Friday, March 28, 2008

An Afternoon Outdoors

Spring Fever is getting the best of me, so Sammy, Casper and I headed outdoors this afternoon for some fresh air. Raul and Sergio did quite a bit of clean-up out there this past weekend, but from afar the beds still look fast asleep. Closer inspection, as it often does, yielded a different story. Here's what I found lurking beneath last year's mulch...

I'm kicking myself for not remembering the name of the hardy geranium above. It's one of my favorites. The leaves emerge crimson and age to a burgundy-wine hue. Later in summer, pale lavender-pink blossoms appear above the foliage. I should be able to figure out its name later this summer, now that I'm in the landscaping business again. :)

These little guys are really popping up. My favorite groundcover for shade: Sweet Woodruff. Last year their delicatly fragrant white blossoms were obliterated by the late freeze. Hopefully they fare better this year.

Above is another one of my perennials that is really going to town: Sedum 'Neon'. The first perennials to appear in our new driveway bed that we put in last year. It's hard to believe that such fleshy foliage can withstand night temps that still dip down into the twenties.

Yes, those are the Tulipa greigii 'Pinocchio's that I had given up for dead. The maroon-variegated foliage is beautiful. They seemed to appear out of nowhere - I saw no sign of these even just a week ago.

The above pictures are proof that my garden is waking up, at least on a Liliputian level. I can't wait to see these same plants in a few more weeks - without the macro lense on the camera...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Trip to Grandad's

Met Mom down at Grandad's last weekend. Got some great pics...

Even better than the pics is the quote I got from him. I'm around older adults quite a bit, so I've heard about everything. As I was preparing to leave, what I thought was to be a poignant moment actually became a chuckle-inducing one...

"Sometimes I don't think I'll be around much longer.... but then I put on
some salve and I feel like a new person..."

That goes for all of us, I guess...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We made the paper...

Second Nature Landscapes was featured in the business section of The Boone Sun today. OK, so it's a small local paper, but at least it's a start. The article was really quite good except for one glaring omission - our phone number! Oh well, the phone continues to ring anyway...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Escape to Chimp Eden

We have a new favorite show, Escape to Chimp Eden on Animal Planet. It's on Friday nights at 9 pm and throughout the week at various times. Normally I'm not a big fan of heart-wrenching animal documentaries, but this show is different. It is an uplifting profile of the efforts of Eugene Cussons at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden in South Africa. Cameras follow Eugene around Africa as he attempts to rescue abandoned, abused, and neglected chimps from unspeakable conditions. He brings them back to the sanctuaries at Chimp Eden, working to help them overcome their demons, assimmilate to a group (many of them have been alone, except for their human tormentors, all of their lives), and acquire survival skills with the ultimate goal of them being released to the wild.

This show is absolutely captivating. The diverse personalities of the chimps themselves are entertaining, as is watching Eugene work with them with a Crocodile Hunter-esque disregard for his own safety (imagine going into an electrified enclosure with a group of animals that could literally rip your arms off). Although it can be disturbing and downright brutal, the series' real message is one of hope. The show's only negative is its miniscule half-hour length. In a world of "reality" shows about everything under the sun, this one is breath of fresh air.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Studio Calico Layout

Recently I joined a monthly scrapbook kit club to help increase my creativity and try using some different types of product that I might otherwise never pick up. This strategy worked: I received my March kit from Studio Calico last week and just finished my second layout. Here it is:I love how it turned out, even though I normally hate seeing my own handwriting on my pages. I need to get better at using my handwriting because it is so much more versatile than typing everything, plus a lot more personal. Going to keep working on that...

Signs of Spring

I peeked around the garden today for signs of spring and found this:

Last fall we planted some bulbs and the first daffodils are just now popping up. I can't wait for the warm weather to arrive so I can get out there and start whipping the garden into shape. I'm sure that we'll have some rough weather ahead, but for now I'm happy to see just that little bit of green!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Business Milestone

Cory came home today with a new look for his pickup truck - it is now offically Second Nature property! It was warm enough to have the decals applied, and the installers did a great job. We are pleased how it turned out.

Every step he takes makes it seem more official. He spent the day on the phone making contacts and setting up some work for the coming weeks. I think some of the stress is starting to fade away and it is finally sinking in that he is a business owner.

I know it will get more hectic as spring approaches, but we sure are having fun right now!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

We're on the Web

Today was finally the day. My (ooops... I mean Cory's) website for Second Nature Landscapes is online and ready to be viewed by our customers. He keeps thanking me for doing this, but honestly it was great fun. I enjoyed the process when I originally set it up for Michael's Landscapes and Gardens, but it was even more satisfying to do it for my husband's business!

The letters to our customers, notifying them of the change in ownership, also went out today. Both of us grossly underestimated the work that would be required to print, sign, stuff, label, and stamp over 1000 letters. Thanks to Patt, Cory's mom, we were spared the task of stuffing (she did all of them by herself, and in record time, I might add). Cory managed the rest of the chore. Thankfully, they are in the hands of the mailman now. Can't wait to hear some feedback.

Needless to say, we will be subbing out our future mass mailings...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Congratulations to Cory

I am so proud to announce that as of yesterday, my husband Cory is now the official owner of Second Nature Landscapes, formerly Michael's Landscapes and Gardens.

After almost two weeks of waiting, Cory closed on his small business loan in the morning. By early afternoon he was meeting with Michael to transfer ownership of customer lists, utilities, and property. It has been a long and frustrating wait, but worth it in the end. When I came home from work last night, I could literally see that the weight had been lifted from his shoulders. We both know there will be numerous challenges ahead - but the ball is now officially in his court. He is so talented and hardworking that I have no doubt he will be successful.

Cory supported me through the trials and tribulations of nursing school, and continues to do so as I adjust to working in a profession that carries with it such grave responsibilities and immense daily pressure. I am so happy that I finally get to support him in his personal dream, and that he is finally doing exactly what he has wanted to do for so many years.

Congratulations to Cory and Second Nature Landscapes!
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