Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rainy Saturday

It's the rainy season again here in Maryville this weekend, making a rainy Memorial Day for us and causing us to cancel plans to go camping out at Mozingo Lake. Instead, Woodgie's been doing some morning gardening between the overnight rains and the mid-morning rains, plus some maintenance (filter cleaning) on the watercourse in the back yard.

After that was done, we headed over to the Galaxy Store, a Mennonite-run bulk and discount grocery out near Wilcox, MO, for some grocery and household item shopping. A big find for us (especially since we're now up to two cats and two kittens in the household), was a large and cheap bulk bag of multi-cat cat food. In the greater scheme of things, that may not mean much, but when you have two cats and two kittens looking up at you trying to decide what YOUR protein value may be, it's a find.

We're hoping that we get a break in the rain this weekend so we can grill outdoors either this evening or tomorrow. EDIT: Given the rumble of thunder off in the distance at 4:30, we're now thinking this will be tomorrow or Monday instead.

Otherwise, it's rest and relaxation for both of us through Monday: we'll be staying in, watching Star Trek Remastered tonight and then some anime later on, and otherwise just staying in and enjoying the break. Hopefully, even with the latest rains, we won't have to pull out those plans we bought off the Internet for an ark ;-).

Seriously, it looks like I'll be working a couple of days during the plant shutdown pulling some overtime, with the possibility of more than a couple of days. I'm hoping that if I can get at least a full week of OT, I'll make enough that the shutdown won't hurt the cash flow that much. And in the meantime, I can continue my job search for a better job.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Plant sale at the Plant House! (Cheshirekitty blog)

Ok, you know what I did this afternoon...herbs were selling for $1.40 a piece at the Plant House here in Maryville (down from $3.99, which as we all know reads as "$4.00), so I bought a few more herbs:

Two Red Rubin basil and two garden basil which are in the rose garden, of all things, in a bench/double planter. They are keeping their companion plant trifetti pepper company. (I'm not sure you can tell this from the picture, but trifettis are variegated plants with hot purple peppers).

Two French tarragon to supplement the scrawny tarragon I rediscovered when digging up and renovating the herb garden. Note to gardeners: Do not buy tarragon seeds expecting good tarragon. French tarragon, the culinary kind, is sterile and can only propagate by cuttings. Any tarragon seeds you buy would be for Russian tarragon, which tastes like, well, a weed.

One "The Best" mint, which replaces a lackluster mint colloquially known as "Alex mint", for the ex-boyfriend who insisted he was growing peppermint from seed.

One garden sage, to keep the purple sage company.

While I was in the herb garden, I found more stray curly mint and chocolate mint and planted them in their respective sunken pots. I am hoping the containment scheme keeps my herb garden from being a free-for-all, with the oregano the clear victor.

Just in -- a severe thunderstorm watch till 8 PM. Guess the new plants will get watered soon!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

One More Kitten

And this just in ... on a spur of the moment decision, we've adopted another kitten. A couple of weeks ago on our way back from a neighborhood walk, one of our neighbor's grandkids introduced us to a couple of darling cute kittens. Four weeks old and all females (the local male tomcat had unfortunately found and killed the males of the litter), they were in decent health and had barely been weaned.

Four weeks later, the mom appeared to be having issues nursing and was losing weight, so today, the neighbors relucantly decided to give away the kittens to the neighbors (including us), and take their cat to the vet.

After holding each of them to be sure of which one we wanted, we're (perhaps temporarily, perhaps permanently if the other cats will accept her down the road) now the proud owners of yet another kitten, a Domestic Shorthair (gray tabby and white) that we've named Mimi. If the other cats accept her, then we've gotten another member of the household. If not, then Woodgie thinks that we'll be able to foster Mimi until we can find someone else to take her.

EDIT: After some discussion, the new kitten's name is actually spelled Meme (but pronounced "me-me", as in the name), and of course, she is named for the concept of Internet memes and in particular, the cat macro meme.

Sleepy Sunday

It's a sleepy Sunday here in Maryville. Most of the weekend plans (heading to Bedford on Saturday, etc.) were cancelled as Lauren's still recuperating from laryngitis, so we stayed home from church and vegged out a bit, apart from doing a little bit of chaos control in the living room.

If the weather cooperates (i.e., if the rain holds off), I may grill out later this evening.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Absent Posting

You've probably been wondering why we haven't posted a weblog entry in awhile ... there are a couple of reasons for this:

1)Since I'm working full-time now (or at least, until the plant goes into scheduled shutdown two weeks from now), I haven't had as much free time to post. Usually, by the time I get home at 3:30, it's time to rest a little bit and decide what to do for dinner (and then make dinner, if dinner involves staying at home vs. eating out).
2)Since the weather's improved a little bit, Lauren and I have started walking regularly, so we're both putting in about 5-6 miles per day; Lauren gets her morning mileage from walking to campus and back, while I'm getting mine from work: I took a pedometer to work one day, and based off of that, Lauren estimates that I'm getting about 3 miles per day there. The other 2 to 3 miles we get from our evening walks to Hy-Vee for dinner or elsewhere in town (we've found that Baskin-Robbins, not to mention $3.22 gas prices, are good motivators for a 2-mile round-trip walk ;-).
3)By the time we're done with that, it's usually about 8:00-ish, or just enough time to wind down, check e-mails, and surf the web for a little bit (in my case, continuing my job search). Given that I have to get up at 5:45 to pick up a coworker and be at work by 7, and Lauren has to be up and around so she can walk to school to teach her 7:30 morning classes, it's usually lights out by 9:30ish for both of us.

Anyhoo, Lauren is done teaching for the week, which is good because she's developed a case of laryngitis. Hopefully, she'll recover by Monday for her classes. In the meantime, this gives her the opportunity to rest and continue exploring the world of "image macros" on the web: otherwise known as LOL cats, these are usually Internet memes involving Photoshopped (and funny) captions onto pictures of disgustingly cute cats:

Examples abound here at:

Speaking of recovering, I've belatedly discovered (with Woodgie's help), that I seem to have developed (or have developed over the last few years) a case of sleep apnea, which would account for a few things:

1)My near-legendary inability to get up in the mornings, especially in wintertime.
2)Why my snoring seems to have gone from very mild to very loud (annoying Woodgie to no end and, despite my use of Breathe Right strips, almost causing her to sleep on the couch).
3)Why I seemed to be unable to have or rarely remember dreams ... this is probably because I've been unable to hit REM sleep long enough to have them.

Because of this, Woodgie has been asking (no, too mild ... demanding is more like it) that I start sleeping on my side, which seems to alleviate the symptoms, but causes me some mild discomfort as I try to position pillows "just so". Also, during the first couple of nights of sleeping on my side, I had dreams (and remembered them) for 3 nights in a row ... something that I have never done before.

Anyhoo ... that's the week so far; if Woodgie is up to it by then, this weekend should see us road-tripping up to Bedford, IA for their annual Iris Days festival on Saturday.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cheshirekitty speaks: My week of gardening

I don't write in here often, because Richard is far better than I am at documenting day-to-day reality here in the Cozy Kittys' Household. But it's my week off between semesters, and it's drizzling outside -- which curtails my usual May activity of starting up the gardens.

I must admit, I think I am hyperactive. Literally -- ADHD, heavy on the H, light on the ADD. Also known as "predominantly hyperactive type ADHD". I prefer to think of it as "neurodiversity". I've never been formally diagnosed, but have been informally diagnosed by everyone who knows me. I think I get it from my dad -- he can't sit still, and has to be doing something else -- even reading -- at the same time he watches TV.

I can't really sit still either, until I get tired enough that I fall over. So my "vacation" has consisted of the following:

1) Fixing the watercourse/pond. The watercourse was leaking water badly -- it would bleed itself dry overnight, which is not good for water plants or fishies. I discovered that natural ground shifting had created a gap between the watercourse liner and the pond liner, which allowed water to leak under the pond liner. In addition, upon reading how to create a watercourse (which, I admit, I should have done BEFORE installing the original watercourse last summer), I realized that I should have sealed seams. So Richard and I cut a patch to join the now-skewed elements of the pond, and sealed seams with EPDM tape, black caulk, and waterfall foam. The watercourse is now up and running, and has lost no volume in two days.

2) Planting the watercourse. The whole reason I wanted a watercourse, other than to make the small deep pond and shallow overflow look less like a well, was to provide running water to plant watercress and Vietnamese coriander, two plants which require a lot of fresh water. I have not received my Vietnamese coriander yet (it's on order from, I believe) but watercress seeds have been planted.

3) Enlarged the borders of the moon garden by about 18 inches on each side. I am learning, through my trial-and-error garden design experiments, that I think too small in the initial project stage. Hence the too-small pond, the too-small front border, and the too-small moon garden.
I also planted jasmine tobacco and woodland tobacco (plantlets and seeds), night phlox (seeds), evening-scented stock (seeds), moonflower (seeds) and white dame's rocket (seeds). I will also get a couple of white datura plants and a John F. Kennedy rose to complete the picture, and maybe some fuzzy foliage from "Helen Von Stein" stachys. These plants join the perennial "David" phlox and autumn clematis already there. If you're getting the impression that all in this garden is white and most of it smells good, that's the purpose of a moon garden.

4) Planting beans, cukes, and nasturtiums in the raised beds. The beans this year are Hunan winged bean for Asian cooking, and two runner beans for green beans, shell beans, and edible flowers -- "Scarlet runner" and "Sunset". The cuke this year -- I am picky about cukes, and don't feel secure enough to grow Asian or European cukes yet -- is "Sweetest Yet". I'm skeptical; we shall see. Nasturtiums (happy salad greens and edible flowers) are "Dwarf Jewel Mix", "Whirlybird Mahogany", and "Peach Melba". I ran out of nasturtium seeds before doing the center bed, which still needs to have a debris burn before planting out with squash and melons.

5) Planting herbs. Joining the mints, oregano, and edible flowers in the new herb bed is midget savory, borage, golden feverfew, dill, and rosemary. No picture links here because herbs aren't as exciting to look at.

6) Weeding. Enough said.

7) Starting production on two Anglican rosaries. I figured another new hobby was needed to watch TV by.

8) Assorted school paperwork including setting up course sites and writing up a human subjects form for some new research.

And this was my week off. That's okay, it's only Thursday, and I've run out of stuff to do. Naptime!