Sunday, October 30, 2011

So You Need to Make Your Dog Vomit ...

Daniel and I were home by ourselves for most of yesterday.  Our grandson was here, and he and The Husband left at mid-morning to go next door to Hartwood Winery to work their Harvest Festival.  (As would be expected of someone as talented and artistic as my husband, he mans the face painting table.)  I planned to take advantage of the day and see how many collars I could make for the booth at our upcoming Canine Cancer benefit.

I was upstairs in the sewing room, the men-folk hadn't been gone for more than ten minutes, and I heard strange noises coming from downstairs.  (While the guys had been waiting for time to go next door, they were playing a game of chess on a little magnetic travel chess board ... the kind that also includes magnetic checkers the size of dimes.)  Daniel, dear neurotic Daniel, was busily chewing and eating the checkers.

It's been a while since Daniel ate anything dangerous.  His former favorite foreign objects were socks, shoe strings, and junk mail.  Who would think that he would pick checkers off the coffee table and snack on them?  The checkers he ate had to come back up, and (fortunately for Daniel) I'm really good at first aid AND I'm not squeamish. 

If you are ever in a situation like this, where your dog has eaten something and you have to make him/her vomit, here's what to do ... these directions use normal household items and are for a dog the size of Daniel, who is a 70 lb. greyhound ... check with your veterinarian if you have a dog who is considerably larger or smaller than Daniel.

1.  Get the bottle of regular old hydrogen peroxide out of your medicine cabinet.
2.  Draw up about 2 ounces of peroxide in a turkey baster.
3.  Make dog swallow the peroxide.
4.  Let dog outside.
4.  Dog will inevitably rush to the closest patch of grass to try to soothe his/her now-icky feeling tummy.
5.  Within a few minutes, dog should vomit.
6.  If dog doesn't vomit, which usually is what happens with Daniel, you can administer another ounce of peroxide ... which usually does the trick.
7.  If dog STILL won't vomit, administer a turkey baster full of water and shake the dog to get its tummy feeling REALLY icky. (a vet tech gave me this trick while I was on the phone with her after Daniel had eaten a sock and wasn't vomiting after two doses of peroxide.)

If your dog has eaten something that is REALLY dangerous, don't take things into your own hands.  Call your veterinarian and get your dog there as soon as you can.  This is what we did last year when Daniel ate an unknown amount of Grandson's ADHD medication.  (After we counted the pills in the bottle and accounted for the ones scattered about, we determined that he didn't get a lethal dose ... but it was a sizable overdose and he required an overnight stay at the emergency vet.)

Sifting through the contents of Daniel's stomach after he vomited, I found at three red checkers and two black ones ... all chewed up and quite jagged on the edges.  It was a good thing that I heard what he was doing, and that I knew what to do fix the situation.

Now YOU know what to do, too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Goodies in the Mail

When I left you yesterday, I had every intention of running out to the store, picking up the few supplies I needed for the day's work on the greenhouse, and getting right at it to see how much more I could accomplish.  My body, on the other hand, was telling me that yesterday would be better spent taking a break from the heavy work I've been doing this week.  My shoulders and my hands feel much better now, but the weather isn't cooperating.  It's cold and rainy, so there will be no outside work today.

Yesterday was a good day for other reasons, partially because this arrived at my doorstep.

It was my order from Plant Delights, a wonderful nursery in Raleigh, NC.  I grow hundreds of roses in my garden, but roses are not the only thing that I love.  Plant Delights has a staggering assortment of rare and unusual plants ... many of the gorgeous hostas in my shade garden came from them.  Tony Avent, the owner, is a nationally-known author and speaker, with a very fun sense of humor ... an example of which was the graphic on the side of my box of plants.

(Tony is also the author of the book "So You Want to Start a Nursery", which is a no-nonsense must-read for everyone who thinks they want to get into the nursery business.)

When packaging plants for shipment, it's important to protect them from whatever the shipping company can possibly subject them to.  The folks at Plant Delights take great care to make sure that their plants are secure, so they arrive at your house in the same condition they were in when they left the nursery.

Each plant was cushioned with shredded paper, wrapped in newsprint, and carefully arranged in the box ... which was then filled with styrofoam peanuts.

What plants were in the box?

Paeonia 'Magenta Gem' ... I love peonies, especially the singles and semi-double ones!  This one will coordinate beautifully with another new one for me, Krinkled White.

Plant Delights photo

Punica granatum 'Eight Ball' (perennial hardy pomegranate)  I bought two of these ... one for me and one for a friend.

Plant Delights photo

and Hosta 'Teaspoon'.  I'm a sucker for hostas that are either huge or tiny, and I'm really excited to have this little beauty for my collection.

Plant Delights photo

What else was in the box?  A cat, of course.  Dorothy hopped right inside as soon as I removed the last of the packaging.  Boxes and bags and laundry baskets are irresistable to cats ... we call them 'Cat Traps'.

Plant Delights is having a fall sale.  Select plants are 20% off, while they last.  To shop the sale, click HERE.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Greenhouse ... South Wall Windows, Finished!

This is what the south wall of the greenhouse looked like when I stopped work yesterday afternoon at 5:30.  I'm really pleased with my progress and the results so far.

I have been working by myself for most of this, and things take longer without a helper (ie., The Husband).  I'm fortunate that he works from home and is available to lend a hand when necessary, but I have to make the most efficient use of his away-from-the-desk moments.

The vertical trim pieces that the windows are attached to are a good example of an element that is easier with two people.  I sand the pieces, and mark and drill the screw holes.  After I do this for a few pieces, I call The Husband out and we team up to install them.  I'm on the inside lining up the piece, and he's outside holding it and driving two screws to hold it in place.  Then, he goes back to work and I drive the rest of the screws. 

The windows themselves can be installed as a one-person job with the aid of a well-placed quick clamp or two.

A bit of molding, some caulk and wood filler and paint, and this greenhouse is going to look fabulous ... but that won't happen till spring.

The photo above is a good view of some of the various salvaged materials that are going into this project.  These windows are from a house in Northern Virginia ... some of the glazing is a bit wonky, but there's not a thing wrong with the frames or glass.  The piece between the windows is a scrap of 5/4 decking board.  The vertical trim board on the left is a pressure-treated 1x6 that I used to hold pots on my nursery bench ... the piece on the right is new, because I ran out of my salvaged 1x6s. 

Ventilation is essential in a greenhouse.  There has to be a way to vent the building to keep temperatures under control.  In winter, I use an automatic venting system on a thermostat, with intake vents that open and an exhaust fan in the eaves of the west wall.  In summer, this system isn't adequate to counteract the summer heat and more intense sunshine ... so I needed something more. 

Plastic greenhouses can have sides that roll up for ventilation.  I'm accomplishing pretty much the same thing with hinges so I can open the second row of windows.

I hung my stained glass back up as soon as I could, to keep it out of the construction.
I would be so disappointed in myself if I let anything happen to it.

Isn't that a wonderful view!

I have to make another run to Lowes this morning. (two 12-foot pressure-treated 2x4s on this trip)  I have been there every day this week to get supplies.  This is what tends to happen on a project where I'm almost designing it as I go.  I'm thankful that the store is only 6 miles away.

If you're visiting from one of the link parties, click HERE to go to the next post in the series.

This post is linking to the following:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Greenhouse Progress

Yesterday was quite productive.  Early in the day required a bit of time spent standing and staring and fiddling to decide exactly how to proceed ... but once decisions were made, I got a lot accomplished.

Front trim is installed on the posts.  Windows are scraped and sanded, drilled and screwed in place.

Today's progress should be even better.  I intend to have this south wall finished, and I hope to start on the west wall this afternoon.

This greenhouse is beginning to look exactly like the picture I have in my head!

Edited to add:  This greenhouse is a testament to using salvaged materials.  All of the windows, the skylights, and most of the lumber was scrounged from various sources.  I designed it to make most efficient use of the materials I had collected ... to use salvaged materials, but make it look like a million bucks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Magnolia Pods

After working on the greenhouse almost all day yesterday, I was hoping to show you all the wonderful progress I made ... not to be.  I did make a LOT of progress, but it doesn't show well in photos.  I dismantled the previous framing that was supposed to hold the windows (which had been installed wrong), added blocking and supports here and there (not very visible), worked out a new plan for EXACTLY how to install the windows. and began to cut and install the trim (not too spectacular at this point). 

Since I can't wow you with my work on the greenhouse yet, let me show you some photos that I took on Sunday afternoon.  We have a really large Magnolia tree in our front yard.  Every fall, the ripe seeds emerge from their pods, and the red seeds practically glow in the sunshine.

Our tree is a Magnolia Grandiflora, the majestic Southern Magnolia.  In the late spring, it is covered with sweet-smelling, saucer-sized cream colored flowers.  The seeds develop within these pods during the summer, and they emerge in the fall.

I'm glad that previous owners of our property had the foresight to leave the lower branches on this tree.  Magnolias are messy trees.  When all of these seeds and pods and other assorted litter falls to the ground, the skirt of branches hides it all ... and we can enjoy the seasonal show without having to worry about the clean up.

I loved these last two photos, because each of them captured predators at work ... Assassin Bugs and a Jumping Spider.  (these are the good guys!)

Once things warm up a bit this morning, I intend to get right back outside to try to make more progress on the greenhouse.  Perhaps I will have something to show you tomorrow ... with the new plan firmly in place in my mind, things should go pretty quickly from now on ... fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guess What I'm Working on Today?

It's a gorgeous fall day here in Virginia.  The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, and it's a perfect day to get some serious work accomplished on the greenhouse.

Excuse me now, because I have to make a run to Lowes to get screws and hinges and a couple of other things.

I'll show you more later.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

On The Road Again

I'm taking the show on the road this afternoon, speaking to the Richmond Rose Society ... debuting a new program.

By the time I finish with them, I hope everyone at the meeting has learned something that they didn't already know about Old Garden Roses.  I also hope that the program goes the way I have it planned, and that I don't confuse the crap out of everyone.

Do you have a garden group who would like to learn more about roses?  I have a number of topics available, and I tailor my talks to the experience level of my audience.  If you're interested, click HERE to contact me.

Wish me luck!!

Happy Sunday, Everyone.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Fabulous Fall Day

The weather today was perfect!  The sun was shining, with puffy white clouds accenting the bright blue sky.  The air was crisp and cool (sweater weather) but not so much as to be uncomfortable.  A perfect day to spend the morning working on projects (I'll show you later what I was up to) and the afternoon with a friend.

I was on the deck enjoying the view, while Daniel was outside at lunchtime, and I noticed that the trees across toward Hartwood Winery are starting to change into their fall colors. This will be an even more beautiful view in about a week. (When I say that I live next door to a winery, I mean RIGHT next door. The foreground of this photo is our field, and the other side of that board fence is vineyard.)

Some of the trees between the house and our barn are beginning to shed some of their leaves, and the barn is coming back into view.  (We can only see the barn from inside the house when the trees are leafless.)

Looking toward the south, I loved the way the sunshine was illuminating the branches of our enormous pecan tree.  Blue sky, green leaves ... ahhhhh.

Thank you, all of you, for your kind compliments about the painted bed I showed you yesterday.  I am a bit surprised at what retail prices must be in shops.  (I'm a bargain hunter, after all ... retail shopping and buying is something that I almost never do.)  The consensus in the comments was that $250 would be a good price ... perhaps it is, with commission and booth rental figured in, but it makes me squirm.  I was thinking it should be more like $175.  This would leave enough $$$ to buy a lovely nightstand, or perhaps a dresser or chest to go with your little girl's bed ... repeat customers and word of mouth satisfaction is the ticket ... I hope I'm on the right track.

Have a great weekend, Everyone! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Fork in the Road

It's time for me to accept the fact that I have way too many projects and ideas than I can ever use for myself or our home.  Our garages (yes, we have two) are packed with things that are supposed to become beautiful finished items ... but, for now, the space almost looks like an episode of "Hoarders".  Okay, not THAT bad, but it's close.

Yes, I really DID put a fork in my road and take photos of it.  Be sure to notice that the fork has roses on it.

Since I was in my early 20s, back in the 1980s when antique furniture in need of repair and/or refinishing was plentiful and cheap, I picked up the most wonderful pieces at antique auctions and estate sales.  Our whole house is furnished with the fruits of my workshop, and it makes for a very personal decor.  After the house filled up, though, I neglected to turn off my 'bargain hunting' gene, and projects have been piling up.

Until we moved to this house, this wasn't too much of a problem because we had a large, modern house with lots of rooms and more-than-adequate storage space.  Now that we live in this old house, we have fewer rooms (though they are larger) and a crisis of 'stuff'.

In an effort to begin the process of simplifying our life, to cut the amount of 'stuff' that we have, and to make a few extra $$$ to fund some of the remaining renovations that our house needs, I have decided to take the plunge and restore and repurpose my stuff for resale.  This is a scary proposition for me, since I've been my only client up until now.

Here is a sample of what I'm doing.  It's a darling twin-size mahogany Chippendale sleigh bed.  It wasn't a good candidate for refinishing, and I love the way it turned out in ASCP Duck Egg with amber wax. 

I was trying to see if I could duplicate the finish on the armoire in our Family Room, with its genuine old-paint finish and natural wear pattern.

With some light distressing, the amber wax, and a lot of hand-rubbing, I think I got pretty close.

This bed has the headboard, footboard, side rails, and slats ... and it's all ready to be the centerpiece in a lucky little girl's vintage-inspired bedroom.

My dream would be to have this evolve into monthly or bi-monthly sales, where I set up shop in one of our outbuildings.  The idea of doing this gets me all giddy!  In the meantime, I'm considering offering individual pieces on Craig's List to test the waters.

My biggest obstacle is pricing ... I don't want to sell myself short, but I don't want stuff to be prohibitively expensive either.  I have a figure in my head for this bed, one that I think is fair, but I would love to hear your opinions on what you think it should cost.

If you have any feedback, advice, warnings, or anything else to offer as I embark on this new enterprise, I'm all ears.

(Edited to add:  after considering various outlets for my 'treasures', in December 2011 I decided to rent space at a local antique mall.  This should prove to be the least stressful, easiest way to move items from storage here at  home into a retail venue to get maximum exposure ... meaning, I hope to get rid of more stuff faster this way.  Wish me luck!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Great Friends ...

... give you beer. 

 I polished this one off pretty quickly while cooking dinner tonight.

Thanks, Andy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Random Sort of Weekend

Like most weekends around here, this one was full of random things that aren't very interesting by themselves.  When gathered together like this, I think you can see that it makes for a really fun few days.

On Friday, I had lunch and went shopping with a friend.  I'm on the hunt for a cardigan sweater -- one I can wear with practically everything and use instead of a jacket.  Sweaters are super hot right now, so you would think that finding one I like would be easy ... WRONG!  Everything is too trendy and we didn't find a single one that I wanted to take home.  I did find these babies, though ...

Leopard/Rose print rubber cowboy boots ... the only pair in the store ... on the clearance shelf ... $20!  I'm not sure there's any way to make me much happier for $20.  I wore them to dinner on Friday, and all day yesterday.  Aren't they great with jeans?

One day, I'll get the nerve to wear my jeans tucked into the boots.  For now, having them peeking out at the bottom is perfect!

Let's go from beautiful boots to something that is perfectly hideous.  This was what I saw while I was sitting in the drive-through at McDonalds ( medium Caramel Mocha, please).  As if red or black dyed mulch isn't bad enough ... now they have ORANGE.  The contrast between the sickeningly orange mulch and the yellow-toned shrubs was more than I could stand.  Who thinks this is stuff up?

The herbicide that I sprayed on the area that will become my Labyrinth Garden is doing its thing.  The grass and weeds in that area are looking pretty sickly.  I should be able to lay paths and edging later this week.  I may spray another coat on the areas that will become the rose beds ... just to be sure everything is dead.

The same day I sprayed the Labyrinth, I also sprayed the edge of my English Rose Garden ... being especially careful to keep the chemical well away from the roses themselves.

Weeds are still a bit of a problem, though some of them are lovely, and we really ARE making progress in eliminating them.  How can I get too upset by these white asters (though they are huge and everywhere) when the flowers are so irresistable to butterflies?  At one point while I was standing there watching them, there were FOUR Monarch butterflies on this one weed at the same time!

We had a Greyhounds Rock meeting this weekend.  Our "Take a Bite Out of Canine Cancer" event is four weeks away, and there are a thousand details still to be dealt with.  (and there's still time to register to attend.)

Taylor and Quinn are standing at the door, watching the neighborhood children play in the cul-de-sac.

I'm so glad that so many of you enjoyed my series about my visit to Hollywood Cemetery last week.  I had no idea that it would take four posts to show you my one afternoon's worth of sights.  If you missed any of the posts, here is a list of links:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hollywood Cemetery Roses ... The Circle of Life

Let's finish up our visit to Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery with some views of things as they have changed in the years that I have been visiting here.

This is a rose that caught my eye in 2008.  In a garden of antique roses, most of which are soft shades of pink or white, with the occasional darker pink or China red thrown in, it was unusual to spot a bright yellow rose bush.

(photo taken May 2009)

I pocketed a few hips from this rose that day, and I raised two seedlings from them.  Not knowing what its true name is, I dubbed it Mama Rose.  In the years since then, it has been a quest for me to identify this rose, and I finally succeeded last year ... this is Autumn Sunset.  You will recognize the following photo as the one I use for my Blogger profile photo.

Mama Rose (she will always be Mama Rose to me) has been declining since I first saw her.  First one cane died, then more, and now she is completely dead.  I imagine the cemetery workers will remove her remains this winter.

(photo taken October 2011)

There has been a lot of work done in Presidents' Circle, where James Monroe and John Tyler are buried.  The old asphalt roads have been removed to make the area into a pedestrian-only circle, and the grass paths are now laid with granite pavers.  There are new trees and benches, and the area looks great.  The roses that were there, however, were a casualty of the construction.

Here is Madame Berkeley.  She was once a large, lovely tea rose.  Now she is a dead stump.

I couldn't find a photo of this bush when it was alive.  I can't believe I never photographed it.

Same thing with Old Blush.  There are other examples of Old Blush in the cemetery ... but this was the most prominent one, and the one that was marked on the cemetery's map of roses in their tourist brochure.

May 2009

October 2011

There was once a beautiful "Smith's Parish" Tea rose near Mme. Berkeley.  I didn't find any trace of it this past week.

May 2009.  You can see my favorite sculpture of the grieving woman in the background.

Artsy shot of "Smith's Parish", using a fill flash to illuminate the roses,
with President Monroe's grave in the background.

The news is not all grim in Presidents' Circle.  The 'Mrs. B. R. Cant' rose that I showed you the other day is quite a survivor.  While her neighbor roses died, apparently as a result of the construction, she is coming back quite nicely.

This was 'Mrs. B. R. Cant' in May 2009.  She is at least eight feet tall and ten feet wide.

In October 2011, she is now less than three feet high and four feet wide ... but she is doing very well and should one day return to her former glorious size and form.

Not too far from Presidents' Circle, in the Currie plot, is a Polyantha rose that was once a beautiful haystack of green foliage and waxy pink flowers.

Now, this rose is suffering from Rose Rosette Disease, which is a fatal virus that is transmitted by a mite.  (Click HERE to see a post to learn more about this disease)  I took a handful of cuttings from a portion of this plant that doesn't show signs of infection, so there is chance that I can offer the cemetery a replacement plant in the next year or two.  (These cuttings will be kept in total isolation until they are rooted and growing, and I am sure that they pose no threat of infection.) 

On top of a hill overlooking the James River, the Andrews plot had a beautiful 'Safrano' growing beside the gate.

(photo taken in 2010)

This rose must have been downed by a storm, because it is now laying broken on the ground.  Part of the rose is still alive, and blooming, but the trunk is too stiff to get it back to its upright position against the fence without breaking it off.  I imagine that the grounds crew will cut it off and hope for it to grow back from the stump.  Cross your fingers.

Same view as the photo above.

A little photoshopped line so you can see where the trunk is in the grass, connecting the bottom of the rose to the top part.

There is live growth at the base of this rose, so it should survive.

Around the corner and up a hill from Jefferson Davis's grave, I caught a glimpse of brilliant yellow that just didn't fit the scene.  As I walked that direction, I realized that it is a beautiful yellow miniature rose that is healthy and vigorous and blooming like crazy.  It's just that the color was totally weird and out of place in this setting.  Another 'circle of life' moment, I guess ... tastes change and newer roses get a place in the landscape of Hollywood.

This little bush was full of ripe hips, so it I don't think you'll be surprised to hear that I pinched a handful of them to take home to grow over the winter.

One rose that I have to check on every time I visit Hollywood Cemetery is the Musk rose in the Crenshaw plot.  This important historic rose was once thought to be extinct, until it was rediscovered here.  It has since been found in a couple of other places, all related to the Crenshaw family, and we can thank them for preserving this rose for rose lovers everywhere to enjoy. 

The hot, dry weather of our past two summers has been hard on this rose.  There are quite a few dead canes on it and it's not as tall and vigorous as it was a few years ago, but it's relatively healthy and doing fine.  All it needs is bit of pruning to remove the dead parts and the weedy tree seedlings that are growing inside of it.

The flowers on the Musk rose were too high for me to photograph, but I did get this shot of its beautiful buds.

Hollywood Cemetery is a private cemetery that is well cared for and is quite aware of its status as a national landmark.  It is open to the public and the staff offers walking tours every morning (April through October).  To learn more, visit the Hollywood Cemetery web site.  I especially enjoy the History Slideshow, with 50 slides of cemetery attractions, and fantastic descriptions.
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