Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Out like a Lion

I truly think we are going backward in weather, instead of forward! March seems to be going out like a lion. It was supposed to be in the 50s today, and it didn't even hit 40. I know, boo-hoo. My blood has thinned out considerably since moving south. Even Baxter is not enjoying it -- he's been snuggling up to me more than usual, even when the electric blanket is on! Amazing, considering he was in the doghouse the other day. (That's what happens when you roll around in a rotting armadillo. Ugh.)
For those of you who can't wait to get your hands on the Connection magazine, there's a .pdf file now available so you can check it out. Be warned: it's a big file to download with 24 megabytes.
Just click here.

I'll be scanning and sharing one of this month's articles on my portfolio blog later this week. May's articles are taking precedence over almost everything else this week.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Almost April

We are back into cold weather! I'm hoping my tulips (which are almost ready to bloom) survive this cold snap. We had a hard freeze warning for Sunday night/Monday morning but seem to have dodged that bullet. I have a box of goodies from Gurney's Seed & Nursery that is ready to be planted -- they shipped them a few weeks earlier than the "safe" date for my zone. The salvia and lavender plants are dormant bare roots and should be ok, but the pampas grass, butterfly bush and licorice mint must be planted -- yesterday. They will be going into containers this afternoon and I will just have to hold my breath that they survive in the front porch!

I got this awesome encyclopedia in the mail from GoGardenGoOnline over the weekend:
Nearly 800 pages of gardening knowledge!

And then I picked up the April issue of Connection magazine:

Spring is coming, even if it doesn't feel like it these days.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Carried away

No, not carried away by the wind, although it feels like that. I can't, in good conscience, complain about the wind, that is small potatoes compared to what the folks up north have gotten! Carried away by an out-of-control green thumb. I'm not sure it's because I've been feeling really good lately (knock on wood) or the writing I've been doing for GoGardenGo has inspired me to do more, but I am indeed doing a ton more this spring season.

All four flowerbeds are weeded and prepped. A new climbing rosebush is planted. The clematis is pruned back, trellises are secured to the house (and I have plans to add on to those). Seeds are waiting to be sowed, and I should have a shipment coming from Gurney's in a few weeks with some goodies! And I'm making a semi-new bed in the front yard. It's not brand-new -- there's a spot by the driveway that has a ton of irises and even more weeds, and I've been "meaning" to make that spot into a real flowerbed. For years. And this year, I'm doing it. I've got the perimeters laid out, stepping stones in place and need to weed and etcetera to pretty it up. Come summertime, I'm hoping it will be chock-full of zinnias and purple coneflowers! I'll be weeding and adding soil/compost tomorrow if the weather permits.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

Whew. We had a gorgeous spring day today, with temperatures hitting the 80s! After church, a catnap and finishing up some much-needed gardening, I finally got the motivation to sit down and scan some of my favorite articles that I've written for Connection magazine.

Wanna check it out? Lisa Florey

I weeded out and prepped two of the smaller flower beds today and planted a ton of gladiola bulbs. Can't wait for those to bloom! My main flower bed is popping:

The allium aren't doing as well as I would like them to (I should have divided them last fall!). I have a huge clump of daylily that desperately needs to be divided, as well as some great spots of purple coneflowers. So excited! I've made it a goal this year to not let the weeds take over. Of course, it will help if I stay home in June instead of going on a cross-country road trip!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Saturday is a day I will never forget. It was the first -- and hopefully last -- military funeral I've ever attended. A Monett native, Spc. Christopher Stark, was killed in Afghanistan, and his funeral was held at a park near where I live. Since it was open to the public and I felt that the least I could do was show support for the family, I decided to go. I'm glad I did.

If you've followed this blog, you know I've written about Westboro Baptist Cult (yeah, yeah, it should be "Church," but whatever) here and here. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court voted that the WBC's funeral protests were/are protected under the First Amendment, and I knew they would have their sights set on this fallen hero's funeral.

Apparently, so did a lot of other people in the Monett community. The family invited the Patriot Guard Riders to town for the private visitation, public funeral and private burial on Friday and Saturday. Dozens of law enforcement agencies stepped in to help with crowd control and to try to ensure a peaceful goodbye. The State Highway Patrol, Monett Police Department, and Barry, Newton and Lawrence County sheriff's departments also had a high-profile presence.

And while my blood pressure went up just thinking about the hatefulness of the WBC, and I kept an eye peeled for them -- I did not see a single protestor. Apparently, only a handful showed up, but they were kept far away from anyone who cared, especially the family.

It was amazing. Law enforcement closed the Jolly Mill Road that led to the private park that was chosen as the funeral site (how they "screened" people going in, I have no idea!). Nearly 400 Patriot Guard Riders escorted the hearse and family to the funeral. Hundreds of civilians, veterans and active duty servicemen showed up. There were flags everywhere, the sun was shining and there was enough of a breeze to make the flags stand at attention. It made me proud to be an American.

I snapped a ton of photos of the Patriot Guard Riders as well as a few scenes before the funeral.

There was a giant US flag that served as a backdrop for the speaker's platform.

After the funeral, I headed out to Monett and was amazed (yes, I have used that word too often today) at the number of people lining the highway holding flags.

I wish we didn't have to have so many military funerals, but if we must, I wish they could all be as patriotic, peaceful and supportive. Godpseed Christopher Stark, and may God grant your family strength and peace as they deal with their loss.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" :: Philippians 4:7

Saturday, March 5, 2011


You know it's spring when the lightning, thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches arrive. Last night, we had our first official spring thunderstorm. Watching a red blob move into my area, I was just thinking about getting up and unplugging the phone line that juices up my cable and internet.

Unfortunately, I was too late. Just like I wrote in Fried nearly two years ago, I took what felt like a direct hit. The lightning hit so close to the house that somehow it turned on my elliptical machine -- which runs off a battery. Baxter was not a happy camper. Neither was I, as the strike fried my cable and internet receivers. Oh, and my wireless modem. My old-school circa-1990s television, amazingly, lives on!

On the bright side, my phone company service guy came out within a couple hours of my "secretary's" call and fixed everything! Well, except the wireless modem. I'm on the internet via the broadband cable. And I'm calling the electric company first thing Monday to see about getting some sort of surge protector for the signal lines. I did have a $50 surge protector from hellmart, but it fried almost immediately. There has to be a better solution than shelling out money every time we have a lightning storm!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Green Thumb

You know it's springtime here when you spend more than half the time outside, just because it's absolutely perfect weather. I haven't cleaned up my kitchen from Tuesday's remodeling project. It's been way too nice outside. I have priorities...obviously!

I have full-blown spring fever. I got a head start on the gardening season by weeding and prepping my main flowerbed yesterday. All that's in there now are daffodils, daylilies, allium and tulips! I should have cleaned off the stepping stones before I snapped the photo, but you get the idea: Just a few more weeks and I can sow seeds and watch things grow. We've had 70-degree temperatures two days in a row now, and I'm getting spoiled. It's hard to believe there's snow on the ground in my home state -- and they will probably get at least one more snowfall before spring officially arrives.

But here -- here things are slowly beginning to bloom! I saw some daffodils blooming when I was running errands today. **Bliss** I also made two impulse purchases at Lowe's: a climbing rose and a bag of gladiolus bulbs. Both in red. I have to wait another two weeks or so before I plant the glad bulbs and also need to figure out the best spot for the roses.