I got it into my head to clean my office. This is what the rest of the basement looked like.

This is what the office looked like.

This is Thor hiding in his kennel in case I took it into my head to throw HIM away. He does need a good trim, but I wouldn't toss him over that. Silly dog.

After three hours, I'd made a lot of progress.

Sensing a disturbance in the basement yin and yang, the twins got to work.

But in the end, I prevailed.

That was yesterday. Now we'll cover today.

I didn't intend it to be a Memorial Day Weekend kind of day. Because Mom was visiting, I was okay with getting the grill to a place where it would work again and I was okay with doing, say, the backyard while she was here.

But it didn't work out that way. In my usual way, my realistic plans gave way as I added "just one more thing" here and there. My first mistake was in going to bed at a reasonable hour last night and then sleeping until 9:30am. With so much sleep under my belt, I felt ready to do anything. So I got the silly idea that I could do anything.

My second mistake was in going to Lowe's on Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend just to get a propane tank and "a few pvc pipes for the garden" (to string up tomatoes and beans). My jaw dropped as I came within sight of Lowe's. For yeah and verily, the last frost is past (it was this past Tuesday) and with a three-day weekend ahead--everyone's a gardener. I found a parking space. I was lucky. There were people circling the parking lot as if it were Black Friday in Christmas season.

I headed over to the garden center first, drawn by the smorgesbord (sp?) of plants displayed and the incredible crowd (we're all such caterpillars--obscure 70's book reference du jour). They had cucumbers, and I wanted cucumber plants, so I picked up four pickling and four slicing. It wasn't until I got home that I realized that all the sticks say simply, "cucumber"--so I guess we'll have to see what they look like when they mature. I got four more pepper plants--some hot, some sweet--one single zuchinni plant, and a watermelon plant (for Max). They had a six pack of cheap tomoto stakes, so I dropped the pvc pipe idea and bought two packs.

Now, the lines in the garden center were the sort that ruin even the most seasoned shopper's weekend, but as I was picking out cucumber plants (very near the checkout area), I heard one of the managers announce to the crowd that they were opening a third checkout area there. The spot was obviously used maybe twice a year (maybe only on Memorial Day weekend, frankly) and not very many people heard the guy. By the time I was ready to checkout, there were only two people in her line (she was hidden behind a wall of less attractive perennials). So I totally scored. Not only that, but she couldn't call (there was no phone at her station) to tell anyone to meet me at the propane place, and I lucked out again in finding the manager guy hiding behind a wall of wheelbarrows making a personal call. I smiled innocently at him and waited. He called for a propane guy.

So, I was in and out of there in 15 minutes which was just total kismet, frankly. I stopped at Wegman's for buns and ketchup and drove home.

But on the way home I knocked over every little plant--twice. So when I got home I felt like I really had to get the plants in the ground now, today, before they all died of "falling over in the truck" shock. (That's a technical term.)

So I started with the garden. Milo picked all the radishes that were ready to be picked--most of them, all but four, really.

This is fine, since there are already new radishes growing in one of the patio containers.

This picture is for Connie. These are the onions, leeks, and lettuce so far. The lack of rain did a number on the lettuce. It's only just starting to grow. There are a few radishes left on the far left. That area will get planted in carrots soon.

These are the cucumbers (left) and peppers (middle) and sweet peas (right). I need to plant some more sweet peas now that the bales of hay are gone from around the garden frame. (There wasn't really room before.) The big pepper plant there in the middle and the two next to it have been in the garden for over a month (surrounded by the hay bales at night for warmth). The others are new.

Here's a picture of the sloping portion of the front lawn. You can see the tomatoes staked in the back of the garden. Only three of the tomatoes are left over from the cold frame experiment (three out of five did beautifully. two didn't.) The others are little tiny plants that I planted three weeks ago (seeds in dirt in plastic cups)--but since they have their true leaves, I'm taking a chance that they'll do fine now that the weather is warm. I've had them outside during the day every day of their little lives so far anyway. In the front is a broken pot that I dug into the side of the hill, a sort of mini-"raised garden" to give Max's watermelon plant good dirt to start in with good drainage (remember, the rest of the yard is solid red clay) and to encourage it to grow all around the slope and kill the weeds. I don't know what I'm going to do with all that hay now that it has served its purpose as a cold frame.

This is the backyard patio grape tomato plant which apparently never got the memo about it being a tropical plant. It survived over two weeks of very cold night-time temperatures and at least two frosts. It had gotten too big for me to cover it, so I left it to its own devices and it thrived. All I did today was finally buy it a stake and tie it up. It already has green tomatoes growing on it.

The patio and chairs got a good cleaning. It was MUCH filthier than it is shown here. This is post-grilling. We'd already consumed yummy burgers and the first grilled corn of the season. This picture was taken in the evening when most of the backyard was already in shade.

This is the riot of pink things that live on the side of my house. Today's "check mark" was to cut back the ones around the little tree. I bought the trees last year, but didn't have a hose that would reach to them. Without lots of extra watering, they really didn't grow. They'd grow a limb, then it would die, rinse, repeat. I didn't expect it to live through the winter. It did. I've been watering them faithfully and they're already looking much better than last year. But the pink thingies were crowding out the Japanese Maple, so I cut them back today in hopes of getting it some sun. The other white stick back there is where the other maple is. It's not a Japanese Maple, it's some other ornamental, smallish maple.

I planted these last year thinking they were perennials. They're not. So now I want more of them so they'll go all the way around the pear tree. If they're going to come back every year, they should be a complete circle. At least, that's how I think about these things.

Last but not least, the front and back lawns were raked and mowed. That's my Mom wearing my old karate uniform and teaching Ben to cut the tall weeds on the edge of the lawn with scissors. Milo was helping earlier, before he fell out of love with the job. He had the spirit of the project, but not the purpose. He kept chopping off the tops of the weeds, leaving most of the weed still there. But hey, at least he wasn't running in the street.

Child Protective Services, I'm ready for my inspection now.


Risha said...

NO one is every ready for the Spanish Inquisition.

You make me tired.

Writing and Living said...

You did more in your yard today than I've done in my yard since I moved 1997.

Glad you had such a productive day. I love reading your "what we did today" posts.


Jill said...

Wow...your office area looks great...not to mention the rest of the basement, yard, deck. I love the pic of "minion and radishes". I'm glad you had a good day...the work must be easing up a little. Just wanted to let you know that those "pink thingies" are peonies. See you later:)

The Queen said...

Yes and no. Work is about the same, but I reached a point where I knew I'd get more done if I got the rest of the worries off my mind :) And I have to admit the extra sun (in still reasonable temps) clears out the cobwebs in my brain.