Thursday, June 30, 2005

Went camping, found some flowers :)

This past weekend was spent camping, quasi-Viking style, at an SCA event in the Kingdom of Ealdormere.

This is the hubby, in his Viking personna of Ragnarr. In an unusual moment, we find him actually helping out with lunch. ;)

Our fire, with a few too many iron gadgets to be authentic. What can we say? One of the group's leaders is a professional blacksmith.

This is the end of one of our friend's tent. Vikings like to decorate everything.

Found some daises at the campsite, couldn't resist.

It's a weed. Vandy tells me it's called Hawkweed. But it's very very pretty. And was all over the campsite.

I'd love to show you some pictures of the other Vikings, my friends, but I haven't asked their permission yet.

The garden exploded here in the past week. Pictures another day.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

domain name problems

I'm not gone, I'm just lost temporarily.

Have got lots of pics to add, but my home website where I host them and just link to them from here is.... being problematic. We're in the middle of switching ISPs for the domain name.

Anyhoo... back when I have pics to show. Y'all so rarely comment on my text type posts anyway it seems pointless without them.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

more birthday fun!

The hubby (aka Neil) dropped by work and brought an ice cream cake for me to share with the rest of the staff, just to draw attention to it being my 40th birthday.

He likes watching my face turn beet red. :) And apparently there are some forms of embarrassment that I like as well.

This birthday thing is perking up.


it's my birthday!

And I'm turning 40. I'm alternately wyrded out, and indifferent. One might say I have very mixed feelings.

Neil gave me a calla lilly plant for my birthday. Since I was foolish enough to plant the new bulbs in full sun, right beside the brick house, and they aren't coming up. I'll need to recover those, if they survive at all and remove them to a cool shady area where they belong.

He also gave me season two of B5 to compliment the season one set that he got me for christmas. Reruns of one of the greater scifi shows to ever grace the screen -- here we come!

Other then that, it's a low-key birthday so far...


Monday, June 20, 2005

and today

Tonight the lawn finally got cut, after two weeks of being ignored - Yeah!


the weekend

Saturday - boring, cloudy, raining on and off. Hence, very little gardening. So, I made beads instead. Glass beads - gas torch, melting glass. You get the drift. Neil gave me the glass and setup for Christmas this past year, and it was the great occupier during January and February. I made dozens of wonderful beads and then when spring started arriving, I got busy or sick and just started letting it fall by the way-side.

So it was very good to pick up the glass for a few hours again. But I think I've lost whatever talent I briefly had. I need to get back into it more often, to keep my hand practised. I made six beads this saturday, and only one of them is reasonably pretty.

Sunday - mix of overcast and sunny. Reasonable temperatures. So... back to the garden.

We are almost done. Almost. Well, at least this year's major plans. And not including the ever-ongoing weeding.

We need another 4 or 5 yards of mulch to finish the new garden area. But it goes quickly when we do it. Neil did the part I was dreading - pulling out the creeping charlie where it's broken through the earlier batch of newspaper/mulch barrier and reinforcing it.

I planted a few more annuals and some new tomato plants that I hope will take this time. I took a page from Mark Cullen's book on Ontario Gardening, and planted them directly in sheep manure. Maybe this bunch won't die like the others.

But I still didn't get the lawn done. The ground was too wet to mow most of the day. Actually, it might have been fine in the evening, but I was too zonked by then.

After we cleaned up last night, Neil and I took a walk around and discussed next year's plans. :) There's another whole bunch of fence line garden in the shady area that I don't venture in very often because the mosquitos are so prolific there. But it needs some major weeding, mostly of creeping charlie, some new plants, some mulching, some gravelling, and some delineation between it and the grass.

And the lawn desperately needs professionals to aerate, weed, restore the sparse areas, even out the bumpiness and kill monster ant hills. My puny amateur efforts just aren't suceeding.

There's more flowers in bloom so expect more pictures later in the week. Maybe my ugly beads will find themselves on film as well. Or maybe not. One never can tell.


Friday, June 17, 2005

creeping charlie, everywhere

I've spent much of the day fighting with one of the websites I maintain. It'd be easier if I had created this massive mess in the first place. I'd know my own work. But this was created by someone else with a far superior webwork education, and too much time on his hands. I'm trying to wrestle it into something much much simpler. It'll never get updated on an ongoing basis if I don't.

I did spend a little while outside weeding, but when my path crossed with creeping charlie - it chased me back into the house. It's a nasty little rooter that doesn't give up easily.

Neil suggested dinner and a movie tonight. I think I'd like that. I have a sweet hubby. :)

Tomorrow - more planting and mulching. And maybe it'll be dry enough to cut the grass. Same old, same old.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

back to the garden, as promised

Ya know, one might be forgiven for wondering that if I'm such a big fan of gardening, then why is my grass so tall and unmowed?

I wonder sometimes too. But here it is - Neil's the only one who can reliably start the damn mower. It hates me. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

Or it could be the rain for the past couple of days. Or the fact that we've been out of town. Or the fact that if I blink, it doubles in size. But really, I think it's just the hateful mower.

Anyway, here's a few more pics.

These white clematis flowers are new to us. We planted them last year while Neil was working for White Rose during it's dying days. It's funny how the same species can produce such different flowers. The Jackmani clematis will be open in another few days.

This iris stands out from the purple and blue varieties that are the bulk of our collection. We've been adding new irises every year for the last few years - mostly yard sale finds in this nearby town that has one great big day of yard sales every year. Many of the ladies in the local horticultural society reside there and sell their starter plants every year. There is what looks like a black variety getting ready to bloom in a few days.

I'd give you proper variety and plant names if I bothered to remember them. :) I just like the colour - I'm a big fan of masses of riotious colour.

This is one of the new Icelandic poppies that I went out and bought just a few weeks ago after the first one opened. It has been so hot and dry for the past couple of weeks that I wondered if they'd make it and here they are, popping flowers already. Almost makes me want to go out and get still more. :)


Monday, June 13, 2005

Smelting, or Melting?

This past weekend, I went to see members of the Dark Ages Recreation Companyattempt to smelt iron the same way the Vikings would have, over a thousand years ago.

The science worked! DARC again made a bloom of iron. The brave men of the DARC demo team could have died of heat stroke 'though, if they hadn't been smart enough to stop pumping the bellows by hand and insert the electronic version of the bellows instead.

30°C temperatures with a humidex that made it feel like 38°C instead is not a day to spend 5 hours pumping bellows by hand. There's apparently a reason that all the Sagas refer to the blacksmiths as working in the winter.

You can see the smelting by going to the DARC webpage, clicking on "Iron Experiments" in the left nav bar, and choosing "Smelt #5" or just by going here directly. Going the first route leads you to the index page for all of DARC's experiments.

Please keep in mind that the page for this weekend's smelt is still being written up. All that's available so far is the pictures from one digital camera (mine, I took them :)) - there are several more print films to be scanned in, and another digital camera full to make it's way to us. All of the accompanying written stuff is still to be written. My husband is the record-keeper for the experiments. I'm often (but not always) the photographer.

Tomorrow, we'll return you to your regularily scheduled garden report. :)

This just in from the front lines - apparently Vandy's next door neighbour is doing Sonny and Cher covers on a kareoke machine. Outside. Loudly. *shudder* I have a feeling that if she ever got a blog herself, the 'Blasted Heathcliffe' would feature prominently in her reports.


Thursday, June 9, 2005

photo blog

The very very last of the tulips. These pale purple tulips are great performers - they've been in bloom for almost 2 weeks by the time I took the photo a few days ago and are just starting to go.

This oriential poppy is fantastic! I planted it last year but it didn't bloom until this year. I had no idea just how spectacular the bloom would be. The petals look like parchment paper, and the colour is just so dynamic.

One of my favourite iris shots - there are dozens of irises in bloom in the garden now.

These next two photos are sort of the 'before' and 'after' shots of the newest garden space. I say 'sort of' because the 'before' is really mid-way through the ripping up of the grass, and they are taken from different angles, and of course, several weeks apart.
Most of the new plants are still just baby plants, so they are harder to see in the 'after' shot. The hose in the 'before' picture is the new edge of the garden. It looks smaller in the 'after' shot because it's taken from further away and the plant growth behind the new garden space is so much more developed.

Coming up this weekend - Playing with Fire, the Viking Way. DARC's hottest new demo team will be demonstrating how to smelt iron in the Viking Era - a preliminary showing to a major demonstration in Annapolis Royal at the end of August.

I'll mostly be hiding in the screened in shade observation area, when I'm not helping out by crushing rock ore for the Annapolis Royal smelting. The boys of the demo team will be sweating their body weight out on the bellows in 30°C heat, with only a 30% chance of rain relief. Since this is a Living History demonstration, they'll be in full body wool, linen and leather - just like the Vikings of yesteryear.

Wish them luck!

Karen :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

opting out

Last night I opted out of gardening. I can hear that collective gasp of shock from here. :)

When we got home from work last night and did the usual 'walk around the yard looking at the new growth' thing, I swear I was mosquito-bitten a dozen times in under two minutes. I just couldn't take it, so I declared the evening garden-free and hid inside instead. We watched an old rerun of "Nine to Five" on tv.

Tonight after work, I have a pedicure. :) So that will likely be another night off from the gardening as well.

But I do have some new great pictures on the way. The irises started blooming just two days ago, and the oriental poppies started blooming yesterday.

Also, I now have mid-way and finished shots of this year's big garden project so y'all can see some of the work we've put in this year.

But give me another day. I've not gotten the digital camera to web photo routine down pat just yet.


Sunday, June 5, 2005

yet more gardening

You're not tired of reading about my gardening yet? :)

Today in the garden, it was really freaking hot. And muggy. The weather prediction was for 30°C - I don't know what it actually ended up being.

We did an hour of weeding and mulching and cutting the front lawn grass and then gave up because of the heat for several hours. Went shopping - bouncing from air conditioned store to air conditioned store - but didn't buy much.

Came home and fixed the screen door. It's the first time in my life that I'd ever put a new screen in. Funny the things I'm learning as a (relatively) new home owner.

Puttered around the house gathering garbage for putting out tomorrow, and gave the cat's home room a thorough airing and cleaning. Ginger seemed to appreciate it.

And then it was finally cool enough to go back out into the gardens. I weeded and mulched and planted new annuals in the front garden while Neil weeded and mulched the front of the fence line garden. I only got half of my garden done while Neil completely finished his, but mine is bigger. :)

Watered bunches in all the gardens - I felt like I was baking, it had to be needed.

Oh! And the veggie garden actually is showing growth! Carrots and beans and peas and corn and garlic - oh my!

But I have to ask - does the dirt ever actually get out from under the fingernails?


Saturday, June 4, 2005

another long day in the garden

Whew.... after a frustrating, annoying, very long four days at work this week, we spent another long day in the yard today.

First, they're rennovating the floor of the library that I work in, so my office had to move to temporary quarters in one of the conference rooms. My supervisor, our part-time staff and me - one conference table each, because they didn't want to move our desks. It's a bit cramped for desk space, and I've lost a lot of privacy. But there are perks - the new space has much improved proximity to filtered water, microwave, sink, toaster oven, and fridge. And the one and only colour laser printer in the entire building is just around the corner.

We've had to re-organize our schedules and procedures, almost every day, based on what new issue the construction brings up. It's been a constant, frustrating challenge, and I've always been slow to take up the positive side of 'challenges'.

At least at work, anyway. :) The gardens, on the other hand, have been a fun challenge this year and I've only had two minor hysterical fits so far. I think I mentioned the first - weeds and the vegetable garden on the long weekend. Today was the second one - the lawnmower doesn't work for me. Neil's the only one with the magical touch to turn it on, fix the wheels, whatever. And he wasn't home when I started this afternoon. But he did come home just when I couldn't take it anymore and had started kicking inanimate objects. He just gave me new tomato plants to put in, and fixed the lawn mower.

We started off the day dropping off bunches of yard waste - dug up grass, porch remains to the dump - and picking up another trailer load of mulch. Then spent most of the rest of the day cutting the grass, with a short pause here and there for mulching, weeding, watering, lemonade, grocery shopping, and helping Neil work on the shelves for the shed. And as long as the rain holds off tomorrow, I have more annuals to plant, the front lawn grass to cut, more mulching, and there's always another weed to pull.