Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dump and Die

Our neighbourhood has had enough.

I live in a rural area. We're about 5 minutes away by car from a small town called Swansboro.

We're about 20 minutes away from a small city called Jacksonville. We're definitely rural. I live next to trailers with toilets and pig cookers sitting in the front yard. Redneck central. Usually I don't care, it gives me something to blog about.

But...being rural DOES NOT give people the right to back their trucks down our road and dump their trash in our ditches.

People who are too CHEAP and too LAZY to take their trash to the Onslow County dump on the other side of Jacksonville. To dump it there for a few measly dollars. Is that really HARD? Is it???

Trash = many things.

Rocking chairs...

Barbeque grills....

And make sure lamp/magazine stands aren't left out...

Those three things have been dumped down that road all in the span of
three weeks. Within a few feet of each other.

Mr. A and I did not nail that sign to the tree. But we APPLAUD the people that did. Some people have no respect for the people living in this area. We're a new-ish subdivision, and house building is really starting to boom back here. When I first moved here, all that was dumped were beer cans and condoms/condom wrappers. People have decided to upgrade I guess. No more condoms, only grills!

I had seen this sign posted yesterday when I was taking a daily walk. Mr. A and I jumped in the car tonight so I could show him and take some pictures. There were some people walking down where the trash had been dumped, and they looked at us like we were the dumpers!

Mr. A said that we should let the people who were walking know that we weren't responsible, and I didn't want to because I thought that was silly. But I ended up saying ok, and we drive down after the walkers.We came upon them, and explained ourselves. Thanks goodness we did! They said they were going to take our license plate tag numbers and report us, because they thought we were the dumpers! LOL

I love my house, and I love my yard. I just wish they were in a different place :P

There are bombs and guns going off on the nearby Camp Lejeune Marine base. There are people spotlighting deer on the side of the road so they can shoot them when they're dazzled. There are people running deer dogs through the woods to drive the deer out, so the 'hunters' can shoot them.

I'm tired of it.

I say, leave my bit of home alone!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pretty in Pink

I totally would have picked Duckie over Blane. After a dance like this? I would have married the the guy on the spot. Epic fail, Molly Ringwald, epic fail.

The blooming of my 'Ann' Magnolia is one of my favourite parts of the spring. Ok, ok, every part of spring is my favourite part.

But come on! Get a load of this:

I really wish I had planted this shrub in a different spot. I think it gets a leetle too much sun. The leaves get a bit crispy if we have a long heat wave in summer...but it's not too bad if I water a lot.

And it almost looks like one of those little cacti that you see in the checkout line at Lowe's. A green finger with one, huge, fluorescent-coloured bloom on the top of it. The same flower bud on 'Ann' always blooms first, and always blooms the biggest. There are a few other blooms, but they're always smaller and less impressive.

'Ann' is such a slow grower that it'll take forever to get to it's full size. Which, according to the plant tag, will only be about 8ft x 8ft.

Jess @ Children of the Corm is convinced all plant tags lie though, so we'll see. Or maybe I won't...I'll probably be living somewhere else by then!

Friday, March 26, 2010

'Ello, Guvnah!

The Governor of North Kynalina has granted a 'stay of execution'.

I have decided that the 'Blackout' asiatic lilies will not walk the Green Mile. They will not buy the farm, bite the dust, kick the bucket, nor take a dirt nap!

I have to redo this part of my back garden, which hasn't really been touched since Mr. A ripped down the old fencing and edging.

I found I don't really care as much about the colours back there. And I won't break some of my readers' hearts by killing them ;).It's far enough away from the house that they're not under my nose.

...But they'll be under the bees' noses!

Do bees have noses?

I'm happy to see those fellas flying around, noses or not.

Monday, March 22, 2010

When In Doubt, I Rip It Out

On my daily garden tour, I noticed that my asiatic lilies are coming up. I love asiatic lilies.

My only problem is that I planted them when I had a different colour scheme in the porch garden. Yellow and red and orange were the chief was my very first year gardening, and I thought I was going to love it!

Then everything came up...HATED IT!

I found out that I'm really not into the whole 'warm tone' thing. Or if I was going to go for warm tones, it would have to be more monochromatic to float my boat.

What did I do? I ripped everything out and started over! A few of the casualties...

Ok. I didn't rip out everything. I left these.

'Blackout' Asiatic Lily. I have 4 patches of these in my porch garden. Actually, maybe it's three now? I think I accidentally removed one of the patches when I was messing with the soil...

Anyway, I don't know why I left them. Don't get me wrong, I think they're beautiful, I just don't think they fit in with my garden. Any of my gardens, really. They're a lot more burgundy than they look in the picture. Hence, the 'Blackout'.

AND they spread like wildfire. I'm not a fan of plants that do that. Most people would be happy because they get more beautiful flowers, and don't have to shell out the extra dough. But not moi.

I guess it's the control freak in me. When I was a kid, I was always one to colour inside the lines. And I expect my flowers to colour inside the lines too.

Back to the question. Why did I keep them? I guess because the flowers are usually gone by the time I really get going with planting. And Mr. A told me that he really liked them once, so maybe that's why I have a soft spot for them. I like to call it Executioner's Guilt.

Normally I don't have a problem ripping things out of my garden that I don't like. Look what I did to Dusty Miller in 'You Say Potato, I Say Potahto'. The only thing I regret removing are the red dahlias in the last 'casualty' photo I showed you above.

I would give the asiatic lilies to friends, but none of my friends really garden. And the one that does, plants mostly shrubs and foliage plants.

So...what do you guys do when you decide you don't like something you've planted?

Do you make like a Beatle and Let It Be? Do you rip it out without a second thought? Do you give it away to friends? Or have you been satisfied with every planting decision you've ever made? :P

Inquiring Kynas want to know!

I may have kept the crayon inside the lines, but I definitely wasn't a boring kid...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Don't Rain On My Parade

I woke up this morning a bit out of sorts.

The weatherman had promised me that on my day off today, it was going to be partly sunny and 67F. I had planned an awesome day outdoors. I wanted to get into my garden so badly...

He promised! I made him pinky swear and everything :( Damn you Les Still!

(I know, I know, I have mad skills with 'Paint'. If you ever need any graphic design work done, just call me...)

Mr. A woke me up this morning and gave me the bad news, Dennis Downer style. "Hey Kyna, guess what? It's going to be raining all day and kinda chilly. Oh, and our house payment went up."


*insert many nasty expletives here*

How does the weather report change that drastically overnight? How could Mister Still not see that coming?? Or should I call him

And it's not even a pretty sort of rain. I love it when the day is sunny, with awesome thunderstorms here and there to break up the day. I love a good thunderstorm...

Last September, Mr. A and I took a trip to New Bern. New Bern is a town to the North of us, founded in 1710. Their 300th birthday celebrations will be going on this summer. Fun Fact: New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi. I'll write more about New Bern another day, it's a beautiful old town (I didn't take this photo)

New Bern has a beautiful waterfront. There's a massive gazebo, and a beautiful walkway that winds around the edge of the Neuse River.

At the end of last summer, millions of fish started floating dead on the top of the river. They showed pictures on the news, and we couldn't believe it. We decided to take a trip up there (it takes about 45 minutes) and check it out.

This picture is terrible and blurry. It definitely doesn't show the massive amount of fish carnage, you'll have to take my word for it. Farther out into the water, it looked like there was a weird, patchy foam on top. The foam was dead fish. You shoulda smelled THAT smell. O_O

Apparently something happened in the water where the oxygen levels just happened to drop rapidly. And voila! Dead fish. There was a complicated scientific explanation, but that's the best I can do with making it short. This went on for weeks.

While we were there, the weather alternated between beautiful and stormy looking. You could be standing in the sunshine, and 50 feet away from you there would be sheets of water coming down. And that rain would sometimes skirt around you! It was crazy. Of course I took a few pics. If you look closely at the water in the third one, you can all of the dots of fish...bleah.

This is the kind of rain I like. Not the gloomy, monochromatic, melancholic, overcast mess I'm seeing out my window this morning. I'm trying to think of it as a good thing, but rain is never a good thing when it's on my day off!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kiss Me, I'm Ukrainian!

Ok, not as catchy as 'Kiss Me, I'm Irish'. But that's what I am...this leopard can't change her spots for just one day of the year.

Not to say that us Ukrainians are spotty. I wouldn't want that stereotype to get around the internet!

However, we do have an unfortunate penchant for shoveling on the blue eyeshadow on festival day...

Well, before I put on my green dress and go to work (there's a lot of pinching going on at Barnes & Noble), I'd like to wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Or at least the Americanized version of it beer, corned beef and cabbage, and getting away with sexual harrassment at work with the aforementioned pinching.

I'm thinking about picking up a shamrock plant tomorrow on my day off. You just know they'll be on sale :D They're kind of finicky houseplants to have, my mum had one for years. Very cool though, the shamrocks all close up at night, and open in the day.

Have a good day everyone!

And to all my Gaelic Football friends in Edmonton who read my blog, make sure you stop by the Irish Club and pinch a cute Irishman's bum for me! If there are any there at time...I know the kind that usually sit at the bar...:P lol

Monday, March 15, 2010

La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha!

I have a love/hate relationship with Spring.

Mostly Spring and I get along well. But sometimes we fight, and then Spring has to call cops on me, and get a restraining order. But then the next week, Spring and I make up and we're all lovey-dovey again. Our friends don't know what to think!

Spring brings flowers, hummingbirds, baseball games, and men chasing women in short shorts.

What else does it bring?

Effing bugs.

Two of my least favourite are in that picture. The large one is a cockroach (in case you haven't seen one). The other one is an earwig. It's fitting that these two nasty creatures kicked the bucket side by side. I'd love to say that I'm creepy enough to have posed them that way, but I didn't :)

Yesterday afternoon, I watched that cockroach writhe around on its back for a long time, trying to turn over. It finally got itself back on its feet. Then what does it do? It climbs up the screen, and promptly flips itself over on its back again. I figured a creature that stupid deserved to go through the process of natural selection.

Actually, I shouldn't say that. I just remembered the time that I was walking up an incline in my parking garage at the University of Alberta. I was carrying an extremely heavy backpack full of textbooks. I lost my balance (which happens a lot, I'm a spaz), and I fell on my back like an upside down turtle. I had to rock back and forth a few times to get back up again. I wonder if University Security used camera footage of that at their Christmas party? LOL

I have a bigger problem with the earwigs. It's very hard to get rid of them. They stay deep in the ground, so that poison can't get to them. They come up out of the drains, cracks in the door...I always see them crawling across the kitchen and bathroom floors.

BLEAH! I'm gettin' the Willies just thinking about it.

On top of everything, we haven't had the Bug Guy come in a really long time. We used to have one come in and spray the inside and the outside perimeter of the house every month, to make sure we didn't have any problems. I never had heard of this living in the North, but down here in the Southern US, it's definitely needed.

Only problem is that my husband is now boycotting them. Mr. A is a bigger musicphile than I am. Way bigger. Like Godzilla big.

The owner of the company we used came by to do our spraying one time. Many of his workers had quit at once, and there wasn't anyone else that could come and do it. Should have been a red flag, huh?

Mr. A has a picture of Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin hanging over our couch. He points it out to every new person that happens to walk into the living room. We have to take all our pictures in front of it, so that Jimmy feels like part of the family. Christmas pictures? Jimmy's in them.

Pictures of Mr. A's stepson & grandson? In front of Jimmy.

Those two pictures are from different Christmases, by the way. Think it's a coincedence that the tree is next to Jimmy? We'll never know....

Anyway, Mr. A was having a conversation about Led Zeppelin with the Bug Guy Owner, whose name is also Jimmy. Jimmy Bug Guy expressed enthusiasm for Mr. A's bootlegs. Mr. A lent him said bootlegs. Haven't seen Jimmy Bug Guy since.

Mr. A's called and harassed them to get his CDs back. No dice. Hence, The Boycott.

I agree with the boycott, because I think that guy did him wrong. People like that are the reason why I never lend anything of mine out. However, Mr. A still hasn't found us a replacement exterminator.

And now we're set to be the new Roach Motel in town.

On my walk through the yard today, I did find some nicer bugs :)

My rosemary shrub was full of ladybugs. And the anole lizards were also out in the remnants of my toad lilies. Can you spot him? :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

'Dear Little Buttercup, Won't You Stay Awhile...?'

Mr. A and I were eating lunch in a nearby Mexican restaurant the other day. They always pipe in that happy mariachi music. I said, 'Everytime I'm in here I always feel like I'm in "The Three Amigos"...'

Steve Martin, Martin Short and Chevy Chase are hired to kill off a ruthless Mexican overlord. They've just ridden into town. The locals all think they're killers, no one realizes they're actors who play vigilantes in the movies. They don't realize everyone thinks they're killers, they think they've been hired for a movie. Classic.

In The Answer My Friend, Is Blowin' In the Wind, I mentioned that my finch sock had been dragged away by some stealthy animal.

I think this was the culprit.

I did get a new one, and within the 30 seconds that it took to get back to the house and turn around to look at it, there were already three goldfinches on it :)

Finally caught myself a male, I do believe!

It's been up for a couple of weeks, and nothing's chewed holes in it. The finches are getting fat and happy though! :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Okame Chameleon

"Okame, kameh, kameh, kameh, kameh, chameleuuuuuuuuuuun...."

Don't you miss the days when Boy George was normal?

Much cheerier than 'I Beat My Sex Slave Up And Now I Do Community Service' George.

Although, he still can rock a dust mask and work gloves like nobody's business!

All right, let's get to it. Gentlemen?

*cue fanfare*

I am now the proud owner of an Okame Cherry tree!

Mr. A is the most wonderful man on earth for buying it for me. Although I worry that he didn't buy this wonderful present simply out of the goodness of his heart. Maybe he just couldn't take the 'mope face' anymore.

Nobody mopes like Kyna mopes!

I am happy to say that I dug most of the massive planting hole myself. Mr. A would probably have insisted on doing it all for me, but he was busy fixing my car. Jack-of-All-Trades, he is! :)

This pic shows you how terrible our soil is here. Clay and sand make a colossal concrete-like substance. A pickaxe would have been a more appropriate tool for this mess. And this picture doesn't even show the finished hole-size...

I have sore shoulders and a couple of nasty blisters for my efforts. And I'm walking around in a cloud of dirt like Pig-Pen from Peanuts.

Even though this type of cherry does okay in clay, I did tote home a bag of soil, and a bag of cow peat to make the growing situation better. All of the work was worth it...this is the most beautiful tree ever! And it's just starting to bloom. Okame Cherries are one of the first trees to start flowering for the spring.

The flowers will only last a little while, but they're awesome. And Okames tend to have a longer flowering period of any Cherry. They'll get me through the last part of winter at least. And even when the tree has no leaves in the colder parts of the year, the bark is still pretty to look at. Satiny brown and shiny...

I wish I could have had it a little closer to the house, but we have a huge septic tank field in the backyard. It had to be a little ways out. I was originally going to put it in the front yard, but we decided we wanted to be able to see it more often. We sit on the back porch as an everyday afternoon ritual. Usually with a brew-ski :)

I've wanted a cherry tree since I started gardening in this house, and thanks to Mr. A, there it is! I'd do a dance (I always do a little dance when I'm happy), but I'm way too exhausted. All I can manage is a weak arm-flapping and pitiful butt-wiggling. The joy is on the inside!

The only thing I worry about is lichen growing on it. Our neighbours have three apple trees, and the trunks look like they're wearing green beards. Bleah. I had to wait till the neigbour left, so I could run into their yard and take a picture without looking like a lunatic. I probably looked like one anyway ;)

I love you Okame Cherry. George Washington, eat your heart out!

Hmmm....another George. Are there too many Georges in this post? No? Good, then I'm going to add a few more.

And my favourite...

You're welcome, Ladies. ;)