Why can’t we have this on I-66?!

Recently I was listening to NPR (shocker, I know) on my way home from work.  On All Things Considered they were airing a program about a couple of guys who stage a puppet show in the back of a modified pick up truck.  They go out and look for traffic jams and perform short puppet shows for folks stuck in traffic.  They have a low power FM transmitter people can pick up the signal for the show within 200 feet of the car.  It’s called SuperClogger and as Joel Kyack (one of the fellows who puts this on) puts it, SuperClogger “aims to briefly halt the progression of chaos by temporarily drawing the audience out of the commute experience and placing them within an intimate space of engagement and performance that highlights their own individual presence within the broader structure of the traffic jam.”

This picture is found on the Roski School of Fine Arts website which can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

To read more please visit the Roski School of Fine Arts or NPR.org.

Posted in Cool Things, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garden Under Attack!

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been having some serious problems in my garden.  My zucchini and pumpkin plants have gone downhill… fast.  I first noticed that the stems coming out of the ground looked crumbly.  They were looking thin and they were coming apart at where the stem came out of the ground.  Then the plants started to droop.  Today I went to pick my pumpkin and noticed the same crumbly material coming out of the pumpkin.  It had obviously been compromised.  As I watered my garden I noticed some little nasty bugs running for their lives.

Here are pictures of my zucchini… post Squash Bugs : (

So I went searching on Swagbucks to see what I could find out.

This picture was taken from the Minnesota extension office.

I found a picture of the little buggers.  Turns out they are Squash Bugs.  They lay their eggs on, live on, and eat/destroy squash and gourd plants like pumpkins and zucchini.  : (

There’s only one problem that I can see.  That is they are only easy to get rid of only if you are extra vigilant.  The Minnesota extension office suggests:

  • Remove or knock off and kill nymphs and adults by dropping them into a pail of soapy water. This is particularly effective if only a few plants are affected. This can be challenging because squash bugs hide under leaves and move quickly when disturbed.
  • Crush eggs that are attached to the undersides and stems of leaves.
  • Trap squash bugs by laying out boards or pieces of newspaper. Squash bugs will congregate under the boards at night, and then can be collected and destroyed in the morning.
  • Remove plant debris around the garden during the growing season to reduce the potential harbourage where squash bugs may hide. Clean up Cucurbita and other plant matter around the garden in the fall to reduce the number of overwintering sites.

The other suggestion they have is pesticide.  I’m not keen on that.  I was attempting to have a garden without any form of pesticide.  That is a part of the benefit of growing your own at home.  So I’d say my pumpkins and zucchini are out for this year.  But I’ll be ready for the Squash Bugs next year!  Bring it on Squash Bugs!

Search & Win

Posted in Garden | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Southern Funny

Lots of people don’t consider Loudoun County, VA part of the South.  I do.  Maybe it’s because I spent so much time with family members in West Virginia, Winchester, VA, and Western Loudoun County that I feel like I’m a little more country than city.  Maybe this example will show a little bit of what I’m talking about. 

Every spring I get this urge to get outside and just be.  I don’t need to do much.  Just sitting and thinking works fine.  The spring of my freshman year of college wasn’t any different.  I think it was late March or early April.  Someone can correct me on this.  I went out driving and stumbled across a little park.  I immediately went back to campus to recruit some fellow students to come to the park with me.  I really tried to talk it up because I sensed no one really wanted to go.  So I said, “They even have a man mad waterfall.”  I guess I had never really seen a dam on a tiny creek before and known it was a dam.  Well I guess everyone else had a picture in their heads of a scenic waterfall with a really well-groomed park.  We got there and they all wondered where the man-made waterfall was.  When I showed them the dam they were disappointed.  I felt like such an ignorant hick.

Anyway, that story is a round about way of introducing this one.  It comes from a really amazing blog named Trugars.  All I have to say is it involves a polecat and the story made me feel at home.  Here it is:

A Skunk in her Closet

 “Last week, I mentioned Big Mommy shooting a skunk in her closet.  Gather ’round, and I’ll tell her trugar.  I wish you could hear it from her mouth, but I’ll do the best I can.  (Family members, here’s your chance to correct me!  Comment away.)

For quite some time, Big Mommy had been hearing skittering noises in her walls, and knew it must be “pole cats,” as she called them.  We know them more familiarly as skunks.  They were aggravating the stew out of her, so when she saw one in her closet–out where she could get at it–I think she lost her head just a bit.  She grabbed her .22 and promptly shot that critter.  “That got him,” I remember her saying to me.

Well, she may have gotten him, but not before he got her…or at least her clothes.  She bathed in tomato juice and washed everything in the closet multiple times.  She aired out the house, and (so she thought) rid herself of the scent.

Then she went to church.

Not until halfway through the church service did she notice the pastor, walking up and down the aisles, spraying air freshener as he went.  Then, as she wondered what he smelled, it dawned on her that no one was sitting in her general area.  It took her a while, but she did finally put two and two together.  But my great-grandmother was dedicated.

She walked up to that pastor and said, “Preacher, that stink you’re sprayin’ for, well, it’s me.  I shot a pole cat in my closet this week, and some o’ his stench must still be on me.  Go ahead, spray me.”  After looking at her, dumbfounded, for a few seconds, the pastor meekly obeyed.  He sprayed her up and down with the air freshener, all the while mumbling apologies.  She smiled, said, “That’s better,” and sat down to enjoy the sermon.

What stench are you bringing to church this week?”

Posted in Blog Showcase, Cool Things | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who’s an up and coming artist?

Recently I entered an art competition.  For those of you who know me, this was an extremely odd thing for me to do.  I enjoy writing.  I am easily bored by art even though I think some art is aesthetically pleasing.  But those of you who really know me also know that I would do anything to be published and to get my written work “out there” for many people to see.  So that’s what I did.  I got a poem “out there” by putting it in a painting.

Here is the Out of the Ordinary challenge as posted on the Franklin Park website:

“Out of the Ordinary will feature creative works in any media that use all or part of a “fat quarter” (18″ x 22″ rectangle of fabric) donated by WebFabrics. Any media is eligible and encouraged. The only condition is that the fat quarter from WebFabrics must be used in your piece. Fabric may be manipulated, shredded, coiled, braided, glued, painted etc. You may use any other materials (i.e. paper, wire, paper maché, etc.) along with your fat quarter. A cash prize of $300.00 will be awarded for Best in Show and a complete set of fat quarters in 360 colors from the Collection of Hoffman Bali Batiks (an $800.00 value donated by WebFabrics) will be awarded to the Most Innovative Work.”

The fee was $5 to enter and get a fat quarter of fabric.  I thought it was worth the price so I entered.  One afternoon Gabe (my 8 year-old son) and I drove over and we picked out a good fabric to use.  I wanted something that looked like foliage.  Gabe and I spent a lot of time going through all the fabric.  They have tons over at WebFabrics so it was quite a task.  We narrowed it down to 2 pieces and I let Gabe have the deciding vote.

Then I started the daunting task of getting a page from The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.  Turns out copying centers do not know copyright laws off-hand.  You have to bring whatever section of the law with you when you come to copy a text.  So I found Wikipedia‘s break down of US copyright law stating that all materials published before 1924 are now in the public domain and brought it with me to my friendly neighborhood Staples where they made me a large canvas sized copy of the page I wanted.

Then I started working.  I glued the copy to my canvas, put down an initial layer of water-color and then got cracking on making my mountains out of the fabric Gabe had picked.  I left the part of the book that was to be my poem surrounded by white so it would stand out.  It’s mixed media consisting of a couple of different fabrics, acrylic paint, and water-color.  When all was complete, it probably took me about 8 hours.

I’m sorry to report that I didn’t win, nor was I a runner-up or honorable mention.  What I am happy to report is my art sold.  When I went to drop it off, the woman asked me if I wanted to sell it.  I said, “Well, if anyone wants it, they can have it.”  She looked at me and said,”Why don’t we put a price on it then?”  I said, “Well, it cost me about $35 to make it so how about $35.”  She just stared at me.  “$50?” I said.  She said as an up and coming artist it wouldn’t be unreasonable for me to put $75 on it.  So I did.  I got the email yesterday.  It sold.  I was shocked… and really, really excited.

So here it is.  It’s about Dominion Power’s controversial power lines going up in Loudoun County, VA right now.

It’s hard to read the poem in the picture so here it is:

It was nearly up

plunging foot by foot

a pillar,

it knocked many out.

the enemy conquered the forest.

If any of you have The Jungle by Upton Sinclair it’s taken (in my copy) from page 110.

Posted in Cool Things | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CASHBAQ for purchases I was going to make already.

Since recently getting onto Google’s blog reader I’ve been rapidly signing up for blogs that I try and follow on a regular basis.  I have one person to thank for bringing me out of the dark ages of the blogosphere and into the 21st century, Rebekah of SimplyRebekah.  I’ve been able to get more info out of my blogs more quickly.  I found out about Cashbaq.com from one of my mommy blogs that deals with saving money.  I wish I could remember which one (I’m subscribed to 5) but I’m just not that organized yet.  Track my progress towards that goal at Myself…Better.

I was delighted to find Cashbaq.com.  The premise of this site is that by clicking on the link through their site to get to a site that you normally purchase from, you get a rebate that they pay you quarterly via check or PayPal.  Just for signing up they give you $5.00.  Then you get a percentage of all sales entered through their website.  These usually range from 1% to 5% depending on the site you’re shopping from.  But they offer a coupon finder as well.  So let’s say you’re going to purchase something from Drugstore.com, who by the way has some amazing deals on kid’s vitamins and probiotics.  You go to Cashbaq.com and search for Drugstore.com.  It immediately pops up a list of coupons, deals, and the percentage you will get back from your purchases.  For Drugstore.com you get 7% back.

I have just started using this site but already I love it.  We’ll see how much more I love it when I get my first check in October for purchasing items I would normally buy on my own.  The best part is I’m getting cash back without having to use a credit card so I’m saving money and my credit score.  FA-BU-LOUS!

By the way, they also give you money for each friend you refer.  So if you want to try it and get $5.00 for free click the ad at the top of my blog.

Happy Shopping!

Posted in Cool Things, Thrifty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Go Garden Go

When I was a kid, I lived in a lot of places.  By far, my favorite places to that I have lived have been down a dirt road a bit past Waterford, VA and Cabin Farm, a historic farm on the outskirts of Leesburg, VA.  I love rural living.  I lived in the country and/or on a farm until I was a sophomore in high school.  At that point my mother bought a condo and I’ve been living in apartments ever since (about 12 years).

In August of last year my husband and I bought our first home, a 200o Clayton mobile home.  Follow the link to see our floor plan.  We caught some slack for this from some and were praised by some for the decision.  But I feel like we’re closer to how we want to be living.  We only lost 50 square feet from the move from our 3 bedroom 2 bath apartment to our 3 bedroom 2 bath mobile home.  We cut our living expenses in half.  We have a large shed for storage and a very large covered porch where Kirk and I have a table and chairs and the kids have one of their own.  Best of all we have a large yard and a say about what we put in that yard.  So for the first time I have a lovely garden!  For my first year of gardening I went a bit overboard.

I am growing the following:

Just two days ago I got to pick my first two zucchini of the year off the plants.  We are going to have them with dinner tomorrow night.  Abby has eaten probably a dozen strawberries that are now on their second growing season of the year and has eaten about a pint of raspberries right off the vine.

This a picture of the main garden.  Left side and clockwise around are carrots, zucchini, green beans, pumpkins, cantaloupe, cucumbers, and Indian cucumbers, and in the center are 3 varieties of tomatoes.  In the tires left to right are mint, oregano, green peppers, unknown tomatoes, big boy tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes.

Here is our peach tree.

Here are our sunflowers along the side of the shed.

Here is the front garden.  From left to right are blackberries, rosemary, strawberries, basil, and parsley.

We still have the following waiting for homes in the ground.  More basil, eggplant, and raspberries.  Here is a picture of our raspberries still in the pot.

I’ll update as things change.  Go garden go!  Yum!

Posted in Cool Things, Garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Flies, Kids, and Fathers Day.

As I posted earlier, I had to work open to close on Mother’s Day due to a lot of unavailability by fellow coworkers.  So I decided that Father’s Day would be different.  I managed to get the day off.  Kirk (my husband) had to work that day but when he got home he had lunch and then I let him take a long nap.  When he got up I gave him my gift, which was a grandpa-looking sun hat to shade himself when he mows the lawn.  (Yes folks, he asked for that.)  And the kids gave him their gift.  I helped them to stamp their handprints on a t-shirt for him.  On the back it says Father’s Day 2010.  He loved it.  We grilled out with the next door neighbors and that attracted a couple of things.  Kids and flies.  A couple of the neighborhood kids came over and hung around for dinner.  So we ended up having a kiddie table and adult standing room only.  But the food attracted something else…  FLIES!  And lots of them!  We had the worst time trying to clean up after all that nonsense.  Every time the door to the house opened more flies would buzz in.  Father’s Day was 3 days ago and we kill about 5 – 7 flies per day.  We still have more than 5 in here right now.  I’m seriously debating the worth of our compost bin at this point due to the closeness at which we must keep it to the house.

My husband with his shirt : )

He didn’t want to show his face on my blog.  He’s a bit shy.  But you can see part of his epic red beard.  : )

Posted in Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments