Friday, July 26, 2013

Silver Linings

This week has been a struggle, if I was prone to believing in such things, I'd say it was Mercury being in retrograde...whatever that means.

Today was no exception.  Work was the sort of day where I could NOT do anything right the first time I tried.  Not a darn thing including drive home.  I got about 1/3 of the way home and a blew a tire. A perfectly fine tire, by all accounts from my local mechanic shop. 

So I call AAA and promptly get disconnected because, again, I can't do anything right the first time.  But the guy on the line was very nice and helpful and promised the repair guy would be there within 40 minutes.

So I wait on the side of the road with my hazards flashing and my AC on low.  The cars are zipping past on the highway and about 2/3 of them are actually obeying the state law about changing to the center lane when passing a disabled vehicle.  Along the way, I notice not one, but two people I work with drive by ignoring me.


While I was on the phone with AAA, The Guy Who Wants To Help stopped.  It happens every time.  I've been stranded on the side of the road my share of times, I guess, and every time ONE PERSON stops to offer assistance. 

One.  Wow.

The interesting part is that every time, except for one, the guy who stops is riding a motorcycle.  Yep.  The guys that everyone avoids when they are stopped on the side of the road are the ones who always stop to render aid to me.  And the one time it wasn't a guy on a motorcycle?  It was January, in Nebraska, and 12 degrees.  No kidding he wasn't on a bike.

I like me some biker types.

So the guy from Loren's Tires in Wahoo, NE finally shows up.  I say 'finally' when he only took 20 minutes of the 40 to get there.  Nice guy.  He had his two little girls in the truck with him which I thought was unusual but I went with it.  We chatted.  He looked at my tire and my spare and we decided that the used tire he probably had at his little one-man tire shop was the best option.  While he was loading my car onto the flatbed, I noticed that there were 100's of little grey-headed coneflowers on the side of the road.

He did in fact have a tire.  So, I spent the next 30 minutes being totally enchanted by his two daughters.  They are 5 and 9 years old.  As my husband says, "They're cute when they're little."  They were adorable and not the slightest bit shy.  When I wasn't looking, one of them slipped a tiny rock into my pocket.

The next thing I know, I'm heading down the highway on my way home with a fixed tire.  On the way home, I saw in various locations three deer, a fox, five ducks and a coyote.

This is where the silver linings part comes in.  I have tried to write this down properly and I can't get it right, so I'm just going to make a list:

  1. It was 80 degrees and not 100 degrees like it was last week.
  2. At least one person stopped completely unprovoked and offered assistance.
  3. I had actually remembered to renew my AAA membership.
  4. Loren figured out on his own that he needed a flatbed truck for my all wheel drive car.
  5. I found some cute little coneflowers on the side of the road.
  6. Loren had exactly the right tire for my car in his shop.
  7. Loren had the skill and tools necessary to make short work of taking off the ruined tire and installing the used tire.
  8. Loren did not once try to take advantage of the fact that I'm a woman and this was a car issue.  I'm no mechanic, but I know when I'm being played and I don't appreciate it.  It happens more often than you can even imagine.
  9. The charge for the tire and the labor involved was less than a 'big garage' would have charged me just to fix a tire.  
Score one for the small businessman.  Chances are that when I'm ready to buy a new set of tires, I'm going to see Loren. If you ever find yourself in or near Wahoo Nebraska in need of a tire or tire service, go see Loren.  You won't regret it. But bring your checkbook.  He doesn't take cards.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

360 Degree July Garden Tour--2013 Edition

Phew!  Still hot! Not 360 degrees, but 97 is pretty warm. Yesterday was a scorcher!  So I spent my day indoors looking at and editing a whole slew of pictures I took of the garden inhabitants over the last week or so.  Let's start in the back garden where I have the vegetables growing.

Okay, so these aren't technically growing anymore.  Lying here on the edges of my Top Hat Blueberry bushes drying in the sun is but a mere portion of the onions I planted this year.  I planted them in three waves about 2 weeks apart and guess what?  They're all coming on at the same time anyway.  That's the last time I try that.  In the background, you can see where the bush beans will be emerging any time now.

This is the boatload of shallots that I got from the 12 or so sets I bought in the spring.  Note the cutting edge, high tech drying tray.  Can you tell I made it myself from an old trash can lid and a brick to keep it from sailing away in the wind?  Nothing but the best.

If you look a little left-ish from the onion drying station, you'll find where some of the onions had been growing and some still are, a respectable stand of volunteer dill and my potato buckets that have been re-purposed for cucumbers and tiny pumpkins.  I have created a 'trellis' by drilling holes in the edge of the buckets and running twine from there up to the edge of the patio cover.  Since I took this picture, the cucumbers in the two right hand buckets have grown at least a foot.

Against all the odds of a crazy spring and summer, I have an actual tomato.  I have spent a little time wondering if I would get any.  Apparently, I will get at least one little Roma.

Here we find a close up shot of the coleus I started from seed.  It was called 'Rainbow Mix' but all the coleus are pretty much exactly the same.  What are the odds?  Not much of a mix, if you ask me.

On the back arbor, I have hung four little planters with begonias, white petunias and moss rose.  An odd combination, I know.  I just went to the garden center and picked out the plants I liked the best.  This is what I wound up with.

The white petunias.  You can't tell in this pic, but there is a slight pink cast around the edges.

A particularly nice moss rose blossom

Look behind you and you'll see what might be the silliest garden thing I've ever done.  Yes.  That's corn.  It's a special variety called Corn On Deck and I got it online from Burpee.  I can't say I can recommend it though.  I got a package of 30 seeds and planted them according to the instructions.  This is all I got.  Admittedly, they are starting to tassel but whether or not I get any corn at all remains to be seen. And no, Burpee didn't pay me to say those things or give me the seed.  As much as it pains me to admit it, I bought it myself.  Let's step over to the berry bed.

These are the first raspberries I've ever grown.  They are black raspberries.  The tiny handful that I got were delicious.  Continuing on around the corner we find my second tomato bed.

The plants are still small but they are sturdy and there are blossoms forming.  I am always impatient for tomato season to begin.  This year has been torture.  That gigantic plant on the left side is my tomatillo plant(s).  Lots of sweet little yellow flowers but no fruit yet.  The marigolds in the front are from seedlings I started in March.

In the foreground here, my much anticipated asparagus plants have sprouted!  All but one of the crowns I planted has come up.  I was expecting a 50% survival rate, so this is unprecedented.  Looks like we'll have a good bed if they all make it through the winter.

 Just look what the cabbage loopers have done to my brussels sprouts!  I am constantly on the lookout for these tiny green menaces and my response is swift and squishy.  Next year, the brussels sprouts get the row cover treatment instead of the squashes.

A wider shot of the fence in progress.  Yes, the white chairs are for sitting and admiring the work so far.  Come around to the front yard.  There are some really great flowers to see there.


This is what I've been waiting to get to!  My hen n' chicks have flowered!  I've seen many beds of these succulent lovlies, but never any in flower.  They look FIERCE!

The most beautiful orange lilies I've ever grown.  The picture honestly does do not do them justice.  Stunning is the word.

On the other side of the bed we find bee balm in lavender.  This is the 'natural' color of these flowers.  It is just starting to come out in bloom now.

This is a hybrid bee balm...I've forgotten the variety just now.  I should write these things down.  This blossom is past its prime, but the red is spectacular!

Due to the fence construction activity, I've had to relocate my potted peppers.  Here they are sitting on the end of the driveway.  Lots of leaves and not many flowers yet.  But their time is coming.

On the fence around the kennel area are these two hanging pots with impatiens and coleus.  I did not start these from seed.  Aren't they beautiful?

Well, I guess that's it.  Good thing too as it's getting hot again.  What does your garden look like in the middle of summer?