Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stuff We Did Over the Weekend

I can't believe it's the end of May already! We finished our schoolwork on Friday and our summer vacation has officially begun. The flower beds will get the attention they deserve and the vegetable garden will be tended. The herbs will be watered and harvested at the peak of flavor and the pool will stay clean and the animals showered with attention. Okay, well, I can dream can't I?

The flowers are looking good; the warm temperatures are agreeing with most of them. These knockout roses are beginning to bloom profusely.

My containers are beginning to fill in well, although the grasss around the new steps hasn't grown back yet.

The vegetable garden finally got planted. We put in tomato plants, cucumbers, radishes, beets, squash, and eggplant.

When we got done with the chores, we headed for the pool to cool off. Abby the Ginormous Dog cooled off too. Unfortunately, she decided that digging in the dirt and covering herself with it was the way to go.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What's Green Around Here

Spring is in full splendor around here and the hostas are doing well. I went to my favorite shade plant nursery, Shady Characters, planning to buy a few heucheras to replace several that I lost this past winter (and one that Abby the Ginormous Dog dug up, grrr!) Of course I couldn't possibly get out of there without a new hosta or two, to add to the mix.

This heuchera is called citronella, and it has a wonderful lime green color. It just lights up the shade plant bed.

This one is called Southern Comfort, another heuchera, with leaves the color of caramel. It's a nice contrast with the greens of the hostas nearby.

And, here are some of the containers that I've planted this year. My apologies for the mud on the sides. They were still recovering from the huge rainstorms of the night before.

No, Martha Stewart probably wouldn't be impressed, but I think my grandmother would like it. And that's a pretty good standard.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Always Gets Busy Around Here

As usual, spring is a busy time. There's gardening to do (which has been on hold for a few days because of rain), schoolwork to finish, and right now I've got custom orders to fill for the Etsy shop.

My flower gardens are looking pretty good. This year I've added a few hostas and filled about eight containers with annuals, mostly pink ones. I've agonized over containers for a few years, trying to copy pictures in magazines and nursery catalogs. This time is different. I remembered a picture I saw a few years ago of my grandmother's country home. The porch was filled with containers of plants and the colors were gorgeous.

So, I decided to just buy loads of annuals and stick them in the pots I already have. I haven't followed any rules, just put in a bunch of flowers that I like. I'm happy with the result, When it stops raining, I'll take a picture for you.

How's spring shaping up for you? (Or fall, if you're below the equator!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adventures Around the Homestead

Yesterday was a pretty good day around here. The children and I finished reading their history book for this year. We still have some other subjects to complete, but we're almost ready for summer vacation.

Yesterday was also warm, as in 90 degrees. Oh, sure, by the end of July we'll be longing for the chill of a 90 degree day, but right now, it seems pretty hot. So, after working in the vegetable garden for a bit, mostly digging up weeds, I was ready for a dip in the pool.

I got myself and my children all set to get in the water, bathing suits on, slathered with sunscreen, a cooler filled with drinks and my radio on the little table between lounge chairs. Only thing left was to check the pool's filter basket for creepy crawlies. I found one.

It was a scarlet snake, a red, black and white snake that lives in our area. The are not venomous and are small, no bigger around than my finger. Last year, I encountered my first one in the pool, but it was, umm, deceased. This one was very much alive. (The photo is from UGA's website.)

I use a gizmo that we got from the pool supply store to check the filter basket. It has a hook on one end to lift the cover and a little basket on the other end to scoop up frogs and such that I don't want to pick up with my hand. I used the hook end to grab the snake and then tossed it into the woods. It tried to coil up and look fierce, but I wasn't fooled.

I felt so brave. It's the first time I've had to cope with a live snake on my own, although I'm not sure that little guy counts. He (or she) was kind of cute.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Country Mouse

One of the things that happens when you live in the country is that mice sometimes come in for a visit. I'm not sure what they think they are going to find. I clean up most of the crumbs, I really do. But, field mice just want to visit once in a while. And Thursday morning was one of those times.

I was dozing nicely about 6:45 am, when I heard a commotion in the bathroom. The sound of the trash can being tossed around, followed immediately by my husband's voice calling me. I thought he might be sick, but noooooo...he was trying to catch a mouse. I opened the bathroom door to see my husband, in what I now refer to as his official "mouse catching suit", a business suit he happened to be wearing at the time. He was bent over with the trash can in one hand and something else, not sure what (a toilet plunger?), in the other hand.

Just as I opened the door, he then said, "Close the door! Close the door!" Turns out, he HAD the mouse in the trash can, but had failed to account for the amazing acrobatics of a frightened rodent. It had jumped OUT of the trash can and was headed for ME.

It managed to escape, and was later spotted by our daughter in the kitchen. The cat, obviously too well fed, wasn't interested in giving chase. Frodo the Wonder Yorkie, however, has kept a pretty steady vigil at the base of the stove.

I'm counting on you, Frodo. Show that mouse who's boss.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So glad to be home...

It was a nice vacation. Really. I love the beach and, living in South Carolina, some very nice beaches are within a 2-4 hour drive. Last week, we went to the Grand Strand (SC coast, from Little River to Georgetown) and had a great time. The water was still to cold for me, but my children loved it, jumping waves and trying out a boogie board.
On the days when the weather didn't cooperate for beach time, we went to Broadway at the Beach, a shopping center/attraction a few miles inland. There are specialty shops, restaurants, and attractions for families. There's an IMAX theatre, traditional movie theatre, WonderWorks (children's museum), mini-golf and MagiQuest (a sort of walk through video game). The attractions themselves can be pricey, but there's no charge just to walk through and window shop.

We ate lots of seafood, walked on the beach, built sand castles and had as much fun as we could stand at Broadway at the Beach. So, it was a nice vacation. Really. But I am so glad to be home.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Mudroom is Finished!

Our mudroom is finished! I'm still working on getting settled in the new space, deciding where to put things and what (if any) furniture to buy. Any suggestions?

You can see the coat hooks we bought (they are on the white chair); we'll get those put up soon.