Thursday, May 31, 2007


Today, in the garden, I:
Planted a Japanese Eggplant, planted more spinach, sno peas, and beets, and finally got around to putting in some basil in the kitchen garden. The salad greens have been phenomenal, I wish I had planted more sooner. I'm guessing we'll run out before the next crop is ready.
I also planted a lavender, some Greek oregano (the stuff I already have is ornamental, and doesn't taste too great), and transplanted the purple sage into the coop garden. There are a lot of herbs in that garden, which is a nice complement to the chicas (a little chives and sage with those eggs? Yum!) Everything in the coop garden looks ok, not too bad in the way of transplant shock. I'm surprised how formal I went with the row of hostas vs the random chaos of most of my gardens; I guess the formal look of the brick inspired me.

Rain! It's raining for the first time in a while-- how cool is that? I'm sick to death of watering the grass, altho I'm thrilled to report that I've seen the first tiny sprouts of grass poking up in the first area we seeded-- the other areas should be along in a day or so (and the soaker will help!).

I finally worked up the gumption to empty out the composted side of the worm bin; I've been putting that job off for some time now... nasty! I scooped a large 5 gallon bucket out of there, diluted it to a mixture of 1 part compost, 4 parts water, and then poured the slurry onto all the plants I could find-- there's even some left, maybe I'll give it to Jake to put on his veggie garden (I think we've entered into an unspoken competition about who tends the best garden, as if there was ever any question... I've given him some of my very best tips, so it's not like I'm being unsportsmanlike or anything). Putting the mixture into the watering can was a bust, even with the spigot removed, as the worms and undigested peanut shells, egg shells, etc, eventually clogged the spout and I kept having to dig out these nasty wads o gunk with my fingers and shake the can... eventually, I splashed worm goo all over myself, which isn't nearly as geeb-ish as when I got some of the chicken coop compost in my mouth the other day. Now there's a flavor that'll stick with you all day!
The rain will do wonders for the strawberries, too-- they are 99.9% close to being ready; we picked a couple to eat this am, and they were big, beautiful, and SOUR. Obviously, they aren't ready quite yet.
I purchased 2 azaleas on the clearance rack today, but I'd like to get some input first as to where in the shade garden to put them... they don't look like they'd transplant well if I ever had to move them, so I'd like to get it right the first time.
So fantastically awesome to be off today! I even got a good portion of the house cleaned, some marketing done, and now that it's raining, I'm all set to organize the kid's school/memory boxes, which I've been putting off for over a year now (you know, all the keep-able artwork, school papers, report cards that sit in a pile until you file it officially or with guilt into the circular file. Don't know what the kids will do with all this stuff when they're grown, but hopefully they'll know that I was crazy enough about them to organize their stuff).
Salmon for dinner tonight! Happy times...
UPDATE, 10:47 pm:
Dinner was nice; I oven roasted a yellow squash, a zucchini, a vidalia onion, some chopped garlic, and some sliced grape tomatoes seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning and olive oil at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, and tossed the veggies with some hot soba noodles, served with baked salmon. Tasty!

I can't believe it, but I finally got my Bluestone Perennial order placed:

I have been ordering from this company for years, and you just can't beat them for customer service, price, and selection. Ordering at home with a beautifully illustrated internet catalog with complete plant information is much more pleasant that searching the picked over plants at the Home Depot, that's for sure! Their deadline was midnight TONIGHT for spring orders-- that'll put the heat on! I got a couple clematis, some columbine, monarda, and yarrow. Not like I need anything... I'm not even sure where I'll put the new plants, but that's usually how I end up digging new gardens.
Jake and I were hanging out at dusk as the mist was rising thickly off the grass, making everything seem more mystical... the 2 dogs and the cat were all hanging out near the chicken coop with the chicken girls and babies, all checking out the vole Charlie Cat brought home. Idyllic. I love how all our critters are in relationship with one another. We have a very special place, every inch a living image of who we are. We are truly blessed...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Auntie Cyndi

My sister told me a couple days ago that she wants me to be her baby daughter's God Mother!!!

How cool is that? Carlylin is the cutest baby this side of the Mississippi, always happy, always smiling... but it does lead one to ask: how on Earth did Cathy end up with such a good little baby?
Because life is not fair, that's why (tee hee). Cathy also has a fantastically sweet teenie weenie at home, Crystina, who gets good grades and attends public school and is an all around great kid. Why, oh why? So completely unfair... I would hold deep grudges and sneer at them at family functions if Cathy wasn't the only one of my 3 sisters who does a fairly good job of putting up with me, god bless her.

Now, how to tell Cathy that I've fallen off the religion wagon, that my Holy Roller days have taken a sabbatical?
Considering she's one of the 2 whole people who read my blog, I guess I can consider her informed.
Veggie Tales, anyone?


I had the WORST headache today, I think it's from the muggy weather (and most DEFINITELY not from all the wine I drank last night!). I came home from work this afternoon, popped a couple ibuprofen, and cozied up on my fabulous lawn chair under the maple tree with my pillow. A cool breeze was blowing, the flowers were swaying in the wind, the birds were singing, the puppy was playing... I fell asleep for a short while and awoke feeling like I was in the most amazing dream. The headache was gone, my energy returned, and I finished up all the tasky type stuff I've been putting off while getting the big stuff finished: I cleaned out the chicken coop and pen, put away all the garden tools in the barn, transplanted the last few shade plants in better spots, took photos, watered, and made an incredible chicken salad (I cut up the remaining chicken from Sunday's dinner, marinated it in olive oil, lemon juice, Greek seasoning, and chopped garlic; picked salad greens, spinach, and baby beet greens from the kitchen garden; found some carrots, broccoli, kalamata olives, and feta cheese in the fridge, and there it was. Good, good, stuff!).

Jake raised the tipi poles this evening as well, and we're hoping the skin comes soon... Jacob is having his first group sleepover party a week from Saturday, and it would be great if the boys could sleep in a real, live tipi. Jacob is soooo excited, and I'm praying that he doesn't get nervous, as he's shy, and trying to make new friends before school lets out. Wish my poor, shy boy some luck; he's had a heck of a time making friends.
P.S. without divulging many gory details, the worm pills were a raving success, at least for the puppy. I have no evidence for Daisy, but her belly looks a little less swollen today.
Hooray for modern, efficient medicines! We can all sleep better tonight...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Late night drunken ramblings..

Bah! I want my life back!
I am sick of working soooooooo much (and really, I usually am off at least 1 day M-F, but it's not enough this time of year); I want my life back of having a clean house, planned menus, organized children-- life is too chaotic these days, and for what, I ask you? For money?
I come from a nominally wealthy family, and I can tell you, when you die it doesn't matter how much you've banked during your lifetime...someone is going to be an asshole to get their hands on it, and you were too busy earning it to enjoy spending it while you were still alive-- and why work so hard to make some asshole happy? Besides, my wealthy family were miserable so and so's, and they all died in some manner of coveting their cash with almost no happiness to show for it. Sorry bastids... I wouldn't wish wealth on anyone. Give me contentment and a wee bit more than hand-to-mouth... keeps you honest and forces you to be creative.

I enjoy working casual in Burlington, I absolutely, positively do; no commitment, work only until 12 or so, happy faces all around. No politics, no weekends, no call. How much more fabulous can you get? Plus, it's relatively predictable, somewhat easy, and the staff is super nice. Awesome! I could work there and be happy forevermore. But nooooooooo.....
I calculated how much Grace's schooling will cost for the fall, and it's somewhere around $9000-- ack! I am soooooo sick of chasing the jobs, hours and $ around to make those tuition payments. I sure do wish I could trust my girrrrl to cope in the public school environment (I know *I* would hate it, but Grace is more of a culture-chaser than I was at her age), and BHS is more diverse, yet smaller, than my alma mater, providing a safe and interesting HS experience. It would appear that the classes at BHS are more varied in their offerings, as well, giving Grace a better opportunity to try new things on the taxpayer's dime, so she can spread her wings before her education and foibles into adulthood/self discovery become more expensive again.

Unfortunately, Grace has already bought into the crap that the other kids won't like her (yet, why should she care?), which really makes me sad. Already, at 15, my girl is defeated into thinking people will give her a hard time, right off the bat. Boo. I think she's waaay too much like her mother, who only had a small repertoire of casual friends in HS and the permanent boyfriend, who took precedence over all... which isn't SO bad, but makes for lonely times when you're between boyfriends (and when you've been married for a lot of years and your husband lacks communication skills, sadly). I wish, oh how I wish, that teenage girls weren't such shits, and didn't use my kid for a scratching post, but adults are shits, too, and shit repelling skills are useful to establish at any age. Best to start now...

On an funny note (not so funny for Jacob, tho), some girl has been giving Jacob troubles at school of late. I've tried rationalizing with him, letting him know that she probably has a secret crush on him (man, could I kick serious 3rd grade boy butt when I was a 9 year old in LOVE), but he isn't convinced. He says that this vixen has the staff duped by using some sort of "I statement" crap to keep Jacob from complaining to the teacher about her harassment... so I pulled out the old "my big sister will kick your butt" chestnut, which Jacob dismissed out of hand. He said that he's pretty sure that Grace wouldn't rough up a 9 year old girl, no matter how much grief she's causing her little brother.... such the rational little dude, sadly. He'd rather suffer in silence than enjoy the fantasy of his nemesis getting her due. Is being a softy an asset, or a liability? Hard to say... but when you're continuing to fight the wads at the local landscape company, standing up for yourself can be pretty empowering (even if said wads threaten legal action for posting photos of the damage they did to your property, as if faeries in the night did it, instead of a bozo with a dumptruck).
Time for bed...

Happy, Happy Monday (Tuesday, really...)

It's my first day back at work, and I am absolutely, completely exhausted! My eyes can't adjust to the fluorescent lights, since I haven't been inside more than a few minutes during the day the past several days. I feel like a stranger in a strange land.
The acoustics on the unit are disconcerting, too, as it's really hard to hear what people are saying unless they're right next to you; if you're being nosy and try to eavesdrop, most of what you hear sounds like a different language, causing your brain to scramble.

On a positive note, I was made late this morning by the Fed Ex guy, who was delivering my NEW CAMERA just as I was trying to speed out the driveway-- I can't wait to get home and take photos of the new gardens and of the blooming plants; the foxglove is STUNNING, and some of the new clematis is unbelievably beautiful. If I don't get them photographed before they fade, I'll feel like I've missed out.

To recap, this weekend we: purchased 55 more landscape blocks and topped off the coop wall; purchased 100 cobblestones and laid a walkway to the coop; dug up about 30 plants from the various gardens and transplanted them into the coop garden (including a new spirea); planted a Japanese Maple in the shade garden; moved several plants around the shade garden to balance it out; jacked up the chicken coop about 6-8 inches and blocked off the chicken girl exits (those girls saw their opportunity and escaped as soon as they could.. and of course, started trashing the strawberry patch right away. BAD BAD chickens); amended the coop garden soil with 400# of composted cow manure and a few loads of chicken pen poop; had a great barbeque with one of last year's chicken boys, and wateredwateredwatered everything and prayed the grass would start to grow.
Life is good, and ibuprofen is my new best friend.

On the horizon: we're talking about installing a brick patio next to the shade garden-- fun! At least bricks weigh substantially less than a patio block, and hurt less when you drop one on your toe! I can't wait, it'll look so cool...

p.s. I couldn't have made those pups 'o mine gobble down those worm pills fast enough tonight; it was all I could think of today, and the store almost closed before we could get them, we were so dang busy this afternoon.
p.s.s After 11 stinking years of cajoling, Jake FINALLY put me on his checking account tonight. I wonder why...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Je'taime Zoloft:

mon ami!

Memorial Day Weekend

By the light of the moon, I placed the very last block on the chicken coop garden, and then I did a wimpy dance of joy as I limped into the house.
In the past two days, I have lifted (and re-lifted, and then lifted again..) over 100 patio blocks, each weighing 25 pounds (=2500 pounds), 10 40# bags of manure (=400 pounds), 50 5# paving stones (=250 pounds), so, right now, if I absolutely had to, I bet I could totally kick your ass. Tee hee.

But seriously, I have to tell you; never haul heavy loads shortly after you get home from a fabulous Memorial Day picnic... You will barf. Probably more than once. And then your dog will eat it and you will barf again, or you will wish you could.

And speaking of barf, as long as we're gettin nasty here-- my new, sweet pup got a little carsick on the way home from the picnic, and she barfed up some wierd stuff: grass, bits of bark, and some squiggly thing. It looked like a rubberband, but WAIT! It was a long-ass, barftastic,
WORM. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I pretended to find it fascinating to keep the kids from freaking out, but the kids just thought it was wierd, and didn't get too excited, bless their neebly little hearts.
Mr Worm was dead, so I'm hoping it's a remnant from when she was last wormed before we got her. But, geez-- how completely nasty!
Real life can be awfully gross sometimes, and no amount of alcohol is going to erase the vision of that thing from my memory... but I'm sure going to try.

Hope everyone has a nice weekend; I'm so damn glad we're close to being done with this project, I 'm just praying I don't need too much more compost or amendents before I can transplant the plants into the coop garden. I purchased a pretty, gnarled Japanese maple today as well, and need to get that in the ground tomorrow, but will have to do some major shuffling first. Thank god it's still early enough in the season to pull that off without too much trauma.
They had some great spireas at the Menard's on sale for $5; I'm going to have to look and see if they'd look ok in the coop garden. I'm not much of a bush girl, but I'm willing to try anything, at least once (winky winky, but let's not be gross here. This is a family blog, goddammit).

Why I am a Foodie:

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Ah! Lazy Saturday... a day off with NOTHING to do (well, except broadcast grass seed, lay down straw, get the watering done and go to the store to get some compost to amend the crap soil we got last week...) Where to start?
I put the old landscape blocks on top of the new ones by the coop, but I don't like the way it looks. I really need to get enough blocks to complete the job properly, but then what do I do with the old blocks? I haven't resolved 100% to using the blocks around the shade garden, it looks funny because the garden is flush with the ground and the blocks make it look sunken. Maybe if I sink the blocks a bit, and throw the spoil onto the crap garden... I'd really like to get all the seedlings and extra plants into the coop garden before it gets any drier and hotter and I'm off to camp.
I'd also like to get some cobblestones this weekend since they're on sale, but I have no idea how many to buy, or in what combination... I wish my hubby and I weren't fighting, so he could work his magic and get the ball rolling with that project before they go off sale.
I have a bad habit of losing interest in gardening pretty quickly after it starts getting HOT, so I'd better get a move on and get this stuff done while it's still 60 degrees!
UPDATE 9:25 pm
After much sweat and swearing, I was able to get the edging done around the shade garden. Of course, there were a lot of tree roots and rocks to contend with, which were noticably absent when Jake and I were doing the coop garden.
When my husband is around, all projects flow like a dream, but when I'm trying to do something myself, nothing goes quite right. I tell him that it's just evidence that I'm not cut out for this kind of work, but he just laughs at me:-(
Right at the end, I had 4 inches of gravel to dig out, as the previous owners must have had an extra load they needed to dump somewhere... do you know how HARD it is to shovel muddy gravel? Needless to say, the end of the edging looks like CRAP, but I'll plant something there that'll flow over the edge so no one can notice (nepeta?).
Jake got the grass seed broadcast and the whole mess covered with straw; hopefully my camera will come soon so I can get this all on film.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I caught my husband this morning in the act of SMOKING... blech! We both quit over 5 years ago, and even tho I've smelled it on him on a few occasions, he's denied it up and down (kindof like when I discovered his Playboy subscription).
Funny how men can lie with such straight faces...
Anyway, I told him he'd better watch out, or I'll have to hire an ugly nurse to wipe his crippled ass when he has his first coronary in a few years. It's bad enough I had to marry a crabby old guy, but now it seems I'm going to be stuck with a sickly one, too.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

How Do You Know it's Going to Be a Good Day?

It's only 9 am and you already need a shower.

I went outside early this morning to let the puppy out and was shocked to find that the pile is no more. I'm sure it was completely frightening looking, as I was dressed in an odd, early morning concoction of a nightgown, pyjama bottoms, and a sweatshirt, but I was freely and unabashedly doing the happy dance. I sure hope the nuns weren't looking...

UPDATE: (11:22 am)
Now that the pile is gone, I was able to rake all the remaining dirt off the grass so it doesn't die. It feels spectacular to be done with the awful mess; I can't wait until the grass seed gets broadcast and starts to grow, so all evidence of this fiasco are erased.
Man, am I filthy...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Customer Service

Finally, when I turned on my camera today, it gave me an error messge for a fleeting moment; it doesn't give you the message each time, just every so often when you try to turn it on. "Lens Error 527-12".
After speaking with the customer service staff at HP, they determined that my camera is irreparably broken due to a fault with the hardware, and they are sending me a BRAND, SPANKING NEW CAMERA, *FREE* of charge!!!!!

Now THAT, my friends, is customer service!

p.s.... my goodfriend Tracey sits on the business committee of a church in Waterford that is selecting a company to do extensive landscaping of their property. Apparently "anonymous company which shall remain nameless" was #1 in the running; but no more. After viewing the photos of the damage to our property, and learning of their poor customer service, she's contacting the board to make sure they choose another landscaper.
Whachaaaaa! Score one for the little guy!

UPDATE, 5/23:
My complaint with the BBB was reviewed, and I'm eagerly awaiting a response from the Landscaping Company (Which Will Remain Nameless):
If the company makes an 11th hour decision to refund my money, I'll be the first one to let everyone know that they were cads, but made good in the end, which will put an end my incessant whining.
Here's hoping this nasty ordeal can be resolved, and I won't lose any more faith in humankind...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Synopsis of a Garden

Jake and I worked for a few more hours tonight, and are nearly finished spreading the soil into the ruts left by the landscaper. The dirt pile is *almost* gone, and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's good to know that when my hubby and I work together, we can overcome whatever messes come our way-- that man can fix almost anything, even a broken heart at being treated badly by people who don't care how much they wreck the land you've worked years to beautify.

If anyone had seen what a disaster our property was when we first moved in, they'd never recognize it; I turned the front acre of ugly, sickly grass into a prairie 3 years ago, hand planting hundreds of echinaceas and rudbeckias and broadcasting *pounds* of native prairie seeds. When the plants start to bloom early this summer, it's going to be breathtaking. The wildflowers are finally starting to take over the grass, getting the foothold they need to flourish.

We've taken down a few trees, removing the stumps and filling in the low spots; moved 1/2 dozen trees and planted at least 50; repaired the damaged, neglected landscaping in the front of the property (I shoveled at minimum a TON of lava rock, one wheelbarrow at a time waaaaaaaay down to a dumpster by the garage, which I had to LIFT to dump the rock inside. This girl's got MUSCLES!) We fixed up the rotting playhouse and turned it into a pretty little chicken coop, fully landscaped, complete with strawberry patch and trumpet vine/clematis covered pen.

I hand turned two enormous gardens in the front of the property 3 years ago as well, and the root stock I planted has matured to the point that I've had to dig *new* gardens and enlarge existing ones just to have places to put the divisions. I dug 4 gardens in the back of the property, 2 a couple years ago, one last fall, and one this spring... the south west garden is one of my favorites, as it includes many of the same shade plants I grew to love from the large gardens I planted at our old house (minus the most invasive ones!). I think I seriously overplanted that spot, tho, and will need to expand the garden to accomodate the plants that will surely be crowded by fall. I actually started the garden 2 years ago, when I rushed to get over 1000 bulbs in the ground in November, just in time for the first hard frost. The following spring, after the bulbs bloomed and the foliage faded, I was finally brave enough to get my plants in the ground.

I was especially proud of the chicken coop garden, as it was the first garden I actually took the time to "hardscape"; I was so pleased with myself, counting out the # of patio blocks I'd need and taking the initiative to order them and have them delivered, which went off without a hitch. I wasn't sure why, but I've usually relied on Jake to take care of these details; but now that I've been burned it's clear: I don't think men get taken advantage of as much as women do in such matters.
Jake and I took a lot of care with the coop garden, to level out the ground so the blocks would sit correctly-- the effect was absolutely stunning, and very professional looking. I couldn't wait to get some topsoil into the garden so I could move the plants from the butterfly garden into their new spot. We're going to be busting up the concrete soon so we can pour a new patio to replace the damaged one, so I had to move the perennials to a new spot asap.

And wow! Landscaping by yourself is hard enough without having to fix other people's screw-ups, but I'm hoping that when the coop garden has become established, it will seem even more lovely, for all the sweat and tears and life lessons that went into it. More photos of the restoration to come: my new camera decided to die, as if this week wasn't bad enough! Bah!

p.s. Jake ordered a new tipi skin today, which should arrive in 2 weeks... yay! Tipi party, anyone?

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Miss Molly!

Molly is a 12 week old Brittany Spaniel from a local breeder. She was born on Valentine's day and, of course, is a real sweetheart

I really enjoyed having a large dog in the house, one you could put your arms around (and one that wouldn't take your face off). So, with Sixy no longer with us, I just couldn't stand the thought of being without a "real" dog (Daisy is a good girl, but Rat Terriers aren't the greatest companion dogs...they're incredibly high strung and have a *very* nervous temperament).

Brittanys are very smart and gentle dogs, and we chose Molly because she was the calmest of her litter. So far (and I know this isn't going to last...), she hasn't barked or gone after the cat, but she sure likes to chew on stuff, so I've been trying to puppy proof the computer room as she finds things to munch on (the phone, the computer cords). I got her one of those thick rubber chew toys, which she loves, but she seems to favor cloth chewies and I'll have to pick her up a few more toys to keep her occupied, 'cause I suspect if I'm not careful, she'll have the room pretty torn up when I return from work on Tuesday.

Ah! Puppies! I know Jake isn't 100% happy about having another baby in the house, but I tried to explain to him that this is usually the age in a woman's life when thoughts turn to one last baby (that biological clock is winding down), so at least I'm yearning for fur babies and not the expensive ones you have to send to college someday. And besides, this baby likes to hunt!

I let Jake make the final decision about which pup would be best, since he's has a good sense with dogs, and I'm hoping he will help with the training, esp if field training is in her future. MMMMMmmmmmm...... pheasant! What a great father/son activity, and with Bong so close, I'm hoping for many fun family trips with an obedient, well trained dog. Molly warmed up to Jacob right away; rambunctious boy activities are right up her alley!

I've tried to take some photos, but puppies don't sit still very well:

Friday, May 18, 2007


How do you turn $100 into $1000???

You invite a local landscaping company (who for now, will remain anonymous)
to your house to dump a small load of dirt, and voila! You have $1000 in repair work to do on your lawn!
You hire a company to do something you clearly have no knowledge, ability, or resources to do yourself, and you trust that they have the skills to do their job well.
As a nurse, I don't expect my patients to tell me how to do my job competently and safely; I understand that they are entrusting me to perform the skills I need to, and protect them from harm. If I screw up, is it the patients fault for not telling me how to do my job, or mine, for lacking the appropriate skills?

Why oh why can't people just do their jobs and be accountable for the damage they do? Why does such a simple job like getting a load of topsoil turn into such a nightmare?

I told the dispatcher on the phone that we had a big turnabout in the driveway, and I even put my car on the front lawn so the driver had even MORE room to turn around... but for some reason, the driver chose to drive onto the lawn and turn THERE, leaving untold numbers of up to 6 inch deep ruts in the lawn-- all while I watched in horror. The truck was huge, should I have jumped in front of it and took my chances? My husband STILL isn't speaking to me; I know he wishes I would have at least took the risk.

You'd think a skilled Driver/Landscape Professional would have known that paying customers wouldn't be happy having so much damage to their property, and would have seen the LARGE driveway turnabout as an obvious choice to make a turn vs. destroying someone's lawn-- that's where I was wrong. I didn't realize I had to walk this Landscape Professional through the basic steps of his job in order to prevent costly, time consuming repairs.

And of course, the manager hasn't returned our call...

UPDATE: Jake spoke with the manager the next day (Friday), who assured us he'd call on Saturday and make an appt to come out and survey the damage. Saturday came and went, and no call. Jake even called and left a message Sat. afternoon, but we haven't heard from him. Nice...
We'll certainly take or business elsewhere in the future, and share our story far and wide.

P.S. and even though I paid premium price for top soil, the dirt they brought was stony, sandy fill dirt that dried to hardpan around my plants in the beautiful new garden we planted. I couldn't be more disgusted with this company.

I spoke with the manager today, who refused to take responsibility for any of the damages, and is also refusing to refund my money for the poor quality topsoil.
I informed them that I will also be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau regarding their unprofessional conduct and poor quality materials. And folks, signing a waiver really doesn't hold water when the damages exceed what would be considered "reasonable, anticipated damages for the specified job" (the key word here being REASONABLE). We anticipated two ruts in the lawn to repair, not 20. We did not anticipate having to haul 70+ wheelbarrow loads of dirt, level it, broadcast grass seed, purchase straw, cover it, and keep the whole mess wet for a few weeks until the grass was established. I doubt any rational person would consider the damages to our lawn to be REASONABLE for the minor job of unloading a small load of dirt.

On a side note, Jake and I spent long, hot hours yesterday filling in the ruts, wheelbarrow load by wheelbarrow load. I only hope that grass seed will grow in this soil, which has almost no organic matter and consists primarily of clay, sand, and $.50 sized pieces of stone. The manager reported to me that we were not the only customers who complained about the quality of the soil, yet the owner of the company is refusing to refund my $117, which is the **ONLY** compensation I'm seeking (which I think, given the damage, is more than reasonable).
It's going to take an incredible amount of organic matter (taking more of my $ and time), to amend this dirt to the point where my plants will grow in them. Grr!

In light of the need to get the grass growing in the damaged areas asap, I'm taking my dirty, smelly self to the TSC to purchase a 50# bag of grass seed (photos of the restoration coming soon; my batteries died in my camera last night). And when the staff ask, "why are you so dirty?", I'll have to reply: "Well, I had this load of dirt delievered last Thursday..."

I filed a complaint with the BBB and so, for now, I'll let them handle the remainder of this fiasco. I previously told the manager that if the company returned my money, I'd remove the photos of the damage from my website... but you know what? I'd rather not.
This was a HUGE experience for us, involving much angst and sweat and callouses; there's no way I'm *not* going to blog about it.
Every time I look at all the photos of the damage and all the labor that is going into the repairs, I'll think about how I'm going to have to make absolutely sure that the people I hire to perform services on our property are skilled and trained, and not create a gigantic mess they have no intention of fixing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The flax is blooming! The flax is blooming!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day, 2007

Mother's Day started with a bit of a fizzle... I waited in bed until almost 9:45 for one of the joys of my loins to jump into bed and wake me with a festive "Happy Mother's Day", but I finally had to pee and got up, somewhat disgruntled. Of course, Jacob had been up for hours already, playing his new video game, and Grace finally had to be tossed out of bed after I was ready to chew my arm off from hunger at around 10:30.
After much whining and complaining, cajoling, coercing, and threatening, my husband and I were able to rustle up the children to have a lovely brunch at Antigua Real, a South American restaurant in Mukwonago, aka "God's Gift to Mexican Food".
I had a wonderful spinach and pepper omelet with black beans, red potatoes, and plantains, and we all shared a plate of crepes stuffed with a rice milk pudding and topped with berries, bananas, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. Fab-U-lous!
We spent a good part of the afternoon cleaning up the humongous tree mess from Jake cutting down the dead popple tree, which was kindof fun, even tho I had to drag grace, kicking and screaming, out to help. "No, none of us want to work. We all would like to lie on the couch all day. Trust me..."

Emily showed up right about the time I was dozing off on the couch, and we all had a great time
Michael loved playing outside, he's a real fan of the swings:-) And the dogs playplayplayed all afternoon. Emily surprised me with flowers, chocolate dipped strawberries and a fantastic chocolate cake (does that girl get me or what?), and it ended up to be a lovely day.
Jake purchased me an Endless Summer Hydrangea, which I planted in the west garden in the line of hostas; hopefully I can train the bush up the side of the house. I'm not 100% sure of the growth habit of this particular hydrangea, but I can always move it if it doesn't work in it's spot. I'd really like to get a Japanese Maple in the west garden as well, but they're $70... and considering how much the rabbits like to eat them, I'm not sure I want to take an expensive risk.

Happy Mother's Day to All!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Chicken Coop Garden

Jake and I busted our backs today getting the chicken coop garden wall in place, and I know what you're thinking... "sure, you're not even in a single photo. It looks like your poor husband is doing all the work." And yes, I'd have to agree with you... he's a much better shoveler than I am, and anyway, who would take the pictures, I ask you?
Naaaah, just kidding. I helped out plenty. My job was mainly to haul the 124 patio blocks, 7 at a time, from the driveway to the coop via wheelbarrow.... ooh, my aching back! But it's a good ache. It's amazing what you can get done in one day, especially considering how long I've wanted to get this project done.
My next step is to get a load of topsoil dumped into the garden, hopefully sometime next week, and then dig up all the plants from the butterfly garden and the seedlings from the front gardens and get them planted... and then get my spot ready for another little kitchen garden.
The reason for all the effort is because the garden is usually under 3-12 inches of water all spring, and all the plants I put in are in various states of decomposition. Hopefully, putting in a raised garden will ensure the survival of the garden. I'm leaving the strawberry plants on the west side of the garden at swamp level; they seem to really like the dampness, and are covered with blossoms... it's hard to believe that the entire patch was started with 5 sickly little plants. It must be the combination of the water and the worm castings... I'm going to have to expand the patch after the berries are done and the plants start to spread again. Fun!
No more blahs for me! I am sore, and filthy, and smelly, and completely satisfied.
What a fantastic spring day!

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I've been having kindof a blah week, followed by a completely blah Friday; things are awesome, couldn't be better-- but I still feel... blah. Maybe the strawberry margarita I'm drinking right now will help.

The lilacs opened fully this week, they look and smell intoxicating (we have about 10+ ginormous bushes throughout the property)
I'd say the tulips are done, sadly. They looked so beautiful.
Jake and I picked up some plants this afternoon, and I rushed to get them in the ground:
A yellow pear tomato plant, a jalepeno plant, a roma tomato and cherry tomato plant, a grouping of poppies, 2 scabiosas (one blue and one pink), a delphinium, and a rosemary plant. The rosemary probably isn't hardy, so I planted it in the west garden by the house and I'll hope for the best-- maybe it'll make it thru the winter if it's close to the house.
The west garden is jam-packed and will probably need to be divided as early as this fall/next spring, but how cool is that? I guess I'll just have to dig another garden somewhere...
I'm hoping to get the patio blocks placed around the chicken coop, and level out the blocks around the west garden; maybe I'll get started on that tomorow, esp of the weather's supposed to be colder. I'll be very glad to get the small butterfly garden dug up and relocated to the chicken coop, so I'll have a spot to put all the seedlings that have sprouted in the front garden (those that don't get put in the prairie. And WOW! I can't believe how many seedlings are coming up in the prairie!! There are clearly spots that are going to need to be hand planted, but the areas that already have plants thriving are going to be doubly stuffed with flowers. I absolutely can NOT wait for the flowers to bloom.) Plus, it'll be nice to have another kitchen garden spot.

I think I'm also a little blue 'cause I'm sick to death of my husband working six 9 hour days/week, and then helping out at church on Sundays.... I think it's crap. I'm so resentful of those nice Christian people I don't even know that I can barely walk through those doors without sneering at them... and it's not even their fault.
I'm working a ton, too-- and for what? So Gracy pants can be an expensive brat? She's been a stinker all week-- if I hear the words "shut up, mom!" one more time, I'm gonna pop her one, right in the kisser! (no, I really won't. But I really *will* be fantasizing about it.)

Plus, I need a vacation in the worst possible way-- and I am SO not talking about some camping excursion with ticks. I want an all inclusive trip to a resort somewhere, with cocktails and massages-- maybe another cruise. Why o why do I have to work so hard and then live like a pauper? Because I'm a dumbass, that's why.

I *DID* get a couple cute shirts in the mail today: I especially like the "will knit for tattoos" one:
Not that I *really* would knit for tattoos, but it's fun to put that out there (even if it's not true. That must make me a poseur tattoo chick. Or something.). Since my knitting is not so great, the best I could expect would probably be an amateurish: "I heart mom" or something really uncool like that.

This comic makes me feel better, on some deeply seated level:

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Green Chicken Chile Enchiladas

Another wonderful dinner, stolen from the pages of Everyday Food (with some minor modifications!)
Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 10oz cans green enchilada sauce (La Preferida brand doesn't have MSG)
1 cup low/non fat sour cream or plain yogurt
12-16 corn tortillas (6-inch)
8-12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (3 cups)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and broil on broiler pan about 4 minutes +/- each side. Place on heat-safe plate and cover with foil; allow chicken to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine both cans enchilada sauce and sour cream.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or chop meat. In a large bowl, combine chicken and 1/2 cup sauce mixture.
Stack tortillas flat, and wrap in damp paper towels; microwave on high for 1 minute to soften. Working with one tortilla at a time, dip in salsa mixture, lay flat, and fill with 1/3 cup chicken mixture. Roll up and arrange, seam side down, 8 enchiladas lengthwise and 4 crosswise in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining salsa mixture, then cheese.
Bake until cheese is browned and sauce is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes; let rest 10 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with cilantro and scallions, if desired.

I also made this recipe recently with cod;
Prepare the sauce exactly the same, but instead of cooked chicken, fill each tortilla with +/- 3 one inch pieces of raw cod. Roll up and bake as above. I added some lime juice to the sauce, to change the flavor a bit, which was tasty... my kids still think this is a little too spicy, so you may want to add more sour cream (or plain yogurt) to tame the heat a bit.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Beulah Bog

We can take Beulah Bog off the "To Do" list; we went today and it was definately worth checking out:
It was a beautiful drive in the East Troy area, with it's hidden hilly and swervy roads-- there was a bit of a hike from the parking lot to get to the bog, some of which was on a plank walkway that was buoyed up on plastic drums. Six wasn't sure what to make of the walk, which bobbed underneath him and kept tossing him into the water. Jacob, of course, had to step in the muck, too, which was surprisingly very hard to extract him from; when I was finally able to pull him out, his pants were covered with some peat-ish looking material, similar to the stuff they found the "bog people" in. Cool!
When we neared the thick of the bog, we were surrounded by gorgeous tamarack trees, where the water turned from clear to red; huge growths of moss covered the surface of the water, and everywhere you looked there were hundreds of pitcher plants emerging from the swamp.

After our hike, we couldn't help but visit Lauber's, an old fashioned Ice Cream Parlor in East Troy. It's our all time favorite ice cream place, with it's turn of the century furnishings, old jukebox, and penny candy for sale, just like what I used to buy when I was a kid. Lauber's is one of those rare places that is equally as magical for the grownups as it is for the kids.

p.s. visit the bog before the mosquitos come out in full force.

Gracy Pants

It's that wonderful time of year again, when I need to determine the fate of my daughter for another school term.
Each and every year, I have to decide if she's deserving of the $8000 or so dollars it costs to send her to the private high school she loves, but gets almost nothing academic from, except for teachers who are more patient with her lack of interest in learning, and maybe a safer, calmer environment in which to ponder who she's becoming.
I struggle with this decision, because even tho I am grateful for the peace this school has given my daughter, I have a nagging feeling sometimes that Grace needs to be ushered into the "real world", which isn't so pleasant or safe, and while not an everyday part of our lives, needs to be reconed with on some level.
I struggle because I vacillate daily between knowing that you CAN structure your life to avoid some facets of our world that are toxic and unpleasant in a friendly, Kater Murr type fashion, as we have done-- and then wondering what it costs to be so protected.
What is "real life", anyway?
For us, it's a lovely life in the country-- quiet, pleasant, simple, reflective. For others, I'm sure it's quite the opposite. But what makes their lives any more "real" than the peace we've worked so hard to create for ourselves?
We're fully aware of what the world can be like; we've lived in it, participated in it, and ultimately structured our lives to be the calm in the storm. How is that any less real that the chaos people create for themselves, perhaps because they like it, perhaps because it's all they've ever known? We take our kids on trips all over: small towns, big cities--everywhere--so they can see the world around them and begin to "know" it as best they can. We are who we are, and isn't who we are as significant and honest to translate to our children than who everyone else is (and shouldn't it take precendence)?

Parts of me thinks it may be worth it, since even the most exceptional women in the world often grow up to be "mommies" and wives, despite their expensive, advanced educations. Even me, for all my intellect and drive and man-hating feminism, still chose the mommy route over being a kick-ass professional. And if Grace, in the grand scheme of things, can discover who she is and meet a nice, prospective husband in her little prep school or simply learn what prospective husband material looks like, then it's money well spent, don'tcha think? (Divorcing a meatball is expensive!) She's more likely to develop a healthier image of a marriage partner if she's surrounded by the sons of married, professional people, who are at least taught manners and the importance of earning a respectable living...'cause I've seen what they've got going on at the local public schools, and if she brought home one of those Marilyn Mansion looking boys, I'd have to up my medication and learn how to use that shotgun I've got hiding under the bed (or at least how to point it with conviction). I have a strict "no meatball" policy I'd like to impart firmly to my daughter before she's off on her own and shopping for a mate.

I feel in my bones that everything I'm doing now at this stage of her life is to prepare her to be a good wife and mother; in my limited understanding of who Grace is right now, I believe this is what she is going to do best.
And thanks to the excellent feminist training I was immersed in since my birth in the 70's, I have a smidgen of guilt about nudging my daughter in this direction; but if most moms think their girls are all going to grow up to be professionals after their 4 year stint in college, and then live happily ever after, I think they're in for a surprise:

Some girls just aren't into academics or are career minded, and really, what's the harm of following the "mommy track"? Women, in spite of their "liberation" of late, are still biological creatures who are hormonally programmed with a deeply (veryvery deeply) ingrained desire to have a family, to be loved and to nurture children. Even with all the hoop-de-do about "choices" and "progress" for women, this is still a beautiful and profound way for a woman to make her mark on the world, and sometimes the most direct.

And realistically, if a woman is driven to define herself through her work, which can also be very rewarding, she should understand that some day she may be faced with a litany of agonizing choices, none of which may be wholly satisfactory given the path she's pursued;

To bear and raise her children, forgoing or temporarily putting her career on hold;
To bear and allow someone else to raise her children, always knowing that her contribution to their lives is minimal at best;
Or move beyond the call to parent, and deal with whatever emotional consequences that may bring (I had an elderly patient last week who lamented repeatedly that her greatest regret was that she was an "old maid", with no children to care for her). Case in point, an interesting segueway:
Of course, I had another conversation today with a woman, much like myself, who is torn between meeting her husband's expectation for her to work and the unhappiness she feels at having to drop her babies off at daycare, and the bitterness of receiving no help with running the household. I myself write this after another 8 hour day at work, after preparing dinner, cleaning it up, washing and folding clothes, and getting the kids ready for another day while my own spouse is relaxing on the couch...
Why would I want to prepare my daughter to have a full-fledged career when she is likely to be dumped on in this fashion? Will the world change enough in my lifetime to the point where women aren't expected to "do it all"? Because I think it's crap. That is definitely ONE family tradition I have no intention of passing on.
As usual, I don't know which diretion to take.... all I DO know, is that until this issue is settled, I'm going to be miserable for the 4 whole months until school starts back up in the fall (we had everything decided last fall until the DAY BEFORE school started, when I was forced to make the snap decision to send Grace to CCHS because it turned out Grace couldn't go to BHS thru open enrollment, as we thought she could. I am not a fan of WHS for her; it's just too small, with all the implications of such).

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

This is another of the kid's favorite dinners:

Peanut Soba Asian Salad
One 1/2 in thich slice fresh ginger, peeled and sliced in half
4 cloves garlic, peeled (+/- to taste)
1/2 to 1 tsp hot chile paste, or 1 (mild) jalapeno, or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 to 1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tb +/- sugar, to taste (if your peanut butter is sweetened, you may need less)
3 Tb toasted sesame oil
3 Tb rice vinegar
1/2 Tb Worcestershire sauce
Chicken broth or water, as needed
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade or in a blender, finely chop the ginger and garlic. Add remaining ingredients in order and process until smooth. The dressing should be the consistency of heavy cream. If too thick, add some water/chicken broth; if too thin, add more peanut butter (we use a lot). Dressing will keep in fridge for 2-3 weeks.
Prepare a 12 oz box Soba noodles per package instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Toss noodles with vegetables of your choice; we typically use:
carrots, red pepper, cucumbers (peeled and sliced), shredded napa cabbage, chopped cilantro, and a sliced scallion or 2
But yesterday, I was in a rush and picked up a bag of broccoli slaw, which had chunks of broccoli, shreded cabbage, carrots, and broccoli, and added some chopped cilantro and a sliced scallion, and it was excellent.
If you'd like more substance to your salad, broil or grill 4 chicken breasts, slice thinly against the grain, and serve on top of salad.

Ginger Scones With Peaches and Cream

I was in the mood for something sweet yesterday, but didn't want to blow my diet:
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup unbleached flour and 1 cup ww flour, and the results were denser but more nutritious)1 cup cake flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger 1/4 tsp cardamom (optional) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pea size cubes 2 ounces chopped, crystallized or candied ginger 3/4 cup milk 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water to make an egg wash
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. You can mix by hand or with a food processor or mixer, but be careful not to over blend the dry ingredients. If you over-blend, your scones will be tough and chewy. Put the 7 dry ingredients in a bowl and add the cubes of butter. With your fingers, or with 2 knives, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a course cornmeal. Some large pieces of butter should remain, this will make your scones light and fluffy. If you are using a processor, pulse briefly. Stir in the ginger bits. Add the milk and work quickly with a fork to incorporate. The dough should be soft and lightly moist. Again, don't over-mix. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently pat down until it stands about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 12 triangles with a dough cutter or a knife and put onto an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with some sugar. Bake for 12 minutes until golden. Let cool briefly.
Prepare the peaches:
Heat one 10 oz bag frozen peaches (or peel and slice 2 large peaches +/-) with 1/8-1/4 cup sugar (to taste) in saucepan until liquid bubbles and sugar is dissolved.
In retrospect, it would have been nice to spice the peaches in some way, with some more chopped candied ginger and a sprinkle of cardamom, maybe a bit of clove or cinnamon.
Whip 1/2 cup whipping cream with 1-2 Tb sugar until stiff peaks form.
Serve scones warm, topped with hot peaches and whipped cream.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Things I Want to (Remember to) Do Everyday:

1) take my vitamins
2) taste my food
3) drink a V8
4) walk the dogs, even if it's just up to the mailbox
5) drink lots of water (with lemon! Yum!)
6) go to the gym and do elliptical or bike for 30 minutes, plus 20 minutes of resistance training

Friday, May 4, 2007


Jake and Jacob left for an overnight trip, Grace is over at her boyfriend's, so I'm all alone and I'm BOOOOOOORED!
There's a million things going on, but I can't think of who to invite: First Fridays is tonight, but I'm not so sure I want to trek all the way into Racine-- and who would I go with? I'd prefer to go with Jake, and I bet it's chilly (altho it may be less crowded, who knows?).
I called Tracey to see if she wants to go out for a martini at BJ's; not sure if she's available. I would LOVE to have some of their fantastic tuna, but I've already pigged out on palak paneer (our version of "fast food", since you just cook the rice, open the package, and dump the green stuff on top. Voila!). It's tasty good stuff, but ya gotta wonder if it has any staying power.

I'm bummed, since I've been exercising fairly regularly, and it seems like my clothes are getting even TIGHTER! I worked out for quite a while this am; 1 hour in a swim aerobics class, 20 minutes on the elliptical, and 30 minutes lifting weights, with a 30 minute walk with the dogs.
All I've eaten today consists of:
1 cup "Good Friends" cereal with milk, a skim latte, a bowl of pea soup with 1 piece sourdough bread, 1/2 cup Stonyfield Farm yogurt with 4 fresh strawberries, a Wha Guru chew, 8 oz low sodium V8, and 1 cup rice with about a cup of palak paneer.
I keep reading all these diet books, many of which are pure crazy nonsense. So many books give detailed reports of how people became overwweight: "I would eat a bag of chips while watching TV", or, "I would eat a half dozen doughnuts for breakfast", and "I would stress eat a half pint of Ben and Jerry and chase it with a king size Snickers". What crap! I haven't eaten a chip, a doughnut, real ice cream or a candy bar for a loooooong time-- and it sounds like this was an everyday occurrence for these folks. I have never been a junk food eater, not even when I was a kid, never was a soda drinker. I know that genetically, my body wants to be a fatty, so I've been fighting it since I was a girl, by watching what I eat, exercising... some people say that they gained weight from their pregnancies, but I was still riding my bike, doing yoga, and water aerobics up till the day I delivered jacob, and I weighed just about exactly what I do now (at 9 months pregnant, with a 10# baby...). Go figure.

The best I can tell, I gained weight when I turned 35 for no other reason other than I returned to work at a job that was toxic to me, one that involved a lot of sitting and stress. I didn't develop a sudden passion for candy or pastries, but I *did* get put on the pill that year for my nasty PMS-- could that be it?
All I can say is that I no longer have a flat belly for the first time in my life (it went flat the day after each of my deliveries, WTF?), and I HATE it!
And the success stories in the books are total BS, too. Like: "When Suzy decided to include the 3 Power Snacks in her diet, she lost an amazing 3 pounds the first week!" So many people want you to believe that if you eat more, you'll lose more-- and so many of them don't even mention exercise as a main component of healthy weight loss. And the ridiculous notion that you can change the way you eat and lose weight, and then somehow be able to go back to your former diet and be okey dokey for evermore is crap, too. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that it was your original diet (and lifestyle) that got you fat in the first place-- what makes anyone think they can return to that way of living and not see the weight creeping back on? And fake food? As in, "I have no idea what's in this stuff, but if you eat a bunch of it, it'll make you fart a lot". No thanks. I need to bone up on my willpower, not increase my chances of developing some strange GI disorder or worse, cancer.
My problem, in addition to the mystery weight gain, is that I'm not active enough. I get blue in the winter and want to sleepsleepsleep the cold season away (i.e."wake me when it's spring"). If I could develop a habit of going to the gym that I could maintain into the winter months, I know I'd see results and be a lot happier all winter long.
My husband scoffs, but I know I'd be 100% healthier if I could live somewhere that doesn't freeze over for 3+ months out of the year.
Oh, and I also suspect that part of the problem is that I developed a taste for a drinky-poo (or 2) before bed, which I find smooths out the rough spots of the day and eases me into sleep. Maybe what I have is a "wine belly". Egads!Published Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 23:28:06 GMT

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Bye, Bye Mr. Six

I finally came to the conclusion that I will need to find a new home for my beloved Mr. Six (our newest dog). Between his attack on Jake, his aggression towards authority figures, and his obsession with eating the cat, I just don't feel confident that he won't hurt anyone again.
I'm afraid if we give him to the Pound, they'll euthanize him right off, since he bit Jake-- and I'm not so sure I want to be so directly involved in his death (guilt guilt!)... but I also know that since he has the potential to do harm, I could never give him to another family.
And to be completely psycho, I have already been looking for a replacement, a breed that would do better with a family. I guess Shibas are really high strung, very dominant, and possessive-- not too good with other animals and need to be the head honcho. That really doesn't work around here, since Six is pretty low in the pecking order and no amount of bullying will convince the other animals that he's the boss. But in the meantime, he's making all the other animals-- and subsequently, everybody else--pretty miserable.

UPDATE #1 5/3/07:
OK, I chickened out. It didn't take long...
I had an epiphany today that if Six is plagued with neurotic tendencies, maybe he needs some of "Mommy's Little Helper", aka "Dorothy's Best Friend": a wee bit 'o Zoloft. Being high strung and neurotic is a family tradition in these parts, so Mr Six probably came to the right place, where my medicine stash of samples alone could medicate a small village (I have a very generous Dr who lets me try anything I want. Unfortunately, I don't like to take meds so I'll take a couple doses and forget about it. Duh!)
I started Six on a dose of Sertraline after looking it up on the 'net :
-- they say it's good for "obsessive tendencies", which is Mr. Sixy in a nutshell (no pun intended). Is medicating your dog from your stash less ethical than handing him over to be euthanized? I guess that's one for the Ethics Board.
Me, I love a good science experiment, doggy neurotransmitters and all-- who knows, it may be just what this overbred Puppy Mill dog needs to have a happy life, free from his obsessions.
I'll keep you updated:
UPDATE #2 5/4/07:
I've discovered Sixy likes to take car rides, and rides really well. So I'm going to take the initiative to take him for a car ride as often as I can to get him out of the house. I'm also going to try hard to get him on the leash and go for a walk every day, even if it's down to the mailbox to get the mail (our driveway is really looooong!). Maybe these additions to his schedule will help him relax and move him away from some of his obsessive behaviors.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Ug! I have a stolen afternoon off, as I got sent home from work early due to low census-- and all I want to do is NAP. Not like I really *need* to, I just *want* to! I have about 50 other things of importance I could be doing, such as getting the 300+ bulbs out of the basement and getting them in pots, but I DON' WANNA!
I can usually expect the planting bug to hit one of these nice Spring days, when out of the blue I have an uncontrollable urge to get the planting done, but it hasn't arrived yet, and my body thinks it's "nappy time", nappynappynappy.

I COULD go to the dreaded WalMart and pick up a lovely lawn chair so I can lounge outside while I nap, dreaming fitfully about all the things I should be doing... sounds like a plan.

I picked up the most AMAZING lounge-type chair today, and even managed to resist the evil wiles of the WalMart. It's very comfy; I tried just about every lounger at the Menard's. Unfortunately, the sheer motivation it took to get me to the store jump started me to begin my actual "work", so no lounging ever occurred.
I managed to weed most of the gardens (and used a smidgen of Round Up, much to my shame. Some clover got into the gardens and that stuff can't be pulled for nothing!)
The strawberry patch is starting to pop out blossoms, and they are ENORMOUS! I can't wait to see what those monster berries look like. I heard that strawberries like water, and considering their plot is practically bog-like, they should produce nicely. Strawberry margaritas, anyone?
I got a few more packets of poppy seeds and planted them in the north prairie. I opened up the grass to expose the soil, and sure enough, the flax is there, making its way into the soil.
The prairies are going to be breathtaking... everywhere I look I can see native prairie plants (well, except for the poppies, I think. But who could resist a field of poppies? Not me.) that I have planted, one by one, over the years we've been here. I think it's one of my proudest accomplishments.

Jake and I sat on the front porch this evening as the sun was setting behind us, and the full moon was starting to rise behind a thin veil of clouds. A small bat was circling overhead, and the crickets and frogs were singing in the marsh across the way.
In front of us, in an ethereal mass, was the canopy of blooms from the crabapple tree, and we were surrounded on both sides by spring flowers in the gardens. Lovely...