Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

May 30, 2011

Mama’s Bounty

A wise woman once said, “All weekends should be three-day weekends; then you’d have a day for running errands and chores, a day for socializing and a day to yourself to do whatever you want or nothing at all.”  I may be paraphrasing a bit, but the wise woman is my sister and I couldn’t agree more!  Thanks to the wonderful servicemen and women of this country who gave their lives for us, we are able to celebrate this three-day holiday weekend.  I got to thinking about all the things I am appreciative for this three-day weekend and thought I’d share my appreciation with you.

I am appreciative that I was able to get my veggie garden planted with a minimum of back pain.  I finished off that garden today by planting my little sentry row of critter-guarding marigolds:

 the marigold guard

I am appreciative of the warm weather that we have been granted after very wet spring.  It allowed me to continue my planting frenzy this weekend.  In addition to the veggies and marigolds, I planted all of my containers of flowers.  A sampling:

 hanging plants

(I can’t take credit for that top one – that was my mother’s day gift from hubby._

new guinea impatiens

New guinea impatiens in my whiskey barrel

I put the bee balm that I bought for the hummingbirds in the ground near the butterfly bushes and fuchsia, and I found a spot in one of my flower beds for the new columbine:

columbine

I am appreciative for my home, my family and my friends.  As I’ve enjoyed my yard, and having my hands in the dirt this weekend, I’ve taken a good look around.  As appreciative as I am that we are past the long, harsh winter that Mama Nature had us endure this year, I couldn’t help but feel she was making up for it with an absolute bounty of beauty this spring.  Remember all those wonderful lilacs I showed you?  Now in bountiful bloom I’m enjoying both my rhododendron and my irises; I don’t remember such huge displays last year:

overflowing rhododendron

bountiful irises

Looks like I’m also going to have plenty of rosebuds:

rose buds

and that the chipmunks are going to have plenty of strawberries:

strawberry buds

( Lord knows I never get any of them!  Really need to get around to moving these one of these years)

While they are not bountiful yet, the very first of my peonies opened too! 
first peony

So thank you Mama Nature, thank you fallen soldiers, and thank you blogging friends; you are all appreciated.

May 29, 2011

What a Week for the Garden

Remember what my garden space looked like a couple weeks ago after I cleaned it out?

After

I spent yesterday from about 9 am until about 5pm (with a break for lunch) weeding (yes, they did manage to invade after all the rain we’ve had), raking, digging and planting.  It was probably one of the warmest and most humid days we’ve had so far this spring (86 degrees F), but I finished planting all my veggies:

planted garden.

It doesn’t look like much right now, but there are 18 tomatoes, 33 peppers (varieties of both bell and hot), 12 zucchini, 6 yellow summer squash and 12 cucumber.  I hope I haven’t overplanted my garden space this year!  I started putting down some landscape fabric too (you can see that along the foundation of the house where the tomatoes are planted) in an attempt to keep weeds down a bit this year.  I got too hot to finish that job; the black fabric just seemed to be throwing extra heat my way.

In addition to the veggie garden, my flower gardens have had some beautiful blooms this week too.  Rhododendrons, woodland hyacinth, bearded iris and just this morning, poppies have all opened up.  Do I have pictures for you? Of course!  I even spent sometime with my extension tubes and tripod.

Woodland hyacinth

These are woodland hyacinth.  They are not a large, showy flower.  Those little bells are about 3/4 of an inch.  The plants themselves are only about 6-7 inches tall.  I thought they might make a nice extension tube subject, but my tripod,  of course doesn’t go that low and resting the camera on the ground would be too low.  So, I got down on my belly and parked my elbows on the ground as I held the camera.  Here’s the best shot I got:

woodland hyacinth

The rhododendron is in full blown bloom now:

rhododendron

and so are my beloved bearded irises:

 bearded iris

bearded iris 2

bearded iris 3

Of course I played with the extension tubes on these also:

bearded iris

bearded iris

bearded iris 2

The bright orange poppy got in on the act this morning:
crazy poppy

My crazy poppy!  I must admit the light was just right for this shot this morning, and it has its own beauty, but it does look a little crazy where it is planted – take a look:
poppy with iris

Right next to the delicate irises.  Oh well! They are here to stay.

I just love this time of year.  Don’t you?

Okay, okay already…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 8:51 am

Here’s one of the two, the one, according to dear sister, you really want to see:

My tap class is dancing to “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner.  There, now I’ve given you your laugh for the day! 😀

May 25, 2011

What kept me so busy that I…

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 9:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

…forgot to do Scott’s assignment this month, which was due today!

As I was griping last week, it has been rather rainy here recently, but the sun poked out this weekend.  I was going to do Scott’s assignment (really!), but as happens to us all, life got in the way.  Spent Saturday morning running errands with hubby, getting those peppers we wanted, and while we were at the garden center, treated myself to this:
Fuschia

It is a big, beautiful fuschia plant!  I hung it near my hummingbird feeder, in the hopes of attracting more hummingbirds.  My hummingbird has been visibly absent lately – I hope I didn’t offend him or her when I let the feeder go a wee bit too long before cleaning it out.  Hey Mr. Hummingbird! It is clean now, I promise!  And I bought you a fuschia too!  Please come back.

After all the errands, I had to do what I am sure many of us had to do after all that rain – mow the lawn!  Saturday evening I spent working, working, working on a project I’m feeling pretty good about, but unfortunately cannot share with you all just yet.  There is an extremely, ridiculously slim chance the recipient of said project could happen to read this blog post, and I can’t have that!  I’ll fill you in on the mystery in a couple weeks.

Sunday was a practically-all-day-long-annual-affair for this dancing family.  The girls and I had picture day at the dance studio.  On this day, we go to the studio with all our costumes for recital to have professional photos done.  Doesn’t sound like it should be practically-all-day, does it?  It is when one purchases 15 costumes for recital!  Eight for Meghan, five for Sarah and two for me!  Ay-yi-yi!  Of course I took a few shots of my own too.  Here’s a little slide show sampler (please excuse the squinty eyes – not much shade to be found in the parking lot of the studio!):

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What do you think, Scott?  Are you buying my excuse? 😉

May 22, 2011

I’ve Got Mail!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:43 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Remember those days of AOL and logging in to your account via dial-up…bing, bing, bing, oooo…..ksssshhhhh….just waiting for those special three words: “You’ve got mail!”  I was reminded of those days when a special package arrived on my step this week.  Real mail though, not electronic, but I found myself chiming “I’ve got mail!”

IMG_4563

Do you remember this sad tale of woe I told you last spring?  I decided to forgo the woe this spring and buy all my plants already started at the local garden center.  Only problem was, hubby still wanted his “Biker Billy Jalepenos.”  I discovered this year that Burpee sells their Biker Billy’s in plant form.  They were a little pricey for young plants, but I figured they’d be worth it.  I’ve been wondering since back in early April when I ordered them, exactly how Burpee shipped live plants.  May 13 was the ship date for my Zone 5 planting area.  The box you see above arrived via UPS.  The air-holes in the side kind of gave me chuckle, like I was receiving a breathing creature of some sort!

Turns out Burpee has this plant shipping thing down.  Inside the funny-air-holed container, I found this:

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The plants were safe, snug and secure in a little greenhouse-colored plastic container.

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Three Biker Billy Jalepeno plants, ready for planting next weekend!  In addition, I was able to find the other hot peppers we were looking for when I went back to the garden center. 

Although the weather doesn’t have a great outlook for the week (temps around 70 but chances of thundershowers virtually every day), it appears it could be a lovely week in the yard.  Besides those peony buds I showed you a few days ago, look what is also getting ready to bloom:

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The bearded irises!  I LOVE these flowers and the number of buds looks promising.  Also on the way are my crazy poppies:

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I call them my “crazy” poppies for a couple reasons.  First, those buds are a little alien-looking, aren’t they? Second, once I tried to get rid of these flowers simply because they didn’t fit my general color scheme; they are bright orange in a sea of pink, lavendar and white in this particular bed.  But they kept coming back.  Now, I’ve grown to like them as the cheerful survivors they are.

It has been a busy weekend! (I’ll probably ramble on a bit more about it later in the week)  I can’t believe it is time to go back to work again tomorrow morning already.  I hope to catch up with you all very soon, and hope your weekend was awesome, even if you spent a lot of it feeling sorry for yourself! (You know who you are!)

May 19, 2011

Distraction Free?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:34 pm
Tags: , ,

As I clicked over to read new comments on my blog today, I noticed an interesting WordPress announcement.  You know those hyperlinks that show up on your dashboard, often announcing a brand new theme?  “Distraction Free Writing” it proclaimed!  Distraction free, really?  Was WordPress going to come to my house and take the dogs for a walk,
IMG_4014
  do the dishes,
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and drive the girls to dance class for me? 
dance1
Well, of course not Karma, I thought to myself, but what exactly did they mean?  I clicked the link that led me to this post, “Now More Than Ever: Just Write”.

The post explained some new tweaks and features.  Want to go read that and come back so that I don’t have to repeat them all here?  Go ahead, go read – I’ll wait.  So here I am using the Distraction Free Writing mode on full screen.  It’s pretty cool.  I like being able to see more of my post as I write it without all the little sidebars and such.  It kind of makes me feel like I am more of a pro, rather than just little ol’ me!

Am I distraction free?  I doubt that will ever be – especially while my house contains two children, a husband, two dogs, a cat and a sink full of dirty dishes – but thanks WordPress, for making my post-writing feel a little less like I have A.D.D.

May 15, 2011

And the rain, rain, rain, came down, down, down

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:43 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is what it feels like here today, so I thought to myself, “Self, how about taking some pictures of all the plants you bought at the garden center yesterday?  Good idea, Self.  That is certainly more cheerful than pouring rain.”

Every May, I make a trip to my local garden center, 16 Acres Garden Center, to stock up on veggies, herbs, annuals, and usually a couple perennials to add to my gardens and landscape.  Years ago, when my mother still lived in the area, my mother and I, and sometimes my sister, would make what we called the annual “pilgrimage” to 16 Acres to spend gift certificates.  Now the trip is usually just me, but I look forward to it each year.  This is my take for this year:

veggies & herbs

Tomatoes, jalepenos, cucumbers, zucchini, basil and parsley are pictured here.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have the other hot peppers that I want in stock.  I’ll still be on the lookout for cayennes and thai dragons.

annuals

This tray contains some filler items for my containers like the spike in the back, and the ivy in the front, marigolds for the border of my garden, a bee balm perennial plant (supposedly hummingbirds love them), and some snapdragons.  Garden tip: I plant marigolds along my garden fence to help discourage critters from being attracted to my veggies; many critters don’t like the smell.  To further discourage exploration of my vegetables, I plant the hot peppers just inside the garden fence.  This combination has been working for me for many years now.  Give it a try if you have critter issues.  Even if you don’t like hot peppers, you could make some hot sauce or salsa with them or give them away to your neighbors who do like them.  Or if you are local, you could give them to me! 😉

I thought some of the other lovely specimens I purchased yesterday deserved their own photos.  Even though there is not much sunshine to be had today, I found a nice little protected spot near my front step to set up these shots.  The use of the nifty-fifty lens gave me plenty of light and a pretty focus.

dwarf dahlia

Dwarf dahlia

dianthus

Dianthus

verbena

Verbena

geranium

Geranium.  I know one of our blogging friends says she doesn’t like geranium, but I think maybe even Tracy might have to admit this one is kind of pretty, maybe Tracy?

columbine

In addition to the bee balm, this is the other perennial I bought this year – columbine.  I was reminded of columbine in this lovely post of Robin’s.  Robin hadn’t seen columbines before and was really taken by them – so much so they are in her current blog header.  I have a few columbine around the yard, but don’t really get a ton of blooms.  I also have some kind of strange looking double columbine (click to see my Flickr photo), but I don’t find them as photogenic as the traditional single blooms.

I’ll still need a few more purchases to complete my plant shopping for this spring, but yesterday was a good start.  If anyone local spies those peppers I’m looking for please let me know!  I also have my eyes out for a trumpet vine; I’d be happy for a suggestion of a place to find one.

May 12, 2011

Full o’Flowers

Thank goodness April showers do indeed bring May flowers.  It really feels like spring here today and my yard is fully perfumed with the scent of what seems to be a prodigious amount of lilac blooms this year.  I have lilac trees lining my driveway and on two corners of my house.  The trees seems to have outdone themselves this year.  I take a deep breath every time I step out my front door:

lots o' lilacs

lilacs

lilacs

My actual azalea (as opposed to my “rhodo-azalea”) is now blooming…

azaelea

…as well as the very beginning of lilies of the valley:
Lily of the valley

While I scoured the yard investigating what might be in bloom, I found these along the edge of my neighbor’s and my property, along with a fat, fuzzy, bumble bee:
bumble bee

Anyone know what these tiny blooms could be ?

The bleeding hearts continue growing and blooming steadily, and I couldn’t resist the pretty light on this stem:
bleeding hearts

Coming soon….
peony bud

peonies!  Love me some peonies.

Hope spring is busting out where you are too!

May 8, 2011

My Mother’s Day Melange

Photo-heavy post ahead!  I’m having a nice Mother’s Day (hope you are too!) I have a variety of shots I feel like sharing today, so here we go.
IMG_4487

I woke up this morning to find this pretty hanging basket along with a card (calling me “one hot mama” LOL!) from hubby.

charms2

Meghan got out of bed a little later, looking quite proud of herself, and presented me with a gift bag that contained this charm.  She went out and bought it herself, no assistance from her dad.  I was really touched.

charms1

While I was taking the picture of the Mom charm, I remembered the other cool charms I received for my birthday a couple weeks ago and decided to throw a shot in to this post.  Left to right: Red Sox charm from my mom, hearts charm from the girls, sparkly and camera charms from hubby.

After lunch, I decided to take my “furry children” for a walk.  My neighbors’ trees are gorgeously in bloom right now:
IMG_4492

While I walked up the street, I saw this pretty, puffy cloud.  What shape do you see?

IMG_4491

I see a bear cub!  No, really, look:

cubcloud

When we got into the woods, I heard the song of a bird I’d been hearing around the yard.  I hadn’t been able to identify the bird yet, so when I got this picture today, I was very surprised to discover its identity:
graybird

It isn’t the clearest bird picture, but it was enough for me to realize it was a catbird.  I was surprised because last summer, it was also a catbird that I found somewhat annoying with a screechy type of call.  I discovered the reason on a website I’ve found very helpful and interesting this year, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  If you scroll down about halfway on this page, and click on the “typical voice” you can hear the pretty song I’ve been hearing in the first half of the soundbite, but in the second half, you’ll hear the screechy call I mentioned last summer.  Turns out these birds are related to mockingbirds, and like them are able to copy other birds calls and string them together to make their own song.

As we approached the swampy area on the walk, I saw a red-winged blackbird sitting in a small tree close to the edge of our path.  The dogs were dallying in the stream that crosses the path, so my picture came out shaky, but I was happy to have gotten my first picture of this bird.
blackbird

I got a slightly clearer shot (but less of a view of the red feathers) as it got ready to take off:
blackbird2

Around the corner from the swamp, I found a tree in bloom:
tree2

The blossoms make me think it is some type of fruit tree.  Maybe a crabapple?  Any thoughts?  Here’s a closer look at the blossoms:
tree3

Whatever it is, it is pretty!  I’ll have to keep an eye on the tree later into the summer.

How was your Mother’s Day? Or your wife’s Mother’s Day?

Great Girls

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

Idea stolen from Michaela:

2 children

2 girls

2 teenagers

1 in high school

1 in middle school

1 outgoing

1 introverted

1 brunette

1 blond

2 dancers

2 smarty-pants

2 reasons to be happy to be a mother

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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