Monday, April 24, 2017

[spider]worts and all

It's been quite dry here, so it's been nice to have a few days of steady rain.  It's been great for the garden, too.  The irises are coming up, one after the other.

Thin stalks of spiderwort are spiking up through the liriope.

Best of all, the peonies are starting to open!

I'm so glad I let the helleborus run wild.  They've nicely filled in the front beds! The relatively empty spot on the right is where one of our massive ferns used to be.  We rooted them all up and moved them to the back yard.  I've planted yarrow and catmint in their place and it will take a while for them to fill out.

Because of our bumper crop of acorns, we now have a literal forest of tiny tree seedlings - in the yard and all throughout our mulched beds.  If they aren't taken care of now, we'll have a terrible time eradicating them.  I've spent many hours outside, digging up the cracked acorns with their 6" taproots.  As usual, lots of activity going on just beneath our notice!

Some small animal has created a run or den here.  It's the perfect size for a toad, too!

This slug was suspended from a hanging fern by a thread of slime.  Quite the acrobat!

A little snail stays indoors in the mid-day heat.

This beetle is a whiskery-faced little walrus!

Ants are building their tiny towers.

At first I thought this was a beetle grub, but its coloring looks almost millipede-like.

I love seeing the little mushrooms pop up all over.

Bi-color clover, too...

...and wild strawberries.

Someone watched me working from the protection of a fern...

...while Bosewichte watched the whole scene from a living room window.

I haven't had the time - or the energy - to work on my quilt.  I did finally finish knitting a hat!  This is Deep Woods Toque on Ravelry.

It took me forever to knit it with my old and finger-straining method (American throwing).  I modified my cast-on number after reading several comments about the hat being too big.  However, when I tried it on after knitting, it was too small. ARGH!  I blocked it mercilessly and now it fits nicely.  I'm trying to learn a new method (flicking), which will be easier on my hands, but I haven't picked out a practice project yet.  I've been so busy outlining gardening books at night that I haven't had time for anything else!  I'm excited about that project.  I have stacks of gardening books that I never reference.  If I have a question, I Google it.  Now I'm culling information and plant recommendations from each book and putting that information into a master chart.  When we finally have our farm, I'll be able to pull the chart and create a 3-season garden by plant color, bloom time, height, and light requirement.  It's a daunting task but I am really enjoying it.  Hopefully I'll have time to quilt soon!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Livin' La Vida STAR WARS

Today is my second day of comfortable slippers and fuzzy pajamas.  I'm going to read, and eat chocolate oatmeal, and nap. Why the life of leisure?  Well, I'm recovering from Star Wars Celebration 8, of course!

I left my professional career several years ago to ramp up a hobby business that Todd was running on the side.  Originally meant to be a stopgap until I finished a master's degree, it's taken on a life of its own now.  My business is mainly online, but we always go to Star Wars Celebration, even when it's 3000 miles away!

While we love seeing our friends in the hobby, Celebration is WORK.  First there's the pre-show prep of sorting and pricing items...then loading the cargo van and driving 10 hours to the convention center.  Here it is, west wing.

Our booth was 10' x 10', but thankfully we were able to spill over into the empty space next to us.  It was a real lifesaver, because we always bring a lot of stuff.  The evolution of unpacking:

Seventy thousand people attended this year, and I think every one of them came to our booth!

We were swamped from the moment we arrived at the booth in the morning until closing time at 7 p.m.  Then we stayed after for 2 hours (or more), tidying stock and pricing additional merchandise. Then it was up again at 7 a.m. the next day, and we did it all over again.  For four days!  Phew.  These conventions are always really lucrative for us, but speaking as an introvert who gets worn down quickly by the ambient noise and constant crush of customers, I am glad they only occur once every two or three years!

We get great feedback from people, though.  They love to see the vintage items they played with as kids.  From our booth space, too, we get to see a lot of cool costumes.

This is a light saber handle.

Lots of Princess Leias.

And...some other guys.

Four days of chaos, and then, at the end of day four, the six-hour process of tearing down the booth and packing things up.

The convention center seemed so small after people started moving out!

After packing up and a few hours of sleep, another 10 hour drive and then another unload of the cargo van.  Counting travel time, 6 days of moving boxes, little sleep, junk food, and chaos took their toll.  Todd and I were so sore and exhausted on Tuesday morning that we could barely move.  Today is a little better, and although I will certainly stay in my pajamas, work will begin again.   I'm looking forward to healthy food (I never thought I'd say this, but I'm absolutely sick of pizza) and SILENCE. It takes about a week to recharge!  Meanwhile, I'll wear pajamas, cuddle kittens, and enjoy our peaceful green space, where nary a light saber or ill-advised Princess Leia bikini can be found.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Chartreuse is loose!

It's almost peony time!  The trees coming down last year destroyed the huge bank of peonies I'd planted, but I still have four or five on the other side of the driveway.

There's actually a bit of debate over the ants/peony bud phenomenon.  Anyone who's ever had a peony knows that the buds are covered with ants for days before they open up, and then they're gone. The prevailing thought seems to be that nectar is produced by the buds, which draw the ants, which assist in the opening of the bud.  But - there's no definitive proof.

Deer got all of my muscari (grape hyacinth) this year...sigh!  I had a ton in Indiana and loved to pick them in the spring.

I did manage to save one lone white stalk from the pointy, venomous teeth of the local deer.

Camellias are shot...

...but the Japanese maple is in full color.  Love the white dogwood behind it.

We've got a few late-season azaleas nodding over the driveway, too.

One of my favorite plant colors is chartreuse...enter euphorbia, achemillia mollis, 'Envy' zinnias, etc. Most of the early spring growth is this color.  LOVE it!

I let a woody vine come all the way up the support on the sunroom and start to wrap around our porch railing.  It doesn't flower, but I love the leaves.

Remember how this was a bumper year for acorns?  Well, now we have millions of seedlings coming up everywhere!

Sometimes you can root out the whole acorn, but sometimes you just get the stem.  Fingers crossed that removing the leafy growth is enough to kill them.  We haven't had much time to weed and we'll have a forest here in a few months if we don't get them all up.

Not much time today, so I'll close and say - have a great week!