Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wait For It...

But I just can’t! We’ve had Spring-like temperatures for the last week or two. My practical, conscious mind tells me, “Yes, but we always have cold weather in March and usually April.” However, my subconscious mind says, “Plant, plant, plant.” So, I made a compromise and decided to start a few seeds indoors. 

Can I hold it to three? Nah.

 All the packets say to start six weeks before the last frost. That puts it about the middle of April. That should give me enough time to get The Music Man to build a raised bed, or three. He made some square ones in the side yard for me a couple of years ago.

 Of course, Daisy had to supervise.

I'm going to be even more ambitious this year and put two 3x6 beds and one 2x6 bed in the middle of the back yard where it gets full sun. For me, gardening is a learn as you go type activity. I don't have a wise old grandmother to ask anymore and I don't have time to take classes. All I can do is read, then get my hands dirty. 

 Chives, Spinach, Mesclun, Iceberg and 
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce and Onions. 

It feels like a good start to me!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Four Egg Day

 I didn't hear from everybody today but it was real close.

Another good thing about the warmer temperatures and longer days is that the girls have finally started laying eggs again. At Christmas, I had to break down and buy some at the grocery store!

The Gold Laced Wyandottes, Marsalla and Eggbirda were just taking a winter break. The younger Austrolorps, Diana, Florence and Betty are seven months old now and just starting to lay.

A cute little pullet egg next to a mature hen egg.

If the girls keep this up, I'll have to start giving eggs away soon. I have a couple of friends in the area who are going to start keeping bees in the Spring. What do you think, could we trade eggs for honey?

Omlette, anyone?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It’s Thursday and We Don’t Have Snow?

The weather here has been crazy just like everywhere else. For the past few weeks it seems like we’ve had snow, ice or a combo pack of them, always on Thursday. We haven’t been hit like the Northeast with schools out for a week or two. They’ll be going to school til the end of June, I bet. Sucks to be them.
Last Thursday, we started school two hours late because the roads were icy.

Today, the temperature soared into the lower seventies and it’s supposed to be like that all next week. Birds are singing, daffodils are blooming, bicyclists are trying their best to get in front of my bus. I know you are training but please, I’ve got kids to get to school and back. Running over you would really put me off my route time.

One problem with this false Spring is that I’m ready to start planting a garden. I…must…resist. It’ll get cold again. We’ve still got March and April to go.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today we celebrate love and lovers with hearts, chocolate and flowers. On Valentine's Day last year, the Music Man and I sat in traffic for over an hour and when we finally stumbled into the restaurant the prune faced girl at the hostess stand informed us that the wait was three hours long. This year, we had our Valentine’s date a day early.
The Music Man teases me about stretching out special occasions. This year, Valentine’s Day is stretching out over three days. You think that’s good you should see how I handle my birthday!
In church yesterday the minister called the names of more than forty couples and asked them to stand up. They had all been married for fifty years or more. Talk about love, and not just the hearts and flowers kind. That kind of love loads the dishwasher so you can write and takes you to the hospital when you have a migraine and brings ice for your hand after you’ve had surgery, not to mention building a coop for the chickens. (You know who I’m talking about here, don’t you?)
I don’t know if we’ll live long enough to be married for fifty years, but if we do it’ll be thanks to real love. Of course, chocolate is always good too. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Once A Parent, Always A Parent

I went over to my parent’s house this morning to video my sister walking. Yes, walking. She had a massive stroke in back in August and was paralyzed on the left side. My parents have been taking care of her since she got out of the hospital. I know it’s been really hard on them, but they don’t complain. My dad has learned a lot about physical therapy and my mother has learned a lot about invalid care. They rearranged the living room to accommodate a hospital bed and potty chair.
Their days are filled with physical therapy appointments, doctor visits and trying to get my sister approved for Social Security disability. My dad was wondering what he was going to do in his retirement but I bet he never counted on this. He is in his late seventies and my mom is four years younger. They are an amazing example of parenthood.
My parent’s generation seems to be so adept at handling responsibility and self sacrifice. Those values don’t seem to be quite so important in today’s society. I’m not sure where we lost it but I think we are much worse for its absence. Don't get me wrong, I know people my age who are taking care of elderly parents and adult children who have stumbled badly along the way, but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
Can we turn this around, and if so, how? 

My parents and sister at our house Christmas Eve, laughing
at something Ian was doing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Murder,Mayhem and Dead Armadillos

I’ve been involved in Murder in the Magic City for a few years, picking up authors at the airport, moving baskets for the silent auction and boxes of Bud's Best Cookies. I’m the only one with an SUV big enough to haul all that stuff in one trip.
Margaret Fenton, president of the Southern Sisters chapter of Sisters in Crime put together great panels of mid list authors, as usual. You can find a list of them here:
The two guests of honor were Nancy Means Wright and Chris Grabenstein. There were panels on creating the perfect protagonist and creating the perfect villain. The last panel of the day asked the question: Can murder make us laugh? Most mystery authors use humor to bring the tension down and give the reader a break. It was during this discussion that Joanna Campbell Slan told a hilarious story about stopping her BMW on a road, shooing away some turkey buzzards and picking up a dead armadillo. She soaked it in borax and put polyurethane on the outside. I think she said that she uses it to hold her pens.
The ninth year for MMC was a good one. I got to meet and talk to Jeri Westerson, among others. She writes the Crispin Guest medieval noir series about a disgraced knight who has had to reinvent himself as The Tracker. I’ve read all three of the books and really enjoyed them. Crispin has his own blog. You can read it here:
CJ West was the lone self-published author present. As the publishing industry implodes under its own weight, more authors may take that option. With the popularity of e-readers like Kindle and Nook it may be a viable alternative if they have a following and a backlist. Everyone was talking about it and I admire his courage for addressing the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. You can find his work at

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This Afternoon

I know it sounds odd, but I like my job driving a school bus. Except for days like today.

The sleet started falling about noon. I called the transportation office twice to see if they were going to let school out early. They told me to keep my radio on. Sigh.

I got to the bus early anyway and it's a good thing I did. I had no sooner started it, than my supervisor called to tell me they were letting school out early. Am I psychic or what?

There were wrecks everywhere. I don't know what it is that makes people want to go out and drive in ice and snow just for the heck of it. Traffic was horrible and our buses were banned from driving on the interstate. Just as well though. The few times I passed over or under the interstate, nobody was driving. They were all sitting still.

It usually takes me about twenty minutes to get to my first stop. Today it took an hour and fifteen minutes. It would have taken longer, but for my knowledge of the backroads and shortcuts. The Music Man calls me the Queen of the Obscure Backroads.

Only thirty-one rode the bus this afternoon. I guess the others were picked up by their parents. Hey, that's who all those people on the roads were: parents going to pick up their kids from school because they didn't trust the bus drivers to get them home safely.

I bet I got home before they did.