Thursday, March 31, 2011

Salvia coccinea - Texas Red Salvia

Texas Red Salvia is a plant I stumbled upon by accident, but it is now a plant I wouldn't do without in my garden. It is not a plant seen around here in Garden Center's or Nursery's and I don't know why. It's gorgeous, red blooms are a favorite of Hummingbirds and it's color is sure to get your attention.
Originally from South America, they thrive in hot, sunny locations and look fabulous in masses. As I was reminded today, it is simple to start from seed. These were only planted 5 days ago!

If you have a Hummingbird garden, this plant is a must!
For more information on this (and other plants) check out Plantstew

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tree tomatoes?

Any tomato eater knows that there is nothing better than a fresh, home grown tomato.  I usually grow a few different varieties and like to taste test to find the best. I've had success with Celebrity, Beefsteak, and Bonny Best but I'm still searching for better. And it seems that the best tasting tomato plants usually don't grow enough tomatoes. I saw this while shopping the other day and thought I would put it to the test:
The box says "Up to 60 lbs of Extra Large Tomatoes per plant" , "grows up to 8 ft tall" , "grow giant tomatoes over 1 foot all around", "grow bushels of tomatoes the size of Grapefruits" and  "includes 6 pre-seeded pots".
After opening the package, I immediately noticed 2 different labels...Giant Tree tomatoes and Big Early tomatoes.

After closer inspection of the box I found in smaller print on the side a note that said 3 giant tomato pots and 3 big early tomato pots included. Huh? I think that should be clear on the front of the package, don't you?
Well, I followed their directions and watered and placed in a sunny window.  They say the seeds will sprout within one to two weeks. I think these plants will have to perform a miracle to live up to the claims on the box!
Updates to follow  :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wiring fixed and some new shelves

                                                  You may remember this mess
It got worse before it got better...
But while we were busy on March break, the wiring was fixed and then the wall was fixed too.
Now I have a lovely new wall with a lovely new shelf!

March Break keeping me busy and Nonquon

I just realized that I have been MIA for a few days!

March 11-20  was March break and so I had 3 children to keep amused. This usually isn't a difficult thing to do when you have money, but the kitchen renovation and following wiring crisis used up any extra money we had. This was going to have to be a cheap week! The 2 older kids are in high school and having hard semesters so I thought that several days of  R & R were in order for them ~ time to wind down and clear their heads. A trip to Lindsay at the 'small mall' made them happy, as well as a few days spent with friends. The youngest is a little harder to keep amused as she has a lot more energy. Sunday was a day well spent outside - we removed the training wheels from her bike and after a few hours she was riding on her own! We went to the sport store and traded in some used sports equipment and bought new soccer shoes for the upcoming season. It was a good week and I was sorry to see it end.
Tuesday, I went with the grade 2 class to the Nonquon Environmental Education Center just North of Port Perry. The class was there to learn about Reptiles and Amphibians, and about the environmental issues affecting them. Very interesting, but I was most interested in the various 'stuffed' animals there.

I was really surprised by the size of this Golden Eagle ~ larger than the Turkey Vulture beside it.
I am sure I have seen a Fisher like this cross my lawn with the neighbors dog in hot pursuit...

                                                                   Great Horned Owl
                       Sharp Shinned Hawk - numerous around here, but never able to see them up close.
                              On a hike, the kids were even able to feed the Chickadee's from their hands!

                            We had a great day, and boy oh boy, did I ever sleep good that night!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Boomer the Exterminator

Yesterday was a lovely, spring like day.  While the power was turned off for wiring to be replaced I was outside raking gravel off the grass and checking out the gardens. I had the dog out in the back yard with me and noticed that she was 'playing' with something behind the old chicken coop. I figured that it must be a mouse, because the field mouse population seems to be at an all time high. I suddenly heard something squealing and figured she had caught her mouse. A while later I went to see what she caught and found this:
 A RAT!  Living in the country, you know they are around barns and animals but you don't think you can find them in your own backyard.  Boomer was proud of her catch, but I was disgusted! So disgusted that I had dreams about rats all night long. Where there is one there is bound to be more. Boomer will be my protector.
 Maybe after her nap.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

One step forward, 3 steps back...

Living in an old home, you are never too sure what you will discover when you start a project. Just when the kitchen project was almost done, an important discovery was made. Old wires. Or even worse...HIDDEN old wires. The original wiring inspection was done almost 8 years ago and the wires looked new. When the dishwasher was installed some old wires were discovered and upon further inspection, more old wires were found. So that has started another (unexpected) mess and cost.  The old wires are being replaced and in the process we are getting a plug overhaul. And apparently a few WALL overhauls too!

 Just when you think that things are starting to look good....BAM!
Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The kitchen project winding down...

Well, with the completion of the counter tops and installation of the dishwasher, the kitchen project is nearing the end. Left to do is installing a new light fixture, new cupboard hardware, and re-sealing the hardwood floor.
You may remember how it looked before:
This light fixture has GOT to go! Oh, and note the color of the walls in the room behind.
And then the modification of the island for the dishwasher

The other side before:

Not too much has changed on this wall

It looks even better more dishrack!
I'm quite pleased the way this project is turning out.
Here's a little sneak peek at the next project...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A busy week!

 Boy, it has been a busy week!
 First of all, I've spent quite a bit of time over at the neighbors barn. I got the privilege of helping him with bringing in and out the new foal and his mama from the paddock. Not an easy task for the little guy ... he is NOT fond of the halter! But with the barn and paddock so close to the road he is not taking any chances of the colt straying from mama. Once in the paddock, mama puts him through his paces and it's so cute to watch him stretching his long legs. After some time out in the paddock it is time to bring him back inside...what a fight, but we finally get them back into the stall and then he prompty lays down for a nap  :)
On a sad note ... 3 foals were lost this week. The first a set of twins that was not detected during ultrasound, and another born premature (stillborn). A very sad time at the barn. There are 5 more foals expected this season and I sure hope the rest arrive happily.
  Secondly - the installation of the dishwasher! Today should be the maiden washing, I'll let you know how that turns out. The island counter top is next to finish. We had been holding off because the adhesive is very, VERY stinky stuff and needs to be kept at 20°C so that means we have to do that job in the house and we are waiting for a milder day so we will be able to open the windows a bit. Since today it is pouring rain (rainfall warning for our area today too - upto 50mm could fall!) I don't think it will happen today.
   I bought some paint for the living room on Thursday and that job was for the weekend. BUT yesterday the rain started and I decided that I should paint behind my desk while my computer was at the shop. After moving all the furniture and taping we decided to remove the baseboard and window trim as well as remove an unused electric baseboard heater. This job just got bigger!  So today my job is to finish the painting and restore order to the house. Wish me luck!