Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pies, Puppy Love and Forcing Pretty Flower Bulbs

Trust me. You're gonna want to see these bright bloomers, indoors, come February.

Woke to the first truly cold winter morning, and since I have a partially house-trained puppy living with me, we were outdoors, in seconds flat, to prevent an accident that could ruin the day.

Loud crunch of ice beneath my feet. I soaked in the sunlight, dressed in a long coat and hat, to hide the fact that I'm still in my jammies.

And, I intend to stay in those jams for several more hours! Savor a cup of cowgirl coffee and gently ease into the day.

Which is just one more reason why I love winter. (Quiet season for this horse and flower lover.)

I guess if I died and came back as a flower, I'd be a Tulip. Because they only flourish after a prolonged deep freeze. And, I need winter to recharge my batteries.

Or, maybe not. Tulips are weak and I'm a survivor.

So, I'd probably be an Allium bulb.

Forcing Allium bulbs requires 12 weeks in your refrigerator.*

Critters don't eat Allium bulbs. They're aromatic members of the onion family.

Allium Schubertii is a favorite Allium bulb of mine. Though I prefer growing her indoors, where it's easier to appreciate her odd, delicate, flowers and stems.

Plus, my morning hair is almost as crazy looking as the Allium Schubertii bulb before I take a shower.

Well, here it is, a few days before Thanksgiving.

I've spent the week in my hand cast. [Having elected to break that hand by trying to fix the garage door.]

During which time I have not improved any left-hand writing or typing skills.

However! I have wrangled the dictation app on my computer into submission and I'm really enjoying the insanity of talking to my computer and seeing what it types. (As I am doing right now...)

Store Tulip bulbs in the crisper drawer of your 'frig for 8 weeks. They'll bloom indoors in a sunny window.

I'm assigned pies for the big Thanksgiving feast and I absolutely hate making pies. Because it always begins with perceived failure on my part. 

I have never been able to beat Pillsbury at the pie crust game. Their pie crust tastes better. So, no matter what type of pie I'm creating, it goes into a store bought crust and that, somehow, feels wrong when you're preparing for the ultimate, annual feast.

Paperwhites DO NOT require forcing: buy 'em, plant 'em, love 'em.
But, I did go buy the goodies for Maple Pecan, Sweet Potato, and a Sky High Apple Pie. That should teach the powers that be not to assign me Thanksgiving pies. Because nobody is getting pumpkin on my watch.

I've never actually tasted pumpkin pie. It's too brown and gushy, I'm pretty sure I would hate it. Whenever I admit that, some weirdo scoops up some pumpkin pie - onto their fork - shoves it in my face and says: Oh, give it a try.

Like I'm gonna do that. During flu season.

Hyacinth are the easiest bulbs to force and their fragrance is sooo delightful.

So, anyhoo back to those bodacious bulbs.
Now's a good time to tuck some away in your refrigerator.

Not to plant next to year. To enjoy in February when nobody - including me - has an ounce of love for the never-ending winter.

With any luck, the picked over remnants of autumn flower bulbs are marked down to a dollar a bag at your local Home Depot. [Or whatever big box store is near you.] So, buy a few and let's have some fun.

Tulip skin hats on these indoor coming attractions.

* If you get online you'll find a plethora of websites providing laborious detailed instructions on forcing flower bulbs.

Step One: Turn off your computer. Laborious instruction makes me crazy because it is very discouraging to new gardeners.

If you're nervous about forcing bulbs, plant these Mexican Shell Flowers. They do not need forcing and they'll make you look like an indoor gardening rock star!

I force bulbs every winter. Here's what I do and it works like a charm:
  • Store bulbs in a paper bag (keeps the light out) - in the crisper drawer of your freezer.
  • Remove any fruit from that crisper drawer.
  • Ignore those bulbs for 8-12 weeks. 
  • Haul 'em out. And, watch 'em go hog wild.
  • Easy peasy. 

Uh.. but just to be clear. Don't try forcing peas. :)

Hope you're all having a marvelous weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2015

1 Arm Bandit

Tip: Soak your orchids, once a week, for 30 minutes, with a tsp of basic fertilizer - they'll happily re-bloom.
I wake, wincing in pain. Pop two of the killer pills, fall back onto the bed. Awaiting a miracle and marveling, once again, at how effective painkilling drugs can be.

"I'm all busted up.
Broken bones & nasty cuts.
Accidents will happen,
But, this time I can't get up."
- Green Day

How do those pills know where to go? And, if they are so adept at racing through your body to fix painful problems... why can't we invent one for my badly damaged pride?

Death Bed Tulips from my darling daughter.
Spent the better part of Thursday in the ER. Stitches, pins & needles galore. All because my garage door broke. And, Little Miss Independence, here, thought she could fix it! You know, skip that dang repairman! Save a buck.

Instead, the panels of the garage door snapped together wrecking a perfectly good right hand in the process.

It's Cactus Time! I love this peach color...
Ever been in shock?

I think this was my first time. Panic. Terror. Staring at the bloody mess that used to be my hand. But, the weird thing is I didn't feel any pain. So, I think that's shock but I don't know for sure.

Super fond of the traditional hot pink variety, too.
Thankfully, there is an emergency room two blocks from my house.

I can do this. I said to myself.

I can do this. Repeated it several times. As if talking to myself is some kind reassurance? Words to make this cowardly lioness a wee bit braver?

But, I did it. I wrapped the hand, got in the car, and drove myself to the emergency room, where I stood there shaking and crying and covered in blood.

And, then.

Wait for it.... {and enjoy the massive concern my wee pup feels for my condition.}

Wait... for... it.... {and observe the guilt trip from the lazy arse cat who sleeps 23.5 hours per day.}

The [alleged] doctor took one look at my bloody appendage and says: Oh, this is way too serious for us! You should go to the hospital! Do you know where it is?


Tip: Photograph your groovy flowers in front of a turned off t.v. Makes a great, reflective background.

So much for that Hippocratic Oath.

But, nothin' drags you back into the real world quicker than a lazy, uncaring, unfeeling, medical professional.

Shock be damned, off I went to the real ER where they stitched me back together and told me I'd be as good as new... in another 6 months.

Until then it's just me and the iPad. And, my 4-legged nurse.

Here's hoping you all had a better weekend than me. :)

Friday, November 06, 2015

Pal O Mine

Softly falling, fluffy, flakes of snow... the kind that tickle your nose and melt when they land... accompanied us on our morning walk.

A grey, silent morning along Poison Creek (terrible name for such a pretty place.) The only sound is that of a scampering puppy dashing back and forth through the tall grass. Playing hide & seek.

I love deep autumn. It is vastly underrated. Brilliant leaves have given way to a world of golds and browns. Textures taking center stage. A chill in the air that inspires you to move farther, faster.

I didn't see any of this last year. I didn't 'have' to. As in 'have to' get out there, 4 times a day, and walk a sweet, rambunctious puppy. When it's cold. Or, rainy. Or, snowing, as it was this morning.

"Oh, my gosh! Puppies are so much trouble!" exclaims nearly everyone who's met this new pal o' mine.

Well, that's precisely why I got him. Besides. Who could resist this mug?

I just celebrated another birthday. Birthdays are awesome! You get cake and presents and you're queen for a day.

Then some idiot asks you what's on the agenda for the upcoming year. Now that you're older.

And, there it is. The downside to birthdays. Once that sugar high wears off from all the cake and ice cream, you're left to deal with the dreaded truth: I'm not getting any younger.

What to do?

Confront my demons?

The inertia of old age is a slippery slope.

As I thought about this coming winter... I realized it would be quite satisfactory to slip into last year's routine of a crackling fire, a good book and a bottle of wine.

Or! I could move more.

But, it's hard to hoist my heiny off the couch when it gets dark at 5 p.m.

So, I purchased my very own Energizer Bunny! Who doesn't drink wine. Who'd rather eat books than read them. And, who thinks lolly gagging around the house is a waste of a good day.

Plus, he's always up for a road trip.

Meet Charlie. Charles Joseph Reginald Barkley, Junior. (Because no one can agree on the best name for this darling.)