I love to garden. No, really, I do! You could just never tell from what the yard l right now….. Sigh. This house sits on a sand pile. Literally. It has been here since the 70s and you would think that being this far up that I would have a rock problem, not a sand problem, but that is the way it goes I suppose. This is the rose bed that I spent two whole weeks last year cleaning out to ground level, fertilizing, putting down ground cloth, then bags and bags (and bags) of red bark mulch. This is now. . . Yes, all that green is dandelion and other weird crap!
So, I started pulling up the corner bed where I had planted a Butterfly Bush – which died, of course. Here is where I am in pulled up the weed cloth that was no use at all, as it just let the grass grow through. Why, again, does the real grass grow in the beds and NOT in the yard? Sigh. The the black ground cover cloth that I put down over the heavy duty white ground cover cloth is simply rotted away. I am pulling out all the bark and weeds and dumping them into the compost pile, while the rotten black ground cover is going in the trash I guess. The white stuff isn’t coming apart, so it can be used again, but I wonder why I bother… I think I am going to need a backhoe to get the grass out! From now on, no bark!
I have small stones between the pavers in the path… Of course, that is a mess too! The wind blows the bark around, and the weed seeds and small sticks and all of a sudden, my lovely stone path with the rocks between is toast. Yes, there are indeed small river stones between the big flat ones – you just can’t see them!
I really never did much with this bed – it was just bark and stones in a circle around the tree. Now you see where where I am pulling it up – that pile on the cloth is a good six inches deep. I will have to dig that all off with a shovel before I can pull up the cloth all the way and do a new layout. It seems all the bark and dirt that blows around just uses it as a bed to build up a new home for the weeds! Sigh…
Worse, here is what the yard looks like. You notice that in the corner flower bed there is real grass? Well, all I get for the yard is dandelions….
Then, all is not totally lost! I have these beautiful little violets that are hidden amongst the dandelions.
So, I want to dig up the violets and salvage them, but I am at a loss as to how to kill off the dandelions. I did read a good article about weed killer that uses white vinegar, salt and dishwashing liquid, but it is a total vegetation killer that kills everything it touches (well, that is good) but it also makes it impossible to plant new grass for a long time (bad). It changes the soil also, which in my case I don’t think it will matter, as it is just sand anyway!
I did find a site that looks really interesting, Click the little dandelion head to go there.
Then, there is this thing. It is popping up all over and I think (there ya go, thinking again) that it might be lemon balm? I know I planted some in with the herbs, but it smells more like chemicals than lemon. I am going to be going over to Echters Gardens (check out their website by clicking the name) on the weekend if I can get away. I will take some of it with me and see if they can identify it!
I did find a picture online that looks a lot like it (thanks holistichealthgurus.com for the picture). But the leaves of mine are darker, as you can see. Maybe it is the lighting?
Ah, well. I will go out when later in the afternoon and dig around some more. Looks like this is going to be a L.O.N.G. process! And with money so tight, it is “Do It Yourself Or Don’t Do It At All! I did pick up three bags of Miracle Grow Flower and Vegetable (the one in the yellow bag) today. Two cubic feet a bag for just over eight dollars each. I have decided to concentrate one one small piece at a time (the corner bed for now) and go from there . . .
But all is not completely lost…. A “Find” that gives me a tiny bit of hope! This is growing out of the brush pile…. must have been there before and I never noticed it. Now I have to figure out when and how to transplant them to a safer place! Guess that calls for help from Echters too!
Black Hawk, Colorado is gambling central around here, and my housemate, Linda, works for one of the casinos up there as a Security Manager. From the weather channel, you probably know that the weather here really stinks. Snow, ice, wind. Fun.
So, Linda gets to work tonight and she has a flat. Oy. Well, she just bought brand new all-weather tires from Big O Tires, and they have Roadside Assistance so that should be no problem, right? Well, no not so much . . .
Picture this: You are standing on the side of the road, up to your knees in snow, it is blowing and icy and freezing and dark and you are freaking miserable . . . You call for Roadside Assistance, and this is what you get: You must have your Big O Tires invoice for the purchase of eligible tires available at the time of the call. So you are standing there, with your invoice in your safe at home, where it belongs, all safe, and without it? You are piss out of luck. No Roadside Assistance for you, SUCKAH!!!!!!
WHAT? They don’t keep records so that you can get Roadside Assistance without having all of your paperwork on you? When you are stuck on the side of the road? You have GOT to be kidding me! You have to give them invoice numbers, dates, and without it, you are stuck there on the side of the road, in the dark, alone, waiting for a psycho to come along, grab and savage and murder you. What a great deal Big O Roadside Assistance is!
So, I called up the really nice guy that owns Black Hawk Towing and I will spend the $70.00 to have him do it for her in the morning. At least she made it to her parking garage, where she was safe and warm, instead of being trapped on the side of the road like she could have been. She is warm and dry and doing her job until 7AM when the tow truck will arrive to change the tire and send her back home safe and sound.
What I can NOT understand is how Big O can think that this is OK? If she really was stuck on the side of the road, how can they not have access in their systems to the information they need in order to provide the assistance that they supposedly offer their customers?
Do you keep invoices in your glove box? Or do you keep them at home, in your files? Is it unreasonable to expect Roadside Assistance to provide their assistance without having a tire purchase invoice in your hand at the time you call, or should they have that information available in their systems?
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”
― W. Somerset Maugham
It is absolutely one of those days. The power went out last night and then again this morning due to high winds. At least it is not heavy, wet snow like so many areas of the country during this Polar Vortex.
I have books to edit, a quilt to work on, a sweater to finish for Bob’s son (another reviewer whose work I very much enjoy). I have reviews that I need to get done, a blog tour to set up, and a give-a-way to arrange.
Procrastination, anyone? Sigh. The wind throws the barometer all wonky, which drives me nuts. I just want to crawl back in bed and sleep through it!
Yes, yes, whine whine whine. Now. Get. Back. To. Work!
Do you ever have days when you just want to say “Screw It” and crawl back in bed? Well, that was me on Wednesday.
It started out good.
I woke up at a fairly “normal” hour (for me – my sleeping habits are a whole other conversation . . .) and I was pretty chipper, looking forward to getting a lot of work done. So far, so good. I make English Breakfast tea and sit down at the laptop to call the software company I got my new toy from.
“New Toy?” Ah, thanks for asking. Yes, I decided to take a friend’s suggestion and splurg on some software that is supposed to help me find grammatical errors. It also is supposed to have a pretty kickin’ translation program, and I am doing some foreign language work, so that sounded good too.
I downloaded the software for a trial on Monday, and worked with it a bit. Thirty-day money back guarantee, what can go wrong?
By Wednesday, I was tearing my hair out. See, I only got the software because I am an anal nut job. Yep, that’s me. If I am going to do the work, I am going to do it RIGHT, and that means I drive myself mad looking for every single comma that might be out of place. I like doing it all myself, but I have found a few mistakes on a second pass that I missed in the first, so, backup, right? Do all the work, then run this fancy-schmancy software to make sure there are no extraneous periods, no ‘there’ instead of ‘their’.
Well, first, the software isn’t perfect, which makes me grin. Neither am I, and the silly thing seems to make different errors than I make, so that works.
Only, it doesn’t. I go through the first six chapters of the book I am working on, found a few small things that could be done a bit differently (‘big’ can be replaced here with ‘large’ so the word ‘big’ isn’t used twice in two consecutive sentences; there is a missing end-quote there, that sort of thing.)
I go through the first six chapters, save my changes, and (drumroll please)
The whole section I just corrected is either totally screwed up, or simply missing all together!!!
Let’s all say it together: I. Flipped. Out.
Of course, tech is not available (see previous statement regarding insomnia – it was something like 3am)
OK. Don’t panic. Send copy of screenshots to techs for next day. Check.
Find something else to do. Check.
Think. Think. Think. Yes, I could R4R, but I have energy! Work! Yea! Hey, the house has to get cleaned at some point, right? Right? Sure!
Office. I can clean the office upstairs and move my desktop from the basement office. Cool. (Vacuum vacuum vacuum. Dust dust dust. Sparkly!) Oh, my goodness! Will you LOOK at that filthy carpet? (Drags out Bissell) Cool, I have carpet cleaning solution! Grab the spray deep cleaner stuff (what is it with all this “Oxy” stuff anyway? Does the carpet have to do drugs to get clean? Can I have some of these drugs?)
Anyway, I get the tap water hot, add cleaner, and switch on machine. Switch off machine. Switch on machine. Motor noise, but no ‘vroom vroom’ of brushes turning. Crap.
Pull out the tool box, flip the thing over, and there are about a million screws, and I am sitting on spray deep cleaner stuff wet carpet while I find all the stupid things and take them out so I can pull the busted belt and go to the hardware store.
Stupid. Plastic. CRAP! The arm that holds the belts breaks off in my hand……..GRRR~! Now HOW is THAT going to get fixed?!?! Oh, and the belts? They are all there, grinning at me, all in one piece. “Nyah Nyah!!! It’s the part that MAKES THE BELTS SPIN that isn’t working – the wheels on the bus definitely aren’t going round and round. . .
So by now, I am hot, dirty, tired, and getting really . . really. . . frustrated. OK, I have all the furniture drug out of the room and into the hall (how did I EVER get that purple chair in that room without taking off the door in the first place? And Why, again, did I think it was a good idea to block the doors to Both bathrooms??? Sigh.) so I decide this calls for a beer. (Pad Pad Pad, off to the kitchen to pull a beer out of the fridge.
Vroom vroom – – HONK! Oh, good. The UPS dude is here and he has my new microwave! (No, I am not a cook. No way, no how. If it can’t be done in the microwave or in my one pot on the stove top, I am out of luck. And the stove was broken last month. Figures) I set the beer down and start to trot out to the truck where UPS dude is pulling out this big box (grunt grunt. What is this thing made of, lead?) Oops. Go back and grab t-shirt. It isn’t like there is anything to see after a double mastectomy except for a scar across my chest, and hey, the scar is nice and flat, but still, I don’t want to scare the poor guy, right? OK, t-shirt on, out the door as he is pulling it out the door of the truck.
Whoa. Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute! That picture doesn’t look right! Nope. Wrong one. THAT isn’t going to FIT! OK, now I just want to cry. Send that stupid thing back. I knew, just KNEW that so-called “customer service” person on the phone had no comprehension of the English language. . .
Back in the house. Now, where did I put my beer again? Oh, man, what is that SMELL? Oh, it’s me. I stink. Sweaty, hot, dirty, and now I stink?!?!
Let’s see. So far I have to pull up six chapters of backup original copy and rebuild my work. My computer with the 7 Home Premium (that should work with the software but it is now on the laptop with the stinkin’ Vista on it, the Vista that won’t work with the software but nobody told me that. . . ) is still in the basement in pieces. The furniture from the upstairs office is in the hall blocking the bathrooms (have I said that by now I really have to pee?) I can’t find my beer. I had to send my microwave back. The carpet in the office is wet and soapy and the only place that can fix the machine is in Evergreen, and I can’t get there until next week. I am hot and tired and dirty and stinky and I want a shower and clean clothes and food and I still have to pee.
So. How was your day?
I admit it. I am one of those crazy people who can’t function unless I am doing something with my hands.It used to be, when I only read print editions of books, that I had to figure out a way to hold my books, turn pages, and knit or quilt at the same time. Now, with my Kindle and Nook (yes, I have both, what can I say?) I can prop up the book and knit at the same time. How cool is that!
Plymouth Yarn Company has new Encore line colours out that are NEON!
I bought the yellow, green and pink (and wish I had bought the orange, but my budget is sooo tight) and paired it with the 0848-Navy Blue.
I am making the Infant size Einstein Coat, better known as the Baby Albert, from Sally Melville’s The Knitting Experience Book 1:The Knit Stitch, Inspiration and Instruction.
Thanks to Kaleidoscope Yarns in Vermont for the photo of a completed child size sample of the Einstein Coat. The coat I am making is the Baby Albert Coat, the infant size. As you can imagine, mine is going to be quite a bit different!
The stripes of the completed portion are for the bottom portion (running up-and-down). The top portion and sleeves are sketched out, and will be quite fun, I think! Hang in for a look at it as it goes along! I will sell it when it is done (one can always hope!) on my Etsy page.
The tea cozy is me grabbing bits and pieces of fiber out of my ‘leftovers’ pile, spinning them up,then plying them into a two-ply, nubby yarn, then knitting them together. The top is simply a heavy piece of left over yarn woven into the top and pulled tight. Boom! My take on one of Loani Prior’s ‘knit-flat’ tea cozies from Wild Tea Cozies and Really Wild Tea Cozies.
Thanks to Morgan at Morganised Chaos in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia for the photo of her Jester Tea Cosy. I am working on mine from bits and pieces of Noro Worsted Weight yarn. When it is done, I will post here.
And yes, before you ask, I am as scatter-brained about my knitting as I am about everything else! I have more UFO’s, both knit, quilt, and stained glass, than I like to admit!
The Heather Hoodie is almost done, I am just getting ready to put the button band on, but it has been so hot, and by now the flippin’ thing is so heavy and hot to work on, that it is in a drawer until the weather cools down! Will post a photo when I pull it out again……..
Spring has finally got her warm, sweetly scented embrace around us here in Golden. Complete, of course, with the Russian Olives blooming along the stream bed next to the house. Beauty often has thorns – and pollen, of course. Lots. And lots. Of pollen. Ahhhh-CHOO!
One of the things that helps my allergies and helps me sleep at night is lavender oil. (Should I put in here the “I am not a doctor and what I say isn’t medical advice”? Well, here it is, just in case!)
I have always loved lavender, since I first grew it in California. Of course, I still haven’t been able to figure out how to grow anything here on the giant sand pile, so I have to buy it from others, but maybe one day.
While I usually get my lavender from the farmer’s market when I can and from Whole Foods when I can’t, I was looking around online and found what looks like a wonderful recipe for an Almond Lavender Biscotti that looks delicious. It is on the Daybreak Lavender Farm website, but I am posting it here so you can try it if you like.
Almond Lavender Biscotti
• Preheat Oven To 350
• Adjust rack to middle position
• 1 C. Sugar
• 1/2 Cup butter, softened
• 1 t. vanilla extract
• 1 t. almond exract
• 4 medium eggs
• 3. C. all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 t baking powder
• 1/2 t. salt
• 2 1/2 t. dried lavender buds, finely ground
• 1/2 Cup sliced almonds
In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in extracts and eggs (one at a time) and blend until combined. In a medium blown using a wire whisk, combine flour, baking powder, salt and lavender and blend well. Stir into sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Add sliced almonds. Do not overmix or cookies will become tough.
Halve dough and turn each portion onto the cookie sheet. The dough will be sticky. Rub a bit of vegetable oil or butter on to your hands to make it easier to handle. For dough into two 13 x 2 inch logs and place them 3 inches apart. Pat and smooth each log. The logs will not be perfectly round. Do not handle the dough excessively.
Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool the loaves for the about 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven to 300 degrees
Place cooled loaves on cutting board and cut diagonally into _ inch slices with a serrated knife. Lay the slices about _ inch apart on the cookie sheet, cut side up. Return to the oven for 8 minutes. Turn each slice over, return to the oven and bake another 7 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
Store biscotti in an airtight container for about month.