Thursday, February 24, 2011

Virtual Wildflower Garden

Can't wait until Spring?  Tired of snow?

My sister sent me a link via email, to grow my own flower garden.  It's fun and easy, just drag your mouse where you want your flowers to grow.  Click refresh to start another flower garden.  Here's one of mine.  Isn't it pretty?:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wonderful Gardening Day

Today was an amazing gardening day.  On Thursday, it snowed lightly, then yesterday and today, we have had amazing weather - crisp but sunny, and clear blue skies.  Since my son is sick with a cold, we kept him home from soccer at noon today, and I went out in the garden instead, wearing a tank top and shorts, to get as much Vitamin D as possible.  I'm sure I'm terribly deficient, and have also had a sore throat and cough the past couple of days.

Fairy garden
First I managed to squeeze in one hour, since my husband offered to make lunch.  Then in the afternoon, he wanted to enjoy the weather by going for a walk in the park, but I begged him to let me stay home in the garden instead.  So he ended up taking my daughter for a bicycle ride, while my son spent 2 hours in the garden.  I pulled lots of weeds, removed old flower stalks, trimmed back my grape vines to visible growth buds, and fought for a long time with the butterfly bush.  My son was a great help to me.  I chopped and pulled large branches down (it is over 10' tall), and he chopped up the branches for me.  I keep many of the straight segments of the branches I cut down.  That's what I used to build the fairy house years ago, for the fairy garden (photo on right from last summer), and I'm sure I'll find lots of uses for them in the garden, staking plants, etc.

It was not windy, so warm enough to continue to work in my tank top and shorts in the afternoon, as long as I stayed in the sun.  In the shady spots, there was still a light covering of snow on the ground.  By 4PM, it started to get windy and cooler, so I finally gave up.  It was only after I got inside that I realized how exhausted I was, and was glad that I had finally come inside.  But I think those hours to relax and soak up sun has already helped.  I am tired tonight, but my throat is no longer sore.

I feel sorry for my friends and neighbours who think of gardening as a chore.  Or my husband, who thinks that when the weather is nice, he needs to go away somewhere else.  When I am in my garden, working hard, it is one of the few times that I am completely at peace.  There is lots to do, but if I can't finish it all today (ha ha!), then it will patiently wait for me.  I often think of tunes or amuse myself with what I would like to blog about, but my head is not racing with problems from work, or other issues.  Even when I am trying to sleep, I am not at peace in that same way.  I often wake up in the morning trying to solve problems, or making notes to myself of all the "to do's" I need to accomplish.  If there is gardening in heaven, for sure I'll be there.

I have been trying out my Cobrahead Weeder and Cultivator recently, and have been very impressed with it.  I would like to say more about it some time, but it's getting too late.  I'll visit my husband at the TV for a bit, and then go to bed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

GBBD February 2011

The rain finally subsided this morning, so I was able to run to the top of the yard to dump my kitchen compost bin.  As I stepped outside, I realized it was Garden Blogger's Bloom Day hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.  So I returned and took the camera with me.

The crocuses (does anyone say "croci"?) under the Fuyu Persimmon would be blooming if there were any sun to speak of.  But not this overcast morning.
I did find one mini iris blooming next to my granite garden bench.
Mini iris
At this point in the season, there are plenty of hopeful signs of new growth, but the garden "bones" of bare tree branches, evergreen bushes and the occasional garden decoration, dominate the garden view.  I like the shadow these decorations cast on the fence (on a sunnier morning a couple of weeks ago).
Garden decorations
Garden decorations
One evening last week, the setting sun lit up my contorted shrub (the name is not coming to me at the moment) in the front yard.  Although the photo doesn't fully capture the golden glow I saw, it conveys some of the magic of that moment.
Glowing bare contorted shrub
Here's to dreaming of Spring!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fun with Fabric Paints

My daughter's friends at school all have food nicknames this year.  My daughter's a cookie. One tough cookie.
One tough cookie T-shirt design
One of her friends is a cupcake.  An evil cupcake.
Evil cupcake T-shirt design
Another friend is a brownie.  A super brownie.
Super brownie T-shirt design
I designed (drawing on some ideas I found on the internet - or outright borrowing the first one from David and Goliath - I hope they forgive me, in exchange for a link to their site, where they have some really cute T-shirts) and created all three shirts tonight, with puffy (dimensional) fabric paint I bought at Michaels. 
Three cute T-shirts
They may take a couple of days to dry, and then the threesome can wear their shirts to school.  It will be a fun surprise for her friends.  Oh, and the whites of the eyes are made with glow-in-the-dark paint, so that will be an extra surprise for them.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Birthday Season and Stick Bugs

Today was my son's birthday party with his friends from school, and the end of "birthday season" in our house.  I have discovered the joy of making cakes instead of buying them, so today I had fun decorating his, except that I couldn't find my icing decorating set, so instead ended up improvising with a plastic bug cut on the end, and holding one of the icing tips I did find against it, but it was a real messy job, with icing spilling out on all sides onto my hands.  You wouldn't know it, though, by looking at the cake.  I think it turned out pretty good, don't you?:
Soccer boy cake
Soccer birthday cake
My only mistake was that I indicated that we would be done by 7:30 or 8pm, and some parents arrived at 7:30pm, and we were not done.  My husband only arrived about 7:15pm from dropping off my daughter at the church, and I had waited for him to return before opening gifts and serving cake, since I wanted his help with a few photos.  So it was a bit of a rush finishing up, with parents arriving.

In the midst of the chaos, Gary from Cinemazoo arrived (from another birthday party he was entertaining at) to buy a few of my stick bugs for his collection of bugs and creatures which he shares with kids of all ages for educational and entertainment purposes.  I was very impressed with him.  Gary is a true nature enthusiast, and a very patient and kind person.  He graciously gave me some eggs of a leaf insect, which I will be thrilled to add to my stick bug "collection".  He also took the trouble to go back to his van and bring in some huge hissing cockroaches, which I enjoyed holding (the birthday kids all backed away and couldn't be convinced), and this giant stick bug which he preserved (wow, I would have liked to hold it while it was still alive!):
Giant stick bug from Cinemazoo
I think it would be a really cool birthday feature, to have Cinemazoo bring in their weird and wonderful creatures, and share them with the kids.   Tonight, one of the little sisters of one of the boys shrieked when she first saw my stick bugs, but after explaining to her that it was a "nice" gentle bug, I convinced her to hold one, and within a few minutes, she had convinced her mom that she wanted to take one home with her, which she did.  I was thrilled to see her transformed from her initial terror, to proudly clutching the little box with her new bug "pet".  What a night!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin