Archive | May, 2009

The Spring That Wasn’t

May 31, 2009

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So we’re starting June with ANOTHER frost advisory tonight. :-p and double :-p. We’ve had frost advsiories this late before, but it is very rare. I had the boys cover the tomatoes, eggplant, and pepper plants with buckets. The rest of the plants will have to fend for themselves, as they are too small and too spread out for me to do much.

It’s been a soggy, cold spring. In a way, it’s been a lot like late winter. I think it was warmer in January than it has been now (we had a flukey warm spell in January). Weird!

Anyway, we’re still picking the sawfly larva and cleaning up the flower gardens. I was really hoping that the local bird population would pick up on the sawfly, finding them a tasty alternative to our New York bugs; but the birds avoid them like some avoid colon cleanser… no such luck. *sigh* So we go out almost every day, to pluck pluck pluck the little devils off our pines.

My lilac flowers have expired. I love lilac season, I wish it was longer! But it is good while it lasts. And even when they spill their spent blooms all over my garden paths like lavendar tears on stones.

Garden Path

Lilies are next. I love lilies, and have a vast assortment in my gardens: day lilies, Stella D’Oro, Asian, Stargazer Oriental, Tiger, and more.

Lilies

I picked up a pot of wilting, blackened Calladiums at Lowe’s a week ago. They were on sale for a dollar because they had been left uncovered at the Garden Center during the last frost we suffered. I put them in the ground and they are doing marvelously. I hope they survive tonight.

Calladium

And here’s another pretty sight: my Livvy. She can’t go outside, and watches our gardening activities from the window. And she watches most pitifully, too, with meows of protest over her unfair confinement.

Livvy in Screen

So spring is almost over. Here’s hoping we have a warmer summer!

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Gobs of Gorgeous Gadgets!

May 29, 2009

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OMG!! I found a really cool gadget website– specifically, a site with some extraordinary Alessi-design gadgets. Totally cool! Look at this floss holder! I think I love it!

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Here’s a banana boat Salt & Pepper shaker set! […]

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Amazing Grapes

May 28, 2009

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How sweet the sound! And the sight! It’s amazing grapes, and we GOT THEM!! Wooooo!

Amazing Grapes

My grapevine survived its first winter, the scads of chomping, humgry deer, and the vicious Japanese beetle attack last summer. Now, it has to survive the bugs, the birds, strong winds, and curious children. Here’s hoping!

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Don’t Fool Around with Asbestos

May 28, 2009

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Many old homes are loaded with toxic stuff, mine included. My area of New York State has one of the highest levels of homes with lead-based paint in the state. A lot of these homes were built in the 1800s, before people knew (and even after some manufacturers knew) about the dangers of toxic products for the home. Everyone hears about lead paint these days, and the dangers of it, but who hears about the dangers of asbestos? I hardly ever hear about it, and I know that a LOT of old homes have it. Mine does– it was used to wrap furnace ducts and hot water pipes, and is even on the exterior siding (lots of homes around here have asbestos-cement siding– a salesman made the rounds in the 60s and managed to wheedle a lot of homeowners to get it. :-p). Don’t fool with asbestos! It must be removed very carefully. You don’t want the fibers to become airborne, and you do not want to breathe them in.

Asbestos has been known to cause asbestosis and mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. It was big news here in Central New York when a construction company had its workers remove tons of asbestos-laden materials without proper safety procedures and protection. It’s becoming all too common, so much so that there are now Mesothelioma Lawyers who specialize in this kind of action. (Ever see A Civil Action? Kind of like that). Mesothelioma is most common among people who work in the shipbuilding and construction industry, and in auto mechanics (brake pads are still lined with asbestos). The really maddening thing about this is that for DECADES industries have known about the dangers of asbestos and still some have done little or nothing to protect people. GRRRRRRR!!!

Asbestos is fireproof, which is why it became so popular. But when the material is broken into small fibers and allowed to become airborne, it can get into the lungs and “stick” to the inner lining, causing health problems. It is less of a threat to everyday homeowners, but you don’t want to be an idiot and spew the stuff all over the place! Read up on how to deal with asbestos and other toxins in your home before you start any demolition. In most cases, you can remove small quantities yourself with a strong plastic bag, a spray bottle to capture any loose fibers, and a HEPA mask. Know the dangers! And if you or someone you know has worked in the construction industry or shipbuilding industry, make them aware of the health effects, and get checked. And put the pressure on industries to stop poisoning our homes and communities!!

This is a sponsored post.

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Choosy Cats Choose Homeschool

May 26, 2009

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HEE HEE! We saw this photo at Daisy the Curly Cat. Harley sure is burning the midnight oil! šŸ˜‰ So are we, lately. :S

spycat

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Wild Wallpaper

May 26, 2009

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Whoa, fashions in wallpaper has gone funky! I found this “heat-activated” wallpaper at a design site recently. I’ve heard of heat-activated paint, but not the wallpaper until now. It’s pretty, but I can’t say that I’d really like it in my house. It’s wallpaper that sprouts pink flowers with a heat source. lol! Would you get this?

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From Dornob.com.

I also found some very, very cool retro wallpaper; again the source is from Dornob.com, who links to Second Hand Rose, the largest vintage wallpaper collection in the world, “dating all the way back to the 1860s and featured in museums around the world. Their rolls range from two to four figures depending upon the design, rarity and its origins (including Frank Lloyd Wright originals).” Wow! I’d just like to browse through their wallpaper books– like a history/art lesson in interior fashion, eh?

Some wallpaper doesn’t deserve a rerun. This is the kind of stuff my mom had in her kitchen.

Retro Wallpaper Pictures, Images and Photos

Ew. :-p Gone are the days– thankfully so– of polyester pantsuits and funky orange pool floats lounges with purple flowers. The 70s is an era best forgotten, IMHO.

Ooo, how about this? Surf’s UP, dude!

Retro Surfboards Pictures, Images and Photos

Ummm.

retro Pictures, Images and Photos

This is more my style. šŸ˜€ I like the Victorian stripes and roses, and flocked wallpaper. Mmm.

Retro Wallpaper Pictures, Images and Photos

Check the site for more. Cool stuff there!

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Spring Planting

May 22, 2009

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I’m giving more responsibility to the kids this year, to get the spring planting done. We are the latest we’ve ever been with the planting. But we had frost warnings as late as earlier this week! Crazy! I really hope our warm autumn weather lasts well into September, or we may not see much this year. It’s tough when you have such a short growing season; I can’t imagine how scarce it must be in even colder climates as Canada.

We’re working on enlarging the garden beds. I think I’m only going to get one bed enlarged, due to time constraints.

Widening Bed

Those old perimeter boards are 150 years old. We got them from the attic floor. They worked really well for a few years, but now they are full of ants and are going to the burn pile.

Burn Pile

We weeded the other bed.

Weeds Weeds

We only had enough home-grown compost for one large bed. I try to add compost every other year. I may grow clover or rye in the other bed, after the harvest is over, to replenish the soil. I’m going to write a post about how to enrich your soil for vegetable gardening, in the near future.

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Are the Politicians On Vacation, Or Something?!

May 18, 2009

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Here we are, one week from Memorial Day, and it is FREEZING this week. We’ve had a handful of frost warnings (and frosty nights)… at a time when my furnace is put to sleep for the season, it’s still chugging away. šŸ™ So where’s all this hot air that we usually experience a week before the month of June?

weather

Our weather here has been wacky lately. This week, we’ve had 4-5 frost warnings, two flood warnings, and a tornado warning! And a few tornadoes did touch down in Upstate NY– a few near Binghamton, NY, and two in Madison County next to my location. One guy was hurt.

New York State seems to go through bursts of wacky weather, anyway. By Wednesday/Thursday, we’ll be be near 90 degrees! No wonder New Yorkers are always so crotchety; just when we think we’ve had time to adjust to one thing, another thing hits us! lol.

Well, I’m grateful that these kind of occurrences are sporadic. And like I always say, New York is a fine state if you are looking for a milder climate, compared to other states that have frequent mudslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, etc. Here in New York State, the only real natural catastrophe we have is the politicians.

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The Sawfly Larva is Back :(

May 15, 2009

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I thought we got rid of them all last year. šŸ™ I went out to my garden yesterday, to see how the weeds flowers and shrubs are growing, and spotted these nasty little devils on my Scotch pines again.

**sigh**

They are small right now; can you see them?

Sawfly Larva

In case, you don’t remember or you weren’t a devoted fan last year and missed all the fun– we had an infestation of the sawfly caterpillar last year. It was quite a surprise one morning to walk to my garden and see more than half of my pine tree completely defoliated by these horrid, disgusting little creatures.

Evil Bugs
Click the photo and click “all sizes” for a huge, close-up photo of these ugly bugs. Have a barf bag nearby.

We had to hand-pick them off the trees. It took HOURS and was more laborious than sorting through travel insurance quotes. :-p

Bug Soap Soup

This is what a healthy pine branch looks like:

Good Pine

This is what a pine branch after the European sawfly looks like:

Exfoliated Pine

Sawfly Damage

This is some of the damage these critters do:

Exfoliated

They kill the pine. Destroying the needles basically suffocates and starves the tree. I have put a lot of time, money, and love into my plants and my gardens. I just cannot BELIEVE that a couple hundred bugs can destroy everything…. it’s always an uphill battle, isn’t it?! GRRR!

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For the Bird Watchers

May 15, 2009

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Well, for the FIRST time, we have cardinals nesting in the shrubs this year; they are my favorite songbirds, and I am flipping over their presence here. They are nesting in some honeysuckle shrubs near the front yard (the Orioles love those shrubs, too– I have GOT to plant more of them, looks like!). My sons are avid bird-watchers, and I guess I have officially caught the bird-watching bug. We have set up some very nice feeders and have a great view of the bird activities outside our living room windows, where we do our work during the day. I can hear their sweet songs and see them flutter all around us through the windows.

Got birds? Got a bird-lover in the family? Here’s a little bug in your ear– some gorgeous Nikon binoculars on sale right now– they’d make a great Father’s Day gift for the dad, I think! They are on sale for $60 (that’s $90 off retail price) at Buy.com. Yes, my teeth fell out when I saw that, too! I found them while shopping the Buy.com sale page that they have every week. Nikon is a premier brand, and the price is just phenomenal! And the shipping is free, too.

I recommend Buy.com– they are the best store on the Internet– the customer service is superb, and the prices are outstanding. And Buy.com has everything, too! Not just electronics, but housewares, small and large appliances, patio furniture, garden accessories and tools, tons and tons of stuff, all for great prices, and a lot of it is with free shipping and no sales tax. It’s a terrific store, and I love shopping there. Be sure to check out their online weekly sales page.

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