Saturday, March 22, 2008

HAPPY EASTER

"Loving Father, may I embrace the cross of your Son as my only hope, my only help, and my only happiness."

I wish you all a Happy Easter!


I am adding a picture of the cake that I made for Easter. I saw it in a magazine, and decided to try it. It turned out great, with lots of comments, and nobody wanting to cut it. As I was finishing it on Saturday night, I ran out of peeps and had to send my husband and son on a "wild peep chase". They had to go to 4 or 5 stores before they found any. They said that they knew that they had better not come home without them. ;) The cake is made with two 9-inch round cakes, one on top of the other.
Iced with chocolate icing and the top layer covered with chocolate chips. Then, I put toothpicks into the peeps, and stuck them in the cake, all the way around the outside. This cake would be great at a summer luncheon or tea, but I am not sure that you can find the peeps that time of year.
Sorry, the picture did not turn out great, but you get the idea.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'VE BEEN OUTED!!

For the past few months our local newspaper has ran a weekly column on bloggers in our area. I have read each one that they have printed. Most all of the blogs that have been highlighted have been about these peoples personal lives, and most from the under 30 crowd. Each week I would become more frustrated, sometimes yelling at the newspaper that there were people out there blogging for a purpose, and not just which bar they got wasted at on Saturday night. Now, I know that is important to some people, but it is much more important to me to know whose lenten rose is blooming first, and who ordered what seeds, and when will they plant them.
So, I decide to send my blog address in to the paper.
Now this is huge for me, because every one of these blogs has a picture attached of the author. I DON'T DO PICTURES! Everybody knows that, my family, my friends, everybody! I thought, oh well, they probably won't use my blog anyway, so I don't need to worry. So, off it went. I didn't hear from them over the next couple of weeks, and so I forgot all about it.
Until Monday morning. An email. "We would like to highlight your blog, and we will need a picture".
Me: "Could you just do it without a picture, maybe use that great smiling sunflower I use on my blog?".
Them: "No, but don't worry, the picture is very small, the size of a postage stamp". Yeah, right. Ok, this is when I tell them forget it. But if I do that, people will never know about all of the great gardening blogs out there. OK, so I send them the smallest picture that I can find.
Them: "We need a bigger picture". DRAT!!! I knew it! Ok, so I ask my Son to take a picture of me. He is laughing his head off, because he knows how I feel about pictures. Finally we get one, and I send it off. I am thinking that I have a few weeks to get used to the idea that my face is going to be plastered all over the newspaper.
But Wednesday morning, there it was.
Luckily, it is in a section of the paper that most people never get to, you know the one with fashion advice, self help columns, and the comics.
So I have been outed in the worst way possible, by the local newspaper. I just hope that my sacrifice has raised the opinions of people everywhere that bloggers aren't a bunch of nuts that don't have anything better to do than send there thought and opinions out into cyberspace, for all to see.
We have a purpose!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WHERE DO YOU BLOG?


It is Spring, and time for me to get back to work. It is also time to put away my "blog work station" at my dining room table. Let me explain. My main computer is in my office. This is a room that was added to our home before we moved here. It has no basement under it, has windows on two walls, and one heat vent for the room. Needless to say, in the winter, it is very cold in there.
So, a few years ago, before I began blogging, I decided that I needed a laptop. There are a few months in the winter, where I don't have to do much in the office for our business, so I thought that with a laptop I would be able to sit in my chair in the living room, where it is warmer, and check mail, do my banking, and play solitaire. I also work on genealogy in the winter months, and I would be able to take the laptop with me in my travels around the country.
Then, last winter while playing around on the internet, I found the librarything website. A place to catalog all of the books in my library, and talk with other people that love books as much as I do. I was hooked.
That website led me to blogging. I shared that story on my anniversary blog. So between blogging, adding books to my personal library, genealogy, and adding books to the library at my church that I started this winter, I needed a place that was convenient and warm. The dining room table fit the bill. We don't often have meals there anymore. It's just the three of us, and we usually eat in the kitchen, or I am embarrassed to say, in the living room in front of the TV.
So I bought a rolling cart from Sam's, and put my printer, scanner, and everything else I would need to create a mini-office on it. I attached a power strip to the side of it, and plugged everything in. That way it takes just one plug to get everything going. It has worked out very well, I even find my Son using it occasionally. If I do need to use the dining room, I wheel my mini-office into my reading room. It has worked out very well, but I am afraid that it is time to close up shop for the season. I will keep up with everyone on my office computer, now that it is warmer in there. My posts will probably not be as frequent either, but I am sure that will happen to a lot of us, because between you and me, if I have the choice of sitting at my computer, or being in my garden, you all know where I will be. I am sure that a lot of you feel the same way.
So, back to my original question. Where do you blog?

Monday, March 17, 2008

PROJECTS

I took a walk around my property on Saturday to decide what had to be done in the beds this season. I had lots of projects last summer, including filling in and repairing a trench made by my husband in an attempt to install a drain, and landscaping around our new patio. I do not have any big plans this year, but I did find a few things that I have been putting off, that need to be done.
One is this beautiful pine tree. My husband insists that it needs to come down. It is the first thing that we planted when we moved here 17 years ago. I always warn people about planting trees to close to power lines and buildings, and this is a perfect example why. At the time that I planted the pine, we had planned to have the power lines buried. The problem with that is, it costs money to have power lines buried, and there was always something that was way more important to spend extra money on, so it never got done, and now it is so expensive, we will never do it. I love this tree, and so do the birds. but I think that the power lines are going to win. I told my husband that he is in charge of cutting it down, I don't want to be around to see it happen. The only good thing is that I will get a large new planting bed in the deal.
The second project that I found in my walk was this area. I wanted to tackle this last summer, but never quit got it accomplished. The idea is to move this raised bed, that I use for holding plants, to another area. Then I want to fence an area for chickens, and use the green shed for the chicken house. Several years ago we raised chickens in this shed, and I would like to do it again. This time though I would like to raise the chickens primarily for eggs, where the last time they were all butchered. I had planned to have it ready this Spring, but as you can see that hasn't happened. This has tended to be the junk collection site, don't we all have one? It will be a great place for chickens, and I am thinking that I can pipe some of the heat generated in the greenhouse, into the shed for warmth early in the Spring. The problem with this project, as with all of the projects in this post, is that it involves my husband. He has his own list of things to do, so I usually have to keep after him to help me with my projects. The shed for the chickens needs some repairs, so this might not get done until sometime this summer. It would be nice have a place to get rid of kitchen waste, and the manure would be a good addition to the compost pile.
The third thing is this picket fence. My husband built it shortly after we moved in. It is starting to rot along the bottom, and some of the boards have rotted all the way through. We have talked about replacing it with the new plastic fencing, but none of the ones we have found really look like the old fashioned picket fences. So, he will probably build a new fence from scratch. We would also like to add a piece of fence across the front of our property so it would match this section. The idea is to build the fence in removable sections, so that they could be brought in one piece at a time, over the winter for painting. Great idea, but we ran out of time. So this project may have to wait for next winter.
The project that I dread the most is cleaning out the pond. I only do this about every three years, and I really hate it. The plants need to be removed, divided, and repotted. The fish need to be removed and the pond drained, and then the foot of muck in the bottom cleaned out. It is such a hard job, and very messy. If anyone wants to help, let me know. Free starts of pond plants, and all of the fish you want. ;)
While walking around I also noted how bad the herb garden looks. It is the only bed that I did not get cleaned up last Fall, so it will have to be the first one that I tackle this Spring. Looking back to posts from last year that have pictures of the herb garden, it is hard to believe that it will look that way again.
So, I have plenty of work cut out for me, and with our busy season upon us, it will be evenings and weekends.
I can't wait to get started!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

SHOPPING

Saturday my Sister and I spent the day running around to all of those places that you always want to go to, but just don't have the time. Our Husband's had left early in the morning for a swap meet in Louisville, something that neither of us were the least bit interested in. On our list was the Tuesday Morning store in West Lafayette. If you do not have one of these stores near you, you are missing out. Before we got one here, we would travel to Indy to shop there. They are filled with quality things, priced lower than what you would normally pay. I receive their ad in the mail, and this month there were a few things that looked interesting. The first thing that I saw when I walked in was the St. Francis statue. I already have a statue of St. Francis, but this one is holding a bowl with a bird on the edge. It will look great on my patio, so I just had to have it. Then I saw this little rabbit. Well, anyone that reads my blog knows of my dislike of anything "rabbitlike". These little varmints eat anything and everything that they get near, and do lots of damage, to my shrubs and perennials during the year.
This one looked very innocent though, and his mouth was welded shut, so I thought that he would be a safe addition to my garden.
The item that I actually went to the store for, and that was in their ad, was this garden basket. It folds flat when you are not using it, and then pops up when it's needed. It is large enough for hauling tools around, but I bought it for harvesting fruits and vegetables. At only $10.00, it was a bargain. I have been wanting to get something specifically for this task, and I think that this will do the trick.
So, I spent a great day with my Sister, and picked up a few things for my garden.
Now I just wish that Spring would hurry up and get here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

ANOTHER BOOK SALE

Well, last Friday night there was another library book sale. These are very dangerous for me, especially when I am starting a church library. Most of my time was spent looking through the religious books, but I could never leave a sale without checking out the gardening books. I did really well this year, either they were picked over before I got to them, or I already owned them. I just ended up with a few. But what an odd assortment. I picked out some really different gardening books at this sale. I wonder if they were all donated by the same person? I will share a couple of the books that I bought that are very different from the normal gardening books I usually purchase.
The first one is called "The One-Minute Gardener". I don't know about you, but this intrigued me. Gardening in a minute. Where is the fun in that? I spend more than a minute just standing at the edge of the garden, wondering what to tackle next. I guess this book would be great for someone that is on a tight schedule.....but really, 1 minute. That is insane. The book does have some good time-management tips in it, so I will put it on my shelf, but I don't ever want to get to the point when I spend just one minute a day in my garden.
The next book is called "The Carpet Garden". I couldn't imagine what this book might have to say, but you guessed it. Cover your garden with carpet, and plant through it. No weeds, no bugs?, no mess! I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to garden in my living room, so this idea is not for me. The only thing that I took from this book was to maybe plant my tomato plant through a square of carpet. This might hold in moisture, and keep the plant dry. But as far as carpeting my whole garden, that's just not going to happen!
Then there was a book on Labyrinth's called, amazingly enough, (get it, maze) Labyrinth. I enjoy labyrinth's but I am not sure I want one on my property. I think that they would take a lot of care, and I just don't see the value in it. So, I will just look through the book when I want to admire the beauty of these things.
Then there is the "The Garlic Lovers' Cookbook" straight from the garlic growing capital of the U.S.A., Gilroy, California. I thought that I might need this when I dig the garlic next Fall, that I planted this past Fall. There are lot's of recipes, and some of the history of the plant. The festival that they have in Gilroy draws thousands of people each year. Local legend says that when Will Roger passed through the town at harvest time, he described it as "the only town in America where you can marinate a steak just by hanging it out on the clothesline".
I also picked up a few older books, one called "The Language of Gardening", and one called "Favorite Flowers in Color". There is nothing like the old gardening books. The one on flowers has 300 pictures, and must weigh 5 pounds. The flower book is from the 1940's, and the language of gardening the 6o's.

Then there is one called "The Lively Garden Prayer Book". It is full of garden prayer-poems. Some of the titles are, "The Hymn of Holy Lettuce", "The Pouting Potato", and "A Dung Beetle's Love Call". It is a very cute book. There is also one called"A Well-Watered Garden" A Gardeners Guide to Spirituality. It is a journal for writing your thoughts down, with scripture passages, and garden ideas, sprinkled throughout the book.
There is a book called, "Tales from the Plant Kingdom" that is signed by the author. It tells the legends and stories about the flowers and plants that we have in our garden.
I also got a book on lavender, entitled, "Lavender". It is one of my favorite plants and this book has tips on growing it, and using it. It has great pictures that I can look at in the winter months. I will just spray the air with lavender essential oil, look at the pictures, and pretend that it is summer outside.
Also, a book called "Kitchen Table Bird Book". Now I have lot's of bird books, but none specifically written to be kept on the kitchen table, and since this is where I mainly watch the birds from, how could I pass it up? It is a nice book, with drawings instead of photo's.I also picked up a copy of a book of "Frog's and Toads". I already have this book in my library, but I bought this one to keep outside with me so that when I run into one of these little guys in my garden, I know who I am dealing with.
These are the most unusual of the books that I bought at the sale, and all at a cost of $1.00 each. All of the books were like new, with no writing or highlighting in them. In this day and age, with books selling in the 10-20 dollar range, you just can't beat it. On that note, I think that I read that West Lafayette is having a book sale in the next few weeks...I had better make some more room on my bookshelves!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

THE SENSITIVE PLANT

After reading Gina, at My Skinny Garden's post on the Tickle Me Plant, I felt that I needed to write about my history with Mimosa Pudica, aka Sensitive Plant.
When I was in seventh grade my science teacher had us do a project growing these plants in paper cups on the window sill. I was totally amazed at these little guys. When you touched them they would wilt, and then recover in about 10 minutes. This plant is where I trace my interest in plants and growing things.
I moved from the sensitive plant to house plants, and then to a small garden behind our garage. I would spend summers with my Grandparents helping them in their garden and lawn. I also spent some time working in a florist shop in a high school job program.
When I graduated, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do with my life. It didn't occur to me that I could work with plants for a living. I lived up North in Highland at the time, and one day my Brother was visiting from Lafayette and suggested that I come home with him and see if I could get a job working in a garden center in Lafayette. I really didn't think that would happen, but I agreed to try. The first one that I walked into hired me. I then had to return home, pack up my belongings, and move to Lafayette. I lived for a while with my Brother, and then with my Sister, before getting my own place. I worked in that garden center for about 5 years. I met my husband there. We always joked that because we worked so many hours, if you didn't meet someone there, you would never meet anyone, because you never had any time off. I remember that the employees of the shop tied pots, and plastic gardening tools to the back of our truck, along with the "just married" sign.
After we were married I went to work for a company affiliated with Purdue University. My job was to transplant the plants grown in a lab, to flats in the greenhouse, and then into pots to be shipped to the customer. When that job ended, I was offered the greenhouse, if I wanted it. We just had to take it down. That was not a tough decision, and I am still using it today. Then in 1986 we started our own landscaping business. I never made it to school, because I never considered working with plants for a living. One day I just realized that I was doing it, and by then it was to late to go back. So, I am totally self taught, which I think is sometimes the best way.
Just the other night I was talking with my husband and son about the decisions in life that we make. I often wonder where I would be now if I had not taken my Brother up on his offer of coming to Lafayette in search of a job, or what my occupation would have been if I had had a different science teacher in seventh grade.
I have used the sensitive plant in many talks that I have given, especially if the talk includes children. I love to watch their faces when they touch the plant. Who knows, maybe the same thing will happen to them that happened to me. I can think of worse things to do with your life.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

ENTER MARCH

Well, here in Lafayette March came in like a lamb. I hope that doesn't mean what they say it means. I am ready for the snow to be over. The thing that I dislike most about March is that it seems to be windier than other months. I hate wind. I can take the cold, but when you add wind, I get very irate.
I have not made it to the greenhouse to do any planting yet. I did go out and check on the plants that I overwintered, and they all looked pretty good. There are a few that I will need to repot, but most will go directly into the beds. I just ran out of time last Fall, so I was happy to see that they survived.
The work at my church has taken a lot more time than I thought that it would, as those projects often do. But I should be able to begin filling the library with books by next week. It is very exciting to see a drab, ugly room, transformed with a little paint and carpet.
I am ready to put all of my painting supplies away now, and get out my gardening tools. It has been a productive winter, but I am so ready to get my hands in some soil. I know that all of you feel the same way.

(I borrowed the picture above from our local news station, I hope that they don't mind.)