The bad news is in:

L’s plum tree has root rot.  The rain has been so unrelenting this year that I’m really not surprised.

We’re going to try digging it up tomorrow, if the weather cooperates, and cleaning up the roots to see if it can be transplanted somewhere else and saved.

The bugs and other fungus are having a riot of a time this year, so if we ever have a good 12 hours of no rain we’ll try spraying what we can.  I don’t like using any -icides but sometimes it’s necessary and it would seem that this year would be the case.

We’ve actually only mowed the yard fully once this year because of the rain — L is working on the second mowing this weekend but it has started raining on him both days while he was out there.  It’s kind of ridiculous.

Two more of my roses are blooming though, so I’m happy about that!  The Cherry Parfait and the Blueberry Hill.


It’s hard to tell from the evening sun, but the Blueberry Hill is a light lavenderish color when it first blooms.   You can, however, tell the poor rose has had more than its fair share of something gnawing away at the leaves.

We also have some lilies, other than ditch lilies, opening at long last!


Something is chewing at them too.  Bah and humbug!

Guess that’s why we keep the Flycatcher around, as bug control.  One of them brought a dragonfly  (okay, so I’m a fan of dragonflies) back to the babies tonight while I was puttering around checking on things and Logan was mowing.


L finally got to hear the chicks calling — at least one of the babies is adorably vocal almost all the time now and I got a short recording of it before it took the dragonfly into the box.  I really cannot wait until they start flying.  Fingers crossed that I’ll actually get to see one!


Critter overload

Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of Joule’s “Got’cha” day.  She was so itsy bitsy back then.  ❤


…and today is Mitzi’s 6th birthday.  She won’t sit still for a photo tonight, so I’ll share a photo from her Got’cha Day instead too!


I, apparently, have a thing for snuggling up with my critters.

It still happens.

Thorin had his annual check-up today.  Usually Mitzi would go on doggy day too, but since she had dermatitis, she got her physical two weeks ago with the cats instead.  Thor got a clean bill of health as he always does.

Normally we don’t let the big guy sleep with us — he’s too big and furry, even for a king size bed.  Last night, though, I let him up knowing he had a vet trip today.  He’ll also get to sleep with us tonight as a reward for letting the vet cut his nails.  He doesn’t know that’s the reason but I’ll do anything I can to keep positive associations rolling around vet days.

Thor normally sleeps at the foot of the bed when he’s allowed up, but he’d weaseled his way to the middle and was sideways across the bed, licking and sucking on my hand.

I laughed hysterically but he wouldn’t quit, and L woke up and took a photo of it.  Afterwards, Thorin kept giving L shifty eyes like “please, don’t make me stop.”

WTF, dog?!  No shame.  My hand was slimed.  So gross.


I guess it was technically Mitzi’s birthday then, so there’s her annoyed for being woken up look at 2 a.m.

She does not like sharing her bed with another dog.

Our lady Flycatcher was up to her shenanigans again too.

She’s so regal, isn’t she?


She proved that she doesn’t need a man to look out for her.  I’d thought about calling her Maria after the Westside Story gang-fight he’d initiated the other day, but after yesterday, I’m thinking she’s probably more of a OITNB Frieda.  L doesn’t watch OITNB but I may have to gather some Frieda clips just for this reference; she’s one of the few characters I watch the show for and I think he’d appreciate her as well.

She beat the absolute tar out of a robin.  No word is in yet on whether or not he is the one that has been singing endlessly for days near her box.


I honestly thought she may have killed the poor guy at first, he was laying in the grass for a good 10-15 minutes, with his beautiful red breast up and shining.  Then he finally flopped over and sat there panting and fluffed and frazzled for another good 10 minutes like in the photo.  He finally started checking his wings and seems to be a bit tender on his right one, but finally started hopping around and flew away about an hour later.  I’m glad he did finally fly away; I was about to go check on him and then would have had to contacted the local wildlife rehabilitation expert if the little guy really did have a damaged wing.  I believe a lot of nature just needs to do its own thing but I would have felt the need to intervene if a critter was hurt in my backyard and I could’ve done something.

Numbers game

I love payday.  It’s not payday (I wish it were), but I think I love paydays for reasons that other people probably think are insane.

I love paying bills and balancing our accounts.  I’m paying a doctor bill from a tick bite L had last week and having fun shifting things around for our big vacation next month today.  I don’t need a pay day to do that!  😀

I makes me feel like I’m an adult.  I am an adult so I should feel like one at some points in my life, right?  Paying bills is just about the only thing I do that makes me feel adult and responsible.  Bills and taxes.  I also like preparing our taxes.  That probably really does make me insane considering ours are fairly complicated and are filed with multiple states.

It is all really just a big numbers game.

I like seeing that when we buy our dog’s thyroid medicine from our regular vet, it costs 11 cents a pill, but when he was out for a hip replacement and we had to get her medicine from another vet, they charged 27 cents per pill.  I like knowing if I ask for our cat’s happy pills to be filled in capsule form instead of tablets, I can save 8 dollars on every refill.

Even I recognize it’s a bit crazy but there’s a lot of fun…and maybe a little pride…in knowing that I’ve gotten the best deal I can for the things we need so we can use our money for things we want so we can enjoy life.  We somehow survive on one income in a state that’s notorious for high taxes and a high cost of living, so might as well make the best of what we scrape out of the pan at the end of the day.  🙂

Speaking of which:  NIGHTWISH!!!

They announced a 9-month world tour about two weeks ago that’s going to be focusing on their older material.  They’re coming to several venues we frequent so I got to hem and haw over where I wanted to go!  That’s a new luxury.

In the end, I decided to be a little less frugal and decided to pick the venue that’s half an hour from us that has assigned seating and then got L some amazing seats (he’s a bigger fan than I am) when they went on sale yesterday.  I didn’t want to be in the orchestra pit ’cause he doesn’t like straining his neck, so we got the first row out of the pit on the aisle.  It won’t be jammed packed, no chance of a mosh pit, tons of leg room, and since it’s a real theater, not a run-down industrial building that most metal concerts are held at, it smells nice.  No gunk and grime and years of old smoke staining everything! Woo-hoo!  All in all, the tickets only ended up being about $50 more total than they would have been if we’d went to a General Admission cesspit at some of the other venues.  Totally worth it.


We’re where I so expertly used MS paint to blob in some yellow.

I don’t like sitting next to strangers. >_>;;

…and if people decide to stand the whole time like they did at the Opeth concert at Radio City Music Hall last year, we’re still in a fantastic spot.


I’ve turned into one of those people.

I never understood bird watching until we lived here in bird central.  Our backyard has such a crazy amount of diversity when it comes to birds that it blows my mind.

I mean, there were a lot of birds where I grew up too, but I don’t remember anything like this.   …and I even helped count a hawk migration once.

Today our Flycatchers were causing a bit of a raucous, so I peeked outside to see what they were up to.  They’re quite the loud and territorial lot right now.

I was rewarded with what can only be described as a gang fight on my deck.  If only they had fingers to snap…

I’ve learned my lesson and keep my camera near at hand and managed to get a few photos of the birds they were ganging up against because I had no idea what it was that had angered them so much.

I think we have a new friend in the neighborhood!


It’s not the best photo, as it’s after they scattered and this one was hiding in a tree, but I *think* it may be a Northern Flicker!  I have a few other, blurrier, photos that also seem to corroborate that guess based on patterning and colors.  This photo showed the most — the chest plumage, the bit of red on the head, the yellow-shafted variation peeking through at the wings.  The call sounds right too based on what’s on Audubon…they certainly were making a lot of noise too.


Yesterday was a doozy.  Or, should I be completely lame and call it a doze-y.

I don’t normally sleep a lot but I think I made up for every bit of this year’s lost sleep yesterday.  I went to bed early (for me) around 2 a.m. and woke up around noon…then ate lunch…then went back to bed until 4 p.m.  Oops?

It was supposed to rain all weekend but none of it showed up until today and now we’re expecting flash flooding.  At least the air doesn’t feel as thick as soup anymore.  Yay!

The bright side of sleeping so much is I got absolutely nothing accomplished, which in and of itself is kind of an accomplishment.

Earlier this week when I was at the grocery store, I noticed the white peaches had shown up.  There’s a magical one week window that peaches arrive here that are edible.  The rest of the year, they’re total crap.  They’re green or mealy or in some other way disgusting.  I was horrified when I first moved here and saw that peaches were being advertised as “crispy”.  It made me want to cry.  Seriously.  Cry.  Me.

I hesitantly bought some to try — they had the right look, weren’t hard as rocks (firm, but wouldn’t knock somebody out), and smelt like heaven.  They’re expensive here, 2.99 a pound, but it’s still early in the year and they come from California, so they’ve had a good adventure finding their way to my house.


It could have used a little longer to be perfect but it’s as happy as peaches here get.  Victory!  When we first met, L didn’t like peaches.  He’d just never had a good one — which is insane since he actually grew up in Georgia — now he enjoys them as well, so long as I pick them out. 😛

I went back last night and dug through every.  single.  peach.  at the grocery store and brought home all the ones that passed my raised-in-the-south peach sniffing nose.  Peaches are my favorite fruit, period; everybody else here apparently doesn’t know what on earth they’re missing out on if they’ll buy them the rest of the year.  I have no shame.


The newest shipment of peaches is already back to being rock hard with no smell, so this is the last of the fresh peaches I get for the year until the ones back home start to ripen and I force a migration to get a couple of baskets.

I’m pretty sure people at the grocery store think I’m insane.  I always go around thumping on melons, smelling fruit, peeling open corn…and it has to look pretty crazy.  I’m not going to buy an unripe peach or a rotten cantaloupe…  I do have to admit I get a kick out of having people asking what on earth I’m doing and then asking me to help them pick out something….or, best of all, watching a group of people knock on the watermelons after I leave hoping a dormouse will pop out and tell them to pick that one.

As far as the rest of the weekend, I got another birthday card in the mail.  I don’t care that it’s belated — it had shiny floss!  🙂


Mitzi’s fur is starting to grow back in little fuzzy patches where she had dermatitis.  Of course now that we’re almost done having to put medicine on her face is when she no longer minds it and doesn’t try biting — to be fair, if my face was that sore and infected, I would try biting anybody that tried touching it too.  When I was about seven, I had my molars sealed, and afterwards I told the dentist that the next person to put a finger in my mouth was going to lose it…so I guess there’s a reason they say pets take after their owners.


I left a little tuft of fur near her nose to hide the fact that she’s naked and sad on that side of her nose (right side of the photo).  The skin looks healthy and pink now and she hasn’t been scratching it.  I thought I would spare everybody the horrors of sad, naked dog skin.

…and while I’m on the topic of pets, when we took the critters to the vet last week, the vet suggested a Furminator for the fat cat.  He’s too fat to properly clean out his undercoat on his back.  The vet said a regular brushes work too since Sagan likes to be brushed but that the Furminators are pretty awesome if we didn’t mind dropping some cash.

We live with the ultimate shedding machine disguised as a big dog, so we decided to just get one.  Nothing else has helped with him, so what did we have to lose, really?  We brushed Thorin a lot in the past (and Sagan pretty regularly too) but man, I’m sold.  It’s not even blow-out season.


That’s ONE side of Thorin after about five minutes of the Furminator….a week in to being brushed with it every day.   Sagan saw the brush and decided he was going to go ahead and queue up for his brushing too.  I guess he thought if he went ahead and laid in the pile of fur that was the same size as the 13 pound cat that I’d brush him even more? They both love it.

…and since yesterday was Father’s Day.

George Victor Groseclose and Amber Victoria Groseclose (2)

My parents were dropping me off for my first plane ride — I was flying to NY to spend the summer with some cousins.  That summer I lost my southern, hillbilly accent because *nobody* up there could understand a word I said otherwise.  I guess it’s a good thing I did lose the nasal twang since I ended up moving here 16 years later.  My cousins, of course, had moved back home by then.  😛

Can you swim in the air?

Seriously…can you swim in the air?

It’s so humid right now that that I think I could.  I felt like I was gargling water instead of breathing when I was outside this afternoon.  X_x

Thankfully it was just for a little while — we had some bulbs dropped off to plant around our ugly septic cover.  I hope this will finally be enough to mask that hideous thing.  They’re supposed to be giant lilies with black centers and red tips.  We’ll see how they turn out next year when they grow…if they grow.

While I was slogging outside in the humidity, I thought I’d grab a few more photos.  Because, why not?  🙂


We have berries on the way!  Most of our strawberries have several berries in addition to more blooms.  We really need to throw a net over that area before the birds have a feast.  The blackberries are already so loaded (and they’re still most blooms) that they’re drooping to the ground!  The black raspberries are starting to grow nicely and should start to be turning color soon.  I’m excited, those are my favorite of the three.  🙂  I didn’t see any berries on the currant, but wasn’t really expecting much from its blooms this first year.


Some of my roses are opening up too.  I wish I could share scent, the red ones are absolutely divine.  The little pink and white “Freckle Face” ones are just cute.  🙂  The purple spiderwort are also in full bloom and the rest of my peonies are finally open!  The other peonies smell better, so I clipped a few and brought them inside, but I like the color of the yellow the best (and it doesn’t have the best smell, so I leave it outside to look pretty).  I’m not sure what the golden flowers are right off, but they really are spreading around and I like how brilliant and bright they are.

…and for the last photos, the Flycatchers decided to come out and play a bit more today!


The males and females look incredibly similar but I’m pretty sure it’s the male hanging out near our old tomato cage.  The one I think is the female is staying much nearer the box and not really wanting to leave — she mostly stays at the hole and watches for food now and just darts out to grab a dragonfly or some other tasty bite then heads back in and starts her guard again.  I included the other photo of her on the top of the box (she was just hopping out to go grab something) to show the wing patterns on their back.  They’re such lovely little birds.

After those photos, I’d been outside long enough and retreated back to the land of a portable air conditioner.

On the bright side, the heat has finally decided to take a break so it’s no longer in the 90s!  Hooray!  We’ve been making excuses to get out of the house the past few days to escape it.

On Thursday we went to a retirement party for one of L’s coworkers.  The guy is kind of a legend for a variety a reasons and most of them aren’t what people would want to be known for…but he owns up to them in an awesome way and wasn’t ashamed at all when almost all the toasts were about poisonous gas lockdowns at nuclear power sites stemming from his love of burritos.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him and I don’t say that about many people.

We also went out to see Riverdancing.  It was a fantastic show, though I hate to admit I think my favorite parts were the tap dancers and the Russian dancers.  They really added some spice and flare.  The Irish dancers were phenomenal though.



Mornings are for the birds…

I finally found the little jerk that has been singing since the crack of dawn every day this week.

I mean, he has a lovely voice…but it’s all day every day.

If you’re not familiar with the American Robin, he’s been singing an almost exact replica of Song #1 like a broken record on the Audobon Field Guide (bottom of the article on the right are where sound clips are).  I love, love, love that site!

I sure do hope he finds himself a lady friend soon so he’ll stfu.  >_>;;


He’s perched just a few feet above our owl box where the Great Crested Flycatchers still are.  I only get a rare glimpse of them as they’re coming and going, which is a real shame because they’re gorgeous…but I can hear them voicing their outrage at somebody else being so close…and babies are starting to join!  Based on that, I would expect to have little ones start flying in about another week or two, tops.  I wish the box wasn’t so far off the ground (guess I have to be glad it is or they wouldn’t have nested there) so I could actually see them but for now, I can just be glad they’re there and hope they hang around for a while when they start flying. 🙂

Pet parent

My friends that have kids often lament that they no longer have any privacy.

I can empathize.


Count carefully,  there are four furbabies in that bathroom photo…and don’t worry, while I may be sitting on the toilet, I wasn’t actually using it.  If I was, they’d probably be trying to sit on my lap.

I was waiting on L, who was bringing Mitzi’s newest medicine upstairs, while I staring at the wall in a sleep stupor.

Joule may have escaped her trip to the vet on Friday but he agreed to work in the fluffy little dog with a nasty case of dermatitis on her face.  If Mitzi hadn’t capitulated and finally let me lop her Schnauzer beard off on that side, the vet would have had to sedate and shave her.  She looks pretty doofy right now.

She’s finally started healing, so I haven’t had to avoid angry, gnashing teeth (she bit the vet) while rubbing ointment into her very sore lip and face for a few days, but I still need L to help hold her to make sure I coat the whole infected area properly.

It’s a two person ordeal, three times a day…and she hates it.  The other critters are just there for the show.

Thankfully, Mitzi is incredibly treat motivated and she thinks her antibiotics wrapped in peanut butter pill pockets are the best ever – shes trying to scope the pill pocket out on the bathroom sink in the photo – so it has helped tremendously being able to reward her cooperation with even more medicine.


With a few days of sunshine, we finally have a few things blooming around here!


My first peony opened up.  I’m not sure why this bright reddish pink one always beats the rest of the peonies by a week or so, but I’m not complaining at finally having a bright pop of color in the front of the house!


All of our irises opened overnight.  It was spectacular waking up to find them.  We have a few fancier ones scattered about in our flower beds, like above, most most are the wild blue ones and line the forest where it’s marshier.


I thought I’d throw in a photo of some black currant blossoms while I was at it.  I’m still very excited to have these!  Not sure if they’ll develop into berries — there are actually quite a lot of them on the little bush that has really taken off — but I’m happy to see the plant is doing so well for being new.


…and chives!

Normally our chives don’t get much of a chance to blossom — we eat a lot of chives around here and our big dog, Thorin, likes to eat the blossoms when he thinks nobody is looking — so at best I get a bit of chive blossom butter.

This is from last year when Thor was “helping” me salvage the garden after I was out of town for a month:


We’ve had a healthy crop of chive blossoms available this year, so I’ve been putting them to better use than blossom butter.  The butter is good, but vinegar is better!

I’ve already soaked the first set of blooms in rice vinegar for L.


I just love the color it turns the vinegar!   …and he loves the taste.

I’m not a huge fan of rice vinegar, but you can see he’s already been tucking into his bottle of it.  He eats it on pretty much everything.  We should just buy rice vinegar by the crate. 😛

I harvested all of the chive blossoms yesterday and have them soaking in a jar of apple cider vinegar now.  In a few weeks, I’ll strain and divide the vinegar between Mom, Grandmother, and I…they’ve never had any chive blossom vinegar, but I’m betting they’ll love it.  They cooks with apple cider vinegar like I do and the infused vinegar makes things like macaroni salad even better!  Mmmm!

Cat 1, Logan 0

Today was Visit the Veterinarian Day.

It’s an annual tradition of torture for both humans and all three cats.

Well, two cats this year.

L doesn’t listen very well.

Several weeks ago, I brought the cat crates out of the attic and into the bedroom so the cats wouldn’t flip out on sight.  So far, so good.

This morning, knowing how our cats function, I suggested that Joule (my side-kick) be the first cat to be put in a crate and to let me do it.  If she saw or heard the others crated, she’d be put on high alert.

Let me reiterate, L doesn’t listen very well.

He crated Sagan first “because Sagan was the easiest to crate”.  No joke.  Sagan is a teddy bear that just looks like a cat.  He even purred today while getting his shots.

This put Joule on high alert and she started to avoid L like the creepy catnapper he is.

She opened the bathroom door – seriously, this cat is a ninja – and hid in there with me while I was brushing my teeth and hubs was crating Sagan.  I ratted her out though.  Thankfully, she doesn’t speak human yet…yet.

L came and catnapped her.

Again, L doesn’t listen.

When I snitched on her, I suggested he bring the crate to the bathroom because there was literally nowhere for her to hide except behind the toilet.  Oh no, he’d manage her just fine.

(Backstory:  When Joule was a kitten, he tried for months to keep the animals out of certain rooms.  He’s an engineer and would work up very elaborate locks and systems to fool her.  It never failed that he’d come upstairs smug as can be and triumphantly declare that he’d beaten her, only to have her join us in a few minutes…or once, she beat him upstairs because she’d went another way while he was trying to rig up his way of locking her out.  She bruised his ego in a huge way and he finally gave up.)

A minute later, the FCC would have rained down fines galore upon us for the amount of screamed obscenities.

L not only failed to get Joule into her crate…he lost her completely.

Joule had grabbed ahold of the edge of the crate, launched herself back out of it, and rocketed downstairs to the laundry room.

She then jumped onto the counter and climbed straight up BEHIND the corner cabinet and into the pipe channels that run all through our house.

Little kitty ninjaed her way between the walls and floors of our house.

L couldn’t find her at all.  Joule didn’t have to go to the vet today.

When we got back from the vet, I went in the house first and called for her.  Joule came out of hiding, no problem, calm as can be.

We hung out on the bed and she got some snuggles and was purring up a storm.  She’s my baby, after all.


I called L after a few minutes and let him know all was well – he’d been worried she was trapped in the walls, I figured she went up in them so quickly she knew perfectly well what she was doing – and that he and the dogs could come inside.

I already had my phone out and managed to capture a photo of the exact second he opened the door and came in the house.


She’s definitely not a fool.  XD

She immediately went back into hiding, ghosting from room to room wherever I went.  L didn’t see her until after he took a nap this evening and I guess she deemed him harmless again.

The other two did fairly well at their appointments.

Tesla just had a checkup to make sure her happy pills are keeping her a happy, harmonious kitty.

Maybe a bit too happy and snuggly at times.

This is where she is right now.  Literally.


She’s not even my cat.  She much prefers L to me but she’ll take whatever attention she can get.

…and Sagan had a full round of shots, so he’s been even more of a sleepy teddy bear.  He is more of my cat, though he’s also an equal opportunity lover of all.  He’ll just as happily snuggle a guest or purr for the vet.

But he spent most of his evening doing this and I didn’t have the heart to move him (helps that my ankle is STILL swollen and aching — it has been almost 8 weeks, heal already!!!).  He has a way of making me feel loved.  😛