Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Hey, if the Apocalypse is here, let's rock it with a Caribbean beat!

I was reading an AARP thingie. (Disclaimer: this was not MY possession, it was something the Queen Mother brought along on Mother's Day saying that it had financial information we might find interesting. ) This thingie was not like a newspaper or a magazine, twas more like Parade in the Sunday paper. Anyway, before I knew it, I found myself nodding at an article and thinking how interesting it was.

"Interesting" and "AARP" at the same time in my brain. Is that not the scariest thing ever?

Because I've seen the magazine laying around in the Q.M.'s palace with the obligatory celebrity photo on the cover and wondered who exactly is being duped into believing AARP membership is now cool because Dolly Parton is on the cover. Then I begin wondering how much they had to pay Dolly to pose for an old-folks publication since there is not enough money in the world to coax me onto their cover. Okay, maybe when I'm around ninety-six and a half, demented, and it's either posing for AARP or selling my kidney to pay for the margarita I want to send to the cute guy at the end of the bar--I might consider it under those circumstances.

Or maybe just looking at AARP articles can cause significant loss of grey matter. That's possible, but shouldn't there be a warning label? 'Cause I cherish those little cells and want to keep them.

Caution: reading this magazine may cause wrinkles or grey hair. Other side effects can include intestinal bloating or fascination with suspenders and plaid slacks. Rarely occurring are polka dots or allergic reactions to sunscreen. Consult your physician before using.

And then there's that monthly tattletail article on who's turning five-oh. Seriously, do you think that's ethical? I mean, a person's age is such a personal thing, to publish it for all to see? Ouch! It makes paparazzi look genteel in comparison. All they do is take photos of hot males out on the town or gorgeous actresses without their makeup. No biggie. But to tell everybody that Hugh Laurie is at least, and possibly more than, half dead (in a statistical sense) with one foot in the grave? Yeah, I'd rather see a picture of him emerging from a VIP lounge at two a.m. and driving away in his Range Rover. If he has one.

Rant over.

I'd rather post about mowing our new sod for the very first time and the two bearded iris that bloomed on Monday. Or about the lilac bouquet that graced our table on Mother's Day. But somehow the shock of finding an AARP article interesting just highjacked the blog.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Algae Soup

Our pond, like all ponds, is a continuing saga. Ponds are like that. You think you'll dig a hole, put in a liner, fill it with water, toss in a few plants and sit back in the hammock with a cold soda and reap the fruits of your labor. Then you find you've signed up for a starring role in Mother Nature's soap opera. Solve one pond problem, enjoy the result, and wait for another dilemna to present itself.

When our pond finally thawed, it was mucky with decomposed leaves from last Fall. Then Zelda, who uses the pond as a giant waterbowl, manifested a bacterial infection around her muzzle so we drained all the water from our small pond as a precaution. Sounds simple, yes? Move the outlet hose, ditch the soil, hurriedly extend it with makeshift board-and-plastic-bag channel when it begins flooding, ditch more dirt, try and keep the dogs away from the mud, try to keep your shoes out of the mud...breathe a humungous sigh of relief when you're finished. Filled with clean water last February, it stayed gloriously clear for weeks and weeks. Then visibility gradually disappeared until we could barely see any rocks deeper than eight inches down. The algae were happy with the warm weather and we knew another cleanup was in our immediate future.

So here is our Spring pond in all its green glory--when I can no longer stand to look at it and begin wondering which dog will get an infection first.
A trip to the pond store for ten more feet of hose compatible with our pump and we were able to start emptying it--this time right onto the lawn, no ditching necessary.
Yes, I realize I need more rocks to cover the liner and no, maybe we didn't quite pump out all the dirty water...still, we did okay.

The result is a much clearer pond (although this photo doesn't do it justice) and cleaner rocks. Please notice that some flowers survived the winter and our grass is Irish green.The froggies are still out there croaking in enjoyment and I've bought myself some breathing space as I reinvent the filter and discharge system. (Did I mention that as a puppy, Zelda ate part of the filter liner as cheap afternoon entertainment last Fall and caused a leak?) Then I plan to sit in the new viewing area and enjoy the result. Because they say that once your pond achieves equilibrium, it's fairly easy to upkeep. Of course, they don't say how long that might take...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

How I Spent My Spring Break

I laid sod--ahhhh, lovely instant gratification. Here it is in all its tall fescue fabulousness, no longer dormant ocher, actually growing tall and protected from canine mischief by chicken wire, bedsprings, spare agility equipment and miscellaneous boards and plywood. Which so far, the dogs have mostly respected.

This little strip struggled to overcome a simultaneous battering by Golden-puppy paws (large variety) and a lack of irrigation due to the Fence Project That Lasted Forever. It lost.

The dogs didn't mind and thought we'd installed dirt specifically for their digging pleasure. Eventually the little strip, dotted by dog-dug craters, resembled a bombing range. Both dogs delighted in a canine version of spa treatments--pond-water soaks followed immediately by a leisurely roll in fluffy dirt. I guess you have to a dog to understand the allure. It drove me nuts.

This winter didn't include much snow, unfortunately, so the powder room sink looked like this for months each time the diggity dogs came inside.Have I mentioned how much I lurve sod?

It's like a cheap (I spent less than forty bucks on fourteen rolls) miracle and IT'S NOT DIRT! Life is good.

Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day

New batteries in my camera. Life is good.

Spring has arrived. Each day brings a new blossom. Or darling new leaves on a branch tired of winter. Or a glorious new shade of tender green replacing ocher in a corner of the garden.

The male robin has kept busy attacking those evil window reflections that might steal away his ladylove and pooping liberally on all three cars parked in the driveway--what is THAT about?? Some sort of robin baptism or a personal objection to the enormous wheeled birds ready to filch his girlfriend?

Gold finches have brazenly claimed the pond as their own personal watering hole and gotten away with it. They're so small that the doggies don't notice (and chase) them like the mourning doves. A scrub jay takes his daily bath right where the little rivulet enters the shallow end of the pond.

Warning: It's that time of year when I get my annual attack of Spring Fever and this becomes a Garden Blog!