Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Photo Dump 4/30

This is my shot of the full Pink Moon.  It looked so huge!! but not according to my camera.  Must be some kind of visual hocus pocus going on there.  And it actually was a little pink.

Five pound devil dog looking sweet and innocent in sleep.

Baked chicken fajita mix.  Just onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and chicken breast.  I tossed the whole works with 2 T olive oil, 2 t cumin and chili power, salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until done.

Fajitas looking good, except for the strange piece of yellow pepper.  Kind of sluggy looking but very tasty.

Can you see it??  That little reddish start??  I was tying the clematis to the trellis when I spotted it.  Last year the Debbie Dodd rose (I've been told it is actually the Debbie Saxon rose) turned up its toenails and died, right in the middle of summer, after about 18 years of blooming its head off.  So I planted a clump of Lucifer and a purple clematis in its place.  This is gonna be crazy gorgeous with the pink rose and the purple clematis spilling all over the red Lucifer.  Now, that is exciting!!

My flowering currant is through blooming so I gave it a gentle prune to keep it from taking over my property.  It blooms on old wood so you have to do any pruning right after blooming.  This is what he looks like now:

One of the hostas coming up.  I hit him with lots of Sluggo.  This guy is huge!! and snails love him.

Astilbes coming up everywhere.  I've got white, pink, and burgundy.  There are five of them and when they are up and blooming, I'm happy.  They like dry shade and get along well with the hostas.

I told my sister that I was "chitting" the seed potatoes this morning when she called.  After I explained what I was doing she informed me that she called it "taking a paring knife to them".  I brought the spuds out from the very back of my closet and cut off any bad pieces.  Then I cut them into chunks, making sure to have an eye on each piece.  Then they went into the cool guest bedroom on newspaper and plastic to "chit" for a day or two before they make their way out to the garden.

This little batch of spuds is gonna grow an incredible amount of wonderful tasting potatoes.  I'm not usually a potato eater but home grown potatoes are totally different from store bought.  It is so much fun to dig around underneath the plants and find the little guys.  They don't need peeling - just a good bath.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Shelf: Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

Who wouldn't want to read a gardening book by this gal??  Doesn't she look like a lot of fun??  This lady is Lorene Edwards Forkner and she has written the book that I wish that I had read when I started gardening up here after moving here from Portland.  I feel like she asked me what I wanted to know and then sat down and wrote me up a book.

Lorene is a big deal over in Seattle but I'd somehow never heard of her.  She is the owner of Fremont Gardens Nursery and really knows her stuff.  Her book is written for gardens in western Washington, western Oregon, and southern British Columbia.  She understands the difference between gardening in the Willamette Valley and Puget Sound.  She gets gardening micro-climates, even in your own garden.

Her book, published by Timber Press, is a real treasure.  Now you know that Miss MoneyPenny rarely lays down her cold hard cash for books, preferring to let the library do that, but I had to have my own copy close by my side.  I did get it through Amazon, knocking $5 off the price and getting free shipping since I also bought something else on my list.

She starts off the book by talking about our "unique maritime climate", then moves on to gardening basics and planning.  For me, planning the garden is the hardest part.  I do several change-ups before I'm happy and I use the free software on gardeners.com to lay out my garden plans.  Over and over and over again.

The next part of the book is a month-by-month gardening calendar which is just crammed with information and graphs telling us what to plant when, and when we can expect to harvest it.  There is also a to-do list for each month to help keep us on track.

The last part is an A to Z guide to garden edibles and this includes rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  Readers of Miss MoneyPenny know that she just added strawberries and raspberries to the mix this year, so is a little unsure about how they are going to work out.  An added bonus to this guide is the recommended varieties of each crop that have been proven winners in our area.

This book is well written and easy to navigate and there is a comprehensive index in the back, which is a deal breaker for me.  Don't you just hate it when you can't find what you are looking for in a book?? and a table of contents is a poor substitute for a well done index.  In my humble opinion.

Ms. Forkner also stresses the importance of keeping a garden journal of some kind to record the successes and failures and ideas for next time.  Keeping track of the weather is also important for judging planting times for future gardens.  Here is a line from this entry:

Tending a garden is a constant education and observation and awareness are some of the gardener's sharpest tools.    

This book is joining my other favorite gardening book which is by Eleanor Perenyi and you can check out my review here.  Both of these ladies are the real deal when it comes to gardening knowledge and writing in such a way that you actually want to read them, since so many gardening books are pretty dry going.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Full Pink Moon

We should be so lucky to have our Pink Moon look like this tonight but it should still be gorgeous since we have clear skies.  This first full moon of Spring got its name from the American Indians because the wild ground phlox is flowering and they knew for sure that the times were a-changing for the good.  I just threw that last part in but everybody loves the springtime.  This moon is not really known for actually being pink but we might get a little pinkish tinge tonight because of a partial lunar eclipse.  I'm gonna have my trusty camera handy.

Wheat.  I don't know about you but the allergy season has been brutal for me this year.  I was talking to my sister, Miss SmartyPants, the other day complaining about this nasty cough that I can't get rid of.  It is especially bad at night.  Dr. Day has me on Flonase and Zyrtec but they only take the edge off.

My sister mentioned that my niece, Jessie Lee (aka Miss SarcasticPants - she named herself) was having the very same problem.  She gave up wheat and dairy and the whole thing went away, along with an extra 30 pounds.  She feels wonderful!!  By the way, you can check out JL here.  She is the outreach coordinator for the homeless in Bend, Oregon and is a good girl and mama to my great-niece, Miss RyaPants.  I'm very proud of her.  She is the pretty young lady in the purplish jacket.

Anyway, back to the wheat.  I've only been off for two days and have noticed a huge difference.  No coughing!!  Who knew??  So, I'm looking for ways to replace bread.  I had a brand new loaf, just out of the breadmaker, which I gave to Kim when she happened by the other day.  I don't really want to jump on the processed gluten-free bandwagon because I'm suspicious of those guys, so that means I'm on my own.  I don't seem to have a problem with corn meal or oats.  This could be interesting.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 4/24

I snapped this over at Tina's the other day.  She gets the most bang for her buck in the spring when her whole yard is abloom and it is a thrill to look out my bedroom window and take it all in.  Her rhodies are crazy!! something I've never been good at growing.

So I needed flea medicine.  The fleas got away from me last year and it cost me a small fortune to get them under control again.  I would put Frontline on them and two weeks later, Advantage.  I did this all winter before they finally yelled uncle.  I hate that stuff but I hate fleas more.

I did some cost comparisons including Costco, PetCareRX, and 1800PetMeds.  I ended up going with 1800PetMeds because they were the cheapest and had free shipping and no tax.  I did not go through Ebates because neither one (excluding Costco) of them accepts combined offers and I did not want to get stuck with just the 6% from Ebates, since I had a 10% off coupon.

This is what my three month supply order looked like:

Frontline Plus for Small Dogs        $79.98

Frontline Plus for Cats                    41.99

less 10% coupon                         - 12.10

Total                                          $108.87

Highway robbery.  What happened to the good old days when you could buy a flea collar for under $5??

Okay.  The ad this week has nothing in it that really flips my skirt except the asparagus.  The top sirloin steaks are going for $4.99 a pound and that is a pretty good deal.  They need to be marinated or they can be tough but taste great.  These are the kind of steaks that we barbecued back in the lean days in Portland, so I'm an old hand at getting them tender.  Here are my suggestions this week:

QFC Cottage Cheese - $1.25/16oz
Angus Top Sirloin Steak - $4.99/lb
Fresh Wild Rockfish - $5.99/lb
Anjou Pears - $1/lb
Asparagus - $1.99/lb
Driscoll's Strawberries - $2/lb
Organic Large Navel Oranges - $1/lb
Organic Fuji Apples - $1/lb
Vidalia Onions - $1/lb

The Vidalias reminded me of when we would head over to Sellwood Park which was just two blocks kitty-corner from where we lived in Portland.  This is an old fashioned beautiful park and very popular for summer evening cookouts because they had lots of grills.  We would pack up the marinated steaks and baked potatoes to throw on the grill, along with the beer and everything else, and head out.

The way we did the potatoes was cut a baker in half, season both halves, and stick a thick slice of onion in the middle.  Then put it back together and wrap it in heavy foil.  They went on the grill before the steaks because they took the longest but cutting them in half sped up the process.  Shockingly delicious!! but most food is when you are enjoying a picnic.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday MishMash

If you feed the birds like I do you know that you can go broke feeding them quality seeds.  As you can see, I have some pretty large feeders and they have to be filled every day.  The word is out that they can get gourmet food at the MoneyPenny house and this was costing me close to $60 a month.  But I hate to offer them the cheap stuff with all those fillers that can't be identified.

I happened to notice that Costco has 40 pound bags of wild bird food for $25.89, so I checked it out, remembering their pledge to only carry high quality items in their stores.  This stuff is wonderful and the birds are gaga for it.  This is what it looks like:

Nothing but good stuff - sunflower seeds, millet, and nuts.  The only drawback is, of course, the 40 pound bag but totally worth it considering that I'm saving at least 50%.

This is what the bag looks like:

I made a loaf of bread and some roasted veggie soup today and I want to show you what it looks like.  I've told you about it before but have never shown pictures.

Here are the roasted peppers (peppers on sale this week), onions, garlic, and tomatoes.  They were tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and pepper flakes ( I got a little crazy on those today) and roasted at 400 until they looked like this (about an hour):

I then dumped them into my Vitamix (my old blender worked just fine) with a can of chicken broth and gave it a buzz:

I then added a big spoon of low-fat sour cream to knock it out of the park.

You can strain it if you don't like the texture but I like it that way.  You will never again think that the stuff in the box is good.

I was talking to a friend the other day and she told me that they planted their zucchini starts.  I gave her a look and asked how that had worked out.  She said they froze to death and turned black the first night.  This is my cautionary tale to not get caught up in gardening craziness and plant tender starts like summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, petunias, begonias, basil, etc. unless they can be protected.

Again, I'm not trying to rain on your parade - just save you money, time, and frustration.  Wait until at least May 15th before even thinking about it, and then decide if it is even close to warm enough.  Last week, one morning was 27 and this morning, it was 33, so maybe we are headed in the right direction, but still way too cold for bikini wearing zucchinis.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Refrigerator CleanOut Phad Thai

I went over to Tina's to get this picture.  Her pot is just SpringTime and gorgeous.  Actually her whole yard looks great, with the rhodies and azaleas coming into bloom.

This is what my tulips look like:

They are coming up all over the flower beds, even in the middle of other plants and shrubs.  Last year when they did this, I gathered them all up after they were done blooming and planted them altogether on the east side of the house.  They are just about to bloom, but what is with the rest of these guys??  Here they are again.  They are definitely travellin' men.  I'm told the bulbs are moved around by something that is planning on eating them.  Really??  What could it be??

Anyway, this morning I was digging around in the fridge checking out what was just about to get away from me and I came up with these poor guys:

As you can see they are on their last legs and pretty withery.  For some crazy reason they just said Phad Thai to me, so I trolled the web and came up with some recipes for the sauce, which is the most important part.  After looking in the pantry to see what I had, I substituted.  I didn't have tamarind but I did have rice wine vinegar.  From my research it looks like the sauce is equal parts, sour, sweet and salty.  I also added a good jolt of sirrachi and soy sauce to the mix:

I set the noodles to boil and chopped up the veggies:

Then I heated olive oil with two cloves of garlic for a few seconds, then the veggies with a shot of the sauce:

Instead of shrimp (seafood is trying to kill me) I added some frozen cooked chicken:

When that was cooked, I scrambled an egg in the middle:

Then the noodles and another jolt of sauce:

And before I ate it:

It was amazingly delicious!!  I used about half of that killer sauce which really made the dish and I have leftovers to look forward to.

Here is the recipe.  You can switch out the veggies with whatever you have on hand and even add chopped peanuts and bean sprouts to make it really authentic.

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c fish sauce
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • good jolt soy sauce
  • another good jolt sirrachi (Rooster Sauce)

  • 1T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • veggies (your choice)
  • shrimp or chicken or tofu (if you can stand it)
  • 1 egg
  • cooked noodles
This is easy peasy.  Basically you make the sauce first.  You can marinate raw chicken/shrimp/tofu in it, or everything else, for that matter.  You set the noodles to boil and chop up your veggies.  When your pan is hot, add the oil and garlic, then the meat (if not precooked).  When it is done, remove and add veggies, and stir fry.  When done, add the meat back in and make a well in the center of the pan and scramble an egg.  Add the noodles and a good shot of the sauce and mix.  Eat.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 4/17

Mr. SuperGenius dropped by the other day and he was wondering how retirement was treating me.  I told him that as long as I can garden and read good books I'm fat and happy.  So when I saw this on Pinterest I knew that there were others out there like me.  By the way, I got an email that my granddaughter is following me on Pinterest which I find puzzling because I can't figure out how to work that site!!  I just go in and look at all the pretty pictures and have yet to figure out how to pin stuff.  Time for lunch with Miss CutiePie because she is all over it and can maybe get me going.

I get my seed potatoes from Mr. SG and he gets them from his parents who are amazing gardeners.  This year he brought over seven different varieties with names like Mountain Rose, Crackled Butterball, Desiree, and Purple Majesty.  If you haven't grown potatoes, you haven't lived.  I've never been a potato eating person but these are totally different and easy to grow.  My garden is still too cold and wet so I'm waiting a couple of weeks to plant, maybe longer, depending on the weather.

As I look at this week's QFC ad, I again marvel at how much of what is called food isn't really food, but something cooked up in a lab by amoral chemists.  Sorry - I got carried away there and let you know what I really think.  Anyway, MMP's job is to wade through all this and find real food, so you can get good value for your money.  QFC is still running the Buy 5, Save $5 promotion and a lot of items are not in the ad, so look for your faves, because they might be on sale.

Here are my suggestions this week:

Tide Laundry Detergent - $4.99/50oz promo
Best Foods Mayonnaise - $2.79/30 oz promo

QFC Cottage Cheese - $1.88/24oz
QFC Large Eggs - $1.50/doz
Draper Valley Whole Chicken - $ .89/lb (chicken & dumplings)
Simple Truth Ground Beef - $5.99/lb
Fresh Wild Dover Sole - $5.99/lb
Driscoll Strawberries - $2/lb (strawberry shortcake)
Colored Bell Peppers - $1/ea
English Cucumbers - $1/ea
Organic Cameo Apples - $1/lb
Organic Navel Oranges - $1/lb
Red Tomatoes on the Vine - $1.99/lb
Red, Green Leaf, Romaine Lettuce - $1/ea
Tulips - $10/3 bunches

Now, you know how Miss MoneyPenny is suspicious, if not downright hostile, when it comes to Big Food.  I've been reading a new book - Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss and it looks like I'm right to be concerned about processed food.

Readers of MMP know that she has a bad Coffee Mate addiction and has been unable to give it up.  Well, there is a reason for this after all and it ain't pretty.  And before you worry that I'm becoming a conspiracy nut check out the label on Sugar Free Coffee Mate under sugar.  It says 0, right??, but in the ingredients list corn syrup is the second ingredient(??) and it makes you wonder how diabetics are making out with this stuff.

These guys are not your friend and what they are doing to our kids is just criminal.  If your children are not eating home cooked food, they are getting on average 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.  This is the average.  Some kids are getting lots more.  And this doesn't even take into account the added strange fats, salts, and unpronounceable chemicals.  Makes me want to hit the kitchen and get to cooking and run those guys out of business, because money is what this is all about, after all.

Monday, April 15, 2013

How to Save $261.84

As I was going over my recent medical bills and lining them up with the insurance claims, I kept coming back to the fact that the insurance company hadn't paid like it should on the nerve conduction study that I had before surgery.  So, this morning I gave the doctor's office a call and they immediately fixed it, saving me $261.84 on the spot.  If I hadn't inquired, I would have been out some serious (to me) money, so it really pays to carefully study your medical bills.

Miss KnowItAll came across an article in the paper about coupon use, and after reading it, I was not surprised.  It seems that in 2012 coupon use was down 17% and the article stated that with an uneven economic recovery, shoppers have noticed the lack of good coupons.  Well, yeah.

Basically, that means that even though the stock market is out of site, only the 1%ers are feeling the love.  One of the big reasons that stocks are up is because corporations are cutting their work force hard, thereby saving big money on payroll, so their investors reap the rewards of us not having jobs.  I know this doesn't sound very nice but it is reality, and it isn't very nice.

Since the manufacturers and corporations are doing so well, they put the brakes on the coupons.  They were only trying to protect their market share by giving out generous coupons during the worst of the recession.  You didn't really think that they cared about your budget, did you??  Now most of the coupons are stingy and you need to buy several items to use them.  What good is a $1 coupon when you have to buy three bottles of $12 detergent??

That being said, I still check out the coupons and use the few good ones.  Most coupons are for processed food and I avoid them, preferring to spend my food budget on "real" food instead.  I have really cut my food budget by shopping the sales and Costco, and I eat most of my meals at home.  I depend on Chimacum Corners for produce in the off-season and my garden in the summer.  Right now all I have in the garden is chard but it is really tasty and easy to change up in recipes.

Miss MoneyPenny knows that all this takes time and she tries to help with her tips and ideas.  When I had a job, I never had enough time to actually sit down and figure this all out.  Half the time I had to go out to lunch because I hadn't prepared anything at home and that was a huge expense.  So I get it, but stick with me, kids, and we will come out triumphant.  After all, our grandmas didn't have it easy, either.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Old People Gardening

Friday night we had a heck of a wind storm.  I was sleeping like a baby when a big WHOMP!! bolted me upright and set the dogs to hysterical barking.  I lay there terrified for about five minutes before I could get up the nerve to see what had happened.  When I finally opened the back door, I found a big mess and couldn't get out the door.  A big gust had lifted off my greenhouse (weighted with 25 pounds of lime) and it had taken out the Weber.

You can imagine the mess, although I was able to save the last of the onion and beet starts.  I just shoved them back in their little pots.  They actually survived and I planted them out in the garden this morning, just before it started to rain.  Those Red Dog starts are true Northwest plants and tough.

I had dinner last night with a couple of my favorite old friends who have just recently moved into their new home.  We go back a long ways.  We all used to run around years before their two children were born (I'm the Godmother) and now those kids are grown.  Time flies.

Anyway, we were discussing gardening when you have health issues, such as chronic pain.  Back in the old days, we used to party at their house and they had the most beautiful yard and gardens.  Drunken croquet players were threatened with death if they hurt anything in the flower beds.  Gardening was their big love and it really showed.  The place was the garden of Eden.

Now that their beautiful new home is finished we were discussing what kind of gardening can be done when you can't mow, weedeat, or dig.  I've answered the mowing and weedeating question by having Chris, the Yard Barber, take care of it, and they do a good job.  The rest I take care of but it does take a toll.  I've been slowly moving my flower beds into shrubs because they don't usually require all that dividing, staking, etc.  Usually a good clean up once a year is all they require.

And lots of mulch to keep the plants happy and the weeds down, or at least, easier to remove.

You remember this guy.  When I got the all-clear from my doctor to dig I went after him, and it just about killed me.  This was a huge clump and probably not the best candidate for my first shovel job, but I did it anyway.  Once I got the thing onto the grass, I tried to stab it to death with the shovel, but it would not separate.  It was such a matted mess.  Finally I took the pruners to it and slowly, and I do mean slowly, got it handled.  I was hoping for at least three pieces when I got done, but the whole process was so brutal that I was lucky to end up with one.  He is a beauty though.

This is my hardy fuchsia, which I don't clean up until I see the lime green of his eyes in the spring.

I trim him down to the green buds and he rewards me by being gorgeous in the summer.  You can see by the old growth how big he gets, and just full of hooker pink blooms.

Since I was in the mood, I went after the lemon balm.  This guy can be a real garden thug and spread all over the place, so I have him in the corner of the deck, where his edges sometimes get weedwacked.  He grows up and through the bird bath, and is handy for reaching over and picking a few leaves for ice tea.  The birds love him in the winter.

Not being able to garden would be a tough one.  It is just about the only thing that keeps me out of the tavern.  Just joking, Miss MoneyPenny rarely drinks any more, mainly due to being a real sissy who can't deal with a hangover.  But gardening is that important to me and I will find a way to do it until the bitter end, even if it is just some gorgeous pots on the deck.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

QFC Grocery Basket 4/10

When I first started MoneyPenny Manor all that was here were two fir saplings and a scraped double lot.  My neighbor's boyfriend was a retired landscaper and he had a vision for the neighborhood, so he planted a flowering plum in everybody's yard.  That was 18 years ago and when they are all in bloom it is almost breathtaking.  Of course, as soon as they are good and beautiful we have a big wind storm and poof!! they are gone.  Happens every year.

So, anyway, as I look at the ad this week, I notice that it is low on produce and high on proteins.  The first Alaska fresh halibut is going for $16.99 a pound which is about par for last year.  I'm gonna buy a half pound and pig out.  I love that stuff.  The other thing, and this is a good deal, wild Alaska cod is going for $2.99 a pound, but it has been frozen.  If you weren't raised on the southern Oregon Coast and lived on lots of fresh fish, you probably won't even notice the difference between it and fresh, since they flash freeze it.

QFC is also running the Buy5, Save $5 promo this week.  Here are my suggestions for this week:
  • King Arthur Flour - $3.59 (promo)
  • Gevalia Coffee - $5.99/12 oz or 12 count (promo)
  • Del Monte Tomatoes - $1/14.5oz
  • Tide - $4.99/50oz (promo)
  • Best Foods Mayonnaise - $2.79/30oz (promo)
  • International Delight - $1.99/qt (promo)
  • Mountain High Yogurt - $1.49/qt (promo)
  • Colgate Toothpaste - $1/4.6oz
  • Nature Made Vitamins - BOGO
  • Boneless Top Sirloin Steak - $4.99/lb (usually needs marinating)
  • Wild Alaska Cod (frozen) - $2.99/lb
  • Fresh Wild Cooked Shrimp Meat - $4.99/lb
  • Fresh Alaska Halibut - $16.99/lb
  • Driscoll's Strawberries - $2/lb
  • Russet Baking Potatoes - $ .69/lb
Carpal Tunnel Update:

Today was my last follow-up visit and I have been given the green light for all activities, including shoveling.  I had the surgery 41 days ago and I think that is a pretty fast recovery time.  Too bad I waited so many years to have it done.  The first thing that I'm going to use the shovel on is the blue grasses because they look like hell.  I'm gonna dig them up, clean them up, and divide them.  This is just one of them.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Costco Coupons 4/11 - 5/5/13

Yesterday the Bradster and I headed out to Costco.  He is my designated heavy lifter until my hands recover and he loves to eat lunch at Silver City Brewery.  I had a $10 coupon and coupled with my senior discount we had a fine lunch, complete with beverages, with the bill coming in for the two of us at $19.  The food and service there never disappoints.

It looks like if you want to get in and out of Costco in a jiffy, go early Monday morning.  And parking was a breeze, also.  And no waiting in line.

Before I forget, Miss MaggieMay discovered that Costco carries Jazz apples.  If you are particular about your apples, and both of us are, Jazz apples are for you.  They are everything that an apple should be - crisp, juicy, and sweet.  At QFC they go for $2.99 a pound.  At Costco they are $1.81 a pound and worth every penny.  I can't tell you the times that I have eaten part of other apples and pitched the rest in the compost because they were mushy or just not very good.

So, I cherry-picked through the coupons and came up with some good ones this time.  I've been waiting for a deal on the solar pathway lights and there is a $10 coupon, making the price $39.99 for eight lights.  I'm gonna jump on it next time I'm down there.  Here are the other interesting (in my opinion) coupons:

  • KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer - $50
  • Magic Bullet Deluxe Blender/Mixer System - $10
  • FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System - $30
  • Dyson DC25 Ball Bagless Vacuum - $80
  • 8 Piece Solar Pathway System - $10
  • Kirkland Signature Vitamins - $2
  • Kirkland Signature Aller-tec (generic Zyrtec) - $3
  • Starbucks French Roast Whole Bean - $4.50
  • Kleenex - $3.75
  • Kirkland Signature Laundry Detergent/Pacs - $2.75
  • Kirkland Signature Drawstring Trash Bags - $2.75
  • Cascade - $2
  • Pantene - $2
  • Neutrogena Rainbath - $4
  • Colgate Advanced Whitening Toothpaste - $4
Remember these are the values of the coupons, not the price of the item.  And don't forget if you are in the market for new tires or a new phone, check Costco first.  

My aging Droid was having issues.  The screen would not go dark and was using up the battery in no time.  I dropped by the Verizon booth at Costco, thinking I needed a new phone.  They took it apart and fixed it, rather than sell me a new one.  They are always willing to help and answer questions.  Forget the frustration that is the Verizon store in Silverdale.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hydrangea CleanUp

I really like that guy (Andrew May) who writes the Sunday gardening column in the Peninsula Daily News, mostly because he agrees with Miss MoneyPenny, but I do learn a lot from him.  One of the many things that I like about him is his knowledge of gardening here, on the Peninsula, and not, in say, sunny southern California.

When I lived in Portland (the Willamette Valley), I thought that I was a gifted gardener, because I had such huge success in everything that I grew.  When I began gardening up here, I despaired because it seemed like nothing worked very well, so I ended up learning a whole new way to garden.  I wish that I would have known Andrew way back in 1982 because he could have saved me a lot of money and heartache regarding my gardening efforts.

His topic today was something that Miss MaggieMae and I were discussing yesterday, so great minds, and all that, but he is totally right.  Just because the garden centers are putting out flats of beautiful tender annuals and you got the itch, don't do it.  It is just too cold and it would be a big waste of time and money, unless they were going straight into the greenhouse.

If you put petunias in now, they would either die outright, or worse yet, just sit and sulk and molder.  When it does warm up, they would disappoint because they would never be able to catch up after that shock to their little flower systems.  Wait until after May 15th, but it is safe to put primroses and pansies in now, though.

Now, readers of Miss MoneyPenny know that pruning is not her strong suit but she has been set free by Margaret Roach over at A Way to Garden.  She says that if you just take care of the three Ds, everything will be fine.  Dead, damaged, or diseased.  I can do that - and leave the fancy pruning the hedge into the shape of a poodle to the experts.  This is what my beloved hydrangea looked like after winter:

Lots of green stuff coming out.  The first thing that I cut off was the flowers (the dead):

Then I went after the diseased and damaged, cutting them back to the next healthy green or all the way to the ground if there wasn't any:

This is what it looked like when I was done:

I also cleaned out the middle so all those green babies down there can take off.  I did very little shaping but just enough to give it that mounded  look.

This is the cleanup that I did last year and I had the most beautiful hydrangea, with lots of gorgeous blooms.  This hydrangea was given to me by my late mother and I almost lost it because somebody cut it to the ground one fall, trying to help.  Last summer was its first year back after about 10 years of sulking.

The top picture is my flowering currant in full bloom.  It is a stunner for about two weeks but not so good the rest of the year.  I'm going to learn how to tame this wild beauty because the hummers are gaga over it.  I'll start with the three Ds.