Saturday, May 24, 2014


Went to bed an hour ago. Still not asleep. I hate just laying there, so you all are going to be forced to listen to me run on.

Good first day of vacation. Got up fairly early. Ate breakfast and picked away at a few chapters of the GOT series. Cleaned the main floor bathroom. Vacuumed most of the living room, then realized we'd be going in and out the patio door and tracking things in. Eh.

My friend Joy came over at nine. A few months ago, she set up a Facebook page for local people to swap goods and services. If you have something to offer - help with meals, gardening, household goods or other things - you post it. If you are seeking something out, you post it. Once a need has been fulfilled, you delete your post. It's been working pretty well - our own personal swap meet, as it were.

I'd done something for Joy, and the gardening was the return. She enjoys digging in the dirt; me, not really so much. She was fully aware that I wanted to get the juniper shrubs trimmed and the poor, neglected clematis cut down.

Poor thing. Since the junipers were out of control, and I'm slightly allergic to their sap (see also note about not really enjoying gardening, and also I'm lazy) they hadn't been pruned in two years. At this point it, too, was completely overgrown.

Not to mention the fact that all this flora completely blocked any access to the outside water spigot. The only reason I knew it was in that spot is that the previous owners had attached a hose to the spigot that ran over to the patio gate. That hose had its own mini-spigot at the end. Not a nozzle, but a threaded end to which to attach another hose, with its own stopcock. I've turned the water off for the winter using the valve in the basement, but the outside valve has apparently been open all this time. Sigh.

No problem reaching the spigot now. The clematis is down to the roots, as is one of the shrubs. The other is cut down to about a foot, and Joy wants to come back Monday afternoon to finish that one. There are a number of paving stones in the bed, which is rather odd. I'll dig those out, and will probably need to dump in some additional soil before replanting much smaller shrubs - some lower growing variety of arborvitae.

Um...I wasn't expecting Joy to go quite that far, and I've not actually asked the association board if I can do this. But technically, I'm allowed to plant four feet out from my foundation, the junipers (Joy discovered) were not only unsightly but dead underneath and I'm planning on paying for the new shrubs myself (gives me more control - I can make sure they are low growing, and space them so spigot access won't be compromised again). It will look a thousand times better than it did; what's not to like?

I'd like to put a pretty ground cover in around the bushes. No higher than six inches, a perennial, preferably with small flowers that bloom most of the summer (pink or white) and are pretty much no-fuss. Southern exposure, though slightly shaded by the roof overhand. Leave your suggestions in the comments.

In messing about, I realized there is a flag holder mounted on the front of the building, next to my patio gate. This is the perfect weekend to get a flag to put out. The prize for winning the history award in high school included a copy of the flag code; no one need worry that it will be displayed in a way that dishonors all the men and women who have fought for it.

Joy left about noon. Another cup of coffee and a few more chapters in GOT kept me occupied until the grocery order arrived. Apparently, I was hungry when I put this order together. The saving grace is that Peapod lets you buy small quantities of most things. The only fresh veggie that I'm scratching my head over is the onions. Both a three pound bag of yellow onions and a five pound bag of vidallias? I think the plan was to chop up a bunch and flash freeze it.

In spite of the quantity of food, it took forever to figure out what to do for supper. A couple red potatoes, carrots and an onion (one vidallia down) in the oven to roast. Chicken breast sprinkled with seasoned salt and sauteed.

The smell of the chicken is hanging in the air still. Or rather the frying process. This kitchen isn't exactly equipped with the latest and greatest ventilation system.

The paragraphs are getting shorter; it's time to try sleeping again.

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