Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bloomin' Cherry Tree

I bought this tree about 5 or 6 years ago for the focal point in this bed and I must say it does it's job well. When I see it bloom it reminds me of the photos I took of my daughter and her friends before going off to their Senior Prom in May 2006.

The husband says I must update everyone on the results of my nettle foraging. He and I thoroughly enjoyed the Nettle Soup. I used two potatoes instead of rice as a thickener and the splash of cream added just enough fat to make it rich and yummy.

And regarding the wrens who were a courtin' and had scoped out our bird house: Well, they were foiled again; this time by bumble bees that decided to nest in the house along with them. I guess it wasn't too cozy of a situation so the wrens left, although I still hear them in the shrubs and bushes around the upper yard. My husband cleaned out the bird house and last Saturday chickadees were checking it out! Who knows we may get baby birds in there yet.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And Today

And today I went to Florabundance, the BIG plant sale put on by the Arboretum Society. I went with my good friend Christine who is at least as avid about gardening as I am. We get great inspiration from each other. So I spent a wad of money....I will not even tell you the amount. But remember, I have not bought a single solitary plant by mail order this season. Also, I am still in the process of rejuvenating our front gardens.
So, justifiable expenses, right? This is the plant that, while not the most expensive, it got the most comments and inquiries of "Which stall did you find that one at?" then I had to deliver the sad news, "Sorry it was the last one on the table." Inside I was smiling, knowing I had a 'find'. This is it; an epimedium called BullsEye.

I bought a total of 17 plants, the most pricey being a Rhododendron Pachysanthum which I bought for its silvery blue gray foliage, and a Variegated Sambucus Nigra (elderberry) called Madonna along with the more ordinary tomato and pepper plants.
Now the rain is pit pattering away and that is good for all the new plants I managed to put into place and it will fill the upper rain barrel which is currently empty. The husband leveled it today so perhaps the overflow will even make it into the second barrel.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Day in the Dirt

Saturday was a day to play in the dirt and Sunday looks like a repeat. It was hot. 70 degrees; that is hot enough for me. Any hotter and it is too exhausting to work outside. So today was perfect. I pulled a lot of weeds and I transplanted lots of plants that I had started inside. I even put pumpkins a lemon cucumber out although I wonder if that wasn't fool hardy. I have 3 more starts inside in case the ones outside croak. As you can see in the pictures there is a lot of color going on in my garden. I try and try to pull up some of the Wood and Grape Hyacinths but they only seem to multiply more. Everything looks especially pretty when viewed from our deck.


This what I call 'a bee's view'. who doesn't like the inside of a tulip?


Corydalis; it has a rather short season, dying by mid summer, but its blooms drape so gracefully right now.


Lime green foliage at the fence line is especially striking and seems to add depth to the yard. Here is a Bleeding Heart and a Mock Orange.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Time to Free Associate

Join Here

  1. Questioning :
  2. my sanity
  3. Immunity :
  4. Survivor
  5. Online dating :
  6. my friend Carolyn
  7. Calcium :
  8. Supplements I should take
  9. Dressing :
  10. Up
  11. Bucket(s) :
  12. of rain
  13. Stain :
  14. on the rug
  15. Advanced :
  16. Placement
  17. Dramatic :
  18. Improvement
  19. Self-medication :
  20. The 70s

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tulips on the Table

Mostly I like to appreciate my flowers in their growing state. But every now and then I feel flush with the multitude of blooms and then I will pick a bouquet for myself. That is what I did today.

Here is a list of what I bought at the NPA sale:
Salvia Argentea (a lovely apricot colored salvia)
Saruma Henryi
Epimedium Black Seas
Jack in the Pulpit (I do not need another Arisaema but I bought this one because the price was right and this plant has sentimental value to me.)
Agastache Auarantiaca (Orange Hummingbird Mint)
Syphytum officiale American Flag (Comfrey)
Vancouveria Hexandra(Inside-out Flower)
a Red Leaved Geranium
It was a chilly 40 degrees when I left the plant sale and a snow/hail mix was coming down! I was happy to see drier conditions only 20 minutes away at home in West Seattle. So I bundled up and planted my new 'finds'. Strangely enough, the soil in my pots felt warmer to my hands than the air.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Squeaky Green

I love the squeaky green look of Solomon's Seal and Hosta before their leaves unfurl.

And velvety primroses that invite you to touch to see if they are real.

Not much can compare with the nodding grace of new fern fronds.

Now I am off to the Northwest Perennial Alliance plant sale!


"Tenderly you stroke a Nettle, and it stings you for your pains. Grasp it like a man of mettle, and it soft as silk remains." Traditional Verse

I guess reading Omnivores' Dilemma has me inspired. In one of my neighborhood walks I had passed a lush swath of nettles.

Common sense has always told me to wear gloves when picking nettles. I have heard that if you just dive in and grab and tear the nettles you won't be stung (which is what my opening traditional verse suggests) but I am not convinced.

That said, here you see my ungloved hand touching a nettle leaf. The trick is to stay clear of the serrated leaf edges. I did wear gloves when I began harvesting the tender plant tips. Today's chilly weather with its mix of icy rain and snow was added incentive to wear gloves. You must get the young nettles before they flower. It is 'stoop labor' and my back feels it tonight.

Recalling a tasty soup I made many years ago, I went searching online for something similar and found this recipe.

Since the recipe is from the U.K. a couple terms were unfamiliar to me. What is a '1/2 carrier bag' of nettles? A 2/3 full Target bag is what I picked. Once snipped from stems and washed they filled a 2 quart bowl to overflowing:

And as to how it all turned out...I will let you know tomorrow. Heavy cream, that's not something I keep on hand! The final ingredient is 2 tablespoons of cream.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I do not believe it! I am listening to the 11:00 news and to my amazement there is, at this time, snow falling less than 30 minutes away from me; in Greenwood, Shoreline and Bellevue. Look at the lovely, late afternoon photos of my Asian Pear tree and the delicate apricot blooms of the rhodie. They do not need nor want SNOW and neither do I! Stepping into the backyard I see the moon is veiled in a layer of thin cloud. The air is clean, crisp and very cold. I am wearing smart wool socks and a velour robe and it is April. This is ridiculous!

Shit Happens

There is no other way to put it; that is the title that came to mind. For the third day in a row some one of our kindergarten boys has been smearing feces on the wall of the restroom. I know, "EWWW... SICK!" you are saying; my team teaching partner and I have the same reaction. Other years we have put up with puddles of urine scattered around the toilet...but this poop thing is a bit much. No one at present is sick, so that is not an excuse. We have had serious, no nonsense talks about the problem but that has not helped so starting Monday the boys will have to 'sign in' to use the bathroom and we will have to do a 'check' when they leave to be certain no foul play has occurred. So while I do my best to consider my audience and give everyone 'the nice slice' of life in the classroom, when SHIT happens, writing a post is the only way to flush it out of my system. It is not always the land of Hummel in 102A!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Game of Association

When time in the garden surpasses time on the computer, it is good to have a meme or two to fall back on!

Join Here
  1. Silence : is golden

  2. Wall : Flowers

  3. Killed : in action

  4. Wishful : thinking

  5. Poodle : skirt

  6. Sullen : disposition

  7. Do not disturb : ME!

  8. Philadephia : PA

  9. Anticipation : Carly Simon

  10. Sidewalk : sales

Seeds of Another Sort

So what was it like, to hear the Dalai Lama speak you may ask. Hmmmm.... I am glad I attended if for no other reason than it was a chance to be close to a man who has been a symbol of peace and tolerance for nearly a half century. His demeanor is unassuming, kind, all inclusive, nonviolent, thoughtful and wise. For me and for most people in the audience the biggest surge of clapping in agreement came close to the beginning of his talk when he spoke of the need for disarmament of both the external; such as elimination of nuclear weapons, as well as internal disarmament; to not let emotions of fear and suspicion take control of our interactions with others. I was also in total agreement with his call for the 21st Century to be one of dialog at all levels: family, work place, community, country and world. "Amen!" I feel like there is far too little intentional listening, and thoughtful responding going on in this world.
One of the best parts of the entire production was hearing the teen aged ambassadors speak their truth on how to live more compassionately. I felt very proud to be a teacher (even though K is FAR from high school, the seed starts with me in some respects since most kids start writing as kindergartners)
Now for what I didn't like:
-Sure wish I had brought my binoculars. The 300 level is way up there.
-Did all the introductory speakers need to be so long winded?
-The attention His Holiness gave to our governor, Christine Gregoire, looked like it was staged for a political ad...I did not like that at all!
-There was caramel corn, hot dogs and all the usual vendors around the stadium. That struck me as strange and gave the event a carnival appearance.
-The echo from the sound system was TERRIBLE! I was so happy to read about the event in today's Seattle Times because at least 25% of it was unintelligible to my ears.
-The bead bracelets that we were supposed to weave on each others' wrists to show our commitment to sowing 'seeds of compassion'; struck me as kind of a dopey, half baked idea in an attempt to bring everyone together. The crowd was not intimate enough for this to work in my opinion. The bracelet is a nice souvenir, though.

Tiny Bright Spot

This Dog Tooth Lily of the cultivar Pagoda, makes a tiny bright spot under an Autumn Moon Japanese Maple. The Dog Tooth is native to the Eastern U.S. It's name comes from the shape of it's corm. I was surprised to learn that they can grow to be 2 feet tall. This little clump is only about 7 inches high.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

On a Day Like This...

On a day like this you would expect me to be in amongst the Tulips, Solomon's Seal, Hosta, and the various other flora that clamor for my attention. But instead I am doing something else that might be just as good at feeding my soul:

And while I am listening to the wisdom of the Dalai Lama, the Asian Pear tree in my yard will certainly be opening it's blossoms! For today it is supposed to get up to 70. Yes! Bring out the sunscreen!

Monday, April 07, 2008

She Did, He Did

Okey doke! I'm back in the saddle. Here's a classroom conflict I interceded upon today:

"SHE flicked a pencil at me!"

"HE told me to stick my tongue out and then he said he saw a black dot on my tongue. But really, I threw it 'on accident'.'

The wise teacher's response: "We will discuss it together at 'Center Time'." (This is the BEST part of the day for most kindergartners.)

The unraveled incident:
SHE accidentally tossed her pencil in the direction of HIM when responding with gesture and words to a question or comment from another student.

HE was upset (understandably so) by the flying pencil.

SHE, all flustered, says "I'm sorry it was an accident!"

HE says, "Stick out your tongue, my mom says if you are lying there is a black dot on your tongue." followed by the dismal verdict, "Yup, I see a black dot. You're lying." and HE tosses the pencil back at HER. Whereupon tears ensue and the teacher is sought out.

TEACHER upon hearing the series of events and seeing the woeful, girl child INSISTING "It WAS an accident!" asks girl child to apologize for the pencil throwing; accident or not, the apology is important. Then the teacher turns to the boy child and says, "AT school we do not ask each other to stick our tongues out to see if we are telling the truth. Friends give each other a second (and third and fourth....) chance by accepting their words of apology AND if you are a friend you believe them when they say it is an 'accident'. When you don't believe a friend we say you are 'doubting them'. When you doubt a friend it hurts their feelings and that is NOT NICE. Do you understand that word; doubting?"

HE says, "Yeah, like that guy Thomas that doubted about Jesus in the Bible."

WHEW! At least somebody else was listening to the readings in church on Sunday.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

In the Spotlight

It is good to have new readers who have found me through Mercedes featuring me 'In the Spotlight'. If you are a teacher blog reader be sure to check out my classroom blog at Something to Say from 102A. If you like to travel vicariously please support my former student and one of the world's youngest blog writer's, Owen, at Owen's African Journal.It is very important to support young writers so please take time to leave Owen a comment. His mom also has a blog entitled Village Chicken. Owen's father works for PATH and her journal will chronicle the family's two year commitment to living in Zambia, Africa. And what does the world look like from where YOU are sitting right now? Here is my view:

Saturday, April 05, 2008

So Delicate

Oh my! I am so delighted when I see the plants which I have paid a pretty penny for, start to multiply. This is a clump of Double Sanguinaria, aka Bloodroot. Most online sites and gardening books say it grows East of the Rockies, which in fact may be it's native habitat, but you can see it also is happy here in my Seattle woodland garden.

An Ultimate Moment

Is your daughter coming home for spring break? I have been asked this a couple times recently. I wish she had, or even that I could have seen her zipping back and forth playing Ultimate at the tournaments in Georgia and Washington DC, which is what she is doing in this picture.
The pictures are a treat though; especially the ones of her smiling:

Today we got the news...she is definitely going to Tunisia for her quarter abroad. She was also accepted into UChicago's year in Paris program. But no, she chose Tunisia. Can you hear it? "But MOM, I've lived in France! I want a totally different cultural experience." Hmmm... no doubt, this will be totally different. Am I worried? Heck yes, 'worried' is my middle name! But I am proud of her too and her excitement is contagious. (For info on her year in Annecy, France check out my '04-'05 archived posts)

It Can Rain Now

It can rain now, I reseeded the path between my shade gardens. I pulled dandelions and Bishop's Weed until my elbow ached. I will never dominate the dandelions! We use no pesticides or chemical fertilizers and the lot next door is vacant and although I try to occasionally jump the fence and whack away at the blackberry brambles and weeds, I don't make much of a dent. Also, we are down a couple inches for rainfall which seems hard to believe for Seattle. The pink blossoms of the cherry trees in the neighborhood are starting to fade a bit. The magnolia trees with their enormous buds are poised to unfold with the least bit of sun that may come our way. The trees in the pictures are not on my street, but they were on my 'walking route' in the neighborhood.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Be Impressed

I am busy, busy busy, trying to get nit picky things done like have the car's oil changed, weed the path in my shade garden, shop for new jeans (remember I hate to shop unless it is for plants!) Anyway, I am not up for writing a post with any sort of substance so go to Poetry and Ideas for a well thought out post on the presidential candidates. Be prepared to be impressed. (Her bird photos are pretty nice too!) And for Pete's sake, leave the woman a comment!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Behind This Door....

...are the clutter and collections left behind by the girl who is now the young woman, away at college. She will not entirely appreciate my sifting and sorting, but it needs to be done, for me if for no one else. I get too wistful and I am stuck with this 'girl image' when I pass all the memorabilia on her door saved from high school, middle school and even before those years. So, I am starting slowly, tackling just the bookshelves and the box of saved school papers from under the desk; I found some very good essays that lit me up from the inside out. Nary a quiz, test, or essay had anything less than 93% at the top. I threw out her Latin and Spanish study cards, and most math. I went through every notebook and tablet (the assortment of writing materials was truly enormous) and I salvaged unused paper; I think we have enough to support a second high school student. I tested every writing implement, saving only those that were actually usable. Don't worry Honey Girl, I have saved the majority of the books. Some will actually stay on the bookshelf, the others are going to be boxed and stashed away; and those boxes will be hefty. Chances are when I finally insist she remove them from our attic she will say, "Now why did I want to save all this?"

Speaking of saving...this is a book from my childhood that I found on her shelf. When I was growing up there really was not much nonfiction written for children. I do not know who gave this Whitman Learn About Book to me but I absolutely loved it! I would pour over the pages again and again and then I would take apart dying flowers to find all the parts that were diagrammed in the book. My interest in gardening has deep roots. And now that the sun is piercing the morning fog I just might escape to do some outside weeding. I hate weeding, but I need a break from sifting through all these memories.