Thursday, March 26, 2009


I have one water faucet on the outside of my house and every day during the warm months these bumblebees are determined to make it their new home. I turn the faucet on and the water will spit and sputter for a moment and the faucet will disgorge these little guys into the bucket I have waiting. I can't believe they keep going back. Last year it would just be one bee but already this year there will be four at a time crammed up in there. So, I fish them out of the water and let them dry on a rock.
Grendal was trying to stalk me. I don't think she realizes how much bigger she is than my flowers. She has really been enjoying the warm weather lately.
*The Beatles

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bloomin' Idiot

I think that last post ended up making me sound depressed or something and that is far from reality. I must misrepresent myself a lot. I simply wonder about many things that happen in life and just tend to muse out loud. I am not upset or discouraged. Far from it. Things are going very well but there are challenges that come even with happiness.
This is an ornamental crab apple that I bought last year. It seems to finally be established and growing.
I finally planted the two grape vines that Allen bought. He got two pair for himself but I don't think he has planted his yet. I have one purple and one white but the white one has not begun to leaf out yet (neither has Allen's). Is this normal or are they dead? Anybody know?
The state of the economy is finally starting to affect our area, as far as my industry goes. Many companies have people laid off. I may have this week and the next and then I believe, I may be out of work. We do have 2 new jobs coming up but that will be awhile before they get started good. Looks like The Man From 12 Years may end up in Tampa. His company just has no work in the state.
So, life continues on. Hope everyone out there is doing well.

Friday, March 20, 2009


These little native flowers are blooming everywhere around here right now. No idea what they are; if you know I'd appreciate a comment. This is the first year that I have really noticed them.
The redbuds are blooming also. I just love these trees and am fortunate to have quiet a lot on my land. In this area, the edges of the highways will be a soft purple haze this time of year due to the number of redbuds lining the roads.
I was feeling some better but I think tonight I may be having something of a relapse. And for some reason, both my shoulders are absolutely killing me. We poured a little concrete today and had to shovel about all of it but dang, it hasn't been that long since I shoveled concrete. The Man From 12 Years is also extremely ill right now but is still having to work due to being shorthanded and being a boss and the only one that can operate a crane on his job. Such is the life of a construction worker. I feel bad that I cannot help him but don't know of anything I can do. Maybe this weekend we can both rest.
I have a lot on my mind right now and some things that I want to post about but just can't seem to figure things out. I don't have a positive outlook right now but it should pass soon and I'll get back to posting about more than flowers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just More Green

I know these are really boring posts lately but I still feel like crap. I don't get sick very often anymore but when I do it just goes all out. But, I'm feeling a little better and hope to get back to work tomorrow.  The photo above is of the flower bed lining the drive by the house. All the day lilies, mints and coreopsis are popping up. This bed is mostly native flowers and medicinal plants/herbs. So far, the deer don't mess with it much.

The creek is up a bit due to all the rains lately. I hate to complain about rain since we just got over a 2 year drought but I will enjoy the next few days as they are predicting just sunny, mild days. I did manage to plant a few things in the garden on Sunday after the rain showers. I put in some new cabbage plants and will see if they do better in spring than fall. I planted the leeks and a good bunch of yellow onions. And I finally planted a row of lettuce and spinach. I am late getting my tomatoes started. Maybe I can do that tomorrow.
Well, just not much to tell. Maybe I'll have some progress on the house soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

From Where I Am

I've started this post over several times, not sure how to get going. I've been very busy with things but not a lot going on with the house. It has been raining here fairly often so that has put a damper on several exterior projects that I want to work on. So, I thought I'd just post about a few miscellaneous things. I finally finished my raised strawberry bed that I started back in the fall. It is about 3' by 16' and about 1' deep. These are mostly two year old plants with a few of their babies thrown in, so I hope to have a fair crop this summer. I believe these are ever-bearing strawberries. I used all topsoil from my valley and added an organic fertilizer formulated for strawberries that I purchased from Gardens Alive. I have details showing how I built the raised bed if anyone is interested. I may post that anyway! even if you're not interested. Ha! My brussel sprouts continue to produce a small crop. They are great! I'm not sure how long the plants will last but I'm just going to keep tending them until they seem to play out. I cooked some of the sprouts for the Man From 12 Years and he seemed to enjoy them or said he did anyway. He scarfed them all down. I showed him the blog this weekend and told him what I write about. I wanted him to know he had been mentioned and make sure it was OK. He seemed to enjoy it and said it was fine but is a little hesitant to have his photo put up. He is still as handsome as he was back years ago but has become self-conscious over his hair and beard. See, they have both gone completely white and he thinks it makes us look very far apart in our ages. Now, he is a little older than me (but still younger than Allen) and most people associate white hair with much older people. I don't care myself. He had completely gray hair way back in his 30's and I've never known him with dark hair. I think he is beautiful, even if his hair were purple. I said I wanted a photo of him on his motorcycle and he seemed to like that idea so when it warms up a little more to start riding I'll get some pics.

The garlic is way up. I need to plant a lot more as I use quiet a bit in cooking. I roasted a head, that I had stored, the other night to use in some mashed potatoes and they were so good. That adds such flavor to potatoes. This is an old, unknown variety that a friend gave me last year. Most of my herbs are starting to spring up with new growth also. The lavender cuttings are still doing well. I need to fertilize my fruit trees before it gets much further into spring.
I have a chest cold this weekend and feel fairly crappy today so I've just been kinda taking it easy. The sun has finally come out today and it is very nice. Grendal and Lika are napping together on the deck. They may start to get along better after all.
Hope you all are having a great weekend and things are warming up where you are. Except for those of you in Aussie, where I guess things may be cooling down a little for you! But maybe that's welcome after the heat that you all have endured.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Only Yesterday

Ooooh, I have been such a bad blogger lately. No posts for days, late answering comments. Well, I'm trying to mend my ways and get back to a little more frequent posting rate. I have no idea what has been distracting me lately (hee hee).
So, I'm going to answer another one of the great questions posed by my wonderful readers. This one from Island Rider asked, how did you go from art school to construction work? And I'm sure you may also be asking yourself what these photos have to do with anything? Patience, weedhopper, I'll get to that. These are photos of the Barber Motorsports Museum just outside of Birmingham, AL. A really cool place, even if you don't care for motorcycles and race cars but, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Both of my long time readers will remember the story of how I went from art school to construction but I'll tell it again. After graduating from college I needed a job ASAP, as most do, and a fellow I met in college offered me a job working with him. He maintained and repaired many of the grandest pipe organs in quiet a few of the big Birmingham churches. It wasn't the best pay but a decent job with someone I knew while I tried to decide what to do about graduate school and all that. Well, one of the largest and best known churches in Birmingham caught fire and the pipe organ was heavily damaged, so we began an immediate restoration. A local construction company (whose owner belonged to the church) also began repairs on the sanctuary at the same time and Allen was the superintendent for the project. We all became friends with him and his carpenters and worked for several months together. During this process however, my boss suddenly developed an intense and all-consuming cocaine habit. Obviously, this did not make for good working conditions so I began searching for another job as we were actually close to finishing. Allen suggested that I apply to the company he worked for as a field clerk and, because he knew I could weld and use tools, he had them put me down as a laborer also.
So, I got the job and became the first field clerk/ laborer for my company. Allen requested I be sent to his job so he could help me get started and knowing at least a couple of the guys helped me feel more at ease in the beginning. The job was a large house (I showed a few photos from recently) and the owner was the same man that built this museum, Mr. George Barber. I did a lot of welding and miscellaneous labor work on the house and the guys all made a great effort to teach me all they could about anything from building to auto repair and running heavy equipment.  Now, this house was nothing like a regular house as it was completely structural concrete and steel, much like what this museum looks like, so I got a good education in commercial construction. There were a couple of cars there that I remember Mr. Barber frequently driving to the house too.

But, I'm off the subject again. So, after about a year I was transferred to another job because it was federally funded and the government likes to employ minorities on such projects. My company had learned that I could do the work in the field and offered me the position of apprentice carpenter. This almost doubled my pay, so I jumped at it.
I still remember my first day on that new job. I had forgotten some tools or something on the Barber house so I went by there first, before going to the new site. The sun was barely coming up over the hill and it was a soft, cool fall morning.  My intention was to work that federal job to completion and then either go back to school or something but I guess Fate (or something) intervened and I met my first (and only) husband on that job and he, uumm, insisted that I remain with the company and in the field with him. By the time I divorced, I had been set up to journeyman and had actually grown to like the work.

So, I just kept on working construction and grew to be halfway competent at it. The men that I have worked with are just the best in the world. They have always treated me so kindly and fair. They taught me much of what I know and were patient when I didn't understand something. But they were always ready to give me a slight kick in the pants when I needed it for having a crappy attitude or acting like I wanted to quit on something. There were many skeptical looks in the beginning but they gave me a chance anyway. And now I've been doing it so long even men from other companies that I don't know have heard of me and I often get the "Oh, you're Annie!" Then they smile and step out of my way.
All in all it's been a very interesting trip so far. I've done and built some stuff that most of society doesn't even know is possible. Hopefully, I have helped make it maybe just a little easier for any women that want to follow after me. I've raised a little hell along the way and made the acquaintance of several lovely men through the years. I've acquired a world of skills that have really come in handy for many areas of life. 
*Appropriately enough, The Carpenters

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Lovely Day

Hey People! No, I have not abandoned or forgotten you all; I'm still here! Sorry for my lack of posting lately. I've just, well, always suspected that there was something more to life than work and I believe I'm just beginning to see what that is. I will try not to effuse about things too much but let's just say it has been a very lovely weekend. The weather has been absolutely wonderful and warm, things are blooming and sprouting. I spent the better part of yesterday cruising the open roads on the back of a motorcycle, just enjoying the countryside and not worrying about anything.
This look on Lika's face kinda says it all, lol! What you can't see is that I am scratching his side for him. He has been recovering from a little surgery (something the Man From 12 Years jokes Lika will never forgive me for) and from getting all his shots and such.
I have actually gotten some stuff done around the house. The pantry is ready to set cabinets in, if I can ever get them ordered. I completed the patch in the bathroom and repainted, hung the mirror etc. The weather is so great here today that I may work in the garden putting in some leeks and new cabbage and finishing a strawberry bed. Work on the stained glass window has not gone very far though and I have got to get that restarted.
So, hope that everyone is having a good weekend and I have not forgotten about the remaining questions that ya'll wanted me to post about. I'll try to get to the next one soon.
*Bill Withers

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Here We Go Again

Thank you all for the comments and discussions on the last post. That was great and I really enjoyed hearing from everyone and especially to hear from Ron again. However, I feel kinda sheepish because I think I misspoke a little in the post. I've just had a tremendous amount on my mind lately about totally non-blog related stuff (that's what I meant by the mulling and thinking) and the thoughts about the comments and Sitemeter just got worked in there somehow. I've been curious about the diminished comments lately but it doesn't really bother me because I see I still have my ever expanding group of regulars. And yes, I will continue to write about whatever I feel is appropriate but, like Ron said, I do like to hear from others because I get bored with me too! I like to hear others viewpoints. But still, I like what I write about and I don't have a problem with people from work or family knowing (although very few of those read this blog) about my personal life. And trust me, there is plenty I don't talk about but don't mind showing my feelings. I'm proud I've got them and am often perplexed by people I meet that don't seem to have feelings for others.
I mentioned that I have been aggravated by some stuff but it has not been anything to do with this blog or any comments left lately or anything. In catching up with the Man From 12 Years he has been telling me of his adventures in trying to find me and how that a couple of people we both know kinda tried to discourage him from finding me. They questioned his motives and even questioned whether or not he was waiting long enough after his wife died to speak to me! I just don't think that's really any of their business. I mean, it's been almost 8 months and he just wanted to find me, not get remarried next week. Plus, one of them even questioned whether or not he really wanted to find me, like there was something wrong with me. Geez! Now, I understand that the few guys that have my number are reluctant to give it out unless they know the person asking well, because my guys look out for me, but I don't know, that whole thing just kinda irritated me for some reason. The sweet part of the story is that they were all discouraging The Man, his own boss and his wife have been trying to fix him up with women from their church and he was just like, please ya'll, I just want to find Annie! And so he did.
Plus, a couple of people from work have been a little cool towards me lately in regards to Allen and that irritates me because they won't ask what the deal was even though I consider them good enough friends to do so. I mean, don't get an attitude with me if you're not going to ask for my side. I have never written about the demise of Allen and I because I felt it would always come off like I was running him down and I will not do that because he doesn't deserve that. We just didn't agree on some important issues.
But anyway, I guess I have just been overwhelmed lately by recent events. There has been so much to take in, in such a short time. I didn't write much about when The Man From 12 Years came here for the first time last week. I guess I've just been processing it still. We talked on the phone several times and it was just like old times. But to see him step through that door from the darkness, into the soft light of the house, is still a memory that gives me pause. We just kinda stared at each other for a second or two. I'll never forget the look on his face. Then suddenly, he was in my arms and for just a moment, it was as if I were supporting his whole weight, but easily so.
You just never know what life is going to send your way.