Archives for posts with tag: hobby

I’ve blogged about my little garden in the past. Today, while I was poking around to see if all was well and as it should be, I noticed that my garden is doing remarkably well this year. It’s really coming into its own. So I grabbed my camera and began to click away – and I’d like to share it with you.

Join me in a pictorial tour of my tiny, little garden…



Our first neighbor when we moved into our house was a landscaper who worked for a large garden center in town. Every now and then he’d give me a plant that wasn’t in that great a shape to see if I could revive it. I planted this rhododendron in a spot that worked great for it when it was puny – but now it’s getting fairly large. It may need to be moved this fall.



This was another freebie from my neighbor that has thrived. I think it’s Japanese Spirea, but my leaves have a feathery quality, while online photos show a smooth edged leaf. In any case it’s done well.


Ugly Little Sun Ornament

Hooray for the Dollar Tree! I find at least one semi-decent yard ornament there each year. Sometimes more!


Grape Expectations?

This is one of two clusters of something or other on the grape vine I planted just this spring. I’m not sure if they are the beginnings of a grape cluster, but I’m super happy with this plants growth so far. It’s kicking ass and taking names!

IMG_2713I found this feller at K-Mart around 4 years ago. He was marked down to next to nothing in a fall clearance. He’s one of those solar powered statues, so at night his body lights up green. It sounds super cheesy, but he has been my front path sentry-man every since.

IMG_2703Ah Lilies. Don’t you just love them? These are the variety whose blooms last for quite a few days. I find them to be spectacular!

IMG_2701Lily #2 – with more to come in the days ahead.

IMG_2695My hydrangeas are just starting to spread out – you can see a tinge of blue along the edges of some of the petals. Unlike Madonna, I adore hydrangeas. They remind me of summers on Martha’s Vineyard, and my grandparent’s backyard.

IMG_2723My husband, while dismembering some of my garden chachkies, made this adorable little scene in a niche where nothing much grew due to a plethora of roots just below the ground. It was so cute and clever, I had a hard time staying mad at him for taking liberties with my ornaments.

IMG_2715Hostas. I LOVE hostas. Of course keeping them from turning into the all-night salad bar for area deer and bunnies is a chore. I’ve sprayed enough critter repellent that even my neighbors stay away! Notice my lush, green grass. A few weeks ago that was nothing but dirt and a few tufts of sorry looking grass!

IMG_2677Foxglove! This bloomed for the first time this year. I had forgotten what it was – this little mound of green leaves sat in my garden for all of last year doing nothing. But I knew something was brewing when it began to double in size this spring. Then one day it shot up a foot or more and soon thereafter, these beautiful bell-shaped blossoms burst from the stem. It’s a real showstopper. I may have to plant more!

IMG_2709My goofy little bird ornament.

IMG_2687I forget what this stuff is called, but I have it growing inside a little circle of stones that surround my dogwood tree. It’s grown so big it’s almost hiding the little green frog I have tucked in there.

IMG_2707Fishies! Our fish, that wintered in my daughter’s science class, seem very happy to be back in there sprawling summer home – our pond. It’s nothing more than a water trough for a horse, but hubby transformed it into our garden pond. It’s visited by frogs and other critters all summer long, and is our cat’s main source of water – luckily they leave the fish alone for the most part.

IMG_2685My twisted little snail. I can’t get his head to stay straight anymore, but that’s okay – I still love him.

IMG_2706This is the leaf of a wisteria that my husband killed, but mysteriously came back. It used to climb a large oak with a forked trunk and had vines that were at least 3 inches in diameter –  until hubby dumped some substance on it – pond solution or concentrated plant food. He’s killed quite a few things that way, but I yelled at him thoroughly enough that I think he’s cured of such shinnanigans. In any case, the vine popped up in a new location the next year, and I am trying to train it to grow in a spot that will work best. Shoo fly!

IMG_2688Impatiens are a garden must for me. I’ve loved them since I lived in New Jersey and they are in my garden every single year. Some years they do better than others. These are coming along just fine so far.

IMG_2728And finally, our cat Dodger helps keep my garden growing. He helps keep the pests that tunnel and eat and otherwise ruin my plant’s growth down to a minimum. But it’s not all pretty. There is one spot, behind my azaleas, that is his Dennys – his all night diner. We find feathers and squirrel tails and vole remains on a daily basis. Ick – hubby is good to have around…he scoops up whatever is left with a shovel and…disposes of it. ugh.

Our other cat Olive does her fair share too, but she roams rather far, and was not available to be photographed.

I really enjoy my garden. I love going out and weeding and pruning and trying to find growth and where things are filling in and where things need improving. It’s taken me over 10 years, but it’s starting to shape up.

Now I need to go cut my grass!


Made in France. Retails for $100. Not too Shabby

A few months back, I saw a program on TLC (I think) about folks who religiously enter contests and sweepstakes. One woman in Virginia Beach claims she hasn’t had to buy a major appliance in 30 years, and has won more than 5 automobiles and dozens of trips. And it got me to thinking…

I decided to perform a little experiment. I’d spend 6 months entering contests and see what happened. So in mid August I found a sweepstakes site that not only points you towards a number of contests, but helps you organize and track them.  This way, I could go to one place each day, enter all my contests and keep track of when they expire.

Since August I have spent around 45 minutes each morning entering anywhere from 50-65 contest. Most of them are daily entries with prizes ranging from cars, televisions, cookware, trips and cash. I even entered for a chance to win a dream house on the shores of northern Virginia. Each time I sent in my entry I fantasized about winning and spending summers along the shores of Chesapeake Bay. Hell, I’d move there.

I only entered contests for items I was really interested in. For instance, a trip for 2  to a NASCAR event, or a guitar autographed by Vince Gill holds zero value for me, so why waste my time filling out form each day? And why try to steal that prize from someone who really wishes they could win it?

I will also rarely enter contests where you can win a trip for two. I have a family of four. Winning a trip for 2, while thrilling, would cause so many headaches that I just pass most of them up. I have entered a few, I’ll admit, but to places we can either drive to and drag the kids along, or where the destination was so enticing I figured I’d live with the headaches if I won.

I enter the “1 entry only” contests on a whim…like what chance do I really have with only one entry? And the instant wins just flat out piss me off. They give me my humiliating daily dose of rejection. Sorry, you LOST! But, other sweepers on my site win them all the time, so I keep trying.

Ah, the other sweepers and the sweepstakes forum. Until today it mocked me with hoards of lucky people bragging about their wins. “I won a trip to the X-Factor in LA!” “I won a 42″ HDTV!” “I won a year’s supply of fruit snacks!” And there I sit, like Charlie Brown on Halloween thinking “I got a rock.” I longed to win even the smallest prize; an umbrella or movie tickets, just so I could post something under the winner’s circle.

Fast forward to 4 pm today. My husband IM’s me at work (yes, we still use IM) and asks me if I ordered anything from Le Creuset. My mental sweepstakes rolodex immediately spun itself to a daily contest I enter every morning. It’s one of the smaller sweeps where you can choose from 4 different cookware items. I always select the cast iron skillet because it was the most expensive of the 4 and I don’t have one. When I told him I think it was actually a contest win, he warned me that we had better not get any sort of bill in the mail. What a party pooper.

I raced home from work and opened the box, fully expecting to see a congratulatory letter. All that was in there was a bunch of wadded paper and the skillet. The beautiful skillet – heavy and thick and made in France. Most of my cookware looks like it was made in Bayone, NJ. In 1945.

Look! It's Me!

I was still puzzled as to whether I had actually won this thing. I had received no email or phone call, so I headed to their website and found a link for the winners. And there I was. My name was drawn as the daily winner on October 9th. You know, I’m sort of glad I didn’t know that I won way back then. I took them close to a month to mail the prize and I would’ve been all pins and needles waiting for it.

The conclusion of my little experiment? I think it’s worth 45 minutes of my time in the morning. Today proves to me that you can win. Yeah, it may have only been a $100 cast iron skillet, but who’s to say there isn’t a trip or a car or a tv in my future? I’ll ride out the full 6 months and see what I can accumulate. Maybe one day I’ll be blogging from my $750,000 home on the Chesapeake. The winner will be announced this month!