Thursday, July 28, 2011

Charlie did NOT eat a dead chipmunk!

I repeat: no dead chipmunks were eaten by Charlie.

In this family, we take our victories where we can get them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Welcome to the Jungle

As I mentioned a few days ago, my garden is a horrible mess this summer. Under the best of circumstances, my garden lives by the philosophy of benign neglect. This is not a yard for sissies. If you need constant tending, you really don't belong here.

But this summer, benign neglect has been carried to an unreasonable extreme--so much so that "benign" hardly seems a fair word to use. In the interests of penance, I therefore share with you these pictures of the front yard. I haven't got pictures of the back to share yet. It's too painful to look at.

Somewhere in there are my shrubs.

Let's pretend the crabgrass is a border planting, yes?

The sidewalk needs a mow.

This is my DAD'S fault! There are some lovely geraniums and other
perennials in there, but they are swamped by a mind-boggling, aggressive
outbreak of black-eyes Susans. THANKS A LOT, DAD!

Although the Susans ARE pretty next to my Shasta daisies.
I forgive you, Dad.

Oh, what a world...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thanks a lot, Midwest...

...for your stinkin' heatwave!  Got in the car this morning, and the local NPR station informed me that, at 5:19am, it was already 80 degrees.  Loverly!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Way We Were

I was recently very upfront about what a disaster our yard and gardens are. Then I proceeded to claim I would get right on that weeding, and that of course turned out to be a lie. Then Mulch was gone for a weekend and I did all kinds of house projects and never stepped outside.

But this past Sunday, I finally got to work. But in the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to first post pictures from Spring, just to prove that I really did have things under control and even have a plan for the summer. Also, it will make the FAIL pictures to come just that much more...  I don't think impressive is the right word, but you get the idea.

How lovely!

Front bed.

Azaleas. Required by law in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Charming, right?

The little rose that could. Mulch was sure this guy wouldn't survive in the
(admittedly crappy) spot I put  him in.

Beautiful peonies. Came with the house.

Climbing rose in the back. Planted it three years ago;
this is the first time it's really bloomed. Most beautiful
frangrance you can imagine.

So purty.
Spring was filled with such promise.

Peppers, where are you now?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Quickly Are Promises Broken

Instantly in some cases, as it turns out. I didn't do a bit of weeding over the weekend beyond tearing out some of the tall mystery grass weeds in the front beds while walking between car and front door. Ah well. Instead, Mulch Boy and I spent a weekend mostly goofing off -- going to two movies at the theater, working our way through the Harry Potter DVDs in preparation for the final movie's premiere, lounging in the pool, visiting the bookstore, having friends over, and eating eating eating.

Mulch Boy, I believe I've mentioned, is the Family Chef, and a fantastic one. And now that's it's grilling season, he's really in his element. Sunday saw him smoking two giant slabs of beef ribs (for a visual image, imagine the brontosaurus ribs Fred orders in the closing credits of "The Flintstones"), which made a beef rib convert out of me. Monday was grilled chicky and snausage and hot dogs, last night was giant monster hamburgers. Yes, I AM a lucky woman and, yes, I'm very very aware of that!

Sadly for me, I will not be seeing much of Mulch through this weekend:  he'll be working hard with his bestest friend and bidness partner at the Capital Audiofest. I will be home with the pups, and hopefully I will get a bunch of household chores and projects done to surprise him with when the Fest is over.  I'm not committing to anything in writing here, though.  I have a tendency to, shall we say, change my mind when it comes to these things.  Not that I won't be doing SOMETHING; it just might end up being a completely different project. Queen's prerogative. Although honestly, I really ought to bathe the dogs. Sunday they thought it would be a great idea to get under the smoker to catch all those delicious beef drippings. On their heads. They smell like a barbecue pit, the two of them. It's better than dead baby bird, though, so I'm counting our blessings.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July? JULY??!

The last thing I remember, it was April and it was springtime in DC and the flowers were all in bloom. And now I find it's July 1, summer has arrived along with Dead Baby Bird Season,* and my entire yard is one giant weedy disaster. What happened?
I guess May and June can be considered lost months: without going into detail, they were filled with unexpected events and challenges and traveling and trucks. But in the end, all was well, and even really good. Successful moves, happy weddings, well-deserved and long-denied raises -- these all came together to make the rest of the mess worthwhile. Except perhaps for the multiple air travel horrors. Let us not speak of them except to say Delta Airlines is made of pure evil.

So now Mulch Boy and I are back home and joining everyone else in welcoming summer. We'll begin this weekend by installing** our new pool, lying in the sun trying to give our pasty Irish and German skins a little color, smoking beef ribs in MB's new smoker, and grilling every piece of meat in the house. Those last two tasks are Mulch Boy's, as he is the chief cook in our palace. My contribution to the meal will likely be pouring beverages and toasting marshmallows.***

Although I won't be doing the cooking, I DO hope to begin getting the yard back into shape, emphasis on "begin." We have a LOT of beds, and they are hopelessly taken over by weeds. It will take a lot of digging to get them back into shape.

The worst, sadly, is the vegetable garden. Oh, the high hopes we had this spring. I had started all my lovely seedlings in my new little basement garden with the little grow lights, and it was looking like success. Alas, life intervened, and the sad little seedling are dried up and dead, never having made it into the lovingly prepared ground. The only thing we got planted were the seed potatoes, and so they and the volunteer cherry tomatoes that surprised us this spring are all we've got going this year. And they are being slowly strangled by the incredibly successful crop of weeds that have taken over.

I think that's where I'll start: the vegetable garden. I owe it to Mulch Boy. He was very disappointed about the seedlings, and that I never got seeds into the ground. Time to get out the knee pad and rescue what little veg we've got. Back to work!

*Running concurrently with early summer is Dead Baby Bird Season, when all those little fledglings leave the nest, apparently to be killed in our backyard by squirrels or cats. The garden assistants like to find their sad little corpses and roll in them. I hate Dead Baby Bird Season.

**i.e., inflating.

***Giant-sized marshmallows. They are at least twice the size of regular marshmallows. They are the best invention of the 21st century so far.