Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two days in the Garden of Trina.

Several things have happened in the Garden of Trina over the past two days. First of all, Squirt, the yellow garden spider has come up missing. He or she has not been spotted for the last 3 days. I am hoping it just decided to relocate and did not become a bird snack. The kiddo is bummed. While mowing the lawn and cleaning up some debris I came across 3 little toads. I caught them and put them in a bucket for the Monkey Man to check out. He determined that they have soft little bellies (which they do)! He also found out that toads will pee on you if they're scared! Something his mother neglected to tell him, oops! Anyway, after holding and petting and getting peed on, we decided to relocate them to the front bed, lots of mosquitos to eat and they are less apt to be shredded by the weed eater or the mower. Hope they stay. Yesterday evening, I was ripping out my butterfly bush, which was GORGEOUS earlier in the year, but has now drowned from all the rain and bad drainage in the backyard. Kind of pisses me off as that was the ONLY thing I had planted in the back and now it's dead! Anyway, while ripping it out, I discovered a perfect little nest. I believe it might be the nest that housed the whining little cardinal and his family. They are still staying close to our yard, he is bigger now and fully feathered, his tail is starting to turn red, but the folks are still sticking close. My son was very excited to see all three of themout the back window at breakfast yesterday! Cardinals are beautiful birds and I'm so happy they chose our yard! And last but not least, Fuzzy Wuzzy was liberated to the wild yesterday. I finally just got sick of picking leaves and scooping caterpillar frass everyday. It was worse than caring for a damn cat or guinea pig or something! So we went out back, found a nice patch of his favorite food (a vine that grows on my fence) and let him go. I think we may check from time to time to see if he is still around. Hopefully he'll live long and prosper! :-) And in all honesty, he is probably pretty damn happy to be out of that tupperware container!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Latest on that vine!

It has finally reached the roof and has also wrapped around the house and grabbed the sun I have hanging on that wall. I will be interested to see if it begins to weave its way through that! We are getting some pretty flowers, not alot yet. Seems like it has a bunch of little buds, but they only open a few at a time and they only last for about 2 days. I need to call and ask the nursery if I'm supposed to pluck off the spent blooms in order for it to re-bloom. Anyway, here are a couple of pics of "Cyrus". If you notice the orange flowers at the bottom of the full length photo, you can see the size this vine was when I planted it 3 weeks ago! Crazy!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pictures from the park.

I took the kidlets to the park today. I didn't expect it to be very eventful, but I took the camera along, just to get some cute pics of the kids playing or something. I went to the Pfluger Park, there is a creek with a paved trail next to it, so we walked for a bit to marvel at how quick the water in the creek was flowing after all the rain the past couple of days. Anyway, here are some of the more interesting things we saw. I don't know what kind of dragonfly that is, but it was HUGE and very cool! Time to hit whatsthatbug.com again!

Please play along!

Here is a photo of a stain I found on my baby's exer-saucer. When I saw it, I had an immediate impression of what I thought it was, so I had to take a photo of it! I thought I would post it, give you a chance to check it out yourself and then you can go to the comment page to see what I thought it was and post what you thought it was. I'm just interested to see what everyone else's impressions are. Kind of like a Rorschach inkblot test! Have fun and I'm SOOOO looking forward to seeing your reactions!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why young kids are GREAT!

Here is a list of things that make little kids so awesome! And by little, I mean ages 4-6ish, just because that is what I know. I'm sure in a couple of years I'll have a post that describes the great things about 7-9 year-olds. Anyway, here goes:

1. Brutal honesty. My kid tells it like it is. If his baby sister has a full diaper, he is more than happy to point out that she stinks. He tells me that he wiped a booger on the carpet on the stairs. When I ask why he has his fingers jammed in his butt crack, he tells me it's because it itches. So with that kind of honesty happening, I know that when he says he loves me, he means it and when he says I look like a princess in a dress, I know that I must!

2. Natural curiosity. Everything is explored with all the senses and everything is open for discussion. Why are some caterpillars fuzzy and some are not? Why don't we have dinosaurs anymore? Does everything poop? Why is that person darker than me, or shorter than me? Why can't you drive across the Pacific Ocean? Why do cats lick themselves? How can life be boring when you spend your time answering some of the greatest questions of all time?

3. They have never met anyone they didn't like. This is so endearing, everyone is a potential friend. Granted, in this day and age, it's a little scary because of all the sick bastards out there, but it is still such a wonderful quality. And not only do they like everyone they meet, they think everyone they meet likes them!

4. Innocence. They have a general sense that the world is safe and wonderful (although I suppose every child doesn't have this luxury depending on the circumstance). They don't yet understand inequality and unfairness. And they think they are GREAT at everything (even if they're not!) My son tells the worst knock-knock jokes in the world, but he insists that he is a comic genius!

5. All they want is to love and be loved! Their whole world revolves around their love for things. My son tells me everyday how much he loves me, how much he loves his Daddy, his baby sister, his dog, his cat, his Buzz Lightyear, his Ottery Otter. And he is quick to let me know that I love him too.

6. Everything is an adventure. Just going to the grocery store or to the library or to the nursery to look at flowers is a treat!

7. Ice cream is considered a delicacy!

8. The thing they are most scared of is hiding under the bed or in the closet when they turn out the light. Many haven't been exposed to the real horrors that life has to offer.

I could probably go on, but these were what came to mind today. Little kids are great, they may push your buttons, test their limits and be general nuisances sometimes, but you just can't deny how sweet and wonderful they are. Well, at least mine is!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Vine update, AGAIN!

OK, the vine is now officially to the roof and I planted it just 2 weeks ago! It is going crazy there are trailers all over the place, reaching out from one string to another and up toward the roof and all over the place. I can see buds all over it, so it will probably be MAGNIFICENT in about 3 days. I will take a picture of my little beauty when it's in full bloom! I think it deserves a name, maybe Cyrus the Cypress Vine! HeHee!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

On the Menu!

Swiss Cheese Chicken Roulade over Rice with Popovers and a salad.

What you need:
Swiss cheese
4 chicken cutlets (or 4 breasts)
black pepper
butter or margarine
chicken broth
oregano and parsley

I started by pounding the chicken breasts flatter than me in a sports bra! (Hehee, but seriously folks....)
Dust a cutting board or wax paper with flour sprinkled with pepper.
Spread the breast or cutlet out on the flour, put some cheese on it and roll it up and around in the flour.
Stick through it with a toothpick or wrap with string, whichever you prefer.
Melt butter in the pan (about 1-2 tbsp), add the chicken, cook, turning frequently until golden brown.
Then add about 3/4 - 1 cup of chicken broth and sprinkle in some dried oregano.
Simmer covered about 12 minutes to cook the chicken all the way through.
At the end, remove the breasts and place over rice, top with some more Swiss cheese. Removing string or toothpicks a good idea too!
Add some flour to the juice in the pan and whisk for a gravy, pour over the chicken and rice, sprinkle with parsley.

For the popovers, pretty general recipe:
4 eggs
2 c. milk
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt

Mix well, fill each greased muffin dish about 3/4 full, bake on 450* for about 30 minutes.
***Big rule here, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN UNTIL THEY ARE DONE!!!!*** Turn on the light and peek through the glass, but if you open the door they will end up as "Flopovers"!!!

I actually like to do mine in the mini muffin pans, they are little bite-size puffs of joy! It won't take the full 30 min. for them to cook, so I just check until they are popped and golden brown. But if you use the minis, this recipe is way too much, half it for the little guys unless you are entertaining a bunch of people!

Super yummy! A very high kid and hubby approval on this dish!

A hummingbird!

I was looking out the front window yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see a little hummingbird visiting one of my flowers! I so rarely see them in my neighborhood. I live in the burbs and although there is alot of shrubbery in the area, there's not alot of color. I was thrilled to have it visit my yard! Usually I only see hummers when we visit our cabin in Ruidoso. There is a nice variety of species, but most notably the feisty little rufous hummingbirds. They are quick and ornery! They even dive bomb the bluejays! Anyway, here is a picture of the flower my little hummer was visiting. I don't exactly know what it is, I planted it last year, it died off and must have re-seeded. But maybe I should plant more if hummingbirds like it!

Yet another vine update.

Yes, I'm aware that I obviously don't have alot going on in my life that's exciting or I wouldn't be so damn entertained by this stinkin' vine! That being said, HOLY CRAP that thing is cool! I planted it a little over a week ago and one runner is now about a foot from the roof and the other runners are catching up quick! My guess is it will reach the roofline by this weekend. Now if it will just start sprouting leaves and flowers! Once it gets a little more full, I'll take a photo to show it off!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a cat.

OK, I'm pretty sure I should just be turning this blog into an entomology field journal for my son! Ian the Cat Herder and I found a lovely specimen of Woolly Bear caterpillar while I was trying to tame some vine in my backyard. So needless to say, said cat was captured, brought into the house and positively identified. He now resides in a Glad container with some potting soil and some of the leaves of the vine we found him on. We kept him overnight and when I checked on him this morning I was amazed, and slightly appalled at the amount of frass (caterpillar poop) that was in there. I told Ian and he quite non-chalantly informed me that of course Fuzzy poops alot, he EATS alot! My kid's one smart cookie! :-) Anyway, Fuzzy is being kept in his enclosure while I figure out what he needs. From what I'm seeing, I think he will eat the rest of the summer and want to be someplace cold for the winter (they suggest putting him in the freezer!) and then he'll do his thing in the spring. I just don't know if I have the patience for this kind of commitment right now. After all, I told Ian he couldn't have a guinea pig, and honestly the care involved in rearing this caterpillar is damn near the same thing! Only a guinea pig would actually like to be handled. Fuzzy does NOT, he curls up in a ball and plays dead! In fact, that is exactly what he's doing in these photos. Silly caterpillar, he didn't fool us! If there's anyone with experience raising these little farts, please let me know. I may decide to liberate him to the wild in a week or so, we'll see.

Monday, July 16, 2007

An old classic becomes a new favorite!

I was raised on very traditional southern food, lots of fried chicken, roast beef, coleslaw, home-made pies and dinner rolls. You know, all that good comfort food. A couple of weeks ago I had a craving for an old classic, Egg Salad Sandwiches! I know, egg salad may not be some folks idea of a great sandwich, and I can respect that. However, for me, egg salad reminds me of having lunch with my grandparents and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! So, I made a batch of egg salad and HOPED my kids would enjoy it. Believe it or not, it was a big hit with both! And since my friend Ginny is buggin' for new recipes here goes! Oh just as an FYI, if you're looking for beautiful presentation, you'll have to look on someone else's page. Cause bottom line, it's the taste that counts! And in case you're wondering, I did NOT steal that glass from Pizza Hut!

Egg Salad on Toast (served with Sun Chips and a tall iced tea)

Hard boiled eggs (I use about 4 to feed me and two kids, hubby would rather eat his shoe than eat egg salad.)
A tbsp or so of finely chopped onions
One decent sized dill pickle finely chopped
About equal amounts of mayo and yellow mustard (add these in SMALL increments as you don't want to get it over dressed, you want the eggs to be the main flavor, not the condiments)
And my secret ingredients, (which also make my deviled eggs and potato salad better) a sprinkle of dried dill, some paprika and just a pinch of dried rosemary)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy on plain or toasted bread!

Death of a Great Texan.

I was saddened to hear of the death of Lady Bird Johnson. She is such an icon in the state of Texas! To be honest, I didn't know ALOT about her. I certainly don't know much about her husband's politics as I was only 2 years old when he died. Unfortunately, history of US government and presidents is not my forte. But she just had this amazing presence, people loved her. And because of her and her family's business ventures, my husband had a paycheck for 2 years (well until Emmis bought the radio stations from LBJS). I never had the opportunity to meet her, but from stories, I heard she was always approachable and always very interested and gracious. And she had a great love for nature and our environment. But the one thing that I found so amazing about her was her zest for life! In every picture I have ever seen of her, she had a smile! She loved her husband, and seemed to absolutely bask in the love of her family. I am sad to see her go, from what I know, she was a great lady that will be missed!


Wow! While sipping my tea I was bouncing around on some different blogs, just to see what was out there and man... am I ever outclassed! So many of these people are just full of wit, have beautiful photos, and seem to know exactly what they want their writing to accomplish! Me, I just seem to ramble or rant, if you read 30-something. I think I should be more focused sometimes, you know, have a point. But then again, my blogs are mostly therapeutic for ME. And besides, I'm still pretty new in the public realm. I suppose as time passes, I'll become more proficient at getting my thoughts organized and my points made. And if I can ever get my GOOD camera fixed, I can post some better photos!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tryin' to get it going!

Well, it's 10-ish in the a.m., I've been up for at least 2 hours, kids are fed, both of their rooms picked up so I can vacuum later, the Piglet is down for a nap and the dishwasher is emptied. Now I'm taking a break to have a cuppa tea and try to get a bit more motivated. I tried to get some of the vacuuming done before Piggletto went to bed, but she threw a huge, stinkin' fit! I was shocked because usually she LOVES to be chased around the room, I tell her I'm gonna vacuum her up, then her brother gets into it and before you know it, I'm chasing 2 kids around the living room! Great fun... usually. But NOT today. Hopefully it won't wake her up when I start it up again in a few.

I'm kind of in crunch-time here, the hubby will be home this evening and I have just not accomplished what I had hoped in his absence, so I at least want to have the house clean so we have a worry-free Sunday together before he heads back to work on Monday. I think we may go in tomorrow and order our back door. We are still getting enough rain that we don't want to risk laying tile in the kitchen before we replace that leaky door! We learned our lesson in the entryway! Water and fresh mortar don't make for good tiling, in fact, it makes more of an oatmeal! (Oh no! Having flashbacks! It's like I have PTSD because of that incident!)

We did get a little bit of light rain this morning and it is doing wonders for the temperature and my garden out front. The Monkey Man and I measured the cypress vine last night so we could see how much it grows in 24 hours. Not very scientific, we measured how many bricks tall it was (it was 12 bricks tall) and I did do a quick check this morning and it has grown 1 1/2 bricks since 10pm last night, what is that like 4 inches?! Crazy! Hope everyone has a nice weekend, I won't be back on until Monday. I plan on spending a relaxing day, playing with my kids and my hubby!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Keeping it in the family.

Last summer we had the most amazing Yellow Garden spider that lived in my front flower bed. She was HUGE and would weave the most awesome webs with kickass stabilimentums (or would that be stabilimenti?). Anyway, my son loved her and named her Nancy. Well a time came when webs were no longer made and Nancy was nowhere to be found. Gone the way of Charlotte I would assume. I looked all over for an egg sac but never found one. I had been wondering lately if her eggs had hatched and if so, did any of her offspring decide to settle in my garden? About 3 days ago my question was answered, toward the back of the bed attached to my germander bush and the guava bush was a small web with a major stabilimentum (so common for this type of spider), I didn't actually see the spider though. However, yesterday there she was (or he I suppose). This one is a little more shy than Mama was. Nancy spun huge webs and hung out on the front of them, just daring anything to mess with her, but Baby Nancy (Ian hasn't decided on a name for this one yet) is much smaller, the web is therefore smaller and it hangs out toward the backside of the web. So I have a pic of the web, but you can only kind of see its legs. I am posting a picture of Nancy herself, so you can see what an awesome diva she was and a photo of the little squirt!

Vine update...

OK, I know it's probably totally silly to update my blog because of a vine, but holy shit that Cypress Vine is cool! I planted it, what on Mon or Tues? It is now Friday and it has vined up that string over 2 feet! It is now chest level, it was below knee level when I planted it! It will be to the roof in 2 weeks I shit you not! Granted, it is mostly the vine, it hasn't sprouted many leaves yet, but man this thing is gonna be SOOOOO cool!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Garden of Trina

I have worked so hard on my front beds this year.

My neighbor complimented me and said this was the first time in 12 years that there has been any sort of color in this yard. All it needed was a little TLC (Trina's Love and Care). I wanted some sort of vine to creep up the front, next to the garage, and I was considering a clematis, they had a beautiful deep red one at the nursery. I went to go buy it and saw the most beautiful vine growing on one of their arbors. It was so light and airy and delicate, yet the flowers were bold and red, shaped like stars... absolutely GORGEOUS! I knew it was probably one of those difficult vines that needs full shade or well-draining soil, things this spot does not have, but was informed that despite the look, it was a very versatile and adaptable vine, originally found in Central America. Not only that it was half the price of the clematis. It is called a Cypress Vine. They did say I would need some support for it, as it will not just climb a wall. So I came home, dug in a stake and connected 3 lines of very thin nylon rope to the stake and then I nailed it to my house under the eave. I planted it two days ago and it has vined up the rope about 6 inches already! It is so stinkin' cool! Anyway, here are some photos(you can click on to get a better look) of the vine, my front bed and my beautiful hanging basket of purple wave petunias (you just can't get a prettier purple!). Finally, all my hard work is paying off!

Friday, July 6, 2007

What a racket!!!

While fixing lunch today I heard a most annoying, high-pitched racket out in the backyard. I went over and slowly opened the blinds in the breakfast area and there it was... a fledgling cardinal perched on my pencil cactus! It was making such a fuss and it reminded me very much of a whining child! It squeaked and complained, hopping from one little branch to the other. I read an article recently about how mothers, regardless of nationality, use the same kind of sing-song voice when addressing a baby and it made me think that with babies the language is almost universal regardless of species! Even though I'm human, I could understand without a doubt that the little cardinal wanted reassurance, maybe even a little help and most definitely a SNACK! Mommy and Daddy have been flying down, offering encouragement and an occasional treat, but as of yet, Baby Cardinal is still perched in my cactus, contemplating its next move! I couldn't resist sneaking out VERY quietly and snapping a couple of photos. And although it doesn't have all of it's feathers in, it has that telltale topknot that cardinals have. I am pleased that they chose our yard and I hope Baby gets its nerve up and learns to fly soon! I'll be keeping tabs on it though!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Worm identification, HELP!

OK, yesterday while grilling, the hubby asked me to come identify a creepy crawly on our patio. I was a little taken aback as it was really quite strange and little ooky! Wish I had taken a picture of it, but couldn't find the camera (what is up with losing cameras?). Anyway, this thing was about 1-2 inches long and about a 1/8 of an inch wide or so. It basically looked like someone had taken a sliver of a cow's liver and slung it on the floor. It was deep red like that and as far as I could tell, was not segmented. And when we poked it, it seemed to really stick down to the concrete, not that I tried very hard to pry it up! We thought maybe it was a leech, but I looked online and it really didn't look like any leeches I found pics of. So I am curious if anyone would know what this little dude might have been and if I should be worried. I feel like if there was one, I'm sure he has pals! All I need is for the kiddo or the dog to be running around in the yard and get a nasty parasitic infection, yuck!

I was bored...

I was bored of my other template and thought this one was a little more fitting since I seem to have a nature theme alot. Probably because I really LOVE critters and the outdoors and such. Now if I could just get this damn blogger site to let me post a photo! Is it because I run on a MAC??? Or does Blogger just hate me?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Too freakin' cute!

While in NM, a friend brought over a cupful of little toads. We observed them for awhile then released them in my mom-in-law's front yard (the backyard is overrun with voracious turtles!). They were so cute and I just can't resist posted a couple of photos!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Just to clarify...

Oh dear! I just read on Ginny's blog that I said this was my "better" blog. I must print a retraction however and state that this is probably not the better of my blogs, just the warmer, fuzzier and more optimistic of my two blogs. I feel as though this is my "Dr. Jeckyll" and 30-something is "Mr Hyde"! It's my damn dual personality, mild-mannered mother and wife vs. head-banging, sharp-tongued, opinionated bitch from hell!