Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dwarf Iris in Bloom!


I was walking back from the veg garden yesterday and saw these. I hadn't even noticed there was a bud on any of the little iris and here they were. In July! I'm not sure what this one is called. I have the names of all the dwarf iris mapped out somewhere, but I don't feel like digging it out. It's kinda cool to see it has a blue beard. One of the other ones is light yellow with a blue beard. I've been most curious to see that. I didn't think I was going to get any flowers on them at all this year, so we'll just have to see if any more of them flower.

I put some new pictures of Silver City up on my flickr.com website last night. I was kind of annoyed to realize partway through our day there that my camera was set on 'soft focus', so a lot of the pictures of buildings are all blurry.

Today I worked on weeding part of the gravel path between the front garden flower beds. I also trimmed back some of the juniper and wild rose along the drive so I don't have to scrape the rose thorns against my car when I come in. It looks nicer, but there's still tons of weeding to do. I keep wishing we could get a bulldozer to come scrape all the topsoil off and start again.

Now I just have to groom and wash the dog, vacuum the living room, clean the bathroom and tidy up our bedroom. Nothing like a day off, eh?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mid-summer Bouquet


These are the flowers I cut this morning. The echinacea, agastache and helenium are new, the scabious and knautia are still blooming. My sweet peas are blooming, but not as thickly as I used to get them in the UK. Just too hot here I think.












This is one side of the garden. You can see flower spikes on the gladiolus. Then there are the peppers and beans, the tomatoes, and the raspberries. The tomatoes are really full of fruit. Two of the plants will barely stay upright, even with cages. I keep cutting back new growth on the early ones, hoping that will get the tomatoes on them to start turning red. I should have ripe tomatoes in a few weeks, I hope. Next year I need sturdier supports and I'll really have to stay on top of pruning them. It's a learning experience.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Flime Ties


The summer is just screeching past. This is my hair. I haven’t had it cut since early May – no time! Maybe next week I can get an appointment. I’m happy with the way it’s layered to encourage more of the natural wave, but it’s longer than I want it to be, especially with the hot weather.

Yesterday we had a series of thunderstorms blow through and drop a good amount of rain. Yea! Fun to watch the lightning flashes at night too. A small tornado crossed the Magic Valley (around Twin Falls) area yesterday, but there's so much landscape and so few people, they had trouble getting spotters out there to confirm if it actually touched down or not.

We had high winds, and sometimes it seemed to me there was some rotational movement in it, but no twisters, thank goodness. Our carport would be gone for sure if we had that kind of high wind.

Work is keeping us all very busy in our area. The National Intelligence Directive (NID) comes into force at the beginning of October. It's bringing some changes in how we investigators do our jobs. We now have a much tighter deadline for most kinds of investigations, and because of it there are new rules for how work is assigned. Previously we had some time flexibility that allowed work assignments to be zoned geographically to reduce windshield time for the investigators that have to drive around collecting interviews and records.

I live about 25 miles away from the rest of my team. Previously I could usually count on my work being mostly on the west side of our team's territory. Others in my team who live farther east didn't have to drive to my side of the valley very often.

Now we're all going to get work assigned based on the dates, no matter where it is geographically. So everyone will be criss-crossing our territory, from Burns, OR, to Twin Falls, ID, to Duck Valley, to Sun Valley. More driving means more time spent to collect the same amount of information as before. In fact we anticipate we'll experience a drop in our production numbers because of it. The folks in Montana are going to have even more problems, as their distances are bigger than ours!

More job stress. Hopefully I can deal with the changes and keep my numbers up.

I’m supposed to be going to Aikido at least twice a week to prepare for my 3rd kyu test, but I haven’t been able to as often as I hoped, usually because I have a late interview or something to type to meet a deadline. So my tentative August test date will probably be put off.

At least dance classes have been going well. Our attendance dropped a bit from people going on vacations and stuff, but not as much as last year. Our last class of the summer is on Monday. Then we’ll have a break until September.

The garden is catching up after our cool Spring. The raspberries are producing more, and I’m hoping the beans will begin coming soon. I’ve only had five so far. The arugula has gotten away from me as usual. We just can’t eat it fast enough. I’ve given 5-6 bags away and still there’s more. The tomatoes are all still green, but pretty soon I’ll be drowning in those as well. And thank goodness both of the new asparagus plants have sent up shoots at last. I’d begun to think they’d died after all. So I now have four functioning asparagus crowns. I may have lost two of the originals. We’ll see.

I’m worried about the rhubarb. I might need to move it to a place that gets shade in the afternoons. No matter how much water I give it, it’s still wilting in the heat.

We have a dance demo coming up this weekend, so we’re all hoping the heat isn’t in triple digits on Saturday!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Silver City camping


Hubby and I went on an overnight camping trip up to Silver City this weekend. To get there you cross the Snake and head south into the Owyhee Mountains, for about 50 miles, most of it Up!

Silver City was one of the most populated towns in Idaho in the 1800's, due to the silver mines. It's technically a ghost town now, except that....people live there. Some of the buildings are in ruins, certainly. But others are being renovated, and others are obviously lived-in. The road going up there is still mostly un-paved. It's amazing to think of driving a horse-drawn wagon full of silver ore down that road. And yet they did it 1,000's of times evidently. The nearest train depot was down in the valley.

It was hot at home, but cooler at 6,000 feet. The sun was just as fierce though. Hubby got sunburned. I did a little, but at least I'd put on sunscreen. We hiked around the town a bit, then got hungry and realized we'd brought all our sandwich fixings, but forgot the bread! Fortunately the local cafe was willing to sell us half a loaf so we could eat dinner later too!

We found a nice camping spot near the pass you go over to get there, New York Summit. It was on a rise that gave us views in every direction. The Owyhees are very rocky. There are pine trees, but at 6-7,000 feet, it's right at the limits of the sagebrush, so you get a mix of juniper, pines, sagebrush, and this year, lots and lots of wildflowers. I'd never seen so many different ones.

The rocks reminded me of the Santa Monica mountains and the mountains around Seoul. If you used to watch *MASH*, you'll know what I mean. Rounded boulders of granite sticking out like exposed bones. On one ridge we could see a line of jagged brown rocks like dragon teeth.

We had a restful night in our tent, and the next morning we hiked up to an interesting out-cropping near the pass. I've always liked clambering around on big rocks.
After our hike, we packed up and drove home. For just a 99-mile round trip, it was a complete change of scenery. We'll have to go again and camp elsewhere.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sparkling!


Well so far the weekend has been MUCH nicer than the week that preceded it. On Monday I had an incredible toothache. I've never had one before. It was like someone pounding a dagger up through my tooth into my cheekbone. It was sensitive to cold AND hot, so I couldn't eat or drink without pain, and sometimes it even hurt when I talked because the cool air would hit it when I breathed in. Argh!!

To top it off, our washing machine was broken, and the hot weather meant dirty clothes were piling up faster than usual.

I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday. It was originally for a cleaning, but I couldn't stand the thought of the hygienist putting metal instruments on my bad tooth. The dentist came in and checked a few things. He said the pulp inside my crowned rear molar was dead or dying, which meant I needed a root canal. Fun. I'd never had one of those either.

At least I was able to make an appointment for Thursday, two days later. By drinking liquids through a straw and only chewing on one side of my mouth, I managed to get through the next few days. It was nice I still had a few pain killers from my surgery in April. Those helped at night.

On Thursday the guys delivered our new washing machine before noon! Surprising but very convenient. They had to work pretty hard to get the new one down the stairs into our basement, and then haul the old one up. Whew!

The dentist had me take a Valium one hour before the appointment. He prefers that over giving people laughing gas - I hate that stuff anyway. I'd never taken Valium before though. By the time we got to the dentist office, I felt very relaxed. Mentally still ok, but my body was wobbly.

The nice thing about it is you lose your sense of time passing, so the two and a half hours sort of floated by. Just as well. The initial drilling through the metal crown was NOT pleasant. It felt like those big jack-hammers they use to break up sidewalks. My whole face felt the vibration, and my jaw is still sore. After that it wasn't so bad, and by the time they were done I felt nearly normal. Except for the right side of my jaw and tongue being completely numb. I couldn't chew anything because I couldn't tell if I was chewing my tongue, so I made a fruit and chocolate ice cream smoothie for dinner. Which I didn't have to drink through a straw!

My tongue and face stayed numb well into the night. Inconvenient but not a bad thing, as I found out the next morning. When I woke up ALL my teeth ached, as well as my jaw, and it hurt to open my mouth wide or chew. Thank goodness for Vitamin I.

But even so, Friday the 4th really was a much better day. No more severe toothache and I'd had a good sleep. So I was able to get some house cleaning done and do six loads of laundry! What a luxury it is to have electric washing machines. How did we ever manage before! And this new one really does use less water, takes less time to fill, and I don't have to dry things as long. All the clothes I usually hang dry take less time too. So far I haven't had trouble with unbalanced loads either. So I'm pretty happy.

Aside from all that, we had a nice holiday. We barbecued chicken, steamed some sweet corn, and had watermelon for dessert. Then we watched fireworks from our front yard. We live on a northeast-facing hill, so we can see most of the fireworks displays in Boise. Of course they're really *tiny* from that distance, but it's still fun. We also set up our digital camera on a tripod and had a great time with sparklers on long exposures. Hence the picture :-). My step-son managed to move fast enough to get most of his name done during the exposure time, but I didn't. It was fun anyway.

Today I did some gardening and we went to Goodwood for dinner. It was much cooler yesterday and today than earlier in the week. Only about 88F today, and cloudy, so not too bad to be outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter. I do like three-day weekends.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Three-day Weekend!


This is a little bouquet I made from flowers in the garden, sitting on the corner of my desk. Since I have to work in here, it's nice to be able to appreciate the flowers outside. I'm particularly happy with the delphinium. It's a wonderful sapphire blue that looks amazing with the sunlight shining through it.

I have a root canal this afternoon, so I'm glad to have three days off afterwards. It's supposed to be hot, but I'll probably be sleeping most of the afternoon, so I won't notice so much. I just hope it's not so blistering over the weekend that we can't get out somewhere.

We're supposed to get the new washing machine today, which is something else to look forward to. We're hoping it arrives in the morning, as hubby has to drive me to my dentist appt at 2pm.

Happy 4th everyone!