Monday, May 22, 2006

I AM the Undiscovered Green Thumb. Word.

So it was Major Gardening/Front Yard Facelift Weekend number two, and it was good times. Weekend number one, of course, was in fall, when I attacked the side yard, which was a waist high - no, seriously - tangle of brambles. Even though I Round-Upped the bejesus out of that side of the house, the day lilies, lily of the valley, and raspberry vines came back, so I'll be yanking out those nefarious raspberries and moving the Day Lily Outpost Number Two from the back yard to the side to fill in the bed, and then I am going to LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE and revel in the day lilies. In the front, I have a...rock "garden" which up until yesterday featured mostly weeds and half buried, iceberg-style rocks. I spent yesterday ripping out the weeds, moving some of the rocks, and digging up and transplanting the larger clumps of siberian iris and trillium that I want to keep. Unfortunately, some of the trillium bit the dust, but that's how it goes. I need to get some more Round-Up, preferably with a more aggressive sprayer than the pull-squeeze-trigger-dribble one that I have now, and then I'll burn everything in there, wait, and put the iris and trillum back in, along with some cute ground cover, the varigated iris I bought from the Holden Garden Club ladies at their Perennial Sale this weekend, and other assorted items.

I also will be edging the garden and possibly putting in a small fountain. I like the idea of using the rocks for a calming little dribulet, and you can hook up solar powered ones now, so hopefully I can do that without too much major engineering required. We'll see. I also went over to the dark side and bought a hosta this weekend (as well as an oriental lily and an AWESOME hanging fuchia. It is a BEAST and I bought it at the Holden Garden and Dead Plant Center, so I was quite excited to see something a.) living and b.) that I wanted there.), so that will go in the shadier back yard when the time comes. The HGaDPC also has the newer gazing balls that look sort of like soap bubbles that I secretly covet, as opposed to the icky different colors of chrome gazing balls that I hate with a burning passion (which they also have, but I ignore). However, they want $65 or so for them, so to them I say "EBAY".

I am hoping that I have in fact inherited the Gustafson Green Thumb from Mormor and Mom. My bonsai seem to indicate that I have done so, barring the one I rescued from Home Depot (*shakes fist*) which is having a fit of some kind. However, even that one is not dead, so that's a good sign. I do not seem to be particularly good at transplating and repotting things, but I am improving. Speed's SNOTTY COMMENTS do not help, but what can you do. THOSE WHO MOCK ONLY DO SO BECAUSE THEY CANNOT HANDLE ANYTHING ABOVE PLASTIC PLANTS. We'll see how this goes.

So, the battle plan is as follows. Remove as many smaller-than-very-heavy-and-unmovable rocks to somewhere else, use garden claw (I got a mini one this weekend - AWESOME - and hope to borrow Speed's parents' full size one) to till soil, Round Up the hell out of any and all weeds and hangers-on, wait three days, Round-Up again, wait three days, Round-Up again (I have a lot of violets which I do not want in the front. They are pretty but insidious and tough.), then till soil again, throw in some good new soil, install fountain if possible while rearranging rocks, edge garden, put new and old plants back in, and water the hell out of the whole thing. It's a totally foolproof plan!

And then...the front beds next to the stairs. Sigh. Including a major surgery of a rhododendron bush from the foot of the driveway to the other side of the stairs.

Well, we're behind on the news, so here's the brief rundown. Things that have happened to, around, and in the house recently:
1. Garden Avenging as explained above.
2. Driveway widened and repaved.
3. Trees in front yard taken down by Fat Freddie Mercury and the Crew That Kind of Probably Totally Fired Him Within a Week.
4. Trees taken down in side yard by Fat Freddie Mercury and Crew.
5. American flag installed next to front door.
6. New fish bought. One new fish went kaput.
7. Cady and Flyboy discovered the Joy of Paper Goods Destruction, necessiting a lot of crankiness and stern "NOs."
8. Wheels changed on Stratus to low profile tires made out of pure awesome.
9. Speed busted out mad construction skills to build model of fortepiano, which the Columbia, SC guy agreed to sell to us.
10. We tried to fit it in both the Durango (alllllllmost) and the Cirrus (no).
11. Speed got to use the mower he bought to avenge the lawn. It was awesome.
12. The back yard was cleared enough to provide a clear view of the dry dock marina in our neighbors' yard, so that we can put up a fence so we don't have to look at it.

There were also two trips. The first was to Tacoma, Washington to visit with Anna Karenina, her two kitties, her mom, and her sister, who may be in need of an exorcism. It's always sad to me to see a kid who obviously HAS the skills to act like a human being but clearly thinks that those skills are wasted on parents. Although they do have a point, I mean...they only gave you LIFE, for God's sake. Jeez. Why BOTHER. AK looks good, and has a ROCKIN' apartment with the coolest bathroom in the WORLD. Got to see the sights around Tacoma and Seattle, which was so, so cool, and so gorgeous, and also got to meet the cool kids she coaches on the swim team. It was awesome to see AK and hopefully provide some moral support and such, since life was kind of like "let's play a game..." and dumped nineteen different very major and very exhausting problems/situations on her at once. Went to Safeco Field, too, which was fun for a variety of reasons, in no particular order: retractable roof, SUSHI for sale in concourse, unexpectedly gorgeous day, beautiful field, actually fun megatron games, doofy headshots, and surprisingly awesome seats considering we walked up maybe three minutes before the game.

Trip number two was to Pennsylvania for a Grandpa Gus memorial service and family reunion. Speed braved not only several bridges, which he does NOT like, but the experience of meeting extended family on BOTH sides, since we stopped in New Jersey to have breakfast with Nerdly and the Shaman, a good start to the day since they are calm and do not live in an ant farm, which speaking of...and visit Grandma and Granddad at home, where Speed and Granddad chatted baseball and Grandma gave us a tour of the house and "grounds" as it were. Speed brought an old sewing machine for the Collection, which was a total hit. He is so thoughtful, and perfectly summed up the pros and cons of bringing said sewing machine with the analogy - "if I gave a crack addict a bunch of crack, they'd probably love me, but..." We then proceeded on to Norristown, PA for the family reunion, and THAT was madness. Cool madness but madness nonetheless. He met everyone - EVERYONE - and had fun, and we had a great discussion about Quakerism and how that all worked, since he was there for the Quaker memorial service for Grandpa Gus. It was wonderful to hear everyone's stories about GG and to see everyone remember him so fondly, and I think it was a good crash course for Speed, who's been curious but not quite ready to make the Checking Out Meeting Sometime jump. I think it was good for him to see that it was a very accepting religion and in fact that many of the people present were NOT practicing Friends, but a healthy mix of protestants and Catholics and whatever else. GG's daughter also was able to make it, which was nice, although Jill and her son (by GG) did not show. It was a really fun getogether, and a nice time spent with Speed, and we stayed in an AWESOME hotel suite. Good times.

Also, as mentioned before, WE GOT THE FORTEPIANO! We're paying $7000 plus transportation, which will be about $1000 at best, but I am very very glad that we're getting it, and so is Speed, and so is the family, so although it's aspensive, it's worth it.

We've jokingly mentioned taking the model Speed built and burning it on her lawn. Heh.

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