For years my husband and I have talked about planting a garden. We often talked about what we would plant, but we never got around to planting a garden for a lot of reasons. In the beginning, we lived in either an apartment, rented a house or lived in military housing. None of those made it easy to have a garden. When we bought our house in Kansas, we talked about clearing a section of the yard for a garden, but we never seemed to get around to it. Our current neighbors have an extensive garden that runs along the side of our fence. In the past they have shared some of their veggies with us, which were mainly the ones that happened to come over the fence onto our side. This year we have decided that we will have a garden of our own.
We are going to try our hand at container gardening. We have researched the types of vegetables that grow in our zone and when we can start planting them. Since winter has lingered way to long, we are waiting for the last frost of the season, which in this area is usually around May 1st. My husband is the one that has designed the garden and knows where everything will go and how things should be planted. My role has been helping decide what vegetables we want to plant. They currently run to those that I will actually eat. My husband is the one with the green thumb, so if he tells me when to water the plants and how much, I don’t think I will mess them up too much.
Trips to the home improvement store now include stops to see what seeds have come in and look at the gloves and pretty tools needed for gardening. Of course my husband steers me away from those, assuring me that he already has gloves for me and I really don’t need purple clippers. This past weekend we headed out early and picked up organic soil for the containers. Each one is now filled and waiting for when we can get started with the actual planting. Once we see how things go this year, we might look at expanding the garden next year and possibly clearing a space in the yard. Or, we might continue with the containers. So, wish us luck and I’ll be sure to keep you posted as to what we find in our garden.
Photo © Lenalee
The photos were taken one week apart. The first photo is the willow tree covered in snow from our last snowfall. It also happened to be on the first full day of spring. A week later, I took the second photo, which shows the willow tree’s buds starting to come out. The flowers and the trees seemed to have survived the snow without any issues. Of course, we have more snow in the forecast this week.
All photos © lenalee
We moved into our house during the summer of 2013. The trees the run behind the house were in full bloom and the housing area behind us couldn’t be seen. Once the leaves began to fall, we noticed something that appeared to be caught in one of the trees. It is too high up to reach with a ladder so it has remained there. On windy days, the object flaps about, and I often think it will finally break free, but it doesn’t and it hasn’t in all of the time that has passed. Not even when Hurricane Sandy went through our area or the many nor’easters that we’ve had since then.
I have no idea what the item is. At first, I thought it was a plastic shopping bag someone carelessly discarded that was caught by the wind and deposited in the tree, becoming tangled among the branches. It catches our attention only to be forgotten until the next windy day when it is spotted again. I would think a plastic bag would have degraded by now. Or maybe I hope that it would have.
Each year as winter turns to spring, the leaves on the trees come out to block our view and we can no longer see it. When fall arrives, and the leaves are gone, we are almost surprised to see that it is still there. This year it looks different. It appears more tattered and looks like it might actually be a fabric of some sort. Fabric is heavier than a plastic bag, so I wonder how it might have gotten so high up in the tree. I wonder if it will still be there next fall when the leaves have gone again or will it finally break free. And if it does, where might it go next?
Is there anything outside your window that makes you pause and wonder?
One of the things I hear most often at work is how long winter seems to be this year. Looking at the calendar, we are about two-thirds of the way through winter. It has been much colder than previous years. It may have something to do with the fact that the temperatures were below freezing for several weeks. When we finally got above freezing, it made everyone think that spring wasn’t too far off. Of course Ground Hog Day happened and was anyone surprised that the little guy saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter? I wasn’t. Of course I can add and 6 weeks + 6 weeks equals 12 weeks. And if I remember anything from school it was that each season lasts 12 weeks.
While we have had several snow events so far this winter, many people have started complaining that winter never really showed up this year. The first event gave us the most snow, around 6 inches. Each one that has come after has given us another 1-2 inches and mostly made travel a mess. Two days resulted in icy roads, which meant taking it easy when driving and watching out for those that don’t. It rained on and off most of last weekend and the temperature warmed up into the 60’s. The good news is that we were in the 50’s for most of the week. This only makes people think that winter is over, which might be a good thing because the daffodils are blooming even earlier than normal and the grass is starting to grow. But as with everything, Mother Nature has other plans and it is supposed to turn colder and snow is back in the forecast through the middle of March. I don’t think I’ll be packing away my sweaters any time soon.
What has winter been like where you are?
Labor Day, also known as the unofficial end to summer has arrived and now begins the push into fall. The weather has actually been very fall like during the past week or so with temperatures mostly in the 70’s and even dropping into the 50’s at night. Of course it is supposed to get back into the 80’s today, so we will get a reminder that summer is still around. The last two days were also rainy as Maryland was visited by Harvey as the former hurricane exited the U.S. Next on the horizon is figuring out the path Hurricane Irma will take as it gets closer. For those of us along the Atlantic coast, we hope that the path stays well south and avoids the U.S. altogether. But, in case things don’t work out that way, and the path brings it up the eastern coast, we will get ready the best we can.
You can tell that the seasons are starting to change as the trees are beginning to thin out their leaves. Before long we will be able to see the homes behind us again. It is nice during the summer when you only see the green of the trees. Or in the case of our Japanese Maple, a beautiful red wine color. The cooler weather also caused some of the leaves to change from vibrant green to lighter green with yellow tones. So it won’t be long before we start seeing the oranges and reds as nature puts on its fall show.
We have started planning short day trips around the area now that the weather is more comfortable. We booked a fall foliage train ride in Pennsylvania in mid-October and are planning a longer trip in early November. We are taking a covered bridge driving tour and another that will tour barns, some which are hundreds of years old. I hope to get plenty of pictures.
Saturday was only supposed to be a slight chance of rain, so we decided to take a drive and see the sights. Of course, it rained most of the trip. Here are some pictures. Please ignore the rain drops on the lens.
All photos taken by Lenalee.
We have lived in many different states and have lived in both apartments and houses. And in all of those states, I have never seen houses in need of a bath before. Oh, I’ve seen houses in various states of disrepair. Some falling down due to neglect. Others being remodeled. But none have been dirty. And then we moved to Maryland. And here, houses need a bath every once in a while. The reason? Apparently the combination between the bay, the river and the ocean all make for an atmosphere where mold and algae grows on houses.
When we lived in Louisiana, where it is wet, humid and downright swampy all year round, the house we lived in didn’t look dirty on the outside. We would later learn that the house was filled with black mold inside, which made my son sick for the four years that we lived there, but the outside looked fine. In Kansas, it was windy and dusty. The combination of the two seemed to act as a sand blaster, so the house always looked clean.
Upon moving to Maryland, there were a plethora of signs offering power washing for your house. At first, I didn’t understand why the need to power wash a house, but when we began looking to buy a house, we quickly noticed the mold that seemed to grow on the houses. And once you notice something, you continue to notice that until that seems to be all that you notice about a house. The house that we bought was apparently power washed by the previous owners prior to putting the house up for sale. After we purchased it, I did wonder how often the house would need to be washed. Apparently it takes about three years for the mold to become noticeable and it was really only on one side of the house. The rest of the house didn’t show anything. The house shown isn’t ours, but shows what the issue is.
So my husband made a few calls and found a company that uses a natural cleaner that doesn’t affect the environment and has a barrier to make it harder for the mold to grow. And the house got a bath. Now, when you leave the house, there is a sort of minty smell, which is the cleaner and will apparently fade over the next few weeks. Of course, the day after the wash, a bird left it’s calling card on one of the shutters. Now if mother nature would help wash it away I would greatly appreciate it.
There is a commercial that runs during the summer asking what you use your vacation days for. The ad is to encourage you to use your vacation to visit Ocean City, Maryland and its beaches (just named one of the top 10 beaches in the US). Apparently I don’t use them as much as I should. Last week I actually took three days of vacation. When my husband and I requested the time off back in November, our plan was to take a two or three-day getaway. We didn’t know where and the plan was to see what the weather would be like and maybe make plans a little closer to home. Unfortunately, my husband ended up needing emergency dental surgery, so while I still took the days off, we ended up staying at home. He was on several different medications, not to mention in pain, so we just did things around the house.
Of course, for my husband, pain or not, he wants to feel like he actually accomplished something while he was off. So he made a list of things that needed to be done around the house and decided that we would tackle those listed. You’ll notice the “we” in the last sentence. While my husband is all about making lists and checking things off of them, even when you are on vacation, I am not so inclined. I do not have a problem relaxing with a good book or trying my hand at crocheting. Relaxing is good. Chores, not so much. So what did my husband want to accomplish while he was on pain meds and antibiotics? Spring cleaning of course.
We started with the downstairs and moved the furniture out of the family room. Nothing like having a couch in your kitchen. First up was steam cleaning the carpets. My husband tends to go overboard with this. The carpets were still damp the next morning, so the couch stayed in the kitchen for a second day. Did I mention that we ate out a few times during all of this? Cooking with a couch in the kitchen was a little crowded. We also started working down in the Man Cave/Media Room since the upstairs was off-limits. The previous owners had a game room set up downstairs and they smoked pipes and cigars. On a humid day, you could smell the smoke still lingering and after 3 years it was time to start removing ceiling tiles and picking out paint samples. A lot of bending and reaching and body aches happened. We were too sore to start steam cleaning the bedrooms so we gave ourselves a day of rest.
Of course, that didn’t mean resting to my husband. It meant it was time to go couch shopping. That involved a lot of sitting and up and down while you tested out the couches for maximum comfort. After three stores whereI didn’t find any that I wanted, we returned home to find the family room carpets dry, so the couch finally was able to be moved out of the kitchen and I was able to steam mop the rest of the floors. Dinner time found me tired and I made the decision of ordering pizza while watching my husband cross items off his list that we had completed. I now need to put in for another vacation where I might actually do some lounging around and just relaxing. That might not happen anytime soon. Today it was picking out paint samples for the Man cave/Media room. The good news…the paint that we chose looks good on the walls and trim. The bad news….painting is definitely in my future. Maybe I should write “relax for the weekend” on my husband’s list. We just might get to it sometime this summer.
This weekend, while running errands, my husband decided to zip down to the mall to pick up a few dress shirts that were on sale where he normally shops. Yes, I said mall. I do not like shopping in malls anymore. There are too many people pushing and shoving their way as if they are taking part in the Shopping Olympics. The store that my husband goes to has its own entrance, so we can get in and out easily and we don’t need to go into the actual mall. That makes me happy.
We headed into the store and were met with absolute crazed shoppers, all apparently starting their holiday shopping early. I know that many stores were putting up their holiday displays before Halloween, but I really didn’t see anything special on sale yet. Apparently the shoppers out last weekend didn’t feel the same way. It was literally wall to wall people, pushing and shoving their way through the aisles. And if they couldn’t get through, they shoved displays out of their way and made their own aisle. After being shoved for the third time into the men’s winter coat display, I told my husband I’d wait for him in the car. He came out a few minutes later mumbling something about checking online for the shirts he liked.
As we drove away, I knew that was the last mall visit for us until sometime in next year. Maybe in the spring, when the winter clothes are discounted and there are a few less pushy shoppers. If anyone wonders why online shopping is so popular, they only have to spend a few minutes in a real mall for the answer.