A bit of this, a bit of that. (posted by Lani)
I'm so jealous! I hope you've had a fabulous fabulous time and that the weather cooperated a bit more for the remainder of your stay. My vacation time will be in April (and possibly in May, too ... the company is offering TOWOP in May as well, but we'll touch on that later). But the past week or so? Well. Let's start with the past DAY or so, and a bit of history.
When I moved up here (three years ago in September) this house had fabulous flower beds that were sadly neglected; the previous owner was a gardening fool, but as she grew older and less able to do the work required the beds fell into a sad state. I spent that first spring digging, and digging some more, and digging some more, and Steve's parents sent us some of their gorgeous daylilies which I planted, and I planted rudbeckia and daisies and all sorts of stuffies, and I ended up that year with reasonably presentable beds.
Sadly, last year I let gardening slide; I did a bit out front so as not to be embarrassed in front of the neighbors, and a bit in a few of the back beds so I had a pretty enough immediate view out the back windows, but nothing at all in other beds, and one of the things I didn't do anyplace *sigh* was weed enough. I also made a foolish, foolish decision to let the wild blackberry vine that had sprung up in one corner of one bed blossom and bear fruit; yes, the blackberry cobblers were yummy, but I'd forgotten something. What I'd forgotten is blackberries are kind of like mint, only not so easy to control, and they're thornier, and on top of their propensity to spread like wildfire the birds carry seeds everywhere too, and if you have one blackberry vine in a reasonable place this year you'll have 20 hozillion kajillion blackberry vines next year, in places you really DO NOT WANT blackberry vines like, say, in the middle of your yard where your bare feet can find them. Oi.
So guess what I did today? Now that the weather is beautiful, and Spring has definitely sprung? Yep -- I'm paying for last year's laziness. I spent all morning and into this afternoon out in the back yard raking and pulling up dead weeds and young upstart blackberry vines and then turning the soil in two of the not-quite-so-deathly-direly-bad beds, and then I gritted my teeth, put on my thickest leather gloves, and attacked the blackberry vines in the bed where they grew last year. They attacked back and a mighty struggle ensued, but I'm happy to report that the bed is now approximately 75% blackberry-vine-free, and I am approximately 100% scratched up but victorious. The other 25% of that bed, and the not-so-bad beds in back, and the one really horrendously horribly weed-and-blackberry-vine-and-mint-clogged bed, will all wait for tomorrow and next week. Trust me, they'll all be there.
The front yard? Not so bad, although there's some weeding and general maintenance needed there as well. My pansies are happy as little brightly-colored clams right now, although I know they'll be fading fast now that warmer weather is here. I'm going to replace them with petunias, I think; Virginia is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the settling of Jamestown and they've declared red white and blue as the color scheme of the year for gardens, so I figure why not? I'll do the red white and blue petunia thing in the sidewalk beds, and let my roses and rudbeckia and daylilies and dahlias add contrast in the side and under-window beds in front.
In the side yard my flowering peach is in full bloom, maybe I'll have peaches this year that survive the birds.
I love my flowering peach. Onyx loves it too, and he loves the daffodils that are blooming out front as well; Onyx loves flowers, period. (What? You thought this would be a cat-free post? HA.) He loves them in a somewhat different way than I love them, though. You may remember the picture on the left from last fall. The picture in the middle? Today. He's grown up, but not out of the flower-nibbling habit. And a gratuitous size comparison between Onyx and Hunter on the right; Onyx is almost a year old, but he's a smallish kitty. Hunter is almost six years old, and he's ... not smallish. At all.
In non-gardening news Laurie zipped up for a quick shopping trip to New York this week; we flew in, shopped, and flew out on the same day. Fun! We were actually only in the city for about 5 hours; she'd twisted her ankle the previous day at work but swore she'd be fine! Just fine! You know where THAT's going, right? Yeah. After a few hours of shopping, the ankle was swollen and hurting. So I called and changed our flights back, we went to Ollie's Noodle Shop for lunch (GOOD! This place goes on the New York lunch rotation for sure! I dunno who Ollie was, but he makes some kickass noodles and Sauteed Pea Stems with Garlic that are to die for.) and by 3pm we were on planes heading out. We'll definitely do it again, but I think next time we'll spend at least one night; New York food is just too good to only have one meal there.
And back to vacations; Steve and I had originally planned to go to New York for a long weekend for my birthday, and then I was going to go to Panama City for a few days. When that fell through, I'd thought I'd go to Europe and see you, and get down to Panama City for a visit. When THAT fell through, I thought I'd take a cruise or something equally fun with Beth for part of my time off, and yeah, Panama City. Well, suddenly this big breaking project Steve's working on requires a business trip -- to Denver. In the middle of the week of my birthday. And he was able to sweettalk and cajole and generally work things out so that we're heading to Denver on Sunday the 15th, we'll have Sunday and Monday free to wander and explore around Denver, Tuesday and Wednesday Steve has business meetings in the Boulder area and I'll wander, explore (and shop!) on my own; Wednesday night we're going to zip over and stay near the entrance to the Rocky Mountains National Park, spend all day Thursday in the park, spend the night there Thursday night, and head back here Friday. And I'll still have 10 more days off!! Panama City will take up several of those, the rest I'll probably do more gardening and resting and *gasp* maybe some knitting and crocheting.
But wait! There's more! The company is offering TOWOP (time off without pay) AGAIN in May! So now the question becomes ... how much unpaid time off can one girl take and still have enough money to do something fun with said time off? Stay tuned; I plan to figure that out.