Cats and plants and dogs, oh my

Cats and plants and dogs, oh my

Well, just one dog.

This is Lola:

Lola

She’s an almost-5-year-old black German Shepherd Dog (with lots of white dustings, and in this picture a stray white hair stuck to her nose), and she is very cute. You will be seeing more of her in future posts.

As promised, here are some pics of growing things — and also a few cats, because they like the nice weather, too.

First up is Logan, who at almost 15 is the oldest of the pets (or varmints, as I like to call them). He also is very into catnip, so this is his favorite place during his brief trips outside:

Logan

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Camp NaNo

Camp NaNo

Camp NaNo

Another quick post today. (I did remember to take my camera outside yesterday, but of course the battery was dying, and then today it was pouring rain on and off all day. So garden pictures have to wait till next week.)

Every November there is this thing called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, where participants try to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. Twice a year outside of that there is Camp NaNoWriMo, where participants choose their own word count goals and write whatever they want, novel or otherwise.

Camp NaNo is in April and June, and I’m participating in the one this month. My word count goal is 30,000 (which is only 1,000 words a day, highly doable if I actually sit down and write), and the project I’m working on is an unfinished novel — one I actually started for NaNoWriMo back in 2008. It’s currently at a little over 50,000 words (not all of which were written during NaNo itself, so I didn’t “win” that year), and since I tend to write long, will probably take…a lot more to actually finish the story.

But, 30,000 will get me closer, and hopefully I can keep up the momentum and finally finish the thing. I spent my writing time yesterday getting the files from Scrivener on my old laptop and uploading them to Google Drive so I could work from my Chromebook (I love many things about my Chromebook, but its single biggest downside is that I can’t use Scrivener on it) and rereading some of what I’ve already written. I haven’t worked on the story in a long, long time, so it’s a little hard getting into the right mindset. I stopped writing before because I got stuck on a particular scene, but I should have just skipped it and kept going — something I’ll have to keep in mind this time!

I’ll include word count updates with the rest of my posts this month. Currently I’m behind at 0/30,000, but I think I can make up the difference over the weekend. We shall see~

Visiting chickens

Visiting chickens

chicken

This is a picture from last year of one of the neighbor’s chickens. They have two, and since their yard isn’t fenced in, the chickens like to go exploring. They’re pretty friendly, and I’ve gotten to pet one of them, although they’re much more interested in any food you might have for them. (And yeah, I totally feed them if I can find something when they stop by.)

My dog, Lola, sometimes ignores them completely when she sees them, sometimes watches them, and sometimes (namely when they come up on our front porch) she barks and barks and acts like she wants to rip them apart. I really want to get two or three chickens myself this year, so it’s going to be a fun process teaching her to leave them alone.

Short post today! I’ll try to remember to get outside with my camera tomorrow and take some pictures of growing things. Or of Lola. Also tomorrow is the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo, which I am signed up for and will be attempting to use as motivation to make some progress on a novel draft. (Another thing I’d really like to do this year is actually finish a draft!)

The garden of yesteryear

The garden of yesteryear

flowers

And by yesteryear I mean last year.

This is a snippet of the flowerbed last June. The echinacea (coneflower) was blooming, and so were the poppies that had self-seeded from the year before. (I’m hoping they come back again this year!) The spiky-looking plant on the left is a red hot poker that was just starting to bloom, I think. You can see a bit of red on it. There are two of those in the bed, although I can’t tell in this picture if you can see both of them.

To the right of the red hot poker is some self-seeded rudbeckia that wasn’t blooming yet. The year before, I planted two of those, I think, and neither one made it through the winter but tons of little fuzzy plants started popping up from the seeds, which was cool.

There’s also some marigolds in there, and the upper left is a sunflower with its giant leaves. The other side of the fence has more sunflowers, and there’s a yellow miniature rose bush in the flowerbed but not in the picture. (And pay no attention to the fact that I am terrible at weeding.)

So this is about what things will look like this summer! The echinacea is already starting to come back, the rose bush has new growth, and I’m pretty sure the little fuzzy baby rudbeckias are popping up again. I’ll keep an eye out for the poppies, and I definitely want to get some spring-blooming perennials in there this year.

A few more leftover pictures from last year:

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The crocuses are blooming, the crocuses are blooming!

The crocuses are blooming, the crocuses are blooming!

crocuses

Okay, to be fair these particular crocuses are no longer blooming, since this picture was taken over a week ago. But four others have bloomed since then (in a cute little row), so the title is still accurate.

(Also, while in this photo they look blueish — or is that just my computer screen? — the flowers are actually a very pretty purple.)

The story of the crocuses:

They were originally planted over a decade ago, as part of a flowerbed that was eventually overtaken by lawn again. (Probably the following year, actually.) But the crocuses persevered, and a few would pop up again every year in bright spots of purple, before the leaves were unceremoniously mowed down the first time the grass needed cutting. I intended to transplant them but never got around to it, and once the leaves were gone it was impossible to find them anyway.

Two years ago, I dug up the area around the crocuses again for a new flowerbed. After looking up how to transplant the things (and learning that they don’t have bulbs, they have corms), I divided up the corms and replanted them along the edge of the new flowerbed, and hoped they would come back the next year. They did! Last year a bunch of little green leaves sprouted up along the brick edging — and more than a few here and there in the middle of the bed, too. I’m guessing those are the ones I missed when I was digging up the bed. But, unfortunately, none of them ended up blooming; they just grew long pretty leaves.

So then I was hoping that maybe they were just storing up for next year, or something, and they would bloom next time. When these little purple guys popped up earlier this month it was super-exciting. They’re so cute and happy! Of course, the rest of the bed is still rather desolate right now, although it won’t be in a few more months. I need to look into finding some other spring-blooming plants so the crocuses won’t be so lonely next year. Or at least something with nice spring foliage.

In other news, like the crocuses, this blog has returned once more (and I promise I didn’t even think about that metaphor until I was writing this post). Let’s see if I can keep to a schedule this time! There’ll be plenty to write about as I get the garden beds going for this year, at least, and as the weather warms up maybe I’ll actually get out and go somewhere worth a post. There’s no shortage of stuff to do in Louisville in spring, that’s for sure.

Tea Tasting

Tea Tasting

Louisville Tea Co. menus

In my last post I mentioned visiting Louisville Tea Company for a tea tasting. It’s taken me a while, but I am finally posting about it! I completely forgot to take pictures while I was there, so you’re stuck with this after-the-fact photo of the tasting menu and their tea menu.

The tasting was purchased through an Amazon Local deal, and I booked it through Louisville Tea Co.’s website, which was pretty simple. When you sign up for a tasting, you can choose from green, black, and oolong teas. I picked oolong, since it’s the one I’m most unfamiliar with. (Their website has info about all three varieties. Oolong is sort of “in between” green and black teas, as far as how it’s made and how it tastes.)

The tasting was a lot of fun. You get to try four different teas in the category you picked, and you get a little menu with info about each one. It was really interesting to taste the differences in the four teas, especially the differences you might not notice if you weren’t trying them one after the other. I liked all four of them and, unsurprisingly, couldn’t pick a favorite.

The shop itself was also very cool. All kinds of tea stuff, from mugs and pots to strainers and stirrers, plus some tea-related products and mostly just a lot of really cute stuff. I wanted it all. Particularly everything that came in purple.

Louisville Tea Co. is at 9305 New LaGrange Road, which is sort of close to Shelbyville Road. They’re open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 6:30 PM, and besides the tastings, they offer pots of tea and cups to go, as well as bulk loose leaf teas. You can find more info on the “Visit” page of their site.

Oh, and tonight (Friday, August 15th) they’re having a free tasting party! More info on that is also on the site. I want to go, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it. 😦

I’ve recently been on another tea adventure (tea-venture?) to Sisters Tea Parlor in Buckner, where I also mostly forgot to take pictures. I’ll post more about that visit next week.

The first sunflower (and the first post)

The first sunflower (and the first post)

sunflower

This is the first post on this blog, so I figured I’d start out with a pretty picture of the first of the blog’s namesakes. I’ve planted sunflowers for the last two years or so, but this year they started popping up even before I’d put any seeds in the ground, just from the seeds that had fallen last year. The picture is the first flower to bloom on one of those self-seeders.

The picture was taken a couple of weeks ago, a few days after the flower bloomed. All its petals are gone now (and the birds are quite happy about the seeds it’s developed), but plenty more flowers have taken its place. Six or seven of the self-seeded plants have started blooming; a few more aren’t big enough yet. Neither are the seeds I actually planted this year, but they’re getting there. They were from a packet of mixed types, so it’ll be fun to see what the flowers actually look like.

About the blog

My current, very casual aim for this brand-new blog is to share fun or interesting things in Louisville. Since my amateur gardening efforts take place in Louisville, and since planting things and watching them grow makes me happy, plant updates will probably be a regular thing for a while. I’ve got lots going on besides the sunflowers, and I’ll be posting pics of some of the rest soon.

Other posts will feature cool stuff beyond my backyard: shops & restaurants I visit, events I attend, whatever I happen to do that’s actually interesting enough to talk about. (There will also probably be lots of pictures of my dog. It’s okay, she’s really cute.) Tomorrow I’m going to a tea tasting at Louisville Tea Company, so I’ll post about that and cover the blog’s other namesake.

That concludes the first post!