Tag Archives: potting soil

Have You Hugged An Easter Alpaca?


How cute are these two? Still in the paper bag when they arrived home. I’m keeping the pastel one and have named her Rainbow. She has moved into my office. Easter alpacas on sale. Is this a great country or what?

by Kimberly A. Cook

Bought two alpacas yesterday. Don’t freak, they were stuffed toys. Gotcha! The last thing I need is something else to take care of, as cute as alpacas may be. I like having the excuse to drive up the Columbia River Gorge or over to Sisters to make personal alpaca visits.

They were a complete impulse buy. I was on a mission for potting soil and ended up with these two cuties as well. One is a gift, one is for writing inspiration. Seems the next fiction book in my Vintage Vets series involves alpacas. Animals just keep showing up in my writing. I am not in charge.

But first I feel I should apologize to the USA residents in the East. Sorry about all the stupid snow. It was 69 degrees here yesterday, a fluke and we loved it, hence the potting soil trip. Rain again today, so back to our regularly scheduled weather.

When you live on the West coast, for me everything past Montana is back East. I have been told by Midwesterners that is not correct, but it works for us out here. Imagine that is why in Hawaii we are all “the mainland” because the rest of the country is East to them, except for Alaska which is North and East.

Potting soil bags does mean Spring is on its way. I’m downing the allergy pills to prove it. The two toys were on sale as Easter alpacas. Never heard of Easter alpacas, but I fell for it. Sometimes you just need an Easter alpaca.

What Spring rituals are you looking forward to?


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To Nap, Perchance To Plant?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last weekend we had fabulous sunny weather and I knew the petunias, impatiens and basil had to be planted before they crawled into the house and mugged me. In high hopes once again, I’d bought more plants than I planned. They sat for three weeks due to nutty weather.


Spec Ops Cat resting after a hard day of supervising  my yard work. He had to sit on the carpet in a sun spot and look out the patio door. Tough job. 


It’s always fun to dig in the dirt, whether hunting for rocks or planting posies. Normally all the plants are in by mid-May, but obviously I’m disorganized this year. The tomatos got planted on time, but they don’t look too happy about it. Hot temperatures, cold weathers, rain and hail make for unhappy plants.

The roses just about put up the white flag too but they keep blooming, hardy little souls. Once again I am attempting to make fuchsia starts grow from the plant at my Mom’s house. Transplanted from the huge natural fuchsia at our former beach cabin on the coast, one of these years I am going to make them grow.


Ready for surgery on the potting table. These glasses are for liquor, but the fuchsias seemed to like them very much.


Mom put the starts in water and brought them to me. I carefully transplanted them into the tall shot glasses which look like test tubes and left them in the Southern window for a couple weeks, adding water. Bought special potting soil for them and Saturday was their big day to be transplanted.


Starts sitting on the back porch waiting for their water shower. Amazing what I find in my garage when I need to. Perfect pink pots. Priceless.


Found matching pink plastic starter pots in the garage, because I am sure that helps them take root. Rocks, potting soil, starts planted, then water and back in the house. Stuck them in used cat food cans for coasters to hold the water. Keep your fingers crossed. Maybe this year the magic works.

I love the smell of potting soil in the morning! Got plant starts?



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Back To The Garden?

by Kimberly A. Cook                (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last Saturday I ended up in a speed tomato planting race against the incoming rain and thunderstorms. Weather hit a sunny 90 degrees on Friday and then dropped like a rock to 66 degrees with incoming rain the next morning.

Taking my time Saturday I checked the  Doppler radar at 9:38 a.m. and saw a blob of green, yellow and red moving my way. Tossed on my garden clothes and proceeded to weed, remove old potting soil, put in new potting soil, plant three tomato plants, add their cages, plus change the burned out garage light bulbs all before the storm hit. A quick fifty-five minutes flat. I did get misted on and a cool draft down my back.


First tomato in, a favorite yellow pear. Planted two each. I use plastic painter buckets with three holes drilled in the bottom sides. They were pink, but they’ve faded in the sun. Yes, that is a purple tomato cage.   



Normally I use Sweet Cherry 100s, but am trying this yellow cherry tomato hybrid since the Sweet 100s were not in sight in the store. Notice the yellow blooms in back? Yellow tomato cage to coordinate! 


The mint is growing by leaps and bounds since I planted it. Love the aroma.


Farmer Bun is already surrounded by blooms from the Fairy rose and blooms from a plant where I saw a hummingbird drink ing. You can rock it with a container garden.


Of course Spec Ops Cat wanted to come outside and help me, but since he doesn’t do rain or mist he stayed inside and supervised. Smart cat!

Got a garden? Let’s grow!



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Time To Dig In The Dirt?

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Surveying my backyard this past weekend I knew it was time to downsize my pot garden. Wait one. Before folks get the wrong impression, I mean my garden in pots. Just to be clear.  Since my soil is clay mixed with concrete when I try to dig it, all my plants except for two are in pots. (The camellia and the Fairy rose are in the ground. I do not know how they survive.)


Farmer Bunny watching over the new mint plants. Ignore the weeds behind the pots.


In the interest of simplifying my garden, it’s time to not plant things I don’t eat or enjoy. So the carrots, strawberries (alias slug bait), and the dill are history. But I did use big pots to plant new peppermint and sweet mint plants on Sunday.

While I don’t really use the mint, I LOVE their smell when I water them during the summer. Same goes for the basil, rosemary and the carnations. The sniff test passes as using the plants in my book.


Can you smell the peppermint? You’ve got to plant some. Even just to sniff it or make tea.


Of course before I could plant the mint plants I had to buy more potting soil. Little did I know the bags of potting soil were wet until I tried hefting them into my grocery cart last Friday. Seriously? Then they peed in the back of the Subaru while I was driving home. Luckily I have a plastic liner back there. Note to self, only dry potting soil goes in the car.

On the upside, didn’t have to do much watering since the potting soil was drenched. Filled up the pots with a gravel base, potting soil, then the mint plants. My favorite part is sticking the little plant sign in the dirt as the final touch. Ready to go.

The rest of the backyard is in complete disarray with weeds and grass growing around the pots, dried plants from  last year and the perpetual weeds. The pot downsizing has not started in earnest either.

I’ll get to that next weekend. Maybe. I hope so…. Got potting soil? Get mint!




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Time To Spring Into Action?

by Kimberly A. Cook                (Twitter@    WarriorTales)

It’s official, Spring is here. The hyacinths have bloomed! These little bulbs pushing their way up into the sun and blooming always feels like Spring and Easter and bunny time to me. Granted, we are having an early Spring and the poor East Coast folks can’t even find the ground, little lone bulbs blooming, so we will celebrate for them.

This truly, absolutely means it is Spring!

This truly, absolutely means it is Spring!

I got all excited with the nice weather last weekend and went out and downsized my extra garden pots. Since we recycle, reuse and up cycle everything we get our hands on out here in Portlandia, I had to find a home for my used potting soil. Luckily, a co-worker at the day job volunteered to haul it home and till it into her garden.

This involved me using my fabulous 18 gallon Rubbermaid heavy totes I love and filling three to take to work Monday. We transferred the full totes in the parking lot and all is right with the world. I did ask her if we could do it as soon as possible in the morning because I didn’t want the worms to make a break for it and commandeer my Subaru. Or take up residency inside. Worms relocated. Excellent.

Now my sidewalk is clear and looking pretty spiffy. Also cleaned up the bird bath, refilled the feeders and cleaned the garage a little. Best reward? Able to bring out the table and chairs to sit in the warm rays of the sun with family in the afternoon. Perfect! Then took the table and chairs back inside since it will rain on Wednesday. Works for me.

Now, if I could just get as excited about cleaning inside the house and finishing my taxes. Somehow it doesn’t seem as much fun. Got Spring cleaning on your mind?





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