Archive | July, 2009

Beautiful Gardens

July 13, 2009

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Because I have perennial gardens, everything is still green. My gardens really don’t come into blooming fruition until mid- to late-July. It doesn’t help that I have a lot of blue and purple plants, too: Butterfly Bush, Blue Hydrangea, Veronica, Blue Rose of Sharon, Russian Sage, Purple Coneflower, etc etc, which tend to be late-bloomers. I have some lilies, however, and they add some really nice color in June/early July before the blues start to bloom. I just love lilies.

Sea of Lilies


The Stella d’Oro lily is everywhere right now.

Stella Doro

My Stargazer lilies are still buds. Oh wait until you see those! And they smell INCREDIBLE! They are my favorite lily. I can’t wait for them.

And here’s an old Scotch Rose. It was a diseased, fungus-laden bush here when I bought the house. I’d hacked it down to three inches high, expecting to remove it. But it stubbornly refused to die. Actually, I think my hacking invigorated it. So it grows, and blooms.

Scotch Rose

And here you see the peas and turnips growing right along. Along the weeds, that is. :S

Peas & Turnips

It’s been such a crazy spring and summer– soaking wet and COLD! I had to start my garden in JUNE, for pete’s sake, because we had frost and it was too rainy to plant. Even now, it’s very cold for July. Going to drop down to 50 tonight!

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July 11, 2009


My baby grapes! Aren’t they lovely!

Grapes are Coming

We have about a dozen clusters. So far, the deer and the birds have left this alone this growing season, but I’m still very wary. I have to get some mosquito netting to throw over the vine.

I just can’t wait!

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Rigging the Phone Line

July 11, 2009


Did you know that many newer, souped-up computers are coming without telephone modems installed?? :-p I just found out. I use DSL, so I have not really had any need for a phone modem. But I am tinkering with the phone line (I want to control telephone calls from my computer) and I had to buy a data modem for the computer. It caused me to look afresh at my telephone lines, installation and wiring, and my telephone plan with my phone company (Verizon).

(I also discovered that my telephone account still has an active “Wire Maintenance Plan” that I was getting charged $10 a month for!! Holy cow! Since I rewired my entire living room, including telephone and ethernet, I think I am confident that I don’t need to pay Verizon $10 a month to fix it “in case” something goes wrong. Grr! I’ve been paying that all this time!!).

Anyway… data modems can be pricey! I had a choice of getting an internal or an external modem for my computer. My computer is still under warranty, so I had to choose an external (I would have loved to install an internal!! And they were cheaper!) modem. But, yow, external modems can be as much as $200! So I went “budget” (of course!). Hey– no surpises here– the best stuff I found was at (you guessed it)! This is the TRENDnet data modem on sale. Nice price, eh! has great stuff. I am always checking out their weekly sale page for great deals on electronics and supplies. I highly recommend– not only are their prices spectacular, so is their customer service, their shipping speed, and the selection! allows third-party sellers to sell stuff, which really improves the selection and makes prices much more competitive. So if you need something (anything under the sun, really), try before going to those pricey Big Box stores. I love!

So, now with my data modem coming in, I can monitor all phone calls from my computer. I’ll have more about that in later posts– but we get a lot of telemarketing calls and I’m going to use some software to *zap* these calls forever!!! Muahahahahahha!!!

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Too Much Catnip

July 9, 2009


Well, I can’t really say she had too much. She must be very sensitive to the ‘nip. There’s only a small amount in the butterfly toy she has. But she acted like she was in another world. Funny!

P.S. Sorry, my flash wasn’t working properly, so the photos are a little dusky.

Catnip 1

Catnip 2

Catnip 3

Catnip 4

Catnip 5

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Outdoor Improvements, aka Yard PR

July 8, 2009


One of the great things about having a perennials-only garden is that you get free plants after a few years. ALLLLL my perennials are bursting at the seams, so we have been enlarging our garden beds to accommodate them. And like the saying goes: “Many hands make light work.” The biggest difficulty is obtaining affordable mulch. The cost of mulch has really gone up, and I have been very tempted to outright buy a wood chipper to make my own! The prices per bag are ridiculous! And the bulk mulch from the nearby farms isn’t much lower.

Anyway, we are expanding our Secret Garden, presently, really trying to beef up the neighborhood PR New York. This area of the yard is the most visible as you drive down the street, and it has a lousy view for us (the garish parking lots and the car collision shops down the road). It’s been in desperate need of beautification.

Busting the sod:

Enlarging Secret Garden

Bust Sod

We chop it up into small squares, and transport the sod to a shabby part of the property, an area we are trying to improve. It’s an old parking lot we’re trying to cover. It’s in very poor shape. There’s a very large parking lot next door, and years ago it was connected to ours (the neighbor’s and our properties were once one large lot). All the rainwater spills down into this ugly area, creating a very large pool of murky water. It’s in some serious need of public relations New York big time!

I’m laying sod here along my property line to cause more rapid decay of the asphalt and to absorb some of the water that collects here.

New Turf

If I can keep the kids from playing in the water and stop them from creating “rivers” in the mud, this may look nice after the grass grows in!

In the next post or two, I’ll have some photos of our plants. šŸ™‚

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Tomato Blight Plague Comes from Supplier

July 7, 2009

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ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) – There’s a disease that’s hitting tomato plants across the northeast and it may have found its way to your own garden here in Central New York.

Officials out in Oriskany from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County say the big box retail stores in our area : Walmart, K-Mart, Home Depot and Lowes all had the same supplier of tomato plants, a company from the south. That company had plants tainted with the disease called “late blight,” a fast spreading disease that will kill your plant and any plants near it.

Will someone please tell me why ALL the major Big Box stores get their tomato plants from the SAME SUPPLIER for the entire Northeast?! Stupid! Sheesh, now even our plant suppliers are consolidated! Ugh!!

My tomatoes had vicious blight last year– I am sure they had the blight before I bought them, because as soon as I got them into the ground, they turned brown and died. (I’d bought them from WalMart. I’ll never do that again. I think WalMart is getting too big for its britches, selling everything under the sun. Next thing you know, they’ll be doing piano lessons). So this year, I got the tomatoes from Lowes. I don’t know why I even buy the plants- tomatoes grow so easily from seed. I’d composted some tomatoes in my large compost pile a year or two ago, and added the compost to my garden. I guess the seeds didn’t compost, because that year I had dozens of little tomato plants growing in the garden beds everywhere. From now on, I’m just going to grow from seed.

If you have bought tomato plants from these stores, Miller says “really keep an eye on them and look for any kind of pale greening, wet soaked areas on the leaf tips and especially if they have started to turn brown and dispose of them as we have talked about.” Miller says the proper method is to put the diseased plant in a dark colored plastic bag, put that plastic bag in another dark plastic bag and leave that in the sun in order to kill the spores. Once that is done, you are ok to put that with your other yard waster to be taken away.

If you want more information, check out the Cornell Cooperative Extension site.

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Find the Kitty #4

July 3, 2009


The photo turned out poor (lousy Canon camera), but it’s such a cute, one-of-a-kind shot. It’s time to play Find the Kitty again!

Find the Kitty 4

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Is It Illegal to Collect Rainwater?

July 1, 2009


Short answer: YES.

Long answer: Depends on what state you live, and depends on the outcome of new bills coming through the U.S. Congress, as they seem to making up new and stupid ones every day….

From what I have ascertained so far, it is illegal to collect rainwater in the following states:

  • Utah
  • Washington State
  • New Mexico
  • Colorado– although I JUST saw a news story published this week that says this has changed. BUT it appears that city dwellers who rely on municipal water cannot collect rainwater.

I also heard that in 1998 the UN past a resolution that all water on the planet is to be commercial, to be bought or sold like, you know, an XBox or something. GRRR. Now I have not confirmed this, but if anyone has any input, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll check it out. Also, there was a “water war” in Bolivia after the country privatized their water resources, and then a company from the U.S. (Bechtel) won a contract for the resources. Immediately, the company had the collection of rainwater outlawed because they wanted a complete monopoly on the resource. People colecting rainwater cut in to their profits.

Now, some of the water laws, especially for the western states, go way back– back to when the area was owned by Spain. Water is a precious resource over there. BUT, this law is being stretched. The laws state that you can’t divert streams or suck lakes dry for your own use. Sure, I understand that– evil people were crooks and stole the water resources. Bad. OK. But some states are suddenly interpreting this to mean that people can’t collect rain in rain barrels?! That’s dumb. The government does NOT own the rain. It’s ridiculous for the government to PRESUME to be able to CONTROL the rain and it’s diversions, as well. If those old water laws are now being interpreted so as to place more restrictions and heavier burdens on citizens, and line the pockets of Big Business and their Government Buddies, that’s tyranny. That’s all there is to it.

You know, we Americans ARE the government. We abide by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Dare I say that we do not have to obey de facto laws and we have the right to redress the government for grievances. These things are really going waaaay too far in this country.

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