Monday, January 31, 2011

Duct tape: it's not just for rearview mirrors anymore!

(This has nothing to do with gardening--sorry!)

The post title is a little tweak at my dad (hi, Daddy!). I don't know if he remembers the time (over 30 years ago!) the driver's side rearview mirror got knocked off our car (the Vega, I think?) and he reattached it with duct tape.

Why I've remembered this all these years, I have no idea. But I was reminded of that incident recently when the antenna on my Beetle started falling apart: the rubber on the outside had split, exposing the metal inside and causing it to corrode and finally break. The rubber kept the thing together, but clearly antenna death was imminent.  I unscrewed the antenna and brought it in the house for its own protection.

Luckily, because of the example of my father's engineering prowess, I knew how to save the day, and this weekend bought duct tape for the first time ever. Mulch Boy laughed at me yesterday as I wound the tape around the shattered remains of the antenna.  WHATEVER, Mulch Boy!

Now my antenna is back on the Beetle, looking...  if not good as new, at least not as droopy.  AND my radio reception has actually improved.  Thanks, Duct Tape!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thanks, Greensparrow Gardens!

I am linking to this great article on Greensparrow Gardens about starting your plants indoors and avoiding the related pitfalls.  Since I got this great miniature indoor grow-light setup from Mulch Boy for Christmas, I want to make sure I've got the best info at my fingertips when I start my indoor garden, and Joseph's "Sciency Answers" definitely ranks high in my book.  If I link to it hear, I won't forget about it later, and you all can benefit, too!

Progressive lenses: the funhouse you wear on your face!

This weekend Mulch Boy and I got our new eyeglasses, and I may be beginning to feel my age:  I now have progressive lenses on my glasses.  That's the modern equivalent of bifocals, for you old cranks like me.

It's a strange world here behind the new glasses.  Sure, I can see far distances and close up and everything in between now. But the world has taken on the rubbery quality of a reflection in a fun house mirror.  Turn my head and my desktop warps like a vision out of the Twilight Zone (the old TV show, not the vampire-related theme restaurant that I fear will eventually be created).  Sometimes it's interesting, more often it's disconcerting, but I haven't fallen over yet. And like the Irish blessing granted, the road appears to be rising to meet me at all times.

Most important, I can now read all the tiny print!  No more holding seed packets and medicine bottles at arm's length and squinting.  Nope, from now on I'll be...  looking down my nose to find the right focus.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bone Structure

This morning we woke to a terrifying dusting of snow here in the D.C. metropolitan area.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that school openings were delayed two hours, giving how easily we panic in the Nation's Capitol over a few flakes. However, I was too preoccupied with my yard to notice the announcements (if there were any) on the radio.

Looking back, I realize I have not gotten around to describing and showing how Mulch Boy and I transformed our yards at the little blue house since we moved here.  But if you look here, you can see a little of the end result of our labors.  None of the beds you see were here when we moved in.  We built them all from scratch, first digging out the sparse turf for the giant front yard beds with a shovel, and then continuing with the rest later with a rented manual sod cutter (which only does the job about a hundred times faster).

Now the garden is full of dead blooms and stalks, leafless shrubs and bare tree branches. Yet this morning's bare dusting of snow lent a calm beauty to those brave dried stems and drew a quiet pale outline in the borders of all the beds.  Out of nowhere, I suddenly thought of Miss Trixie Delight, as portrayed by Madeline Kahn, in the movie "Paper Moon," and what wise words she might share upon viewing this sight:
You already got bone structure. When I was your age I didn't have no bone structure. Took me years to get bone structure. And don't think bone structure's not important. People didn't decide to call me "Mademoiselle" until I was seventeen and getting a little bone structure.
So glad we didn't have to wait 17 years to get our garden some bone structure.