Sunday, May 19, 2013

Local Love to The Faux Frenchmen

Now, its true that every year Maifest in Mainstrasse has crafts and foods and beer and live entertainment.  And hey, who can deny the appeal of an oompah band, huh?  NO ONE, that's who.  

I got myself down to Covington,
But this year it wasn't for the oom-pah bands. 
I threaded the maifest maze of tented booths, 
OMG, Red John?

And found both the Moerlein booth and the Taste of Belgium Booth.  

I sat down contentedly with my Sangerfest Bock and my waffle and thoroughly enjoyed the live entertainment :  

The gypsy jazz awesomeness of Cincinnati's own Faux Frenchmen.  

The Faux Frenchmen.  
Fine musicians.  Catch them around town and show some local love.   

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Unblooming Iris (Part 2)

We had to skip town for some urgent family stuff.  Urgent family stuff takes a bit of the wind out of your sails.  Goes without saying, I guess. 

We got home, exhausted and smelly, and I was immediately and illogically cheered by what greeted me. 
surprisingly un-purple, in a pinkish way

Not bad, as payoffs go.

I love the colors and textures.  The fuzzy + the veiny + the ruffles. 

It was such a pleasure to just sit outside with my coffee and admire what nature and science has so lovingly crafted.  

But that's not all.  
Orange photobomb

This is another first for this O-Town Gardener.

It is one year old,

And my poppy has popped.
 One of 3 poppies survived the planting.  It didn't flower last year, but it's clearly quite productive this year.

The pods are all cute and fuzzy like baby tomatoes.
pods pods pods
I bought the poppies as a multipack of seedlings, so the orange is a surprise.  But I don't mind the pop of orange.  My garden isn't all match-ey match-ey and the same color.  That's all right with me.  

Perennials might require more time and patience, but there are some great surprises along the way.  

Annuals are for chumps.

Maybe that's too harsh.  But just look at this show!

In the beginning perennials are teeny.  In the first year you wonder if they are sick or dying.  And you lose a few.  I've certainly lost a few.  But Perennials are awesome.  You plant one year and the next year they come back to you.   

Looking as fresh and gorgeous as ... well, THIS.

A much-needed pick-me-up. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Unblooming Iris

It must be, oh, four or five years ago since we went to that small-town library book sale.  There was an adjacent plant sale, but at the time D & I lived in an apartment with no direct sunlight.  I had had no intention of adopting plants, but as I loitered outside waiting for D to finish up with his purchases, both the library and plant sales were winding down and the ladies were getting antsy to rid themselves of what hadn't sold.  

Would I like to take home a plant?
No, no, just the books, thanks.
And if they offered me free plants would I just take them?  
No, I declined politely.
Did I know they were going to throw them out after I left?
Okeydokey then, I'll take two.  

In the four or five years since I have had the lily it has bloomed all but the last two years.  On the sunless porch in the teeny pot, it still popped up some lovely flowers for me.  I transplanted it two years ago and it didn't bloom, but upheaval can be tough on us all, so that's understandable.  
See, no direct sun.  Such a trooper!

to be honest, I'd forgotten what color it was until I saw this photo

Last year it was smothered into the dirt by the iris, and I'd rather thought it had died.
Now you see it 
Totally smothered

It didn't die though, hardy son of a gun. When it peeked above the soil line this spring I swooped in to rescue it, transplanting it into the front bed.  It's looking happy and healthy.  
he's on the right.  Next to the foofy-pants poppy
This iris has been another matter though.  

Every year this leafy bugger gets bigger, but has never so much as put on a single bloom.  

What color iris?  Why, I have no idea.  It's adopted.  

But then ...

I couldn't believe when I caught a glimpse of this peeking out of the foliage. 

I've read about irises that don't bloom.  Caused either by stress (if its been transplanted), or soil deficiencies.  Too much nitrogen, not enough phosphorous.  This isn't necessarily resolved with normal fertilizers, because that often just piles on more nitrogen, because it coaxes green growth over blooming.  We tried sprinkling some fireplace ash, which supposedly also leaches potassium into the soil.  

Maybe that made the difference?  I dunno.  

Purple!  I think it's purple!!  Eeeee!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lazarus Lizards

It was a rough spring for allergy sufferers in the Cincy area.  I think I may count myself among their ranks if next spring feels as abysmally bad as this year.  Sinus thing became a sinus infection, turned into an ear infection, turned into bronchitis.  

Like I said: a rough spring.  

But now for something completely different.

The Lazarus Lizards are back!

 A flash of movement out of the corner of your eye, and then!  

Wee dinosaurs!
look at his wee velociraptor feet!

you see it, right?

Please stay, and procreate, and eat ALL of the insects.  Thank you.
"Clever girl"

In addition to watching the lazarus lizards scoot around,  
see what I did there?
this Quite-Contrary-Mary has been watching her garden grow.  
But that's a post for another time.  

Velociraptor from :
Villainous Victorian Velociraptor from: Shirt.Woot

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Concrete Floor Paint

You may remember the basement floor at our house.

When we bought the house we inherited some lovely asbestos tile and exposed carcinogenic mastic.   

Because the cracked and cracking tiles were an absurd mess, and also because, you know, cancerous, we had the tiles professionally removed.  What remained was also a hideous mess of stained floor.  Even after mopping, it looked/looks perpetually dirty.  

It's not great.  

We've covered it with some surplus area rugs and it's not so bad.  Look, it's a basement.  We're not going to drop a bunch of money to remake our basement into ... into something that costs a lot of money.  

Still, we're down here daily to work out, check on the Home Brew, do laundry, or to escort Bobby to his cave (his crate), and we'd like to use utilize the space even more in the future.  Since we're not likely to do that until we tone down this gross factor of the basement... 

How about: Concrete Paint?  

Yes, this is after mopping
first swaths of paint
Before and After : behind the "bar"

in front of the "bar"

I hate to speak too soon, but to my mind this experiment has definitely succeeded.  I can't tell you how much the basement has brightened up, to say nothing of how clean it looks now.

One can seems to cover quite a lot of ground.
And when I say "cover," I mean there's a lot of square footage out of one single can of concrete paint.  I made certain to vacuum and mop the floor pretty thoroughly before the paint went down, and I've got to say, the coverage looks pretty good.    
But do I need two coats?
How important is a sealer? Does that depend on the brand?

This requires some investigation...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Release the Bobbins!

If we had to lose an hour this weekend, at least we got some fantastic (and unseasonably) warm weather to soften the blow.  

Finally we're getting more sunlight.  It couldn't have been sooner for Yuuki, who manages to find every ray of sunlight that he can put into contact with his body.  

We took advantage of the warm weather to get some outside work done.  While I cleaned out the flower bed and cleared the dead leaves from the coral bells, D installed the screen doors on our new french doors.  

"do you like French Doors?"  "Yes I do, mom!" 

Its pretty exciting.  We had two doors replaced recently.  One of them was a door which wasn't even an external door, and the windows in it were painted over sloppily with streaks of off-white paint.  The frame was a tad messed up too.  But now!!  

canine oriented anti-escape devices by gate

The back door that we replaced, shown here sideways for some reason, had a rotting frame, one side didn't open, and the doorknob was in the worst possible orientation for the rest of the room.  

Ok, oddly enough I cannot find a single photo of the old doors.  They were ugly and the cats were always entangling themselves in the blinds, and the door handle was by the wall kind of blocked by the table.  

And then one magical day, men came and brought me this gift.  (I jest, it was not a gift, we're still paying in installments)  And its lovely. And both sides open.  
And now?  Now!?  Screens!!

The animals love smelling the air and hearing the birds.  I love having some fresh air in this place.  Max hasn't sharpened his claws on the screen yet, which is why he's still alive and walking around.   

These are Bobby's first french doors.  Yup.  

In the first five minutes Bobby had run blithely through one of the screens, knocked it off the track and sent it bouncing onto the deck.  D re-installed it and introduced Bobbins to the mechanics of the screen door.   


D escorted Bobby inside, went back outside, shut the screen door, called him from outside, and had to throw up his arms fast to shield himself as the screen door exploded off of its hinges again. 

It's a work in progress.