Friday, September 24, 2010

I attended my volunteer orientation for the Texas Discovery Gardens in Fair Park on Tuesday evening.  I am SO excited!  (And it's just not because I got a t-shirt and passed a background check.  But yeah, really, I did.)  I will be volunteering in the entrance area, in the butterfly house, and in the butterfly gardens once or twice a month.  During the tour of the outdoor garden, I learned that this particular butterfly garden is a way station for monarch butterflies when they migrate.  How totally cool is that?

I can't wait to soak up knowledge from the master gardeners and the master naturalists that I will meet, learn more about butterflies, and to give back to my community in a small way.  December 4th they are having a master composting class -- I am so going to go to that!  Oh, admit it -- you want to go too.  ::::grin::::  Someday I would like to become one of those masters.  Since I have done zero research on any of them -- e.g. what education is required, and what their specialities are -- I don't know which one I want to become, but one of them is definintely on my list of life goals.  Maybe more than one, who knows?

Here's the link to the gardens:  If you've never been, you should go.  It's an amazing place.

Yesterday I went back to the gardens with a friend who is visiting me from Minnesota.  I wanted to show her where I would be volunteering; plus I knew she would be just as excited about it as I am.  While we were there we zipped through the gift shop, and I finally got that book I've been wanting that has color photos of the life stages of the butterfly so that I can identify caterpillars in my garden at home, and be able to determine what butterfly they become.  Yeehaw!  Let the games begin.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Don't take that personally.  It's the name of a new hummingbird plant that I bought.  The botanical name didn't fit on the plant label, so I used the common name, so now of course sitting here at my desk I can't recall the botanical name (label is in my garden journal though...which is another topic.)  Besides, it's a fun name isn't it?  It's the plant in the right front, with the red blossoms.

The other plant is Anise Hyssop, also a hummingbird attracting plant.  (Sorry the one photo is a little blurry.  I took it with my phone, one handed, with my arms full of stuff on the way to my car this morning!)

The pedestal is the repurposed base of a bird bath... gratis from bulky trash a few months ago.  My neighbors came to my door one Saturday morning, demanding that I get my wheelbarrow and gloves, that they had found my dining room table base.  And it did indeed live in the center of my dining room for a while, while I cogitated on how to affix a top to it.  In the end it was hoisted (and I do mean "hoist" --  or do I mean rolled?  -- it is a behemoth) into my backyard.  I may eventually stain it terra cotta color... and let's be honest, you know me:  It's quite unlikely that this is its final resting place!

I am hoping they both also feed butterflies.  This past weekend I saw a huge butterfly fluttering around the perimeter of my yard, systematically checking each plant for nectar.  I tried to tell him all the butterfly plants were in the front, but alas... apparently I don't speak butterfly.  I'll have to work on that.

In other news...

I planted my Texas Mountain Laurel seeds this morning.  Wow, the water I soaked them in had turned flourescent pink!  A little shocking.  I did some online research on planting them:  you need a deep pot as the first thing they do is send down a tap root 6-8 inches.  So instead of 4 cute little window sill pots I had to put them in one big pot.  And then it said they can take up to a YEAR to sprout.  A YEAR!  What are the odds that I even remember anything is planted in that pot after a few months?  I need to get a plant label in it asap.  (And perhaps put a date on it...)  It also said that depending on how you prune it (look at me, so optimistic, already reading about how to prune the little bugger) that it can be a shrub or a tree.  Good to know, because as mentioned before, I do not have room for 8 new trees... (or 8 of the same shrub for that matter!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

When my fortitude returns (could be a while)

After I have had a period of recovery from the Kitchen Side A, I have Kitchen Side B awaiting me:

It's more complicated than Side A:
The cabinets cover a corner...
There is a furdown over the cabinets...
There's the issue of the stove and lighting, and splatter...

And then, it brings in a whole other idea that Vic (Vic with the magic van) wants to do, which is blow out that back wall with the tile on it, and open it up into the dining room with a bar.  (Pretty sure I am not ready to take that on!)  And, maybe I'll just leave them, and paint them white.  Whatever will happen, it's likely not happening any time soon!

Texas Mountain Laurel

They look like some type of exotic berry to me... but they are Texas Mountain Laurel seeds.  The girl who colors my hair gave them to me.  Instructions are to score them, soak them overnight, and plant.  I tried various implements to score them -- serrated trimming knife, a box cutter, a huge serrated bread knife -- to no avail.  Their outer shell is SO hard!  It's like ceramic... I could try to score them after they soak, but that defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

Here's what Google tells me the blossom will look like:

And then the whole plant... sorry, the photo came out sort of small.

So we'll see how this goes.  If they grow, I'll be giving some of them away, because I do not have room for 8 trees!  She also said she is going to bring me seeds for climbing spinach.  Never heard of it!  I'm game, though...

UPDATE:  Okay, so when LeAnn gave me the seeds on Saturday, I had to look up Mountain Laurel.  This morning while playing Words with Friends, my opponent played "kalmia."  I didn't know what it was, so I looked it up.  Know what it is?  Another name for MOUNTAIN LAUREL.  Weird.

Ahhhh the dining room table is back.

I'm not sure what to even say about this -- am so relieved -- so I'll just show you:


The bottom photo is more to show you the newly painted very white cabinets.  So crisp, so clean...  Just ignore the bit of clutter on the left there... and yes, still a few details to attend to -- but I am not going to point them out to you!  (I could, and we could play the "where's Waldo" game, but I digress.) 

I am a tiny bit short for the middle shelf.  I can reach the bowls and things but for example, coffee cups on the back would be challenging.  I may have to find a cute little kitchen step up to have around.  Orange.  :::grin:::  I also found that this open design caused me to really evaluate what kitchen items I use and can display, and which items I have had forever and not really used and can purge!  I always like that.  Less is more, you know.

And then I have some problem solving to do.  Where to put things like the paper towel holder, and my hooks that I used for my purse and keys... and some other minor clutter management items.  I see a road trip to IKEA in my future...  hopefully I can bribe a forward thinking neighbor to accompany me... So far, not counting labor (you know how expensive paralegal hourly rates are??  LOL) I guesstimate this project cost me about $300.  A huge shout out thank you to my friend who GAVE ME HER CHOPSAW.  It was immediately put to good use.

Over all, I am very pleased.  May I remind you of the "before" -- ?