Tag Archives: gardening

“Well, Blow Me Down!”


When we went for errands this morning, the wind was blowing strongly and pretty steadily. (We could even hear the wind blowing last night after we went up to bed and usually we don’t even hear STORMS.) It has continued to be gusty,winds blowing so strongly I felt I might blow away – and THAT’S a strong wind! – so I haven’t tried to work outside.

It looks like it MAY have calmed down, so I may get out there to cut our remaining rose bushes way down for the winter..

By the way, here’s OUR mailbox decoration of Popeye, one of our favorite cartoon characters. :0)

I hope you’re having a fun day.

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Maybe Yard Work


I’m HOPING that our weather will warm up another 10 degrees so I don’t freeze my parts off trying to do some clean up in the yard this afternoon.

I would like to –

  • finish weed whacking around the house
  • clean up the frozen plants, either cutting them off and mulching, or cleaning out the planters
  • cut down a bunch of the tall weed trees across the back that are blocking our view of the valley

Those are the main things. If I can get them done, I’ll be very happy about my efforts to prep for the winter. I’ll try to do SOMETHING outside each day, unless it’s just too cold.

First, lunch, and then I’ll see what I can do.

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Perfect Weather for Yard Work

House Tipster


I’ve been especially enjoying working in the yard the past few days. The weather has been perfect – sunny, but not the kind that makes you feel you’re being boiled in oil, and temperature warm, edging toward cool.

My latest outside project, cleaning out the trio of brick planters that separate our front yard from the top of our driveway, is going well. I have two of the three planters cleaned out, and am hoping to get the third planter weeded today. I’m feeling a bit of pressure now, since I read that we’re due for strong storms tomorrow afternoon and evening and I’d like to finish the clean-out before the rain.

This is what the trio planters looked like a few days ago. As you can see, they are totally overgrown, plus filled with weeds and Bermuda grass.

This is what they look like this morning. I have my work cut out for me with the third planter, but it will feel great to at least get started, if not finished with it today. I’ll wait until it’s a bit warmer to get started. (Can you believe I’m SAYING that?) :0)

I walked around the yard briefly after taking these pics and found that the flowers in the pots on the deck are providing a nice display.

It is my fervent hope that I don’t run into wasps or ants in the last planter. I may spray it with EIGHT first to see if anyone comes flying out….

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Good Dog!


I just finished hacking the overgrown stuff on the trio of brick planters, and have finished weeding one of the three. I’m resting now.

The elements apparently caused a rope support we had rigged for wisteria vines to snap and I had to tackle the results of that today. I did a bunch, but will have to ask my husband to use the chain saw on one part. It’s sad, but the rope giving way and breaking caused kind of an avalanche of vines, some of which are really thick, to cover half of one of the planters, to impede our access to stacked fire wood, plus make it almost impossible to do any mowing or weed whacking there. I’ll prune it as little as possible and hope we can figure out another way to prop up the vines stretching from the planter across the wood pile and up into the tree beside the driveway.

This gives you an idea of what I’m trying to save. From what you can see here, the wisteria vines continue on to the left across the woodpile and up into a tree.

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Snipping and Hacking

Well, the process of bringing this trio of brick planters back to some kind of plan has begun. So far, I’m feeling overwhelmed.

The first step is cutting down the overgrown stuff. I’ve filled a trash can and dumped it, and I don’t think you would notice I’ve done anything. I’m resting and drinking water now, trying to gear up for another session.

The weather is really nice for my project, but my energy is fading fast. I started out with a ratty, but warm vest on, but quickly shed it as I worked. If you’re just walking around, it still feels a bit cool, but working changes your mind fast.

I’m in a ruthless frame of mind, I find. The rose bushes in the trio of planters are not looking healthy. I’ve decided to REALLY prune them down, thinking I would rather lose them and start over at this point, rather than try to fight sad, diseased leaves and mostly bare branches. I’ll cut them WAAAY back and deal with things when I see how they do next spring.

I’m about to head out for another session. I’m concentrating on snipping things off and hacking things down today. If I can get a good start on that, I’ll feel as if I’m making progress.

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Thoughts on a Halloween Monday 10-31-2022


I want to HUG this dog! And then hug him again.

I’m really hoping that we have a nice day today, particularly this afternoon. I’m going to tackle cleaning up what I call the ‘trio planters’ that run between the front yard and the top of the driveway. At this point they are completely overrun with weeds, Bermuda grass, and overgrown plants.

This is the first of the three 8 foot long brick planters. As you can see, it’s a mess. There are two more adjoining this one, creating a demarcation line between the front yard and the top of the driveway. When it’s tended, there are roses, lilies, iris, and phlox. I’ll do a bit at a time until it’s more under control.

This is the second planter, and the overgrown bush covers the third.

If the weather is cooperative, I’m planning to take my gardening stool out and get started today.

Wish me luck?

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Different Beginning for a Friday 10-28-2022

Ron Magill-totallythebomb.com

I’m typing this from the puddle into which I melted after seeing this photograph. Isn’t he SWEET?

Today has been a different Friday than usual for us.

First, everyone else is gone, so no Lunch Bunch today. Hopefully, we can all be there next Friday.

Second, we have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) in the office for our computers. It started making weird noises this morning and then a red LED light came on. We looked it up and found that that is what it does when it needs new batteries. We shut everything down. My husband opened up the UPS and found it has FOUR large heavy batteries (picture small bricks). He was able to order more, so they’re on the way, but now we don’t have our usual backup. Hopefully, nothing will interrupt our power at a bad time when we’re on our computers until we can get the new batteries into the UPS and everything plugged into it again.

Third, Since I had to shut off my computer, I decided to get some of the stuff done outside. I stored our onion harvest, and then cleaned up the elephant ear planter a bit, cutting off LOTS of dead or battered leaves.

I moved seven 40-lb. bags of soil to the three planters near the house yesterday. I got the soil spread in the long tomato planter (above) and what will be the new iris planter (below).

I’ll save the spreading of the soil in the new tomato planter for later today.

I also plan to start weeding in the trio of brick planters that run between our front yard and the driveway area. Rain starts late tonight and will continue all day tomorrow, according to the forecasts.

Happy Friday!

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Racing the Coming Rain Again

Plant Addicts

Slow Progress in the yard work so far. I’m wheelbarrowing 40-lbs bags of potting soil from one end of the yard to where the new tomato planter, old iris planter, and second tomato planter are. I’ve moved three bags so far, loaded the last 4 bags we had on the pallet into the wheelbarrow, and have cleaned up the pallet area, gathering up the used-up tarp, some leaf bag covers, plastic covering that came with the pallet of soil, the now-rotted wood pallet, plus bricks, logs and bungie cords that were holding everything down. I’m now resting and gulping water.

I would LIKE to finish moving and spreading the bags of soil, trimming the elephant ear plants, and planting more iris before we’re due for rain starting tomorrow evening and raining all day Saturday. This is the type of project where I would be very happy if I were as tall as a basketball player, strong as a weight lifter, and had the stamina of a long distance runner. This old lady poops out pretty quickly. I CAN do several sessions, though, between now and tomorrow evening, so I’m hoping that will get it done.

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Iris – Now Tomato Planter – Before and After

“Iris” Planter – Before
Now “Tomato” Planter – After

This part of the project is now complete. Today I added the tomato supports and then ran wire around them in four places securing the supports to the center pole and each other. I’ll see if anything else is needed in the spring as the tomato plants grow.

I now have this square planter and this eight foot x one foot planter I’ll use for our tomato plants.

The next part of the project will be to replant some of the iris in the niche (old tomato) planter (beside the porch and behind the house.)

I also brought in the harvested onions that have been drying on the trailer bed for several weeks now. I’ll put some in our fridges and some in the mesh bags I have to hang in the pantry.

That’s it for outside today. I’ll rest a bit and then do my yoga session for the day. (DAY 96)

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Freeze Frustration

Integrated Children’s Therapy

You would THINK that, with as old as I am, and as many years as I have lived in Arkansas, that I would handle the sudden, one-time freeze event that happens every year with more grace.

It’s happening tonight. If it happens as predicted, the one-time event will kill everything still alive in our planters. THEN, instead of staying cold, it will warm up again for up to THREE MONTHS before freezing again.

I’ll show you ONE reason I get so hostile about this –

My elephant ears are happy and thriving, even though I do need to clean them up a bit. These will be devastated by a truly hard freeze.

I hope the weather forecasters are wrong…

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Iris Planter Progress

Daily Paws

I just came in from my second session trying to clean out the iris planter. I spent an hour and a half the first session, starting with a small rake-type garden tool and quickly going back to get a shovel. The second session was an hour. I’m pooped now, and I need to rest and hydrate before I do my yoga for the day, so I’ll do more tomorrow.

So far, I got the iris I could find easily out and put into a big outside type trash can. I also got most of the Bermuda grass that was on the surface of the planter out.

Tomorrow I’ll get more serious with the shovel, digging down as deeply as I can, turning the soil, and gathering more iris rhizomes, pulling more Bermuda grass roots, etc.

I feel good about my progress today. The weather cooling off and the rain last night really helped with the project. My husband said my project to clean out the planter was ‘impossible.’ It was just ‘too far gone.’ I’m going to prove him wrong. :0)

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Going, Going Gone

I worked for about an hour and a half on our two tomato planters that are close to the house.

This is the 8 foot long planter. As you can see, it is in need of attention.

Here’s another view.
Here’s how it looks now. I’ll mix up more Mel’s Mix to fill it up before planting in the spring.
No matter what I did, or what stakes I used, these plants just went nuts, spilling out over the planter into the yard.

Here’s a second view.

This is what it looks like now. Before spring planting, I’m going to research methods of tomato plant support to see how we can improve.

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Garden Progress Update

I’m pretty much finished with the weed whacking in the garden area now. I have some ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics to show you. I plan to mix up KILLZALL today and spray all around the garden area.

Area in front of garden, beside our shop –


Behind the shop/Beside the garden –


Around the shop propane tank –


Around the Mel’s Mix Bins, etc –


Now I’m thinking about painting the propane tank to look like our larger one.

“Watermelon” tank. We painted this several years ago. We own this one. Technically, the propane people own the smaller one and we rent it from them. Maybe I’ll just paint it and they can complain later….

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Almost Finished

My husband helped me almost finish up the garden this morning. We gathered 24 bricks to put in the boxes, then wheelbarrowed them out there and distributed them. We then cut the weed barrier cloth to length for each of the boxes, running the fabric under the wires that delineate the ‘squares’ of the planting areas and then holding down the fabric with the bricks.

I’ll neaten up the area under the planters with the weed whacker as part of the next part of the project. You can also see the neon surveyors tape I ran around the perimeter of the garden to keep the deer from running into it.

The next part of the project is weed whacking this area beside our shop and in front of the garden, plus
this area behind the shop and beside the garden. This is where I store the components of Mel’s Mix in the trash cans, plus garden implements, the cement mixer to mix the ingredients, etc.
this area on the other side of the shop.

THEN the garden project will be finished.

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Square Foot Garden Progress

Gardener’s Path

Yesterday I finished prepping the garden boxes in my square foot garden, finishing the weeding, spraying, and spreading the Mel’s Mix as flat as I could.

Today my husband is going to help me take bricks to the garden via the wheelbarrow. We’ll put 4 of them in each of the 6 planter boxes to hold down the fabric weed barrier we’ll cut to size today.

When that is finished, the only remaining things are spraying the weeds underneath the planter boxes in the garden itself, and then around the perimeter of the garden, plus threading bright neon tape through the fencing to try to keep deer from running into the fence in the middle of the night.

I’m feeling good this morning. I managed to only get one ant bite/sting in my work yesterday, and it’s just itchy, not all blown up and sore. :0)

If we finish in good time, I’ll post pics.

Have a great Sunday!

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Gardening Progress

Messy Motherhood

I worked for an hour and a half this morning in the garden boxes in my square foot garden. I have four of the six 4′ x 4′ wooden planting boxes ready now. When I finish weeding the last two, I’ll spray them with Eight and then with Killzall, lightly, to finish up for the day.

Tomorrow I’m planning to gather the bricks and then my husband wants to help me cut the weed barrier cloth for each box. I’m lucky I have wonderful weather for this!

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On My Way Out

Community Playthings

I’m on my way outside now to see what I can get done on getting my square foot garden boxes ready to put away for the season. My list is –

  • Get as many weeds out as possible.
  • rake the Mel’s Mix smoother
  • spray with EIGHT for ants
  • spray with KILLZALL for remaining weed roots
  • cut SIX 4’x 4′ pieces of fabric weed barrier cloth
  • gather 24 bricks in the wheelbarrow
  • put the cloth barriers in the boxes held down by the bricks
  • spray the ground under the boxes for weeds
  • spray the perimeter of the garden with Killzall
  • String neon tape through perimeter fence to try to keep deer from running into it.

I hope to get a really good start on this during the weekend. Wish me luck!

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Wednesday 9-28-2022


Good morning! I’m watching Hurricane Ian as it closes in on landfall in Florida. I know several people in the path of the storm and I hope they all get through it as safely as possible. We are all in for a long week of watching and hoping.


Today is DAY 75 in my efforts to make doing yoga practice a habit/regimen. I have a sore spot in my back that is causing me to have to modify my practice some, but I’m able to work around it, just stretching the area as much as I can before any pain.

I’ve been feeling lazy about working in the yard this week. I’m trying to talk myself into doing something outside each day, but I haven’t convinced myself yet…


Yesterday I marked my Linda Howard book collection with year of publication. Today I’ll arrange them in the shelves so that I can go back one day and enjoy re-reading them from her earliest work I have to the latest.

My art room is starting to call to me.

I hope that you are somewhere safe and that your day is a happy one.

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The Weather Wins


I’ve just come in from weed whacking. I got almost the whole back yard finished, but the weather was really getting to me. I came in, drank a whole bottle of water and tried to rest and cool off in preparation for going back out, but pooped out.

My husband mowed while I was weed whacking. The back yard now looks like someone cares. The front looks like someone cares a little bit. :0)

I told my husband I probably wouldn’t be able to get back outside to work until Saturday if I didn’t finish today (massage tomorrow morning and Lunch Bunch Friday) but he insisted I stop, going out with me to wind up the 100 foot heavy duty cord we use while I got the weed whacker. I have to admit he didn’t have to twist my arm much to get me to stop.

We talked about it and agreed that we would rather have each other in as good health as possible than a great looking lawn and flower beds. We’ll do things a bit at a time as the weather gets more encouraging of our efforts.

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Gardening Today 9-17-2022


Well, this morning’s work in the garden was less than stellar.

I mixed up a two-gallon sprayer of SEVEN to spray the garden boxes for fire ants. I pumped up the sprayer and it wouldn’t spray more than a second or two. It was already fully pumped up, and it just wouldn’t spray. I finally went back to the house and found a smaller quart-sized container and used that to at least spray AT each of the boxes. I came in when the sweat was getting into my eyes, feeling defeated.

My husband says he thinks we have another sprayer that we haven’t used. After awhile I will go see if I can find it and take it out to the garden. Hopefully, I can transfer the SEVEN to the new sprayer container and finish hosing down the garden boxes for the ants.

I WILL get this done – one way or another.

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Nice Compliment

Verywell Mind

My husband just came in from walking around outside. He said, “You did a GREAT job of weeding in the garden.” I’m still amazed.

He wanted to go to Yeager’s tomorrow to buy tarps to go over the boxes as we have done in the past. My good friend, Marsha, had suggested that I use weed barrier fabric stuff and plant through it to keep the weeds from coming up so enthusiastically. I suggested to my husband that we use the barrier stuff to keep the weeds down until the spring, instead of the tarps. We wouldn’t have to worry about the water draining off the tarps. It would just go THROUGH the weed barrier. I could check it from time to time to see if I needed to add more until it was time to plant in the spring.

In the spring, when it’s time to plant. I’ll remove the barrier, add more to plant through, or plant things, then put strips of the barrier stuff in between the plants. That should save me a LOT of work.

We’ll go get the barrier stuff tomorrow. :0)

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Sunny Saturday 9-10-2022


Awwwwww. I want to hug this dog.

All About Gardening

This morning I’m planning to get SOMETHING reasonable done outside. I worked outside Wednesday, making some good progress, but then life and other commitments got in the way while it was cooler on Thursday and Friday. I’m hoping to get my sweet red onions harvested from the garden and spread on the trailer bed in the sun to dry today. My garden is awful now, but I’m going to ignore that, doing what is pressing on me the most outside each day possible until things are under better control. Our weather is supposed to be cooler for a couple of day starting tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to that and hope to spend a lot of time outside.

Bookshelves – Guest Room

I cleaned out the books in the guest room and on my side of the bedroom about a week or so ago. My husband just noticed last night when we were getting ready for bed.

Bookshelves – My side of bedroom

Things got busy and I pooped out last night, so we just had soup and crackers for dinner. I’ll cook the chicken and rice dish my husband likes tonight.

And that’s our quiet, happy day. I hope YOU have one, too.

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Nice Thursday 9-8-2022


I simply melted into a puddle when I saw this photo. What a sweetie! I want to cuddle him.

We’re going to shop for supplies today, hoping that when we go down to the bottom of the driveway, our trash is gone and we don’t have to re-gather strewn trash all over. Time will tell.


Today is DAY 55 of my daily yoga practice. Yesterday my husband remarked that he was “proud of me” for keeping up with the daily yoga. That’s the equivalent of an Olympic medal around here, so I’m feeling really good. :0) The stretching is helping me feel better – more energetic.

I spent much of the day yesterday bouncing back and forth between listening to music on my computer and reading. Lazy, wonderful afternoon after the morning’s yardwork.

Enjoy your Thursday!

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A Bit Each Day

I just spent about an hour outside, getting two more rose bushes pruned, cleaning up the elephant ear planter a bit, and hacking down a bunch of stuff overgrowing our trio planters. It will take several days to get things under a semblance of control, but I can handle the heat for awhile in the mornings now. I don’t know what these sweet blue flowers and greenery are called, but they sure are happy right now.

I thought the elephant ears would croak in all the heat. Even with the irrigation system, they look really unhappy in the afternoons. I got things looking a bit better, though there is more work to do.

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Too HOT!


With the rain we’ve enjoyed recently, the roses on our Rio Samba rose bushes burst forth. Now they’re sad, needing to be pruned. I just went out to see what I could do and gave up after a cursory amount done on only one bush.


I felt like the sun was literally burning through my skin! I decided to be prudent and not actually allowing myself to emulate a fried egg sandwich and came in. I’ll try it again late this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

There is a LOT that needs to be done outside, but I’ll need to time it more carefully.

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I’m Not Old


I have to admit that at this very moment I’m feeling a bit older than usual. I just finished weed-whacking the front yard, the driveway area in front of our trio of planters, around the driveway pad, the back sidewalk edge and a bit more. I’m inside, drinking water and trying to cool off before we fix lunch. Then, I’m HOPING it won’t be too hot for me to finish the back.

For ME to do weed whacking, I have to get in a certain position. Holding that position while working, plus the weight of the weed whacker, plus fighting with the 100 foot extension cord I need to use makes me tired pretty fast. I used to be able to do the whole job in one session. Now I quit after 45 minutes. Oh, well. Maybe I’ll feel younger later…. :0)

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This is probably the last tomato we’ll get this season.

square foot garden box example
one of the converted tomato planters

This year has been difficult, with cooler than normal temperatures in the beginning of the spring, then WAAAAAAAAY too much rain, then WAAAAAAAY too much heat with NO rain, then just killing heat, killing off the plants no matter how much we try to irrigate.

Because we built our raised-bed, square foot garden and arranged for daily irrigation, we were able to enjoy fresh lettuce and spinach at the beginning of the season. We converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to square foot planters so we could plant tomato plants. These were on irrigation, as well, so we were able to enjoy a nice crop of tomatoes, though a much shorter season than usual.

The garden is down to just sweet red onions, ready to be pulled up and dried as soon as this heat allows. The tomatoes are almost completely gone now. We’re lucky to have enjoyed some nice, fresh, home-grown veggies, but we’re also lucky we don’t have to make a living from our efforts. :0)

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Wednesday Tomato Harvest

I just went out to check for ripe tomatoes before it gets too hot. (We’re due for a heat index of 110-115 today.) Look what I found!

I don’t know yet how this summer’s harvest will compare to years past, but the QUALITY of the tomatoes so far is stellar. NO blemishes. NO bad spots. Nice and firm. Delicious. It just doesn’t get better than this. :0) I wish I could share some with you.

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Garden Update


The zucchini are growing, but very slowly. I’ve never grown these before, so I’m not sure what to expect. The red onions seem fine. All else is gone, with the exception of my two tomato planters on the other side of the house.

The elephant ears are doing well, in spite of our having to water them manually.

The FIRST ripe tomato of the season!!!!!

The tomato plants were looking dry, so we ran the watering system for the back manually to make sure all was working as it is supposed to.

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Another Monday


The company who supplies our water is sending a man with a sample bottle and instructions today for us to take a sample of our water first thing tomorrow and put it out on the porch for them to pick up. They do this from time to time and then send us the results. It makes me feel good that the quality of the water is being checked from time to time and that they would let us know if there were any problem. This the the Milltown-Washburn Water Authority. We also have well water. It tastes good, but I’m glad we don’t have to rely on it for household use, as it was tested and found to be ‘highly aggressive’ (read acidic) and would eventually eat through the pipes in the house and our own PERSONAL pipes…. something I don’t like to think about.

We have our front and back doors open. It’s a GLORIOUS day today. A cold front came through overnight. I don’t know if we got rain or not, but the temperature was a delicious 69 this morning. It’s 76 right now, a bit overcast and feels WONDERFUL. The high is supposed to be 86 today and the humidity is in the comfortable range for the first time in a month or so. AHHHHHHHHHH!

I’m planning to check my garden today, plus my tomato plants.

Enjoy your day!

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This is Wednesday

“Flopped Squirrel” – flickr.com

I think this squirrel looks ready for action, not ‘flopped.’

We had a really nice evening cooking out last night. My husband had a bottle of Corona with a slice of lime. I had a sugar-free Dr. Pepper Creme Soda over ice. Our dog, Amber, went between checking each of us, tail wagging frantically, and running around in the yard, nosing everything. Our cat, Abby, just found a spot on the deck and sprawled on her back, feet up in the air. We had the LED rope lights on, so everything looked party-like, and colorful. The charcoal smelled good even before my husband added the hamburger patties. No one was mowing, so it was quiet. The worst of the heat was gone and it was pleasant with the deck ceiling fan stirring the air. We talked, played with the animals, thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

We added corn on the cob to our dinner. We were too full for our strawberries and ice cream, though. We’ll enjoy some of that tonight.

Today I’m dressed to the nines in sweatband, old shirt, old jeans, long socks, old shoes, ready to go out in a minute and weed whack before it gets too hot for man or beast outside. Actually, it’ll be ‘regular’ summer weather, nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s smart to work first thing in the morning or right before dark to avoid overheating. I’m going to try to get the main yard done, front and back, to go with my husband’s goal of mowing the yard yet again, although I think he’s planning to only hit the high spots today. The lack of rain has finally meant that some of the grass is holding steady while the more weeded areas have shot up again. By the end of the day it should look like someone cares around here.

It looks like we’re going to have another week where our plumber hasn’t been able to make time to help us with our 2nd line. We’re watering manually in the front planters. I’ll be glad when it can be automated, but it’s not that bad yet.

I hope that you are able to stay cool wherever you are today and that you’re doing something fun.

Happy Wednesday!

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