Tuesday, April 28, 2009
So you succumb to your desires, and you place the order.
And then you sit.
And you wait.
And you sit and wait some more.
And you watch the online tracking.
And it finally arrives!
You bring the box inside off the front doorstep, making sure you don't rattle it around or shake it too much - you just don't know how fragile this new toy will be.
And you carefully open it up, making sure not to cut too deep when breaking the tape - you don't want to damage what's inside the box.
Then you remove all the packing materials - and there it is...your new toy!
You start to loosen it from the box, making sure you don't break anything before you've read the manual.
Check to make sure all the parts are there! Count every last little bit...
And then you take it out and play with it! You looooove your new toy! It's so much fun! But you're also careful not to break it. You know you paid a fortune for this new thing you couldn't live without, and you want to be very careful with it.
Heck, you even follow the instructions and put the protective cover back on it after you're done playing with it....just to be safe.
LOL Ok, I have to be honest... Tucker probably was only SORT of entertained by Brett putting this plastic bag over him. And these pictures were taken separately from me catching him napping in the box recently. You know kitties and their love of cardboard boxes!
But really - you have to admit - he IS cute in the bag! (WARNING! THIS IS A CHOKING HAZARD!!!!) ;-)
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sure, there are complaints of overheating issues at work, and it's warm and SUPER windy here so I can't sit under the umbrella for fear of the umbrella and the table tipping over YET AGAIN...but how often do you get to grill up a burger with two kinds of cheese, mayo, mustard, ketchup, lettuce AND avocado while you're working!?
Forgot to rotate the picture - there were a LOT of pre-filled salt and pepper shakers!
There were HUUUUNDREDS of glasses!
Near the center of the picture is a warming oven, with maybe 10 or so large sheet pans inside. All of the items were well-used from when they were at the restaurant that had shut down, and so some, like the warming oven, were pretty scuzzy.
Anyone need an industrial meat slicer?!
I was tempted to check out the stainless steel mixing bowls, but I already have plenty... I should've asked what he wanted for the kitchen scales!
I wonder - would some of these containers have come in handy for parties, the holidays, etc!?
I was really tempted to get some of the skillets, but again, they were really gross/greasy, and I really don't know where I'd put them. And no, I don't need any more collanders - I have quite a few already! (HM, why didn't I ask for a price on the box grater!?)
Ok, now we're talking! Serving spoons and tongs!? While these tongs aren't the kind you can lock shut, they would come in really handy for our parties where we're always short on this sort of stuff. And I don't know why I didn't grab some of those serving spoons!! Grrr!
Ladels! We never have enough ladels! (This isn't as silly as it sounds!) Again - thinking of our Halloween, etc parties...
I definitely didn't need those little stands advertising the weekly specials...and as tempting as the giant pepper grinder was, it was gross and all banged up. And we don't sit around drinking champagne, so I didn't consider the ice bucket/coolers.
These racks could've been fun, but again, they were scuzzy...
Not sure why they were also pushing Christmas stuff...but this stuff smelled like cat pee! Turns out much of this stuff has been kept in a barn for the last year. Ew.
Now I really fell in love with some of these jumbo pots - just think how easy they'd make salsa-time in the summer!!! But we was asking $45-$100 for each of them, and I've since decided I could get new ones almost as cheap from the restaurant supply store we're planning to check out later this spring/summer.... So what you see on the cutting boards are all I got - a bunch of serving tongs of different shapes/sizes, a giant/strong turkey/roast lifting fork (lethal looking!), plus a bunch of ladels of different sizes. $15 for all of them - I felt that was pretty good!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I recently posted concerns about my weeping cherry budding out just as our temperatures dropped and we even had some snow. LUCKILY the cold weather didn't seem to do the flower buds any harm:
Go on - stick your nose in there - they smell nice!
And out in the front yard - the eastern red bud is starting to bud finally! I was a little concerned it wasn't going to flower this year, and it still doesn't seem to have as many buds as it did last year...but I'll be patient. It's still doing it's thing, so there may be more buds yet to come!
These poor daffs along the front of the house are having a hard time keeping their heads up!
The daffs out closer to the street are a bit more sturdy.
A couple days later, with drearier skies, and the weeping cherry is still looking goooood!
I love having patches of hyacinth around the yard. While I can't cut them and bring them in the house without getting a killer headache, I DO like catching a whiff of them when the breeze passes by! SO NICE!
Here's Doogie inside, checking out the daffodils!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
What IS that cylinder-shaped object Tucker's trying to balance on his head? An Inflatable Flying Object?
Oh, never mind - it's just the blimp...
As you can see from these pics, the critters were QUITE curious about it...
Friday, April 24, 2009
This was interesting - BOTH parents dip in to feed the babies at the same time!! Or maybe one's feeding and the other is changing their diapers? See? There's two tails sticking out!
Things get noisy when the parents come with food - and I honestly think it's the parents, not the babies, doing all the chirping!
Haven't checked on the second nest in a couple days...not sure what the status is over there.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
"If Hulk and Superman ran into each other..."
"If Wonder Woman and She-Hulk got into a cat fight..."
"If Data and Seven-Of-Nine both wanted the same hard drive..."
(Ok, I'm losing my imagination here...just go with it...)
Here's a snippet of the article from Newsarama:
It's the argument every dedicated comic book fan is going to have sooner or later. "Who would win in a fight between....?"
Now a television show on Spike TV is looking to answer those questions with more than just guesses. Airing on Tuesday nights, Deadliest Warrior uses scientific data and computer game technology to pit history's greatest warriors against each other to determine who would really win. [This past] Tuesday night's episode (4/21), at 10 p.m. Eastern, [featured] a match between Spartans and ninjas.
Ok, so I didn't find out about this show until just this week....but it sounds like it could be a bit of fun! It sounds like there's no specific plans for superheroes, metahumans, mutants, etc yet, but they're not ruling out something like that being spotlighted in the future! ;-) Ooh, speaking of the future...
"If a Terminator robot (pick your favorite model) ran into Danger (formerly The Danger Room) from the X-Men comics, and they got into a fight, who would get to keep all the leftover parts from the loser?"
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
What's with Alicia Silverstone!? She's looking good as she ages (although less cutesy-girl, and running the risk of getting perhaps TOO skinny?), but that mouth thing of hers is just getting goofier!
Better start building your giant umbrella of faith, morality and righteousness!
It's time to get ready to garden!
It's time to make any last improvements on garden space before planting!
And what does that mean?
Lots of carrying around of odd things in the car...
What you see above is a pitchfork and a mix of plastic tubs for the first trip out to a nearby horsefarm, where they give away free manure. Free VERY WELL COMPOSTED manure! That "very well composted" part is VERY important!!! If you want to add the stuff directly to your garden space shortly before planting, you need to know that the manure etc is VERY well broken down. If it's not, it'll be too "hot" still - or too fresh. It'll burn your plants, and most likely kill them off. In this case, we're talking more like chemical burns - not temperature burn. I'd have to do some reading up before spouting facts about how and why it's bad for your plants to have the fresh stuff....just trust me.
Now in the past I've gotten deliveries of slightly composted stuff directly to the backyard - and that's WOOOONDERFUL! But in those cases, I either new there was going to be time for it to break down in the in-ground bed, OR it went straight into the compost bin to break down with all our kitchen scraps, yard waste, etc. And I wouldn't turn this stuff down - ever!! But I want to really improve my soil lickity-split before I start the spring tilling, the turning of the soil in the raised beds, and before planting. So I head out to Sunbeau Valley Farm in Ravenna, where they have free manure, or it's $2 if you want them to load it. I don't have anything for them to load it into - that would be something like a pick up. So instead, I go scoop my own...
And as you can see, there's quite a bit of poop! Poop to the left...
...and poop to the right!
This time they even had a shovel out there in the mountains of manure - but I QUICKLY learned after my first time years ago - shovels do NOT work as well as pitchforks. It's A LOT less work if you use a pitchfork for this sort of scooping. Shovels get too much resistance...
When I said this stuff was well composted, I meant it. I don't know if it's more than a year old - it very well could be - but it honestly doesn't smell or look like you're standing next to piles of horse shit as tall as me. Instead it looks like you're standing next to piles of soft, damp, crumbly black gold. If anything, it smells earthy. There are no solid equestrian turds falling out (at least not the pile I went to). You could roll around in the stuff and NOT feel like you were in poop.
Ok, maybe I'm overexaggerating a bit...but these worms don't seem to mind one bit!
That's just part of one scoop's worth of the manure, and look how many worms I got (and those are the ones that hadn't already burrowed down into it for protection!). So - BONUS! - in addition to getting this stuff that's great for the soil quality, I'm bringing home HUNDREDS of worms (and who knows how many worm egg cases are in there!) - so I'm stocking my supply of backyard workers!
Here's another view of the piles just to give you some idea. There's a lot of straw in that batch over there - I'm not sure it's broken down as much? You can see a bulldozer path through it - I'm guessing that cut-through pile is about 3/4 my height? I've talked to the farmer before - he's said he would deliver a truckload to me for about $50, but I'm not guaranteed to get all super-composted stuff...I'd like get a mix of the primo stuff with some more fresh stuff. It's more work, but by going out there myself, I get more control over what I'm bringing home (and it's cheaper!).
And I'm HOPING that by getting the older stuff, I'm ensuring any weed seeds which would've passed through the horses are already killed (horses are notorious for NOT digesting weed seeds - so you can be sprinkling weed seeds all over your space as you fertilize it - trust me, I've done this!) Also, since I saw all those worms in the composted manure, I know it was around long enough that if the horses were treated for worms, any deworming drugs had time to break down....this is one less bad thing I have to worry about adding to my own soil!
Here's the back of my car, now loaded with six tubs full'a shit. That's about 150 gallons - I don't even know what it weighs!
I took these home, and dumped four into the ex-strawberry in-ground bed that's going to be home to asparagus and raspberries in about a month. Asparagus are supposed to LOVE this stuff! The other two tubs went into one of the raised beds.
Anyhow....we've had rain since I got this stuff... I want to go back later this week to get more, but I'm not looking forward to scooping/lifting WET compost - that'll be EXTRA heavy, and I've already done enough wear and tear on the back this week (trees, compost, racquetball). So after we've had a few days of warm, dry weather, I plant to head out more to get more of the black gold for the garden beds...and who knows, maybe even for some of the landscaping beds as well!
Oh! And for those of you in the local area who want to know where this good stuff is, I created a map for Tina at work since she expressed interest in it... So see how this works for you (you're going to have to zoom waaaay in to get to the local area - it's showing a view of the entire USA. Make sure you zoom in to the area with the blue pointer showing. Just double click near the blue pointer, which will center it, then double click near the blue pointer again for a zoom, and keep double clicking to zoom in another level. I don't know why the map doesn't just zoom in on the area I've marked.).
View Horse manure!! in a larger map
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Sharon and Andy are doing a bunch of interior improvements right now - so they're not really spending much on the outside of their house (ie: yard), plus I'm not sure they really have the same, uh, interest in constantly adding plants to their landscaping that I do.
I was really curious about the auction - I'd never been to one, it was about an hour away, I wasn't sure how long it would last, but I knew it was something I wouldn't really care to go to alone and also wouldn't want to torture Brett with.
So. What to do. WHO could I POSSIBLY enlist in such an event?
Whoooo else might need EVEN MORE plants?
There was only one obvious answer: MARY!
So we talked ourselves into it (yeah, like that was hard), made our plans, and got our butts out there an hour before the auction started. There were only 100 seats open, and we weren't sure how fast they'd fill up. Turns out getting there early was really smart - we were able to shop around, check out the plants that were tagged for the auction to see what we really fell in love with, jotted down the retail prices on some, etc...
That picture above is Mary getting excited about some Blue Prince holly plants - she and Jim need a male plant to inspire their Blue Princess hollies to form berries.
And this picture below? Well, that's Mary showing interest in some trees that I ASSURED her would NEVER fit in the back of my CR-V! I can pack a lot in there, but I didn't think we wanted trees hanging another five feet out the back window... With an hour drive back home, they'd be shredded.
After we walked around and scoped things out, we took advantage of the lunch catering (Mary's treat since I drove - thanks Mary!). The coney dog and choc chunk cookies rocked - and gave just enough energy to settle in for FOUR hours of auctioning while we sat on hard wooden bleachers. The auction started at 1pm, and we gave up around 5pm. This following picture shows our view for the four hours we stayed - and the auction was still going strong when we'd decided we'd had enough.
And here's a video of what the auction sounded like:
More video - there were three guys doing the auctioning. I guess I hadn't thought about it, but I'm sure rattling off all that stuff must get exhausting - so it must help to rotate auctioneers.
This girl here - looking very much like Sarah Michelle Gellar/Buffy - managed to outbid me on a number of things I was interested in. She was very pretty, more fashionably dressed than many others there (ourselves included), and had quite the rock on her finger. She also seemed very nice, and even though she also lost many of the items she was interested in, I'd love to see her landscaping (that sounds kinda dirty, hunh?). Even with all her smart losses (I think she knew when items were getting too pricey), she still had some really good wins...
Here's more video - you can see that the speed of the auctioneers changed quite a bit sometimes.
And here's Mary giving up on something that just got too expensive:
We met two other interesting couples while there. One older couple sitting to my left have been coming to this auction for 10 years now - I guess it takes place several times each spring (and maybe later in the year?), and they've slowly been landscaping their massive yard. At one point, after I'd decided something I was bidding on was getting too pricey and I opted out, the lady leaned over to me and whispered "That was a good time to stop - you were very smart! You could get that item cheaper at Atwater Nursery!"
Wait. Atwater Nursery? I found out this couple came from Union Town, but drive all the way out to Atwater Nursery (about 15 min from my place) to get REALLY good deals on landscaping plants. I've hit Atwater a couple times myself since we got the house. It was funny - Mary and I kept shaking our heads when an item was getting too expensive and would just whisper "Atwater" to each other. LOL Anyhow - the older couple to my left were very nice, and she was able to give me some pricing tips on some of the items I was interested in, telling me when I got a really good deal, etc.
And then there was the young couple behind me. They were getting quite a few items, and were packing up an hour or so before we gave up. We got to talking to them, and it sounds like they live less than 10 min down the road from me! In fact - I THINK I know which house they live in! They recently had a house built on 4 acres, which is in SERIOUS need of plants/landscaping. I intend to drive by sometime and see if I can tell which house has new plants, and if I see them out in the yard, I'll be sure to stop by and say hi. Anyhow - Mary and I gave them tips on where to shop for great prices locally - Atwater Nursery, and Evergreen (not the same Evergreen the auction was at).
Some people were absolutely crazy, paying probably close to THREE TIMES what they should've for an item. There were a number of folks in the bleachers who were aware this was happening - giving surprised looks, whispering comments, etc. Mary, myself, and the older lady next to me were some of those folks. We talked to the owner of the nursery/garden center afterwards, and mentioned this - he said we weren't like some of the folks from that area, and that we had a better understanding of what some of the items go for. While some items he totally lost money on, there were others he made a killing on. I guess this is the nature of auctions.
Once you were done purchasing, you went to the register with your number (I was #35, Mary was #25), paid for your goods, and then went outside to get the items. I meant to get a picture of all the posts out in the lawn with the winnings. Instead all I got was a bad picture looking in the other direction of this hottie (there were lots of hotties!) also getting ready to load up his truck.
Once we got all loaded up and drove home, I dropped Mary off at her place with her winnings, chatted with her husband Jim a bit, and then came home to unload. Here are my goodies, along with links about the various plants, what I paid, and what I THINK some of the retail prices were (some actually had price tags on them!).
Listed for $44, I got it for $27.50
I've definitely been itching to get more evergreen color in the yard - more structure and color to be seen over winter, when most everything I have so far just dies off. I think this guy will help add to the winter attractiveness of the yard.
Norway Maple 'Crimson King'
Listed for $69, I got it for $35
This maple doesn't look like much right now, but hey, I didn't pay a whole lot for it either. It does have buds starting to form on it's branches, so I'm hoping it grows into a nice, large, healthy tree. Somewhere away from the veggie gardens!!! ;-) When I see these trees in yards, I always notice how beautiful and striking they are with their dark burgundy/purple foliage. Granted, then I sometimes get distracted wondering about photosynthesis and non-green leaves...and then realize I should probably be paying more attention to my driving.
Hydrangea 'Oregon Pride'
I got it from $25
I'd never heard of 'Oregon Pride' before. They paired this hydrangea up with an Everlasting Summer one Mary really wanted, and each went for whatever price the winning bidder got. Mary had the highest bid at $25, and so this 'Oregon Pride' went for the same amount. This was about 4 hours into the auction. I'd jotted down that another 'Oregon Pride' (also paired with this one) within the first hour of the auction went for $45, and since I'm looking to add some more hydrangeas, I told Mary to take it and I paid her back... I've never had hydrangea's before, and this'll be my first summer with any in the yard - I'm adding this one to a couple others from last fall, and I have a couple new cheapies I've started in the basement...so we'll see how they do.
Japanese Pieris 'Mountain Fire'
I got it for $32.50
This isn't as big as it looks in the picture - maybe just two feet around right now? Mary and I were drooling over these as soon as we went into the auction. They're an exotic looking plant, and the lady sitting next to me who'd been to these auctions for 10 years told me I got an excellent price for this one!
Japanese Maple 'Bloodgood'
I got it for $65 - I know Japanese Maples go for quite a bit, and I saw ones slightly taller than this selling for about $169?
I used to think I wasn't a fan of Japanese Maples with their stunted height and sometimes feathery-foliage, but over time I've come to reaaaally appreciate them for their beauty and striking colors. I don't know how finicky they are - I DO worry this one could be tempermental - we'll see how it does. It definitely needs a place to really shine!
Dappled Willow 'Hakuro Nishiki'
I got it for $50
This was another tree that, as soon as we walked in and saw them, I fell in love with it. From what I've read, it sounds like it counts more as a shrub than a tree - I'm guessing this one was just trained taller.... They don't look like much at first, but then with a second glance you notice the interesting color of the leaves.
Check out the close-up above of the leaves...you'll see they're slightly variegated. Sounds like this tree/shrub will need/benefit from 2-3 trimmings a year (sounds manageable SO FAR), and that'll refresh the variegated leaves. Some web sites out there show that these can even have some pinkish coloring in the leaves...cool!
Overall I have to say we had a blast. I was totally jazzed up afterwards, telling Brett all about my winnings, showing him my "bidding face" when I had decided something got too pricey and I didn't want to make any more offers, etc... There's another auction at the same place, with similar stuff, just two weeks after this one we went to. Would I go again? You betchya! Is Mary allowed to go again? Helllll know - Jim said she's cut off! LOL Ok, so maybe I won't go again - there are some other specific items I want to add to the yard, and I don't need to be tempted with other stuff just yet. I'll pace myself, and look back in on this next spring!