Thursday, March 31, 2011

Isn'tway ingspray eatgray

aprilway oolsfay ayday

illway ethay owsnay everway endway?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

i never thought of myself as stylish

I’ve been absent from the blogosphere this last month due to work. March not only brings a hint of spring but also the OGTs and the end of the quarter. Every spring students in Ohio come face to face with their mortality in the OGTs. Pass and you can graduate, fail and you get a “thanks for playing card”. You don’t even get the home game version. So, it is a trying time for our school’s population, which is made up of students who have been less than successful in their prior educational endeavors. Needless to say, there has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth these last few weeks. It is mind numbing to see fleeting successes disappear before your eyes. Man, I needed to get my focus elsewhere and that means in the yard. It might be spring by the calendar, but not by the temperatures. It still is in the 20s at night and snow is always in the forecasts. Last weekend was in the low 30s during the day with clear skies. What better time to get 5 yards of Sweet Peet. Nothing makes me forget the world outside our garden better than shoveling a pile of composted zoo poop and leaf humus. After an hour or so of shoveling, I recall the words of the famous Japanese actor and philosopher, Sessue Hayakawa, “Be happy in your work.” I can’t get the cars in the garage till I shovel all the sweet peet and I can’t get the next load till the first load is spread around the yard and we need 3 loads. I shovel and dump while Pat, the real brains of the operation, raked. We cleared the driveway in 5 hours. It is an amazing thing how well Pat and I work together without resorting to sarcasm. It is the strangest thing; in our neighborhood, yard work seems to be a one person job, with no gardening taking place. I would be lonely in the yard without Pat. I know the boys would help if they only could, but they don’t have thumbs and get distracted by squirrels. The Sweet Peet we use is the only fertilizer the planting areas get.

While I was sinking into the numbing black hole of standardized testing, Gloria over at Dakota Garden gave me the Stylish Blogger Award. Wow wee! What a pleasant surprise! I am always tickled that anyone reads my blog. Stylish is not a word our children would associate with their Dad. Gloria and Ted’s yard is proof positive of the use of composted exotic animal manure. Their garden is simply stunning. God bless all husbands who understand that truck loads of the stuff was part of our marriage vows.

Part of the award is a request to tell the world about yourself, so here goes:

1. I can’t pronounce the name of my blog. The blog started out as a class assignment for an edtech class I was taking. I asked the son-in-law to translate the title into Latin for fun and since he is just about the smartest person I know, he did. Maybe I should change the name to Pat and Jim’s Gardening Adventures and leave the title in English. 2. I can’t keep the names of plants straight. Common names are hard enough to remember, let alone Latin names.

3. I believe that copious amounts of Sweet Peet, that fine Ohio product, helps make up for not knowing what I am doing.

4. I have accepted clay as my friend, since that is what our yard has as soil. Adding 15 yards of Sweet Peet to the planting areas every spring makes the clay and plants happy.

5.I rant about our deer all year long, but continue to feed all the critters who visit or live in our yard. I even plant sacrificial hostas in the deer path in the hope the deer will leave the rest alone.

6. It took a long time, but I finally found my dream job, working with at-risk students.

7. I never used a PC till I went back to college at 49. Now I’m the tech guy at school.

I stand in awe of my fellow garden bloggers. Everyone is friendly and helpful and your pictures and posts are a wonder to see and read.

Tag, it’s your turn list will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

wordless wednesday

World Water Day

Living in the Great Lakes Basin, it is easy to take abundant fresh water for granted. There always seems to be enough water to waste, but there really isn’t. Towns and cities just outside the basin try every political trick in the book to get Great Lakes water. Every year I read stories about how some politician in a water deprived area of the country has hatched another scheme to get our water. Hey, you got our jobs, you aren’t getting our water.

Water is too precious to waste. Everyone needs to do what they can to limit their use of fresh water. Pat and I took some easy steps in this regard. We don’t water turf grass. The grass grows as tall as the homeowners association and its yard police allow it, or it dies. We attached water barrels to our downspouts. It wasn’t that hard and they look cool. We don’t buy plants that need special care or can’t grow unaided in our climate. Most importantly, we do not use chemicals. The old joke about flush twice, (fill in the name of a down stream city) needs water, is really no joke. Lawn chemicals finding their way into our watershed will eventually turn science fiction movies into reality.

Do what you can.

Monday, March 14, 2011

snow free?

The last of the snow is hiding out in the shadows, like a Cuyahoga politician waiting for the indictment. The water has mostly drained off so it’s time to get into the yard. Luckily, the brains of the operation was with me, so we mainly looked around the yard. Boy, is it a mess. The yard is strewn with branches, overturned yard ornamentation, toppled bunnies and muck. And then there are the deer tracks. The yard is one large mud pit this time of year so the tracks are easy to see. If the kids were still little, I would be making plaster molds, but the kids are grown and I really want the deer to move elsewhere. Michigan would be fine or Pennsylvania, if they prefer. Heck, if they moved to the other side of the street, I would be happy. Meanwhile, I am throwing orange peels where ever I see deer tracks.

Amongst all the muck and deer tracks are signs of spring. Ladies mantle and swamp marigolds are growing. The hellebores are finally snow free, so how far away can blooms be? Now if only we could stay rain or snow free for a couple weeks.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

spring forward

The weather guys said that we were going to get some snow after midnight. Rush hour in the snow is always fun. I left an hour early and took something to eat and drink just in case. There are always guys, you know the type, that think driving fast and weaving in and out of traffic is a sign of manhood. Maybe it’s my age or maybe because I drove for a living, but I do get a chuckle when I see them in a ditch or slapped up against the median strip. But I digress. The closer to the lake I got, the heavier the snow. Great, I thought, I’ll get to work and then they’ll call school off. I didn’t get to school. The call came before I got there. I got home just in time to shovel. Today it’s in the 40’s and sunny. By Monday, there won’t be any snow left, just water and mud in the back yard.

It's a rabbit with a mohawk. I have no idea how Mr. Rabbit survives. He is right in the middle of a deer path. Maybe it's professional courtesy of some sort.
Spring's march is unstoppable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

wordless wednesday

March in Columbus

If April showers bring May flowers, what does March Monsoons bring in Northeast Ohio? It brings snow, as if I had to ask. What Saturday's all-day deluge brought Pat and I was a trip to the Central Ohio Home and Garden Show at the State Fairgrounds in Columbus. We left early enough to have the best chicken and waffles in all Ohio at the Linden Cafe at 11th and Cleveland in Columbus. It was worth the trip just for breakfast. I know this is not a food blog. The food service business is tough and I like to give a well deserved shout out to the Linden for making such a sublime dish. It put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

The Home and Garden show was BIG. It’s in two buildings. We got to see everything from some nice display gardens to as-seen-on-TV, it dices, it slices, it’s the who knows what it is.

We found Eco-Brick once again at the show. This Ohio product is a great example of being green, efficient and cool all at the same time. It is a chord wood substitute made from compressed hardwood shavings. We filled the Hyundai (should have brought the Aztec) with the stuff. An extra benefit of Eco-Brick is that the boys do not recognize them as wood so they don’t chew them.

If I woke to this scene, I'd be calling Pat and saying something like "look Pat, come see the deer eat our garden to the nubs." Or something like that. At a garden show, it looks very cool.

What trip to Columbus would be complete without a visit to the Franklin Park Conservatory? I could sit and look at the glass art displays or be enveloped by the comforting green all day long. Oh yeah, we also bought some more glass from their in-house glass works.

I love anything with big green leaves. Somehow I think that this guy wouldn't make it past late September in Cleveland, even with a heating pad.

As we were walking past this plant, Pat said, "look Jim, a ligularia you don't have." Ha!Ha! I have to get one of these guys.

The Chuihuly glass at the Conservatory is wonderful to look at. His art is spread out over the entire conservatory.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

duck highway

Once the snow started to melt, I started a ritual which will last until next winter: walking the yard. The tulips and day lilies are poking thru, even though there is still snow in the front yard. The recent thaw has turned the back yard into a quagmire full of snow and standing water. The deer trail is in evidence. Pat and I planted sacrificial hosta in the hopes that the garden gods will be satisfied with our offering to the deer. I still think that I could run the deer over with the Aztec, but I don’t want to stay up all night waiting for them. That and I can’t figure out how to get the Aztec into the back yard. While in the back yard I discovered a duck highway. Just imagine how many ducks there must have been.