🌻 Ringing in May here in the Funkyard

Because “we planted stuff” isn’t specific enough to be the title.

Good evening, Funkyardigans!

Who would have thought that removing rocks-as-mulch from a bed would be harder than removing sod from a lawn? Not me. But alas, here we are.

I spent ALL of Saturday on the front bed, and am still only about 2/3 of the way through — and this is after multiple rock-removing sessions (including one [edit: TWO] by my mom; thanks, Mom!) We were still able to start rearranging some plants, and it’s starting to look like a real bed. It’s a big improvement from what it was: a messy patch of rocks + creeping Charlie + lawn ornaments + invasive bush honeysuckle seedings + tall plants in front + short plants in back. (Tune in next time — I HOPE — for the finished product.)

Also, we have an herb bench! Thanks once again to Andy’s exceptional carpentry skills. Apparently, I neglected to take a photo, but it is prominent in the foreground of this paparazzi shot I took earlier for no particular reason. (Uhh, sorry, Andy.)

Other updates:

  • I have a new pet. It’s a jumping spider, and it lives in my office. Before you spider-haters get grossed out, you should know that there used to be a bit of a fly problem near my computer (they live on my houseplants) and now there is not. So thanks for your service, Audax. (I named it Audax after its species, Phidippis audax, the bold jumping spider. It has cool iridescent green mouthparts and a reddish spot on its back.)

  • What felt like overnight, almost all of our trees leafed out.

  • We ate at a RESTAURANT, inside, for the first time since March 2020. (Well OK, minus one exception when we were house-hunting in KC and ate in an empty Brazilian barbeque to decide whether we wanted to put an offer on our house.) It didn’t feel quite as momentous as I thought it would, but the food was good, and so were the beers (we picked a brewery) and the company (my parents).

  • Dog sitting is going exceptionally well. Molly is really winning us over despite her catlike, antisocial tendencies. There may be a humane society visit in our future.

Molly’s favorite spot is this flowerbed, behind the fence, so she can look out at us like she’s in prison. Weirdo. I promise she’s actually living her best life, romping around our fenced-in yard.
  • In our back corner, there’s a batch of mystery plants that I’m guessing were sown from a “wildflower seeds” packet. The most recent bloomer looks like a blue flax. It’s very cute. All these plants need to move since they’re growing on top of each other and are too short for where they are in the bed, but, I think they’ll all be keepers.

  • There’s a Carolina wren nesting on our deck. Snubbing the three different birdhouses available in our yard, they’ve instead chosen the bag of wood nuggets we use for the grill, which we had left out and slightly open. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • More birds are arriving! We’ve been seeing (well, mostly just hearing) a hermit thrush, house wren, barred owl, some chimney swifts, and what I really think is a yellow warbler but I’m so rusty on my birdsongs I’ll have to see it to believe it.

  • Speaking of birds, I saw a crow catch a baby bunny. I kind of wish I didn’t.

  • We hung up a hummingbird feeder, moved the oriole feeder to a more prominent location, and put out a half orange. Surely one of these will attract a bird, but so far, it’s just ants. I’m starting to think this oriole feeder is bogus, I got it a few years ago online and I’ve never seen an oriole at it.

  • “I’m the lawn Thanos. Except I’d kill them all,” said my dearest friend Matt Chansler, regarding his aspirations for a new world landscaping regime to replace all lawns with native habitats, after Andy pointed out some of his methods and reasoning made him sound like a super villain.

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Next up, I can’t believe this is still what’s next up, but getting the rocks out of this front bed is now PERSONAL. You should see the blister on my thumb from the hours of “is this a hunk of clay or a rock?” rubbing motion. It’s absurd.

Funkyard species count: 82 (61 logged). Additional new arrivals: June bugs, a bee that really wanted the flowers on my coffee mug to be real, and a carpenter bee that’s moved into the deck (it can have it, that deck is not long for this world).

I’m reading all the same old books. I’m so slow. Maybe by next week I will have an article to share or at least a book I’ve finished. 😂

We’re watching Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) aka Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock, the sequel. Totally fine. Antman (2015), because my parents hadn’t seen it and obviously everyone must see every Marvel film. Neither of these are my new favorite movie, but both are worth watching if you haven’t seen them already.

We’re playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s free on Steam! Andy is Robertocop and I’m Jiirraa. We’re both cyborg scoundrels (think: Han Solo types with some bionic body parts) making our way though the Star Wars universe. I like it a lot so far. Andy pointed out it’s my *first ever* MMO, awww. (For noobs like me, an MMO is “massively multiplayer online” game, like World of Warcraft, where you actually run into and can interact with other people who are playing the same game at the same moment in time.)

We’re listening to “Lava” on repeat, from the Disney short of the same name. It debuted with the movie Inside Out in 2015, and is on Disney+. Check it out if you haven’t seen it, but prepare to have the song in your head for the next six months.

We’re eating the best turkey burgers of my life. Andy makes them in the cast iron skillet. The secrets seem to be: Don’t overcook them, don’t be afraid to add a little butter, and toast the brioche bun (preferably with mayo — seriously! mayo! try it). We like them best with roasted pepper compote and avocado, but seems like any toppings will do. [EDIT: Apparently “compote” specifically refers to a sweetened fruity dessert thing — I suppose I mean salsa or relish.]

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This week I wrote about which states have vaccinated the most (and least) residents and how the pandemic has affected alcohol use in adults, both for Stacker.

And a question for you: Do you call the derpy brown beetles that come out in spring, bounce off your porchlights and window screens (and face) “June bugs” or “May beetles” or perhaps something else entirely? I made us a poll so you can reply in two seconds flat: Seriously I want to know. I’ll tell you the results next week. (Here’s what these beetles look like if you need a refresher.)

OK team, that’s all for today. Have a great week!
Take care please,


This isn’t the full version, but if you want to sing along (you do)…

✌ 💖🌻

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