Thursday, April 28, 2005

What Kind of English Do You Speak?

As an English major, I've always been fascinated by language. Why do we speak as we do? The different regional dialects are wonderful, and I hope that we never lose them to some bland, universal "network news anchor" style of speech. That's why I'm a sucker for any language quiz. Take this one and see where you fall. Here's what I scored. I guess my parents' Iowa upbringing is showing, huh?

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

20% Upper Midwestern

10% Midwestern

0% Dixie

0% Yankee

I also saw the first hummingbird in the garden this morning. It looked to be a little female, it's difficult to say which type since they look so similar and since I was so far away. Soon the garden will be full of them and they are such a pleasure to watch. Fierce little things, for all their delicate appearance.

Today is the last day at the PAWs animal shelter for my friend, Mary, a most dedicated soul. She will be sorely missed, but she has decided to officially "retired" from both work and volunteering for the summer so that she can take care of both herself and some of those nagging chores that are always needing to be done. Congratulations to her on her freedom!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Manly Men Are Back Baby!

I saw a number of ads and coupons for a men's skin care system today. Ack! Isn't it bad enough that woman have to contend with all this nonsense? Surely men wouldn't be dumb enough to fall into the cosmetics trap. Well, whew! My faith was renewed when I read this article. It's about time is all that I can say. Who wants some namby-pamby guy who's worried about his complexion? Bring on the "real" men who aren't afraid to get a little dirty!

Hold the quiche: Manly men are back

Women want the "man" back in "manly," a Harris Interactive survey shows. The rough-and-ready attitude is in, women say, while the manicured "metrosexual" look is on the way out.
[ Read Article (Outside Link) ]

Since I'm a dog lover...

This site was so much fun. Take the quiz (which is designed so well that it's a pleasure to view!) and see what type of dog fits your personality. I'm a Belgian Shepherd, hardworking, obedient, and intelligent with strong guarding and herding instincts. Needs lot of exercise, likes wars! (I guess this breed was used a lot in WWII as a guard dog.) Don't know how true this is, but it's lots of fun so check it out at

Garden Ramblings

This week we've been lucky to have had some warm and wonderful days of sunshine--perfect for working out in the garden. I was finally able to truck in some topsoil to the new beds in the front yard so that I could plant out the perennials. As usual, I'm certain that I planted too many plants for my site, but that will give me something to do in the future! I put in two white carpet roses, coreopsis, fleabane, shasta daisies, campanula, two cape fusias, one hardy fushia, two dianthus, siberian iris, russian sage, perennial blue salvia, centaua montana, red valerian, pink yarrow, autumn joy sedum, and misc. others. I followed no plan. I'd rather experiment and see what comes up and then move the plants around to refine the look. The element of surprise is fun, and sometimes serendipity yields wonderful results.

We also have been enjoying the wonderful birdsong that's filled our garden these past weeks as the various birds start staking out territory and building nests. It sounded like a jungle movie yesterday morning as all the different birdsongs were playing all at once. This little Pine Siskin was brave enough to let me get a good photo.

Garden Visitor Posted by Hello

Friday, April 15, 2005

A Peaceful Weekend Wish For You

The weather here is again grey and cool, not the best for gardening fun. However, things are slowly coming alive in our garden nonetheless. Our grape vines are showing signs of life. We've planted two varieties that do well here in the Pacific NW. One is red and one is green, and both are table varieties. Last year we had lots of wonderfully sweet grapes for snacking.

Grape Vines Budding Posted by Hello

The kiwi vines are also starting to leaf out nicely. People told us that our summers weren't long enough for the fuzzy brown kiwis like those that you buy in the store. But we've gotten a good number of them to harvest in the past two years. Either way, they make a lovely vining plant, but you need both a male and a female for fruit!

Kiwi vine Posted by Hello

We've been lucky to see a pair of Pileated woodpeckers at our suet feeder lately. I can't get close enough to get a good photo, but you can see the damage they are doing to our fence as they clean their beaks after feeding. It's destroying our poor, old fence but having these wonderful, shy birds in our little garden is worth it.

Woodpecker Damage Posted by Hello

Here is a photo of the back border in early spring. Not many flowers, but many beautiful shades of green. The different colors, the contrasting leaf forms all bring a soothing feeling to the garden this time of year. It's a quite space before the riot of bloom really starts up in June and July. A perfect backdrop for the bursting pink blooms of the ornamental cherry along the fence.

Back Border in Early Spring Posted by Hello

Finally, a photo of the bamboo we planted last year. It's a clumping variety, so we hope that it doesn't turn into another garden thug (of which we have many!). It lends such a graceful air to our back patio and the sound of its leaves rustling in the afternoon breeze is peace itself. A happy weekend and a wish of peace to all who read this.

Clumping Bamboo Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

Civil War Quilt Block for March

Here is my completed block for the month of March. I'm new to quilting, and I don't always have the patience required to ensure the perfect matching of points, corners, etc. Let me just state that this block was a royal pain. I can say without equivication, that I'll not voluntarily make this stinker again! I also didn't think much of the fabric selection for this month. (Although the white with brown leaves was my choice.) This is a $5 quilt club, which means that you pay $5 to join, and you get a new design for a block with the fabric for everything but the background for free. If, however, you miss a class or don't complete your block, then you have to shell out another $5. It's a fun, frugal way to learn how to complete different blocks. And you find out which designs you like and which you don't ever want to make again--like this one!

Bear's Paw Quilt Block for March  Posted by Hello

Bottling the Compost Tea

The Compost tea is done. The first time I've done it all by myself. It's not difficult, but it's time consuming. It took a couple hours to bottle it and clean up the equipment. Yuk. I brought Miss Maggie, the dog of indeterminate breeding, along to guard me. She managed to bark at all the other dogs who were stopping by for a walk in the park. After we were done, she got a nice walk herself.

Maggie Guards The Tea Posted by Hello

The Tea Waiting for Pickup (Note the "Mr. Yuk" Stickers) Posted by Hello

The Distribution Process--It Ain't Pretty Posted by Hello

Compost Tea is Done! Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 02, 2005

When You're Sad...Work

With the death of Pope John Paul II, today was a sad day for many people throughout the world, Catholics, other people of faith, and even those who don't believe at all. It seems that this man touched the lives of so many and left an imprint of peace, hope, and an abiding respect for life. We shall miss him.

When I'm sad, I work. Today I got a lot accomplished. I met with my group of Master Gardeners and we bottled and distributed compost tea this morning. I ended up with three gallons of the wonderful stuff which I put on my roses and other misc. perennials. My Dh painted and hung a trellis under the eaves so that the out-of-control Clematis Montana could make it's way across the front of the house. (My secret desire is to have a cozy house draped with vines...)

Then I planted a perennial sunflower that grows to six feet tall and is supposed to be covered in small, soft yellow, daisy-like flowers. That should be beautiful in the back of the border. Plus, we did get nearly half of the tomato plants potted up in individual 4" pots. I thought I was doing good, until this morning when I ran into a woman with two greenhouses (oh, the envy...) who was potting up 600 with the help of a lovely group of teenagers. Wow---how wonderful is that? She'd even brought orange juice and doughnuts to share. There is so much kindness in the world.