Monday, February 28, 2005

Sunday - yard work

A nice, boring Sunday. After catching up on my blog reading and then making my own post, I chatted with John and then albatross, read the newspaper, made a frittata for breakfast and then settled into yard work.

According to the weather forecast, our typical spring rains are supposed to return this week. Los Angeles has been stealing our weather for most of the month of February, which while it has been lovely, has made for low water conditions. Shawn and I expect that the lack of snow pack in the mountains this year will result in water rationing on a small scale this summer. It's made us decide to hold off on landscape planting in our yard and concentrate more on structures, like building borders and beds for the landscape plants.

Seeing the rain return this week, if it does, will be very welcome. One of the reasons I like in the Pacific Northwest of he U.S. is that I like rain. Cloudy days for several days or even weeks in a row do not affect me negatively like it does so many other people. I can do without the extreme temperatures like I had when I lived in the Detroit area, but the Seattle area suits me just fine. As I used to say in Detroit and now say here to the people who cannot take the grey days: piss off and move yourself to some place more in lines with your emotional well being. Since I moved to Seattle and away from Detroit, I feel ultra empowered to say that. Follow my example this time, you dolts. *smirk*

But, I digress - severely. Anticipating the rain, I took care of several tasks that are really meant to be taken care of in February or early March. First, I raked the yard, which needed to be done since I mowed it last week (mowing the yard in February was a bit surreal - I usually don't get to the first mowing until the end of March or early April). Next, I did some yard clean up work that was left over from the fall. This added up to pulling in the remaining 2 tomato cages that once held our tomatillos and cleaning up the herb bed - trimming back the dead bits and pruning the remaining plants to add shape and style to them. Heh, I'm a plant stylist! Take a little off the top, trim up the sides and voila! We have a new fabulous look for the Russian Blue sage.

Ahem...

Next, I pruned the rose bush. This is a job that I have traditionally left to Shawn. She was busy studying for school (thanks to the fact that I had "fixed" her PC connection to our home network...said "fix" meant changing one setting on her notebook). We sometimes leave this task unattended, but I wanted to make certain to get to it this year. We've only had this donated rose bush for 2 years and I want to see it get healthier. I also pruned our clematis plants. We have them trained to grow up the columns on our front porch. One of them grew so large last year that t covered about half of the over hang on the entrance (it was beautiful, too, when it bloomed tiny, white flowers in the fall - a couple of neighbors commented on how pretty it was). According to our books, clematis should be trimmed back to 1.5 to 2.5 feet tall. That's pretty dramatic for the largest of our plants, but I got out the ladder, removed them from the columns and entry way and trimmed them down to the prescribed height. Hopefully, they'll grow back just as aggressively.

Finally, I applied my spring lawn fertilizer to the yard. I use a slow release organic fertilizer that only gets applied once in spring and once in the fall. My next door neighbors fertilize their yard with some standard chemical stuff and apply it often. The grass grows fast, but it doesn't look particularly thick or healthy. Our yard stayed pretty darn green through much of the winter - greener than most in our neighborhood. This year I'm trying out the pre-emergence weed control version of the fertilizer for the yard. According to the hype, if I use it for 2 years running, I'll end up with 80% less weeds in the yard. We'll see how it goes. I've had good experiences with the fertilizers from Garden's Alive, so I'm willing to take a chance on it. One thing that was nice was that the new fertilizer was an orangish yellow color, so I could actually see where it was applied on the yard instead of guessing and could also see how much was applied. Hopefully it will rain today and tomorrow and allow that fertilizer to start getting into the ground and begin working.

I was outside for about 3 hours yesterday doing the yard work. According to the weather channel, we got up to at least 63 degrees. I was guessing that it was the low to mid 60s. I went out with a sweatshirt on, but pulled it off quickly in favor of the t shirt I had on underneath. It was warm!

The yard work behind me, I came in, grabbed a shower, then began thawing some apples. I made an apple crisp for dessert. We don't often have desserts in the house, but an apple crisp sounded right to me as I was doing the yard work. As it turns out, I used the last of the apples we had frozen from last summer. Good deal. Shawn asked how many blueberries we had left and I don't think that we have many of those in the freezer either. We've actually done a pretty good job of emptying the freezer of our frozen sauces, fruits, and veggies this year which means I'm going to be doing a lot of that work this summer in order to re-stock it.

For dinner, I made a small salad, toasted some bread with cheese, and steamed some artichokes in our pressure cooker. To serve with the artichokes, I made a crab dressing using the canned crab I got at Trader Joe's on Friday. The remaining crab will be used for crab Louis salads tonight.

Shawn and I chatted and listened to jazz music on XM radio. When our reception on XM suddenly died for no apparent reason, we switched to listen to the latest album from Paris Combo. Then we listened to an instrumental record featuring some Mexican musicians and Steven Brown of Tuxedomoon that I had bought as a download from a Mexican website. Shawn used the attachment for our KitchenAid food processor to make whipped cream for the first time. It worked really well. We served that over top of the apple crisp.

All in all, another lovely day. A perfect way to relax before this work week. No orders in the shop at the moment, but I'm anticipating one soon from Adam and Eve. I'll just make back stock today, then head off to the gym this afternoon before doing dinner tonight. Should be a piece of cake.

Coming events this week: I've got a ticket to go see The Futureheads at the Crocodile Cafe on Sunday. On Thursday, I'm seriously thinking of going to Town Hall to hear a speech by bell hooks. Here's another resource on the work of bell hooks.

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