Tuesday, May 31, 2016

South Side Paint Update

This past holiday weekend was a painting weekend for us that was interrupted by mowing and trying to buy the empty lot next to our house.

The lawn has stopped growing at a break neck speed.....thank heaven.  That gave me time to prime, paint, and try to talk to my real estate agent all while standing on a ladder.  In the end we didn't get the property because we were not willing to pay more for a non build able lot than the counter that we had already accepted but was never received (email) but in the meantime another buyer appeared.   Yaaaa sure.  But anyways I'm sure the lot will become available again once they find out that they bought a hole.  That is what happens when you buy land based off of photos, waive the perk test, and do not consult a builder before buying.  For us it was just going to be more lawn and an assurance that water would not come onto our lot when it rains.

But anyways the priming and painting is to the point where I need to switch ladders but first I need to by another pair of flip flops.  My current pair are just about to have a blow out and the last thing I need is a flip flop blow out on a 35 ft ladder.
I know most people would start at the top but I needed to get the window boxes installed and planted so I started at the bottom and worked my way up to just above the windows.  The tall ladder is already located in the middle so I will probably leave it there and do the middle next and then each side.  The ladder is just too heavy to move around so we will use this unorthodox method that works for us.  The windows are just primed and I will put the top coat of white semi gloss on last.
Our window boxes are filling in nicely and the veggies are growing fast.  I have some lettuce transplanted into small pots from their 6 packs and I am going to plant them in between my flowers in the window boxes.  I figure that my lettuce will be ready to eat just about the time that my flowers will be starting to crowd them out.

R scored again today with another curbside treasure and I'll share that tomorrow.

FYI the paint does match but it needs a day or so to really darken.  It's the weirdest thing because all that paint came out of the same can.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

First Curbside Treasure of the Summer

R has the best luck finding stuff that people have put out to the curb on trash day.  I think it is a combination of the fact that the wheels on his truck are always spinning so he covers a lot of ground every day AND he has the ability to spot something even when going fast.

I remember there was a time when he was racing cars and I had to be somewhere else that night. Circumstances changed and I was able to make it to the race rather late.  I figured it was a waste of money to get a pit pass so I just paid for a ticket and sat in the stands.  He knows at most tracks I favor sitting in the area coming out of turn 4 and that is where I was sitting.

The race was in progress when it looked like he slightly turned his head towards the grandstands. The next time he came around I saw him turn his head again and lift his fingers slightly off the wheel in a slight wave.

He later said that he wasn't exactly looking for me but something caught his eye and when he knew it was me he acknowledged it with a slight wave.  Now with the HANS  device and other safety equipment it is harder to move your head to the side.  This was pre HANS era racing so he could turn his head.  He later wore a HANS device when he raced sprint cars.

When R raced motorcycles, I was always admonishing him for looking back (mostly to see how much of a lead he had) because not only does it affect the flow of air when you are in a tucked position on the straightaway but your shoulders slightly rotate and it turns the handle bars which turns the front wheel ever so slightly.  I figured it wasn't worth the risk when you are doing 130 mph plus with only a layer of leather to protect your skin and a helmet to protect your head.  So he developed a modified version where he looked under his armpit when he was tucked on the straightaways.
 A page from the family racing book.
I was the crew chief and mechanic and R as the rider and we kicked butt.  I can honestly say there were only a handful of mistakes that I made when I was wrenching.  I knew his style and what set up worked for him and I had a great ability to read new tracks and make gearing changes where at the most we were only one tooth off after the first practice.  It saves your rider's strength if you don't have to practice time and time again especially when it sunny and 90 degrees and you are wrapped in leather straddling a hot engine.
Another page that includes our son in his first race on the ice.
What mistakes?

I was one tooth off at a National where he came in second.  It was a new track for us but it was his favorite kind of track.  Flat, packed clay, no berm, and slick.  Unfortunately I did not know that it was treated with sodium chloride that made it tacky when the sun went down.  He was set up to slide but he kept getting a bite and it was throwing off his entry into the corner but not affecting his exit where you want bite.

Another time we received a new ported and polished Amal carb from our sponsor with a new rubber manifold to attach it to the head.  I should have used the large thick braided rubber fuel hose that we always used but I wanted the pretty new part. On the white lap, R had a straight away lead in his heat race when the bike died.  The high octane race fuel had dissolved the stock rubber manifold.  Not having the old piece with us, I rigged a set up of duct tape around the damaged rubber manifold and used safety wire to hold it in place and relieve some of the weight off of the rubber.  R barely made it into the main and started on the back row but when the white flag dropped he was almost a straight away ahead of second place when the bike started missing.  It was sucking air in through an opening in the rubber/duct tape set up.  He reached down and tried to hold it in place but ultimately came home 5th. The next day while I was at work I had an epiphany.  When I got home I measured the race van's radiator hose and it was the exact inside diameter that we needed.  I only needed 3 inches so we could have still used the existing radiator hose to get home.

At another national I forgot our entrance tickets at home.  Despite being prepaid on the entry list the promoter still made us buy two 2 day passes.  R won the national but I still to this day remember the guy's name.  It was in Hanover PA and that was in 1983.  Funny the things that you remember.  R flipped the promoter off as he rode away with his 5 ft trophy after the presentation.  It wasn't a very polite thing to do in retrospect, but the other riders loved it because he treated all the riders horribly bad every week. They knew we drove all the way from Michigan and were on the prepaid list but just didn't have our entry tickets.  You know why??? He mailed them to us along with a flyer for an Elvis impersonator the night before the race.  I thought they were tickets to the Elvis gig and I am sure that was his plan all along.

Another PA mistake happened after the York, PA national.  The track there is crushed limestone.  I remember someone crashing and sliding through the pit gate opening and right into a lovely brick show barn filled with animals that were at the fair.  No animals were touched. We raced and did well and came home.   On Monday I washed the bike and did routine maintenance.  On Thursday I chose my set up for the upcoming race track and decided I needed to flip the front tire as it was worn and had already been grooved and no fresh edges were available.  Well, I learned a little masonry lesson that week. Limestone dust and water equal cement and the axle was hardened inside the hub of the wheel. On a side note the track was a half mile so we took the 500cc Honda instead of the 750cc Harley XR.  If you know Harleys then you know York PA is the home to a Harley factory.  We had a little trouble leaving town after the race when some bike enthusiasts (I'm trying to be nice) noticed that we had a Honda inside our van.  Good times....LOL

Another time I filled the gas tank all the way to the top because R didn't like the weight transfer of sloshing fuel later in the race.  Most riders only put just enough fuel to get through the race because of the added weight.  R weighed 128 so we had a few lbs to play with.  The temperature was over 100 degrees that day.  We were at I 70 speedway in Missouri and it was hot and windy with blowing dirt and no where to get out of the heat.  Because of the temperature they delayed the start of the race.  I left the tank sealed and the bike sitting in the sun for 5 hours.  R went into turn one in second place and came out of turn two in last place.  He only had one hand on the handle bars and he was using his other hand to cover the gas cap hole.  Despite having a small hose to relieve pressure so the tank does not get vapor locked, we believe between the tank being full and the fuel expanding due to heat and hitting a hole, the fuel hit the gas cap and blew it off.  Fuel splashed up inside his helmet and onto his crotch soaking his leathers and burning like crazy.  For several laps he barely stayed on the lead lap until his eyes cleared.  He thought about pulling off but since it was a national and he was in a tight battle for the number 1 plate in the nation he continued on.  He ultimately finished 5th.  Little did we know that the next week he would crash, total his 750cc Harley XR, tear his shoulder to smithereens, pull neck muscles that saved his neck from being broken, and sustain a concussion so bad that he could hardly talk for two days because his head hurt so bad.  He never raced a motorcycle after that and ended up 3rd overall in points.  He took one year off from racing and then transitioned into race cars.  Believe it or not we have only attended one motorcycle race as spectators since then. It was in Las Vegas and neither one of us enjoyed the race.

Those were great times and on a weekend like this Memorial Day weekend we might have raced 3 nights (Friday/Sat/Sun) in a row.  That is a lot of wrenching and cleaning air cleaners and carbs in motel rooms.  I bet there were a lot of maids that thought what in the world happened in this room?

But back to the curbside treasure.  R said he was driving along when he thought he saw a power washer hose and nozzle/gun.  He figured he could use the parts for our power washer so he turned around and picked it up and put it in the back of his truck.
It wasn't until he arrived home that he saw the note on the handle.
SCORE!  Our other power washer is a huge gas model so this one is perfect for small jobs.

Here is the only oriole photo that I have been able to take so far.  The females must be on their nests because the male orioles are chasing after a lot of the starlings, grackles, and black birds/crows.
Isn't he magnificent?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Your tire is stinky

LOL....I had to laugh because I thought the same thing.

The other day my husband said "when you are out today, stop and get a 20X8X8 tire for the lawn tractor.  I can't fix the one that is on there."  So after doing a quick online search I found that Tractor Supply had the best price.

That was cool because last week I bought a denim skirt from there for 20 bucks and it is by far the best fitting denim skirt I have ever purchased.  I have found that when I find a piece of clothing that fits me correctly, I need to buy more than one.  I really have no idea what size I wear because I can wear anything between an 8 and a 12.  This skirt was a 10 and was the perfect length, too.

So off I went in search of a tire and clothes and maybe some fish fertilizer if I don't get distracted by the little chicks and ducks.  To make sure I didn't get distracted I went directly to the tires.  Grabbed what I needed and headed for the clothes.
No size 10 skirts were left....maybe they will get more at a later date.  But they had a sale rack so I checked that out and found a denim shirt dress.  So I nabbed one.
On the way to the checkout I spotted some cheap sunglasses.  Pink Camo. I have to laugh at all the camo stuff but I needed a new pair of cheap sunglasses and nine bucks seemed cheap enough.  I used to buy expensive prescription sunglasses.  I soon realized that the more expensive the sunglasses were....the sooner I scratched the lens.  I have cheap sunglasses that I throw in my purse and they slide back and forth on the dash board and never get a scratch.  So to save myself the frustration I just buy cheap sunglasses.

I paid for my haul and signed up for their new rewards program.  I have no idea what the rewards are but I've done well with other rewards programs so what the heck.

As I drove up to the barn I notice that R was working on a small tire.  I grabbed the tire and got out of my vehicle.  He looks at me and says "oh, I already bought one so you can take that one back.."  So I threw it in the back of my SUV and went about my business.  I mean the trip wasn't a total bust because I did get some cheap sunglasses.

Our weather has gone from 60's to high 80's in two days.  The tire sat in my vehicle for two days with the windows up in 80+ degree weather.  I decided this morning to take the tire back and when I opened the door I about fell over.  OH MY GOSH.  The smell was unreal. I decided to hop on the expressway so I could drive at 70 mph with the windows down.

When I walked into the store there was quite a line so I had to stand there for a while holding my tire when this little girl turned around and said to me in the most matter of fact voice "your tire is stinky." Believe me little girl...I know!!!

So despite two trips to Tractor Supply I forgot fish fertilizer both times BUT I did stay away from the chicks and ducks.  BTW that Alaska Fish Fertilizer is great.  Stinky but great.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I bought it....

...but what is it?
It says McCools on the side and it appears to be made of stainless steel inside.

I did a little Internet searching and McCools is a frozen yogurt or ice cream place in New Jersey.  So maybe it has something to do with ice cream.

I liked it, so for 12 bucks I bought it without any idea of what I was going to use it for when I got it home.  But it looks like we are going to store our thistle seed in it.  For reference the canister is about 28 inches tall and the jar is about 6 to 8 inches in height.
Then I bought this jar with a stopper/pour spout in it.  I loved the shape and it's large, too.  My initial thought was to use it for honey but the small opening for pouring would make the honey dispensing very very slow.  Maybe a dish soap dispenser if I can find a pump that would fit the opening.  But for 10 bucks I had to have it.
Oriole update.....they are loving the jam but not touching the oranges.  I'm trying to get a photo but I have been busy busy busy planting my window boxes.  Actually it took longer to put the potting soil in the window boxes than it did to actually plant them.

I needed to run to another local greenhouse for a six pack of butter crunch lettuce and 1 chartreuse sweet potato vine.  Of course I couldn't resist and also purchased some other veggies and herbs.
Two of the plants were rather unusual.  One was called the popcorn plant.  I guess if you rub the leaves it smells like buttered popcorn.  I'll try that out tomorrow and let you know.
The other 'out of the ordinary' plant is a cherry tomato that is white.  They called it 'White Ice' but the closest thing I could find online was Italian Ice Hybrid Cherry tomato
I wasn't worried about buying the extra plants because the sign at the greenhouse said that R had called ahead and left a message for me.  So I was covered.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Orioles Found the Jelly

This afternoon I went outside to check on the feeder.  Look what I found.
It's empty.  The orioles didn't touch the oranges but they found the jelly.

There were two males taking turns at the cup when I came back with the squeeze bottle of jelly.  I like this set up even more now that I have had to fill it.  I didn't even have to touch the feeder or get my hands sticky.  I just opened the top and squeezed the jelly into the cup without touching a thing. Closed the top.   Easy peasey.

I didn't get a photo of the birds because I was in and out of the house running errands and Roger had taken on a small side job.  I was also on the phone with a friend who is a real estate agent.  No we aren't moving.  We are trying to buy the land to the south of us. We want to plant peach and cherry trees (they won't grow in our black walnut filled yard) and this lot only has two black walnut trees and they are located on the very edge of the lot.

R is all for the purchase but his parting words as he left this morning was "just what I need....another acre to mow."

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Orioles in the yard.....yippee

I remember the first time I saw an oriole.  I was in my car waiting in line at the bank drive thru window.  My car window was down and I heard the most beautiful song bird singing.  I could tell it was close because it was so loud, so I kept looking. I finally found it sitting in a tall shrub right next to the bank.

I was shocked.  The bird was so orange and so bright.  It was years before I would see another and then usually just a fleeting glimpse of one darting from the top of one tree to another.  More than likely I would just hear their song and never actually see them.  That was until last year.

Last year we had about 10 pairs.  It was truly unreal.  These orioles didn't seem to be skittish at all. The cats, of which we have 4, would sit in the mulberry trees and the orioles would fly in and grab a berry and fly away, as the cats would just watch and chatter.  They never made a move to grab a bird.
I vowed last year to be prepared this year.  So when I heard the orioles singing on Saturday, despite the rain and snow pellets (yes snow), I knew I needed to go buy some supplies.  But not before witnessing not one, but two male orioles, try and sit on one of my wind spinners.
We have a wild bird supply store in our town so I stopped in to see what they had in stock.  I purchased two set ups.  The first one is a cup for the grape jelly.  The cup is orange plastic and rests in a metal frame and the frame has two spikes that each hold half of an orange.
I have this set up in the large magnolia bush.  After they tried to sit on the wind spinner, both of the orioles flew into this bush so I am hoping that they will see this set up and come back for a snack.
The other set up is a nectar/orange half set up.  With the freezing temps I thought it was best to wait until warmer temperatures before I set up this option.  But I can already tell that I like the jelly cup/orange half set up best.  It was quick and easy without any breakable parts.  The store carries extras plastic cups, so you could fill one in the house and then take it to the feeder, remove the empty one and replace with the filled cup.  If you are clever and have the time, I bet you could make your own hanging frame.

I've also read somewhere that orioles love Welch's grape jelly, but for now I purchased the jelly from the store because it came in a plastic squeeze bottle. The jelly I purchased is an oriole formula from Songbird Essentials.  I'm kind of liking the jelly jar hanger from Songbird Essentials. I might have to order one.
Here is a link to an article in Birds and Blooms warning about using grape jelly in your oriole feeders.  After reading the article I will stick to buying the birdberry jelly.

Also, I am not sure if these are Baltimore Orioles or Northern Orioles.  All I know is that they are beautiful and a pleasure to hear singing.  I have also seen two blue birds.  But for now I'll concentrate on getting the orioles happy with our yard so that they return next year.

Friday, May 13, 2016

This will take me days

I woke up bright and early (early for me) and went and bought the two large bags of potting soil that I was suppose to buy last night and didn't.  I forced myself to not look at anything and just grabbed a flat bed cart and threw my two bags on it and left.  It was hard but I was strong.

On the way back home I stopped at my mother's condo to check the mail when I realized that I had bought one more geranium plant for her front bed.  So I left the condo and drove home, unloaded the dirt, grabbed the one geranium, and drove back to her condo.

I planted it and then went into the house to wash my hands so that I could leave.  As I walked out of the garage someone was walking up the driveway to get the contact info off of our for sale sign.  We are selling by owner as I have had great luck selling our properties by owner.

We spoke for a moment or two and then I asked them if they would like to see the inside.  They said yes and so for the next hour I showed them around the condo.  On the way back out of the garage they asked about my mother's off white Buick Lacross.  Ironically they drove up in the same exact car.  What can I say.....it's the Flint area and a lot of people still drive Buicks.  Back in the day almost everyone drove a Buick.

I gave them the price and we both left.  I arrived home and looked at the amount of flowers and bulbs that I need to plant and realized that my eyes were bigger than my trowel and this will take ALL weekend.

The pots in the front yard were planted first.  I like the color combo in the black pots and I think the concrete pot will only get better with age.

I then started filling the new window box in the front.  In an attempt to not get soil on my fresh white paint job, I used an empty plastic pot to scoop up soil and pour it into the window box.  That was slow going.  I couldn't pour the soil out of the bag until it was only 1/3 full because it was so heavy.

I planted the geraniums, chartreuse sweet potato vines, and the purple salvia in the two front window boxes.  I'm waiting until tomorrow to add the white and dark purple petunias because I wanted the soil to be thoroughly wet before I plant them.  They have very delicate roots and the soil was not thoroughly moist.

R watered and watered until all the soil was thoroughly wet.  By this time it was getting late and I noticed I had three unanswered calls on my phone from the same person.  So I called it a day and went inside.  The phone rang again and it was the couple who looked at the condo.  They wanted the car.  So tomorrow I have to meet them at 11AM.

So I don't expect to start planting until at least noon on Saturday.  It is suppose to rain AGAIN tonight. The lawn was mowed three days ago and could use another trim tomorrow.

Do I plant or mow?  Oh by the way the forecast is for a low of 34 degrees tomorrow night.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Petunias, Pots, and Pouring Rain

Today was one of those days where R and I tried to pack as many errands into one day as possible. The day started out with a dentist appointment for R.  The minute he rolled into the driveway we were off again.

Our first stop was a nursery that has good geraniums at a good price.  I needed 31 geraniums so saving over a $1.00 a plant adds up.  A lot of nurseries have a wide selection of nice plants but once we put up the 3 additional window boxes, we soon realized that we needed to do a little price shopping to ensure that planting them didn't turn into a budget buster.

I bought the bright red color which when held next to the dark red color was hardly distinguishable between the two colors.  I think that the color difference is more noticeable out in the bright sunlight. We were inside a huge greenhouse and it was slightly cloudy outside.  I'm going to add dark purple petunias but I'll buy those elsewhere by the flat which is a more affordable option.  I did buy two chartreuse green sweet potato vines for each window box and one for a large pot.

We also picked up some tomato and pepper plants that will go into our large pots.  We've given up planting them in the ground because of the numerous black walnut trees in the yard.  I think we could do raised planted beds but our 'to do' list is far too long right now to add raised planting beds to the list. We have 8 or so large pots that we can use right now.

Speaking of pots.  I had to do a quick drive by of the pots for sale at the nursery.  They had a large variety of pots and some that are new to me.  They really do not work with my decor but they were great none the less.  The photos might be deceiving because I have nothing for you to judge the scale of the pots but these are large crock style pots.

Mason Jars are all the rage and now you can buy a crock size ceramic pottery Mason jar.  Wouldn't a tomato plant with some basil make for a great combination?

How about this pot if you have a fishing cabin up north?

Once we left the nursery we did a quick pass through of the Davison Farmers market to get another pint of that delicious chocolate milk.  I also bought two bottles of that Kombucha tea that seems to be all the rage.  I bought two different flavors.  One was Passion fruit that the vendor kept telling me it had a calming affect and would help me 'chill'.......I must have looked stressed out.  The other flavor was cherry and both have chia seeds in them.

The vendor rattled off a variety of ailments that these drinks were meant to help or alleviate but I'm more interested in whether they taste good.  It's just like I know fish oil capsules would work wonders with my cholesterol problem because  I can no longer take several types of those meds. It would really help if I took the fish oil capsules but I cannot swallow them.  I know I inhale bigger chunks of candy then those small fish oil capsules but I just can't swallow them.  BUT I did find some gummi vitamins that have fish oil in them and they are not too bad.  I've been taking them for about two months so my next blood work should show if they are working.

After the farmer's market we headed back home but along the way we pass this small market that carries the Hershey chocolate syrup in the can.  Our local Krogers and Meijer no longer carry the can. R is a big ice cream eater and insists that the chocolate syrup in the plastic bottle is a different recipe.
He bought three cans and we hit the road again.

Next on the list was a trip to Ace Hardware for bags of their weed and feed lawn care granules. Currently they are having an instant discount of 6 bucks per large bag if you have the Ace Rewards card....which I do.  The weed and feed is for R's doctor's yard that he maintains.

The sky was getting darker and a quick look at my phone showed that the storm was about 1 1/2 hours away.  So R grabbed the broadcast spreader and laid down 3 large bags of weed and feed while I drove to another nursery to buy bags of potting soil for my window boxes and pots.  I usually change the soil every two or three years.  This year I am filling new window boxes and changing the soil in 3 older smaller window boxes.

Once I got inside the greenhouse I was distracted by the black petunias.  I have a large hanging basket that I want to fill with white and black petunias and hang on the south side of the barn.  So I added black petunias and 2 flats of dark purple and white petunias to my cart.  Then I saw these cool large bright red begonia plants that would look great in the pots that are on my potting shed.

Oh and there's the veggies.  I bought 4 more tomato plants.  Then I decided I needed some tall dark purple salvia for my window boxes.  By this time my cart was over flowing and I still hadn't picked up the two super large bags of potting soil.  It was about that time that I realized it was getting very dark and then the sky opened up and it started pouring and was it ever loud on the Plexiglas ceiling.

So what's a gal to do when it's pouring outside and her SUV is waaaaay out in the parking lot?  She shops some more.  I knew I couldn't get the potting soil today because my cart was full but I might be able to add a few more plants to my cart.

I went back and looked at the veggies again.  I noticed they have bush cucumbers.  I didn't buy any but I think I might give these a try if I have a pot leftover to fill.  At this point the rain just wasn't letting up so I went to the cash register and paid.

I waited at the doorway for some time but then just decided to bite the bullet and ran as fast as I could in my flip flops to my vehicle.  I left it unlock so I parked my cart next to the vehicle and hopped in to catch my breath and wipe the wet hair out of my eyes.  I took a deep breath and looked in the side mirror to see my cart rolling across the parking lot.

Needless to say by the time I retrieved my cart, unload it, and got back in my SUV, I was thoroughly soaked.  I arrived home without potting soil, which was what I went for in the first place. R was already home and proud that he was able to get all the fertilizer down before it rained and asked if I needed help getting the potting soil out of my vehicle.   Ahhhh......no.

On the agenda for tomorrow.  Buy potting soil and plant window boxes and pots.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Vintage Wrought Iron Arbor

I finally picked up the wrought iron arbor that I won at auction back in November.

My friend was visiting her grandmother about 20 minutes from my house so I met up with her so I could take possession of this interesting vintage arbor.
To say it needs a little work would be the ultimate in under statements.  But I told my husband I had faith that if he could wad up a race car on Friday night and then fix it and race it Saturday night he could fix this little old arbor..LOL  A car frame has to be true and straight.  This arbor just has to look good and not tip over.
Am I asking for a miracle?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Dreaded P³

My sister and I are in the process of selling my mother's condo.  The condo itself is in fabulous condition and decorated beautifully inside so that is not a problem.  Both my father and mother always took care of little details before they became a problem. My mother was also a worrier so every possible scenario was covered from rain to ice.

But despite the great condition of the condo we still needed to remove personal items, take photos, etc. Over the last couple of years my mother had slowly thrown away or donated many items.  But there are still items to give away to family members, donate, or sell.  So in between working on my own house, I have also been working on getting the condo ready to sell.

My sister doesn't live close by so we try to coordinate our times to meet and take care of business. We usually do that on rainy days.  So when days are beautiful like today I have to put the condo on the back burner and paint like there is no tomorrow.

I have the window boxes finally painted with a top coat of ultra white semi gloss.  I then had to touch up the grey paint where the primer was on the grey.  The rough shingles make it difficult to get a sharp crisp painted edge so tomorrow I will touch up a few areas with a flat stiff artist brush that I use when I need to get into tight spots or touch up small areas.
Why can't I seem to take a level photo?

I also painted another window box which was one of the original window boxes. Because the new window was wider due to the wider original style casing than what was on the window we removed, I needed to replace that window box with a new one.  The old window box will sit on the deck railing by the kitchen door.

It is already planted with onion chives and I have a patch of garlic chives growing in my side yard and will probably add some garlic chives to the window box.  That will give me pink blooms in the spring and tall white blooms in August/September.   The garlic chives believe it or not smell wonderful.  The bees also like them so it's a win win situation.

This week I hope to plant my tomato and pepper plants.  My son and daughter in law gave me a tomato plant and gift card to one of my favorite nurseries. I'll then concentrate on planting my window boxes and porch pots.  I am going to go with red, purple, and white as my color combo this year.

And like that isn't enough, we decided to plant flowers at my mother's condo.  The condo is fully landscaped but it needs a little color.  Since it is a traditional style condo we will go with bright red geraniums.  I have a larger black ceramic pot that I may add to the porch.

We are selling the condo ourselves and it has only been a week.  But we have had a lot of interest and there is absolutely no comparable condos in our area.  You either have to pay 100K more or pay 60 to 70K less for an older condo with higher HOA fees.  So we feel good about our pricing.

My sister will have puppies to deal with in about 6 weeks so we are under a lot of puppy and painting pressure commonly referred to as PPP or P³  if you are a math geek.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The smell of primer in the morning.....

.....smells like I got a lot done today.  Unfortunately a lot of little stuff but nothing big and impressive.

I primed the window boxes so tomorrow I can put on the top coat which means I can fill with soil and flowers in the near future.  Yippee.  I'm antsy to plant something....anything....anywhere.  So I bought a daylily plant two days ago and planted it today.
Don't judge me, I'm behind on my dandelion removal.
Daylilies do not seem to be affected by my black walnut trees so when I ran across this rather tall (36 inches) white daylily, I thought I had better grab it before the Mother's Day plant buying crowd shows up on Saturday.
This daylily is called Heavenly Angel Ice.  It's a creamy white with rather large blooms (6 inches in diameter) and the hang tag says it is a rebloomer.  I'm not holding my breath about the rebloomer thing.  I have bought at least 6 daylily plants that were tagged as a rebloomer and none has rebloomed. Maybe we do not have a long enough season here in Michigan to allow it to rebloom.  I'll be happy it it blooms once with 6 inch wide blooms.  That Donald Trump huuuuuggge in the daylily world.  Plus, the white/creamy white blooms should show up nicely against the dark grey of the shingles.
A few of my tulips have bloomed and who doesn't like a pretty tulip.  It looks like the deer snacked on some of them which is a bummer.  The bulbs that I planted around the garden shed haven't bloomed yet so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the deer stay away from them.
I also ran to the hardware store to pick up a bracket to hang another bird feeder.  While I was at Sam's Club with my sister the other day, I bought a 40 pound bag of black sunflower seeds so it's time to fill some feeders. I caught a glimpse of a bluebird twice on Wednesday.  They are sooo beautiful but I wish there were more of them.

The forecast is for rain again on Saturday afternoon.  If it rains yet again, I'll have to mow on Sunday or Monday AGAIN. This time of the year the lawn is on overdrive and can grow an inch overnight. It really slows down getting much done on mowing days because with us both mowing, it can take 3 or 4 hours of non stop mowing.  I usually have to stop twice for gas and a personal pit stop.  R's zero turn has a bigger gas tank so he can mow without stopping.

Monday will be an exciting day.  I am meeting my girlfriend and picking up the vintage cast iron arbor that she bought at an online auction by her house.  It's a weekly online auction but it is quite a distance from my house.  So when I see something that grabs me she looks at it and then puts in my bid.  If I win she picks it up for me and stores it in her garage until I have a pile of stuff.  She knows I like my wrought iron and cast iron.

The arbor needs a little work but nothing a sandblaster and welder can't fix.  Welding cast iron is a little tricky but R has had a lot of experience in that area.  I don't care to weld. I have trouble with my eyes.  Even when I use an automatic darkening hood.  It's like my night blindness when I drive at night times 100.  I can't see anything.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Blueberry Bushes....so many choices but all the same height

One of our local landscape nurseries publishes a yearly booklet with all the trees, shrubs, and flowers that they will offer throughout the upcoming year.  So for the last month or so I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the fruit trees and shrubs so I can buy some blueberry bushes.

We decided that instead of planting roses or hydrangeas on the south side of the house that we would plant something edible.  I didn't want anything high maintenance or with thorns.  That meant no raspberries or gooseberries but I may revisit that gooseberry thing somewhere else in the yard.  So that really left just blueberries bushes.

I knew that I wanted the bushes to not be any higher than a foot or so below the new window box. That gave me a maximum height of 4 feet.  We also had about 18 feet in length to work use.  Most of the blueberry varieties that they offered were 6 ft tall so they were not going to work at all.

But they did offer one variety that was 3 to 4 feet in height and another one that was maximum height of 2 feet.  Two feet was a little short but they would work at the far end and I could use the 4 footers under the window box.

So once at the nursery, I find the blueberry bushes and start loading my cart. Then for some reason I decide to read the label and on the label it says 4 to 6 feet.  I read all the other labels and they all said 4 to 6 feet except for Jelly Bean.  So I put two of them in my cart and then just stood there.
I hate it when I do research and have a plan and then something changes so it throws everything out the window.  I reread all the labels just to make sure I wasn't missing something.  That's when it hit me that I could just keep the bushes trimmed down to 4 feet if for some reason they loved the location and grew to 6 feet.

So I put the Bluecrop blueberry bushes in my cart and brought them home.
Where every night for the last two weeks I have to put them in the barn because it is so cold at night.

We are hoping that our blueberry bushes produce enough berries that we can have a few blueberry pies, some blueberry muffins, and maybe do a little finger grazing during the day while working in the yard.

Today, I also purchased some Asian lily bulbs and will plant those bulbs when the rain stops.  When that will be is as yet undetermined.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Flower Pot Feet

Last year I purchased a set of pot feet off of Etsy.  They were cute but they just didn't wow me.  First off they didn't match the pot.  They were advertised as concrete or cement but I think they were made out of mortar.  They were dark and some what soft.  I also didn't like that they were very flat.  Flat feet is just as undesirable in pot feet as human feet in my opinion. I am sure they would look better on a small pot.

So when I purchased my new concrete pot I knew I had to upgrade my pot feet to something more substantial and made out of the correct material so that they matched the pot.

Why use pot feet?  I use pot feet to keep my pot off the concrete/slate porch which in cold weather could trap moisture under the pot that could freeze and damage the pot and do further damage to my original slate/concrete porch.  If you sit your pots on a wood deck they will leave behind a ring stain if you move the pot.  This is due to the constant moisture trapped under the pot.

Also in colder climates it is important that your pots do not hold moisture that could freeze and crack your pot. Raising the pot up off the flat surface will allow the moisture to drain faster and hopefully not freeze like a block of ice.

Some people lay their pots on their side or cover with plastic.  Neither of these are an option for me. I like to fill my front porch pot with cut evergreens and who wants to look at a plastic covered pot for 5 months.

I also use the pot feet as a decorative element.  I found my new feet on eBay which tends to be my go to place lately for unusual items.

My new pot feet are very decorative and match perfect. Wanna see my feet?
The concrete is still curing but you can see that they match my new pot.  FYI those are not lead paint chips on my porch.  I left a fairly new painted interior wood item on my porch and it rained.  The thin paint layer just peeled right off.  I should have known better but I have been distracted and have far too many irons in the fire right now.
I also like that there are four feet.  My pot is a quadruped.  A big pot looks better with 4 feet.  My old feet..... along with being flat and the wrong color only came in a set of 3.  I'm sure they will find a smaller pot to support in my yard somewhere....sometime.
I also love the hairy paw design, especially on furniture.  My pot is in the sun but how cool would it be to get moss to grow on your hairy paw pot feet?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Some nice looking pots

I like juxtaposition.  Especially in my pairing of paintings and frames.   Nothing better than an abstract painting in an elaborate fancy antique frame.  But apparently that juxtaposition loving applies to my flower pots, too.

I guess it's no secret that my sister and I have been on a concrete lawn ornament buying binge since my mother's passing.  No lie, I guess we all deal with our grief differently.  We've been there three times and then I dragged my husband there making it 4 times for me.
So when I purchased the large concrete pot I felt like it needed something shiny to play off all that rough dull concrete.  Shiny I found at the nursery while I was buying blueberries bushes.
Also there is that odd number rule where they (who are they?) say that odd number items are more pleasing to the eye.  Plus, I am trying real hard to fight that need to make everything symmetrical and balanced.  So my eyes were very pleased to find two different sizes of these black glazed pots in a shape and style very similar to the concrete pot.  Yes, my eyes were pleased.

Now the next dilemma is what will be the color combo this year.  I really loved the purple, yellow, white thing I had going on last year BUT there are so many colors to chose from so maybe I'll do the pink, red, white, and of course purple combo.

Just in.......my sister called and said her husband almost ran over her concrete pheasant.  The horror!!!
We are still debating if it was premeditated or just a near miss.