Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Five Steps of Dog Vomit Mold Rehabilitation

Just the other day I said to my husband, "Hey, we haven't had any dog vomit mold in the yard this spring." (These are the kind of statements that keep a marriage strong and vibrant, it's in all the manuals.) And then it rained. Not enough to help out the drought one tiny dust particle of good, but it was just enough to bring up that weird phenomenon known as Dog Vomit Mold. These are the basic principles of the Dog Vomit Mold Five Step Program, often called Al-a-Mold.

First, you see the problem. 

But you are in disbelief. This can't be happening in your garden. Again.

You hope it goes away, but it doesn't.

You try to see the humor in the situation. You make barf jokes. But it's so not funny.

Finally, there is acceptance. Things will get better, it just takes time. Someday when your garden is covered in beautiful plants and flowers and the weeds are under control, this will be a distant memory. A really ugly distant memory.

And you focus on the positive. Bee Positive.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Three Quilts, Three Days

The mailing tape dispenser was working overtime last week. In three days I got orders for three quilts. It was in the middle of Allergy Season Central around here. Since for me that means about a 20% decrease in functioning brain cells, it was a nice diversion and one I could handle.

1. Find quilt.
2. Make sure it's the right one.
3. Trim off any errant stringy fuzz.
4. Find custom gift tag.
5. Make sure it's the right one.
6. Find a proper box.
7. Add dog treats for customers with dogs.
8. Print out postage and spell everything right, including my own name.
9. Drop off at post office.
10. I hope that was it, because I'm out of steps.

Etsy, in cahoots now with the United States Postal Service, makes mailing a package easy enough for a trained chimp. Even a chimp with hay fever. 

The Rose Quilt, photographed with my new props, some old shutters I found in the trash. 

I prefer candlelight personally, but quilts photograph best in the morning.

All rolled up and ready to go!

A nice lady in Maryland with two cute dogs bought the Digger quilt. Molly sent treats.

Dog quilts look even cuter in the morning too.

My amazing and talented friend Jill from Washington sent me these fabrics.

They are for a custom baby quilt and include some denim fabric from her son Andrew's jeans.

More shabby chic shutter photos, more morning light and my first baby quilt with a binkie pocket. 
If I could just stay home and sew quilts with my head stuffed in a binkie pocket, I may survive this spring.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I don't pull any punches

There was just enough time for me to swing by the Goodwill drop-off right around the corner from our house, and then race drive to make my meeting at 9:30. There is such a great feeling of dropping off junk gently-used items for others to enjoy. It's almost as good as losing 2 to 3 pounds. Almost.

That little detour was what put me in the perfect position to witness a pretty bad fender-smasher. A girl in a small car (Girl in Small Car) was slowing down to turn right into a fairly empty parking lot, and a guy in an old truck (Old Truck Dude) was about to slam right into her. He swerved to his left and caught the left rear of her car pretty good. Her car is probably totaled, but at least she didn't get much of a body slam. I figured it was a pretty simple case of OTD hits GSC and so I continued on to make my 9:30 meeting. Then I thought, What if I was GSC? Wouldn't I appreciate someone coming back to say they witnessed it, and it was completely not her fault?

So I turned around, and by then they were in the parking lot of our local boxing club. (Yes, I would love to insert Hot Pilates Spa, but this is my neighborhood, and it's on the grittier side of things.) I drove up to see her talking to some ladies in pink boxing gloves who came out to see what had happened. GSC was teary eyed, and I told her I had seen it all, quickly gave her my business card just in case she needed it and drove off.

When I was driving to my meeting, I kept thinking of her standing there all weepy and shook up, and since OTD looked a bit rough, I wished I had waited around a bit longer. Having just studied Monday night about the Good Samaritan and that the focus was not on who received the kindness, but who showed the kindness, I was feeling like my drive-by act of kindness was on the wimpy side. So I got to the hall, grabbed my friend Anastasia to spend the morning with me and we raced drove back to the accident scene.

GSC was sitting in her car, crying and being consoled by her boyfriend. OTD was talking to a sheriff's deputy. GSC was so happy to see me come back. Seems the guy in the truck (who was completely at fault) had made up some ridiculous story that the girl had been backing her car out of the parking lot (not true and would be stupid and unnecessary because it was almost empty). It was the most satisfying feeling to march over to the deputy and say that Truck Dude was lying. He looked at Weepy Girl and said, "It looks like you have a good witness here." Just wait until they see this totally professional drawing of what I saw.

I saw it all Truck Dude.
I don't have pink boxing gloves, but I believe it's called a TKO.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Garden Grumblings

This spring is way too dry and much too warm, but it is glorious. Things are blooming early and abundantly, and me trying to stick my head in our clay soil is not going to make it change. It's time to get out there and get some watering done (as pathetic as that is in March), do a little weeding and assess the progress of the Great Garden Plan.

Plants are a lot like clothes in the closet - you remember exactly how much you paid for the cheap ones you got at the thrift store, but you conveniently forget the price of the costlier items. "This dress? Why, I found it at a garage sale for A DOLLAR!" "Oh, these shoes? Hmm, where DID I get them...um...er...Yikes, is that a hornet in your ear?" If I were handed the sum total of what we have spent on our yards, front and back, in the last two and half years, I would have to cheer myself up with some shoe shopping at Nordstroms.

I do try to be thrifty. I buy plants in the smallest size buckets, even though the plants in the bigger buckets are snickering at their puny cousins, mocking the size of their root balls. I measure out exactly how big the tag says it will get and plan accordingly, never buying more plants than the space warrants. I check religiously the Sunset's Western Garden book for the correct variety and color and planting zone. In spring I've been known to keep both my Bible and the garden book on my nightstand for quick reference.

With all that, we have experienced the sad fact of plants pooping out, bushes bailing, flowers failing and shrubs shriveling. And those were the ones I investigated and really gave some thought. Here is a short list of plants that are no longer gracing our garden:

  • The very first things we planted out front were azaleas. They were not happy one bit, so I transferred them out back to a shadier location. I hoped they would thrive, but they died. Dead azaleas are not pretty. They got yanked and added to the Green Waste Bin of Plant Despair.
  • We planted gardenias under the window, because I dreamed of the glorious scent of gardenias wafting into the windows which I never open. But they got anemic looking and I transferred them to pots of the front porch. One is growing well, one is barely hanging on.
  • I had planted a camellia out front, along with the azaleas and gardenias. I wonder...could this all be because I felt spending money on a soil analysis would be too costly? Instead, I just sprinkled in something (more $ of course) to build up the acid in the area. And as if on an acid trip, the camellia got wasted. It didn't help that our house is a light color and our house paint has light reflectors added to help reduce fading. All that bright reflection cooked our pretty camellia bush and one day all I found was a dead brown stick. And how much had I paid for that bush? Hmm...um...er...Yikes, is that a hornet in your ear?
  • The last really bad decision out front came in a cheap package. On sale for $5 each were some end-of-the-season creeping shrub roses. They actually have done quite well, thrived in fact. I love them, except for the blasted Bermuda grass that grows underneath. And there is no way to get the blasted weeds pulled because of the blasted thorns and the fact that the blasted bush grows in a creeping formation that gives the blasted weeds such a great place to thrive. Can you tell what joy and happiness these lovely plants give me?

This is what I want, this is all I want. To plant stuff in the right place, at the right time, at the right height, with the correct spacing, in the ideal soil, that doesn't need a lot of water, in pleasing colors that compliment each other, that discourage weeds and encourage butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Disclaimer - This is not our front yard. But a girl can dream.

As you can see, I like mounding...


...friendly shaped plants.
And blue, I love blue and purple.
Back to the garden center. How much will I spend?
Yikes, is that a hornet in your ear?