Sunday, December 28, 2008

Update on the Front Garden

Turns out that the oleander was just a bit top heavy. I cut off a bunch on the left side and it popped right back to life. I think this took care of a lot of the caterpillar problem, although I'm sure there are still a few there. My husband has commented that he likes this bed (and he rarely comments on the plants.) During the week, we only see it in the dark at this time of the year, so I purposely picked white flowers so we could enjoy it more.

The snapdragons are coming into their own now. Makes me wish I planted a hundred of them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Too Much Eggnog?

I'm on vacation this week, so after washing mountains of laundry, scrubbing the kitchen floor and wrapping a bazillion presents, I might have a little extra time to do some gardening and, hopefully, get back to some regular posting. My focus will mostly be on the front garden. I think the backyard is at least temporarily a lost cause. The petunias above were an experiment. I wasn't sure how they'd hold up to frost, so I didn't want to by a ton of them. But so far, so good. I know we really haven't had a very hard frost yet, so they could still get damaged, but I might get some more today, just to make the bed all spiffy for Christmas.

My oleander has a problem lately. Its been curving to the ground. Not falling over, as the trunk seems straight, but curving. Did it have too much to drink at the garden party? (They get crazy every year.) Oleander osteoporosis setting in early? I have no idea what is causing it or how to fix it. I was thinking about lopping off the top third to make it a bit less top heavy. That would stink because there are quite a few buds on the tree. Of course, these little bastards will probably get to the buds before I do:
Here I thought caterpillar season was over.
As I'm taking these pictures, I can literally see the vultures circling. Talk about a sense of doom.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jackson Pollock Cookies

Above is my batch of holiday cookies I made this year. They are yummy and super dunkable. I'm getting everyone (neighbors, teachers, co-workers) a dozen. Since I don't know all of your addresses (and couldn't afford postage anyway,) I'm giving you the gift of the recipe. Now this is important: This recipe for seriously time crunched, "only bake once a year" people with no artistic talent, preferably mothers with kids who always want to "help." I was tired of sugar cookies that looked like they were in horrible accidents. So please, if you have extra time and talent on your hands, make something more complicated and leave this one to us.
Here you are: I call them Jackson Pollock Cookies (Seriously, NO ONE I work with understood why.)
1. Bake a package of pre-made sugar cookie dough according to package directions. Let them completely cool. I made them a night before. If you are ambitous, you can roll out the dough and cut out shapes, however that would be streching my baking skills past their breaking point.
2. Get a bag of regular chocolate chips and two bags of white chocolate chips. (Reserve one bag of white for later.) In separate bowls, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. If needed, add a capfull of veggie oil to make the chocolate flow better. (The more oil you add, the softer the chocolate on the cookie will be, so use sparingly.)
3. Split the remaining white chocolate chips and melt the same way, adding red and green food coloring to the bowls. Add a couple more capfuls of oil to these to make them very drizzly.
4. Place the cookies on a table covered in wax paper. Dip half the cookie in either white or regular chocolate. Set on the wax paper. When you have a bunch of these, let the kids dip forks in the colored chocolate and drizzle it over the cookies. It helps if you close your eyes and pretend you are Jackson Pollock. Can't really mess this part up and kids love it.
5. Let the chocolate harden. This can take up to an hour if you are like me and always put in too much oil. Putting them in the fridge helps too. Then enjoy dunking them in some coffee or hot chocolate. (I'm pretty sure I've made this sound way more complicated than it is. Its pretty simple if I can do it.)
This will be the only recipe that you see on this particular website, because I don't know how to make anything else. That's what husbands are for.
May your holidays be filled with Peace and Love.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

End of a Blog

You know how it goes: Your favorite blog misses a week. You are troubled. "This is so unlike them," you think. You've seen this before and you know the first signs, but you understand. People just get busy. So you wait, and periodically check up on them. Two weeks pass. What is going on? Have they moved on to new, spiffier blog that they have neglected to tell us about? Three weeks pass. Worry sets in. Has something happened? Are they okay? Is their family alright? A month passes. If you are lucky, they write a quick a post, full of excuses:

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. You know, with Christmas sucking up all my extra time and money, job issues, computer issues and a generally uninspiring winter garden, I just have been doing other things right now. But I still love you all and promise to post updates soon. Promise.

Suddenly, you can breath easier. At least they are still alive. And yet, it seems hollow. Another month passes. Then another. And another. You have to come to the eventual conclusion that they have moved on with their lives, and that you must too. Yet you hold on, checking them, hoping. Then comes that fateful day when you go to your blog roll, and press the delete button.

Don't delete me, people! I know it's been two weeks, but I swear I'll be back. I will go and leave comments on your blogs just to prove I'm still around - just don't give up on me!

Maybe, one day when they start blogging again, they'll look you up like an old boyfriend and you can start back where you left off. . .

This post is dedicated to Kim, Hunky, and Andrea. I miss you all.

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