Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Celebrations and Work

 This past weekend was a blur of activity in and outside of the garden.  Even though we shouldn't slack off on the work around here until after the garden walk, taking a break is a good idea.  All weeding and no play make Karen cantankerous.  Just ask Carl.
The last of the narcissus are almost done blooming.

The reason we left for awhile was because we were invited to two anniversary parties.  On Friday evening, our friends Sharon and Duke celebrated 35 years of marriage with a dinner and dance.  I haven't danced so much in years.  Gosh, we had a great time.  Sharon was radiant, Duke was handsome and they both look so young.  Looking at their wedding album I remarked to Carl how they haven't aged much at all.   (And I was so bummed that I forgot our camera!)

That's not the case with Carl and I...a few months ago when I was writing the posts about our younger days I had some pictures of our wedding lying around.   One of our visitors picked a picture up and asked, "Who are these people?"

When I replied, "That's our wedding picture," she squinted at it again and then at me and said, "Oh, really?  Huh...doesn't look anything like you.  You guys really look old now."

Ah, don't you love honesty?

Just last week the 'Golden Raindrops' apple trees were in full bloom by Castle Aaargh.  Now they are done, too.

My mother, bless her heart, is famous for making honest comments like that once in awhile, too.  Just the other day she asked me about my exercise videos and if all the people on them were skinny-minis. 

I said, "No, some of the ladies are my size."

"REALLY??  That big?  Wow."

"Yes, there are people out there who are just as 'big' as me, Mom.  I'm dreadfully sorry, but I don't quite qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records just yet."

Ok, so I was being hyper-sensitive, I admit, but a gal can only take so many blows to the ol' ego before it really starts to sting.   Mom said she didn't mean it that way, and I'm sure she didn't.  I just get cranky once in awhile.  When I was a kid, I was often admonished for 'fishing for compliments'.  (I hate that saying, by the way.)  My parents did not believe in praising children because then a kid would get a 'big head'.  True, nobody likes a self-centered blowhard, but somehow I think egocentrics are actually more insecure about themselves than those who tend to be more humble.    Life would be better if we'd all work on building each other up. You don't have to get all gushy and be insincere, but giving someone a boost by letting them know you appreciate them is so powerful. 

That's why I like Leslie Sansone so much; no, she's definitely not the toughest taskmaster/trainer out there, not by a long shot, but she never fails to tell sweaty old me I'm doing a great job.  Even if it is only 'virtual' encouragement, I appreciate her cheering me on.   Nearly six months into this exercise regimen I still never tire of her commentary as we work out together.  She has some workouts where you can turn her voice off and just work out to the music.  I wouldn't dream of it.  Even though I know what she's going to say verbatim, I need to hear her pep-talk spurring me on.  (The fact she can talk so effortlessly while working out is amazing, by the way.) 
The trilliums are all done for the year now, too.

But anyway, back to the weekend.......I spent Saturday weeding and mulching.  When I got tired of being on my knees, I went and hauled a load of mulch and put it down.  It's good to vary the work a little, keeps the muscles from getting too sore and brightens my outlook a little.  Joel was home on Saturday and mowed Mom's lawn, our lawn and finally the eight acres with the tractor.  It's great to have the help. 
Hosta 'Liberty' is the 2012 hosta of the year.  I can see why with those stunning colors.  It's a favorite of mine, too. 

In the meantime, Carl was working on the dome floor.  The job is so very slow and painstaking which is why he didn't want me to help. My GADS gets the better of me and I get all fidgety and try to figure out a faster way to get the job done which, in turn, drives Carl crazy, so it's best I just mosey off and do some other work. That way we're both happier.
If you look closely, you can see Carl peeking out of the barn window.  No, he wasn't hiding from me, he was looking for something.  I think.

On Sunday we helped celebrate Carl's parent's 60th wedding anniversary with a church service and a nice dinner.  Before we left for church, I made sure to water the seedlings in the greenhouse very well since it was near 90 degrees outside.  Those little cells dry out very quickly and I hate to stress the tiny plants too much since it will affect their future garden performance. 
Carl's parents and the two of us--don't they look great for 60 years of marriage?  
We enjoyed visiting with all of the guests but since it was so hot out, by 3PM I had to get back home to tend the seedlings.  I'm trying to harden them off this week so I can start planting out soon.   Every day I take the flats out of the greenhouse for a few hours and put them in a fairly sheltered location to toughen up a bit. 
Here's the view in the greenhouse tonight after I hauled all the flats back in again.  On the left are the seedlings on the heat beds; on the right are my urns and other planters for the driveway, etc.

The seedlings have grown very quickly this year.  Hardening them off is always a tricky undertaking for me.  If I leave them out in the full sun, they might sunscald and/or wilt if they dry out.  And they have to be kept out of the wind, too. 
Some of my urns are big enough that I can put old five gallon pails or big buckets we have lying around inside of them as a liner.  It is easier on the metal urns not to be in contact with damp soil and also much easier to lift the buckets out of the planter in case of severe weather.  The cast iron urns are just too heavy to carry into shelter in a hurry if a bad thunderstorm were to pop up.  (Usually around 2AM)

Some of the urns are just filled with potting soil; I couldn't find old pots to fit. 

There are two new 'Supertunia' petunias, "Bermuda' and 'Royal Magenta' planted in this urn and some coleus I overwintered....I'm hoping these petunias are as prolific as Supertunia 'Vista Bubblegum' proved to be last year.

Though it may sound like I'm overprotective, I usually do not plant any annuals until Memorial Day weekend.  The chances of a late frost always worry me after coming this far with the seedlings.  It would be a downright shame to lose them to a cold night. 

On Sunday night, Carl worked until 10 PM on the dome floor. I was weeding and mulching while he was busily leveling and transiting.  Once darkness fell, I had nothing better to do than pester him. (I did help a little.)

Carl was almost done with the floor and wanted to finish, but we hadn't had supper yet.  

The worklight was attracting June bugs in record numbers.  They kept bouncing off of the dome, making weird gong-like noises.  The temperatures dropped down well over 20 degrees last night, too, which was a shock after the heat of the day.  We never did get any rain on Sunday which is a shame, because we could use it.
I kept pacing around taking pictures as I went.
I sure hope the floor holds up for a few years this time.

Finally, Carl decided to quit for the night when he realized we had to eat yet and that he had to work the next day.  He was unhappy he hadn't finished the job, but I thought he made a lot of progress.

Tonight he finished the floor, but then found out the steps going into the dome were too high so he started raising the blocks that are right in front of the steps next.  With a bit of luck, he may be able to finish the 'dome project' on Tuesday night after work.  (And then I can cross it off our list.)

So that was the weekend and Monday around here. A little work, a little play... and slowly but surely, we're making some progress.

Tomorrow is another day.


Anonymous said...

You are amazing 6 months with Lesley well done hun! I really must get back in to my walking. I have to say I have not even looked at the DVD for about 6 weeks now.
:( must try harder!!
You and Carl have been busy in the garden the seedlings are looking fantastic. . Congratulations to Sharon & Duke and to Carls Mom & Dad, and by the way you look gorgeous in the photo.
Hugs Sue x

Sue said...

Hi Karen--love the greenhouse shots-Do you have a heater in there? I know you have cold nights like we do...

Zoey said...

I am glad to hear that you got out for the weekend. You know what they say about all work and no play...

Everything is looking good.

Charade said...

Breathtaking and amazing. The shots of Carl working on the dome floor are almost spiritual. And you're both lucky to still have parent living, and nearby, too.

FlowerLady said...

Dear Karen ~ You and Carl are such hard workers. You always inspire me to get up and get moving onto some project or other.

I love the photo of you two with Carl's folks. You look gorgeous!

Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

Peonies & Magnolias said...

You are both such an inspiration for working in the garden and y'all get so much done. Our temps in Middle TN are in the 80s and going to the 90s this week. Love that greenhouse. Hope y'all have a great week and gets lots done.


Karen said...

Sueb, isn't it hard to believe six months have flown by already? Seems like it was only January just last week. Aw, and thank you for your compliment, gosh, I'm flattered!

Hi Sue, no, we don't have a heater in the greenhouse, but the pans the plants sit on is heated to 70 degrees with a water heater element and a pond pump. (Another one of Carl's ingenious inventions.) Do you think we're done with frost yet? It's been such a weird year so far.

Hi Zoey, yep, we're plodding on, just wish I could plod faster! Taking time out for a bit of fun was a good tonic.

Charade, thank you. Yes, we are blessed to have Carl's folks and my mother still with us and in good health. And thank goodness the dome is almost done!

Flowerlady, we both inspire each other; every time I read your blog Carl and I pore over the work you and DH do and we're always amazed. Thank you so much!

Hi Sandy, oh the 90's, those high temperatures take the wind right out of my sails. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement!

Rosemary said...

Karen made me smile yet again with the unkind perhaps unthoughtful comments people make heck think I have done it a few times myself..... Love the babies in the green house doesn't hurt to be careful. Dry here too would love a bit of rain, everything in my garden is flowering very early and suffering from the dryness.

Alison said...

Wow! Six months with Leslie Sansone, that went by fast! I used to know my video by heart. I would be thinking (as I was sweating and walking), "this is where she says..." or "Have we passed that bit already where she says 'Walk, walk, walk'?"

I'm so amazed that Carl worked till so late with no supper. What a great tip on planting into buckets that you can just lift into your heavy urns. All your babies look so big and healthy. I love the big smiles on your faces in the pic with Carl's Mom and Dad. You look great!

myomyohi said...

Can I borrow Carl to come level my cornzebo floor? He is so meticulous he'll do a much better job than I will :)

Love the pic from Carl's parents anniversary party.

The liberty hosta is gorgeous, but your property always looks fresh out of a magazine.

Have a good week, and enjoy the warm weather.


Missy said...

It was great to hear from you Karen. Those seedlings look ready to go - lucky you're patient and know when to plant them out.

Congratulations to Carl's parents. It's a great photo. You all look wonderful. Let Joel know he is very fortunate to inheret such good genes from both his Mum and Dad.

africanaussie said...

you guys are amazing - working until 10pm and then having dinner.... You also haul those heavy urns out into the garden? Gosh I am so lazy in comparison.... AND then you still do those walking videos.

www.FarmLifeLessons.blogspot.com said...

Wow! I agree completely with Charade, those photos of Carl at the dome after dark do seem sacred.

Thank you for sharing your blood, sweat and tears. Even if we're not doing it first-hand, we sure do appreciate getting to be a witness to the hard work!!!!


Donna said...

I really enjoyed the tour around the farm of your endless projects. The two of you never have time without work, do you? 60 years for the in-laws? Here's wishing you will be that fortunate to have such a long time and happy life together too. You two are well on your way with all that you do as a team. Glad you stopped in, it was good to hear from you.

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Ok girl, I want to know where you get all the energy!!!!LOL
Glad you two got out for a fun time.

The Dome is amazing! Just gorgeous!
Have a great weekend!