Archive | July, 2009

Strange Yellow Beetle in My Garden

July 29, 2009


I’m hoping there’s a bug expert here amongst my readers. My daughter was out looking at our grapes on our grape vine, and saw this huge yellow beetle on the leaves. YUK!!! Does anyone know what beetle this is? Does it eat grapes??

Weird Yellow Beetle 2

The beetle is large, about 1.5 to 2 inches long. It flew away when my daughter drew closer to snap photos.

Weird Yellow Beetle 3

Weird Yellow Beetle

I hope it’s harmless. I have HAD IT with bugs and critters eating away all my plants. Between the woodchucks, deer, and rabbits, we also have had infestations of grubs, Japanese beetles, tent caterpillars, the European sawfly larva, black flies, and various other nasty bugs I can’t identify. Wow.

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July 27, 2009

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I grew up near New York’s largest inland lake. I sometimes miss the life by the waterside: the fresh fish, the swimming, the boating, the marina activities. I live in Central New York where the nearest REAL lake is 40 miles away. I am not a very good land-lubber…

So I watched this amazing video with great interest. I have ALWAYS wanted to live in an underwater world! This is a real hotel, being constructed underwater, in Dubai. It’s called Hydropolis and it’s just amazing.

There’s more about the Hydropolis here. Wow!

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Weed Hacking and Building Gardens

July 25, 2009


This yard, where half of it is gravel beneath turf, and the other half is completely waterlogged, is very difficult to cultivate. When we bought the place, it was horribly overgrown. It has been a decade of hacking, digging, sweating, screaming, and crying to plant ANYTHING here. The good thing is that we are old pros now. We know what to expect and are armed with strong iron tools to fight back. Today’s project was no different. I’ve been wanting to do this for 12 years! Today was the day!

There’s a small asphalt walkway in the front of the house. It led to the neighbor’s parking lot (the two properties were once one large lot). We put up a nice fence between the two properties, mostly to keep out the scads of snowmobilers that roared across our yard in the winter. But the asphalt walkway remained, it just led to nowhere! Today, I had one of the kids bust it up and cart the pieces away. Hurray!

Around Tree before 2

Then, we removed the tangled mass of weeds and groundcover. I’m planning on extending my Secret Garden area to this area around the tree.

Around Tree after 2

Before and after:

Around Tree before 1

Around Tree after 1

Around Tree after 3

The pipes are from our sump pumps. We have two pumps running day and night– there’s a LOT of water underground here. If we do not keep pumps going, our basement floods badly. The town has balked at helping us build a basin at the street side, so all we can do is pipe the water up from the basement sump well and into the nearest discharge basin (in the neighbor’s yard). Part of building a massive garden bed is to conceal the pipes under plants. I also want to make it so that we do not have to mow and weed-whap around the pipes all the time, an onerous job. I have plans on plunking down some choice monster-sized hostas here, because it’s so wet and shady. I’ll plant taller, water-loving shrubs in this area, too.

One such plant I have found PERFECT is Purple Loosestrife. It’s hated by many, because it is so invasive. But this plant and I are going to get along very, very well. It SLURPS up water like there’s no end. The plant is hated because it roots otself in waterways, like creeks and streams, and clogs them. For my water-weary yard, this plant is a God-send. I have two plants thriving right now. It’s taken them two years to really get established. I’m looking forward to placing it in my watery areas.

And it looks gorgeous next to my purple Butterfly Bush, doesn’t it?

Purple Loosestrife

So the saga continues…. next time we have another sunny day, we’ll develop this area more. I cant wait to get plants into this area!

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Update on TempurPedic Noisy Foundation

July 22, 2009


This is a continuing saga… you can read my first review of our TempurPedic mattress and foundation set here, and then the problem with the horribly squeaky foundation here, and then the story about getting the replacement here.

Split Foundation

Whew! This entire story is almost a year old ! OK… To backtrack: In October 2008, we paid over $1000 for a TempurPedic queen-size mattress and foundation set, to help my back (herniated disks). The mattress has been WONDERFUL for my back. But in January 2009, the foundation started to squeak. REALLY LOUDLY. I mean, fingernails on chalkboard kind of noise here. I procrastinated for a few months, but finally called the furniture store and got a replacement foundation set in April 2009. In May– two weeks later- the squeaking started up AGAIN! Since writing about this issue on this blog, I’ve received dozens of similar complaints by other TempurPedic customers. The mattress is really great, but the foundation STINKS.

So today, after procrastinating a few weeks, I called the corporate office of TempurPedic in Lexington, Kentucky. The number is 800-821-6621. The lady I spoke with was exceptionally courteous and helpful. After explaining my situation, she said that TempurPedic has recently come out with a new and improved foundation set design, and they will be happy to replace my foundation, free of charge, according to my warranty terms. I had to write a letter including my name, address, phone number, and state the reason for my claim. I also had to make a copy of my sales receipt, and send it to the Lexington office. From there, it may take 2-4 weeks to process the warranty… but they will call me when they have processed it and within 24-48 hours after that, I should be getting my new foundation set, free of charge.

This was good news! I quickly typed up the letter to go out into today’s mail. I will post an update here when I get one.

Doing some research on the web, I see that a lot of people have problems with the squeaky foundation set. Many of them have requested exchanges for new ones, only to experience (as I did) that the noise returns within a few weeks. I am convinced that this issue is caused by a defect in the design of the foundation. Problem is, I’m stuck with using the TempurPedic foundation– if I build my own flat bed (which I have been very tempted to do), then I void my warranty on the mattress. I don’t want to do that. I’m really hoping that this “new and improved” foundation is the solution for our woes.

So that’s my update. I hope this is helpful to you! I’ll have more news when I get it.

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Find the Kitty #5

July 21, 2009


Yes, boys and girls! It’s time to play Find the Kitty again! Where is my beautiful Livvy? Hmmmm..

Another Find_the_Kitty

She’s such a corker. But she’s no longer a kitten. šŸ™ šŸ™ She’s turning 1 year old in less than a week when she officially becomes a full-fledged CAT. Boy, I miss those kitten days. She’s been such a real stinker lately, too- a real pill on par with cleansonix or something. She wants to go outside something fierce, and mopes in front of the window all day. We sometimes let her out on a leash, but I’m concerned she’ll bring in ticks or fleas (I am highly allergic to fleas). And last time she went out, she chased a bee and was promptly stung. Her poor paw swelled up like a golf ball. She’s better now, but… I really want to keep her as an indoor cat.

Is int unusual for her to want to go outside so violently? I had another half-Siamese years ago, and she wasn’t the least bit interested…

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She’s Peeved

July 17, 2009


Just one of those “Kodak” moments. My cat, Livvy, was resting on the couch. But my daughter had the audacity to run the vacuum cleaner in the room next door. The look on her little puddy face is priceless!

Livvy Peeved

Livvy Peeved 1

Livvy Peeved 2

Livvy Peeved 3

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Happy Birthday to Me :)

July 17, 2009


Well, it’s not my birthday yet. In a few weeks it will be. I’ve never bought myself a birthday present before, but this year, I think I will!! I’m going to be [unintelligible] years old, and I’ve been working hard– I think I’m going to get something that’s really been on my “heart’s desire” wishlist for a long long time.

Isn’t it absolutely BEAUTIFUL!?!?!?!? Oh I just love this!!!!


The great thing about being a summer baby is that you can get all sorts of nifty stuff AND use it the moment you get it!!

We have ikky plastic patio furniture. It’s horribly uncomfortable, and I can’t bear to sit in it. I’ve been procrastinating getting something really nice– I wavered about whather to get an Adirondack chair or a nice swing like this one. The swings are sooo comfortable. And has it! is my favorite store. šŸ™‚ I always find good deals and an amazing selection there. I know I have been chattering on about a lot lately… they are a really great store! They have terrific sales all week long, and they have so much stuff it’s crazy! They offer free shipping on lots of products, and their selection is just stupendous. They allow third-party merchants to place their products at the site, multiplying the terrific assortment and price competition. Plus, the customer service at is incredible You have GOT to go and see. I know you’ll find some great stuff– for someone’s birthday, or gee, maybe even your own! šŸ˜‰

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Adding to Our Walkway!

July 16, 2009


We FINALLY got a break in the clouds and rain, enabling us to continue building our Secret Garden walkway. So far, we’ve done this in three stages. This year, we busted sod and removed a good-sized portion of the lawn, adding to this garden. And this allowed us to continue our concrete walkway. It’s looking SO beautiful! I love walking over to this area in the cool of the evening, it’s just a lovely spot. The shrubs will eventually grow up and over the arbor and the walkway, giving the entire side yard a “mysterious” and enchanting atmosphere. When this section is finally done, I think I’m going to mail out birth announcements or something, and throw a party!!!

Here are some photos.

We use the Quikrete concrete mould, and plain old Concrete mix. It works so well!

New Pathway 2

New Pathway 3

New Pathway 5

New Pathway 4

This was all last week. The concrete has now dried to nice white color, matching the rest of the walk. We will eventually build this walkway (and the garden) to fill up this entire area of the lawn, leading up to our garage area at the back of the house.

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Garden Composting

July 15, 2009

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What a lousy year for gardening. It seems I’m not alone– a lot of you gardening bloggers are also bemoaning the soggy spring, cold summer, and lackluster crops. I managed to pull out a big turnip and a few snowpeas, but so far NO eggplant, just ONE pepper, ONE zucchini, and ONE tomato (out of two plants)! Awful! Terrible! My local weatherman recently said out of the past 30 days, it’s rained for 20 of them!

ANYWAY, I’m still gardening. We’re turning our attentions away from our miserable vegetable gardens (hey, at least we have lots of lettuce!) to the flower gardens, “hard -scapes” (like concrete walkways) and improving our garden fencing and the compost area. My compost area is torublesome– it always has been. I have TOO much stuff to compost! Grass clippings, loads and loads of leaves and weeds, plus all our waste vegetable matter. I am going out tomorrow to look for a larger, more suitable bin to hold the waste. I’m also doing a little online shopping for some “compost starter.” My compost piles just don’t seem to do very well. I’m not sure if it is because the backyard is so shady, or I’m just not doing it right. But I’m getting some starter. I saw some great stuff at, and it’s very affordable: Woodstream Compost Starter. It’s filled with all sorts of bacteria and stuff that compost piles find absolutely yummy yummy! Mmmmm. Well, I know we need it, because our pile STINKS like all get out, and I may have the neighbors with ther pitchforks coming after me if I don’t fix it! (It is said that a stinky compost pile means that it is not decaying properly). has all sorts of helpful stuff for gardening– even some good garden books, too (I found this book, “How To Cook Compost” very intriguing). I really recommend that you check out’s sale website page that they update every week. Most of those items are electronics and gadgets– hey, those come in handy, too! šŸ˜‰ You can find garden tools, power tools, small and large appliances, and a ton of all sorts of stuff. If you have not checked them out, you really should! And happy gardening!

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Hot Deals on Household Electronics

July 15, 2009

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Look at this gadget! I was shopping the deals at– their weekly sale page– and saw this really nifty gadget!


It’s an Audiovox Digital Message Center! Isn’t it pretty? I love organizers like these. Right now, I have my organizers all over the place– a digital voice recorder in my purse (never leave home without it!), my sticky notes on the desk (and all over everyone else’s, too!), my corkboard by my shelf, calendars, etc etc. My home looks something like an office building… except… messier. My birthday is coming up, this Digital Message Center looks mighty nice! šŸ˜€

It’s really neat– you can stick it on the fridge, or a wall, or have it stand freely. It has a dry-erase board, a spot for Post-It notes, a DIGITAL voice recorder (love that!), a magnetic strip to hold coupons, a digital photo display, and– best of all– a calender that plays voice memos on a specified day!! Very cool. This would make a migghty fine gift, don’t you think? The retail price is usually $140 (gulp), but at it is selling for $35 and free shipping!

Now you understand why I love so much! They have EVERYTHING and the prices are outstanding. Be sure to check their sale page regularly for good deals. They often have big sales on computers and computer accessories.

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