Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Topsy-Turvy Tuesday

Topsy-Turvy Tuesday is just like Mish-Mash Monday, only a day late. If you're wondering, there's also:
- Willy-Nilly Wednesday
- This & That Thursday
- Folderol Friday (thanks, Rose! Much better than my original Frivolous)
- Salmagundi Saturday (ooh, I learned a new word!)
- Sundries Sunday

You're welcome! :)

Incidentally, the squirrels are not related to anything in this post, except them being topsy turvy and willy nilly. I love how the snow and sunflower seed were caught mid air in this shot.

Seed Swaps Underway

I had enough participants and seeds for two separate rounds, each with over 50 seed packets. (Yep, that was how I spent my Sunday.) I sent them off to what I'm calling Team Muhly and Team Bee Balm on Monday.

Blahs and Grumblies
I make a point of being positive and humorous online, but it turns out I'm human (nooooo!). I seem to have come down with a major case of the January blahs. Not in terms of hating winter, as I love winter, especially this early in the season and especially with the snow cover we have. It's that a lot of November and December was fun and busy with holiday activities and other diversions. And now things have slowed down into a big, dull blah.

And as a diversion from feeling blahy, I've branched out into feeling grumbly (all I need now is an Old Fogey button and to yell at kids to get off my lawn). I have spent a lot of time recently on the phone with customer "service" people, trying to explain and resolve what should be (but aren't) straight-forward inquiries. Lots of being passed on to other people (once seven times, only to end up where I started, though with a different person, who did finally address my issue!) and getting contradictory information. But I'm hoping that's settled now.

Technical Assistance Needed
Does anyone know how to remove "Read more!" links added automatically by Blogger? For some reason, Blogger has automatically added "Read more!" links at the end of every single one of my posts (old and new)! Only there is nothing more to read, and I really want to remove these links. I'm using the old editor, and can see no code for these links in html mode, so I can't remove them. Has this happened to anyone else?

Update: Thanks to Premarati who suggested I look at the HTML template (which I forgot existed, even though I've edited it in the past!) and Garden Girl whose comment made me go back and re-read something I thought I'd read clearly enough the first time, but had not! It turns out the reason I couldn't see the jump code in my template was because I had not clicked the Expand Widget Templates option so I could see all of the template. I then found the code I added years ago, before Blogger had the automatic "read more" feature, and could delete it. I think that when Blogger added its "read more" feature, it took my old template command (which previously was used only when called out/coded in individual posts) to mean I wanted every single post to end in "read more" automatically. Yay! Problem solved.

Does anyone know how to delete a blog from Blotanical? I'm trying to remove my older blog, Full Bloom, which has been inactive for over a year. I can see no option under MyBlogs to remove it.

Update:  Thanks to Barbee and others, I'm pretty sure we cannot remove blogs from Blotanical, only Stuart can. I've emailed my request. Thanks!

Action to the Rescue
Well, the opposite to moping must be to do something, so I've decided to walk to handle today's errands, instead of driving. It's only 3 miles round-trip and the brisk air should do me good! This afternoon, I'll make a nice cup of tea and gather my winter-sowing supplies and do a little of that. (I need to clean out the trays from last year. I always mean to do it right after I transplant out the seedlings, but there's so much to do in spring, and, well, you know!)

What do you to do distract yourself from blahs and grumblies??

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mish-Mash Monday

New year and old traditions! Welcome to another Mish-Mash Monday. Ahoy maties!

Seed Swap Starting Soon
If you expressed interest in joining my seed swap in my preview post back in September, it's time now to officially sign up. Update: Sorry, the seed swap has reached capacity.

Looking Back
Some cool things happened this year:
  • In February, I quit my job to pursue Garden Faerie full time.
  • In May, I attended the Garden Bloggers' Spring Fling and met old and made new friends.
  • In July, I visited my niece in CO and the Denver Botanical Gardens.
  • In August, I visited MOBOT, one of my favorite gardens ever (you didn't miss the post... I've been saving it for winter).
  • In December, my blog was named one of Horticulture magazine's Top 20 Gardening Blogs.
  • All year, I steadily removed buckthorn, large and small, from the south side of my backyard and at the end of the season had made some real progress.
  • I went public about being a curbside shopper.
  • I enjoyed the freedom to arrange my days to suit my own needs and spending more time in my garden.
  • Wonderful things came in the mail:
    • Cheryl, Esther, and Liz sent packages of British tea, which I'm still enjoying.
    • Gail, Randy, and Shady sent me great plants (and Beckie, Linda, Lisa, and MrBrownThumb gave me seeds or plants in person).
    • Genevieve sent Wicked Plants, which I won on her site, and some free items in a promo for her OpenSky store: 3 pairs of Atlas Nitrile gloves and a Fiskars soil knife that I adore.
Looking Forward
You might even say putting your best foot (or paw, as the case may be) forward! Hyuck! I'm in town all week.

My biggest goal for 2010 is mundanely mature: I need to find stable employment. I've loved my near year of being the Garden Faerie (speaking, teaching, gardening, garden coaching, and garden writing), but the reality is, it can't support me in the long-term. I've worked over 20 years in corporate communications (technical and marketing writing, editing, and web content management) and am looking to draw on those skills to move in a slightly new direction. Possibly user interface design, project management, or instructional design/training. I don't know how realistic a change in career focus is in the Michigan economy, but I'll soon find out!

Footyprints on My Nice Clean Snow*
The east and south side of my backyard borders on a nature area, so my snow never stays pristine long, as various furry and feathered friends make their way to my feeders.

The usual suspects include, of course, birds...

squirrels (which I love!)...

and ducks! I love their tracks!

Who's visiting your feeders?

Happy Mish-Mash!

*I swear Yosemite Sam once said "Who put footyprints on my nice clean desert?" but can't find the sound file.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Seed Swap Starting Soon

The weather outside is frightful
But seeds are so delightful
And though it's too early to grow,
Let us sow, let us sow, let us sow!

It's time again for hosting my round-robin, snail-mail seed exchange. Here's how it works. I start the swap by placing about 30 little seed packets into a large padded envelope. I enclose the addresses of participants printed onto labels, in the order of the swap. (I also enclose directions, but it's pretty straight-forward.)

I send the envelope to the first person on the list.When the envelope arrives, that person runs gleefully from the mailbox into the house and takes out any seed packets they want, replacing them with the same number of seed packets for the next person. They then send the packet on to the next person on the list, ideally within a few days, and so on until the last person sends it back to me. I'll then pick out my share of seeds and donate what's left over to a local community garden.

You can use any kinds of seeds (veggie, herb, native, showy, perennial, annual, biennial, woody, Jack in the Beanstalk, whatever). They can be extra seeds from a apcket, seeds you collected in your garden, etc. You can enclose any amount of seeds per packet, but if you have a lot of seeds of the same type, I'd recommend dividing them into smaller amounts in multiple envelopes. You replace seeds by the number of packets you took, not the number of actual seeds. (It's also OK, for example, to take 6 packets and replace 5, or to take 5 and replace 6. Use your own judgment.) You can use any kind of envelope or packet to hold your seeds, whether the original seed packet or one you made yourself. You need to label the seeds by name and color, plus anything else you find helpful.

I start the swap early to accommodate winter sowers and because it takes the envelope a while to make it from person to person.

Fine print and update: Sorry, the swap is now full. Last year, I had a ton of extra seeds. I was excited when the swap got tweeted and listed on swapping forums, and I was able to start off multiple swapping rounds for many new visitors. This year, however, I have fewer seeds to start with, so I need to add the caveat that the swap is open to "the regulars" (bloggy friends, regular commentors) in the U.S. only. (I've researched international postal regulations on mailing seeds. I can mail them out of the US (unless they're in suet cakes, of all things, which are prohibited because of the oils!). However, for me to receive multiple seed packets from outside the U.S. I would have to fill out a ton of forms from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture that essentially make me a registered seed importer (see third comment here for details). Eep, that's just too daunting!)

Thanks for everyone who signed up. I will mail off the swap the week of January 11.

Happy new year! Monica