Aug 20, 2008 | 7:51 AM PST
Our summer is drawing to a close in Iowa- August is almost over !! And it's been unusually NICE the past few weeks ! No hideously hot and humid weather during the week of the fair, not many stormy days recently- it's just been very pleasantly warm and cool at night. I'm looking forward to the end of the gardening season too- something very rewarding about spending a day outside in the crisp cool air yanking up spent tomato plants and weeding everything one last time. I love it !!! Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year- I love the falling leaves, the smell of burning leaves, raking (yes, I love raking !!!), apple-picking, pumpkins, baking, and cooking "winter foods" like chili and beef stew and a big roast turkey- things we normally don't spend all day in the kitchen during the summer cooking. My house is SLOWLY getting back into order- now that construction is finished, wedding guests have returned home and my temporary roommates have moved into their own house. I wish I had more time to spend working around the house and less time to spend in the office.....
My crazy summer is just about to simmer down into history !!! The construction guys are almost done re-building all the damage to my house....... my son's wedding is next week, so soon we'll be all done with visiting relatives, cramming into everyone's car, eating out, and everything will be getting back to NORMAL !!!!!!! I can hardly wait !! I wanna get home today and get my patio furniture back on the deck, crank open the brolly and relax in the shade with a cool beverage !!!!
I've seen the first of the Iowa Sweet Corn stands opening up around the city- I'm pretty excited about that !! I can't wait to bite into my first fresh ear !! And I'm looking forward to a weekend spent over the stove blanching and freezing and canning !! Tomatoes will be coming along soon too !! My co-worker has already been picking matos from her garden.....
While feeding the fish the other day I got the rare treat of seeing my little blue catfish come up for a nibble too- I don't see him too often as he's dark and hard to spot- and I also spotted a couple frogs enjoying the cool shady water !! I do so enjoy having my little pond- it's so relaxing and brings such wonderful animals to my yard. My waterlilies have been blooming like crazy, and the lilies in the garden are in full bloom right now too !! I've seen several hummingbirds flittering about looking for a meal.
So it's starting today...... and I just found out from the contractor that EVERYTHING has to come out of the kitchen and living room- everything in the cupboards, all the furniture, everything off the kitchen counters.... YUCK !!! The upside is, this sounds like it's going to be a very FAST project........
Worked a little in the garden yesterday- one of my tomato plants has several nice little maters going on it, and I have a nice green pepper coming right along too !!! Had my first waterlily bloom of the year too now...... my new shade gardens are coming along nicely !! Since the guys have been cutting up the tree I've had lots of sawdust to use as mulch and it's working great !! Light and easy to shovel and move around. The weatherman says to expect some rain over the next few days so that will help the gardens along too- and less watering for me !! I always seem to have one or two potted plants that really struggle with getting enough water once it warms up.
How sad is it, that in this day and age we have to PROVE our right to grieve ? How warped has society as a whole become that we can't just accept that someone has had a death in the family- you have to PROVE IT.
My mother passed away Wednesday after a lengthy battle with emphysema. If you smoke, please quit. This is a living death that goes on for years. She didn't quit until AFTER she suffered her first total respiratory failure and spent over 2 weeks on the ventilator. I got the call from my dad and sister when I was at the checkout at the grocery store. I didn't answer my cell phone immediately because I think it's just plain rude to ignore the cashier and yack it up on your phone- I handed the phone to my daughter, and was shocked to hear her side of the conversation. I didn't know what had happened until I got to the hospital- just broken bits and pieces.
My parents never had a large group of friends, my mother was from Germany and has no surviving family, never has had any family in the US. My father's family consists of himself, one brother and one sister- far flung across the country now. My parents have never been flashy people, but very conservative old Lutheran folks- with no desire for big funerals and obituaries and so on. My dad did not write an obituary for my mother, and she was cremated yesterday. There will not be any services until after my nephew returns from Ft Bragg and my son's wedding is over in July. My parents were married for 49 years, something almost unheard of these days.
What's my point ? I can't tell you how many times this week I have had to explain to someone that my mother has passed away, only to see the eye-roll, the "I didnt see an obitary.....", or some smart #@!$ comment because there is no funeral right now. Trust me, if I wanted three days of work, I'd just ask for it- I wouldn't tell people my mother had DIED just to get some time off, or some lee-way in a seed exchange, or a postponement for a Partylite Show, or whatever.
I had such fun over the weekend- walked around Walmart Friday night with my daughter, thru the garden section of course, picking up this houseplant and that houseplant and saying each time "God wants me to have this plant" and putting it in the cart- hubby just rolled his eyes when he saw all the treasures I bought- hahahahaha
Houseplants are to a gardener like methadone is to a heroine addict- ALMOST as good as the real thing, and just enough to make you feel better- hahahahahahaha I actually think sometimes that I enjoy playing with houseplants maybe a little more than outdoor gardening. I feel like since I have no control over Mother Nature outside, I can BE Mother Nature INSIDE !!
I've been dragging out my collection of houseplant books and reading up on different methods of propagation and looking at some different plants- things more exciting than the same old pothos you find at every store. Without resorting to mail order, I'm not sure where a person goes to get more exotic or unusual houseplants !! I'm all about instant gratification, so mail order is a last resort for me- plus the plants are often itty bitty teeny weeny and I like a little more substance for my trouble. Seems like I always have a glass of water somewhere with something rooting in it- or flowerpots full of dirt waiting for whatever it is underneath to sprout. This mania has invaded the fridge too- I have a small plastic container of water iris chillin' !!
I have a small bunch of hens and chicks that I rescued from my sister's garden- and they were just kinda plunked down helter skelter in the garden just to get em in the ground- well, after seeing all the succulents at the store, I decided to pluck em back out, mix up a tub of soil/sand mix and plant em in pots !! So I did, repotted a ball cactus I've had a long time, got some spider plant babies started in water, a couple avocados, a mango, and a stack of seed packets waiting to be experimented with. I also bought a bay leaf tree !! I'm excited bout that guy !! Hope he does ok over the winter inside. He is sure a nice, full little guy right now.
Every yr I say to myself, "this yr I'm just going to do a COUPLE pots on the deck- I'm NOT going to go crazy" but by mid June..... all sense is thrown to the wind and I'm filling the last of the pots from the garage with potting mix and plants or seeds of some kind (I'm leaning towards PARSLEY and CHIVES for the last two right now......)
On the homefront- waiting for a couple of the insurance dudes to get over to my house today- they're going to seal it off watertight finally and give us the final estimate. The boat is a total loss so that guy is coming over with the check for us and to take the boat away (sniff sniff....). If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, Thank God for insurance. In spite of all my complaining, I feel very fortunate- I still have a standing home, I'm not enduring the flooding so many others are right now, and I wasn't a tornado victim. I'm very lucky. I'm just inconvenienced, that's all..... on the good side- just think of all the PLANTS I'll be able to buy as I'm replacing the landscaping that was damaged !!! Yay !!!!
As some of you know, my house was damaged by a HUGE oak tree the night before Memorial Day. Even though we have the roof tarped, rain continues to get in and it's causing a tremendous amount of damage to the interior- as well as the devastation to the outside ! Not only did we lose a 200+ year old oak tree, but we also lost the first tree we planted here- 8 yrs ago, a gorgeous cherry tree. It's been a long week and a half of insurance adjusters, rain, storms, loss of power and just chaos. So tonight....... since about 5 pm we have been watching tornado warning after tornado warning in Iowa- just crazy !!!
Sooooooo after a night of never-ending RAIN and thunderstorms, my hubby and I woke up to a huge MESS in the kitchen- of course the rain is still getting in in spite of the tarps- wallpaper is falling off in big sections, the PAINT is peeling off the drywall, which no longer should be called DRYwall, because it sure isn't !! Ugh..... what a mess- and with all the bad weather every day, the contractor can't get up there and start tearing the damaged parts off- it's too dangerous with high wind and lightning. Damned if you do and damned if you don't I guess !! If I've said it once the past couple weeks I've said it twice, THANK GOD for insurance !!!!!! What's the forecast ?? More storms today and then this evening, after heating up to 86 degrees this afternoon, more severe thunderstorms with a greater chance of tornados. Extended forecast ? Rain.... rain.... rain- just about every day for the next week.
With all this rain you'd think my GRASS would look awesome, right ?? NO WAY !!! When our house was built the developer came in and cleared off all the topsoil leaving this horrible sand/clay mix behind, which is what they laid our sod on- now, even eight years later, the grass is soooo crappy, nothing we have done to improve it has been much of a help. And we have tried everything short of paying thousands of bucks for new topsoil trucked in and spread on top. We have patches of thick, lush gorgeous grass in the middle of this vast sea of weeds, brown grass and dead patches......
That's what I love about blogs.... I can gripe and complain all I want !!!
Now to change gears a little bit- I AM very thankful for everything, in spite of the weeds and tree mess, we DO have a lovely home and nice lot, pretty gardens and an awesome fish pond (which is going to be expanded soon !!) Just these little inconveniences....... overall I'm very happy and wouldn't trade my home for anything (although I MIGHT be tempted to trade the grass- hahahahaha)
A few years ago my sister bought a new home and I gave her a bunch of plants out of my garden- well, they have moved into another new home and I just found out- she isn't taking any plants !! So I'm going over to reclaim the bounty !!! Guess I'll be busy in the dirt for this three day weekend !!! I know there are alot of chicks and hens over there and I have some crummy sandy soil so that will be perfect !!!!
I just broke the news to my hubby a few minutes ago about my new pond plans..... he just rolls his eyes and says "how much is this gonna cost me?" hahahahahahaha It's a little bit rainy today and we're having family over for a BBQ tomorrow, or believe me, I'd be digging already !!
I've wanted to have a larger pond for the last couple years, well, truthfully, about 2 weeks after digging the first one !! But this time I think I really have a PLAN and probably..... with a little help from some unsuspecting relatives, I can get working on it maybe even this weekend !!! My idea is this: since I already have a pretty nice little setup and it's well landscaped, rather than dig it all out and enlarge, I'm thinking I'll dig a neighboring pond and then a deep "trench" between them so not only can I add more fish, the ones who are residents now can travel back and forth- if it's deep they'll be safe from neighbor kitties too. I actually have a good place in mine because right next to my current pond is a little area my son and I made into a sorta flagstone patio area- but I've never been too thrilled about how it turned out.....
Another "project" of mine that I've recently gotten really interested in is growing new plants from seed or cuttings- never really did that much, other than the odd herb or marigold. I stumbled across a few sites that had great instructions for growing everything from carrot tops to cranberry seeds to COCONUTS !!!! So, I've been eating alot more avocados and mangos than I usually do. Funny story- decided last night at the grocery store to try growing citrus from seed, so I got a nice fat orange and a good looking line..... bring the orange with me to work today, along with a clean ziploc bag, coffee filter and water so I'm all ready to do it immediately like my research says, and not to let the seed dry out.... and darnit- it was a SEEDLESS orange !!!! Quite a tasty one tho !! Looks like I might be having a margarita this evening and breaking into that lime !! I've got several avocados now potted and a very carefully tended to mango seed that I removed from the pit and potted in sand. Years ago I started a mango from a pit, and didn't remove the hard outer shell- it sprouted anyway !! But my stinkin cat bit the whole plant off and it died. I'm gonna have to look into this coconut idea..... that's gotta be a real challenge !!!!