Friday, October 31, 2008

MOO!

Oops, we meant

BOO!

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If I had a rowboat...

I'm just back from ooohing and aaahing over the Fall colors in Maine over at the Sarah Laurence Blog. Sarah is a writer and a painter and you can always find great book reviews and wonderful photos on her blog. I was reading her post about a recent family hiking adventure in the White Mountains of Maine when I came across a wonderful photo of Sarah's kids scrambling up the mountain. I was immediately struck by how a word's meaning changes depending on the geographical context. In Maine scrambling refers to an activity that is part hill walking and part rock climbing, requiring the use of arms, legs, hands and knees. Here in Seattle, scrambling is what happens at our house on mornings when both Wing Nut and I need to get out the door by 9 a.m. It's part synchronized dance, part daring acrobatics, and lots and lots of artistic drama--Cirque du Soleil has nothing on us.

This morning saw a whole lot of SCRAMBLING going on at our house. Usually I work from home in the mornings and so have time to make sure that Wing Nut eats her breakfast, has a lunch and snacks packed and gets her derrière out the door in a timely manner. But this morning it was every Wench for herself as I had an early morning assignment and had to catch a bus. On such mornings we opt for the "divide and conquer" approach to life. Wing Nut walks Diva Dog, plays ball with her for a few minutes and feeds the menagerie. I'm in charge of getting breakfast ready and lunch packed. That's all well and good in theory. Trying to squeeze in things like showering, getting dressed and eating breakfast is what usually trips us up. Inevitably, it comes down to me racing down the hill--thank goodness it's downhill--to the bus stop. On days of serious scrambling I end up at the corner of the bus stop waving my arms wildly while jumping up and down in an attempt to signal the bus driver that I'm stuck at the light, hoping that the bright pink of my persimmon colored raincoat will be bright enough to attract attention. Today it worked. The bus driver waited for me.

NOBODY is ever happy on mornings like this. Ms. Growly Pants decides to spit up a hairball. We can hear it but we can't see her. I'm sure we'll step in it sooner or later. Snuggle Bug morphs into Annoying Little Creature--you would not believe how loud this little cat can yowl--and insists on sitting on Wing Nut's shoulders and trying to steal a bite of her Canadian bacon. White Socks just sits by her food bowl despondently--waiting for one of us to sprinkle nutritional yeast on her otherwise inedible kibble. And Diva Dog sticks to me like glue, to the point of getting stepped on. She then sits while I try to eat my breakfast and stares at me with THAT look. "You can't possibly be thinking of leaving me home alone with those three crazy cats, can you?" And Wing Nut hates these mornings too because she's the last one out the door and gets the most undesirable task of all--looking into Diva Dog's beautiful brown eyes and trying to convince her that she won't be stuck at home alone with the cats for too long.

Today my commute was about 40 minutes one way. I walked, took a bus and walked some more. On the return trip I just walked all the way home. It was still about 40 minutes. If I had a rowboat my commute would be about 12 minutes. Hey Wing Nut, can I have a rowboat for Christmas?

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Despite the fact that a rowboat would cut my travel time by more than two-thirds, I don't mind my commute. It's a pleasant walk that takes me along the ship canal and over the Fremont Bridge.

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Pumpkins pop up in the most unlikely places!

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And how many of you get to wave to Rapunzel on your commute?

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Rapunzel, now there's a chick who should know a thing or two about scrambling...

--Curmudgeon

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Under Cover

Hey it's been a looong time since we've posted. What have the Wenches been up to you ask?

Well, we've been working under cover...

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Since our last post we got our first wind storm of the season--complete with 50 mph winds. We also heard the dreaded words "frost" and "snow in the mountains" mentioned on the weather forecast. Two weeks ago, we tidied up the garden, loosened up the soil, added lime, and sewed two cover crops -- crimson clover and faba beans. We might be a little late on the clover, but should still be okay on the faba beans.  We'll see.

Today we peaked under the cover and found these!

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A lovely earthworm also appeared.  We hope he has many friends and family in the garden.

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This is another visitor to our garden.  Any ideas who this is?

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-- Wing Nut

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Pansy Trials

Working at a nursery, Wing Nut gets to have all manner of adventures. Sometimes it's scooping up red wigglers out of the worm bin. Once in a while, thankfully not more often, it's getting flattened to the ground by a runaway cart full of gallon pots of lavender. On occasion it's catching small frogs hopping among the plants. Once it was helping relocate a killdeer that had decided the nursery driveway was a good place for its nest. Now and again it's getting the opportunity to express her creativity by designing flower displays, planting up a very expensive antique pot that a customer brought in, or helping with the junior gardeners' newsletter. And then sometimes it's getting a weird skin rash on her arm THAT THE DOCTOR THINKS MIGHT BE LYME DISEASE!!!

Why oh why couldn't she just be happy at her old job, sitting at a desk in a posh purple ergonomic chair and enjoying the medical insurance that would have covered her if for some twilight-zone-like reason she had contracted LYME DISEASE??? Actually the worst thing that ever happened to her on THAT job was when she gave herself quite a shiner after picking up the phone receiver and clocking herself in the eye with it. Sometimes I worry about that girl!

But I digress. Last week she and two of the other flower shed girls embarked on yet another adventure. They took a road trip to Henry's Plant Farm in Mill Creek, WA. Once a year, Henry's has an open house and invites their nursery & garden center clients to come visit and check out their pansy trials.

--Hey! It was my road trip and my pictures, so why are YOU telling this story?

--Because you hadn't gotten around to telling it and I wanted to post the pics of the flowers you brought home.

--Okay, okay, but let me add some thoughts too! And did you have to tell everyone about the phone-to-the-eye incident??

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After a lovely picnic lunch under blue skies and warm sun, we toured some of the greenhouses at Henry's. One huge greenhouse was dedicated to the pansy trials -- a show of new selections and upcoming varieties. We saw rows upon rows of beautiful and colorful pansies, violas, and panolas.  We learned that a panola is a cross between a pansy and a viola, with the best features of each plant. The panolas have a face that is smaller than a traditional pansy, but larger than a viola.  The sales rep told us that panolas sell really well in our area because their faces hold up better during our wet, rainy winters, whereas the large faced pansies droop under heavy rain.

Then we chose 3 flats of special beauties and took them back to the nursery. It was really hard to limit ourselves to only 3 favorites since there were so many amazing and beautiful colors.  Perhaps we should have taken K's van instead of A's new car -- we could have gotten more! ;-)

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Of course I had to buy two of the varieties we brought back!

Pansy 'Fizzy Lemonberry'

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Viola 'Mickey'

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Not only are Fizzy Lemonberry and Mickey beautiful, but they are gloriously fragrant too!  Sigh...

--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

¡Salsa!

The Princess of Salsa.

After all that salsa one can only indulge in more...

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Our 4/4 salsa--4 types of tomatoes and 4 types of peppers--was definitely fiery hot. 

The Queen of Salsa.

Celia Cruz (1925-2003) is still the undisputed Queen of Salsa. I grew up knowing only the older more eccentric Celia, the Celia of the multi-colored wigs and Cuban rumba dresses. It was rather a shock to find the first video clip of a very young Celia, still in Cuba, singing with La Sonora Matancera.

--Curmudgeon