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#wordlesswednesday

Alice herbs

Alice

herbs

stevia, lemon verbena, julep mint, oregano, marjoram, 3x lemon basil and lime basil mix

(Click here for more on herb drying. Apologies for the quick camera phone pics. I had to catch her in the act! I decided to try to dry herbs this year on the wall art behind the kitchen table because there seem to be too many to fit in the kitchen window like last year. P.S. These words don’t count. It’s still Wordless Wednesday. Shut up.)

I got this dracaena as a little tiny baby from IKEA my senior year of college (so 2004-05). I potted it up and kept it in my basement window, then it came home with me. When I got my current job in late 2005 after graduation, it was one of the first plants that came to my cubicle with me. It was happy. Now, 5 years later, it’s grown a ton! I repotted it about 3 years ago from the small IKEA pot into the gorgeous red pot that I just love. Last year at some point I took it home and added more soil to the pot because I noticed water was just rushing out when I watered the plant – it was all roots and no soil. This week I noticed a lot of the bottom leaves starting to yellow and I decided to face the music – I needed to up-pot it.

Dracaena in my cube in its old pot.

As I was taking it home today, someone asked where it was going! The plant is so big and spiky and I have it on a plant stand, so it really stands out in the office. I often have people comment on how pretty it is. I told them no worries, it’d be back! I stopped by a local nursery on my way home that I know has a great selection of pots, since I knew I didn’t have one of the right size at home. They tend to be a bit pricey, but I think I got a decent deal with the one I picked for $14.99. Not too bad. The old pot was about 7 inches across and squatty, and the new one is about 9 or 10 across and taller.

old pot and new pot

It was so rootbound I really had to pry it out of the old pot. Because the old pot closed in a bit at the top, it was really wedged in there. Look at all those roots! I pulled them apart a bit before planting it in its new, more spacious home.

Can we say ROOTBOUND?

I topped off the pot with a bag of rocks from the dollar store (really into using those lately as pot dressing – I like it) and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Since I love that red pot so much, I brought home a lighter green and pink dracaena I had at work and potted it up with an ivy and a pothos I had in smaller pots at home. Somehow a jade also made its way home with my from the nursery (how did THAT happen?!), so I potted that up as well (hopefully for the kitchen as long as the cats don’t find it delicious).

Repotted and happy!

The rocks that are used as top dressing for those pots? Old aquarium rocks we saved from our fish (who we lost over the winter). I always saved them after we changed them, and I finally found something to use them for! Used them on the catnip plant outside as well.

fish rock pot dressing

Good thing I am planning on taking the spiky plants back to work tomorrow…

“What plant? I don’t see any delicious looking plants on top of the microwave. Not sure what you’re referring to…”

Took these of Hank and Alice over the weekend. They do love an open window! They are looking out over the driveway/parking area to the “side garden,” the end of which (that you can see) is the old veggie garden. Right under the window they’re sitting at is the triangle garden. That doodad in the window is a super cute solar-powered rainbow-maker (that I love).

Cats in the window

Cats in the window

…let’s zoom in on Hank in that last one…
Hank's tongue

Herb AlmanacFEBRUARY 19: St. Joseph’s Day – Children born today are especially lucky. If the weather is fair, it will be a good year for gardening.

So I know I already did a Wordless Wednesday post, but I can’t resist. I’m writing this post on Wednesday, February 10. Today added about 3 inches of snow on top of an inch or so of sleet from last night—all of that added to the 18 or so (some melted I’m sure) inches already there from the weekend, and the 2 or 3 that were there from the weekend before that. Wind gusts got up to 56 mph. It is the third day we’ve had off for snow this year. We were closed one day in January, got out early this past Friday, and were off Monday (still digging out from the massive weekend snow) and today. Tomorrow is iffy though the message this AM said they intend to be open. [UPDATE – Nope, we’re closed. They can’t get plowed. Probably a good call – it’ll be icy and nasssty. Our poor CFO/COO sounds so exasperated on the office message!]

THIS IS CRAZY. This has been the snowiest winter in the DC Metro area EVER. Take a look at this time lapse video for a taste. We’ll see if I have work tomorrow – my building is flat (buildings around here are dropping like flies – seriously – Catholic school, post office, sheriff’s office, elderly center, and houses, just to name some) and the parking lot was horrendous yesterday BEFORE we got a ton of freezing rain and ice. When I got to work yesterday, firetrucks were there inspecting the roof for safety (somehow did not actually make me feel safer). And oh – more snow expected next week! I looked at the local newspaper’s website this AM and it looked like the apocalypse – building collapses, car crashes, house fires, scary-looking weather maps. ACK.

Today, as my hubby got up from a nap to go to work in the blizzard (he’s a cop, so he has to work), I was in my reading chair, wearing a (Terps!) snuggie, with a cat on my lap, holding a mug of tea, reading a gardening book. That’s some sort of cliché I’m not sure I should have just admitted to being on the internet. I’m glad he didn’t know where the camera was or was too tired to care.

So anyway – the seed starting area is still in the works (needs lights – once we can you know, actually get out to get to a store again), I can’t even get to the shed without digging a trench, and I guess my plants are under there somewhere. I’d love to take some lovely photos of icicles hanging off of plants, except I CAN’T FIND THEM. Where are they? Under this….

Friday, February 5: windy, snowy, grey, gross.

I staked off the triangle garden to minimize rocks tossed in during shoveling.

Sunday, February 7: Snow stopped finally! Time to dig out. That sleet layer was NOT fun.

Thankful for my rain boots and liners. Seriously.

Wednesday, 2/10: OH LOOK MORE SNOW AND SLEET!

the icicles of death - they reach down to eye level. scary.

There goes my nicely shoveled driveway.

At least there are birds around...

...to keep Miss Alice happy.

And Hank, as usual, is just begging to play.

Wish all us metro area folks luck. It’s insanity. I can’t say I don’t enjoy the snow days, but geez.

#wordlesswednesday two weeks in a row?!

You know all the stuff that I mentioned I had to do before it gets cold in this post? I still have to do all of them. Well, not *entirely* true—I did pull up the big gigantic zinnia, bringing in a bunch of blooms before sending it on its way into the woods. I’m hoping maybe it’ll reseed next year randomly there? A girl can dream. The nice thing about cut zinnias is that you can but them when they’ve just barely started blooming and they’ll still finish and be pretty.

zinnias - cut

Proof that I pulled the zinnia. Prob should have taken a pic of these before they got all wilty, huh?

But ummm besides that, I really haven’t done anything outside. We’re even still waiting for the shed moving to be scheduled (Note to self: take pic of the yard before it gets moved for reference). The gravel pad is done, but it’s still not moved.

Alice shame

I know, I know. Alice is ashamed at our lack of progress.


Perhaps this weekend. We have some tentative plans (including organizing the sheds if we move the new one on Friday), but I could prob fit in a few garden tasks. Siiiigh.

Question: Do you plant your decorative mums each year or treat them as annuals? I can’t decide what to do. I want to plant them, but I don’t really have a ton of space for mums. I have 4 very small ones and 2 slightly bigger ones to think about. hmmmm.

I pick up the first CSA delivery of the fall/winter season tomorrow! Will report back.

Hank

Hank is ambiguous about our lack of progress.

I should really get out and take some pics of some flowers, eh? The first of the tiny mums I got on clearance last year for 50¢ each have started to bloom already, and I’m thinking about killing my hanging baskets, which never really looked great this year (they’re the same I did last year and I was very happy with them then. Annoyed about that). So it seems that fall is upon us. But since I still have one more beach vacation left in a couple weeks, it’s not over for me yet, dammit.

CAMC_1_png_242The CSA theme lately has been TOMATOES. It’s great, of course, but what with the CSA, my garden, and all that I got from the neighbor, at this point I’m kinda like gaaaaah tomatoes!?!?! I used the last of what I had a couple days ago to make more pasta sauce and this Carmelized Cherry Tomato Sauce (minus the onions – I used onion powder), which was very good – though I still have some to use). I might use the batch from this week to make some more salsa or something. I don’t know.

carmelized cherry tomatoes for sauce

carmelized cherry tomatoes for sauce

CSA week 7: spaghetti squash, sweet jimmy nardello peppers, hot pepper, tomatoes

CSA week 7: spaghetti squash, sweet jimmy nardello peppers, hot pepper, tomatoes

CSA week 8: eggplant, tomatoes, jimmy nardello pepper, tomatillos, okra!!, (sharer got the watermelon)

CSA week 8: eggplant, tomatoes, jimmy nardello pepper, tomatillos, okra!!, (sharer got the watermelon)

All in all, I’ve been VERY happy with the whole CSA deal! My CSA sharer and I are planning on signing up for the winter harvest as well. I’ve found a couple new things I like (courge de longe squash, squash fritters, green tomatoes, real new potatoes), have gotten some new skills (um spaghetti sauce by the bucketload), and have even gotten the hubby to try new things (tomatoes, eggplant, squash, okra) – some of which he actually liked! My only complaints are sometimes being overwhelmed with one thing (esp if I was taking a whole share! And I know this sometimes can’t be helped), and not having some things I was looking forward to (corn! more cucumbers! and peppers for salsa would be nice, although I grow enough of those in my garden anyway). It’s also a bit of a drive for me to get there once a week, but since I’m sharing with a friend who lives closer, we’re able to work things out so I don’t always have to drive all the way there. But all in all, I’ve had to buy very little produce all summer and we’ve been very well stocked. I highly recommend CSAs, especially for those who really don’t want to do any gardening of their own and still want delicious, home grown, produce. And it really is a good deal, too – I would have had to pay a lot more for this local produce if I’d bought it from the local grocery store that stocks local produce.

I’m trying to figure out a few things for fall/winter. I have some hostas planted in large plastic pots. Do I need to put them in the ground (prob temporarily in the veggie garden)??? Also I’m not sure if I want to try any fall crops. If I do, I’m not really sure when to start them or where to get them. I don’t really see any veggie starts around in the fall, so I feel like I’d have to start them myself, which I haven’t done yet. Plus it’s still in the 90s here, so it’s too hot to plant anything outside that really wants cool weather. Advice?? I do have a fun thing planned for my pansies this year, so I’m excited about being able to plant them when the time comes.

I’ll try to get more flower news next time. I have to take pics of my zinnias (all in bloom now, and a bunch in colors other than pink!) and the crazy long mutant sweet potato vine that is growing like 6 inches a day on the deck. And to close, some pictures of cats being bad.

Hank

Hank

Alice

Alice

Note: Cats are NOT allowed the counter. She sooo knows this.

Note: Cats are NOT allowed the counter. She sooo knows this.

Forgot to share CSA week 2’s stash, but here is week 3 (from last Thursday). Again, keep in mind that this is half of a full share – I’m sharing with a friend.

CSA Week 3

CSA Week 3

I also got a bonus!

handle with care

handle with care

Boxes PLUS the possibility of some green produce-like thing = Alice in a box.

hello, kitty!

hello, kitty!

And now some pots I like that I made. In other words, the second installment of …..my favorite pots!

prettier when the dahlias are in bloom

prettier when the dahlias are in bloom

the larger bloom pot

the larger bloom pot

(false) geranium, mystery blue flower, parsley, crazy spike grass

(false) geranium, mystery blue flower, parsley, crazy spike grass

(tall!) zinnias (from seed!) dahlias, pink thingies, spike

(tall!) zinnias (from seed!) dahlias, pink thingies, spike

the ex-herb garden

the ex-herb garden

this simple pot makes me happy - lemon balm from my grandmother and my mother

this simple pot makes me happy - lemon balm from my grandmother and my mother

portulaca/moss rose and a sad, neglected, late pepper seedling

portulaca/moss rose and a sad, neglected, late pepper seedling

Also happy birthday to me! I turned 26 today and my hubby did last Thursday!

me and snow-ogelthorpe

me and snow-ogelthorpe

So we DID get a crapload of snow! Hubby had to get up at 5am to clean off the driveway some more (parking the cars there did help) and get ready for work. They sent SUVs to come pick them up. They can’t really drive the Crown Vics in this weather.

I called in to work and at 6am a message said “we plan on opening at 11am, so call back at 9:30am and check.” wtf. Come on! There was no way I could get out my driveway anyway as it was still snowing this AM, and it had already covered from where Will shoveled out this morning. So I called it a day and went out to clean off the deck so it didn’t fall down. Luckily they DID decide to close work. I’d be pissed if I had to use one of my precious few days off for this!

Again, some of you may not be impressed, but I am! I don’t think we’ve had this much snow here in about 5-6 years, since when I was in college. It’s just about a foot I think, in the nonsnowdrifty places. It’s fun! Wish Will was off so we could play. I did manage to make a snowman though! He’s kind of funky looking. Apparently I was channeling Ogelthorpe from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Also it’s hard to make a snowman by yourself. I am now told that I should have rolled the snow into a ball (I thought that only worked in cartoons?). Maybe if I go back out again later I will. I have to play in the snow while I can 🙂 But it’s super windy out, and I think it’s even still snowing (or is that just blowing snow? It’s hard to tell) so meh. It’ll be interesting to see what the work/school situation is tomorrow.

The birds have been loving my offerings of food, which is fun. Here’s a video of Alice yesterday intimidating the birdies.

Also, can anyone ID the mystery birds indicated below? I’ve looked through my bird book, but these are stumping me. The black/white ones don’t appear to be chickadees, and I’m not sure if the brown stripey one is a pine siskin or some kind of sparrow or wren…?

Today is the first day of March. It’s the first day the Bruster’s, a delicious ice cream place, is open for summer hours. And between this afternoon and tomorrow, Southern Maryland is expected to have up to 1 foot of snow. I will point out that on Friday, 2 days ago, it was 65 degrees.

Now it still hasn’t started snowing here yet (just rain and sleet), but who knows. My husband, who is a cop, has to work tomorrow AM, so he’s less than happy. I have to remember to call in to work to see if they’re open. I’m also supposed to participate in Read Across America tomorrow, so I’ll have to keep an eye on the school closings situation.

Now I know a lot of people are probably thinking “ok, 1 foot of snow, alright.” Well 1 foot of snow in Southern Maryland means CHAOS. I don’t really get it, because we DO get some amount of snow here every year. But any amount of snow basically equals EVERYBODY PANIC. Schools are routinely closed for any amount of ice or snow. If it snows while students are in class, expect an early dismissal. It’s kind of crazy.

So we’ll see what happens. We’ve taken preventative measures and already salted the driveway and parked all the cars in the driveway up the hill in an attempt to help my husband get to work in the AM. (If there’s any ice on the hill, you’re not going anywhere. We have a driveway up a hill and then a large flat “parking lot.”)

very sad cyclamenIn cyclamen news, it looks like crap (also excuse the crappy macbook cam pic). As I read more about the plant, it prefers to be in temps around 50 degrees and will get sad if it goes about 70. How is this a houseplant? Hopefully it’ll hang on until it gets warm enough (but not too warm!) and I can take it outside and plant it for the spring. After some reading, I moved it to a room with more light (our UMD/Terps-themed office! Where I am currently typing!) and am watering it less per suggestions, but I dunno…Any other ideas? Regardless of the state of the cyclamen, look forward to some snow pics soon (hopefully). Also have some adorable ‘cats clicking at birds’ videos I might have to post. I’ve been spoiling the birds lately (note to self – need to get more bird food and look for a container the mice can’t eat through) and the cats are, of course, loving it!

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