Gardeners Say the Darndest Things

You never know what kind of words of wisdom will fall from the lips of a gardener. A few years ago, if someone had told me that worms love watermelon, I would have given them a polite smile, a little nod, and moved away quickly. Unfortunately, now I’m the one saying these things.

The latest gem I heard was that slugs love marigolds. Huh? First, my mother-in-law asked me if I didn’t used to plant marigolds to ward off the slugs. All I could say was that I didn’t remember. Then the next day at the hardware store, the lady in the garden center told me that “slugs love marigolds” and to just plant a few patches near my bean to lure them away. Wow, twice in the same number of days; I’d have to give this a try.

So I spent $8–an unheard of amount–buying bean starts, since my beans just get eaten as soon as they sprout. And I bought two clumps of marigolds to see what would happen.

These lovely beauties were going to defend my beans against nasty, slimy slugs?

Early July 005 Early July 007


Well, even with a heavy sprinkling of Sluggo, the marigold next to the beans is making a feast for some ugly creatures that leaves a trail of goo.

Eating Marigolds

If that’s the price I have to pay to have beans twining up the lattice to the chain link, it’s well worth the price. For whatever reason, the slugs have left the other clump of flowers alone. At least I have something pretty to look at in the midst of bolting broccoli and lettuce.

Early July 007


Now I can’t blame everything on the slugs. Last night as I was inspecting the orchard, I noticed something has been eating the leaves on my new plum tree. No worries–I was at knitting group a few weeks back where we solve the problems of the world.

My friend Judi has had great success with a homemade insecticide. I was hesitant to use it since the main ingredients is garlic and Sweet Miss breaks out in hives when she eats garlic, but then I go to thinking. While it would be a bad idea on broccoli or lettuce, I’ve never seen her nibble on a plum tree. She’ll eat the fruit for sure, but the tree itself is safe.

So this afternoon, I’m mixing up a batch of insecticide to see if I can’t get rid of a few pests. Here’s Judi’s insecticide recipe in case bugs are getting to you, too.


Judi’s Homemade Insecticide

3 ounces of finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons of mineral oil
1/4 ounce of oil-based liquid soap (such as Palmolive)

Soak the garlic in mineral oil for 24 hours or longer.

Then slowly add a pint of water in which the soap has been dissolved. Stir well.

Strain the liquid and store it in a glass or plastic container (not metal).

This homemade insecticide is highly concentrated. For the first application use it in a dilution of one part garlic insecticide to 20 parts of water. After the first application use one part garlic brew to 100 parts water. Use a spray bottle to apply to plants. This formula will kill pests but will not harm your pets.

Researchers have found that garlic makes an effective, safe, and cheap insecticide. In studies, garlic insecticide killed up to 95% of common pests such as mosquitoes, slugs, crickets, houseflies, and weevils.

Well goodness, I don’t know what is eating my plum tree, but I hope this does the trick.

Have any gardening advice that’s just crazy enough to work? 


Finishing Touches

After 10 months of tearing things apart and putting them back together, the upstairs bathroom is almost finished.

The MR and his Mom spent an afternoon painting the walls a cool, spa-like gray-green.


I did a little shopping and picked up a black-and-white botanical print.


With a bath mat and some fluffy new towels, we are almost finished.


We have a local construction company scheduled to do some work downstairs and to replace all the missing baseboards upstairs next month.

So if we manage to install a couple of towel racks, we’ll have the whole bathroom remodel completed in less than a year. Good things take time.

What are you putting the finishing touches on?

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Check out Coming Together for the lady bathroom update.

I’m a Crazy Bird Woman

The girls were laughing at me the other day. You see, I was talking to the MR when a giant shadow passed overhead, and I just had to turn and follow it.

Mom gets more excited than the dogs when the eagles fly by they giggled. That’s when I told them that I was turning into a crazy bird woman who goes out each morning and greets the day so that the birds can land on my outstretched arms. They just rolled their eyes like teenagers do sometimes.

Maybe I was exaggerating a little, but I do love those eagles. It was stormy the other day, and they were out in full force putting on their best show.

Eagle in the storm

They flew so close to the house as if beckoning me out to play.Eagle and House

Please come visit every day.

Three Eagles


They have each other. I guess they don’t need me, but when they fly by my head does turn. Imagine the view.


Lone Eagle

For now, I’m just the crazy bird woman who gets easily distracted when the eagles are out–sorry honey.

Pair of Eagles

I think I have good reason to stop and watch in awe for a bit.Another Eagle in the StormThere is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.
                                                                                                                            –Carl Sandburg



Blueberry Goodness

Took my minions blueberry picking this morning after a tasty breakfast.


This is a great time of year to support your local farmer and enjoy peak of the season produce.

In a half hour, we picked almost 20 pounds. I see lots of healthy snacking in our future.

Have you been berry picking lately? What’s your favorite blueberry recipe?

Pimping the Drive

Some people like to pimp their ride, but since we’re a little more low-key, we decided to pimp our drive.

The MR comes up with all these great ideas I’ve never even thought of. I’m going to paint the roof. Huh? If that wasn’t enough fun, he decided to reseal the driveway. Can you really do that?

The answer is yes, and it’s one of those maintenance things that people will actually notice. Sweet Miss was housesitting and when when she came home, she was full of compliments. Wow, did you have the driveway repaved? It makes the house look much more expensive. She knows how to make her daddy happy.

Now, the MR didn’t reseal the driveway just to hear a bunch of compliments. Apparently over the years, all those little cracks and crevices just keep getting bigger. Next thing you know, you have potholes and grass growing in your driveway. So basically, a little maintenance now can save you a lot of headaches later.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of asphalt, and the weather hasn’t been cooperating, so this has been a huge ongoing project.

When the MR’s folks were here, Papa needed a something to do (after he finished up all of my little projects), so the MR had him blow all the debris off the driveway with the leaf blower, and then power wash it. They filled in the larger cracks with caulk and would coat the driveway over the weekend together.

Of course, that was the Saturday that it poured down rain. No worries, there was only a 10 percent chance of rain Sunday afternoon. They’d just do it then. The MR and his dad ate lunch, watched a little World Cup, and then got to work.Just the beginning


It was looking so good. The MR was stirring the sealer and carrying the buckets, and his dad was spreading it on the driveway. It was all black, and shiny, and new.

Papa at work

With a little teamwork, this was going to look great. And then an hour later, the heavens opened and dumped rain. The deluge washed all the brand-new sealant into the helicopter pad, and drove two tired and grumpy men indoors. (No we don’t have a helicopter, but the previous owner did. I guess the neighbors didn’t like it and put it in their CCR’s that no helicopters were allowed in their neighborhood. That’ll teach him.)

With work the next day, this became a job the MR would tackle on his own. He replaced the three buckets of sealer with four more; it wasn’t covering quite as much area as the manufacture claimed. The next Saturday, with no chance of rain all day, he was driven inside once more by a passing shower. Thankfully, it didn’t wash away all his hard work this time.

Driveway leading to house


As with painting the roof, this job has required a few trips to the hardware store to pick up more supplies. Let’s just say we have a lot of driveway. But as of last week, the MR has finished. All the little cones have been removed, and I don’t have to park on the grass anymore.

Thank you honey–it looks great!

The MR used Ultra Maxx 1000 fast dry filler and sealer. You can find lots of tutorials and information online to reseal your asphalt driveway.

Have you ever sealed your driveway? How are you sprucing up the front of your house?








Showing Some Bookcase Love

A few weeks ago, I revealed my big attempt at stenciling. It wasn’t good, and it wasn’t pretty. I had a little pity party, picked myself up off the floor, and checked out the directions.

Maybe the stencil company would actually know a thing or two about stenciling. I’d been using too much paint, so I cleaned the gunk (otherwise known as spray adhesive) off my stencil, practiced a little on some foam core, and decided for try number two.

It still wasn’t perfect, but it was oh-so much better than the last time. Instead of pouring paint into a tray, I spooned a teaspoon onto a paper plate, rolled over it a few times, and then cleaned off the excess by rolling on a paper towel. Was that really enough paint to make it work? Oh you of little faith, it was great.

Then it was just a matter of going section by section, and waiting for the paint to dry. The problem was that the blue painters tape would pull up a little of the newly dried stencils. The process could not be rushed. This was a lesson in patience, but bit by bit it came together.

Stenciling Collage

The stencil wasn’t quite the right size when I came to the end. So since it was mine to do with as I wished–I’m a powerful person, you know–I used my rotary cutter (yes the same one normal people use for quilting) to slice off an inch or two as needed along the bottom and side edges.

Once I had the painting completed, I was anxious to get the shelves off the floor and start filling them once more. But sometimes it pays to think. That kid who still lives at home likes to organize her school work in binders and leave them all over the house. Wouldn’t it be great if the bottom shelf was tall enough for binders and then everything would look neat and tidy? OK, so not everything, but you know what I mean.

The shelf supports needed a little convincing. First with pliers and then with a hammer, I introduced them to their new situation. Finally, I had a clean slate–sort of.

Finished 2

Looking at them, I was a little worried. That stenciling looked kind of busy to me. After all that work, was I going to hate the bookshelves? So I took a deep breath and plunged on.

Some books, some pictures, some pottery, some candles, and some knick-knacks came to the rescue. These guys are looking good.

Bookcase filledNow our shelves are filled with books and mementos that mean something to us. We have a few bare shelves, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for treasures along the way.

Bookcase filled from the side

Stenciling was more time-consuming and harder than I expected, but I love the results. Who knows, maybe I’ll be talked into trying my hand at some more stenciling before the summer is over.

I’m also excited about all those books I can get rid of. My cup car is full and running over.

Books in the car 2

What have you been painting lately? Spreading any bookshelf love at your house?




Garden Art in Bloom

Remember last year when I added some structure to the garden with a fanciful metal flower?

Well, our local art council was hosting its annual Art In Bloom weekend at the beautiful Kokopelli gardens, so of course we had to stop by and take a look around. You can find some amazing things at these little art shows that pop up all summer long across the country.

I loved the way so many of the artists used recycled materials in their works. Isn’t this tower made from old household items interesting?

Garden Art Tower

I thought this birdhouse out of reclaimed materials was oh-fun.

Bird House

Maybe we should never throw anything out. Just think of all the things you can make out of weird junk.Starfish

I loved this metal and glass art spinner. Alas, I don’t think it was for sale, and I don’t have an unlimited budget.

Glass Tower Spinners

Take a look at this reproduction of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle and the beautiful Mount Rainier in fused glass.

Window 2

I was totally intrigued by these copper and glass sculptures–so fun, so bright, so cheery.

Sprinklers 2I couldn’t figure out why they had a hose hook up at the bottom, until I saw this poster.Sprinkler Poster

Isn’t this the most gorgeous sprinkler ever? I might be tempted to run through it a few times. If you have to have one for yourself, check out Hoppy’ s Garden Art for all sorts of lovely options.

I’m not encouraging any animals in my garden, but these toad homes are quite cute.

Toad Homes

I know you’re worried that I might have gone home without anything, but my metal flower was feeling a bit lonely. So I went ahead and bought him a few friends for company.

New BloomsBogart gives them his nod of approval, or he just wanted to make sure he was in the photo. Looks like I have some weeding to do and a dead vine to pull out.

New Blooms & Little Buddy

So now when the birds, bunnies, slugs, and deer go to town eating my flowers, I’ll still have a few that they won’t dare to tackle; I’m tricky that way.

What’s decorating your garden? Do you love local art and craft fairs?