primsong: Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone (jester get it)
My old greenhouse is slowly rotting into the ground, so I'm working on bringing it back from the dead. So far I've located the siding paneling I needed and got the guy at Home Depot to cut it into thirds for me, then cut the smaller bits I needed at home - only working saw I had besides a hacksaw was a jigsaw, so the cuts are a bit wobbly in shape, oh well.. .that's why the Good Lord made caulking, right?

Was very pleased with myself for managing to bevel all the 2x4 ends I needed with the miter box, now those pieces have been sealed and stained and are drying in the garage. Next is prying off a lot of rotten wood and using wood-hardener on some of it as there are parts of the support structure underneath that are in such bad shape I can't even nail something into it, it's like nailing into spongecake. Learning as I go! I read that Bondo (like you use for auto body repair) is essentially the same thing as the fancy wood fillers that are sold for way more just because they are brown instead of the weird salmon color of Bondo.

Now if it would just stop raining long enough to dry everything out!
primsong: (flower)
Spring brings me a learning curve adventure I'm kind of enjoying - My little greenhouse has been pretty neglected, I've used it but really done very little in the way of maintenance in the past 12+ years so I'm rolling up my sleeves and giving fixing it a whirl.   Pulled off big mats of moss (inside and out), scrubbed moss off windows (inside and out), scraped lichen off (the kind that looks like it has miniature Shrek ears), scraped old paint off, chipped away old caulking and ripped out whole pieces of spongy wood that were too rotten to clean up.   Whew!

Now I get to re-caulk the loose and/or broken windows before figuring out how to fix the rotten siding - most of it is okay, but the shadiest side is beyond help, it was at the point I could poke holes right through it and if I pulled it up there were literally earthworms having a party in there because the inside of the boards had composted.  Whoo-hoo, wormies!  But not IN the wall of the greenhouse, thanks!  I'm going to try piecing a couple of the cracked windows together with some clear caulking, hope it works.

Habitat for Humanity yielded super cheap paint for the door, a can of wood preservative for when I find the new siding and some pieces of wood that fit a couple of the needs for only a couple bucks more.  Love that place.  This is going to take a while, but it'll be SO nice when it's done.
primsong: (starry sky)
The Habitat for Humanity "re-store" had paint at half-off their already ridiculously cheap prices so I went to see if there might be a decent color for my old garden benches. I was thinking something mossy looking originally, so if they got scroungy out there it wouldn't show up but then - WOO! A huge 5 gallon bucket of the most amazing blue came by and I couldn't pass it up. Here's what I spent the last couple days on, I'm so jazzed with the result!

blue benches!

Color pop time!
primsong: (grog)
It must be spring! I washed my car yesterday but I still had to turn around and go back to the house this morning to hose off the windshield so I could see something other than a huge yellow blur (my windshield squirties haven't worked for years).

Yellow poofs of pollen coming off the plants every time the breeze puffs past. It would be pretty if it weren't such a misery to allergic people and if it didn't set up like cement in the cracks everywhere. My condolences to everyone who must sneeze.
primsong: (dalek tipping)
About a year ago a friend and I stood looking at our battered and outdated Fellowship Hall at our church, which serves as everything from a cafeteria and craft area to a gym for the preschool. Decades of constant use really showed and we both utterly loathed the old valances of ruffled pink, country blue and teal that shrieked late 80s. That launched my efforts last Fall of a fundraising Tea, a gathering of donations and a lot of hours in group decisions on paint, etc.

Spent the last three days in there, yanking out the old curtains and the yards and yards of muslin underneath, filling holes, sanding and priming. Found stuff behind the cabinets from years ago and spackled countless staple holes... We're about a third of the way through this project but by Maundy Thursday this week we hope to have a new look to our old Hall at long last.

It's an awful lot of work and my feet and legs are killing me, but it's a great feeling to get it done!
primsong: (rain tree)
Just came in from quite some time grubbing around in my muddy yard in between rain clouds. There is a nice sense of accomplishment seeing the mounds I built from the roots of my fallen enemies outside.  I like how you can yank the entire root out, schlorping them like pale, twisted carrots from the muck at this time of year, and I finally conquered one of the Grandfather of Grandfather Dandelions whose root was too big and deep to get in previous years.

*insert triumphant cackling as lightning flashes behind a silhouetted hand, clutching helpless roots as the mud drips from the tip of the trowel*
primsong: (rainbow)
Snipped some early daffodils for our table along with a few giant snowdrops...the morning sun was coming in to hit them so nicely, thought I'd share a little of this cheery spring color with all of you:

Daffodil vase
:-)
primsong: Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone (jester get it)
For those who wondered how I could possibly want to kill something as pretty as bluebells.....This is how they show up in my yard -

Bluebell Invasion

Thick as grass - they choke all the other plants in a tide of Pretty, like some kind of crazy Fluffy Unicorn Invasion -

Even MOAR bluebells

Though at least they aren't spiny, stinky or sticky, I'll grant them that. I can go mow them down and their only way of exacting revenge on me is simply to keep coming back. Forever.
primsong: (columbine)
It never ceases to amaze me how many volunteer baby trees I have popping up in my yard every year - I swear I just went around and "chopped down" (with clippers) enough fir, hemlock, ash, laurel, oak, madrone, maple, cherry and apple trees to fill out a small farm. At least the peanuts the squirrels plant don't sprout. Oy.

One volunteer I did allow to live 10+ years ago is now a huge, graceful cotoneaster, I spent the rest of the morning trimming it up so we can go beneath it like a tree fort thing. No one ever outgrows forts. I'm planning on making one out of the grapevines as they grow so the two little kids next door will have a grape cave to play in this summer.
primsong: (lunch)
Phoo! I'm tired, must be time for bed.  Tomorrow is our big church picnic for Easter and I'm up to my ears in fixings for a huge green salad, glorified rice and two big pans of peach cobbler. Yay!  Plus I'll be doing the face-painting on the side. Makes for a busy but good event. I just have to finish one salad and I can hit the hay.

I'm attending two churches, my main one and the one that rents space in the main one, so I get to help with two Easter picnics, one this weekend and one next weekend, complete with two rounds of face-painting and two rounds of kiddie egg-hunts, probably going to walk my feet off but it's always such a cheery time with visitors that only come out of the woodwork for major holidays as well.  Thankfully, it looks like a clear day, it's been pretty rainy here, so we may be blowing in the breeze but at least we'll be dry.

Have a lovely Palm Sunday weekend, all!
primsong: (rainbow)
Here we are once again - I have mounds of daffodils blooming and scads of work to do outside from scrubbing a winter's worth of moss off my mailbox to picking up all the trimmings from the fruit trees.  I love the scent of spring on the wind. 

My other half just missed the axe at his work, his department has gotten teensy tiny in number and while grateful that he was one of those left standing, he's starting to look for other employment ("I'm not the captain," he reasonably pointed out, "I don't have to go down with the ship.")  I may plant a bit more veggies this year and make sure I take the time to put up stuff in the fall as we may be looking at tighter times than usual, we'll see - on the plus side the last year of paying for private school will be done in June so that may help balance things a bit.

I'm grateful we still have insurance for the time being, I'm moving up our various doctor and dentist things to get as much done as possible while we still have it, just in case. I grew up with very little so I do know "how to do that" if needed.

Hope everyone is having a very pleasant end-of-March and a nice Spring Break as well! 
primsong: (lunch)
I love St. Pat's Day even though my only connection genetically is via a half-Irish grandpa - I would still enjoy it even if that weren't the case.  You see, my favorite color is green and there are stores who have "anything green is on sale!" events (woo!) plus there's this marvelous excuse to make corned beef and cabbage, which I love but it's expensive so I can't normally rationalize it.  Yes, I know they don't really even eat that in Ireland itself, but hey, I'm not pretending to be authentic I'm just having fun.   Breakfast for my kids was porridge colored with green food coloring, and as I couldn't find any Irish Breakfast tea, we had Jasmine Green.   Oh well, why not toss in some Chinese?  It has the word "green" in it, right?

And yes, I know Protestants wear orange and Catholics wear green in some places, but that's not here where I am and I like green, so I wear green in honor of Patrick, who was obviously not a Protestant - it's all good.  I'm off to make Irish Soda Bread with lots of brandy-soaked currants and sultanas in it as a treat for our preschool teachers now. 

Have a great day, everyone!
primsong: Scan from an old Dr. Who magazine (find tardis win game)
Gosh, this has been such a long slog from January, I'm seriously looking forward to spring break at the end of the month just so I don't have to drive kids here there and everywhere for a few days.  Can't complain about the weather though, it's been a really mild winter and now it's a lovely, mild day, perfect for grubbing out chickweed and repotting some houseplants.  Got some funky long rubber mats for our front steps to replace the anti-slip strips, they look like a wrought iron leafy design and it really dresses it up, that and a couple new pinwheels and it's positively cheerful.

And I got a walkman! I'm a techie dinosaur to my kids, heck, I still have a drawer full of cassettes, so moving to an mp3 player of my own is quite the leap into the space-age by comparison, lol...gradually learning how to work the thing, amused by thinking to myself that at last I can participate in those memes where they want you to put your player on shuffle and do things with the results.  We must keep our priorities straight, after all! :-D

We've also had another church join us in our building to share the space starting this past week - I went to their Bible study last week just to meet some of them and they were a hoot, looking forward to making that a regular thing, I'm always up for a good study, they're always fun and/or interesting.  This weekend we're doing a St. Pat's day potluck with the two congregations so folks can get to know one another, so far so good.  Our preschool is really struggling to find students (or rather, families who can afford to pay for preschool) so it's nice to have something working well.
primsong: (illumination)
The bluebells, muscari, tulips and assorted daffs had a wild, raucous Spring Party out in my yard, but now the hour is late and summer is jangling her keys in the stairwell.   Out I go again to crawl over my property, cleaning up masses of blown petals, naked stems and yellowing explosions of wilting leaves dribbled over the ground.  Even the cherry trees and firs got into it, sprinkling dry brown bits of old blossom and tree-noodles hither and thither until they mound on the benches.

What a mess!

Still....it is very peaceful, on my knees among the irises grubbing out old bluebell stalks and the dry lace of expired forget-me-nots. The wind is in the poplars, a robin oversees my work before going to the birdbath for a drink.  The cotoneaster arches over my baby fothergilla, who is so proud of his very first springtime puffballs.  Nearby, the angelica has leapt from the height of my knees to being taller than the fence, graceful and crisp and lovely.  Everything is fragrant, or pungent, or sweet, each in its own way.

I suppose it's worth it after all.
primsong: (columbine)
It's Friday! This is a Good Thing.

I've organized what is turning into an annual event for the church, my "everyone come with your planters and little packs of flowers and I'll provide the dirt!" time - or "Color-Bowls". The first year I did this I had a whopping TWO people show up, but this round it looks quite promising and I even had to buy extra mushroom compost and potting soil just in case. I even have food to bribe them with, a veggie tray and whole wheat scones with candied ginger and golden raisins I just pulled from the oven.

Fun to swap around all the little plants so everyone gets a mixture instead of having 6 or 8 of the same thing to work with, and the kids love playing in the dirt - now if it would just *stop raining*! Sigh. I think we've only had one day without rain this month... today it's a persistent thick drizzle, so I'm hauling my heavy pop-up canopy along to put over the wheelbarrow lest it become a mobile pot-o-mud. Glad I can at least set up tables indoors with tarps under them to do the potting, but it's no doubt going to be a mess afterwards.

*clinks bottles of plant fertilizer* To spring!
primsong: (percy lud love me)
(grumble) Ever had times where you wake up and think of all the things you have to accomplish that day before you're allowed to sleep again and just groan? Ah, life. Lunging from errand to errand to cleaning to weeding to errand to job to laundry to....

Not that I'm alone in that boat, not by far, of that I am certain, but I sure miss my free time right now.
(/grumble)

All that aside - I did score a lovely haul of groceries today from a neighborhood grocery store that is (sadly) going out of business. I feel sorry for all the folks there who are out a job, but it really was kind of fun going about through a part-emptied store rummaging for anything that I thought my family might eat. Most of it was 50-80% off, so we got things like Plum Pudding, glaceed pineapple (I am officially intending to make fruitcake this next winter), soy "chicken" nuggets, interesting lotions and soaps, chia seeds to eat, asian crackers, blueberry dipped pretzels, black sesame custard, jalapeno jelly, etc. etc... anything still left on the shelves was fair game, and I often was taking the very last one of whatever it was. Must be a bit what a locust feels like going through the countryside and leaving nothing behind.

Oh, and PINWHEELS! I love them in my yard, they're so cheery and if something happens to them (like when the raccoons drag them around) it doesn't really matter because they're cheap. I got a big fat bouquet of them and planted them all over my yard in my still-sleepy planters. Yay!

Hope all is well with everyone - I haven't had much time to even lurk so I feel out of touch but I'll catch up eventually. Now go eat something that isn't what you usually eat.
primsong: (Default)
The one drawback to nicer weather popping up now and then is sunshine makes all the dirt show up. :-P I spent all morning doing stuff like cleaning mildew out of the window-tracks, dusting and going around with a fuzzy-thing-on-a-stick taking down cobwebs. Who knew there were so many?

Phew.

My family moved every couple years when I was growing up so I never got programmed for 'Spring Cleaning' - we did serious cleaning when we moved. The result is it sometimes really takes me by surprise how the walls get icky and the dustbunnies multiply behind furniture now that I've the luxury of staying kinda in one place.

Do you "Spring Clean" as an annual event? How serious do you get? Moving furniture and beating rugs and all that?
primsong: (flower)
I can't believe how beautiful it is outside, we're getting an early spring for certain here. The morning fog lifted to a scintillating blue and I was out with my little ladder and clippers clipping away. Trimming grapes is very therapeutic, nipping away the deadwood and bringing order to a tangled brown net of vines.

Gave the two shocked-mohawk looking plum trees a nice haircut and then cut back six leggy butterfly bushes as well. I love how springtime is so full of song - the robins and chickadees were singing and peeping in the cypress nearby, everytime I kneel down I can hear the delicate sound of rainwater percolating in the mulch.

Found holes where a new family of ground-squirrels have moved in beneath a fir...did a little raking and planted a row of gladiolus bulbs along a fence to go with the crocosmia in the summer, purple to mix with the orange, should be pretty.

The crocuses and candytuft are blooming already, forsythia is budding and daffys are coming up thick and fast - and it's barely February! The ground is soft with the rains and everything is washed fresh and ready. It's so lovely, I just wish I could somehow share it with you.
primsong: (flower)
Whew! This year's new plantings are all in, at last. Even the rhubarbs!

Noting them down, mostly for my future self )

Thus goeth the back yard for this year! No wonder I'm tired.

Sooo glad the previous couple years of plantings on the south side are established enough now I don't have to babysit them with the hose all the time. The butterfly bushes are so huge and tall I'm amazed that I'm the one who planted them, those spindly little twigs not that long ago. The myrtle tree is a yard high - woot!

Now to catch up on all the weeding that I've missed while doing all this dirt-flinging. :-P
primsong: (flower)
I love this time of year, I want to just go wading out into the flowers.

Just took these here, about half an hour ago... I have tons more but will spare you. ^-^

Flowers, flowers )

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