Basement Cat at it again

It’s been a long time since Basement Cat’s evil youth. These days, he seems to have left his life of crime behind him. But I fear he’s starting up again.

This morning I’ve had both texts and e-mail from Angie’s List suggesting that I get Black Cat Remodeling to bid my project. Given our housemates, I am highly suspicious that Angie’s List has been hacked.

The bid I expect: “We’ll have Basement Cat chew through that, and then we’ll claw here till we break through. Then there will be a big hole we can hide in. Make sure the cupboards have doors we can open, and that the window latches are cat-operable. Finish? What do you mean, finish? There’ll be a nice thick layer of cat hair over the top, that’s the finish. In black, of course. We don’t do color options here at Black Cat remodeling. We shed in any color so long as it’s black.”

Strange discovery

Recently I saw a real-estate ad for a house in my home town, and went online to check it out. Lovely pictures. Only . . . where was it? I should have walked by it dozens of times, but couldn’t recall seeing it. Google street view showed me the house that I remembered for that address, but the pictures didn’t match that house. Finally drilling down in Google maps showed the lots on that hillside, and I realized that the house for sale was on a flag lot (which term, coincidentally, I learned last week from a post at a garden blog). I have been past the corner, dozens of times, but it never occurred to me to wander down a stranger’s driveway to see if there was a second house back there.

It was like those dreams in which you discover an extra room in your house. Only there really is a house I didn’t know about. What else don’t I know about my old neighborhood?

Six on Saturday: better every day

I’m cheating a bit, and giving you four pictures of magnolias as my #1. I took a picture every day this week, but the ones on cloudy days didn’t turn out as well as these. The first is from Sunday, the last from yesterday:

Okay, 2 is the current state of the clump of sedums that has been a regular feature. I’ve cleared off some of the dead foliage, but haven’t got round to removing it from the bed, so you can see a bit of it at the edge:

3, two sets of grape hyacinths. The first is under the bird bath (note the fallen magnolia petal); the second lets you see quite a bit of the shade garden, in the front of the house, including one of the columbines returning:

4 is the lilac bush, very leafy now:

5 is tulips, not sure what color yet. There are two big clumps in the side yard, under a pine tree and screened by day lilies and whatnot; I’ve been wondering if squirrels moved them there, because it seems like an odd place for them. There are a couple of other areas in the garden where I see tulip leaves, but just a leaf or three, no buds.

6, the iris are coming up. Again, I look forward to finding out what color they will be.

Someday I may get around to posting something that isn’t Six on Saturday. In the meantime, at least this keeps me showing up once a week! The host is Jon at The Propagator. His post for this week reminds me that I should go see if the clematis is sprouting. The peonies have sent up shoots, which may feature next week. See above re: finding out about colors! I don’t want to plant anything new till I know what colors are already here.

Six on Saturday: triple the flowers

One, daffodils are in full bloom:

Two, more daffodils:

Three, periwinkles (to my surprise: I saw a bit of lavender and expected crocuses, but no):

Four-sythia, which I am delighted to discover I now have:

Five, one of the columbines I planted late last summer is coming back:

Six, so is the big clump of sedum that I think was last seen as a lump under snow cover (no, it was when emerging from that state):

Rats, I forgot to take a picture of the lilac leaves. They are larger than last week, but still not what you’d call leafed-out. If I were in better shape, I’d go back outside and add a bonus picture, or bunch the daffodils as a single topic. Unfortunately, I have pulled a muscle along my rib cage and am very sore, so for the last few days I have done as little moving as I can get away with, almost no actual work, and definitely no vigorous gardening. Since it’s warming up, I hope to spend awhile this afternoon sitting on the deck, as a change from the couch. But for the moment I’m staying put. Wandering around the garden was a pleasant expedition for the morning, and (bonus) I got to tell a distributor of political flyers not to leave any with us. I’ll be glad when Tuesday’s local election is over with.

Six on Saturday is hosted by the Propagator—if you like garden pictures, head on over. He has some glorious double-ruffled daffs this week.

Six on Saturday: actual spring

Last week, I didn’t bother to post because everything looked exactly the same as the previous week, thanks to the snowfall putting everything back in the fridge. However, this week we’ve had some warmish weather and some rain, so I have some flowers to show you:

And the lilac bush has leaves coming out of those buds:

All the rest are various bits of green stuff turning green. Groundcover sedum, for instance:

Four and five are green stuff appearing in the shade garden:

Six is day lilies sprouting between the bulbs and the vegetable patch:

I’d like to get out and do some tidying up, but I have oodles of work, plus assorted House/Life stuff that urgently needs attention (taxes, the dying dryer), so the garden will have to wait.

Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator!

Six on Saturday: progress

The snow has melted. But don’t get excited yet; we’ll be getting more early next week, nasty wet heavy stuff, too, unless we get lucky and it turns to rain. Today is lovely, though, and I’ve been reading on the deck. I’m not going to do much in the way of spring clean-up until April, given the good possibility of more snow (and frosts). Here are my six for today:

1, The little lemon thread false cypress doesn’t seem to mind having been buried for weeks:

2, behind it I noticed these groupings of bulbs by the back fence, where later in the season there will be hostas:

3, a bit further along the back comes the vegetable patch, where the catnip is making a comeback (so, alas, is the Creeping Charlie):

4, here’s where the lilac buds have got to with a week of warmish temperatures:

5, the box bushes in the back look like they may have the same problem the ones in the front had last year. I may replace all of them with evergreens or something:

6, the two clearance-table junipers I planted late last summer (early fall?) are doing nicely in the Evergreen Garden:

Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator.

Six on Saturday: The Thaw

It’s not exactly what I would call spring, but the driveway is completely clear and the snow on the lawn is now patchy rather than a solid foot-plus cover. So here are some pictures, starting with the evergreen grouping I planted last year, near the back fence, with a close-up of the false cypress in the middle, which was completely buried after the last snowfall:

#2, the sedums in their current state:

#3, the spiky green thing re-emerges, looking pretty good. I think it’s an alien:

#4, the lilac bush is showing signs of life:

#5, so are weeds in the vegetable patch:

#6, the little rose I didn’t get around to moving to a sunnier spot, last fall. It needs some pruning, but at least it’s also showing signs of life:

I don’t see any signs of bulbs, yet. Since this is my first spring here, I don’t know what to expect, but I’ll keep my eyes open. Future plans depend on what is already here. I know I’ll need to thin the hostas when they start coming up; the question is whether to divide & re-plant here, find new homes for some, or just compost the extras. There are a lot of hostas here, and I’ve been reading about native plants and wondering if I should replace the hostas with wild ginger.

Six on Saturday is hosted by The Propagator.

Going back in time

On Friday, I thought I’d try tracking where I was every hour on the hour, sort of like in those “photo an hour” posts, but minus the photographs.

6:00 a.m., putting on my socks in bed, prior to sitting up for the rest of my clothing.

7:00 a.m., drinking tea in the rocking chair, Basement Cat in my lap, enjoying the early sunlight.

8:00 a.m., in the middle of a stretching session.

9:00 a.m., breakfast over, folding sheets from the dryer.

10:00 a.m., working on readings for my grad class.

11:00 a.m., same.

12:00 noon, finished putting PDFs, links, and self-typed files onto the CMS, about to eat lunch.

1:00, making notes in journal about what I’d been doing.

2:00, reviewing applications to LRU’s graduate program in English.

3:00, talking with Sir John about technical terms for roofing materials.

4:00, in my car, nearly to the town where I used to live, where I was going to pick up a new pair of glasses (old pair broke a couple of weeks ago).

5:00, shopping in the grocery store I used to shop in, larger than the local branch of that chain.

6:00, in my car again, almost to my exit.

7:00, gathering ingredients to make brownies.

8:00, watching a DVD with Sir John.

9:00, eating brownies with Sir John.

10:00, dozing off in the bathtub.

11:00, in bed with lights out.

It was strange being in my old town. The houses seem much closer together, the streets more crowded. More people were wearing masks outside, which makes sense for the denser conditions. One large building has now been completely dismantled, so that corner seems oddly empty. There was a new assistant at the shop where I picked up my glasses, though the optician I’m used to was also there. I noticed the flatness all over again. I feel much more at home here, with hills and, if not views, at least vistas.

It was a longish day, but not nearly as long as Fridays used to be when I got up at 5:45 to leave the house by 7:00 for a campus meeting at 8:30, and sometimes stayed on campus till 6:00, sometimes went to a social event on the way home, sometimes stayed up far too late reading to counteract the day full of people and events.

Same again

The view from my front door, this morning:

There’s a slight bump where the tallest sedum head was.

Bonus picture of squirrel (fortunately they’re good at digging):

More snow

The view from my front door:

Sedums straight ahead. The spiky green not-tropical plant to the left.

Weather for at least the next week is either “snow” or “too cold to snow.” This is proper winter weather where I live, and I’ve been putting up with this for longer than I lived in kinder climates, so you’d think I’d be used to it. I am, I suppose, but I still don’t like it. I like being warm, and going out without a balaclava, and seeing green stuff that isn’t African violets. When I still belonged to a gym, in weather like this I might go swimming, and then spend an hour or two in the steam room and on the pool deck, imagining myself somewhere tropical.

Yesterday I took a long hot shower with the bathroom door closed, fan off, and then just stayed in the bathroom till the steam dissipated.

It’s not the same.

At least we’re halfway through February, and at least we know how to deal with snow where I live (unlike, say, Texas). I need to pull up my socks and get on with things, since work doesn’t go away just because I’m sulking about winter, but I really miss the days when I could take my laptop out on the deck. Grumble grumble February grumble.