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Archive for the 'Home & Garden' Category

The Problem of The Froggy Death Trap

Monday, May 10th, 2004

I went out in my lovely garden patio this morning to have an early morning cigarette - my version of most people's coffee wake-me-up - and noticed a small frog clinging to the side of the small koi pond half. His lower half was in the water and though his head was well above it, I knew from experience, that it wouldn't be long before, exhausted, he slipped underneath and drowned.

With a squeak, I quickly hobbled over and rescued the hapless little fellow, offering my apologies and making sure the cats weren't around to notice this new and easy prey. And easy he would've been; the little frog was so weary - who knows how long he'd clung there - he didn't even attempt to hop off.

Our little "pond" (or "hole in the ground" if you want to get technical) is a froggy death trap. We've found a number of dead frogs in it - their deaths the result of drowning because they were unable to get once they'd hopped in.

My question is, any ideas on what we could do to turn this into a "safe" pond for frogs? We thought of putting something floating in the water that would allow them to get on, and hop out - but would float and still be strong enough to hold the frogs? (These aren't tree frogs we're talking about, here). I've thought of sticking a plank of wood into the pond that sticks out a bit - not attractive, but it might work. Just wondering if you guys might be able to come up with something better.

To see:
THE KOI POND OF FROGGY DEATH PART ONE
THE KOI POND OF FROGGY DEATH PART TWO

Thanks!

When It Rains…

Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

It rained yesterday.

In my house.

Yes, after a particularly shitty and stressful Monday, I came home to a particularly shitty and stressful springtime shower in my own living room.

Really, at that point, I just had to laugh. It didn't bother me - the irony was too great. Baret got home before me and heard gushing water. He ran into the kitchen and looked in the downstairs bathroom - nothing. He hurried to the living room to see great gallons of water gushing forth...from the ceiling fan. My first thought would've been, "We're rich! Our ceiling fan makes water!" Think of the possibilites. Baret, being more mechanically-inclined than myself (and obviously not nearly as optimistic) ran upstairs to find water pouring out of the top of the toliet and onto the already one-and-a-half inch pool of water on the bathroom floor - which had seeped through the floor and was coming out of the ceiling and puddling all around the brand-new carpet and our lovely second-hand couch.

I came home to find the door swung wide open - which was odd, as it was damn cold outside. Then I noticed the couch pushed back far enough that I could see it from the open door. As I hobbled closer, optimistic thought patterns in full swing (or perhaps just my mind trying to deny the obvious), I wondered if he'd pushed the couch back and had laid out a little picnic after-work snack for us on the floor (insert derisive laughter here) - hey, it's a thought. I walked in to see soaked towels all over the floor and water still dripping...from the ceiling fan.

The landlord showed up about 5 mins after I did and promised to come back the next day to fix the toliet. Hobbling downstairs every time I had to pee last nite was a joy I'd not like to repeat. The ceiling fan will most likely have to be replaced and even though Baret spent most of the evening sucking up water with the wet/dry vac we'd rented, we worry about the inevitable mildew smell that will sneak into the brand new carpet (which will probably also buckle as it dries).

And of course, all of this has to happen when it is not only raining outside so we can't open up the house and let the warm Spring air help with the drying process, but when the temperature has dropped and is nearing 38 degrees so we can't open up the house and let the warm Spring air help with the drying process. Nice. 38 degrees in Spring? Only when Shanna and Baret's house is flooded and needs warm air so we can open it all up and save us from mildew stench.

Really, I'm not bothered by it. Work has been stressful enough that I let the little things at home just go on by without much notice. Even when, later, Baret accidentally spilled a glass of water all over my desk, my CDs and paperwork, I just laughed. Water was a prominent element in our home last nite.

So - here's to everyone having a *DRY* evening this time around!

All Hail, Bacchus!

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004

Oh yay!!! Bacchus has arrived!!!!

The New & Improved Patio

Monday, March 22nd, 2004

Take a Sunday afternoon with nothing planned (I'd forgotten such things exist), one ready and willing person and one begrudging but willing person, two trips to Wal-Mart and $230 spent and what do you have? Shanna & Baret's new and improved patio area.

It's lovely! Thanks to everyone for the ideas. We went to Super Wal-Mart Saturday evening and I was just over-whelmed. So many plants - what did I want? Where would I put what? What in the hell was I doing here? We decided it'd be best to go home, have another look at the patio, lay out a rudimentary landscape-idea on paper and do some heavy Internet research on hardy yet pretty (i.e. attractive + not-easy-to-kill) plants.

Sunday I was much better prepared. Though we had to make two trips (you try fitting a large amount of plants, patio accessories & such in a Miata), and didn't even get to planting 'til after noon, it was worth the effort. There are three beds - one we're not doing anything much to just yet as a large tree is in that keeps it carpeted in a thick layer of leaves; it also doesn't get much sun. That's a later project. The two smaller beds, before we started, contained a bunch of Indian heather shrubs. Little shrubberies with small, pretty purple flowers on them. Since they were pretty, and needed to be thicked, we moved all of them to the corner bed and bordered it with white begonias (a flower that's super hardy and I've worked with before). The other bed has a beautiful rose climbing a trellis on the end next to the fence, is bordered with colorful petunias and has four bright snapdragon plants in the center. All very colorful.

We flanked the little goldfish pond-thingy with two little topiary-looking miniature rose bushes (called "Hot & Spicy") and a planter with white begonias behind. I planted white begonias around the small tree in the big, ugly planter and the stone candle and angels I have there. There are also two large potted impatiens and two beautiful hanging ivys that our neighbors threw away this morning! Baret took them out the trash and we hung them up; who throws away good, healthy plants? Only the 'bamas.

We also bought two new tiki torches - these are durable metal and in Oriental-style, so they match my yard perfectly.

Words don't do it justice, so I'll have to post some pics. We're not near done - we have big plans for the goldfish's living area. But that will have to be a summer project. I didn't intend to spend over $200 on fixing up the patio!

Today I'm all sore, cut up and sunburnt - but it feels wonderful. Every little thing I do that makes that place a little more "my home" just warms me up inside. I never thought I'd so enjoy being comfortable and settled. Even if we're only renting; I'm finding as I grow older that security is a nice thing. Just up 'til a few years ago I still made statements like "I hope I never settle down" or "I am undomesticatable and proud of it" or "I wouldn't even buy a house b/c I'd hate the idea that I may be stuck in one place for the rest of my life". But lately I find myself treasuring my little nook of the world and making it mine, and being rather content to stay there for awhile.

Tonight we're going to chill on the new patio (after jumping on Everquest real quick to save one of Baret's character's rotting corpses), have a bottle of red wine and barbq. Hope everyone has just as pleasant an evening.

Birdsong

Friday, March 19th, 2004

I awoke this morning not to the annoying womp-womp-womp of my alarm, but to the sounds of birdsong outside my window.

My first thought was, "Oh gods, be quiet" as I was ripped from peaceful slumber. But as I began to awake more fully I realized just what I was hearing. I haven't heard birds chirping outside of my window in months. In fact, since we moved here just this past fall, I haven't heard it at all. I smiled, feeling very happy, because I knew that the cheerful and much varied chirps I was hearing were the first announcements of spring. Welcome Spring!

I was just thinking last nite that spring had snuck up on us. Looking at my almanac, I realized that the Spring Equinox, and therefore Ostara, were on Saturday. I hadn't seen it approaching!

(Also, for those that might be interested, I found out that Saturday is, without a doubt, the day of new beginnings! Not only is it the first day of spring, but it is also a New Moon - and on that springtime equinox & New Moon day the Sun and Moon will be moving into Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. I just thought that was all pretty damn neat.)

I wish I celebrated the Pagan holidays more faithfully. The truth of the matter is, I'm just lazy. The old, regular holidays are already planned out for me - okay, Christmas, put up a tree and buy gifts. Easter, dye some eggs and eat chocolate. There's no set rules for the Pagan holidays, which I like, but at the same time when you're the only one you know who wants to celebrate or even cares that it's a holiday, it's just not as fun. Everyone knows that holidays spent alone aren't near as special or inspiring. Still, that's a cop out. My ever-ready to party friends would be more than happy to come on over if I announced an Ostara party; we who also celebrate the Chinese New Year & Mexico's Day of the Dead with festivities. They'd even be interested to learn what it's all about; I have awesome friends. So, I'm just lazy. Every year at Samhain I promise myself, "I'm going to be better this year - I'm going to actually celebrate the Pagan holidays" (they have so much more meaning to me than the usual ones) and every year I don't. Maybe this new beginnings Ostara, though, is the time to start.

Anyway, about the birdsong. I read somewhere once (it might've been in Linda Goodman's "Star Signs") that birdsong actually encourages the plants to grow. That's why they are singing. Isn't that just a lovely thought?

I'm going to start gardening in my patio soon and need some suggestions. What's good for a novice gardener to try and grow? Something fairly easy to keep up with, low maintenance (b/c I'm lazy) but that looks nice. I plan to grow some food & herbs as well, so any such suggestions are welcome. This is the biggest garden area I've had to work with yet so I'm very excited. I'll keep you updated on my progress via pictures.

I'm out - it's Friday and I can wear jeans to work today. That makes everything alright with the world.

In My Home

Friday, March 12th, 2004

I got the latest Pyramid Collection catalog in the mail yesterday. As always, the first thing I do is flip through quickly to make sure Bacchus is still for sale. I want Bacchus in my home - at least, I want the likeness of his face that is carved into this resin wall plaque. I just haven't been able to really afford him, or convince myself I "needed" him enough to dole out the extra cash. But I wanted him badly and when I want something, it's an ever-burning thought in my consciousness until I make it mine.

With dismay I realized he wasn't in the catalog this time around. Panicked, I told Baret - he knows how badly I've been wanting the Bacchus plaque to hang over our wine rack - and flew straight to the website. Thankfully, he was still there (type "Bacchus" in the Search box) and I ordered him right away before he was truly gone forever.

It got me thinking about the guest deities I have in my home. I wouldn't say that I'm dedicated fully to any one certain pantheon or set of deities, but rather, it seems, I simply surround myself with the ones that speak to me at the time. In this way each of them imbue my surroundings with the energy that they possess. So who is it that I have invited to share my home with? Buddha would be the most prominent of my guests - I have three lovely Buddha statues. Two fairly large, brown wood ones on my hearth and a lovely white marble one I purchased in New Orlean's French Market expressly for my first apartment. He now, in my new home, resides on the mantle. A new Buddha, a gift from a friend, has been added to the collection. I would not feel content without the beautiful Isis & Osiris looking down on me my from living room wall. The Hindu god Ganesh, another trinket from the French Market, sits on my desk to inspire me. My four-piece cross collection gives a nod to the prophet Jesus, whose peaceful teachings I am in accord with. Soon Bacchus, god of wine, will come to join us in our merry home and the next deity I intend to invite in is the peaceful and loving goddess Kwan Yin.

I truly have some of the most wonderful house guests! What energies to you invite into your home?

Still Too New

Tuesday, November 4th, 2003

Busy busy here - as missing two days of work can only bring. But a quick question for my fellow bloggers & faithful readers...

When you move into a new place, do you have a really hard time adjusting to your new surroundings? I know I experienced this when I first moved into my old apartment; but I grew so comfortable there that leaving has been really hard. So, my question is - is this a common occurrence, and, if so, how did you combat the old-home-sick blues and get comfortable in your new pad?

I'm supposing it's just going to take time, but I'd really like to hear what everyone else has to say about it.

I'll post again this evening with pictures and details of the Renaissance festival - so check back! :)